Manfred Mayerhofer, Vienna, AUT asks:
During your long travels, have you ever had problems getting enough fuel at any of the harbors and islands for you've visited...particularly in the Pacific?
Scott Flanders from Egret responds:
Manfred, things have changed quite a lot in the past ten years in the Pacific. In the more populous areas there are lots of diesel cars and trucks along with ferry systems and local boats that use diesel. The fuel dock in Papeete, Tahiti is as modern as any in the world. Another example is our next stop of American Samoa. They have a large tuna fishing fleet that requires large quantities of diesel. Today, in the little of the Pacific we have seen so far, fuel is available in all but the most remote areas. Even in these areas by using cruising guides and help from other cruisers' knowledge of specific areas and noonsite.com, diesel can be delivered by supply ships to about anywhere if your schedule allows.
The key to all fueling is Egret's extreme range allowing us to pick and choose where diesel is first of all available, and secondly at the best price. The internet is a good resource for researching price. There is a powerboat cruisers website for the Pacific where different powerboats log in known fuel prices. An example, we already know fuel in Rarotonga, Cook Islands is U.S. $9.50 per gallon ($2.71 per liter) and the fuel price in Tonga is U.S. $7.50 per gallon ($1.97 per liter). The fuel prices in these two areas won't keep Egret from going there if we wish, however because of our range we would choose to fuel elsewhere, like American Samoa.
As far as other places we have been like the Mediterranean for example, for the best prices we fueled in Gibraltar, Malta and got duty free fuel in Turkey when we left. Today because Malta is now part of the EU we would take the short hop to Tunisia for a quick visit and fuel. South America was not a problem.
If you have a large boat there are fuel brokers based in Ft Lauderdale, Florida that serve the mega yacht industry. They research fuel pricing and availability worldwide constantly to guide their clients to clean fuel at the best prices.
Bottom line: If you have the range* fuel is not an issue in the areas we have traveled so far. *see below
There is one caution we would like to add. You must plan carefully and allow a large safety margin. By my definition, range is how much fuel you will burn traveling from A to B in X number of days. Range is not only liters/gallons per nautical mile but total fuel burn. As we type these words we are running the generator recharging Egret's rapidly failing batteries. We bought new but compromise (maintenance free) house bank batteries less than six months ago with the plan to replace them in New Zealand this fall. We are now having to recharge the batteries twice a day instead of once a day and occasionally three times a day. Each two hour session burns approximately 8 liters of fuel. Egret carries 3800 liters of fuel. Egret burns slightly more than 1 liter per nautical mile when underway in our fuel stretching mode. Simple math but the reality of cruising and the reason for a large safety margin.