2014 – The Year of the Mad Dash
In 2012, we made the puddle jump from Mexico to French Polynesia. When we left French Polynesia for the first time in 2012 we made it as far West as Suwarrow before turning back to windward. Although we didn’t sail quite as many miles as the boats heading to NZ, it was close by the time we got back to the Tuamotus.
In 2013, we remained in a single country. However, French Polynesia is huge. I could sail 1000nm from where I am right now and still make landfall in French Polynesia. We sailed back and forth but ended up moving to windward until we reached the Easternmost inhabited point in French Polynesia – Mangareva Atoll.
Now, as we turn West, we are faced with the classic South Pacific dilemma – where to spend our time during a mad dash across the Pacific to the next hurricane hole.
Instead of sailing from Mexico, generally Southwest to New Zealand as our hurricane refuge, we will be sailing Northwest from French Polynesia to the Marshall Islands. This means ~3600nm of travel if we sailed directly to the capital of the Marshall Islands. If you add a pit stop in Tonga, this figure rises to close to 4000nm as drawn with straight lines. And, of course, we are planning on stopping in more places in between.
We’ve been using the second half of the S Pacific hurricane season to look through the materials we have on hand and to do online research on various countries between here (the Gambier Islands) and our end-of-year goal (the Marshall Islands) to determine which routing to take.
High class FUN problems:
- We do not have to check out of French Polynesia until late July. Do we use up all of our time here or leave early so we have more time in other places on our way to the Marshall Islands?
- Do we stop in the Cooks again?
- We’ve pretty much decided on the middle-to-Southern route after French Polynesia because we want to head to the Vava’u Group in Tonga for a month to kiteboard and to see whether we want to return to it the following year (a bit against the wind from the Marshalls) or not. Do we stop at Niue along the way?
- Will we stop at Wallis & Futuna, Tuvalu and Kiribati on our way North or try to hit some of those stops on our way back down South the next year?
By the way, if you want to see why we are so stoked about the Marshalls, check out this blog post from friends of friends. In particular, scroll through the kiting and diving pictures. Wowzers.