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Old 17-04-2011, 17:02   #1
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Gasoline and Propane on Pacific Islands ?

How hard is it to get gasoline and propane on Pacific Islands? Is gasoline expensive or even available on remote islands?

If propane is hard to get, what is a good stove fuel for Pacific islands?
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Old 17-04-2011, 17:31   #2
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Re: Gasoline and Propane on Pacific Islands?

"Pacific Islands" range from Hawaii to Australia to small islands with small villages to uninhabited motus. Your question is unanswerable without more detail.

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Old 17-04-2011, 17:40   #3
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Re: Gasoline and Propane on Pacific Islands?

G'day, mate. Both are readily available here in New Zealand. You shouldn't have too much trouble getting either in the larger ports along the "milk run" heading west, but you will proably pay higher prices than you're used to stateside. Generally, the propane is a mixture of propane and butane, so it takes a little longer to heat things and your bottle won't last quite as long.

Currently here in the Bay of Islands, you can get a 20 pound propane tank filled for around $27 USD. Whangarei, the next port south, a bargain at $16 USD. They do check the date on your tanks here, if they are older than 10 years they won't fill them, unless you have them recertified (around $25 USD).

Gas (called Petrol here) is up to $6.70 USD a gallon and diesel is $5.30 USD a gallon. Isn't inflation great, love that "hope and change". Cheers.
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Old 17-04-2011, 18:05   #4
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Re: Gasoline and Propane on Pacific Islands?

French Polynesia: Gasoline and diesel is pretty easy. Propane is available on the larger islands, but you will need an adaptor for a USA-standard tank fitting. The threads and dimensions are different. It's all expensive, but what did you expect -- you're on an island!
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Old 17-04-2011, 18:41   #5
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Re: Gasoline and Propane on Pacific Islands?

Easy in the major ports of Micronesia. LPG (contains some propane) can be more difficult on smaller islands. Here on Palau gasoline is US$4.70/g at the dock. LPG is available a few yards from a dinghy dock. Price unknown, probably reasonable.
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Old 18-04-2011, 07:56   #6
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Re: Gasoline and Propane on Pacific Islands?

It seems outboards are used pervasively by fishing pangas pretty much world wide, so I assume its possible to get petrol/gasoline where there are people. It sounds like the prices are not $20 a gallon. If one wanted to buy, say, 200 or 500 gallons in the Tuamotos or Easter Island, does one run into supply issues? Like "Sorry, we don't have that much to spare?"

What is the most common cooking fuel for pacific cruisers?

And yes, I mean everywhere in the remote Pacific.

Trying to select stove, heating fuel, and trying to confirm outboard power is practical.
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Old 18-04-2011, 08:19   #7
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Re: Gasoline and Propane on Pacific Islands?

We sailed FP, Cooks, Tonga, NZ, NC, Aus. No problem anywhere. LPG refilled Papeete and Nukualofa, gas available nearly everywhere.

But that was back in 2004. Things may have changed.

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Old 18-04-2011, 09:12   #8
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Re: Gasoline and Propane on Pacific Islands?

When we did the milk run there were supply issues with propane in the Marqueses. If I were choosing a stove to take with me to remote places it would be diesel. I know this is controversial, but I stand by that decision. You'll be fine for gasoline to run an outboard for a dinghy, but you will probably run into supply issues if you want to run a large outboard as your yacht's auxiliary engine (do you really want that much high-explosive on your yacht?). It IS possible to get a 30hp diesel outboard - perhaps this would be a better option?

If it's for your dinghy and you're going to be a LONG way from civilisation for a while, I recommend getting a dinghy with a sail - then you'll be able to save loads on fuel. Makes for fun time-trials around the yacht at sundowners time with your friends too. Can always put a small outboard on it when you want to as well, but you'll save loads on fuel.
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Old 30-04-2011, 05:24   #9
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Re: Gasoline and Propane on Pacific Islands?

Quote:
Originally Posted by u4ea32 View Post
It seems outboards are used pervasively by fishing pangas pretty much world wide, so I assume its possible to get petrol/gasoline where there are people. It sounds like the prices are not $20 a gallon. If one wanted to buy, say, 200 or 500 gallons in the Tuamotos or Easter Island, does one run into supply issues? Like "Sorry, we don't have that much to spare?"

What is the most common cooking fuel for pacific cruisers?

And yes, I mean everywhere in the remote Pacific.

Trying to select stove, heating fuel, and trying to confirm outboard power is practical.
There are 6,000 Pacific islands which offer some form of fuel. Could you narrow your focus a little ?
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Old 30-04-2011, 06:11   #10
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Re: Gasoline and Propane on Pacific Islands?

All this 'Pacific islands this' Pacific islands that' - c'mon folks, wake up - Pacific islands - the majority of them - are NOT that remote from civilization as you ask.

There is mostly everything available, most of the time. There are roads (quite too many I would say), satellite TV, T-shirts and doctors, and gasoline, and LPG.

No LPG in Marquesas, really? Why not order a big French bottle and re-fill yours? Off course, one has to order first and then wait for the ship. But do you really come down to Marquesas without a good supply of LPG? Why? No time to wait? Why cruising then?

No petrol in Tuamotu? Yes, it is sad them did not want to sell you 500 gallons, them primitive islanders ...;-) Them primitive 'civilized' men did not care to glance at the chart once and guess that it is a good idea to BRING 500 gallons (and sell or trade out the excess, at a huge profit)? Also - please anchor in the far end of the lagoon so that I do not have to listen top the yell of your jet-skis.

Seriously - all of the islands on the beaten track had everything we ever wanted, and many off the track had most if not all of the bare necessities.

Cruising is much about carrying what you need with you. If there is a good supply locally, replenish stock. If not, economize and go on. If there is surplus onboard - share with the islanders.

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Old 30-04-2011, 06:48   #11
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Re: Gasoline and Propane on Pacific Islands?

I loaded 20kg of LPG at Palau Tioman almost year ago. Stove should be stopping any day now because the second tank is really light. It lasts a long time. 3 meals a day full time cruising. What's the problem?
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Old 09-05-2011, 22:21   #12
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Re: Gasoline and Propane on Pacific Islands?

When I crossed the panama-new zeeland passage, i buyed two panama aluminium propane bootles (13kg version). They are inexpensive (compared to your shipchandler), and they don't rust. You can ask to change the fittings from panamean to US easily (or to européan if you carry this peice of equipment with you). 26 kg of propane on board of Graine d'étoile is more than a season of navigation (with intensive bread cooking). We refill them in NZ.

On graine d'étoile I got two propane storage. A small ventilated locker is in the cockpit, with two 2.5 kg bootles. That last me for 6 weeks. Then I refill the small botles from the large one by gravity.

Large 13 kg bootles are stored in the ventilated front space (separated from the rest of the boat by a watertight division).

In NZ it's really easy to refill propane bootles from any gaz station.

In New caledonia, that's really more tricky. You can only buy a local bootle and go to a remote place to refill yours (they forbid to do that in Noumea marinas)

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Old 29-08-2015, 00:57   #13
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Re: Gasoline and Propane on Pacific Islands?

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Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
French Polynesia: Gasoline and diesel is pretty easy. Propane is available on the larger islands, but you will need an adaptor for a USA-standard tank fitting. The threads and dimensions are different. It's all expensive, but what did you expect -- you're on an island!
You can have your N American propane tank filled in Tahiti without an adaptor. We gravity filled in the rest of French Poly from local tanks which were available at every store essentially. The only capital city we havent been able to fill propane without an adaptor so far is New Caledonia and we again could use our French fittings gravity fill set up there - not in a marina but right in the middle of the main harbour in Noumea...

Video: Gravity Filling Our Propane Tank | Estrellita 5.10b

Gasoline was a struggle only in the Tuamotus (so far) and by making friends with shopkeepers we were usually able to buy a few gallons from them if the supply boat wouldnt sell (which it sometimes would do).
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Old 29-08-2015, 03:40   #14
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Re: Gasoline and Propane on Pacific Islands?

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
All this 'Pacific islands this' Pacific islands that' - c'mon folks, wake up - Pacific islands - the majority of them - are NOT that remote from civilization as you ask.

There is mostly everything available, most of the time. There are roads (quite too many I would say), satellite TV, T-shirts and doctors, and gasoline, and LPG.

No LPG in Marquesas, really? Why not order a big French bottle and re-fill yours? Off course, one has to order first and then wait for the ship. But do you really come down to Marquesas without a good supply of LPG? Why? No time to wait? Why cruising then?

No petrol in Tuamotu? Yes, it is sad them did not want to sell you 500 gallons, them primitive islanders ...;-) Them primitive 'civilized' men did not care to glance at the chart once and guess that it is a good idea to BRING 500 gallons (and sell or trade out the excess, at a huge profit)? Also - please anchor in the far end of the lagoon so that I do not have to listen top the yell of your jet-skis.

Seriously - all of the islands on the beaten track had everything we ever wanted, and many off the track had most if not all of the bare necessities.

Cruising is much about carrying what you need with you. If there is a good supply locally, replenish stock. If not, economize and go on. If there is surplus onboard - share with the islanders.

b.
I didn't have a problem as I didn't run out of LPG. Those who did run out in the Marqueses had to wait a long time for the ship (weeks). This is an issue when you only have from March to October to cross from Panama to NZ and you want to see as many places as possible without risk of cyclones. I think the OP is asking tin order to be well prepared which is how one manages to be self-sufficient as a cruiser.
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Old 29-08-2015, 11:17   #15
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Re: Gasoline and Propane on Pacific Islands ?

OP has an excellent question. Sometimes, in the really remote areas, stuff is hard to find. We walked many many miles to get propane. It was a PITA in the Marquesas at Nuka Hiva. It was a hike to the little hardware store with very unfriendly store keepers. It may have gone better if we had spoken French. We had to leave our tanks for two days to get filled. Came back once and they still weren't done as promised. A long hike.

In Vava'u, Tonga, we dinked up the lagoon and tied up to the dock and then took a wrong turn and walked 3 miles the wrong way - in flip flops carrying an aluminum but very large tank. It was easy once we figured it out. Note to self: get better directions.

We had to do the gravity feed thing for propane like Estrelita noted above in Raiatea but we had to find local fittings first and that was hard. Took two days to sort it out and get about half a tank full at the end.

Gas was easier to find most everywhere, but in some places we actually shared some of our gas with the locals since they did not have any. You ALWAYS need to have extra on board to get you through those times as you never know when it will happen. No problem in any major cities/towns though, anywhere. It may just be a bit of a treasure hunt at times.

Some of our best times have been on treasure hunts for food, parts, and supplies.
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