Our first attempt to do the Pacific Puddle Jump (the way the Pacific crossing to French Polynesia is known in the sailing world) was an enigma for us for a couple of days.
Despite the decision to come back was a clear call (we had problems with the backstay structure that holds our mast in our second day of the passage), we were very frustrated with it. After all, we had invested so much time in getting Pesto and us ready for this passage. For at least the last 6 months, our main objective was to get everything settled for the crossing. Alex told me he felt even embarrassed when we had to come back, since we had such a solid boat and had overinvested in planning and preparing. “ I gave her so much love and tender…how she dare to do this to me…”
But things happen for a reason!
We might have had a hard time making meaning of the first attempt. But now, a few weeks later, and with the crossing already on our back, this is why I believe we were meant to restart our journey.
Balancing doing with being.
The week prior to our first departure, Alex and I were basically exhausted. We had huge to-do lists to accomplish before setting the sails for the long passage (including the endless maintenance aspects of the boat, planning and purchasing our provisioning, preparing homeschool program for the next year, filling the taxes… and the list goes on). As we got closer to departure, we felt our stress levels going up as it sounded impossible to be ever 100% ready to leave for a passage like this. And truth is, we are never 100% ready to depart.
The boat needs to be solid and reliable, and the crew needs to be confortable and excited. But you are never 100% ready. There is not such comfort zone in sailing. Departure is always a mix of happiness and butterflies on the stomach. There will always be unexpected challenges along the way…and you need to be ok with that and ready to deal with them. That is why doing only is not enough; you need to invest on being ready as well.
After returning to La Cruz to get ready for our second depart, we managed to get the backstay in shape very quickly. And as we had a few days to leave again, Alex and I agreed we would do the final preparations in a different mood – more easily, in a more relaxed way while enjoying our final days in La Cruz… with the intention of being fresh rather than exhausted as we departed. Our final days were more on the being ready for a long passage than doing stuff for it.
Our agenda for our final days included watching Superman vs Batman, enjoying meals in our preferred spots in La Cruz , enjoying the local festivities of Easter including the amazing Fresh Market on Sunday .
On our first departure, we left from Barra de Navidad, where just another sailing vessel was also departing for the Puddle Jump (S/V Athanor). While we were blessed to have company of S/V Coastal Drifter, Terrapin, Cape D and Shawnigan, they were not unfortunately doing the crossing this year. And this was indeed one of the reasons we decided to depart from Barra: to be able to focus more on our preparations while getting less distracted with the so many festivities and socialization from La Cruz (where majority of jumpers were based).
However as we came back to La Cruz for the repairs in the backstay, we realized how much we missed the place and how much we appreciated the connection with the other sailing vessels that were also embarking in the journey.
On our second departure, we left on the same day as S/V Enough, and they became our family in the big ocean. As much as we felt alone out there, it was reassuring to connect with them. Our distance from them varied from 50 to 200 miles depending on our strategies to approach the crossing of the Equator. But the sharing of experiences and challenges (the endless squalls, lack of winds) and joys (the gorgeous sunsets) was so comforting!! It is really indeed a bonding experience to connect with other vessels that have done a similar crossing and share similar dreams.
During our passage, whenever we managed to join the daily radio (SSB) network for doing the check in of boat positions and status, I felt warm in my heart as we listened to SV Sarita, Enough, Batu and Athanor.
We were not alone! And what a difference it makes…
Clearing the space.
As we mentioned before we spent a good amount of time getting Pesto physically ready for departure. Likewise, we also invested time getting the crew both physically and emotionally strong for such a long passage. No wonder we were so concerned with what was ahead of us – despite having been living on the boat for more than 1.5 year, the longest passage we had done was 5 days long (from San Diego to Los Cabos in Mexico). In total we had sailed 4,000 nautical miles. We were now about to sail more than 3,000 nautical miles at once in a 20 days passage! It was definitely a first long offshore sailing for us!
Before our first departure we did a ceremony at Pesto to set our family intention for the passage and our journey on board the boat. Each one of us made drawings and wrote about what our intentions were, and based on that we created a family intention. We also requested support from God, the spirits and ancestors to support us on having a safe and enjoyable journey towards French Polynesia in a small ceremony with the four of us.
For our second departure, we felt something was still missing and that had to do with cleaning the energy from Pesto and creating space for a new story. The boat had 3 other owners prior to us and we never really did a ceremony for getting her ready for our family story with her.
I had the help (indeed the lead) of my dearest friend Allison from S/V KantaAnae to clean the energy from Pesto. With her help we invoked the support of the Universe and spirits to clean any fear, doubt, suffering or negativity that could still be present on Pesto and welcomed love, joy, friendship, safety, creativity among other qualities to be present. It took us about 3 hours going through every single space of the boat, opening all drawers, spreading smoking sage and playing drums to move the energy.
At the end we were exhausted but could so much feel the different energy on Pesto. We had cleared her space for our story to unfold.
A few weeks later, now that we have completed the passage, the episode of coming back in our first attempt seems irrelevant in our journey.
Any feeling of loss that we might have had by coming back was so much compensated by what we gained and created instead.