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This Is Not the Year to Sail to Tahiti

Unfortunately, Pacific Puddle Jump Grand Poobah Andy Turpin is advising all cruisers on the West Coast to postpone their plans to sail to the South Pacific this year. In his recent newsletter to the PPJ fleet he states, “It is a cruel irony that while some crews now underway to the islands are experiencing stellar sailing conditions in the watery wilderness of the Pacific, an increase in COVID-19 cases on Tahiti has caused French Polynesian authorities to implement drastic policies toward both land-based and maritime visitors. And most other island nations in the region have closed their doors to visitors also until the COVID threat subsides.

“We expect the release of a detailed official policy statement soon, which will hopefully clarify whether individual cruisers such as you can clear in at the Marquesas (our hope), or must go directly to Tahiti. (The ARC Rally was required to do this, but it is a formal rally where all 30+ boats travel as a group. ARC boats will be moored and their crews will be ‘repatriated’ by air to their home countries.)

“Those of you now en route should be clear that no inter-island cruising will be allowed for the foreseeable future. Also, you may only be allowed a ‘pit stop’ to refuel and re-provision before moving on, or choose to leave your boat moored and fly home. Again, tomorrow we hope to have details on your options after arrival.”

Timo Vuda Marina
Timo, from Vuda Marina in Fiji, was at the Pacific Puddle Jump party at Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta. He was looking forward to greeting arriving cruisers. Probably not this year.

“If you are in a ‘holding pattern’ in Las Perlas, Banderas Bay or elsewhere, we strongly encourage you not to make the crossing this year, at least for the next few months. Sadly, if you do, it will not be the cruising experience that you have been dreaming about.”

This is certainly not the news Puddle Jumpers wanted to hear. Most have been planning for years, provisioning for weeks, and are more than excited to go. With that in mind, though it might be small comfort, we want to remind cruisers of the story we ran in our November 2019 issue story from Bruce Balan and Alene D. Rice of the Cross 46 Migration.

Diving with manta rays
It’s different from the South Pacific. But most cruisers agree that Mexico is one of the best places to cruise in the world.

They’ve been out cruising for over a decade, came back to Mexico, and were diving in the Revillagigedos in May 2019 before heading off to the Marquesas. They finally set sail to head west when suddenly they felt sad to be leaving Mexico. In a spontaneous moment, they reversed course to spend another year in Mexico simply because they loved it so much.

Cruising Mexico is stunning
Cruising Mexico is stunning.

We’re not sure where Migration is right now, but the best way to handle all of this is to just be glad to be where you are.


  1. Susan Flieder 4 years ago

    My husband is aboard our Buizen 48, Andiamo, heading from New Zealand to French Polynesia right now. Thankfully, they are prepared to go on to Hawaii, if necessary. One good thing is that they’ll be self-quarantined for weeks!

  2. Joseph DiMatteo 4 years ago

    Our May plans for Hawaii and then Alaska/PNW may be postponed as it appears Hawaii is mandating 14 day quarantines for arriving boats. We will give it another month to decide as things are changing so fast but if we have to alter plans so be it. Cruising north to the PNW directly or slowly heading south are not bad options either. Cruising is a state of mind as much as it is a destination:)

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