For me there was no question of where?  It had always been more a matter of when?  I had dreamed of the South Pacific for many years.  The Marquises, Tuamotu, Society and Tonga groups had filled my dreams since childhood.  For you, the answer may be Mexico, Alaska, the Mediterranean, the Great Lakes of North America, the American East Coast Inland Waterways, Australia, Africa, the Fjords of Norway and New Zealand, or you may not yet have discovered where you want to go.

 

For those who have not yet discovered where.  I offer this piece of advice, READ EVERYTHING.  You will come to find your dream place by exploring places in books.  There are lots of books on different cruising grounds of the world, written by people who have been there and experienced the adventure.   Learn from their experiences and discover your dream destination.  There are a lot of well traveled routes, such as ours across the South Pacific.  There are also those less traveled routes that offer great rewards. The decisions is yours.  But the research is endless but fruitful.

 

For those who have decided on where to go.  Your preparation has only just begun.   There are so many things you need to know about where you are going and how to get there before you can think of leaving.  Some of these should include.

 

What time of the year has the best weather for cruising?

 

What type of anchorage's will we encounter?

 

Where do we winter? Can we purchase additional (food) supplies? Where will diesel/gasoline be available? Where will potable water be available? Where are haul out/repair facilities along the way? <">The answer to all of these questions can be found in different books on the area you intend to visit.  Oh, and please remember you are a visitor in their country.  Of course some of the answers seem obvious like language for instance.  In French Polynesia, South Pacific they speak French.  But what about the Cook Islands, Micronesia, Crete for instance.  Some of the other questions are harder and not so obvious and will need quite a bit of research.

 

Wherever you go, local cruising, long weekends or a week here and there to prepare is invaluable.  It is essential that you have at least one shake down cruise.  We took six weeks to do the Channels Islands (off the California coast) to Mexico as ours.  This is very important if there is more than one of you thinking of the adventures ahead.  I have read and seen many friendships and marriages end in some of the most romantic and exotic places in the world.  All because they were not prepared.  You should have backup or contingency plans for just an unforeseen situation.  I do not have any answer as to who will stay and who will leave.  But please do a good shake down cruise at least a year or several months before you plan to leave.  Fortunately, those that leave are few and far between.  But these trips will give you the opportunity to make modifications to your plans, the boat and even your approach to each other on the trip.   It may well change what you can expect from each other when you get out there.   I know mine did, and it still changes.  I learned that I needed to do a lot more work on the boat before we could leave, and that not everything I had read worked for us or the boat and needed modifying.  Always be flexible.  I still have a problem with that one, but I keep trying.  I personally found the magazines tended to glamorize the adventure of cruising more than it really is.  The plain fact is, cruising is a lot of hard work.  Almost every day in port there are projects to be done or planning for the next leg of the trip, deciding where you are going next and how you are going to get there.  Weather plays a large part in changing plans for you at the last moment.  Not only your course but your whole route may change.   So be prepared.

 

Once you have decided on where  you are going to cruise, you then will have a whole series of other questions that will start to emerge.  Such as...

 

How long is the cruise going to be? When are we going to leave? How are we going to get ourselves and the boat back? How much money do we need?

 

No matter where you want to go, prepare and DO IT.

 



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Revised: 19 September, 2005 .