Tips for Extended Cruising in the South Pacific

Published 15 years ago, updated 4 years ago

Hi, our last time around we spent 4 years in the S. Pacific, bouncing between NZ and the islands and finally on to Australia. This time, we’re planning on transiting the canal late (June) and plan to only make it to Samoa that year, but don’t want to head for NZ for the cyclone season – which means north. What would you recommend with the idea that we’d like to return to finish the S. Pacific the next season (Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, NC, Coral Sea). I would think the beat back from the Carolines/Micronesia would be torture? Marshalls? Kiribati?

Any thoughts would be highly appreciated. Jimmy’s book is buried in our storage unit till we’re ready to go again!

Thank you,



That’s a tough one! Possibly the easiest solution would be to hole up in Pago Pago, which has a cyclone-proof harbour, and spend the cyclone season there… but that wouldn’t be a lot of fun!

Yes, you could go north from Samoa to Tuvalu and Kiribati, and possibly to other parts of Micronesia but you may end up too far west for an easy return to the S. Pacific. The alternative, once north of the equator, is to try to make some easting (stick close to the equator to take advantage of light winds and the east setting counter-equatorial current). Try to sail as far east as possible on such a low latitude course, then head north, visit some of Micronesia going west, then, come April or May, when you are getting close to 180 degrees, turn south. You should have no problems getting back to Fiji.

If you do this, make sure you head north in October, before the cyclone season starts in the S. Pacific.

Good luck!

Jimmy Cornell

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