Tonight we will start our crossing of the Pacific!. We will leave Vista Mar Marina in Panama and head towards French Polynesia.
For such a long time I have been looking forward to sitting down and writing my first post here on Facing the Pacific!. I have been based here in Panama for just over a month now and time has really flown. I came here eager to learn something completely new and I was impatiently looking forward to starting to sail immediately so that I could begin to experience this exciting new chapter in my life. Naively I had assumed that I would start learning when we put to sea and I had no idea how much one actually needs to learn while in the confines of the marina. Gosh! there is just so much to think about, all the background work that must be planned and executed to boat and crew in preparation for such a voyage. Hospital visits, chiropractor visits, planning what to eat for the next six months, sourcing and stowing the food and provisions, thoroughly preparing and cleaning the boat from bow to stern. I could go on for hours but I can honestly say that I am only beginning to tap into this lifestyle and it is both exciting and a lot of hard work. But I am also cognisant that such meticulous preparation is an essential prerequisite of such an arduous voyage. I am now looking forward to experiencing the fruit of our labours. In fact we had joked during our long tenure here that Vista Mar had begun to remind us of the Eagle’s hit song Hotel California in that we could checkout anytime we wanted but it seemed we could never actually leave the place as the prep work appeared infinite.
But now that the wind is on our side, the boat is prepared, our provisions are stowed and we ourselves are all set it is time to cast off our mooring lines and begin this great adventure. We anticipate that the crossing will take between 40 to 60 days, dependent on wind and sea conditions, before we make landfall at our first destination which is the Marquesas island chain of French Polynesia.
This will also mark my first night watch shift on our trusty little vessel Mare and I am at once both nervous and excited at the prospect. Fortunately we will sail under the light of a super moon which will provide an illuminating back drop for our first night at sea and that relaxes me. I guess it will be quite a beautiful and calming experience to ease me into life at sea. I must say that this all feels a little surreal knowing that I will not see land for such a long time. It is one of those moments in life when one has to surrender one’s fate to chance and take that leap into the unknown. I am sure it will be all worth it when we reach those islands at the other side of this vast expanse of ocean.
I look forward to updating you all on the passage when we reach French Polynesia.