Updates from the Golden Shellbacks

We’re four days into our passage and conditions are mild and comfortable. We’ve had a few spurts of sailable wind, but mostly the iron jib has been powering us toward New Zealand at five and half knots. We’re about 350 miles in and have 673.3 miles to go.

There has been a lot of sleeping, eating, and relaxing onboard, but we’ve also enjoyed a few moments of salty flare. We crossed the International Dateline, marking our ascension through the nautical ranks from shellbacks (earned for having crossed the equator) to golden shellbacks. I’m mastering the art of baking bread underway. We’ve had vhf radio communications with the New Zealand air force—they had some routine identification questions for us and were kind enough to provide a weather report from their aerial vantage point.

We witnessed thrilling bird action: a frigate bird spent five minutes dive bombing a flock of boobies and terns in an attempt at supper stealing.

But mostly we’re watching the wind, the seas, the squalls, and the light. Sometimes the ocean is more mirror than water, or the sun is so bright the surface of the water seems gilded with platinum, or the moon vanishes and the Southern Cross rises within the milky contours of our galaxy. There are bioluminescent jelly fish that glow an eery emerald beneath the phosphorescent diamonds in our wake at night.

We’re looking forward to wind, which is supposed to fill in over the next 24 hours as the high pressure system below us migrates beyond New Zealand and provides the southeasterly winds to propel us toward our destination, but Dominic and I will both miss the scenic secrets that heavy conditions keep hidden.