|Photo of the Earth from Google Maps. Galapagos - Tuamotu route.|
The trip took me 27 days and I arrived at the little atoll of Taiaro in good spirits, possibly a bit tired but very happy. The trip was dramatic in several ways.
|Ocean photo, quite calm here, creds Rodion Kutsaev|
I discovered it, unfortunately only after making about 1000 nautical miles while steering manually. I had asked the crew to check it and he said it was checked, but when I finally took the time to doublecheck, after over a week’s time, I found the fault. Raymarine was not so highly loved on this boat. Both cap and crew were very tired.
But that's something you have to stand if you want to make long passages. You should be able to cope if things go wrong. You should be able to fix them. And you should be able to have patience. Withstand the hardships and continue towards the target. I just wish i would have double-checked it earlier. Nothing should be left to chance.
|Nothing should be left to chance - definitely not water or fuel.|
Apart from that, it has been a nice trip. Waves were up to 5 meters because of a violent storm in the roaring forties, but winds did not exceed 25 knots, except for some squalls that were to be excepted as usual in trade winds. The cooking gas was finishing, so the food quality had to suffer as I needed to save it. Food is very important on long trips, but there was no possibility for gourmet courses. Very little cooking gas and no fridge/freezer means very basic food. You get tired of canned lasagna pretty quickly. There still was a lot of pasta and cold salads, also fruits from Galapagos and some freshly caught fish. And thanks to the economical use, the gas did not finish until I had a chance to get some new!
|Beautiful photo of a wave. Creds Tim Marshall|
You even get used to the beautiful bright stars, the bioluminescence in the ocean waters as bright as the stars, following the boat everywhere, even glittering bright when you flush the toilet, and when the dolphins come it explodes like fireworks. You get used to the warm breeze, boat rocking as you sit in the cockpit and gaze upwards, this right now being the most tranquil place on Earth, your safe home. You also get used to be gazing Death in the eyes every time something happens, like the bearings in the propeller axe wearing out and making a screeching sound all the time, warning you that at any time and place they might give in and the boat will fill up with water... and there is nothing you can do about it. You just sail on. All of this becomes normal daily life.
I remember being on watch while passing half way. It did not feel in any special way. This was life now, and it would just continue as long as it was needed. I tried to contemplate about the amount of kilometers of water that were under me. That did not feel dramatic at all – I was one with the elements. I tried to think about that I’m now as far away from the land as I was going to be, a rough two weeks’ sailing West or East (and even more South or North). But it was all good; now I was at least getting closer to land for every minute that went. It’s incredible how quickly you get used to even the strangest conditions; the human mind is a miracle.
|Photo of the ocean during golden hour. Creds Jeremy Bishop|
The first stop was to be the atoll of Apataki. But I saw the tiny atoll of Taiaro on the map, checked the course and the approach in my cruising guide, and couldn’t help making the first landing after the crossing at that special spot. It was September 19th, 2011. Read about it here!