Today, we set sail for the Marquesas Islands. This is our much-anticipated Pacific Crossing. It will likely be the longest passage of our journey, both in distance and in time. When we were first planning our trip, this passage was absolutely intimidating. However, now, as we make our final preparations for the crossing, we are filled with excitement and longing to see this great ocean and the islands that are to come. Although long, the Pacific Crossing is known to often provide some of the best sailing in the world. The old saying, “it’s the journey, not the destination”, has rung true for many who have sailed across. I plan to focus on that idea throughout. I am taken by the wonder and the expanse of this ocean. I am looking forward to seeing what the time at sea will do for all of us aboard. There are few, if any, experiences we can have in this world that will compare. We’re ready to go.
Our route takes us South across the equator and below the Galapagos Islands, where we plan to meet the Southern trade winds and begin our Westward journey across the biggest expanse of ocean in the world. The further West we sail, the more the winds should clock from South East to East. We will sail accordingly, and ideally maintain a broad reach (our most ideal point of sail for speed and comfort) for the majority of the journey. Although we will be running with the wind and often the current, there will likely be days of drifting in windless patches of ocean, but we hope to keep these days to a minimum. On a passage of this magnitude, we will have to keep our eye on the average, and try not to get too impatient when or if we are becalmed.
We are estimate our passage will take 33 days. We are anticipating using our engine often for the first portion of the journey as we sail out of the Golf of Panama and pass through the doldrums, just around the equator. Both areas are renowned for light to no wind. So far, on this circumnavigation, we have experienced several days of calm waters with no wind. We are familiar with our fuel consumption, which puts my mind at ease.
Panama, like most other ports we have departed from, hasn’t let us go without a bit of a fight. This time the major force tying us to land has been our propeller. After several years in the ocean, our old propeller finally bit the dust. The electrolysis and wear, have brought it to the point of no return. Luckily our third crewmember, Anna, was able to bring a new propeller from the states just in the “nick of time”. Here’s where it gets more interesting… We managed to make the hurtle of sourcing a new propeller quickly. If we were to order it from Panama, it would have taken at least three weeks (not three days). We ordered it form Florida, had it shipped to South Carolina, and then fly in the belly of the airliner to Panama. Secondly, we had to schedule a diver to install our new propeller. He didn’t show up yesterday when we had planned. Finally, this morning, when he came, we found our new propeller needed a bit taken off to make it fit in the tight aperture provided for installation. Now our beautiful new propeller is at the machine shop and should be ready for installation at noon. The upside is we have had just a bit more time to prepare the boat. We also had one last night of sleep aboard at the dock. I don’t mind the extra time. It’s funny, though, every port has a way of sucking you in. It seems if you don’t put up some sort of fight, you will never leave the harbor.
Please wish us luck. Follow us on our tracker when you have time. Look for posts as we sail along. Since the day we left Charleston Harbor, the interest, excitement and support of others, has been a large source of energy for us. We love sharing our experiences and love that we can keep ties with folks from home and all of the others we have already met along the way. We hope to keep these connections strong for the entirety of our journey and ideally beyond.
Enjoy the pictures below. They are not of beautiful shorelines, white sand beaches and sunsets, but of some of the interesting, fun and sometimes challenging parts of sailing around the world.
I leave you with this fun fact: Of all of the sailing we have done in the past three months, even as we sit in the Pacific ocean, Charleston Harbor is still the furthest West we have been. We’re looking forward to changing that today.
Thanks for reading,