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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Pacific Puddle Jump: Yes or No?

Prospective cruisers mulling crossing the Pacific  -- Is the Pacific Puddle Jump -- also known as the PPJ -- worth joining?

Every year about 200 boats loosely join up together to cross the Pacific Ocean as part of the "Pacific Puddle Jump," from the Americas to "Oceania" organized by the sailing magazine folks from Latitude 38. Most cruisers converge in French Polynesia, to celebrate their journey.  The video touches on celebrations in Tahiti and Moorea (with a little liberty taken by including 2 cruiser events in Tonga, though also attended by PPJers).

In our experience... there's no good reason not to join if you're committed to go.  Besides; it's free.

Here's what we got out of it
  1. A sense of community -- PPJers get a list of who all is crossing that vast stretch of ocean (the closest stopping point to the Galapagos is a minimum of 3,000+ miles!) more or less at the same time as you are.
  2. Lots of great information tips
  3. Streamlined country check-in to French Polynesia including the waiving of the normal bond (additional entry fee) via a paid third party
  4. Cruising info session and celebration in Tahiti, French Polynesia regarding French Polynesia and Tonga.  By chance there was also an enhanced sense of place from the local Marquesan leaders, who just happened to have been in town then.
  5. Celebration in Moorea,  French Polynesia, our grand introduction to French Polynesian culture -- food, dance, traditional competitions and even comical lessons on how to wrap a pareu (pronounced pa-ray-oh). 
  6. Improved safety - when Nirvana Now was sinking, boats quickly queued up to successfully rescue them.  Randy and Dawn, formerly of Nirvana Now, have since resumed cruising, on another boat.
Additionally, here's a couple PPJ bonuses we did not take advantage of, even though they are worthwhile
  1. Get-togethers (info seminars, parties and swag) in Mexico and Panama 
  2. Regular communication before, during and after the crossing via SSB (aka ham radio) network (only because, regrettably, we did not have a working SSB)
Admittedly, we do wish we spent more time in the Tuamotus, which we cut short in order to make the planned events in Tahiti and Moorea.

We are still in touch with many fellow PPJers.  Some are still cruising.  Others, like us, are currently not cruising, though most of as are dreaming or planning of when and how we can, still lured by the ocean's sweet song.

Location Location
This post is a retrospective primarily from June 18, 2015, when we arrived in Tahiti (S17.32.380 W149.34.210) at the newly re-opened town marina, and Moorea, June 20, 2015 (S17.30.229 W149.49.217).

Currently, we are living aboard another boat in Portland, Oregon (N45.47.449 W122.47.189), a sweet, homey live-aboard Puget Trawler aptly named Serendipity in gratitude for the incredible generosity of the friends who entrusted her to us.

Up Next
Work and family matters called, slowing posts.  There are still stories to be told of our long sail, relatively current watery and other explorations here in the States and eventually, new adventures, when and where are still TBD.