Pacific Planning

In spring 2017 we plan on sailing Magic from Cabo to the Marquesas, in French Polynesia. From there we plan to spend three months in French Polynesia and haul out in Raiatea until spring 2018. After that we have no firm plans, but hope to spend several austral winters (April to October, say, outside the hurricane season) among the islands of the south pacific, before either sailing or shipping the boat back to the US west coast.

We were originally planning on leaving in spring 2016, but have put things off so that we can spend more time in Mexico, get more experience cruising together, and better prepare (financially and otherwise) for our time in the Pacific. 2017 or bust!

While several hundred boats explore this area every year, information and resources for doing so are fairly spotty and dispersed, especially given all the sports we are interested in doing on the trip. So, we’ve started this page to keep track of what we’ve gathered about the places we are interested in seeing.

General links:

Coconut Milk Run Weather

Pacific Planning Advice

Pacific Puddle Jump

Mariners Met Pack

Top 10 Snorkeling Spots

Email list for weather and news

Calculated Risks

S/V Soggy Paws Cruising Compendiums

Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia)



We will probably check into FP in Hiva Oa. AFAICT (the rules change frequently) stays are limited to three months if you don’t come prepared with a long stay visa. We will try to get a long stay visa, and need to talk to an agent about this. It takes several months to get the visa.

Long Stay Visa

French Consulate

A bond needs to be posted when entering the country for the return flight home. Apparently you can avoid this by participating in the Puddle Jump (which we plan to) but I don’t strongly care about this.

As for cruising the Marquesas…

The Marquesas are younger islands than most other places in the Pacific, generally rocky bottom, few reefs, dramatic topography. Several islands have good hiking.

The Magnificent Marquesas

Fatu Hiva and its NW anchorage, Hana Vave, are nice. Beautiful anchorage, hiking. Probably crowded.

Anaho bay is further off the beaten track, also gorgeous. Snorkeling, hiking.

Water visibility is generally poor in the group, but Manta rays are frequently seen in various places (they like nutrient rich water). There seems to be good diving at many of the islands.

Scuba Diving

Yacht Services Nuku Hiva

Tuamotu Archipelago (French Polynesia)

The Tuamotus are an archipelago of low lying coral islands and atolls. Per wikipedia there are 78 islands in an area the size of western europe, with a total population of ~15k. Most people and infrastructure are clustered to the NW of the archipelago. The whole place is supposed to have great snorkeling and diving. The first season we will focus on Rangiroa and/or Farakava and maybe some nearby atolls.

Atoll Cruising 101: The Tuamotus


Rangiroa is the largest atoll in the archipelago (40 miles x 20 miles) and has a population of a few thousand people and some tourism / diving infrastructure.


Fakarava is the second largest atoll in the archipelago, and also the second most well developed for tourism / diving.






The lagoons in the Tuamotus are protected from swell and wind waves but not from the wind itself. This strikes me as just about the perfect area for kiteboarding. There doesn’t seem to be any kiting infrastructure (shops, instructors, etc.) and there is very little information on the internet about people kiting here. It would be wonderful though to go and explore kiting opportunities in these atolls. The austral winter is supposed to have more consistent trade winds than the summer.

Kiting in FP

Kite trip to the Tuamotus

More surfing goes on in the Tuamotus but this also appears to be relatively undeveloped (the Tuamotus are just really remote and isolated.) Some information about breaks at Rangiroa and nearby atolls is below. The breaks listed are at the passes which provide access to the lagoons from the open ocean, and I’m going to guess that there are similar but largely unknown (to the internet at least) breaks at more remote atolls. Breaks are mainly on reefs, so booties and helmets are advised. Swell direction is southerly in the austral winter, and northerly in the austral summer.

Surfing in FP

Gambier Islands (French Polynesia)


Society Islands (French Polynesia)

Surfing in Tahiti


Cook Islands


American Samoa










New Caledonia


Solomon Islands




Papua New Guinea






Marshall Islands


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