GOOD MORNING SHELLBACKS! (First Big Crossing: Day 17)

At 11:21 PM Pacific Standard Time Pura Vida and her merry crew, crossed the equator under sail, with a beautiful moon shining overhead, a sky full of stars, and the Southern Cross leading us onward. The seas were gentle beneath the hull and the air was soft and heavy in the tropical warmth. We sat in the cockpit, marveled at the sheer awesomeness of where we are and what a blessing this journey has been so far.
A joyful crew, we raised our glasses and toasted our Captain for getting us this far with such courage and wit.
And we munched our "Shellback" cake.

The entire day prior to this sublime moment was spent in high-jinks and festivities. There were re-enactments of the great SHELLBACK legend, much cake making and decorating, much silliness and laughter, plenty of dancing and singing-along at the top of the lungs. As the bubbly was put to chill, we were visited by a rare and endangered Sei whale who came to have a look and give his tidings-a big, salty burp.

When we realized we would be crossing in the dark-
we opted to do our special blessing of the ocean with all our thoughts from you, at sunset. We were just a few degrees from the equator and the sky was the most beautiful we have seen it all during the trip. We celebrated with thoughts going out to each and every one of you, who's names we had written on tiny colored cotton strips. We beckoned the ocean to listen for a minute as we sent it a message of committment from all of us. Sigor Ros played on the speakers and the sun sent pink and golden fires across the horizon. We lit some incense and spoke some words silently and out loud and the kids tossed everyone's names and wishes into the Sea.

It was a perfect moment--one we will never forget. We took lots of pictures, which we'll post when we can and everyone can see what a lovely celebration you all participated in.

Wherever you are today and whatever you are doing, know that your wishes, thoughts and prayers, are forever drifting on the waves.

You are now, and always, a part of the "Blue Heart" of our planet.

It is only 795 MILES to HIVA OA!

Kai's corner:
Hey Peyton, So cool to hear you're following the blog with your class. Hi to everyone at BICS-the BEST school ever! Well, homeschool on a boat IS pretty good, too.
Sei Whale - click to enlarge
Yesterday, dad was on watch when he shouted "whale!". We haven't seen one in a while so we were pretty excited. We have whale identification books that help us figure out what we are looking at-they don't always come that close-but you can guess what kind they are by studying their spouts, and their tail flukes, how many there are in a group, where you are seeing them and stuff like that. This one got really close, he actually came to check us out. We knew right away he was some kind Rorqual (baleen whale) so we looked closely at his very small dorsal fin to help figure out what kind it might be. It was slender, upright and curved on the tailing end. We haven't seen one exactly like this before so this was our first clue that this was a new species for us. It was alone and had a particular dive pattern and a not very distinctive blowspout (we look at the height and shape of these) other factors and like where we are led us to believe that it was most likely a SEI whale. One cool thing about the SEI whale is that unlike humpbacks, they are not lunge feeders-they just open their mouths and swim steadily though the food rich waters.

Hunter's facts:
Sei whales are endangered, we have seen a lot of kinds of whales but this is the first SEI we have ever SEEN.
Sei whales are found in deep temperate waters world wide. They are usually found at lower latitudes-which is where we are, so that's probably why we got to see one. Did you know that a Sei whale's birth weight is 1600 pounds!
What a big baby! Also, they are already 14 feet long at birth.
When they grow to adult weight, they will weigh around 35 tons and be 69 feet long.
The one we saw yesterday was probably 50 feet long.-that's bigger than a school bus!
Hey, Myah and Rhiannon and Grace-next time you are on the school bus think about how big this whale was. He came to look at us and was just 20 feet away from our boat-which is 44 feet long-so he was bigger than us, too!
Miss you guys!

Captain's Corner:
A comment on comments...Emily has been dutifully forwarding them all to us each day via the messenger birds. They have become one of the highlights of our day!!! To Jerry G, the greybeard loon, Sam T and all his friends... Vee lauff ewe!!! keep 'em coming! We gather around the albatross landing platform every morning, waiting for the birds' arrival, hoping he has some fresh news tied to his wrinkled toes. For all the other folks who have dropped a line here and there... muchas gracias! They have all been read, and laughed at and cried over and totally appreciated. The Grandma's, The Grundy's, Eleventwice, Manta, all our Bowen friends, the Mare's, the Leckie's, Pura Vida's previous parents....and everyone else. Thanks for being with us.
Many Thanks,


  1. Antonio and Melissa Milussi MalonioApril 20, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    The Cap an' his favulous Cronzios were tired of livin' the Jonesy-woes,
    So they got off the grid, or I'm told that they did,
    In the Antica-Equata-Hardlylesshectica-Filosofoklectica-Zonezeeos.

    Sigh ....

  2. The Owl looked up to the stars above,
    And sang to a small guitar,
    'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
    What a beautiful Pussy you are,
    You are,
    You are!
    What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

    No symbols, metaphors or double-entendres, puh'leeze.

  3. I'm in heaven just thinking about it. The Sei-Hey kids!

  4. Glorious rituals...thank you for taking us with you, and giving us into the deep.

    I'm following two voyages these days: the Pura Vida on its journey across the Pacific, and the International Space Station, whose commander, Commander Mark Hatfield of Canada flies overhead the Pura Vida (you might even see it some evening...) and who tweets heartstopping images of cloud, desert, lakes, ice, the glitter of cities, ribbons of rivers and your ocean. Think of him one evening, look up...he may even have seen you!

    beautiful writing Suki, and I love how the blog has evolved, such good thoughts from Kai and Hunter, and Captain, Mare

  5. O, we're on our way to the Marquesas!
    Even thunder and lightning won't phase us.
    We've a pod of Sei whales
    Burping breeze for our sails.
    B'leeve that and you'll b'leeve in Be-Jaysus!

  6. YAY! I'm a Shellback! Not the same as a hard-ass or a crusty old thing right??
    Congratulations! We raised a glass and imagined the lovely ceremony, and alll those names fluttering in the sea. I am so happy that you have all that amazing energy out there with you. I'm sure i am not the only one who has thought more about our Blue Heart more in the past 17 days than ever before. And I will certainly think of it differently forever morexxoo, i love you all. Mom/GrammaSara

  7. For Hunter:
    The Owl and the Pussy Cat went to sea
    in a beautiful pea green boat
    They took some honey, and plenty of money,
    Wrapped up in a five pound note
    The owl looked up at the stars above And sang to a small quitar,
    O lovely Pussy, Oh Pussy my love
    What a beautiful Pussy you are
    you are
    you are!
    What a beautiful Pussy you are!

    Oussy said to the owl, "You elelgant fowl!
    How charmingly sweet you sing!
    O let us be married! Too long have we tarried,
    But what shall we do for a ring?'
    They sailed away for a year and a day,
    to the land where the Bong tree grows.
    And there in the wood a piggy-wig stood,
    With a ring on the end of his nose
    his nose
    his nose
    With a ring on the end of his nose

    'Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
    Your ring!" Said the piggy, "I will"
    So they took it away annd were married next day
    By the turkey who lives on the hill.
    They dined on Mince, and slices of Quince,
    Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
    And hand and hand, at the edge of the sand,
    They danced by the light of the moon,
    the moon,
    the moon,
    They danced by the light of the moon.

  8. SHELLBACKS!!!!! We are now even more connected...was it even possible!? Was running around here pulling some last minute Pollywog hijinks, and as fun as it was....SHELLBACK just feels so badass! Love knowing what i know now cuz of y'all!! Missing our lil egg nest and loving y'all madly and deeply!! xxooxx

  9. Your blog is so fun to follow thanks for sharing your adventure with us!so fun hearing about the veiw and weather and the waves. That whale must be Huge! sounds like your having a blast.

  10. Hi I've been enjoying reading your blog. It's so fascinating that while I'm here reading your blog your out there in the middle of the ocean. I just think your blog is so interesting and like I said before it's really fascinating that I'm at BICS typing this and your out there in the Pacific like right now. Did everyone agree in your family when you decided to sail around the world? Were you afraid of all the things that might happen to you?