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22/07 - 2015

Pacific Ocean, July 19, 2015

The Pacific has really rejected me this year. I'm not just talking about the postponement till next year of the flight from Hawaii to the US mainland which I'd so been looking forward to. You can easily imagine how disappointing that was. No, what I'm talking about here is my return flight to Switzerland... by scheduled airline.

Heaven only knows why, but all the passengers had decided to close their window-blinds and total darkness reigned. I could only imagine the sublime view outside as the sun kissed the ocean. For the first time in years, I had failed to get a window seat. I plucked up courage to ask my neighbour why he'd lowered his blind, hinting that it was partly mine too.  He can find nothing better to say than that everybody had done it. That's the answer I hate most. Is it a reason? Not for me anyway, who had been looking forward to contemplating this stretch of the Pacific in advance of next year's trip. I'd had a wonderful view of it from my balloon 16 years earlier - a vast expanse that makes you lose your bearings, but find your own self. But also the little cumulus clouds strung together like pearls on a celestial necklace that will determine Solar Impulse's cruising altitude at night, as well as the spreading cirrus that would threaten the solar exposure of our photovoltaic cells.

These drawn window-blinds tell me clearly that this is not my year for the Pacific. At least the message isn't lacking in clarity!

Published in partnership with Caran d'Ache