To Cross the Equator

Despite numerous international trips… Europe, Central America, living in England for several years, or living on an island in the middle of the Pacific… I had never crossed the equator.

Fred and Andrew Cooper at the earth’s equator along the Masaka Road, Uganda

Unlike so many I would not cross the equator in an aircraft or ship… I would cross it by car. The Kampala Masaka road crosses the equator at a small town named Kayabwe.

The zero line does not pass by unremarked. Local businesses have turned zero latitude into a tourist stop with large concrete zeroes either side of the road. Gift shops and a cafe greet travelers looking for an excuse to pause during the four hour journey from Kampala to Masaka.

To mark the occasion we did indeed stop and take the obligatory photographs in the zero markers. Pulling out the phone I found that the GPS agreed, the Google maps application showing 0.0003 latitude while standing a few feet north of the zero marker.

Long ago I had visited Greenwich, where the zero longitude line is marked by a brass rail set into the pavement. With this I have now stood astride both zero latitude and zero longitude.

Another bucket list item achieved… I have now been south of the equator, if not very far… Driving to the national park I reached -0.6° at Mbarara, not even a full degree south.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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