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Your day is about to get better

Get ready to smile! You know how when you smile at someone, it’s hard for them not to smile back? When someone passes along a good feeling, it’s hard not to share it and pass it along yourself? That’s pretty much how the kids & kittens fundraiser happened. It all started with a picture of the cute little boy […]

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Friendships and cruising

Ponnusamy, or Sam as we call him, prepared chicken curry at his home in Penang, Malaysia for us to share on Totem recently. He called it “a simple curry” although was anything but simple, with so many different spices that even chili-fueled fire didn’t overwhelm the complex flavors. Other than love of good chicken vindaloo […]

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Fundraiser: kids & kittens at the shipyard

A few days ago, I posted the photo above to Totem’s Facebook page with the following caption: We’ve decided the scooters on Totem will have an extended useful life if they stay with the kids in the shipyard instead of coming across the Indian Ocean with us. How many paved roads are there in Maldivian […]

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Holiday gifts for cruisers

Shopping for a sailor? Getting ready to go cruising, and don’t want to spend on things you won’t use in your life afloat? Here is a list of suggested gifts we love (or wish we had!) that you can take with you…and some distractions to help you keep the cruising dream present while you wait. Dream fodder […]

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Inspect your sails: identifying UV damaged cloth

A dependable suit of sails to carry you towards the horizon is the basic tool of every cruiser. I’m sharing more of Jamie’s expertise as a sailmaker on the blog: most recently, about how to check the stitching in sails for UV damage.  This time- he’s going to tell you how to evaluate the cloth. […]

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Nearing the end of the shipyard grind

We’re in the back half of our stay at Phithak Shipyard (PSS) near Satun, Thailand, and it’s pretty exciting to see work progressing on Totem. As soon as we arrived, we went through our required projects and the wish list with the yard management. Based on their estimates and some help from home, we decided to […]

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Writing feeds my cruising soul

A few months ago, I kissed the back of an envelope for good luck before dropping it into a mailbox in Singapore. Tucked inside was a publishing contract with my signature on it. Although it’s been years since I had my first paycheck as a freelance writer, I’ve only now had confidence to fill in […]

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Inspect your sails: how to find UV damage in stitching

Cruisers flock towards the tropics, where all that sun exposure can be tough on sails. Short of alien ships on a bad landing approach, UV damage is the biggest culprit in ending the useful life of a sail. Jamie often checks sails on the boats we’re with, like Papa Djo next to us in the shipyard: in the […]

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The hardest part of cruising

I don’t want to be here right now. We’re living in Totem on the hardstand, on stilts in a Thai shipyard. There is a lot of noise, and a lot of dirt, and a lot of chaos. Chunks of Totem’s interior are torn up. We climb a wobbly ladder with a rise that must be double a […]

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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 […]