I grew up in Vanuatu
, and crossed the pacific last year on my Cape Dory
30, from LA to Brisbane
, so here is my two cents.
was pretty tiny, and I usually chose the cheapest option when stopping the boat. I agree the world is a bureaucratic place and there are often hidden fees
, but I'd also like to paint
a prettier picture that whats on this post so far.
: Check in fees
were some of the most I paid, though not exorbitant. I don't remember the exact fee, but it was around $250 I believe. We stayed in a marina in Ensenada (one of the only on the trip) who did the paperwork for us and drove us to the offices.It was a simple procedure and took about an hour. I only stayed at two marinas
, Ensenada and La Paz
, and the berths were about a dollar a foot. There was however a check-out fee which we had to do before leaving La Paz
, and I remember that being expensive too - maybe another 200$?
: You can anchor
for free on any of the islands of the Marquesas
and the Tuamotus. We checked in at Nuku Hiva, which was again simple and pain free. It was also free, other than the bond. The 'bond' is an issue in FP yes, but there are "ways" (they just wanted to see a ticket receipt, in lieu of the bond) and if you do pay it, you get it back, all be it in their currency.
Tahiti/Society islands: We anchored for free in these places too. No more check in fees or anything. We stayed a few nights on the dock
in downtown tahiti
(the huge/free anchorage out of town is not as pleasant) and again it was a dollar per foot per day.
We didn't stop in the cook islands
so i cannot report.
: We anchored everywhere for free in tonga
, and check in fees were minimal, 50$ or so. there are several dozen amazing anchorages
too! Partly because we had a cat on board and they require a large fee for a cat bond. Check in fees were quite expensive from memory, but internet/food/repairs are cheap
there. This is just from other sailors reports though, not my own.
: Again, you can anchor
for free anywhere in Vanuatu, including Port Vila (though we dragged at anchor here, the holding isn't great) where there are also moorings for 10$ a night or dock
berths for more. Check in/out fees were reasonable, 150$ total for in and out i believe.
: Again our cat was an issue, she had to be quarantined for ten days (I know, i know, don't travel with pets!) but otherwise check in and out fees were free. We anchored also for free in Noumea, and all other anchorages in New Cal
, one of my favourite stops of the trip.
: Portal is currently on a secure mooring
in the brisbane river, where I pay 10$ a night, with shore facilities included.
Some points of note: If you're anchoring
in a small secluded bay with a local village on land, of course there may be other 'costs' involved, whether it be Kava for the Chief (a norm in Fiji) or rope/t-shirts/gear trades. The beauty of travelling by sailboat is you can have these exchanges with local people and personally i am happy to share/exchange whatever I can. Also, in the bigger towns it was very common to have the choice of moorings/a few dock spots/or anchorage. Aside from price
savings, I always chose anchoring
for the safety
aspect - I don't like to blindly trust moorings and more than one boat was lost
due to a mooring failure (whether the boats fault or not) during my crossing.
Also, as i said I was on a CD30 - she draws 4.5ft and we were often the smallest boat in the anchorage. That meant we would tuck right up front and there was usually a space for us. In noumea for example, where the bays were jammed packed, we found a spot right in the head
of the bay in very shallow water
and put out little scope
. Perhaps if you were a bigger boat anchorages would be harder to find. On the other hand, you'd carry more chain and be able to anchor further out in deeper water
So that's my two cents. Sailing the pacific IS paradise, and as much as I would love to keep thousands from flocking there, I also want people to experience it's beauty if they can, and to know there are ways of doing this trip on little money
, even if you stop in the major ports
sometimes. As a 26yr old on a 30ft boat, it was absolute paradise!