On August 20th at 2210 hours, some 5545 nautical miles after leaving New Zealand in mid May, Iron Lady crossed the Equator at 151 degrees 41 minutes West. Sorry – no pictures this time, too slow a connection.
Weather conditions have been wonderful on this leg from the Marquesas to Christmas Island and last night was no exception. Gentle winds and following seas, a clear sky and a full moon were on tap for the crossing of the equator. We even had a little help from the current gods as Iron Lady made close to 11 knots SOG.
The crew gathered for a celebratory beer on the flybridge. Steve, acting as Neptune’s rep bestowed the ancient and honourable title of Shellbacks (I think that is what it is) upon Mark and myself including all the honors, rights and privileges associated with the same. We skipped the part where we got gold pierced earrings and had our heads shaved.
Lest our readers think it was all frivolity, we engaged in a scientific experiment to answer a question that has burned in the hearts and minds of men (and women) for eons. When a toilet is flushed in the northern hemisphere, the water circulates counterclockwise during the flush. In the southern hemisphere, it circulates clockwise. (As do the weather systems in both hemispheres)
The burning question is what happens at the equator where there is no corollas effect? Does the water just go straight down (or up – just kidding)? To answer this question, we flushed away as we crossed the equator. The answer – we don’t know for sure. We can confirm that a few meters south of the equator, the circulation was clockwise and a few meters north it was counterclockwise. Unfortunately we must have failed to flush when the toilet was precisely, dead nuts on the equator. From the fact that it changed direction in such a short distance, we can say yes, Virginia, there is most likely a point directly on the equator where the stuff goes down the holey freeholy without rotation. Definitive proof will have to be left to other intrepid adventurers.