Voyage of Egret Forums
Bill and Rosemary Henderson, Golden Bay, NZL asks:
We have taken your advice and are at present living on Levity our N4305 which we bought in Florida last July. We are currently in Puerto Rico shortly heading for ABCs and then on to Panama. We are looking to buy pilots and charts for Panama to Australia and would be grateful for any advice. Also where did you get your fuel bladders? Glad you're enjoying NZ. We are missing out NZ on our way to Australia as we are NZ registered and would have to pay 15% tax on arrival!

Scott Flanders from Egret responds:

Bill and Rosemary, congratulations on buying Levity.

We buy almost all of our cruising guides from Bluewater Books and Charts in Ft Lauderdale. Bluewater has an excellent website and ship internationally. (www.bluewaterweb.com)
The only chart we have of the Pacific is simply a world map. This isn't necessarily what we recommend but what we did. We use C-Map charts of the world running on Max Sea navigation software. This navigation charting is installed on five on board laptops so we feel comfortable with redundancy. Between C-Map charts and cruising guides we didn't have a problem anywhere we visited. You will find charting will be of very different accuracies. We entered just one port after dark, Pago Pago, American Samoa but knew where the range lights were and were sure the harbor would be well lit, and it was. C-Map charting was 200 meters off but we quickly figured that out by simply looking and with radar. Every other landfall/anchorage we jogged offshore until we had good enough light to enter.

The South Pacific cruising guides we bought were:
Charlie's Charts of Polynesia by Charles and Margo Wood. This was our most used guide.
Landfalls of Paradise by Earl Hinz and Jim Howard. This is an excellent source of information as well.
South Pacific Handbook by Wardwick Clay. We used this very little if at all.
Ken's Comprehensive Cruising Guide to the Kingdom of Tonga by Ken Hellewell. This is a must if you visit Tonga.
South Pacific Handbook by David Stanley. This is not a cruising guide but we used it extensively for in depth history of everywhere we visited. A must.
Cruising routes of the World by Jimmie Cornell. Every cruiser's bible. A must.

Because we didn't visit Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and so on we didn't buy these guides but you will need them if this is your route to Australia.

We bought our fuel bladders from ARM, Inc in the US (Aircraft Rubber Manufacturing) 800-433-6524. The actual purchase was made thru their Florida dealer (Fuel Bladders, Inc) who gladly took our money for 4 bladders, shipped three and kept the rest. I believe during this time they went out of business. The bladders are aircraft quality and exactly as advertised. Now, if we had to do it again we wouldn't buy the bladders. We bought them for the 4000nm trip from Chile to Tahiti not knowing the availability of fuel. In the end it wasn't a problem. Unless you are planning a very different route from everyone else I don't think you need bladders. You carry 200 more gallons of fuel (760ltr) than Egret, have the same waterline length, engine and are lighter. Your theoretical extra range is 600nm beyond Egret's. If you run at 1350 rpm you will be able to make any usual crossing in a typical circumnavigation including a healthy reserve. This includes from Mexico, or a similar distance to the Marquesas. The rest of the world is relatively close connect the dot fueling.

Yes, NZ is great. We are having a super time here in Stewart Island. Good luck to you two and congratulations again. Ciao.