Halfway to New Zealand

We are currently at 2°6’6.4″N 94°37’30.46″W, northwest of the Archipiélago de Colón (popularly known as the Galapagos Islands), en route to Auckland, New Zealand.

This is roughly the halfway point in our container ship journey. We’ve been on the Cap Cleveland for two weeks now, and we have a little over two weeks to go. We’re currently heading WSW (248°) across the Pacific, via Tahiti, a distance of 6,785 nautical miles. Unfortunately we won’t be stopping in Tahiti, but depending on the time of day we pass by, we might catch a glimpse.

We’re traveling at an average speed of 18 knots (18 nautical miles per hour), which is calculated based on the total distance and the number of days we have to get to Auckland. Unlike our journey from Philadelphia to Panama, there isn’t a lot of slack in our schedule, so we’ll be “steaming” at that speed 24 hours a day. No more drifting. Each day we should cover about 432 nautical miles. The ship’s top speed is 24 knots, so if we get behind schedule, we’ll just go faster. However based on our current position and speed, we’re actually ahead of schedule by a day.

Control of the ship is handled by the captain and three officers: the first (or chief), second, and third mate. Each officer has a four hour watch in the morning and a corresponding watch in evening. For instance, Jeoffrey, the third mate we’ve spent a lot of time chatting with, is on watch from 800-1200 (8am-12pm) and from 2000-2400 (8pm-12am). This enables the ship to run continuously around the clock.

Speaking of clocks, between now and our arrival in New Zealand, we’ll be gaining an hour every other night. Last night we gained an hour, making the ship’s time UTC -6, equivalent to US Mountain Time. When we cross the International Date Line next week, we’ll actually lose a whole day, which means we’ll jump from Thursday, September 30th to Saturday October 2nd! Say “hi” to October 1st for us ;)

View from the bridge of the Cap Cleveland with a shadow of rain on the horizon
Rain shadow on the horizon

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