I can’t tell you how nice it is to finally have direction! There are still plenty of uncertainties ahead of us, but at least we have the rest of this year generally planned. J. Henry is scheduled to depart from Tahiti at the start of September to begin our route east. We will be sailing for about two months through the Tuamotus, Marquesas and Gambier archipelagos. Gambier will be our jumping off point for our second Pacific crossing in 2020. Who would have guessed we’d be going across the Pacific twice this year?
When we depart the Gambier in late October, we will head south for Pitcarin Island, 292 Nautical Miles (NM) southeast. We plan to anchor in Pitcarin, although we are not expecting to be allowed ashore. The island is still closed. We have heard Pitcarin even has cameras in its harbors to ensure there are no unwanted sailors sneaking on to land. That said, they provide safe harborage for sailors to rest.
From Pitcarin, we will sail for Rapa Nui (Easter Island), 1130 NM southeast. This island is closed as well. Permission to go ashore does not seem likely at this time. We hope to anchor, rest, and see as much as we can from the water. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that we will be allowed on shore. Luckily, many of the Moi can be seen from the harbor. I hear there’s even a bit of a surf break in one of the bays (the silver lining of a notoriously rolly anchorage).
From Rapa Nui, we begin our crossing towards South and Central America. The idea is that we can sail nearly due east from the island until we reach a longitude of about 100’ W. There, we can begin our search for the South East Trade Winds, which will allow for us to begin turning northeast with the wind on our beam. The further East we travel, the closer we will get to the Humbolt current, a strong surface current that runs up the west coast of South America. Between the Trade Winds and the Humbolt current, we are hoping to have a nice second half of our crossing. Depending on the conditions, we may or may not try to land in Ecuador. Chile is a highly unlikely landing for us; the country is still in lockdown and seems to be in turmoil as well. Peru is known to be an undesirable coast for anchoring and that country is closed as well, so Peru is not a likely stop either.
On this route, we can expect roughly 50 or 60 days at sea without stepping foot on land; departing from Gambier and landing in Panama. This doesn’t include the 2-week quarantine we will need to complete upon arrival in Panama. All said, it’ll definitely be an interesting passage. I’m looking forward to it.
Once we get to Panama, it is back through the canal and back into the Caribbean. We do not have a set course through the Caribbean yet, but from the Caribbean, I am committed to crossing the Atlantic Ocean in May of 2021. The tracker is about to be updated, so please stay tuned to our location and wish us luck!
Thanks for following,
Papeete – Gambier: 875 NM
Gambier – Pitcarin: 292 NM
Pitcarin – Rapa Nui: 1130 NM
Rapa Nui – Chilean Coast: 2031 NM
Rapa Nui – Panama route: Estimated 5000 NM
Total Passage time (Tahiti to Panama): 4 months
Total Passage time at sea (Gambier to Panama): 50 days
Total Passage distance at sea (Gambier to Panama): 5000 NM
Total Passage distance last crossing (Panama – Marquesas): 4000NM
Total Passage time last crossing – 31 days, 21 days after Galapagos