The Pacific crossing (first 3,000 n. miles)
Trip Start Nov 04, 2009
65Trip End Jan 05, 2015
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Considering the entry on the Atlantic crossing (nov '09), I do not want to sound repetitive, so I ll try to condense my feelings of the passage in a few sentences.
English speaking sailors call this leg of the Pacific crossing "jumping the puddle", clearly mocking the size of it.
From the Galapagos to Hiva Oa, the eastern most of the Marquesas Islands, it's 3,000 nautical miles...
The whole Pacific is said to enclose 155 million square kms of water..
We did this passage in 20 days, which is a good time.
Same as on the Atlantic, food wise we had everything we wanted and we were blessed with having on board Shirley, the girlfriend of Fabrizio, who is both a good sailor and an amazing cook
So, as much as everybody took turns to cook for everybody, she was better than anybody else and she treated us. When she cooked, it felt like being at home or at a restaurant.
The winds were weak, between 5 and 10 knots to start with, but then gradually increased to 10 to 15 and then 15 to 25 knots, which meant we made up for the slow start and we were able to make it in 20 days rather than the dreaded 30 days (more chances to go mad at sea!).
The sea was big but not rough, or at least I got used to it very quickly. I definitely did not want to not enjoy the passage. By setting my mind on not feeling sea sick from the beginning, I was able to read books that I had meant to read for years (No Logo by Naomi Klein and Ebony by Kapuscinski).
This made time go by much faster.
Life on a passage is very repetitive of course. Every 6 hours you are on duty. Your shift can be two hours long at night, 3 hours early in the morning (6am to 9am) or 4 hours in the afternoon (3pm to 7pm).
During your shift you are making sure that the sails are trimmed the best possible way to make the most of the wind; that you react to sudden changes (wind gusts are sudden), that you maintain the bearing (you are on route) and that you are not colliding with any boat
That means that you can't read a book. Yes you can enjoy the sky and the stars, but most of the time you make use of the dodger or the bimini to protect yourself from the frequent rain (squals).
So that leaves you with playing the guitar, or thinking.
I did both. Sometimes, when the sea was too rough and we were rocking so much that I had to hold myself constantly, that would not be possible, so thinking would take over again. Thinking was mainly about future business opportunities or loved ones: family, friends, women (shuffle the order : ).
One thing that definitely strikes me is the amount of ideas that I came up with over the water.
At the end of the day you are moving over water and that's all there is to see around you, for 20 days. That makes your mind travel like a train on a track...tu tu tum, tu tu tum, tu tu tum.
The other thing that struck me of the passage was the lack of smells, perfumes.
Apart from the fresh fruit and vegetables we had bought for the passage, which was going off faster that we could consume it, there was nothing to be smelled other that the obvious on board smells (humidity, food, bathroom, shampoo and yourself).
In terms of fishing, we had equipped ourselves with the proper gear, including a kick ass reel. After having lost three lures we managed to fish a dorado and a small tuna.
Both of them were turned from fish to sashimi within one hour.
About doing it again, I would, but on a bigger boat.
Our boat is 13 meters long, and with 4 people on board space is limited...for 20 consecutive days!!
I myself was sleeping all along on the sofa in the dinette (lounge). With the rocking of the boat your usual sleeping position goes down the drain.
You are going to have to adapt to the movements of the boat.
In my case, as I am too tall for the curved sofas, I struggled a bit to sleep so next time I would do it on a boat that assigns me a whole cabin!! And if a girl wants to share the cabin with me, please, be my guest!