It has been 10 days since we arrived in Nuku Hiva, after an overall very good crossing of the Pacific Ocean. While we are working on the video to share the footage we took, we thought it might be interesting to go over this trip by looking at some key numbers.
2864 – total distance travelled
2864 nautical miles corresponds to 5,304 km or 3,295 miles, roughly the same distance between Vancouver BC and Miami, or between Paris and Dubai.
24 – days at sea
We left Tuesday April 16th at 8am and arrived Friday May 10th in the morning. We stopped 2 days and a half in San Benedicto, a volcanic island off of Mexico.
5.5 – average speed
In knots. Some days, we would go very slowly, waiting for the wind. Some days, we would reef to reduce our speed in big winds. Our Garmin chartplotter would keep track of this number, so each time our speed was higher than our average we would be happy. Top speed has been clocked at 11.3 knots.
956 – liters of water
We left with our water tanks full and arrived full of water as well. Our water maker has worked well, for over an hour per day to cover our daily consumption. Apart from drinking and cooking, we used water for showers and laundry.
5 – fish caught
We felt good with our fishing. We caught a “small” sailfish on the first day and stopped fishing until we consumed it all. We caught a few dorado. And a tuna just after crossing the equator. It was a nice addition to our meals and we appreciated the diversity. We lost 3 lures on the last days, probably in the mouth of a fish with sharp teeth. We didn’t fish since then but we will use lures with steel leaders.
11 – kilos of food spoiled by diesel
A few days after we left, we discovered diesel in our bilge. Our mysterious tank small slowly leaking near our main food storage area and contaminated food although wrapped in ziplock bags. The main victims were sugar (4 kg), rice (5 kg), oatmeal (2 kg), beans (2 kg). Good thing we packed lots of food on the boat, but it was still devastating news that early in our crossing. We emptied the tank and cleaned the bilges but also waste some diesel in the operation.
110 – engine time
We used the engine on the first days as the winds were shy at first. We used it also during the doldrums and on special occasions. We had 420 liters of diesel, and we consumed 250 of them, give of take. The temporary jerrycans near the mast was a good setup and emptying them in the main tank was easy with our jiggler, this tube with an anti-return valve. No oil problem. We had a put a bit more coolant in the cooling system.
2 – fresh onions at arrival
Out of the fresh produce we got from Mexico, we consumed most of them in the first 10 days. Disappointingly, the carrots and bananas got ripe very fast. Mangoes on the other hand lasted a long time in a locker. We also had 5 eggs left (out of 90) and we used them for breakfast, to cakes, to macarons and more. We had a plastic bin to store them and they hold very well. We wished we had more variety in canned vegetables but we couldn’t find much in Mexico. We heard of a boat that provisioned in Arizona, while the boast was moored in the North of the Sea of Cortes… that sound like the right way to do it. It is very surprising that we could last that long with the food we had on board and that we still had lots after the crossing. And we could have stored more on board! We wished we also had more snacks and treats that were ready to eat. We planned on having the ingredients for baking different things as we go, but the sea state affects the energy level and the motivation to cook. Also the temperature below deck, with little ventilation, didn’t call for more oven time.
4 – hours of night shift per adult
3 adults on board has worked well for us, especially at night. We decided on 4-hr shifts starting around 8pm. Nathalie wild have the first one; then Yves would take the harder one at midnight and Mike started at 4am. In the first days, we weren’t confident of the level of charge of the batteries and how low could drain them during the night so we were trying to hold the helm as much as possible but we figured out the power figures were working well for us. By using the autopilot and the instruments and the fridge all night, we would consume about 40 Amp.h which is well below the 20% we can safely use of the 400 amp.h total capacity of our lead acid batteries. With the autopilot doing all the heavy work, we would simply have to monitor at some interval for abnormal activities or lights or noises and the person on shift get to do what he or she wants to in between.
If we had crossed the pacific in a team of two adults and no kids, the fatigue would have probably been bigger and the boredom would have increased mostly due to the lower opportunities for personal interactions. We would have probably been pushing the boat more as comfort of the crew would not have been a factor.
No regrets in our crew size and selection.
1 – swim in the open ocean
We had good wind most of the day and therefore slowing down the boat, or even stopping it for a few moments, costs a direct hit on our average speed. Of course we are not in a race and there is no other boats to overtake us, but the long crossing make would feel the pressure of keeping the boat going to minimize the crossing time. In hindsight, a hour of rest in 24 days would not make a real dent but we still struggled a bit to get out and swim. We picked a day where we were motoring so that it is easy to stop the boat and easy to back her back to speed. No sails to handle. We shut off the engine, turned off the autopilot and lower the swim ladder. Standing on the step and contemplating 2 to 3 thousand meters of depth, we see the blue of the ocean differently. It is deep, endless and hypnotic. It still took us a few minutes to decide to make this small step and dive in the ocean. A thought of pelagic sharks stayed in the back of the mind but the openness above, around and below the boat made us feel isolated and vulnerable. Leaving Ubi for a quick dip felt like we were even more naked and helpless against the magnitude of the elements. Curiously enough we had our snorkeling masks on, even though there was nothing to be seen all around. The hull seemed in good shape and only a few weird barnacles found a way to attach below the swimstep above the antifouling line. A few minutes in the water and we all got back to safety. Engine on, autopilot on, back on course. Next swim will be in Nuku Hiva.