These days you can join a flotilla of yachts sailing the trade winds across the indigo blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.
For centuries we’ve been enchanted by tall ships, tales of adventure, and exotic lands. The idea of sailing in the Pacific Ocean has an allure which will forever pull at the hearts and minds of many.
The Pacific Ocean remains exotic, riddled with secluded tropical islands and unexplored coral atolls. The diving is exquisite, the cultures are unique, the waters are crystal clear, and the fresh foods and tropical fruits to re-provision with are tantalising.
The same warm trade winds used by early traders in their windjammers, still blow reliably and consistently.
Yarra’s Edge Yachts (YEY), a boutique international yachting importer is offering assistance to adventurous souls to cross the Pacific with them next year.
Given the state of the financial market there are quite a number of people looking to purchase yachts in the U.S. and sail them home across the Pacific Ocean. Reasons for purchasing in the U.S. include; lower production costs, no import duty as a result of our trade agreement with the U. S. and the highly competitive market that keeps prices down. With a much larger selection of vessels to choose from, finding a suitable blue water cruiser is also easier.
YEY (in Melbourne’s Docklands) ships client’s vessels into Australia. Graham Stephens from YEY says “Most people would rather sail their yacht back, but they rarely do, because they’re not confident to embark on the journey by themselves.”
In response YEY is organising a ‘Trans Pacific Rally’ for yacht buyers to make the sea crossing with the guidance and support of an experienced team of yachtsmen.
But there is an ulterior motive. The cruise allows the YEY team to indulge their passion for sailing and exploring in the Pacific.
Graham is a third generation seaman. His grandfather invented the first eco-sounder. Graham and his father, both hydro graphic surveyors, mapped Port Phillip Bay. He is also a coastal and celestial navigation instructor.
Back in the 70’s/80’s Graham Stephens pioneered many dive sites around Port Phillip Heads, and Australia wide. He was also one of the first to dive many of the old shipwreck sites along the Victorian ship wreck coast. He made several discoveries of his own including the wreck of the ‘Fiji’ off Moonlight Heads and raised a number of artifacts for maritime museums including the anchor of the famous Lockard, now a feature exhibit at Warnambool Maritime Museum.
In the 90’s Graham ran many eco tours throughout the Pacific, gaining knowledge of the Pacific Ocean’s secluded and unique locations, its true hidden treasures. Yarra’s Edge Yachts’ website claims the venture will provide “the confidence, support and camaraderie of experienced sailors”, but with Graham’s pssions and credentials, and those of other YEY crew, a spirit of discovery will be a key component of the journey.
A Marine Scientist, Jake, is part of the team. Jake’s fields of interest, other than ‘avid diver and keen sailor,’ include exotic topics such as ‘tropical biology, marine ecology, plate tectonics, volcanic hotspots, and physical oceanography’.
Last year, Jake worked with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, recovering and replacing temperature loggers in the Coral Sea, used in sub-surface thermal currant mapping.
Jake was also involved in coral research on the Great Barrier Reef for the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and spent several months working with Reef Check and the Sightings Network, monitoring changes in the Reef.
He is currently completing his PhD, involving genetics research in Antarctica.
Jake will fly in to join the cruise for specific legs of the journey that interest him. Of particular interest is the volcanically active area of the Vava’u group where the island ‘Latte,’ emerged from the ocean depths in 2001.
The waters of the ocean in the volcanically active areas of the Pacific have been reported to bubble and steam with freshly erupted magma. Other tales of adventure tell of volcanic activity lighting up the night sky like fireworks displays.
The Trans Pacific Rally will begin on February 14 in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, one of the world’s most famous whale watching locations. The route is planned to utilise the trade winds, taking the shortest path across the Equitorial Convergence Zone (Doldrums). Three weeks has been allowed for the fleet to sail from Mexico to the Marquesas. This is the longest open ocean stretch. Two weeks has been set aside to reprovision and explore the dramatic landscape of the Marquesas with its mountainous pinnacles descending into a dramatic seascape of caldera and underwater caves. It also offers the possibility of encounters with a variety of large sea creatures, like manta rays, and huge schools of hammerhead sharks.
The path takes them from the Marquesas, to the Tuamotus, Tahiti, The Cook Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia before arriving in Queensland, 11th October.
Bruce Crump, YEY’s logistics expert, has made allowances for people to do their own exploring within each group of islands. “Some people may wish to fly home at various stages or change crew, which has all been considered in the route planning.” The route is also timed for various other reasons such as humpback whales breeding season where they gather in their hundreds around the protected and remote waters throughout Tonga.
There has been considerable interest in this expedition for the photographic opportunity the expedition provides. Graham Stephens understands the power of this medium as a means to inspire and promote a love for the natural world and its conservation. His photos were used in many of the Oceans seminars held at Monash University over the years.
Photographers, or anyone interested in crewing, are welcome to register their interest with YEY.
Blue Water Cruisers
For those wanting to sail their own yacht the YEY crew search the global market constantly and are able to assist in locating appropriate vessels. A list on the YEY website shows blue water cruisers available in the US that would be suitable for the journey and are excellent value. The range includes modern light displacement vessels through to traditional heavy displacement vessels and sizes from 36’ to 60’. Prices vary from US $47,500 to US $350,000.
Only vessels that are excellent value and meet the requirements of such a journey have been listed in this section of YEY’s website. YEY also provide facilities for selling vessels upon return to Australia.
For more information on this venture go to http://www.yey.com.au/tpr.html