Crossing the Pacific Ocean

January 31, 2012
It is Tuesday and we are a little more than halfway between San Diego, California, and Honolulu, Hawaii. We have been at sea for two days moving at an average speed of about 20 miles (32 kilometers) per hour. In all, it will take us five days to cover the approximately 2,500 mile (4,000 kilometer) journey from the mainland of the United States to the Hawaiian Islands.

A funny thing happened as Darren and I boarded the ship on Saturday and went through security with our bags. One of the security officers indicated that there was a problem and asked to rescan one of our duffels. This security person then asked us if we knew we had a shovel in that bag. “Of course,” I replied, “We are Trekking the Planet”. I went on to explain that we needed the small shovel for our treks during those times when we did not have access to a bathroom. After an awkward moment of silence, we were on our way.

Once on board, we spent some time with Princess Cruises Public Relations answering some questions and telling them more about our journey. Then, after dropping our bags in our cabin, we returned to the deck to admire the San Diego skyline. As our ship left the dock, the sun was just setting. The scene was beautiful — we were so excited to finally begin our journey!

The next morning, we returned to the deck for a quiet moment alone. The thing that struck me as I looked upon the endless ocean was the solitary feeling that I got. There was nothing but water in every direction and the continual sound of waves pounding against the ship. My eyes strained to see anything other than water as we moved along. Being at sea like this makes one realize just how large the world really is. It is hard to imagine what it was like for the explorers who first navigated this ocean in those slow wooden sailing ships not knowing what they would find. Before air travel became popular and affordable, this was the way that people moved between continents. It seems appropriate for an expedition such as our own, whose mission is to improve the knowledge of geography, to return to this form of transportation.

We are looking forward to some shore time in Hawaii. We will spend a day on the island of Oahu and a day on Kauai before five more days at sea en route to the South Pacific.

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10 comments on “Crossing the Pacific Ocean
  1. Mrs. Montegna's Class says:

    We are a sixth grade class following your adventure from Riverside, California and were wondering if you saw any marine life yet such as a whale, dolpin or flying fish? Also, what are your plans when you get to Oahu? Thanks!

    • Darren and Sandy says:

      Wow! I’m impressed with your questions!!!

      1. We have seen lots of whales as we left Kauai. We saw dolphins as we were leaving San Diego and before we arrived in Hawaii. We have seen flying fish (today in fact) on our way to Pago Pago.
      2. On Oahu, we went to see the palace, a famous statue and the sights along Waikiki Beach. We have made a video about our day. It will be published in our next newsletter which will go out next Monday.

  2. libates says:

    My fifth graders were excited to watch the videos about your trip. We have three questions: 1) Why aren’t you going to Antartica? 2) How much does a trip like this cost? 3)Are you going to see a volcano in Hawaii?

    • Darren and Sandy says:

      Great questions!!!

      1. Trips to Antarctica are super expensive… approx $7,000 per person.
      2. Not as much as you would think. We stay in budget hotels/hostels, eat breakfast and lunch using food purchased from a grocery store and prepare as much as possible before we leave. We are also spending 60 nights camping.
      3. Unfortunately, we are not going to see the volcano. The most-active volcano in Hawaii is on the big island. We are only going to Oahu and Kauai. We hope to see a volcano later in our trip.

  3. Matina Pulliam says:

    Hello, we are Mrs. Pulliam’s fourth grade class in Port Charlotte, Florida. We are thrilled to follow you along your journey. My class has a few questions;
    1. When do you expect to get to Pago Pago?
    2. Can you tell us about some of the animals you encounter on your journey?
    3. Have you met anyone interesting thus far?

    • Darren and Sandy says:

      Wow! Great questions!!

      1. We arrive in Pago Pago tomorrow on Feb 10 at 8am. We leave at 4:30pm.
      2. We have seen lots of whales as we left Kauai. We saw dolphins as we were leaving San Diego and before we arrived in Hawaii. We have seen flying fish (today in fact) on our way to Pago Pago.
      3. Yes. There are many interesting people. One gentleman practically lives on the cruise ship. He has been on this line for 1,400 days (that’s over 3 years)!

  4. Eileen Moore says:

    I liked your comment about the vastness of the ocean. I’ve felt that too, even not so far away from land. Really makes you feel insignificant, doesn’t it? The kids interest in animal life takes me back.

  5. Matina Pulliam says:

    We had a couple questions about Fiji and Tonga.

    1. While in Fiji did you visit any active volcanoes?
    2. What kinds of food did you eat while in
    Fiji?
    3. Did Cyclone Jasmine hit Tonga? Is the Cyclone similiar to the hurricanes we experience here in Southwest Florida?

    • Darren and Sandy says:

      Hi –

      Thanks for the questions! Here’s our answers:

      1. No, we did not visit any active volcanoes. Since we were only there for a day we just went snorkeling and hiking.

      2. We didn’t have a chance to eat on the island where we spent the day. However, we did have some tropical fruit (payaya, mango) from the area on the ship.

      3. According to our ship’s captain, the cyclone stalled just short of Tonga and I believe it was a tropical storm at that point. Cyclones and hurricanes are different names for the same type of storm, depending where in the world it is.