In the next few weeks we will be making our passage to Australia. Do you remember when SV Estrellita 5.10b was at 53° North, traipsing about in “That. Green.” in the Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands), British Columbia, Canada?
There are many ways to count a Pacific Crossing, and as we approach our passage to Australia I find myself reminiscing about the start of it all. In many ways, it was when we turned South from Queen Charlotte City that started our crossing of the Pacific. At that moment, I knew the days of poking endlessly (slowly and joyfully) around the BC coastline were over and although we continued to cruise through the Haida Gwaii and down the coast of Vancouver Island (again) to Tofino, I was starting to think forward to our next legs – our first big passage to San Francisco, crossing into Mexico, the Pacific Puddle Jump. At the time I wrote “This stop was the Northernmost apex of our trip. We are officially Southbound from here.”
And it all happened. We had an incredible trip down the coast to San Francisco. A few months later we crossed into Mexico. And 5 months after that we left for French Polynesia. Giddyup!
And we arrived in what felt like a dream land. And as you already know, we tore ourselves away from French Polynesia at the end of our 3 months, only to shortly return and spend several years, again poking endlessly (slowly and joyfully) around as much of those glorious mind boggling archipelagoes as we could absorb.
And then things sped up again and we left French Polynesia for Niue, for Tonga, and the next year for Fiji and now New Caledonia. Giddyup!
Here we are sitting in Noumea, New Caledonia, preparing for the last leg to Australia. It seems like so very far from 53° North on the west coast of Canada to 33° South on the east coast of Australia. Still, many people make that trip in about a year and so it is probably the fact that it has been nearly 4 and a half years since we left Canada that adds to the feeling of distance.
Crossing the Pacific can't be defined by mileage for me. We’ve already passed the longitude of NZ, and we certainly started from nearly the furthest corner of the Pacific we could from here. We've done the miles, but as any sailor who has contemplated this last set of passages (to NZ or AUS) knows, this last leg feels like the finish. It’s a line in the sand. An accomplishment. As a climber might say, it’s a beautiful natural line begging to be finished.