I’m getting ready to go in a couple of days. I have already checked out of Panamá so technically I guess I’m an illegal alien here in the anchorage. But I have no more need to go ashore. I’ll spend the next couple of days cleaning Saoirse’s bottom from shells and growth that has accumulated below the waterline during my three rather static months in Panamá. All while looking out for crocodiles. I haven’t actually seen any yet but I’m told that they are here. It has to be done though. My next crossing is all the way to Marquesas in French Polynesia. A fifth of the way around the equator. And, indeed, across the equator. Based on the 6.2 knot average that we had across the Atlantic, I hope to get there in a month. If I lose a knot due to growth under the boat, I would have to add almost six days to the crossing so I think I’ll spend a few hours under Saoirse. Even if there are crocodiles here. I don’t think I look that tasty to them.
Coincidentally, 6.2 knots is also my average cruising speed by engine. I’m bringing diesel that should allow me to maintain that speed for up to six days. The problem though is that parts of the Pacific offer very light winds this time of year. Particularly around the equator. I may have to conserve diesel. Either by going slower or by using my gennaker more than I usually do on my own. The gennaker is a light-wind sail that can easily get overpowered in a gust. It is also quite a lot to handle for a solo sailor. Particularly if a squall sneaks up on you at night and you have to bring it down quickly.
So I’m not expecting a challenging sail in terms of wind and waves. But I’m not getting complacent. The sheer size of the Pacific is daunting enough. It makes up a third of the planet and is larger than its combined land mass. French Polynesia alone, with its five island groups, is apparently as large as Europe. And it is 4,000 Nm miles to get there. As the crow flies. If they can fly that far. I’m expecting a 4,500 Nm crossing so it is quite unlikely that any rescue services would be around the corner if you end up in trouble. But we are a number of boats that will use this weather window and leave at the same time. We are not going to be within eyesight or radio distance for more than a day or two as it only takes a small difference in speed or heading to lose that contact. But we all track each other and can communicate via satellites. In fact, there was a boat that left here a month ago, SV Raindancer, that hit a whale and sank a week away from Marquesas. They were picked out by fellow cruisers less than a day after the Mayday call went out. I’m not mentioning this rare incident to scare anyone that may be concerned for my wellbeing. I’m merely trying to let you know that I will not be entirely alone out there. Even if it may feel that way at times.
Finally, I would like to encourage anyone that feel like it to send me a message every now and then. It’s always nice to have some connection with the ‘normal’ world when circumstances are far from normal. In return, I promise to post regular updates on my GPS tracker. As usual though, I want to remind any reader that I am relying on some fancy electronics to be able to stay in contact. In an environment that can be particularly harsh on fancy electronics. So please do not start to worry if I go AWOL on the way. That does not necessarily mean that I am in any sort of trouble.
You can send regular SMS messages to me. That appears to work better for people responding to my messages rather than to initiate the conversation. It possibly also comes at the cost of sending an international text message. There is an alternative to this that is free of charge and works really well. To use the Iridium messaging service using your email address. The only two things to keep in mind is that the messages can’t be too long and that your email programme may route my responses to junk mail. That may very well be where they belong but it would be a shame if you actually wanted to read it. So please keep an eye on that.
The link to the messaging service is:
My satellite phone number is 881651403156.
And the link to my GPS tracker is:
8 thoughts on “72. The Big Blue”
Hi, Tomas! A fantastic post!!! Wow!!! Absolutely thrilled for you!!! News to share on my end, here, but will email you before you depart. I hope you might have a lookout helper whilst you scrub Saoirse’s bottom! More soon!
Thanks a lot Chelle. I’m not that worried about the crocodiles. There are locals on SUPs in the anchorage so I think I’ll be alright. Best. Tomas
So nice to get to stay connected by your updates! I’ll be thinking of you this next month as you begin your voyage on the Pacific. May the whales stay clear of your vessel and may the passage be smooth and all you dream it to be;). We miss you. Just arrived to Luperon after a few days in Samana. We were buddy boating with our friends on SV momentum but they stayed a bit longer in Samana. We have two crew members who joined us for the next 10 days while we cruise to the Bahamas. We head out on Tuesday and hope to be in Georgetown soon! Blessings on your voyage and look forward to more updates soon! Xoxox -Chazlynn and Imagina crew
Thanks Chazlynn. I miss you guys too. I’m sure you will enjoy the Bahamas. I had a long call with Happy Pancake the other day and they are in the Abacos now. If you look out for each other you can probably meet up when they are on their way south again. All the best. Tomas
Hi Tomas, always love to read your posts; they make me envious! God speed as you head into the large Pacific Ocean. Looking forward to hearing the news from all those exotic islands in the middle of that huge sea. Your appear to be well prepared and it’s great that you will have company with other boats nearby. Heading to pontoon B on Wednesday to antifoul Island Dreamer. Not as exciting as you but there you have it. Safe passage
Thanks Fergal. I’ll continue to keep you posted. Can’t wait to get going really. I think it will be Tuesday. But we’ll see. I keep using my provisions here on anchor. I’m sure you get to have some fun on Pontoon B and in all the music bars around there. I will. I doubt be back there one day. Best. Tomas
Great post, Tomas! I am so excited about this HUGE next step in your circumnavigation. I can’t wait to see your en route posts and hear all the gory details about a month of solitude. Safe sailing, my friend.
Thank you so much Carine. I promise to keep you updated along the way. And I never leave any gory details out! I hope land life is not too hard. Not sure how I’d deal with that after two years as a live-aboard. Take care of yourself and your mother. Best. Tomas