After three months at sea, rations and a tropical storm, a San Francisco Bay Area man has become the second person to successfully kayak from California to Hawaii.
Cyril Derema reached the Hill early Tuesday morning on his second attempt at the 2,400-mile journey, which he documented on social media.
“It’s been a wonderful adventure, obviously a spiritual journey as well,” Derema said in a statement. “Before leaving, I couldn’t explain why I wanted to take on this challenge, but I finally found the answers to all my questions on the water. I enjoyed sharing my journey with everyone who followed me on the map or on social media.”
The 46-year-old worked on the project for four years. He first intended to go 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 near Santa Cruz.
Derreumaux started this year’s trip in Monterey in June in a 23-foot kayak equipped with a water desalination system and an inner cockpit. The swim, which required at least nine hours of rowing a day, had no shortage of challenges.
His kayak developed a leak that flooded the hold and he was forced to shelter inside the vessel for two days when he crossed paths with Tropical Storm Estelle. Deremo, who is originally from France, had to pump water by hand for almost two hours a day after the 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 instead of Honolulu as planned.
“During these three months, I faced every possible weather condition. A very rough sea in which I had to stay locked in my cabin without even being able to sleep, it was so exciting, but also an ocean that can be so calm that it transforms you so much that it fills you with peace.” – Derema . said. “I experienced moments of pure magic when all the elements came together: the stillness of the sea, the stillness of the currents, the stillness of the winds and the visit of a bird in the desert.”
Ed Gillette was the first person to successfully complete a trip from California to Hawaii by kayak in 1987 using a kite. In 2020, Leah Deaton traveled from San Francisco to Honolulu in 86 days by rowing boat instead of kayaking.
Dozens more tried to go. Last summer, 19 people attempted to cross the Pacific Ocean in small boats, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. At least two people have died since 2019, the newspaper reported.