What it Takes to Kayak from California to Hawaii

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On September 20, Cyril Derreumaux, 46, accomplished the first-ever solo, unsupported, and 100% human-powered crossing from California to Hawaii by kayak. He had sufficient provides to final all the journey from the beginning and didn’t use something however his personal physique to motor the vessel. Ed Gillet was the primary particular person to make this trek solo and unsupported in 1987, however he used a kite to harness wind at instances. I chatted with Cyril not too long ago to be taught extra about what it took to arrange for a visit like this and what occurred as soon as it was underway.

Outside Life: What impressed you to make this journey?

Cyril Derreumaux: I solely began paddling and kayaking twelve years in the past, beginning with small races—12 miles after which 40 miles after which longer to 200 after which 450 miles. I simply stored pushing my limits increasingly. This crossing was a option to uncover life and dwell life to the fullest. I believe it’s additionally a character factor—you both need to push your limits and do these sorts of adventures otherwise you don’t. 

OL: Inform me about what a typical day trip on the water appeared like.

Cyril: So I’d rise up with the solar, often at round 5:30 within the morning, and it might take me half an hour to get my meals and kit, relying on the climate, prepared for the day. Then I’d go to the cockpit and spend forty-five minutes desalinating water—on the midway level of the crossing my electrical watermaker broke so I had to make use of a handbook one. After that, I might paddle from 7:30 till midday, take a break for an hour to have lunch and take a nap, then paddle from one within the afternoon till 5:30. After desalinating water for one more hour and a half, I’d return into the cabin after which undergo an entire routine of hygiene, taking care to take away the salts from the ocean and caring for little wounds. Then I’d write the weblog for the day and prepare for mattress because the solar began setting–-around 7:30 by the point I received nearer to Hawaii. 

kayak to hawaii
Sleeping quarters had been tight on Cyril’s custom-made kayak Teresa O’Brien Pictures

As soon as I used to be in mattress, I nonetheless needed to get up each hour to verify there weren’t any container ships coming too near me. I all the time say the primary two weeks are the toughest, as a result of it’s important to adapt to sleeping twenty to thirty minutes at a time, however your physique ultimately adapts. You get used to waking up and checking the display of the GPS actually rapidly after which going again to snooze. 

OL: How did you put together for this journey, each bodily and logistically? 

Cyril: Nicely, you already know, there’s no dangerous climate, there’s solely dangerous gear. So in 90 days, I can have any type of climate, from actually sizzling to actually chilly to actually moist to actually dry. So I needed to have the proper gear and the selection of drugs was actually essential. Solely expertise can inform you what to take.

The 23-foot boat itself was created for ocean circumstances. It might probably climate any type of storm or actually robust wind, because it’s a self-righting boat. There are photo voltaic panels that cost two lithium ion batteries, and that provides me electrical energy for all electronics within the boat, together with the watermaker, my plotter, my communication satellite tv for pc. I needed to discover a builder in England who might make the boat {custom} for me—it’s nothing like the ocean kayaks which can be made for going alongside the coast.

Kayak to Hawaii
Cyril and his 23-foot kayak in opposition to a backdrop of ordinary sea kayaks Teresa O’Brien Pictures

The boat itself isn’t very simple to maneuver—it’s made for going straight—however it will possibly self-righten by itself when you do capsize. I did have to be connected always, as a result of if I grew to become separated from the boat it might be deadly. All in all it weighed about 800 kilos. 

Bodily, it’s principally the joints and tendons which can be struggling when it’s a repetitive movement, however you additionally lose plenty of weight—fats in addition to muscle mass. I had deliberate for 4,000 energy a day, however I needed to ration on the midway level as a result of I used to be taking longer than my unique estimate of 70 days—however even that was 220 kilos price of weight, So I needed to achieve some weight prematurely. On the finish of the journey, I had misplaced 20 kilos, principally within the muscle mass I didn’t use. I additionally took some Customary Course of dietary supplements, together with Vitamin D—as I used to be lined up as a result of the solar was so robust—and turmeric for irritation.

By way of psychological preparation, I did plenty of various things. One is that I had a psychological coach truly put together me for what situations might occur and the way I might cope. I additionally did yoga meditation and hypnosis with a guru in India to work on my unconscious ranges. There’s so many elements that affect the way in which we behave in our unconscious, and hypnosis can assist you create certainties in your thoughts that you just don’t entry on the acutely aware stage. As an illustration, we did a hypnosis session for an hour the place we put me beneath after which I repeated these 20 phrases that I wished to be ingrained in my thoughts. You’re doing it…comply with your gutsyou’re arriving to Hawaii. After which I repeated them on daily basis for 4 years, simply earlier than going to mattress. Then, when one thing occurred, these ideas would come unconsciously. It simply broke my worry of not with the ability to do it.

OL: Did something sudden occur in your journey? 

Cyril: I noticed plenty of wildlife. Mahi-mahi, that are the predators of the ocean, looking flying fish. And the flying fish that had been escaping would then be caught by birds as they had been flying via the air. After which I noticed frigatebirds and albatross in addition to dolphins and marlins looking them. Ninety days at sea, and at such a sluggish tempo, I might see issues that folks don’t usually see. Blue shrimp and squid leaping on the boat and issues like that. It was only a stunning reference to nature.

OL: What’s subsequent? 

Cyril: Nicely, first is restoration, as a result of I’ve misplaced plenty of muscle mass. I’m 46, so I have to rebuild that over the subsequent six months and work on flexibility and mobility. I’ve misplaced plenty of that. So it’s going to be yoga and low-impact actions like swimming and biking. And after that, I’ve received a bucket record that’s overflowing already. So I need to choose one factor in there and simply do it, however I can’t say—in any other case my girlfriend’s gonna kill me.

Editor’s be aware: This story has been up to date to acknowledge Ed Gillet’s crossing in 1987 and distinguish Derreumaux’s feat from Gillet’s.



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