In addition to dealing with seasickness, there were 12-foot waves, with 45-knot winds expected. “It went from bad to worse very fast after that,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The 44-year-old from Larkspur, Calif., had prepared for the voyage for three years, but the issue with his anchor, he wrote on Facebook, was the final blow.
“My sea anchor was playing its stabilizing role well and the situation remained manageable. This changed unfavorably at 9 p.m. when my ground crew told me that they had lost the [Automatic Identification System] signal for 3 hours,” he wrote. “I then notice[d] that my navigation system ha[d] lost the GPS signal and couldn’t recover it.”
While he worked to resolve the problem with his team, “the general behavior of my kayak suddenly changed, which I immediately attributed to a sea anchor damage. 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 wrote.
Unable to assess the sea anchor because his attempts allowed water into the cabin, Derreumaux determined he could not risk getting into the water to do so. It became “clear that the situation was not sustainable: Inability to eat, drink, sleep, communicate easily with my team ashore.”
The only option was to call the Coast Guard.
“Recognizing that the situation was beyond his capabilities and calling for assistance allowed our crews to reach him in time for a successful rescue,” Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll, a Coast Guard spokesperson, said in a statement after using a helicopter to pull Derreumaux from the water at 12:39 a.m. Pacific time Sunday.
He was in “good condition,” and Kroll added that the incident “shows that even experienced mariners with proper safety equipment can get into trouble on the ocean, which is why having the right equipment and knowing when and how to use it is so important.”
Derreumaux told the Chronicle he may try again in three weeks, after his team recovers the kayak and if the prospect isn’t too stressful for his family and girlfriend.
“Morale is good, I still have my passion for this adventure intact, and I am still determined to make it happen,” he wrote on Facebook. “I won’t give up!!! #Life is an adventure.”
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