Originally Posted by delatbabel
-- my big question at the moment is how much money to take?
Getting money isn't such a big deal anymore, so you're better off just carrying a credit card and a debit card so you can get cash wherever you might find yourself.
With so long at sea for your first legs of the trip, food on board will be more important than cash! You will hear lots and lots of Americans complaining about how very expensive French Polynesia is. And, compared to California and (especially) Mexico, it sure was expensive for food, etc. But so is food all along the chain of islands back to Oz and NZ unless you eat very little meat and a lot of Taro. Back in the 90s, eggs in Tonga were 50 cents US each! I can't imagine how dear they'll be now. Frozen chicken (from the US) was a real bargain in Tahiti, though.
I realize that things have changed since we went through Fr. Polynesia, but here's a link to our log for Raivavae
. We loved the island, and because it's so out of the way I don't think you'll find too many boats there, and those that are will most likely be primarily French. We had been told by the French meteorologists on Mangareva that the weather fronts came through pretty regularly, and they could be pretty rough during their winter. Two days of dead calm, two days of moderate weather, and five days of real howlers.
When we reached Tahiti, we met a couple who had decided to sail to the Tuomotus from NZ, and had a terrible time of it - those roaring 40s didn't behave the way they had expected them to, so instead of a run or reach, they were hard on the wind for much of the trip.
One other boat we knew made the west to east slog to Fr. Polynesia, and they, too, had a hard trip. But nobody said "I'll never do that again!", so I guess the rewards were worth it for them.
Also, here's a link to the latest Latitude 38 info on the Puddle Jump
deals. I wish they could post the names of the boats that behaved so badly that things are harder for those following them, but I understand the possible legal ramifications if they had done so. Leaving a clean wake is so very important, IMO.
I envy you. I have said so many, many times that I wish we had known just how wonderful French Polynesia would be before we got there. We might then have worked harder to find a way to return for a second season before continuing on across the S. Pacific.