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Two new cruising guides for sailors in the South Pacific

by Ivan Signorelli, BoatBooks/Sail-World on 24 May 2014
South Pacific Sailing - new guides .. .
After 'over two years of research and long days of stressful digital copying', the ninth edition of Cruising the Coral Coast of Australia has just been released by Alan Lucas, and for those headed to the Solomon Islands any time soon, you won't want to be without the 'Solomon Islands Cruising Guide' by Dirk Sieling.

Cruising the Coral Coast (9th edition):
Any book that can go into nine editions speaks for itself about its quality and desirability for the leisure sailor. The book has been fully updated with over fifty new charts, an overview of the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Top End, the Coral Sea plus 29 pages of Landmark photographs. From front cover to back this edition is, like all the preceding ones, chock-full of information. It’s one book that should be in every boat’s library that needs to go anywhere near the Coral Coast.

Lucas dedicates the book to Captain Len Foxcroft. 'Len, he said, 'was a dear friend and a true ‘Old Salt’. He passed away last year in Cairns at the wonderful age of 90.'

Cruising the Coral Coast has 390 pages.

Solomon Islands Cruising Guide – Dirk Sieling:
There is definitely a shortage when it comes to specific, detailed and dedicated guides for the South Pacific islands. They are quite general with roughly ten to twenty pages dedicated to each island nation and tend to focus on major ports.

Luckily for those planning to cruise the Solomons, Dirk Sieling’s 'Solomon Islands Cruising Guide' offers cruisers the details on ports, anchorages, approaches, culture and customs that should be available for each and every South Pacific island. This cruising guide has details on pretty much every island and anchorage worth considering.

For those expecting similar graphics, photos and maps as found in Lucas and Imray guides, don’t be deceived. This is a low tech guide and much of it is composed of mud maps and notes gathered from numerous other yachts in which Sieling has been in contact during his cruises through the islands. Nevertheless, reviews by sailors using the guide have been quite positive:

Places to anchor were somewhat limited and often deep/exposed. Alan Lucas’s guide was OK, but sometimes inaccurate. 'Solomon Islands Cruising Guide' by Dirk Sieling was much better with good detail on lots of anchorages.'
Sue Richards (http://www.noonsite.com/Members/sue/R2012-08-31-5)

What is most captivating about his guide is Sieling’s fascination with the islands as he himself describes, 'Visiting the Solomon Islands by yacht offers the opportunity to visit isolated places, where tourists rarely go, if ever. In these places one encounters a largely cashless economy, where trading is still a way of life & many aspects of modern Western life are totally alien concepts. Successful visits depend largely on consideration for & understanding of the local culture & values. With the right approach your visit to the Solomon Islands will become an unforgettable experience, both in terms of its value as one of the best cruising grounds in the world & the interest afforded by a unique cultural exchange.'

Solomon Islands Cruising Guide has 341 pages and Spiral Bound.

If either of the books is not available at your local marine book shop, (and depending on where you are they would probably be not) you can purchase them online from BoatBooks in Australia.

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