Does it count as Pacific crossing when you end up in the most remote islands in the world? Well, New Zealand is closer now, but it is just half way through anyway.
Initial plan was to head to Marquesas from Galápagos, but it became possible to clear in into French Polynesia in Rikitea, Gambier as well as Pitcairn islands have opened up since 1st of April, the idea just could not leave my mind, though it might be more tricky for single-hander to land. Also it is around 200nm shorter than to Marquesas and the winds are more favorable to sail from Gambier than vice versa.
Day by day log (was posting it on https://alka.link/position)
Day 1. 156nm sailed.
6.5kt avg. Autopilot still disconnects for unknown reasons!!!
Day 2. 155nm sailed.
Wind just died, waiting for another set of clouds to restart it. Booby is keeping me company for the last day.
Day 3. 106nm sailed.
417nm in 3 days.
Finally clear sky and sunny day after a month of overcasts. And no wind of course. And swell leftovers from different directions. Had to drift at 2 knots for awhile and threw away all the strategies I was creating in the first 2 days :) But it is ok now, slept a lot and will have chicken/pumpkin/coconut milk/thai curry for the next 2 days. Still can see some small birds messing around.
Day 4. 136 nm sailed.
Not a lot of wind with rolly side swell leftovers. Showers and rainbows are catching up in the evening.
Day 5. 124nm sailed.
No full main anymore as single line 1st reef block got jammed inside the boom. All other reefs are fine.
Have all the tools to fix it and make it better, but will have to wait until safe and flat conditions.
Autopilot just can not handle extra 3 knots of wind with random high swell.
Which also means less speed and less power provided by hydro-generator.
Still some birds flying around.
Day 6. 129nm sailed.
Less than 2000nm left.
After bright cloudless night and falling objects and burning in the sky far away, the day brings big dark clouds with some rain. It just gives a boost for 30 minutes, then leaves disturbed seas with shifted wind direction or no wind at all for hours. Started the engine as saw a huge pod of big dolphins hunting. Other form of life except birds and flying fish.
Please give some wind soon...
Day 7. 112nm sailed.
First night did not bother set alarms anymore. Would wake up occasionally anyway. And no one is here :) Also feels that turning on navigation lights is useless.
DST810 is now showing water temperature as +54.5C now (the unit is not hot). And I think it started to gradually increase it in Costa Rica. Luckily P319 is still showing the correct one (hopefully).
Plenty of birds around. Maybe it is time to start fishing...
Finally found bad connection on one of solar panels!!! Blamed everything on shadow of wind generator as 160W was giving much. Most likely it was not working properly since Atlantic Panama. Back to business!!!
Day 8. 143nm sailed.
Welcome to a week of stronger winds and high seas. Up to 4m long swell from S and about building up 2m from ESE.
It is so nice to surf down the waves sometimes, but not for the autopilot.
Spotted and sprayed out pretty huge cockroach.
Guide how to catch (or NOT) a fish in the middle of nowhere -
Decide that you want to do some fishing. Put the lines in. Wait for the evening.
Catch about 2kg mahi-mahi, lose it while it starts jumping in the cockpit, unhooks itself and gets back into the water.
Put the lines back. Wait another 20 minutes.
Catch about 5kg albacore tuna and loose it because of torn mouth while pulling it out without a hook.
Decide that your freezer is too full and you need to eat that first.
Learn from mistakes and postpone fishing until next days.
Navico (Simrad, B&G, Lawrance) is like Helly Hansen, available for everyone, but low quality. And support.
It just can not handle more than one wave that pushes the boat sideways.
Thinking of how put that company down for all the misery that it caused me :D
And maybe building my own autopilot computer. But I am sure there is something already properly built.
Day 9. 146nm sailed.
Sailing over water mountains...
Some flying fish are like an army skydivers with wing suits. Some passes under bimini near my head.
Last avocado has been eaten.
First boat since Galapagos! - tanker MTM Amazon. And they called on VHF and asked if everything is fine. So nice of them :)
Day 10. 148nm sailed.
Full moon party with loud music, coffee and M&Ms tonight! If it will not be dark clouds blowing 30 knots and waves crawling into the cockpit again.
Decided to vacuum seal some broccoli before leaving, but bags are bloated now, has it created its own air inside? Smells weird, is it still edible?.
Day 11. 138nm sailed.
Cloud, increased wind, rain, calm, repeat. For 9 hours. Max wind 30 knots again.
But well rested, with good music, warm drink and dry clothes, easy!
Day 12. 127nm sailed.
Had to slow down at night as autopilot was failing to steer and I needed some proper sleep.
But in the morning the wind started to drop anyway. Would not mind some sashimi tonight...
Day 13. 128nm sailed.
Iridium, so unstable and annoying.
Put back the old hydraulic drive and autopilot is steering now like a charm! Still think have enough hydraulic fluid to reach my destinations.
Proper sleep is back, and probably more speed...
Day 14. 137nm sailed.
Happy Birthday to me! Had a slice of carrot cake from Galapagos, a little bit dry after 2 weeks but still tasty!
Day 15. 132nm sailed.
Another boat on AIS! About 30nm behind me, no visual though.
More zigzagging under the clouds over the night. Switched to wing on wing and running downwind now.
Some birds second evening in the row flying around the boat and chirping. Still seeing birds every day though.
Day 16. 104nm sailed.
Can juvenile boobie be flying around 2000nm away from Galapagos?
Also a mahi-mahi just going around the boat for hours now and hunting fish while I am crawling at 3 knot with sails flapping and lures doing nothing. All my fishing knowledge I had is crushed to nothing :) Changing to deep divers as well, but probably visibility is too good and I am moving too slow to arouse animal instincts.
Though going downwind on 3-4 meter swell with 12+ second period is unbelievable, so peaceful, until cloud passes and wind dies again.
Day 17. 113nm sailed.
Wind is back. For now. Slipping in between rain clouds. So far.
Day 18. 149nm sailed.
Who wants fish? Mahi-mahi onboard! 13kg! Biggest so far!
Day 19. 143nm sailed.
A whale!!! About 30m away from Alka. On collision course of-course. Nearly shat my pants :D But probably just a curious one :)
By white spots and shape of the fin I would guess it was a Brydes whale, but I might be wrong.
Day 20. 129nm sailed.
Back to - wait for a set of clouds to get pushed and grind teeth because of flapping sails after.
Now I understand why landing might be hard as even a short squall can build high seas. Nothing is guaranteed.
20 days at sea alone. Extra 2 should not make a huge difference now.
Passing by Henderson island but don't feel like ready to step on land yet! :)
Day 21. 79nm sailed.
Slowest day on windless and cloudless night. Beautiful sky though and finally saw some land. Heading forward.
Day 21 23:50. 89nm sailed.
2823nm in 528 hours. 5.34kt on average.
Saw birds and flying fish every day. Masked booby lives in Galápagos and Pitcairn island, no surprise I saw it around.
Definitely not a first Lithuanian stepping on Pitcairn island but possibly first single-hander Lithuanian stepping on Pitcairn :)
Survey questions made Pacific Puddle Jump:
- How did your passage-making experience differ from your expectations before the trip? Were there any surprises?
Was not expecting peaceful side swell so impactful on autopilot. But I was pretty sure I can do it alone.
- They say a long crossing is often a balance of highs and lows. What were some of the high points, or low points, of your crossing?
The weather was a bit of rollercoaster.
Highs - Nearly every morning with fresh coffee listening to music when the sun is up. Big mahi-mahi. Whales so close to the boat.
Lows - Weak B&G/Simrad hydraulic ram and autopilot steering as and idiot. (after 2 weeks of misery put back old hydraulic ram and situation got 10 times better).
- Can you remember the feeling you had when you first made landfall?
Yes! Wow! I've done it! But could continue for another month! Actually I passed by Henderson island by half a mile and continued to Pitcairn.
- What advice would you give to future Puddle Jumpers?
After 7 years of experience with Navico (B&G/Simrad) - don't buy anything related to it.
- Departed from where? On what date? Santa Cruz, Galápagos. 04/06/2022
- Made landfall where? On what date? Pitcairn island. 26/04/2022
- How many days was your crossing? 10 minutes short of 22 days.
- How many miles logged? 2823nm.
- At what longitude did you cross the equator? Before Galápagos. 088.5
- How many engine hours did you log (for propulsion)? 2.2 including around anchorages, quite proud of it.
- Best 24-hour mileage? 156nm.
- Worst 24-hour mileage? 79nm.
- Highest sustained wind speed you experienced? Gust? 31 kts.
36 kts from Pitcairn to Gambier. This passage was harder than Galápagos to Pitcairn as even old hydraulic ram was not holding even while running downwind at 25+ kts and first time experienced some waves getting into cockpit over transom.
- Number of fish caught? 13kg mahi-mahi (lost about 3kg mahi-mahi and 5kg tuna while pulling out by own laziness).
- Please list gear breakage and/or breakdowns.
- Weak autopilot x 10 times.
- Single line 1st main sail reefing block snapped and got stuck inside the boom.
- Lost some tell-tails.
- Small tears on main sail when it would be caught with reefing lines (long lasting issue).
- Waterproof usb rechargeable head torch got water and stopped working.
- From Pitcairn to Gambier
- Horseshoe was washed out by a huge wave with holder being snapped.
- USB charger at engine panel got some water and started to smoke and melt and caused some panic for a bit (fuse was not triggered).
- One side of main sheet stopper got crushed.
- One of cockpit speakers stopped working (might be earlier on trip), this one is a hurtful one.