My story

The Pacific and beyond

The sail into Panama was hair-raising. It was after dark with heavy shipping around. I dropped anchor at Colon at 2250 and got a visit from some yachty friends.

Next day I met up with some other single-handed sailors, one of whom was Jill Knight. As it was dangerous to go into town alone, we decided to do our errands together. A Norwegian sailor had gotten only 80 metres from the yacht club before being mugged.

We needed to shop big. I needed more supplies, including last minute fresh food. I expected my trip to Australia to take three months, with just one short stop in Tahiti, but I took aboard enough food for five months, just to be safe. Gaia II and Jill’s boat Cooee transited the Panama Canal together. Heavy with supplies and with friends aboard to help me through the canal, my little boat floated uncomfortably low in the water.

My last stop in the Americas was on the small island of Tobago. The wide open Pacific lay before me – 4,500 miles non-stop to Tahiti and one of the best trips of my life.

The winds were generally light with just one storm. I had used almost all my fuel getting out of Panama and saved just five litres to get into Papeete in Tahiti. It was nighttime again but with no wind and the current taking me in I had to press on. I made it through the reef with waves breaking loudly on both sides. But it became a wonderful five days in the old French colony and I was even able to catch up with some friends.

Since I was out of money there was little to do except fill the water tanks again. To increase my capacity I’d collected 100 2l coke bottles.

It was funny to leave after only five days. Everyone knew me and my story. When I left they blew their horns to wish me well on my next big crossing. The next stop was Coffs Harbour in Australia, 3500 miles and three storms away.

After another 35 days at sea, including six when I was totally becalmed, I arrived in Coffs, not far from where I would eventually build Gaiasdream.


1 comment

  1. wakataitea

    we have been in the caroline islands this year… nice proas there..
    good luck hans

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