Kayaker rescued during California-to-Hawaii solo attempt: ‘It went from bad to worse’
Cyril Derreumaux set out from the coastal town of Sausalito, California, on 31 May, headed for Hawaii in what was supposed to be an epic 70-day voyage across the Pacific.
But his hopes of paddling solo from the mainland to the islands were cut short over the weekend by rough seas and high winds.
Derreumaux was rescued six days after he set out by a US coast guard helicopter. He had endured several problems with his 23ft (7 metre) kayak, but when he lost his sea anchor he knew it was time to abort his adventure.
“It went from bad to worse very fast after that,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle from his home in Larkspur, California.
In a Facebook post, Derreumaux described an increasingly dire situation as his kayak was pummeled with 4.5-metre-high waves, the vessel’s anchor lines became entangled in the rudder, and his GPS stopped functioning.
“As we were working with my team on a solution to this electronic problem, the general behavior of my kayak suddenly changed, which I immediately attributed to a sea anchor damage,” he wrote. “In a few moments my kayak was positioned almost parallel to the axis of the waves, and I found myself violently tossed from side to side, along with all the equipment that was stored in the cabin.”
He continued: “As night had just fallen, it was clear that the situation was not sustainable: inability to eat, drink, sleep, communicate easily with my team ashore.”
After consulting with his land crew, Derreumaux phoned the coast guard for a rescue Saturday night about 70 miles west of Santa Cruz. A diver was lowered from a helicopter into the water and helped hoist Derreumaux up.
Derreumaux’s boat remains adrift in the ocean. He said he hopes to coordinate a retrieval effort this week when the winds die down.
“I knew from the start that it would be a difficult thing,” Derreumaux, 44, wrote on Facebook. “I still have my passion for this adventure intact, and I am still determined to make it happen … I won’t give up.”