In the mid '70s my wife and I sailed to French Polynesia
and back to Hawaii
for a year and a half. Spent a little over $1,200 for the entire time we were out including a couple hundred dollars for boat stuff. The boat was thoroughly stocked before we left which isn't included in the $1200 and it was 1977 dollars so you have to multiply that figure by 5 or so to get current
We spent a lot of time in the Marquesas
and Tuamotus where you either couldn't spend or prices were so high that spending money
felt really stupid. I dove regularly for Lobster and got sick of eating it, we had so much. We went out with the locals and did some hunting, you can eat goat. We drug a line when out sailing and had pretty good luck. Helped ease ourselves into local milieu when we'd drop anchor
and take a 30# Ono or Mahi Mahi ashore for the locals. In the Tuamotu's, spear fishing
was so good, we kept ourselves in fish
for every meal with excess distributed ashore. Fishing, diving
and hunting was pretty much non existant in the Societies. The subsidized fresh Baguettes that we'd get every morning from a passing truck on the road in front of our anchorage eased the pain.
We didn't drink much. When it was particularly hot and thirsty out, I'd row ashore and get a cold Hinano Liter bottle from the Chinois store. I'd take it back to the boat and Faye would cook up some pop corn or shrimp chips and we'd pig out.
Think we went out for a meal once or twice but was very disappointed in the quality of the food for the cost. Faye made way better meals
on our Kero stove than any restaurant we found then. The hotels on Moorea featured NZ lamb and canned peas, something we could buy from the local store and cook up for a fraction of the cost.
Our boat was new and we'd built it ourselves so didn't have any major mechanical difficulities fixed the few things ourselves that went wrong. We had no refrigeration
and I'm thankful we didn't. Seemed those with refrigeration
spent most of their time in hot, noisy and stinky Papeete trying to keep it running. We could get fresh produce close to every anchorage we were in in the Societies and bartered with the locals for what little fresh stuff there was available in the Marquesas
and Tuamotus. Faye found some really creative ways to use Green Papaya which were plentiful. Didn't miss refrigeration at all.
makers were unheard of then so we didn't miss that. We never had to schlep water as we filled our tanks off the awning from occasional passing rain showers. We spent so much time in the water that showers were something we never worried about. A quick rinse down with freshwater was our limited use of freshwater and worked fine.
We helped out the locals when we could. Hunting in the Marquesas, collecting copra in the Tuamotus and a local fiberglass
shop on Moorea took up a lot of our time. Hikes ashore and trips on borrowed bikes took care of our exercise needs above and beyond snorkeling.
Then there was the socialization with other cruisers which was really fascinating in it's own right. In one anchorage in the Marquesas, had a research
vetenarian from Scotland
, an electronics
genius who'd been in on the creation of digital displays fresh out of college, a doctor of osteopathy, a Husquvarna factory moto cross rider from Sweden
, a stock broker from California
, a printing press operator couple from SF, and a young french couple who'd sailed a twenty some foot converted life boat from Europe
. A very eclectic crowd and all under 50 with most close to 30. More than half had built their boats and no one was in a boat over 40' and with most considerably smaller.
We lived well but not extravagantly and didn't miss the trappings of civilization. As you've probably divined, the demographics of the then cruising crowd was a bit different than todays 'adventurer.' None of us had an excess of money
or at least flaunted it. To do the 6 month renewal of your visa in Papeete, every one had to show the Gendarmes something like a $1,000 per person. We'd go around the boats anchored at the Quai and collect the needed cash to show the Gendarmes for the extension. Good thing they didn't mark the bills as they'd have quickly seen the Yachty recycling program was working great.