Sailing to Hawaii
A little over a week ago, a group of strangers met in Ensenada, Mexico to embark on a 2,600 nautical mile sailing expedition. For some it was a lifetime dream to sail on the open ocean while others spontaneously made the decision helped by the covid entrapment. The realization of living in a totally new environment, completely disconnected from the outside world, was only really felt once the sight of land has dissipated into the horizon.
Before long, vast blue 360 degree views became the norm and maneuvering around the boat like you’ve had a skinful after watching the rugby on a Saturday afternoon incurred no second glances. Sailing across an ocean or any open water for that fact, not only tests your physical strength, will power and determination but also is a huge social experiment.
11 individuals from different countries, cultures, religions, genders and ages in a confined space together. A compilation any therapist would have a wet dream over.
But sure enough, after a few days all the crew got into a rhythm, naturally finding their role amongst the crew.
Blue water souls are the driving source to protect and sustain our coastlines, oceans and marine species. Worldwide, those who understand the importance of our ocean’s health are fighting to make positive changes every single day. Disappointed to say, during the passage, we came across ‘ghost nets’, these are fishing nets which have been lost at sea and usually collects other nasty debris, like plastics amongst it. They vary in size and it’s hard to be precise but the two we came across were around 4x4m and the main bulk below water was around 1m, but lines sank deep into the ocean, further than the eye could see. These are simply are a death trap and unfortunately spotting them is becoming a regular occurrence. For us, the nets were just too large and too heavy to bring on board, but we managed to retrieve a huge polystyrene block and secure it to the aft deck continuing our passage. The wind which blew from behind us, wafted the stench of ‘Steve’ the polystyrene block over the helm, which prompted early dawn searches for a stray flying fish or squid.
For so many ‘out of sight, out of mind’ leaves a guilt free life, allowing the conscious to continue comfortably adding to the destruction. But those regularly experiencing the outdoors will foster a kinship with nature. Sea Dragon exposes its crew to nature in the most extreme way, showing first-hand the very best the ocean has to offer, and the very worst human involvement has done to it.
Great efforts had been put into place to ensure all that could be done were done to reduce our effects on the environment, both in how the boat is set up and provisioning. It goes without saying that food has an important role when at sea. Socially we cook and eat together but a good meal or treat such as a warm brownie can bring up morale, especially when impatiently waiting for the Gods of the wind to grace us with their presence once again and stop the flogging of sails.
Provisioning for 11 people and two weeks is no easy task but pleased to announce after 14 days at sea, our total rubbish amounted to:
1 standard bin bag of general rubbish
1.5 bags of recycling including cardboard, plastic and cans
That’s drastically less than what the average household throws out a week!
But once reaching the dock we found that recycling in Hawaii is no easy task, surprising for such a developed island and top tourist destination…
Back to the sailing part. The curiosity of the ocean triggers something is us and that’s what got us all here, sailing to Hawaii in the first place. Delighted to say that, it was all plain sailing! No major dramas, testing weather, breakages or inedible dinners. Instead, our 72ft temporary home was filled with laughter, quiet moments watching the grapefruit pink sunsets and competition for the most desired spot on the boat – the helm. A few took an artistic approach to helming in a straight line; always enthusiastic but never fooling the Captain.