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Old 29-07-2010, 10:32   #1
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Start Cruising in Caribbean or Australia ?

Like a lot of people we are dreaming (and saving) to start our own cruise. We practice by going to the Caribbean at least once a year and have been to most islands over the past 10 years. We did (and do) a lot of sailing in the Netherlands and have been to the Greece islands a couple of times.

Have been looking at Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Whitsunday Islands, Fiji Polynesia and so on. These places all seam to be comfortably close together; we've never been there since flying there would stop us from ever saving enough money for our own true cruising.

Question: If your are not really into crossing Oceans but do like to cruise for a couple of years what would you prefer: The Caribbean (been there , done that but wouldn't mind going back with more time than just a couple of weeks) or is Australia with close by islands a good alternative?

Eric
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Old 29-07-2010, 14:33   #2
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G'day, mate. Give New Zealand serious consideration. Excellent cruising and heaps of anchorages. Very reasonable cost of living, good marinas, and the people are incredibly welcoming. Most cruisers are able to get 6 month visitor visas and then head up to the tropic islands for the other six months. Cheers.
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Old 29-07-2010, 15:28   #3
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Talking NZ.......

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Originally Posted by matauwhi View Post
G'day, mate. Give New Zealand serious consideration. Excellent cruising and heaps of anchorages. Very reasonable cost of living, good marinas, and the people are incredibly welcoming. Most cruisers are able to get 6 month visitor visas and then head up to the tropic islands for the other six months. Cheers.

All these words and more.
Never sailed there, but it's where God's been hiding Eden.

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Old 29-07-2010, 19:46   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sigmasailor View Post
Question: If your are not really into crossing Oceans but do like to cruise for a couple of years what would you prefer: The Caribbean (been there , done that but wouldn't mind going back with more time than just a couple of weeks) or is Australia with close by islands a good alternative?
Eric
- - Starting with your main listed requirement of - "like to cruise for a couple of years" and you have pretty much eliminated NZ or Australia as you cannot stay in those countries that long - not to mention the cost of getting there and back. So that leave the islands of the Pacific and the Caribbean Basin. Purchasing a boat should be possible in either region.
- - The Pacific islands from Polynesia to New Caledonia south of the Equator and Line Islands to Guam north of the Equator is probably enough to keep you busy for two years. There is some serious mileage involved along with keeping a boat going.
- - The Caribbean Basin could be considered to be a lot tamer and closer to "Gentlemen's Passages." Starting anywhere and making the clockwise circle of the Caribbean Basin from the Leewards to the Windwards to South America to Central America and back can easily take 2 years especially considering you can spend a month or two in various locations without really exhausting or getting bored with what is available.
- - Either way, there are some serious questions of what/where/how you get the boat; any needs for access to 1st World services; and communication needs with home/work, etc. The Pacific islands are some really "out there" in the middle of nowhere and up close and personal with some exotic places and people. The Caribbean Basin is smaller and tighter with reasonable access time and distance and money-wise to "western civilization."
- - It would be a very difficult choice but really your financial resources, boat access, and personal/family needs are really the controlling factors to be considered.
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Old 29-07-2010, 20:04   #5
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Have to agree with Osiris, as attractive as NZ/AUS sound. They are a challenge in several ways that the Caribbean isn't, and both are beautiful and worth cruising. I'd start with the Caribbean and work my way to farther shores in subsequent years...

Oh, you are going to be SO happy, no matter what you choose! Safe voyage, and joyful preparations to you!

ACat/CatA
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Old 29-07-2010, 21:05   #6
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We "cut our teeth" in the Bahamas over the past 7 months, returned back to the states to make some small adjustments to the boat and wait out hurricane season. Headed back down to the Caribbean end of this year. If you are buying a new boat and don't have serious cruising experience under you belt I highly recommend trying this route as you are so close to the states to sort any issues out on your boat (albeit almost impossible to get anything done in the Bahamas)...
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Old 29-07-2010, 21:17   #7
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G'Day Sigma,

Our experience: Sailed from Calif to the SW Pacific, arriving in NZ in 1990. We're still here, caught in the Sputh Pacific Eddy. So many islands, so little time!
If active cruising is your goal, then the visa and customs issues mentioned above are not much af a problem. You do cyclone season in Oz or NZ, then truck off to the islands in winter. Repeat as required. We like it.

From what we read and hear of Caribbean cruising this part of the world is far less crowded, has more diverse cultures to investigate, and has no boat boys to deal with! And despite Kevin's worries, one can actually deal with boat problems down here. Really!

It all boils down to what you enjoy in a cruising ground.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Manly, Qld, Oz
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Old 30-07-2010, 02:11   #8
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- - Starting with your main listed requirement of - "like to cruise for a couple of years" and you have pretty much eliminated NZ or Australia as you cannot stay in those countries that long - not to mention the cost of getting there and back. So that leave the islands of the Pacific and the Caribbean Basin. Purchasing a boat should be possible in either region.
Osiris,

Thanks for your thoughts; yes there are quite a lot of decisions to be made. Can't you stay for let's say 6 months in NZ or Australia on a tourist Visa? I know that would be too little time but enough to get a good taste of it. Might even decide to stick around and spent the rest of our time on the planet there; who knows.

In general about the Caribbean: we have seen a lot of it and like the laid back attitude which can also be frustrating at times; you do have 4 to 6 months of hurricane season to deal with. The place is becoming too crowded and overdeveloped to our liking. Don't mind the boat boys though, we have learned how to deal with them. It's just Souffriere (St. Lucia) where 'boat boys' are a big nuisance.

For us the pacific would be new; we somehow feel less people go there and it is less developed and you can still get parts.
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Old 30-07-2010, 03:29   #9
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G'day, mate. Hundreds of cruisers routinely get 3 month visitor visas when they arrive by vessel to New Zealand and most of them (for a small fee of coarse) can easily extend to 6 months. The authorities do show some flexibilty to these timeframes. They don't want to put you to sea in a storm, because your visa is up, and have to come out and then rescue you. Cheers.
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Old 30-07-2010, 04:20   #10
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G'day, mate. Hundreds of cruisers routinely get 3 month visitor visas when they arrive by vessel to New Zealand and most of them (for a small fee of coarse) can easily extend to 6 months. The authorities do show some flexibilty to these timeframes. They don't want to put you to sea in a storm, because your visa is up, and have to come out and then rescue you. Cheers.
Good news, back in my merchant Nay days (some 30 years ago) I visited NZ on more than one occasion and liked it (must have climbed the mount (Manganui) at least a dozen times). I have no idea what cruising NZ will be like but will dig into that. The only cruising recollection I have is the rescue of two persons of a ferro cement boat on their way to Fiji (the people gave up after 4 days big storms; the boat was still fine when we found them). I can also remember a great fishing trip out of Tauranga.
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Old 30-07-2010, 14:40   #11
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G'day, Eric, you could spend six months just cruising up the coast from Tauranga to the North Cape. You have to watch out for Great Barrier Island, it could keep you there for a month or more with all the hiking & fishing. With today's weather models (although far from perfect) and 40 feet of waterline, the likelyhood of getting caught in a storm on the passage to the islands is reduced. One tip, I wouldn't head north when a high pressure system is moving over the Chatham Islands (they lie to the SE of the South Island). This situation typically draws a low pressure system down from the tropics towards NZ. Cheers.
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Old 30-07-2010, 15:39   #12
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Another consideration should be Thailand. Very friendly people, amazing landscape and by most standards, reasonably priced.
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Old 30-07-2010, 15:56   #13
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Osiris,

Thanks for your thoughts; yes there are quite a lot of decisions to be made. Can't you stay for let's say 6 months in NZ or Australia on a tourist Visa? I know that would be too little time but enough to get a good taste of it. Might even decide to stick around and spent the rest of our time on the planet there; who knows.

Yotties visiting Oz are easily able to get visas good for 6 months (application BEFORE arrival is a must) and sometimes for a year. The immigration department here is rather Byzantine, their overseas representatives are often clueless, and the rules do change frequently, so it is hard to generalize. The boat will be welcome for at least a year at a time, and that can often be extended considerably. We have found the folks at Customs (who are in charge of your boat) to be quite reasonable.
Both NZ and Oz have quarantine inspections for incoming yachts. These are ever more invasive and detailed, and in the case of Oz, expensive: here if you clear in during working hours M-F it costs AUD 330. All other times are twice that, and this extortionate fee is rumored to be soon increased yet again. But, we still like cruising here!


For us the pacific would be new; we somehow feel less people go there and it is less developed and you can still get parts.

We agree.
Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Manly Qld Oz
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Old 30-07-2010, 16:31   #14
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G'day, Mates, Still absolutely no cost to clear in and out of New Zealand! You may have to wait on the quarantine berth for a day until Customs/Immigration & MAF arrive if it's on the weekend or off season. Cheers
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Old 31-07-2010, 05:58   #15
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I really like the Chris Doyle guides about the Caribbean islands. Are there similar guides about New Zealand and surrounding (think broad) islands (including Australia; I know that is not an island by definition). Must be a nice feeling to sail into Sydney harbour and under the bridge.
I'm also curious as to which platform (mono/multi) you would prefer in that region. Used to be a mono sailor but tasted the advantages of a cat. For us cruising will mean lying at anchor most of the time.
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