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Welcome to the shipyard

PSS Satun, a Thai shipyard just a hop over the southern border with Malaysia, sits at the edge of a small village up a winding muddy river. Because we can only enter the river at high tide, we spend the night before our haulout at a bend where the depth drops enough to keep water under […]

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What’s your favorite cruising destination?

With 71% of our planet covered by oceans, there is no shortage of places to explore by boat. So when I landed recently on a page for the latest campaign from LOOK, which aims to identify the world’s most exotic sailing location, well, I had two reactions. What’s their pick? And how could we possibly […]

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The cost of cruising: interview with SailLoot

How much does it cost to go cruising? How much / how long did you save in order to go? What do you spend every month as a cruiser? What about earning money while cruising? Questions along this line are among the most common that we get on Totem. We recently had a chance to […]

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Making a boat into a home

In the run-up to cutting our docklines, my friend Toast and I would meet for workday lunch breaks in downtown Seattle to talk about All Things Cruising. It was a much needed outlet during a time that we weren’t very public with our plans, and could only bore close friends with for so long. One […]

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Preparing for the Indian Ocean

Jamie and I co-author the cruising column for 48° North, a Pacific Northwest regional boating magazine. He lead on this piece for their for October issue, with ruminations about what lies ahead for us with a big year coming. The complete magazine is free on newstands around the Salish Sea, and available online wherever you are. Transition […]

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Ugly weather off the coast of Malaysia

Well, that was unpleasant. There are the beautiful days of white sandy beaches and gin-clear water, and then there are the days when you have your ass handed to you by the weather. We spent just over a week knocking off a list of projects from rig tuning to galvanizing in Penang. It’s probably our last marina […]

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Understanding engine overheating problems

Why is the engine overheating? Our Yanmar engine’s shrill alarm was the jarring start to some stressful hours during the last five months, and we asked that question many times. The answer was not one root cause, but more likely a series of related events, as a domino effect of different issues cascaded. I’ve written about the painful side […]

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Watching out for UV damage to sails

We’ve been in Penang for a couple of days now, catching up on projects. This afternoon, after the sun disappeared behind the condos backing the marina and the air cooled, Jamie and I took a walk around and looked at the other boats. Primary takeaway: the sun, she is strong! Many boats had some degree […]

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Checking in at Puteri Harbour Marina

When engine issues took priority over adventuring, we needed a place at the southern end of the Malay peninsula to park Totem for a while. Puteri Harbour Marina, in Johor (just west of Singapore), made sense for a variety of reasons. It was a rigging job for Jamie that initially brought us there in June, […]

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Boats are meant to move

Two months and change. 71 days, actually (who’s counting?). During the last six years of cruising the only other times we’ve stayed in one place more than two months were when we parked in Australia, and earlier this year in Langkawi. That’s it. Even the places we’ve stopped for more than a month only amount to a handful: we may […]