2007 Cruising plan
So, the newest plan is to cruise the South West Pacific this sailing season (April-November) in lieu of rushing through the numerous island groups en route to SE Asia.
Planning for an April 15th departure from New Zealand (NZ) at the conclusion of the cyclone season (Dec-March), although cyclones have cropped up as late as June on a few occasions. Tonga the first stop is eight days to windward and promises a tough, cold and wet start to the trip. The good news is each sailing day away from NZ equals warmer weather and after two or three weeks cruising the spectacular Ha'apai Group of Tonga all memories of cold weather should be effectively erased and sun tans well underway. Then off to Fiji a navigationally technical three day sail through waters renowned for uncharted reefs and shoals. A month or so exploring Fiji then off to Vanuatu a five day sail. The pattern continues with a five day sail to the Solomon Islands for another month long stay before heading for Papua New Guinea (PNG) and yet another month exploring seemingly endless tropical islands and interesting peoples and cultures. Then its decision time, either head to the Brisbane, Australia area or alternately head way off the beaten path to Palau in the Republic of Palau. If Palau, the entire continent of Australia will get skipped on this go around. However, Palau would leave the boat nicely positioned for a relatively short sail to Indonesia (world’s fourth most populous nation) in the spring of 2008 and onward to Malaysia and ultimately, the next big layover in Thailand. I’m hoping for the Palau option as it would mean sailing over the top of PNG in lieu of the more typical route South of PNG through the Torres Strait with a stop in Darwin, Australia. Too soon to say…