January 26, 2011

Pacific Planning


 I think it was the, “so where exactly in the South Pacific are you going?” question that got me thinking. But it could have been the fact that Evan is steadily ticking items off the to-do list (we nearly have new carbon fibre tillers!) that made me realize I don’t actually know which countries are in the South Pacific. 
Let alone which individual islands we might want to visit.

I’ve become so accustomed to the kind of trip where someone meets me in the airport with my name on a placard and an itinerary to follow, that the idea that I might need to do more than pack the right shoes and enough canned goods to get me to Australia caught me off guard. The South Pacific just doesn't seem like the sort of destination where we should wing it. We should know what we want to do and see...

The thing is I’m a great researcher, but a terrible planner. When I’m immersed in something I want to know every detail, but when that something is still in the foggy future it’s hard for me to even get interested. I first noticed this when I was pregnant with Maia. Through my entire pregnancy I researched everything about pregnancy and birth. And round about the 4th hour of labour, the fact I was going to come out of the whole pregnancy thing with a baby suddenly hit me.

The same thing happened this week. We’re not just crossing an ocean. We’re going somewhere, and I should really brush up on that…

So I had a dinner party. We invited the folks from Savannah and all their guidebooks over to find out what they know (a lot) and discuss strategies, and timeframes, and drink wine. I kind of think the wine drinking won. But I did discover a few things:

1) We do have a destination—Hiva Oa or maybe Nuka Hiva…
2) There are way more islands in the South Pacific than I can count—somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20,000...
3) There are more pirates in the Indian Ocean than I realized, and they are venturing way outside the traditional danger region (although that part was not as relevant to the current exercise as my sleepless night might indicate…)
4) Evan really was doing research all those nights he stayed up late on the computer and we have files and files of well organized cruising guides and other stuff to prove it.
5) You can get a pretty decent cheap Concha y Toro by the case from Costco.

But as far as an actual plan and a strategy for getting the most out of our time in the Pacific--we don't have that... I'm starting to think that guide book reading (along with brushing up on our French) might be a good use of that little ocean passage we have coming our way...

8 comments:

Ramsay said...

That's a nice chart. It doesn't really look so big.

boatbaby said...

Evan is winning the "changed the most in appearance while cruising" award in your family.

Diane, Evan and Maia said...

That's called, 'out of shaving cream and need a haircut' ;-)

The Crew of Savannah said...

I've spent all day trying to figure out what to do and am being totally unproductive. I haven't gotten past Hiva Oa yet either so I feel better now knowing I'm still in good company. We did find a place for our wine though!

Behan said...

Oh, if only we could have been there for the conversation! IMHO, it's good to have the big picture in your head, but also not to make too many plans... we ended up doing a lot of more spontaneous "where should we go next?" decisions depending on weather and friends. Then again, we also started keeping a spreadsheet of time/distances to travel and desired days in each country by the time we were in the Societies... otherwise we would never have made it to Oz in 1 season. I wish we could have spent 2 seasons... there's just so much to see!

Anonymous said...

Good luck guys. Ev looks the same as always.

K said...

I know that you'll be getting way more opinions than you want on where to go, but as food for thought - matt and i were both not all that excited about the marquesas, thought the "usual" society islands were waaayyy expensive and not so great, but enjoyed huahine and i wish we would have gone to the one with all the vanilla farms. we LOVED beveridge reef because it was a seriously cool experience but there wasn't a whole lot to do there :) we spent a month in Fiji and that was AWESOME. In the end, we really wished that we would have had spent more time in the tuamotus and then got further west faster. We LOVED Tanna in Vanuatu and all regretted that we hadn't arranged to have more time there. Although the marquesas were the most remote, Vanuatu felt like a much more genuine, unique cultural experience. Makemo & Tahanea were my favorite islands in the tuamotus and they were beyond gorgeous; a bit more off the beaten path, but easy to access with good charts and unbelievable anchorages. i agree with Behan that it's easy to overplan and also easy to "under-plan" and then be rushing at the end to get to a safe harbor. But i think all of us felt we were rushed to some extent, but what can you do? so many islands, so little time :)

Diane, Evan and Maia said...

Thanks Karen,
Your thoughts really do help and are pretty consistent with everything we are hearing. I am so oversubscribed with money making research that my guess is we'll be doing our real planning while enroute--which is actually okay...
I love Behan's spreadsheet idea though. I think that is one way to keep the distance/desire to linger thing in perspective. Ah for a longer season....