Equator Express | Hawaii – Tahiti
May 9 – May 30 | $4500
This trip is a blast – we’ll leave from Oahu for a few days of power reaching in the trades before negotiating the ITCZ, also known as the Doldrums! Squalls and unsettled weather abound, but the rewards for careful boat handling are beautiful sunsets, rainbows, and the satisfaction of sailing fast in tough conditions.
If you’ve always dreamed of sailing the south pacific but haven’t had the means or the skills to do it, this is the trip for you. You’ll learn about the weather of the ITCZ and how to cross it, the watch keeping and boat handling skills you’ll need to safely cross 2000 miles of ocean, and navigate through reef passes, near high volcanic islands, and across the open ocean.
Halfway to Tahiti we’ll cross the equator, and King Neptune and his court will board Sea Dragon to turn her crew from pollywogs into hardened shellbacks. This secretive ceremony will mark your inclusion into an exclusive club of those who have crossed the equator under sail.
If you’re interested in celestial navigation, this voyage is a great opportunity to hone your skills. The trade wind skies of the tropics and sub tropics make for great sun, moon, planet, and star sights, and crossing the equator throws in an extra twist that most people only experience in textbooks.
Depending on how the weather treats us and how travel restrictions play out, there may be the opportunity for a bit of island exploration as well. Along our route lie the Line Islands of Kiribati – Kiritimati, Tabuaeran, and Teraina. Kiribati is currently closed due to COVID-19, but if they re-open their borders we’ll stop in for a visit. Dropping anchor off the Copra pier in Kiritimati with only the sound of the trades in the palms on shore and the manta rays flapping their wings as they circle the boat is a truly magical experience.
If Kiribati stays closed, we hope to have enough time to explore French Polynesia a bit. Depending on travel restrictions, we may be able to hop across to Moorea after we arrive in Papeete, one of the most beautiful islands on the planet. Or, we may choose to merely explore Tahiti and all it has to offer.
This trip is an RYA Yachtmaster Ocean and IYT MOY Unlimited qualifying voyage – contact us to discuss!
- Cost: $4500
- Date: May 9 – May 30, 2021
- Start: Ko Olina Marina, Hawaii
- End: Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
- Length: 21 days, 20 nights
- Focus: Offshore Passagemaking | Equator Crossing | Sail Training
Due to the remote nature of this trip, we are aiming for a higher standard of risk reduction than what airlines and others are requiring. While we can’t guarantee that our protocol will 100% prevent a COVID infection onboard, we are hopeful that with these constraints, it will seriously reduce the risk of the possibility of a serious COVID infection part way to Hawaii, far from advanced medical care.
The State of Hawaii has its own rules for entry that you will also need to comply with in order to fly to Hawaii.
April 25 (14 days before trip):Please begin to take maximum precautions to minimize your risk of infection with COVID-19 by following CDC guidelines. Please review CDC guidelines here, and minimize or eliminate nonessential activities which may expose you to COVID.
May 5: You must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 96 hours of boarding the vessel – this means you must take the test no earlier than May 5 at 1500.
May 9: Arrive at boat. We will provide you with a COVID symptoms questionnaire to complete before boarding. We will take your temperature, review your questionnaire, and administer a rapid antigen test to you on the dock before boarding. With proof of a negative PCR result, a negative COVID screen from the questionnaire and temperature check, and a negative rapid test on the dock, you will be able to board Sea Dragon. Once everyone is on board, we will fall into the normal routine for trip operations. We’ll become a “bubble” with no masks required on board. You’ll choose your bunk, we’ll have a group dinner on board and go through safety briefings for departure to Tahiti. In the event that you test positive on either the PCR test or your pre-boarding rapid test, you will not be allowed aboard the vessel, and we will be happy to transfer your payment to a trip of your choosing at a later date.
Travel Update: As of April 7, Both Kiribati and French Polynesia are closed. The Government of French Polynesia announced on the 7th that they intend to re-open May 1, and will announce the protocols for entry in about a week. It seems likely that a COVID test will be required upon arrival in Tahiti, but there will not be quarantine on arrival. We will not leave Hawaii if we cannot enter Tahiti – in this case the trip will be cancelled and your money will be fully refunded. We strongly recommend booking refundable airplane tickets.
The $500 deposit is nonrefundable, but will be refundable in the event that we need to cancel the trip. Please also review our crew contract. Due to the uncertainty around around travel restrictions, the full balance for this trip will be due May 2.
“This was one of the best vacations I have ever had. I learned a lot about plastics, coral, and the environment from skipper, first mate, and knowledgeable crew … Eric and Shanley were professional and super fun! The boat was perfectly set up and maintained for our trip. I look forward to more adventures with Eric and Shanley.”
Day 1: Arrival On Board Sea Dragon
You’ll join us at Ko Olina Marina in Oahu between 1500 and 1700 to move on board. You’ll have the opportunity to find your bunk and get settled in. We’ll all gather together for our first dinner on board. Afterwards your professional crew will take you through general life on board and safety procedures. You’ll be fitted for your lifejacket, and if you didn’t bring any with you, foul weather gear. We’ll have a visit from the Palmyra Station Fish and Wildlife representative on Oahu to discuss the rules and conditions of our visit, as well as to give us a quick orientation to the island we’ll be visiting. You’ll have the rest of the evening free to do what you please, whether reading a book or taking a walk along the shore to give your legs a nice stretch before going to sea.
Day 2: Departure from Green to Big Blue
After breakfast, we’ll drop lines and head out to sea. As we set our sails and point south, the backdrop of green mountainsides will slowly fade and give way to a 360-degree endless horizon. We’ll settle into our watch schedule and routine for our 1000NM sail.
Day 3 – 7: Underway Offshore
We’ll have some nice fast sailing on our way south. Fingers crossed we’ll be visited by dolphins, whales and endless sea birds. The warm tropical sailing will be quite the treat! We’ll cross the ITCZ, the dreaded doldrums of yore, where calms and squalls will put our skills to the test. Then, we’ll break out into the SE trade winds north of the line. If Kiribati has re-opened, we may stop in for a visit to this largest atoll in the world!
Day 8: Equator Crossing
King Neptune and his court will board the vessel to turn any newbies to his realm into hardened shellbacks. After this traditional ceremony, we’ll continue south into the Southern Hemisphere.
Day9-14 Underway Offshore
We’ll continue making headway on a close reach or close haul towards Tahiti, capitol of French Polynesia. The days will get cooler as we get away from the equator, receding towards a pleasant warmth.
Day 15: Tentative Arrival in Tahiti
We’ll sight the tall mountains of Tahiti and More over the horizon and enter through the reef pass into the lagoon at Papeete. We’ll clear through customs and immigration, and spend the night in this Francophone slice of paradise.
Day 16-20: Exploring French Polynesia
We’ll spend the last few days after we arrive exploring Tahiti and Moorea by sea. Anna and Maggie can’t wait to get back here – it’s spectacular.
Day 21: Departure from Sea Dragon
We’ll return to Papeete in time for you to disembark Sea Dragon by 1200. You can move on to your next adventure, a salty shellback.
– 13 nights accommodation on Sea Dragon
– All meals (vegetarian), snacks, and drinks on board
– Sailing Instruction
– Safety equipment and foul weather gear
- Masks, fins, snorkels
- Use of inflatable paddle boards
Contribution does not include:
– Transportation to and from Hawaii and Kiritimati
– Transportation to and from the boat
– Additional nights spent ashore
– Personal expenses while in port
You will join the boat in Ko Olina between 1500-1700 on the first day. You will depart the boat in Kiritimati at 1200 on the last day. Kiritimati is on the same time zone as Hawaii, but 1 day ahead, so you will be departing the vessel on May 10 Hawaii time, but May 11 local time. You will spend the night of May 11/10 (local/Hawaii) ashore in Kiritimati at a hotel before flying out the next morning. We can help connect you with Timei at the Lagoon View Motel if you would like to stay there – we highly recommend it.
Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is about a 30 minute drive from Ko Olina. Fiji Airways has one flight a week (FJ822) from Kiritimati (CXI) to Honolulu (HNL) – it departs Kiritimati the morning of May 12 (local), May 11 (Hawaii).
All crew members will require a passport and visas from their home country that will allow them to travel to/ from Kiribati and the USA. Please ensure that you have any necessary visas for Kiribati before joining the vessel in Hawaii. Please ensure you have the appropriate paperwork completed before joining the vessel, or you will not be allowed to board. Please look into the specific type of visa you need for arriving at these destinations by sea, or contact us directly to discuss.
Anna and Maggie met as Skipper and First Mate on a 74ft science expedition yacht, sailing from the UK to Tahiti researching ocean plastic pollution.
Anna, born in 1990 was taught to sail in the Cadet fleet in Poole harbour, UK, by her grandfather at the age of 6. From a competitive dinghy racing background, she became an RYA Yachtmaster instructor and has worked full time in the industry for 14 years; teaching a range of ages in all aspects of watersports.
Alongside her professional sailing career, Anna also gained a BA in Architecture from Brighton University. However, having grown up on a farm in the south-west of England, living and working outdoors, she chose to pursue a passion for the outdoors and adventure.
Anna has worked in most areas of the industry from race Captain on luxury yachts in the Maxi Worlds, to teaching and managing an RYA Training Centre. She has sailed over 75,000nm in the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean and Caribbean. She loves being offshore and has competed in many ocean crossing races with teams of novice crew which she thoroughly enjoys. She first sailed Seadragon in 2017 across the Atlantic and then again across the Pacific in 2018.
Maggie, born in 1992 grew up in Australia’s Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef. She started racing sabots from the age of 5, then progressed to pacers and lasers later in her youth. She coached her school sailing team which is where she developed a passion for teaching sailing. Maggie completed a Bachelors degree in Business Public Relations but chose a career offshore with an undying passion for ocean sailing.
Maggie started her career as a teenager, working in her family business which ran adventure sailing charters. Every school break, when she wasn’t competing in dinghy regattas, she spent her time working on a traditional square rigger, classic schooner and ex americas racing cup racing yacht. In 2013 she sailed to Antarctica and rounded Cape horn and fell in love with ocean sailing.
In 2017 Maggie left Australia to travel and continue sailing. She worked in the Mediterranean on a range of luxury yachts between 28 and 92m. She has sailed over 30,000nm all over the world in the Pacific, Atlantic, Arctic and Southern Oceans.
When they are not sailing, they enjoy travelling by land in their yellow camper-van which they converted themselves. They also love to dive and are currently learning to kite-surf.
Anna is an Ocean Yachtmaster with commercial endorsement, an RYA Yachtmaster Instructor, a PADI Open Water Diver, and holds her STCW endorsed Proficiency in Medical Care at Sea. Maggie is an MCA Master of Yachts < 200 tons, MCA Officer of the Watch to 500 tons, Australian Master Class 5, and holds a certificate in Advanced First Aid & CPR.