The French refer to The Doldrums as the ‘Le Pot au Noir’ and that is pretty well what it was for Anne Quéméré as she tried to cross through the region en route to Taihiti to become the first person ever to kite across the Pacific Ocean.
Whilst battling her way through she felt justified in appointing herself a new member of the “No Pity For The Doldrums Association”!
It threw everything at her – from appalling thunderstorms, huge unpredictable winds, sunshine and balmy seas, and then, on 10th December, just as things were beginning to look up and The Marquesas Archipelago beginning to show up on the corner of the map, the sad news came through to everyone watching her progress:
The news came during the night. Anne QUÉMÉRÉ was forced to abandon the Adrien Challenge of crossing the Pacific by kite and without assistance. “I must take this unfortunate decision and it is one of the most difficult taken in my lifetime” stated Anne, during the night.
The following excerpt comes from Anne’s website:
She left San Francisco on November 4th, and travelled close to 3500 kilometres over the 7000 that had been projected After a period of good sailing, Anne QUÉMÉRÉ joined the Intertropical convergence zone, otherwise known as the Doldrums. Since her arrival in that area, aboard the Oceankite she did not succeed in advancing any significant distance. Then came the “shock” of four days past when the kite was torn and the pulley system permanently damaged. “After the shock to the Oceankite over a week ago, I had great difficulty myself , recovering from this event. It’s as traumatic as one suffers after an automobile accident. I’ve lost confidence in my equipment as well as myself. It’s not pleasant but, its obvious. Without wind, one goes nowhere.” There hasn’t been any wind for the past ten days or what wind there was, came from the South which was pushing the Oceankite back on its track. “In one night, I lost all the mileage I had gained in one week” she explained over the phone during the night. And, if that wasn’t enough, there’s no more power on board, since this morning. A cargo ship, 25 hours away will attempt to pick her up. The manoeuvre is difficult as her transponder is out of commission. From the sponsor’s point of view, Adrien, Bretagne International and Yslab, they have already made their position clear. The safety of Anne is the priority. Anne’s rescue will be the subject of a further release later on in the day.
Anne was safely rescued but sadly had to abandon her Oceankite as conditions did not allow the huge cargo ship the chance to pick it up.
Anne had waited 48hrs before taking the decision to abandon her attempt to cross the Pacific single handedly. It will have been an enormous wrench to her to have had to submit to the decision.
On the 12th December she wrote: “Tonight, I’m in the wheelhouse, overlooking the sea and I still feel emotional, having trouble to accept this defeat. I won’t see the Polynesian Islands slowly rising out of the Ocean as I had so often imagined. I won’t savour the taste of victory but already, I know that this experience and its 2000 miles since San Francisco brought me new wisdom and fabulous images which I will never forget.”
Anne will be dropped off in Panama tomorrow, 17th December, and will be met by her father. When asked by her daughter if she would attempt further challenges, she hesitated and her daughter responded for her… “You’ll go back because what you do is cool”…
So watch this space, I imagine we’ll be talking about Anne again before too long! And our sympathies go out to her in what must be a difficult moment for both her and her team. What she achieved was still incredible, and bold, and adventurous. It deserves praise.