Jamie looks back

A cruising year: milestones and introspection from Totem’s 2017

Inspiration and gratitude flow from the mundane in an annual review of Totem’s year by the numbers. We’re serious about tracking data on Totem; Jamie can’t resist having fun with analysis (annual cheese consumption, anyone? After all, cheese provisioning data is vital on a boat with three hungry teenagers!). But pondering the data and events of 2017 he turned […]

Just hanging out

Bonaire’s underwater wonderland

Tucked low in the Caribbean sea, a skip above Venezuela but hundreds of miles from the popular cruising grounds of the lesser Antilles, the ABC islands are a touch out of the way for the broader fleet. ABC stands for Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao. If you’re like me, all you have to do is hear “Aruba” […]

sailboat and helicopter

Dissecting a passage: Bonaire to Colombia

This dreaded passage unleashed one true horror. It was not a failure in rigging or other key systems. It was not the feared washing machine sea state. No, it was the ugly reality of unclogging a toilet while sailing at 9+ knots! That awful job aside, almost everything else on the passage went very smoothly. […]

PredictWind routing models based on different weather algorithms

Planning a passage: Bonaire to Colombia

There is a good chance our upcoming passage will suck. Yay… How do we know it’s not a simple downwind run in the trades? Enough friends, cruisers with miles, have told us how uncomfortable the stretch across the top of South America to give credence to the oft-repeated quote that this is one of the “five […]

Sailing wing and wing

Passage notes: westbound across the Caribbean

Totem is sailing toward sunsets again. Turning towards the Dutch Antilles from Martinique was more westbound than south. This passage brought back more than a familiar angle for sunrises and moonsets: it’s also… downwind sailing for the first time in 18 months first passage with more than one night at sea in 18 months a nearly full […]

Drone view St Anne to Marin Martinique

Looking west from Martinique

When we look back on the Caribbean, Martinique will feature among the best memories—and not just because of the pâté, brie, and baguettes. A stop to provision and facilitate a trip to Puerto Rico for Jamie stretched out and filled with beaches and swimming, exploring the history and charm of this lush island, Thanksgiving celebrations […]

Paddling in Guadeloupe

Holiday gifts that cruisers want

As avowed minimalists, this feels slightly awkward putting a post of holiday gifts together. But the reality is that there are useful needs to meet in a life afloat. This peek into what works hopefully aids those anticipating a similar path: a personal look what’s worked for us, and what’s on our wish list, as idea fodder […]

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A cruiser’s Thanksgiving: twists on tradition

Harvest festivals are cross-cultural and found all over the world, but that held on the 4th Thursday of every November is uniquely American. Every family grows up with a variant, but there are themes — some make the leap to cruising, and others don’t. Preparations for a celebration! At home I’d probably have planned this […]

Caribbean post irma-maria

Caribbean cruising after hurricanes Irma and Maria

A stream of migrating boats attest that the Caribbean sailing season is starting NOW. The fleet heading north from Grenada and Trinidad, those taking the offshore route from the USA, and boats in the trans-Atlantic fleets. Yet questions about the Caribbean’s readiness in a post-hurricane season still swirl: after the havoc of Irma and Maria, […]

Sailing upwind in the Caribbean

Folk art and daydreams from Bequia

Cruisers merrily claim they “go where the wind blows.” It’s sort of true, but implies a more laissez-faire approach than migration patterns belie. On the day we departed – just as hurricane season is waning – we saw more boats sailing north and away from Grenada with us than we saw during entire stretch from […]

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