The southern Pacific: 20.000 islands, one quarter of the world.
Routes from Panama to Australia
Best sailing conditions: February to September
Most sailors cross the Pacific in one season (six month), others spend several seasons to be able to visit more islands. Marinas for a stopover in winter: Tahiti, Fidschi and New Caledonia or harbors in New Zealand.
Panama to Fidschi
Fidschi to Sydney
Most sailors will sail is the classical route via Galapagos and Marquesas. When starting in February, the usual time to start, you can expect quite a few sailors following the same route and to meet these sailors again and again in the next half year. Sailing plans will get more diverse after Tahiti, as there are so many islands to visit and routes to follow. Other routes can be choosen and other islands may be visited, according to preferences of the crew and sailing conditions. The route Eastern Island – Pitcairn – Gambier is reserved for ambitious and experienced sailors. One might not even reach Eastern Island if trade wind are more south than south-east, and anchorage at Pitcairn is not always easy.
Sailing Across the Pacific – A month at sea – Sailing the Pacific Episode 17: Panama to Marquesas
Information about some Polynesian Islands
Galapagos: Nineteen islands, that form a protected marine reserve and nature park with strict regulations. Sometimes called a living museum. Yachts have to endure some restrictions, but are normally allowed to stay for three weeks. No marina available, but anchorage. Well outside of cyclone belt. One has to expect unsteady winds when crossing form Panama and one should bring enough diesel (or time ;-).
Marquesas: some of the most remote inhabited islands on Earth. A long passage (2900 sm) from Galapagos. Arriving there has been an adventure and is a reason to celebrate. The Marquesas are among the largest island groups of French Polynesia. Link: Insel-Lexikon.
Tahiti: the largest and most developed of the Society Islands and the administrative capital of French Polynesia. It was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous with surrounding coral reefs. It is the central hub for most pacific sailors. On Tahiti, Papetee is a very busy port. Marinas and haul-out facilities are available here.
Easter Island: 1900 sm away from Galapagos. It can be reached using the south-east Trade winds (wind forward of the beam). Easter Island sits in the horse lattidtude and variable wind conditions have to be expected. Anchorage can be difficult in high swell, as well a getting ashore. From there, Pitcairn (1100 sm), Gambiers and Tuamotus are the next destinations.
Pitcairn: Very few yachts visit the island but are offered a warm welcome by the successors of the famous HMS Bounty mutinity. Anchorage is even less secure than on the Easter Islands, access to shore only possible with the help of local boats.
Bora Bora: The Pearl of the Pacific. They belong to the most stunning, exotic and dramatic Polynesian islands. Bora Bora is part of the French Society Islands and is not far away from Tahiti. There is quite some tourism and and it is visited by a number of yachts and cruise ships.
Tuamotu Archipelago: The largest group of coral atolls (75) in the world. 75 atolls and innumerable coral reefs not far away from Tahiti. Perfect snorkeling, but not much fresh water. Most atolls are flat with few palm trees.
Samoa: Many writers have been seduced by the Samoan way of life. There are safe harbours and good anchorages on the two islands. Samoa was called western Samoa in former times and is different from American Samoa.
Nautical cruising guides
- Hagen, Kitty van. The Pacific Crossing Guide 3rd edition: RCC Pilotage Foundation Bloomsbury Publishing.
- Cornell, Jimmy. World Cruising Destinations: An Inspirational Guide to All Sailing Destinations. Bloomsbury Publishing.
- Cornell, Jimmy. World Voyage Planner: Planning a Voyage from Anywhere in the World to Anywhere in the World. Bloomsbury Publishing.
- Cornell, Jimmy. World Cruising Routes. Bloomsbury Publishing.
Reports from sailors
- Müller, Nathalie. Meer als ein Traum: Unter Segeln ins Glück (German Edition). Delius Klasing.
- Slavinski, Nadine. Pacific Crossing Notes: a Sailor’s Guide to the Coconut Milk Run (Rolling Hitch Sailing Guides). Rolling Hitch Press.
- Brevig, Anne E.. The South Pacific – the Sea of Dreams: Sailing Panama-Galapagos-French Polynesia – Tonga – Fiji – Vanuatu – Solomon Islands (Seven Seas Adventures Book 5) .
- Hordern, Miles. Sailing the Pacific. St. Martin’s Press.
- Die Reise der Bounty in die Südsee (Edition Erdmann),von
- Cook, James, von