Mexico to French Polynesia Part Three, Days 12 – 17

This blog is composed of some of the emails we sent and/or received during our recent 2,700 mile journey from Mexico to French Polynesia

Blog Part Three, Days 12-17

Just Before Crossing the Equator, Ron emailing our weather router, Day 12
We seem to have discovered the west setting current stream.

At 16:45 UTC, DUET is at 2 34’N / 128 37’W. SOG last 24 hours has been 7.9 kts and the GPS is now reading mid 8’s. COG remains 215M

Wind is 7 kts, 134 to starboard. Seas are 3-5 from stbd quarter

Barometer 1008.9

I’d like to purchase these conditions for the remainder of our trip.

Just before the equator, Nancy emailing a friend, Day 12

Equator tomorrow at 11AM MST. We haven’t changed time zones, with a short handed crew trying to change the time was just too much. Nuku Hiva is 2.5 hours behind us now, so we will adjust when we get there. Looks like we will arrive Sunday midday. Daybreak is 115 miles to our SE, should arrive around the same time. Crews are ready for this trip to be over, that’s for sure 😉

The guys did laundry in a bucket in the shower. Bless their hearts. All that time in a small space is too much for me, I can manage the shower, but that’s it. Then we ran the dryer, which struggled mightily to dry stuff. It’s incredibly humid here. The rapid dry light weight stuff is still hanging in the salon two days later, but I think it will be dry today 😉

The boat is just chugging along. The seas have calmed so she isn’t rolling as much and yesterday we averaged 8.5 knots after finding the following current. This AM we are back to mid 7s, but we hope to be pick up a little speed after we cross the Equator. We will stop to swim probably tomorrow, which will be cool.

We are now eating our main meal at midday, due to the heat. Actually it’s more like 2-3 in the afternoon. That is working out well. We will arrive with plenty of food left over, but I am sure it will get eaten up once everyone gets their land legs back 😉

I’ll probably get a short update out after we cross the Equator. It’s hard to do the updates, just the general jobs of the watch, meals (we take turns), cleaning up, getting through the day, etc. take a lot of energy. Between the motion, the heat and the increasing sleep deprivation over 13 days we are all pretty tired. I don’t know how James and Jennifer Hamilton do this on Dirona, they did 30 days crossing the Indian Ocean. Not for me 😉

Duet Crosses the Equator, Day 13, Email to friends and family

0 14′ S / 131 22′ W
Speed 7.3 knots, 1520RPM
Wind less than 5 knots, seas 2-4 feet

Hello Everyone

Duet crossed the Equator around noon MST today. We stopped for a special ceremony, which Sean wrote, asking King Neptune’s permission, forgiveness and blessing to cross. This ceremony involved special costumes, as well as offerings. We all then swam across, in turns. The water here is nearly 2.5 miles deep and quite warm. We really enjoyed the cake Christy baked for this occasion and the rum Ken contributed. Celia, your bathing suit looked great. We are now making tracks for Nuku Hiva, hoping to arrive within 4-5 days.

All is well.
Ron, Nancy and Sean
Crossing the Eastern South Pacific Ocean

After Crossing the Equator, Nancy emailing a friend, Day 13

Just said goodnight to Sean. He and I see one another in the wee hours of the morning, he takes over from Ron at midnight and I take over from him at 4AM. He now gets to sleep until he wakes up, which, at least for me, is the nicest sleep of the day. I always seem to wake up about 10 minutes before Sean comes to wake me for my 4AM gig. It’s not that I don’t sleep well, it’s just that somewhere in my mind I know that my watch is coming. Later, after Ron relieves me at 8AM, I sleep until nearly noon. It’s wonderful ;), I don’t have to wake up for anything!

We changed time zones yesterday, so the day seemed longer to everyone. Nuku Hiva is 2.5 hours behind Mexico, don’t ask me where the half hour came from 😉 So yesterday we switched to the time in Anchorage, AK, which pushed us back by one hour. I think we’ll stay on that until we arrive, but we’ll see how it works out.

We are screaming through the dark at nearly 9 knots, we’ve got some following current. I like running the boat at night, it’s so peaceful. The stars are spectacular, and I can play whatever music I want 😉 There isn’t much to do when the boat is running like this, she is pretty automated, so you just watch the instruments every now and again and try to stay awake 😉

A late Sunday arrival is a real possibility, assuming we can keep our speed up. Our buddy boat, Daybreak, is now about 75 miles from us. They’ve been trying to catch us since we left, but we are fast 😉 Daybreak is bigger than us, she is a Nordhavn 60, so she travels faster as she carries more fuel. But she left 36 hours later than we did. I think she will catch us today, they’ve got the pedal to the metal now. We can’t do that, we don’t have the fuel, but we may manage to arrive at nearly the same time 😉 There are four guys aboard Daybreak, her owner, two other Nordhavn owners and a guy from La Paz. Her owner is a serious fisherman, yesterday he caught a 200 pound blue marlin. Apparently they are really good eating, and he’s giving us a big chunk of it, so we’ll find out 😉

After Crossing the Equator, Ron emailing a friend, Day 13

We just crossed the equator this afternoon. This was a solemn event, respectfully celebrated with silly costumes, offerings to King Neptune, and opening of an 8 year old Ron Rico for small toasts. We then all got to swim in the equatorial waters (well, 2 at a time). We are a little over 4 days out of Nuku Hiva, 740 nm to go.

Yes, the Naiads (stabilizers) came to my rescue to rid me of my ennui. 10 foot seas, 30 kt winds and a slow engine rpm (1300) packed them in. Fortunately final death waited until conditions had improved. We have been underway with no stabilizers since 3/26. It really has not been that terrible. The seas are behind us or on our quarter, and the boat has a nice slow roll. Many a fishing boat has set to sea with precisely the same level of comfort. Many folk think that hydraulic stabilizers are essential for safety, and for some hulls that may be true. Me thinks not this one. Mind you, I will be happy to have them back in service.

All other equipment has performed flawlessly. Especially our beautiful, hulking Lugger. God I love that thing.

What do I think of this crossing, Nancy emailing a friend, Day 14

It’s true that crossings are a means to an end, but I, at least, have enjoyed this one. That sounds strange, lack of sleep, seasickness, laundry in a bucket and dishes in the sink (didn’t want to run washer or dishwasher without stabilizers ;), hot humid sweaty days, etc. but it’s been fun. There’s a serious sense of achievement, and some truly beautiful moments. It’s an intense thing, just three of us, completely dependent on one another for survival, in a 50 foot boat 1,000 miles from anywhere. I’m not scared, although the big weather made me a bit nervous. What will be will be, and so far we’ve done OK. As Sean said at one point during the heavy weather when we were having stabilizer problems “it’s here, we’re here, deal with it”. And we did 😉

Would I do it again? No, not a trip this long. A shorter one, say back to Hawaii? Maybe, although I don’t know that Ron wants to subject me to this again (it’s hard on me with the seasickness, although I’ve pretty much gotten over that now with the continued meds) and I’m not sure I want him to have to deal with this level of pressure again. The load is higher on him than on Sean and I, that’s for sure. He’s got to deal with all the mechanical problems, make the key decisions, etc. And he’s got to carry the Captain’s burden, namely if he screws up we are all going in the water, or worse.

We don’t have the fuel to run the A/C. I know Jerome is running his 9KW all night to provide A/C, but he doesn’t run it during the day. He’s carrying an extra 500 gallons of fuel, and expects to arrive with about 700 left over. It is very humid, once you get to about 8N. We are running fans everywhere. Even so, we sweat a lot 😉 The best is a cold shower, and Ron is now running the A/C for a couple of hours in the evening while we make water, run the dryer, etc. That cools the boat down enough we can get to sleep. The days are still pretty hot though 😉

From our perspective, a third person is absolutely critical to safety. We couldn’t have done this without Sean. A fourth would be even better, but in our case it would need to be a couple, since we only have two staterooms.

The choice of third person is pretty important. Everyone we talked to about taking crew said compatibility first, everything else second. I think they were right, we got lucky with someone who was compatible, and competent. Also, Sean is used to the hierarchy of the firehouse and really understands the idea of team. In firefighting, the team, your job on the team and the chain of command are everything, as otherwise someone gets hurt.

He fit in really well. He’s also a sweetheart, which makes it easier. In addition, we’ve all made allowances for each other along the way. In an environment where we are all tired, stressed, hot, etc., everyone has bad days and someone has to pick up the slack, we’ve done well with that. Sean’s mechanical skills have come in very handy, he does an incredibly thorough engine room check and he’s up for anything, equator swimming, kitchen cleaning, fishing, night watches, whatever 😉

We are screaming along in the dark at nearly 9 knots, got to love that following current. Sunday is looking like a real possibility for arrival. Daybreak should arrive then too, which will be nice.

Conditions Report to OMNI Bob, Day 15
At 21:00 UTC, DUET is at 2 25’S /133 30’W. Avg SOG over last 24 hours has been 7.9 kts, with COG 215M.

Wind is apparent 5 kts on bow. Seas are 2-3 on a long period.

Barom is 1007.8

We continue to expect landfall on Sunday 4/2

Duet Arrives Safely, email to friends and family, Day 17
Hello Everyone

We arrived in Nuku Hiva at around 10AM local time this morning, Sunday April 2. Our buddy boat, Daybreak, is just pulling in now. We have had a cold beer and are now having lunch. A celebratory dinner is scheduled on Daybreak this evening. It’s hard to believe that we have actually arrived, but it looks like Jurassic Park out there, so this must be it 😉 Truly, this is a beautiful anchorage, very lush, surrounded by high mountains and fascinating rock formations. We look forward to exploring it tomorrow, after we check in with the local authorities.

It’s nice to be here. We appreciate everyone following along. We shall be cruising the southern Marquesas during the next two weeks, before Sean flies home.

We traveled 2,638 miles in 17 days, averaging 6.8 knots at 2.3NMPG. We burned about 1,200 gallons out of a total of 1,700 on board.


Ron, Nancy and Sean
Lying Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia

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One thought on “Mexico to French Polynesia Part Three, Days 12 – 17”

  1. SUBJECT: Re: Mexico to French Polynesia Part Three, Days 12 – 17

    as usual, delightful to read your thoughts and insights! I especially like your thoughts about night time ( I agree) and crew ( what an important decision and how clever you were to choose Sean!!! you rock, Sean!!)
    Carry on cruising – we look forward to hearing about your future adventures, and sitting down with a glass or a bottle and getting the whole story!


    (ps of course also love to hear about your confid

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