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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Zenith day

Playa Cristal, Costa Rica

I'm not really sure if that's the real name of the place where we're currently anchored, but it seems to fit seeing how there's a fancy hotel above the beach with a big sign saying 'Cristal'.

We ducked in here since the wind is blasting from the east and we hoped hills backing the beach and hotel would provide us some protection. It's working out ok, except the wind is very gusty and I know as soon as it shuts off tonight we'll be rolling terribly from the swell coming in from the south west. Oh well, there's good days and bad days...

But that's not why I'm writing this blog. Today is our Zenith day! So I thought I'd wish everyone else whose Latitude also happens to be around 10o 28'N "Happy Zenith Day" too. I'm sure you're wondering, what is Zenith Day. Well it's sort of complicated, but I'll try to explain.

Everyone who lives in the temperate zones of the world are familiar with the seasons of the year. In Winter the days are short and in Summer the days are long. This, of course, is caused by the tilt of the Earth on its axis. This tilt is about 23 degrees. The Sun, on the day of the Spring Equinox, is directly over the Equator and the length of the days all over the world is basically 12 hours (a little longer really, but we won't go into why now). As the year progresses, the Sun continues to climb higher in the Northern Hemisphere sky until the Summer Solstice at which point it will be over the Latitude of 23o 27'N. Northern Hemisphere days will be long and the Summer will be in full bloom. Of course it's all 'down hill' from there. After the Summer Solstice the Sun begins to recede to the South until the Winter Solstice, when it pauses over 23o 27'S before climbing back to the North.

Now, if you can picture the trek of the Sun as it makes it's way North and South, you may be able to picture NAKIA directly underneath it. Today. At about 12:42 local time. The Sun went directly over our heads, or passed through our Zenith (at least as close as it's going to get this year). Thankfully, as I said before, it's all down hill from here! While our days will not be getting shorter (we are, barely, still in the Northern Hemisphere where days are getting longer), we'll at least get a little break from having the blazing Sun DIRECTLY over our heads!