We’ve had our heads down for quite some time, prepping for departure. Leaving New Zealand after so much time is a big deal for us for a number of reasons. It’ll be the first sailing outside of NZ waters that we’ve done as a family of four. We’ve been rejoined by our crewmate from the South Pacific, Chris. We’ll also be doing a very different kind of cruising on this stretch.


Our planned route from here takes us to the islands of Vanuatu, the Solomons, Papua New Guinea and over the top, into Indonesia. In the Solomons and PNG we’ll be in some particularly remote parts, tiny islands that see maybe only one or two cruising boats a year if they’re lucky. There are new rules and customs to learn about and be respectful of. Upon arrival in each place we need to ask the right questions, ask for permission to anchor, ask to meet with the local chief, ask if there are crocodiles nearby, ask about security.


This is the slightly less trodden path. Electronic and paper charts are not all that accurate so we are coupling these with satellite imagery. This is no mean feat when all the images need to be cached and downloaded before we depart from NZ. In these parts we’ll also be relying on trading to obtain fresh food. As a fellow cruiser put it to us – “When you arrive, YOU are the shop”.


Our interactions will be a lot more about involving ourselves with the local community, introducing ourselves and our kids to the people in each village and seeing where these new friendships take us.


But, before you worry about the route we’re taking, I should point out that we’ve had some truly excellent brains to pick on the subject. The cruising community has stepped up once again and provided a multitude of help in this area from our friends on s/v Adina, s/v Lochmarin, s/v Totem, s/v Field Trip and s/v Ocelot. All amazing folks who write far more useful blogs on these subjects and areas than I do so please check them out.


We’ve done our own due diligence too, had our vaccinations, got our anti-mosquito precautions, stashed some unusual looking foreign currency, bought charts and cruising guides and countless bits and bobs of new kit to see us through.


We’re not quite ready for the big off just yet, so watch this space. But, I should point out that once we depart we truly have no idea where our next hookup for communications will be. So things may be a tad sporadic on here. Time for us to start joining up those little black dots on our map…