GREENWICH to the DATELINE
Bluewater Cruising to the Caribbean and Pacific Islands
This is a travelogue of our bluewater cruising adventure from the Greenwich Meridian to the International Dateline - sit back with a sundowner and be inspired to cruise to the Caribbean and Pacific Islands.
In this catalogue of rewarding experiences we describe how we converted our travelling dreams into a bluewater cruising reality.
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: Implications of Bluewater Cruising
Chapter 2: Buying Our Yacht
Chapter 3: Life in Salcombe Car Park
Chapter 4: Shakedown Cruise
Chapter 5: Ireland
Chapter 6: Bay of Biscay
Chapter 7: Portugal
Chapter 8: Gibraltar
Chapter 9: Morocco
Chapter 10: Cadiz
Chapter 11: Canaries
Chapter 12: Atlantic Crossing
Chapter 13: Antigua
Chapter 14: Guadeloupe and Iles des Saintes
Chapter 15: Dominica
Chapter 16: Martinique
Chapter 17: St Lucia
Chapter 18: Bequia, Mustique, Grenadines
Chapter 19: Grenada
Chapter 20: Dutch Antilles ABC's
Chapter 21: San Blas
Chapter 22: Panama Canal
Chapter 23: Ecuador
Chapter 24: Galapagos Islands
Chapter 25: Pacific Ocean
Chapter 26: Marquesas
Chapter 27: Tuamotu Archipelago
Chapter 28: Tahiti and Moorea
Chapter 29: Huahine and Tahaa
Chapter 30: Bora Bora
Chapter 31: Maupihaa
Chapter 32: Suvarow
Chapter 33: American Samoa
Chapter 34: Tonga
Chapter 35: Minerva Reef
Chapter 36: New Zealand
Chapter 37: Sustainable Cruising
Appendix 1: Budget
Appendix 2: Equipment Checklist
Appendix 3: Yacht and Equipment
Appendix 4: Safety Equipment
Appendix 5: Heavy Weather Tactics
Appendix 6: Disaster Prevention
Appendix 7: Toolkit
Appendix 8: Insurance Saga
Appendix 9: Medical Planning
Greenwich to the Dateline tells the story of our bluewater cruise from the Greenwich Meridian in London to the International Dateline in the South Pacific. This is a sequel to our previous cruising book, Managing Your Bluewater Cruise, which is a preparation guide for those who want to go cruising. By contrast, this book is the personal story of our trip and experiences, together with a discussion about our yacht and its equipment.
Originally we thought cruising round the world would be a sailing epic where we would be pitched against mother nature and spend long periods alone at sea - we were wrong. Bluewater cruising turned out to be a unique cruising lifestyle which we shared with many other cruisers who were also out there doing it!!! Like a floating village we crossed the oceans together, and with SSB radio we kept in regular contact. And as for lonely, we have never had such a dynamic social diary.
We decided to call our book Greenwich to the Dateline because while we cruised, we were constantly referring to Greenwich; our longitude to Greenwich, our local hour angle to the Greenwich hour angle, and our time to GMT for; celestial navigation, tide tables, cruiser's SSB nets and the BBC World service. Like Phileas Fogg in, Round the World in 80 Days, we started our journey around the world from the Greenwich Meridian. In our case we stood on the zero degree prime meridian at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, and later, we sailed across the International Dateline between American Samoa and Tonga.
The importance of Greenwich was established in 1884 when an international conference of astronomers met in Washington DC and agreed to make Greenwich the prime meridian and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) the "Time for all the world." On the other side of the world, 180 degrees east and west of the Greenwich Meridian is the International Dateline - where the date changes by one day. When Phileas Fogg travelled from east to west he gained a day. By contrast, we travelled from west to east and lost a day!!!
Our interest in bluewater cruising evolved from reading about the adventures of the modern day pioneering sailors; Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Alec Rose, Sir Chay Blyth, Sir Robin Knox-Johnson and Bernard Moitessier. But their circumnavigations sounded like endurance epics. We felt there must be a more leisurely way to sail around the world and see all the places of interest along the route and, sure enough, we found the answer when reading about the cruising adventures of the Hiscocks, the Smeetons, Tristan Jones and the father of them all, Joshua Slocum. This seemed the logical way to cruise around the world and like a snail we could carry our worldly possessions with us.
This book is the story of how we converted our travelling dreams into a bluewater cruising reality. First we discuss the implications of bluewater cruising and the impact it had on our house, our possessions and our careers. Once we arrived back in Britain from working in Cape Town, it took us six months to find our perfect yacht, Pacific Voyager (a Nicholson 35), fit her out in Salcombe car park, and conduct sea trials around the coast of Britain, before departing from our home port of Porthmadog in North Wales.
We followed a well-established cruising route from Ireland to Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and the Canaries, before making our first ocean passage following the sea route of Chistopher Columbus to the Caribbean, not in search of gold and spices, but sun and reggae. After cruising the Caribbean Islands we transitted the Panama Canal to follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin to the Galapagos Archipelago, where we encountered his marine iguanas which looked like they were from the beginning of time itself. Then we explored the Pacific Islands, first charted by James Cook, while he was looking for Terra Australis Incognita, meanwhile we were searching for good snorkelling, fan coral, and hump-backed cowries.
Our experiences with nature were particularly memorable. Why did a shoal of tuna follow us for three days to the Canaries? Why did the sea lions in the Galapagos play with us? And why did the stingrays in Bora Bora feed from Sandra's hand? We had never come this close to nature before, not even in the game parks of Southern Africa. Our experiences with history were also memorable. We never imagined bluewater cruising would be an extension of the History Channel where we would cross the paths of so many influential people: Prince Henry the Navigator's School of Navigation at Sagres, Lord Nelson's famous battle off Cape Trafalgar, and Fletcher Christian's mutiny on the HMS Bounty off Tonga. Our last chapter outlines how we have now achieved - Sustainable Cruising - through our writing and publishing. And finally the book concludes with appendices on our budget, our yacht, and its equipment - the sort of information we were looking for before we set off. If bluewater cruising is for you, this could be the most memorable period of your life.