The second time was the charm for French-born, Marin-based kayaker Cyril Derreumaux, who set off for Hawaii on a solo kayak journey earlier this summer and made it there earlier this week.
"I was so glad I could share the whole journey on social media," Derreumaux tells KTVU, sporting a very full and robust beard after his 92-day (!) kayaking trip. "Having people that connect with not just the kayaking side, or even the adventure side, it's more the human spiritual journey that I was on."
Derreumaux, 45, only made it six days into his first attempt at this insane feat last year, getting stuck in impossible currents about 50 miles off the coast of Santa Cruz and having to call in a Coast Guard rescue.
But now, the stubborn and stalwart adventurer can claim to be the first person ever to complete a solo kayaking trip across the Pacific to Hawaii. He made the trip — which he'd estimated would take 60 to 70 days — in a custom-built 23-foot craft equipped with a sleeping cabin, navigational equipment, a mini-desalinization machine for water, and a sea anchor. He left from Monterey in late June.
"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 on the water," Derreumaux said in a statement after he landed in Hilo Bay on Tuesday. "I encountered all possible weather conditions during these 3 months. Very rough seas 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 with tranquility. I experienced moments of pure magic when 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. It was so simple and so beautiful."
Other adventurers have completed the California-to-Hawaii trip in other types of crafts — including El Gillet in 1987, who completed the trip in in 63 days in a store-bought kayak with a propulsion kite. And in 2020, British rower Lia Dutton completed the Bay Area-to-Hawaii journey in a rowboat in 86 days.
Photo by Tom Gomes