Pacific Crossing Posts – March/April 2011

Recap: Pacific crossing photos & video..

Day 24: Landfall!! Anchored in Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva!

Day 23: LAND AHOY! LAND AHOY!! Sighted land after 22 days at sea

Day 22: 36 hours to landfall in the Marquesas!

Day 21: Caught our biggest fish yet.!

Day 20: Only 500 miles to go to the Marquesas!

Day 19: Hello south east trades!

Day 18: Swam across the Equator and three shellbacks are born!

Day 17: Almost at the Equator!

Day 16: Less than 1000 miles to the Marquesas!

Day 15: Warm showers in the Doldrums

Day 14: Sailing slow in the Doldrums

Day 13: Starting to cross the doldrums!

Day 12: Half way to the Marquesas!

Day 11: Converging on the convergence zone (the Doldrums)

Day 10: A gybe and a suntan!

Day 9: 1200 miles done!

Day 6: UFO sighting!

Day 5: Angry Birds in the pacific

Day 4: Caught two fish today!

Day 1: 1 down 20 to go..

… and we are off.. bye bye mexico, hello big blue!

Prepping to cross the pacific ocean

Pacific crossing photos & video..

Some stats for the pacific ocean crossing from La Cruz, Mexico to Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

Days to cross: 23 days
Distance sailed: 2,900 miles approx
Best 24 Hr mileage: 170nm
Worst 24 Hr mileage: 95 nm
Equator crossing longitude: 131W
Engine Hours: 65
Diesel used: 43 out of 60 gallons (used for transiting the ITCZ)
Water used: 65 gallons out of 125 carried
Energy: All energy provided by wind generator & solar panels
Fish Caught: 10 (bonitos and mahi mahi)
Breakages: No failures apart from a mainsheet block shackle and small leak in the galley fresh water pump.

Some photos and videos from the passage..

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Broad reaching in the north east trades.. awesome sailing!

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Cyrille in love with the Mahi mahi we just caught.. we were lucky catching 10 fish in total.. Mahi Mahi and Bonitos mainly..

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Glenda the fish serial killer getting into it..

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We lost a couple of our best team A lures, and had to resort to making lures from flying fish that landed on deck.. alas they did not deliver πŸ™

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Glenda enjoying the sunshine after 3 days of completely overcast conditions in the north pacific

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Beautiful sunset in the north pacific..

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We saw 4 ships in total in the middle of the ocean.. The AIS proximity alarm worked like a charm to warn us.

Sailing in light air with the asymetric as we approached the doldrums…

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Cyrille loving the light air sailing..

Dodging squalls..sailing in the doldrums feels like sailing in England πŸ˜‰

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A mega squall surrounds us in the Doldrums (we used radar to track the squalls) It was 5 miles wide and travelling at 20 knots, no way to avoid it but it was only packing 20 knot winds.. It seemed to have a water spout at the head and very heavy rain.. We were glad when we sailed out of in 45 minutes..

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No wind in the doldrums, we did some motoring…

All three of us pollywogs swam across the equator tethered to the boat with spinnaker sheets! We jumped into the pacific ocean at position 00*00N 131*01W.

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Celebrating with champagne after crossing the equator..

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Russ and Kaersten from S/V Liberty who put together an absolutely amazing equator crossing kit which included detailed instructions..

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.. and Royal Baby, Neptune and Davy Jones costumes, champagne, diapers, snacks, boat bottle kit etc.. and a framed custom made Equator crossing certificate!!

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Pollywog #1 Royal Baby Glenda

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Pollywog #2 French Fisherman Cyrille

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Pollywog #3 Polynesian Babe Chet

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King Neptune Chet and Davy Jones Cyrille about to start the trial of pollywog Royal Baby.. Trial proceedings can be found in this post.. Court of Neptune proceedings

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Glenda as Davy Jones in the trial of Pollywog Polynesian Babe Chet

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Pollywog Chet sucking oil out of the engine with a pipe as punishment for his heinous crimes.. (I overfilled the engine oil slighty, and had to remove some the hard way!)

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We each wrote a letter and dropped it off in a bottle at the equator.. let us know if you get it!

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Glenda enjoying a beautiful sunset in the south pacific..

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We saw a pod of some 30 dolphins all jumping out of water.. amazing sight..

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On my watch, with Cyrille and Glenda sleeping..We used the saloon settees as sea berths.. I installed lee cloths to keep us in our bunks..

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Starting to prep for landfall in the south pacific islands!

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We caught our biggest fish a couple of days before landfall!

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Our final dinner before landfall.. An amazing fish dish made by Cyrille!

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Rounding Nuku Hiva to make landfall.. Everyone was ecstatic!

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Making landfall at Taiohae Bay after 23 days at sea!!!

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Stops (with blue sail cover in the center of the photo) anchored in Taiohae Bay..

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Stops taking a well earned rest after sailing 2,900 miles non stop! I gave her a big slobbering kiss to thank her for looking after us.

Day 24: Landfall!! Anchored in Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva!

WE MADE IT!!!!!

Nuku Hiva, Marquesas (destination): 0.00000000 nautical miles
La Cruz, Mexico (origin): 2713 nautical miles

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The S/V Sudden Stops Necessary crew at anchor in Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas islands!! Some of the crew are sporting new looks!

We hove-to overnight in the lee of Ua Huka and this morning at 3am local time we set sail for Nuku Hiva. Neptune wasn't going to let us have it that easy and dished out two of the worst squalls we have seen so far as we made the 25 miles to Taiohae Bay. We dropped the hook at around 7am local time and celebrated with Pacifico beers and Snickers bars from the grab bag while playing "Easy" from Groove Armada.. "looking back it was easy, easy, easy.. it was easy.." What a way to start the day!

The island is amazing lush and dramatic, the landscape straight out of lord of rings.. The sun is coming out now.. Still hasn't sunk in that we are finally here.. Need to slap myself a few times.. and a few times more..

We are having showers to freshen up before we head to the Gendarmerie to do the official boat entry, customs and immigration paperwork… Looking forward to setting foot on land after 23 days.. Will I remember how to walk? πŸ˜‰

Posted by Internet. Hooked into some free wifi at anchor using our wifi booster.. lucky!!

Day 23: LAND AHOY! LAND AHOY!! Sighted land after 22 days at sea

We sighted Ua Huka island in the Marquesas at 00:23 Zulu!! It was an amazing sight to see land again after 22 days. I had read about this moment in so many sailing books, it was surreal to be in it, living it right now.. I had to planned to start scanning the horizon closely at 7pm as we got within 25 miles of Ua Huka. As I got up from a nap at 6:20pm, I had a look and lo and behold saw a faint silhouette of land. I screamed LAND AHOY!!!, which promptly brought Cyrille and Glenda up on deck. Cyrille spotted it immediately, it took Glenda a few minutes. We were estatic and had a toast of pacifico to celebrate the moment, a moment I am sure we will remember for the rest of our lives..

Nuku Hiva the island we are going to is 25 miles west from Ua Huka but we are going heave-to in the lee of Ua Huka until first light. We will then head for Taiohae bay in Nuku Hiva to make landfall.

Can’t wait!!!!

All is well and starting to count down the seconds to landfall!

[Post by HF radio email]

Day 22: 36 hours to landfall in the Marquesas!

Getting very close, Nuku Hiva is now only 180 nautical miles away!!

Nuku Hiva, Marquesas (destination): 180 nautical miles
La Cruz, Mexico (origin): 2527 nautical miles

Had another great day in terms of mileage, doing 165 miles in a 24 hour period! We had 14-17 knots of breeze sailing on a close reach doing 6.5 to 7 knots. I guess Stops wants to get to an anchorage quickly to take a rest after sailing 2900 miles!

This morning we had a pod of 30 small dolphins sail with us for an hour or so.. It was amazing to watch them zig zag at our bow. Eventually I think they got tired of our slow 7 knot pace, they must have going at 12-15 knots..

We have been working hard on the big bonito we caught yesterday. Cyrille cooked up fish tacos for lunch, and Glenda cooked up a coconut ginger fish dish for dinner that was a bit of an experiment but turned out great.. We still only half done with the fish, need to dream up some new dishes.. Any suggestions?

Fishing is on hold until we eat our big Bonito..

All is well and starting to count down the hours to landfall!

[Post by HF radio email]

Day 21: Caught our biggest fish yet.!

At dusk we caught a 20 lb bonito on one of our Team B lures, that has never delivered before.. when it does deliver I guess it delivers BIG! Looks like it’s fish for the next 3 days until we get to Nuku Hiva. Cyrille is filleting it as we speak..

We also had our best day yet in terms of mileage, doing nearly 170 miles in a 24 hour period! The trades were blowing at 17-18 knots all night, driving us at 7+ knots on a close reach even with 2 reefs in the main and 80% jib (my attempt to slow the boat for the night).

Cooked up a potato curry for dinner tonight, looks like it will be fish curry tomorrow night.

Fishy Fishy Fishy, our B team lures delivered BIG.

All is well and enjoying the south pacific breeze!

[Post by HF radio email]

Day 20: Only 500 miles to go to the Marquesas!

We are now in the developed trades, after making a lot of southing last night to get to 3 degrees south. Averaging 6-7 knots of speed with only 500 miles to go to Nuku Hiva!!! Looks like we will make landfall on the 15th.. or the 16th if we get there too late in the evening and need to stand off until the next morning. Only 4 days to go!!

I am really excited about getting to the beautiful islands and looking forward to many things..steak, ice cream, frozen margaritas, nice showers..ok too many to list.. Weirdly though, I am also hesitant for this passage to end. The ocean has been really beautiful and the sailing amazing.. We have really got into a daily routine that has gelled. I don’t know when I will make another long ocean crossing again, and that thought is making me relish every minute of these last few days.. I didn’t think I would feel this way at the end when I started the passage, I thought I would be gagging to get to land.. Maybe we should just keep going πŸ˜‰

Saw a ship, a rainbow and school of mini jumping dolphins (I think) today.. still trying to figure out what they are.. alas, can’t google the answer here..

No fishy πŸ™ Our B team lures are still not doing the trick..

All is well and enjoying the south pacific breeze!

[Post by HF radio email]

Day 19: Hello south east trades!

We are finally in the south east trades, at about 8 knots! It was amazing the way it filled in last night on my watch just as I contemplating using our dwindling supply of diesel (down to about 17 gallons now) to head south because both the latest NWS forecast and pacific surface analysis weatherfax showed it sitting just above us at the equator. At about 1am a rain squall came through and I decided to ride it as far as I could under sail before switching on the engine.. The squall went by in about 15 mins, and we still had wind.. I saw another squall close by and thought the wind was coming from it.. An hour later I started to get real excited.. we were in the south east trades finally!!! I started dancing in the cockpit! I stayed up way past my watch until 4am, enjoying the boat glide through the flat seas doing about 6-7 knots in 8-11 knots of breeze.. I woke up a lot more cheerful this morning..

Looks like we are still not out of the woods yet because the convergence zone is sitting on the equator and could drop below the equator like it did a couple of days ago. Today we have been going south to try and get more distance between us and it. The GRIB files also show developed trade winds at 3 degrees south, so getting a little southing early to get to this breeze before heading for Nuku Hiva.

Made 20 pancakes for lunch today and for dinner Glenda cooked up some chicken quesadilla’s with a spicy bean soup! Yum yum..

No fishy πŸ™ Our B team lures are not doing the trick..

All is well and enjoying the south pacific breeze!

[Post by HF radio email]

Day 18: Swam across the Equator and three shellbacks are born!

All three of us pollywogs swam across the equator tethered to the boat with spinnaker sheets! At 11am (17:00 zulu) we jumped into the pacific ocean at position 00*00N 131*01W. The water was amazing, blue blue blue.. Couldn’t see the bottom, probably because it was 5 miles deep!

After the crossing all three lousy stinky pollywogs were initiated as Shellbacks in a equator crossing ceremony.. Thanks to Russ and Kaersten from S/V Liberty who put together an absolutely amazing equator crossing kit for us that included Royal Baby, Neptune and Davy Jones costumes, champagne, snacks, boat bottle kit etc.. and a framed custom made Equator crossing certificate!! Russ and Kaersten we love you! You made our equator crossing so much more special and memorable!

The three pollywogs on S/V Sudden Stops Necessary were:
Royal baby Glenda
French fisherman Cyrille
Polynesian babe Chet

Each pollywog was called to the court of Neptune and told to answer for their heinous crimes..

Trial 1: Royal Baby Glenda
Holding court was Chet dressed as Neptune and Cyrille as Davy Jones who listed out the following heinous crimes:
– Demonstrating her seawomanship skills and courage, proving she is as good as the rest of the sexist crew
– Except she didn’t join in the crews stupid tequila drinking habit
– Not liking perfectly good mexican powdered mash potatoes that contains at least 10% real potato
– Making your crewmate lick the deck
– Bringing good fishing luck so that crew has to eat fresh fish all the time.
Pleaded: Guilty
Punishment: A shot of tequila

Trial 2: French Fisherman
Holding court was Chet dressed as Neptune and Glenda as Davy Jones who listed out the following heinous crimes:
– Making us contemplate eating all of Neptune’s children instead of eating our delicious canned food
– Making us stuff down powdered mash potatoes down our throats
– Throwing dirty dishwater on a higher ranked ship’s officer
– Being French on a British/American sailing vessel
– Being too cheery at all times when a bad mood is more appropriate
Pleaded: Guilty
Punishment: A shot of tequila

Trial 3: Polynesian babe Chet
Holding court was Glenda dressed as Neptune and Cyrille as Davy Jones who listed out the following heinous crimes:
– Continuously trimming the sails for the fastest passage
– Teaching your crew how to sail safely so that one day they may commit more crimes and realize their dream of sailing their own boat
– Giving the crew tequila shots to convince them to cross the pacific to paradise
– Waking up calm and ready for action even in the middle of the night with a squall coming
– Making the crew go up the mast twice a day to clean the british flag!
Pleaded: Guilty
Punishment: Sucking used oil out of the engine with a pipe (overfilled engine oil) and a shot of tequila

We finally give Neptune a shot of the best tequila in the ships stores. Hopefully he will give us wind. We are currently becalmed south of the equator…

All is well and enjoying the windless pacific as newly minted shellbacks!

[Post by HF radio email]

Day 17: Almost at the Equator!

We are only 70 miles from the equator, still in the Doldrums sailing and motoring in fickle winds. We have been using the rain squalls to get more wind to sail!

Last night and today the sky cleared up and we thought we were done with the convergence zone convection.. Alas, the last couple of NWS forecast put the convergence zone below the equator at 129W just next to us. I have been following the convergence zone data daily for almost a month and this is the first time it has gone below the equator. It moved from 5N in the space of 12 hours. Crazy stuff. Must mean Neptune is not happy with us, and we are just coming up to the equator crossing! We will have to be extra nice to him.. only the best liquor on the boat!

Alas, no fishy today, but a flying fish landed on my lap on my night watch! Alas, too small to eat but making a lure from it.

All is well and enjoying the windless pacific..

[Post by HF radio email]