Friday, May 23, 2014

Big Thanks for all the support

Arrival Bora Bora, Evening news France
Thanks everybody for the tremendous support during the French Polynesian Crossing. I had messages from all over the world and feel proud to have some many friends and that I can inspire so many others. The biggest compliment I got here was being called a Aito (Tahaitian Warrior) by several French Polynesians.  Although I had almost forgot how tough this can be, it was very rewarding to make it in 4 days and had plenty of time to think about the things which are important in life; Friends and enjoy the moment.

The biggest thanks goes out to my biggest friends my wife Dagmar and daughter Soleil.

Also big thank you to Jean Claude (Starboard Tahiti) and Stephan Lambert, #kainaluxt for everything they organized in Tahiti and Bora Bora.
Starboard for the best boards available. Supskin fro a great drysuit, Maui Jim for the prefect sunglasses. Hotel Softitel Bora Bora for a stay in Paradise. Patagonia for the best adventure clothing. And Tom from Black Project for the weather forecast and fins.
#starboardsup#supskin#mauijim#sofitelborabora#blackprojectfins #patagonia
Enjoy this short movie by Gilles Hucault of the arrival in Bora Bora which was on the evening news in French Polynesia and France.

Aloha and Iaorana from Tahiti.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Thank you and Aloha from Maui, May 20th 2014

We were amazed by all the support from family, friends and the big stand up paddle community out there. Thank you for all the encouraging words, posts, emails, txt messages and phone calls. It really kept Soleil and I calm and focused giving us the strength to get through this time and help us to always stand behind Bart's courageous adventures.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
From now on this is Bart's blog again. He will post a summary today.

Aloha from Maui, Dagmar and Soleil

Recovering from the Crossing, May 20th 2014

4 days and 3 nights on the open ocean, fighting with the elements, paddling in intense conditions with ocean swells and current takes definitely its toll.
This is are pictures from Bart's arrival at Bora Bora taken by Jean-Claude Desanti. Thank you Jean Claude.

Some hours of sleep and a great breakfast and my husband is back to normal and says that he feels great.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Maui News today, May 19th 2014

Arrival pictures, May 18th 2014

Everybody asked already about arrival pictures. The internet connection on Bora Bora is too bad to send out picture files or most of the time emails at all, Bart just said.
We will post some as soon as possible.

Aloha, and good night from Maui

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Interview in french on Tahitian TV before Bart's departure

Bart arrived in Bora Bora, May 18th 2014

Just before sunset Bart made landfall in Bora Bora.
He didn't expect that paddling the last miles would be that cruel. He got current against him and finally even the wind against him. He had to put all his last strength into that finish.

I just talked to him. He is feeling very tired, has sea legs, had to sit down right away and drink a coke to bring his circulation back up and fight the dizziness. They are having a celebration for him right now. He will call me later. It was so good to hear his voice. Photos will follow in the next post.

Aloha from Maui, from a very relieved Dagmar and Soleil

Position update, May 18th 2014, 4:41pm

He is already around the north of Bora Bora, racing towards the finish, yeahhhh.

Position update, May 18th 2014, 2:22pm

Wow, Bart is really speeding it up now. The tracker shows 8km/5mi/h. If he can keep that up he will be around the north of the island not later then 4pm. To reach Vaitape port by 5:30pm is then for sure a possibility. The boat to greet him with photographer and film crew leaves the port at 3:30pm towards the north. We can't wait to see pictures from his arrival and talk to him.

Position : Lat -16.493655, Lon -151.632635

Aloha from Maui, Dagmar and Soleil

Position update, May 18th 2014, 10:18am

Bart : "...just passed Tahaa, 19miles now to the North of Bora Bora, paddle close to the reef, super beautiful, got to go.."

Friends are getting on a boat this afternoon to join him outside of Bora Bora to the finish.

I don't know where Bart takes all that strength from to paddle with that much power and speed at the end of such a long crossing - 4 days, 3 nights on the water.
Soleil and I are really sad that we can't be there this time. Too much work and commitments here on Maui. Our store needs to run while he is gone.
Can't wait to talk to him when he is done. He choose an amazing place to relax from all that hard work. Great for him. He deserves it all.

Aloha from Maui, Dagmar and Soleil

Position update, May 18th 2014, 6:22am

Bart at 3:00am: "...slept a little, started paddling, feel good, let's finish this..."

Bart at 5:42am: "...all good on board..."

His position at 6:22am: Lat -16.631230, Lon - 151.305835

Right now he has Tahaa Island right in front of him. His board speed went down. He is probably eating and drinking something. This will be an intense day of paddling if he wants to make it before the sun sets.
But I know he is determined to finish today and not to spend another night out in the open ocean.

The reef entrance into Bora Bora lagoon is on the far west side of the island. Due to the wind conditions he needs to approach from the north.
Our friend Tom Hammerton is his weatherman. I will contact him to see if the wind conditions are still calling for that.
Last night I slept 5hrs in a row and not only 1 or 2, that's why there was no post at 3am.
Soleil and I will be so relieved when he is back on land. Yeahhh... Go Bart Go!

Aloha from maui, Dagmar

Position update, May 17th 2014, 8:30pm

Bart : "...wind is better, I feel better, planned arrival for tomorrow around 5:30pm, lost pump for air mattress yesterday night when I capsized, blew it up now anyway, not as good, but I could lay down..."

Bart made great progress in the past hours and feels very confident when the wind and current stays like this, to make it by tomorrow late afternoon, yeahhh. That would be awesome.

His position at that time: Lat -16.656175, Lon -151.078491

I could even talk to him on the phone when he came closer to Huahine, around 4pm. He sounded good, tired, but in good spirit.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Position update, May 17th 2014, 2pm

Bart : "...very tough, but staying strong, a lot of similarities to my 5 day solo, non-stop, unsupported crossing of the Hawaiian Island chain..."

Lat -16.731823,  Lon -150.814240, Huahine island very close by.

Bart paddled almost 2/3 of the way. The conditions are very tough, very rough. But I know he can set his mind right to mind over matter and tries his hardest to bite through it. It's a lot of weight with all his gear, all his supplies and water on board. His ground speed is effected by that. It is 2pm now, 5 more hours before the sun sets.
I will post another update around 9:30pm when his resting period has started already. Then I will have another update how he feels.

Aloha from Maui, Dagmar

How was Bart's night on sea, May 17th 2014, 6:27am

Bart : "...rough night, rolled over once, all good now, finally see land again, paddle hard today..."

I can imagine after this rough night he sets his goal to reach Bora Bora to Sunday before sunset, to have only one more night out in the open ocean. We will see how it goes today.
He can finally see Huahine in the distance. That's great motivation for an intense paddle day.

Aloha from Maui, Dagmar

Position Lat -16.943525, Lon -150.510785, board speed right now 6km/3.7mi

Night message from Bart, May 17th 2014, 12:26am

Bart : "...tough but doing good, hardest is to get into my suit at night dry..."
Lat -16.943525, Lon -150.510785

Friday, May 16, 2014

Txt message from Bart, May 16th 2014, 7:44pm

Bart : "...seasickness is mostly gone, thought I had a good day, but still didn't get really far. We will see, I should arrive either Sunday or Monday morning, wind turned, better, miss u..."

I liked the last two words a lot. :) I can here he is disappointed not being over 1/2 way already. The wind looks very steady from the back for the following days.

Good night from Maui, Dagmar

Bart is ready for the night, May 16th 2014, 7:06pm

When I follow the tracker I can see that he slowed down. His board speed is now 0.6mi/1km. He is drifting with the current and the wind. Probably eating and setting up his bed.
His current position is Lat -16.914020, Lon -150.440490. Just some more miles to go and he will be half way.
I hope he will send a txt soon, so we know how he is doing, if he is not seasick anymore, still in good spirit and strong for the following night and day to come. I will keep you posted,

Aloha from Maui, Dagmar

Update, May 16th 2014, 12:06pm

From Bart "...all good, yesterday was slow due to side winds, this morning seasick again, took it easy, ate more, feel a lot better..."

His position at 12:06pm: Lat -17.045866,  Lon -150.219776

Aloha from Maui, Dagmar

1/3 of the way paddled already, May 16th 2014, 9:20am

Bart paddled already 1/3 of the way and is doing good with board speed of 8km/h.
His tracker update stated: " The French Polynesian Crossing, Paddling strong on my STARBOARD Expedition 14'..."

I will post a position picture at Noon, that's in 1.5h, Aloha, Dagmar

Bart is ready for today, May 16th 2014, 4:18am

" ...had a good sleep, SUPSKIN suit is great, first warm night, packing up and start paddling in 30min..."  - message from Bart's tracking system "DeLorme in Reach" -

Position report, May 16th 2014, 12:42am

As it is in the middle of the night Bart is still resting on his board, paddling slow, waiting for the sun to come up in some hours.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Good night post, May 15th 2014, 7:26pm

" ...all good, forgot how much work it is to build up the "bed", (blow up the mattress construction), attach the outrigger and put on the SUPskin dry suit. Now all is good, puked twice. I am laying in my comfy bed, feel good now..."

Progress report, May 15th 2014, 6:13pm

Bart at 6:13pm: " sea and all good"

I must say that this is not my favorite time of the day. I don't like it when he is out there in the night. Hopefully it's clear skies and lots of stars out there.

When we sailed around the world I never favored the night shifts very much. What I like a lot about being on the ocean when it's dark is when the moon rises and you are under this amazing curtain of stars. That's magic, something what let you drift away like in a meditation. The slow movement of the waves. The really black water is something what scared me. The sound of the waves soothes it.

I know how much Bart was looking forward to do this crossing, how much planning and preparation he put into it.
He admires the tradition of paddling in the Pacific Ocean, wants to show how voyaging still can be done long distance between the islands, just with manpower, to honor the ancient tradition.

When I look at his tracker you can tell that he makes great progress.
Bart was very excited when he tested his expedition board yesterday. It performs better then he expected. The rudder works great.

Aloha and good night from Maui, Dagmar

And another picture from Bart

Photo by Tim Mc Kenna.

Bart's departure in pictures, May 15th 2014

All Pictures by Jean-Claude Desanti

Update from Bart, May15th 2015, 12:06pm

"Everything good, wind side/behind 15-20kts, weather clear, some sailing boats, seasickness ok, feel good...."

Bart is on his way, May 15th 2014

Today at 6:30am local time in Tahiti Bart left for his Polynesian Crossing.
Here are pictures where he is right now, as well as an overview of the Polynesian island chain showing Bora Bora in the upper left corner, 180sm to go. Go Bart Go.

Aloha from Maui, Dagmar

The French Polynesian Crossing just started, May 15th 2014

By the time you read this post,  I will be on my way on this French Polynesian Crossing. Starting in Tahiti paddling all the way to Bora Bora.
I will use a tracker, to follow my progress check this link 
Dagmar (my beautiful wife) also puts posts on the blog. I will be able to send small message via satellite to tell about the conditions.

Thanks everybody for all the nice messages. See you in a couple of days from Bora Bora.

Here is a peek at the new Starboard Expedition.

Many people ask if I anchor at night.  Well, since it is mostly 3000m (10.000ft) or more meters, no I don't. But if it is very windy and I drift a lot I use this sea anchor. It works as a parachute in the water.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Got the board and made it on the flight to Tahiti

After a stressful day which started at Korean Air this early morning at 6:30, right after I arrived in LA. They gave me the paperwork and sent me to Customs who told me to come back in 5 hrs.
After I came back in the afternoon customs said I normally need a couple of days and didn't know if it would work out today. But with a big smile and a lot of patience they released the board. A couple of hours later, I checked in with Air Tahiti Nui. Normally the allow only a max length of 8'5". I came with 2 bags and a 14'er.
Again with a big  smile and a  little magic at the counter, they checked me in. Tahiti here I come.

Weather looks good for the next week. Medium trades in Ok direction.
I can't wait to try out the board...

Friday, May 9, 2014

The gear, I bring on a crossing

Today I had to rearrange flights because my expedition board was not arriving on Maui in time for my flight to Tahiti. With a lot of support from Starboard, board was rerouted to Los Angeles. And found 2 new flights first  to LA and then  from there to Tahiti. Leaving on Sunday for LA and Monday for Tahiti

The gear for a multiple day crossing is a lot more than you would take on a rail tour,  a lot more.
Specially because this crossing is unsupported, I bring a lot of back up and extra gear, like a water maker. I will bring water for at least 5 days although I think I only need 3. Water is the single most important item on board without water you won't survive very long. Although it is a lot of work with a water maker I make drinking water from saltwater. About one liter in one hour of hand pumping.
I have 2 GPS's and a tracker system (INREACH) which sends a signal with my position  via satellite so very one can follow me.  The Inreach also serves as a emergency beacon in case of a life threatening situation. I also carry and epirb ( personal locator beacon) which I have on me day and night.  Below I have picture with all the electronics I bring.

Gear list
GOPRO Camera Hero 3
Small waterproof hand camera, Canon D10
2x GPS, Delorme and Garmin
Epirb, ACR
Tracker Delorme Inreach 
Iphone (for 2 way, short message communication via Inreach)
Hand watermaker, Katalyn
2x Headlamp
Strobe lamp
VHF radio (not in the picture)
Backup battery to charge cameras and iPhone

For the night I have a mattress where I build some side walls on so I don;t get too much waves in my face. I have to blow it up every night and strap it on the board. Many ask me if I use an anchor at night. Most places where I did crossings are between 300 and 4000 meters deep and impossible to anchor. If the wind is not in the right direction I set the sea anchor though, basically a parachute in the water which stops me from drifting to far in the wrong direction. And I use my back up paddle with 2 floaters in the night as small outriggers so the board is a little more stable. At night it does get very cold at sea specially when you are wet. That's why the drysuit with under layers under it will be a big upgrade from the Hawaiian Crossing when I only had a wetsuit and was very cold every night.
Here is the rest of my packing list

Expedition board with front rudder and grab line around the whole board to attached all gear to.
2 paddles
3 leashes (I always wear min. 2 at the same time)
Drysuit very advanced , light weight suit made by SUPSKIN
Sea anchor
Survival blanket a thick one with insulation works as a sleeping bag which can a and does get wet.

2 x underlayer pants, Patagonia
2x thin under layer shirt, Patagonia
2x warmunder layer shirt, Patagonia
1x thin down jacket, Patagonia
1x thin down body, Patagonia
3x warm socks
warm head (night)
sun head (day)
2x surfshorts
2x long arm lycra

Water (for 5 days 25l. +)
packed in several 2 or 4 liter  containers

Food (for 5 days)
Heed (Hammer) electrolyte powder
Perpethuem (Hammer), liquid bike food , Powder
Recoverite (Hammer), Protein recover drink for at night, powder
Muesli/oat breakfast with milk powder (just mix in water)
Dry freeze meals (mountain House)
Heat packs ( these packs react with water and warm up my meals)
Sport Bars
Nut and dry fruit mix

Medicine package
Strong painkillers
2 x antibiotics
Sunscreen and blocker

Repair sack 
tie reps
handy knife

life vest
sea chart

Inflatable bed
small hand pump

Every thing is packed in zip lock bags in dry bags.
All electronics are in small dry packs with small leashes attached to the grab line.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

SUPSKIN drysuit arrived, almost ready to go

This week my SUPSKIN, drysuit arrived. This Expedition Suit is reenforced on the knees and back and a new easy zipper over the front.
Amazing piece of clothing. Super light and breathing. This suit will keep me dry and comfortable on the crossing. I will be wearing the suit mostly at night. Together with some comfortable clothing from Patagonia underneath I will have some good sleeps at sea. Apart from the half an hourly watches, waves and swell off course.  Big thank you to Wolfgang and Brigitte at SUPSKIN for world's best drysuit.
It was harder to get the board to Tahiti than I expected. Now Starboard will ship the board to Honolulu from where I will hand carry the board to Tahiti. In Tahiti I will take a few days to organize and test a few things. Then when the weather looks good I will start on the 3-4 day crossing.
I will leave for Tahiti on May 10. More updates to follow this week.
Next update, "What gear and equipment I take on board on a crossing "