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Bay Area man becomes second to kayak from California to Hawaii | Hawaii

After three months at sea, rationed meals and a tropical storm, a San Francisco Bay Area man has become the second person to successfully kayak from California to Hawaii.

Cyril Derreumaux reached Hilo early Tuesday morning on his second attempt to complete the 2,400-mile journey, which he documented on social media.

“It was a magnificent adventure, clearly also a spiritual journey,” Derreumaux said in a statement. “Before leaving, I couldn’t really explain why I wanted to take on this challenge, but I finally found all the answers to my questions about the water. I loved sharing my journey with everyone who followed me on the map or on social media.”

The 46-year-old has been working on the project for four years. He originally intended to embark in 2020 but canceled those plans due to Covid. Last year rough seas and a damaged anchor derailed his first attempt after less than a week. A US Coast Guard helicopter rescued him outside Santa Cruz.

Derreumaux began this year’s trip to Monterey in June in a 23-foot-long kayak equipped with a water desalination system and an interior cabin. The trip, which required at least nine hours of rowing a day, was not without challenges.

derreumaux by boat with hills in the background
People watch Derreumaux paddle in Sausalito last year. Photograph: Stephen Lam/AP

His kayak developed a leak that flooded a compartment, and he was forced to shelter inside the ship for two days as he crossed paths with Tropical Storm Estelle. Derreumaux, from France, had to manually pump water for nearly two hours a day after a machine broke down.

He was at sea three weeks longer than initial estimates indicated and had to ration food for the final leg of the 91-day, nine-hour voyage, and disembark in Hilo rather than Honolulu as planned.

“I encountered all possible weather conditions during these three months. A very rough sea in which I had to stay locked inside my cabin, without even being able to sleep, it was so moving, but also an ocean that can be so calm that it transforms you deeply so much it fills you of tranquility,” Derreumaux said. “I experienced moments of pure magic where all the elements came together: calm of the sea, calm of the currents, calm of the winds, and the visit in the middle of nowhere of a bird.

Ed Gillet was the first person to successfully complete the trip from California to Hawaii by kayak in 1987, using a kite. In 2020, Lia Ditton traveled from San Francisco to Honolulu in 86 days, in a rowboat rather than a kayak.

Dozens of others have attempted the trip. Last summer, 19 people attempted to cross the Pacific in small boats, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. At least two people have died in the effort since 2019, the newspaper reported.

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