Pacific Ocean

Anniversary special… one year since setting off!

Published on 01 december 2014 at 0h00

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Under the blazing sun, in a brilliant blue light, as if suspended above the turquoise waters of Bora Bora’s lagoon, our catamaran is tugging gently at the chain buried in the coral sand. The constant light breeze of the tradewinds seems inexhaustible. In the distance to the west, I can make out the jagged peaks of Maupiti. I won’t deny it: I’m happy. For sure, on a trip like ours, a happy disposition plays a big part…in being happy. A bit like real life, I suppose? But for long-term cruising, things become more abstract, and relativity less obvious. If you don’t watch out, one day you’ll wind up not being able to see the coconut trees any more, and all that goes with them…
Today is August 4th. One year to the day since we passed the two towers of the Vieux Port at La Rochelle on our way out. Bound for the offshore life! With a simple but ambitious plan: to sail around the world! One year already! A third of our voyage around the planet! Manuia! (Cheers in Polynesian)
I spent several hours on this special anniversary day, working out a few calculations, and some statistics. Not always much fun, but informative.

Chronicle around the world : one year since setting off

One year into the trip - Happy anniversary to the parents…

The sun rose over Bora Bora’s lagoon, and I rose with it. I have been living closer to nature since we set off. At the chart table, I hit the Display button on the GPS, to check the distance run since leaving La Rochelle: 14,229 nautical miles. At 6,076 feet (1,852 meters) per nautical mile, that equates to 16,374 statute miles (26,352 km) covered on the oceans. As the crow flies (for the romantics among you) and by the great circle route (for the sailors), this morning our boat is situated 9,807 statute miles (15,783 km) from our starting point. We’ve come a long way, but still not halfway round from our port of departure, whose longitude is, give or take, the same as that of the Greenwich Meridian. Our current longitude is 151°45’West. So we’ve got around 28°15’ to cover westwards until we cross the longitude of 180°West, which at the same time will become 180°East. Given that our itinerary is taking us to New Zealand, we’re going to be crossing the 180th meridian somewhere between Tonga and Fiji. So we’ll be able to say that we have reached France’s antipodes, and that we have gone halfway round the world in terms of longitude: in effect, from that moment on, every minute of longitude we make to the west will be getting us closer to our starting point, while for now, every nautical mile we cover is still taking us further away… A bit later on, but before we get to New Zealand, we’ll see something rather special: we will be crossing the International Date Line. By sailing like Magellan, (though a little more modestly of course) and always heading west, we’re going to wind up finding the east! Since we’ve been in the Society Islands, our time zone has been 10 hours behind that of Greenwich, and the ship’s clock at the chart table (I haven’t been wearing a watch ...

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