Creature Comforts: Costs and Conveniences Sailing the Pacific

Marina Uturoa as seen from above.
Marina Uturoa as seen from above. Our new HOME for this next school year!

Video Link: new-digs!

Since leaving Mexico’s Banderas Bay (La Cruz/Puerto Vallarta) and arriving in the Leeward Islands of the Societies, comforts of everyday Southern California, such as power, water, communication, and transportation morphed into sought-after luxuries. Easy electricity, washing machines, toasters, microwave ovens, potable water, showering facilities, hot water, flush toilets, internet access, and cars are the stuff of which cruisers’ dreams are made. Here’s a run down of what each port provided:

Galapagos, Isabel Island, Port Villamil

Galapagos Marine Iguanas lined the walkway to the dinghy dock
Galapagos Marine Iguanas lined the walkway to the dinghy dock.
  • Anchored, $2000 for 2 weeks, (permits, etc.)
  • No electricity, except at the cafes
  • Potable water near dinghy dock, (I think, but we used our desalinator)
  • No showers
  • Flush toilets at some cafes
  • Internet access included at some cafes, one in particular: Boob Trap (daily)

    galapagos-booby-trap
    Booby Trap Cafe as seen from the beach road on the opposite side of town from the port.
  • Laundry service: $50 for three loads, (we used)
  • Paved roads outside of town and packed sand smooth enough to bicycle inside town (we used our fold-ups & rented)
  • Affordable taxis
  • Trash bins provided

Marquesas, Nuku Hiva, Taiohae

  • Anchored, free

    eric-pointing-taiohae
    Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva. We anchored in the little inlet for almost a year: June 2015-May 2016.
  • No electricity, except at the cafes and at friends’ houses
  • Potable water at three specific filtering stations, free (we used our desalinator)
  • Intermittent public showers for $1 at the wharf and at friends’ houses (some had hot water)
  • Public flush toilets were $1 and usually gross; restaurant toilets were fine (no toilet paper provided at either)
  • Internet access included at some cafes, one in particular, Snack Vaeaki (daily)
    Eating together at our favorite Snack Cafe: Snack Vaeaki otherwise known as Chez Henri
    Eating together at our favorite Taiohae Snack Cafe: Snack Vaeaki otherwise known as Chez Henri

    Order counter at Snack Vaeaki
    Order counter at Snack Vaeaki
  • Laundry service: $15/small 5 kg load by the locals, but we went to a friend’s house for free

    Leslie doing the weekly laundry at a friend's house
    Leslie doing the weekly laundry at a friend’s house in Taiohae.
  • Roads smooth enough to bicycle (bought bikes for the boys and later donated them to a charity)
  • Occasionally borrowed friends’ cars
  • Trash bins provided

Tuamotus, Fakarava, South Pass

We were very happy to attach to a mooring to avoid hooking on coral heads
In the South Fakarava Pass, we were very happy to attach to this mooring to avoid wrapping around coral heads with our anchor chain. The moorings are provided free by the local community to guard Fakarava’s UNESCO standing .
  • Mooring buoy, free
  • No electricity, except at the cafe

    dsc00300
    Bryce watching the lagoon sunset on a calm evening at the South Fakarava Pass.
  • No showers, except a hose at the dive center
  • Potable water, near the dinghy dock, but they don’t have much (we made ours)
  • Flush toilets at the cafes (no toilet paper provided)
  • Internet access available (fee, $5/hr) at one cafe in particular: Tetamanu

    Tetamanu Village Pension, Dive Center and Cafe
    South Fakarava’s Tetamanu Village Pension, Dive Center and Cafe.
  • Laundry service likely, but expensive so we used buckets and elbow grease
  • Small motu with walking paths
  • Received permission to leave trash at cafe’s burn pile
tahiti-marina-kandu
Kandu was tied to the Marina de Papeete guest dock for six weeks. It was an ideal location in Tahiti where we had easy access to warm showers, clean bathrooms, inexpensive water and electricity, and excellent views of the marina.

Societies, Tahiti, Papeete

  • Docked, $230/wk
  • Electricity at the dock (220v), about $3/day
  • Potable water at the dock, included
  • Showers (solar hot water), included
  • Marina flush toilets, included (toilet paper provided, except when a sailor stole the stash for his boat)
  • Internet access included (7h-16h, not always operational, moderate bandwidth)
  • Laundry machine provided (usually out of service): $8/sm load, but we went to a friend’s house
  • Great roads smooth enough to bicycle (bought bikes for the boys) or scooter

    Eric scooting around the center of Papeete on Bryce's EcoReco Electric scooter
    Eric scooting around the center of Papeete on Bryce’s Ecoreco Electric scooter.
  • Bought a used car (wow, that speeded up getting things done in a day and opened up the island!!!)
  • Trash bins provided
Med-moored or Tahiti tied together like sardines
Med-moored or Tahiti-tied together like sardines in Marina d’Uturoa, Raiatea. Thank goodness for respectful neighbors ’cause we’re close.

Societies, Raiatea, Uturoa

  • Docked, $210/mo.
  • Electricity at the dock (220v), included
  • Potable water at the dock, included
  • Showers (air temp), included (poorly maintained)
  • Marina flush toilets, included (poorly maintained & of course no toilet paper provided)
  • Wifi Internet access on the boat, a monthly service, $80 (24/7, good bandwidth)
  • Laundry service: bought into the co-op, ($30/yr, 2 2-hr sessions/wk)
  • Roads smooth enough to bicycle (boys have their bikes from Tahiti or can walk to school)

    Our little Tahitienne beater car!
    Our little Tahitienne beater car!
  • Ferried our used car over (oh, yeah . . . .)
  • Trash bins provided

Creature comforts working and well-maintained aboard Kandu

  • Solar panels, wind turbine, and a portable AC generator for electricity (1.5hr/gal of gas when making water, or 4-5 hrs when not)
  • Lots of battery storage (900 Ah)
  • Lots of LED lighting
  • Inverter to convert DC electricity into AC
  • Transformer to convert 220AC to 110AC (America’s standard)
  • Microwave (small and seldom used except when docked)
  • Electric toaster and teapot (used only when docked)

    Happy to pull out of storage our handy dandy toaster!
    Happy to pull out of storage our handy dandy toaster!
  • Watermaker/desalinator to make potable water (30 gal/hr)
  • Electric fresh water pump (can turn on faucets in both heads and galley like at home)
  • Drinking water filter (to abate chlorine)
  • Hot water heater (10 gal, engine driven and AC)
  • Separate refrigerator and freezer, both very cold
  • Propane oven with three burners
  • Two heads, fore and aft
  • Two showers (the cockpit shower (lagoon water temp only) is the only one available; the other is usually a storage closet)
  • Two folding bicycles

    Plank & Bicycles...a tenuous descent for sure
    Plank & Bicycles…a tenuous descent for sure
  • Electric scooter
  • A wifi booster antenna (YES!)
  • Five-man dinghy with a 10 horse outboard motor
  • Four hatches and 13 port lights all leak free with screens!!

Things we take for granted now: tropical beauty such as unfettered sunrises and sunsets; clear warm water lagoons; isolated islets; colorful fish; fresh inexpensive tuna and exotic fruits; just baked baguettes daily $0.53 each; clean air; quality time we spend together as a family every day; immersing in another culture; making our own schedule; good health, regular exercise and inexpensive health care; safe and secure environment (except some petty theft), and making new life-long friends each month.

Idyllic Sunset in Fakarava!
Idyllic Sunset in South Fakarava!

 

 

3 thoughts on “Creature Comforts: Costs and Conveniences Sailing the Pacific”

  1. oh my gosh, it’s been so long since i’ve seen all your faces. It looks like you’re having an amazing time! And i’m over here working like an idiot! I should be sailing around the world too! Actually if you find yourself close to Belize in the middle of October I’ll be there on vacation. Can’t wait to see you all again! Your boys are getting so big and handsome! Safe travels!

    1. Nah, we’re here in Raiatea for awhile, so South Pacific, not Gulf of Mexico. If you were to come to Bora-Bora instead, we’d be close.

  2. There is what matters in life, and then there is what others want us to think matters for their own benefit (not ours). You will have no trouble separating those when you return! Great experiences you are having! I enjoy all your posts. A wonderful and courageous thing you are doing. Keep up the good work.

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