The Great Crossing

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It’s 7.30 am. The orange sun redraws the silhouette of Viveros, one of the 300 Las Perlas islands. Today, March 11th 2016, is preparing to cross the bluest, most beautiful and peaceful of seas… it can only be the Pacific ocean. The weather forecast suggests an east-south east wind of around 15 knots. There’s a short but adequate window which should allow us to reach the Galapagos from where we should start to benefit from the south east trade winds.

We haul up the anchor, all excited about the unique adventure which we are about to experience. The spinnaker is ready to be deployed. The sea is like a mill pond. We motor out of our anchorage carefully, as not all the sandbanks are marked.
Once in open water, the spi tries to show us what it can do under the pleasant Panamanian morning sun, but it mustn’t have woken up properly yet! We’re currently doing 1.5 knots. At this speed we’ll arrive in the Marquesas in 120 days… Let’s hope things improve!

The water is remarkably still. It is green and full of particles, plankton and jellyfish. The eagle rays seem to appreciate the living waters here, as we cross whole shoals of them, flexing their wings.

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The sea lions bid us farewell as we leave the Galapagos.

The wind is playing games with us. After going past San José, the last of the Las Perlas islands, we sense that there might be a little wind just behind us. It appears to follow us without ever catching up, which is very annoying! This lasts for an hour until we leave Panama behind, and where hopefully the wind will stay with us.

12th March. We are sailing at 8 knots. The wind has picked up, maybe a bit too much for our spinnaker, so that goes back in its sock, and we goosewing with our two genoas. There is a very long swell. There’s no risk of sea sickness with these wonderful waves which push us along, even surfing on them from time to time.
This is the Pacific, so let’s get fishing. We already knew that this ocean is home to the biggest and most powerful fish. Before setting off, I took time out to prepare my fishing rod and to sharpen the hooks on my best lures. Unsurprisingly, the rod soon starts to bend under the weight of a yellowfin tuna, and another one follows within a quarter of an hour.

Young talented photographer sailing

Great pods of common dolphins accompanied us out at sea

The hours pass, but we don’t seem to notice the passage of time. Who could have imagined that we’d get bored? Yet this is only the start of our long journey, which is leading us inexorably towards the aromas of gardenias and the resounding music of the Tamure.
We skim past the island of Malpelo, which reminds us of Saint Helena: a big rock stuck out in the middle of the ocean. With the amount of sea life that is here, we encounter a marlin, or rather its bill, which severely damages the resin head of one of the lures.
We cannot help just watching the sea pass by or remark upon the shapes of clouds, study how the wind changes direction, and ...

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