Big blue void

One of my favourite quotes is from  Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark:

  • He had bought a large map representing the sea,
    Without the least vestige of land:
    And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
    A map they could all understand.
  • ‘Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
    But we’ve got our brave captain to thank’
    (So the crew would protest) ‘that he’s bought us the best —
    A perfect and absolute blank!’

And that sums up a bit how we view the first part of our Pacific crossing a large area of blue with hardly a vestige of land or a reef. There are actually some important islands, the Galapagos, but the restrictions imposed on visiting yachts and the costs made us decide they’d be better visited by airplane in later years. So for Temptress there is effectively just over 3800 nautical miles from the western end of the Panama Canal to Atuona, Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Islands on the eastern fringes of French Polynesia.

We took advantage of having a full Admiralty Chart Agent in Bangor and purchased a collection of passage planning charts covering our intended route from Central America to Singapore. They are mostly sea until almost Australia, as beyond the Marquesas, the island groups are hugely scattered with often several hundred miles of ocean in between!

As well as charts Temptress crew will require provisions not just for this first leg but for most of the way across the Pacific as locally it’ll mostly be only fresh fruit and veg that we’ll be able to purchase. So planning for the big blue bit first; 3800 miles at 6 knots average passage speed is 26 days and 10 hours. In our provisioning plan for long voyages we always add 50% contingency making it 40 days of provisions that needs to be bought. Then we reckon on another 5-6 months of stores to see us through to Australia. That’s 6-7 months worth of toilet rolls, gas, washing powder, shampoo, soap, washing up liquid, toothpaste and sundry other items in addition to food.

Where to start? Well we have done this all before albeit on a smaller scale and there are some stores still on board from then. Tinned peaches and tuna spring to mind but I do have a lengthy list of the tins and bottles we left on Temptress. There is also my infamous provisioning spreadsheet with meals planned in detail for six whole weeks, though I doubt we’ll find the same foods in Colon as we found in Lanzarote. It can be improved on in regards to generating shopping lists too, so I intend to start afresh. One more project to focus on over the next few weeks.