Please tell me the South Pacific and the world is not really like this. So far the only two countries I have cruised are the US and Canada and they let you love on the water for free almost anywhere even in the major cities like vancouver and San Francisco you can anchor for free for as long as you want.
How long have you owned your boat? I believe most people with experience boating
in the San Francisco Bay area may disagree with your assessment "you can anchor for free for as long as you want."
Anyway, hate to burst your bubble but it's true, cruising in many parts
of the world IS like this.
It's not just the port fees that add up, but in some places anchoring
is not an option. Moorings when available will typically cost $15-30 U.S.D. per day. There are other 'hidden' costs like so-called 'tips', 'bribes' and 'fees' paid to officials who insist you wait on your boat at anchor until they 'come out'' to clear you in. Not necessary, but another justification for them to charge a fee.
Some examples of fees you may encounter. Cartagena
- $300 port fee for a three month stay and you must use an agent. Most likely staying in a marina will be necessary to ensure the safety
of your vessel and because anchoring is undesirable due yo exposure, poor holding and access to shore.
Boca Chica, Dominican Republic
. Anchoring where permitted is inconvenient and of questionable quality. Security
is a concern. Otherwise anchoring is prohibited. 'Tipping' is expected. Slips are expensive and moorings will cost - depending upon who to believe -$15-20/day.
. Expect costs for visa, X-ray if you've been in the South Pacific islands more than 90 days, quarrantine and customs
to run $500 and up for a 12 month stay. More, the larger your crew and boat.
. About 2.5 years ago, $1,200 for a +-38' boat with a crew of two. Includes cruising permit
, port fees and visit by officials to your boat most likely anchored in 100' and more of depth
while you wait...
Lots more, depending on where you choose to visit in the Caribbean
. Unless it's changed since 2009, islanders posing as immigration and customs officials at Palmerston in the Cook Islands
'fees'. Refuse to pay and you were treated 'personna non grata' Not so in 2000.
It has become more common to encounter fees than not, although some places will charge very modest fees.
Paying to anchor is in some places is required, especially in Indonesia
and other locations with a predominately muslim population.
Could go on and on, but quite frankly it's too depressing an exercise.