Equator Express | Kiritimati – Tahiti
March 7 – March 21 | TRIP IS AT SEA
If you’ve always dreamed of sailing to the South Pacific or crossing the Equator, this is the trip for you. You’ll join Sea Dragon at the remote island of Kiritimati (pronounced and sometimes spelled Christmas), which has the most land area of any atoll in the world. We’ll spend a few days exploring Kiritimati, from the waters around the island to the island itself. Only one flight a week comes to this special place, which is known for its fly fishing, history of British nuclear testing, and welcoming people. Sea Dragon has visited a few times in past and we’ve always enjoyed our stays.
After exploring what Kiritimati has to offer, we’ll set out for Tahiti and the southern hemisphere! It’s not a voyage for the faint hearted, but the rewards of sailing in the tropics are worth the challenges. The sailing is predominately upwind for the first 1/2 to 2/3 of the voyage, but often ends up with a better wind angle by the end, to reward you for your hard work driving Sea Dragon through the waves and heat.
Just a day or two out of Kiritimati 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.
If the weather gives us a fast passage, 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 the beauty of Tahiti and all it has to offer.
All meals on board Sea Dragon are delicious and vegetarian, with the addition of fish if we catch any along the way.
This is not a trip for the infirm or physically unfit – you MUST be able to climb up and down a 20′ steel ladder to get from the Copra Pier to our dinghies to board Sea Dragon, have good balance, and be in reasonably good health. Please contact us with any health questions or if you answer “YES” to any of the questions on our health questionnaire prior to signing up for the trip!
This trip is an RYA Yachtmaster Ocean and IYT MOY Unlimited qualifying voyage – contact us to discuss!
Ardent Training is offering a significant discount on the RYA Day Skipper Theory online course to anyone signed up for this trip. If you’re interested in taking the course, let us know when you sign up and we can give you the discount code!
- Cost: $4450
- Date: March 7 – March 21, 2023
- Start: Copra Pier Anchorage, Kiritimati, Kiribati
- End: Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
- Length: 15 days, 14 nights
- Focus: Offshore Passagemaking | Equator Crossing | Sail Training
Please explore the drop down menus at the bottom of the page for more details about this voyage.
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 at sea, far from advanced medical care.
The Government of Kiribati has its own COVID-19 regulations, which you will need to comply with in order to fly into Kiribati. We will keep you updated as far as we are able as the trip approaches.
In order to enter Tahiti, you will need to meet the current requirements of the government of French Polynesia. There may be additional requirements that are not directly listed on this website for entry by sea – we will keep you up to date as these evolve. For example, last year Tahiti required that you carry Travel Medical Insurance that provides coverage for COVID-19, with a minimum 90 days of duration, and that explicitly stated it was valid for French Polynesia. We will be working with an agent in Tahiti to expedite our entry, so we will be passing along all necessary paperwork from you to them in advance of the trip.
In addition to meeting all government requirements, the COVID-19 protocol for the boat is as follows:
Everyone on board the vessel must provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19, including a booster shot if it has been more than 6 months since the final dose of your initial course of vaccination on the date you board the vessel.
14 days before trip: I agree to take maximum precautions to minimize my risk of infection with COVID-19 by following CDC guidelines.
72 Hours Before Boarding: I agree to take a PCR or Rapid Antigen covid test at my own expense. This test must be administered or proctored by a medical professional, and the result must be on official letterhead. If a testing site is available that can provide results in less than 72 hours, I agree to get tested as close to the date and time of boarding as is consistent with receiving results before boarding.
Day of Arrival at boat: We will take your temperature and administer a rapid antigen test to you before you come in close contact with the rest of the crew. With proof of a negative pre-trip test result, a temperature of under 100.4 F, 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.
In the event that you have a fever over 100.4F, test positive on either the pre-trip 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.
***The Fiji Airways flight that this trip connects with is sold out. If you want to sail this trip, you either need to join Sea Dragon in Hawaii ($500 discount off one leg), or find another way to get to Kiritimati (charter flight from Tarawa?)***** Please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested and want to discuss.
Sign up Now with only a $500 deposit! It’s non refundable if you back out, but if we cancel or modify the trip we are happy to return your money or apply it to a different voyage. Please review the Crew Contract for full details. The remaining balance will be due on January 6.Contact Us
Call Us: +1 (305) 330-4212 (Pacific Time) If we don’t pick up, please leave a message and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
“This was one of the best vacations I have ever had. I learned a lot … from skipper, first mate, and knowledgeable crew …The boat was perfectly set up and maintained for our trip.”
Day 1: Arrival On Board Sea Dragon
The Sea Dragon crew will pick you up via dinghy from the Copra Pier in Kiritimati after your flight lands – after we lower your luggage down to the dinghy and you descent the ladder, you’ll head out to Sea Dragon to move in and get settled. We’ll do some basic boat briefings and introductions, before watching a beautiful sunset over the Pacific.
Day 2-4 : Safety Training & Exploration
We’ll intersperse safety and sail training with free time to explore Kiritimati – maybe we’ll take the dinghies out for a snorkel trip, head into town to see the sights, or if you are interested you can arrange a longer excursion with a local guide – fly fishing, an island tour, or something else?
Day 5: To the Equator!
After clearing out of Customs & Immigration, we’ll hoist the sails and point the bow South-East towards Tahiti on what is hopefully a nice close – reach – a bit wet and bumpy, but fast and fun under the tropical Sun.
Day 6 or 7: 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.
Day 6 – 12 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 13: 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 14: Exploring French Polynesia
We’ll spend the last few days after we arrive exploring Tahiti – this also gives you a window for COVID testing if necessary for your flight home.
Day 15: Departure from Sea Dragon
We’ll return to Papeete in time for you to disembark Sea Dragon by 0900. You can move on to your next adventure, a salty shellback.
– 14 nights accommodation on Sea Dragon
– All meals (vegetarian), snacks, and drinks on board
– Sailing Instruction
– Safety equipment and foul weather gear
– Transportation from Kiritimati Airport to Sea Dragon
- Masks, fins, snorkels
- Use of inflatable paddle boards
Contribution does not include:
– Transportation to and from Kiritimati and Tahiti
– Transportation to Papeete Airport
– Additional nights spent ashore
– Personal expenses while in port
It’s hot in the Central Pacific! Take a look at our Tropical packing list.
You will join the boat at the anchorage in Kiritimati. We’ll arrange for a ride for you from Kiritimati International, CXI to the pier. There is one flight a week from Hawaii to Kiritimati on Fiji Airways (FJ 823), which departs Honolulu on Tuesdays. We’ve designed this trip to synchronize with that flight.
Papeete International Airpot (PPT) is right on the edge of town, so it’s a short taxi trip from any of the docks we may tie up at. You will need to have a return flight booked out of Tahiti and provide acceptable proof of that flight to us 8 weeks prior to the trip. We will need a copy of your passport and vaccination info at least 8 weeks in advance of the trip so we can submit it to our agents in Tahiti for entry. We’ll give you more details about these requirements as the trip dates get closer, as they are subject to change at the whim of the French Government.
All crew members will require a passport and visas from their home country that will allow them to travel to/ from French Polynesia and the USA. 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.
Captain Holly Vint: I first started sailing when I was 19 on what I had thought was a “once-in-a-lifetime” passage from Plymouth, UK, to La Coruna, Spain, but during this voyage I became totally invested in a life at sea. The trip had been with a British youth sail training organisation and I became a volunteer for that charity throughout university before leaving in 2015, gaining my yachting qualifications and becoming a full-time sailor. During my career I have worked for various charities around the UK, all of which specialise in providing valuable experiences for vulnerable or disadvantaged young people through the medium of sailing. I also instruct adults on adventurous coastal and offshore trips across the Atlantic, from arctic Norway to Cuba and many places in between, with some of the ocean crossings being undertaken by celestial navigation only. I have been lucky enough to work on Sea Dragon a few times throughout my career so far, on eXXpedition voyages researching the prevalence of oceanic plastic pollution from Senegal to Brazil to Guyana, in the Caribbean, and around Britain – and I’m super excited to get back on board once more. I am a Yachtmaster Instructor and hold my Yachtmaster Ocean with commercial endorsement and Proficiency in Medical Care certificates. I have sailed 55,000+nm.
First Mate Tom Newsom: I grew up in Lymington, a town rich in sailing culture, sailing dinghies with my dad. When I was 16, I got my Day Skipper license and did a delivery in Norway, which was stunning. I was awed by the luminescent water, and the deep, quiet, and vast fjords. After that experience, I decided I wanted to make a career out of the sea. After university I worked at a chandlery for a while, and then began sailing with Clipper, doing training for their guests. I’ve recently returned from East Greenland, where we dealt with fog, ice, and gales, and I’m excited to head to warmer weather this winter to pick up some vitamin D. I hold a commercially endorsed Yachtmaster Offshore, and have sailed more than 10,000nm.