South Bound Down to Kiritimati

South Bound Down to Kiritimati

Good morning from a salty, sweaty, yet smiling Sea Dragon! 

We left Hawaii two days ago having covered all of the alongside safety briefs and theory, enjoyed pancakes for breakfast on Shrove Tuesday (apparently a British thing?), and chatted through the upcoming passage over a final sit-down meal in the Waikiki Yacht Club. Everyone was vibrating with the excitement of heading towards such a remote place as Kiritimati, all eager to get away from the relative hustle and bustle of Oahu. As we slipped the fuel dock and motored out of the channel merely 50m away from people surfing on the break, we got a glimpse of what the Pacific was about to send our way…

…under a mellow rain cloud we hoisted sails, did an MOB drill, then began tacking practice – until the arrival of 30kts of acceleration zone winds persuaded us to get down to the real business of passage making and start heading south! The 150nm to clear beyond the big island was a gnarly first 24 hours for our crew, with generous winds kicking up a swell and a nearly new moon giving us no light to help orient ourselves. It was tricky (the skipper may or may not have been overheard describing this as an “intense first day at sea,”) but this steely team has smashed it. 

Now we’re out of the effects of the islands and are experiencing pure trade winds on the beam – quite fresh ones too, with that familiar 30kts being a regular visitor on our anemometer. Sea Dragon is loving the ride, but she’s also giving us regular soakings over the deck, ensuring it’s difficult to tell whether the salt encrusting our bodies is from sweat or the mighty fine ocean. Likely a heavy dose of both! Luckily the sun is currently in full bloom too, to dry us off in no time.

We’ve been joined by a few friends guiding us on our journey: a pod of spinner dolphins showing us the way, and many sea birds gliding alongside. Rainbows, breaking waves, deep dark clouds, and the alignment of Saturn and Jupiter have also shown us the beauty of this incredible Big Blue. An offering to Neptune (of the bountiful slops bucket) was given alongside a request for a milder forecast. He has so far not exactly provided that, but experience is blessing us with an incredible adaptation to the conditions such that we no longer need less wind – we’ve got this as it is. We’re learning we can do hard things, and love them too.

It’s a challenge – but the most rewarding one we could ask for.