Uniquely Madagascar: sailing to Nosy Mitsio

Madagascar is full of experiences that that impress upon us just how unique this land is. This is about the wildlife, of course: that something like 90% of flora and fauna are endemic, that is, they are unique to Madagascar. But it’s also about the everyday life of people we encounter, and how different that […]


Eating through Madagascar

Food is so much more than sustenance, and experiencing a country and culture through food is one of the things I most look forward to in a new place. It gives me pieces of a place to take with us (I think there’s at least one dish or condiment we’ve added to the Totem repertoire from […]


Lessons from a dinghy crisis averted

“STAY AWAY FROM THE PROPELLER!” From below deck I heard Jamie shout from the cockpit, and froze. It was our last day in Comoros; our sixteen year old son, Niall, had just left with the dinghy– those words could only mean one thing, and it terrified me. Niall was in the water, and the outboard […]


Hello Madagascar!

Madagascar! I still can’t believe we’re here and have needed to repeat it. It’s been a week since we made landfall. We might have kinda sorta not quite checked in right away, which you really should do, as failure can result in some unpleasantness…fines, expulsion, etc. But we hoped the angle a bit farther north […]


Cruising the East Africa islands of Comoros

Comoros might just be my favorite stop in the Indian Ocean. I’ll readily acknowledge that it’s on departure after a too-short stay that I’m likely to look at a place through the most favorable and wistful lens, but our two weeks here surfaced challenges, beauty, culture and wonders like we’ve not seen so intensely in […]


At anchor in Comoros’ Moheli Marine Park

One of the draws for Comoros (outside my personal destination trifecta of minimal tourism, interesting culture, and natural beauty) is the marine park. The first protected area in Comoros, it encompasses nearly half the coastal waters off the island of Moheli – a day sail from our landfall destination of Anjouan. The park is dominated […]


Clearing into Comoros

Comoros, an island nation tucked between Mozambique and Madagascar, is the landfall I have most anticipated among our planned Indian Ocean destinations. Comoros does not have published official fees or processes for private boats to visit; there is no tourism industry here. That’s what happens when more than twenty coups are attempted since independence from […]

Siobhan steering

Self-steering on board

Autopilot? Windvane? Both, or hard-core hand-steering? Problems with our autopilot have caused some headaches on Totem. So why don’t we have a windvane for self-steering, instead of relying only on an autopilot? There are a lot of reasons to add a windvane. They don’t need any power, whereas running the autopilot 24×7 on longer passages […]


Shelter from the storm

We thought we’d be in the Comoros by this morning, a string of islands between Mozambique and Madagascar; instead, we’re still 240 miles away and anchored. Exhausted from three rough days at sea, as our course passed in the lee of an uninhabited atoll in the outer Seychelles it was all too easy to decide […]

Delos Totem Chagos 640

Indian Ocean cruising bloggers

I love sharing our experiences sailing across the Indian Ocean. Along the way from Malaysia to South Africa, we’re hanging out with some other really terrific bloggers. I want to give a shoutout to a number of them for additional views into the places we’ve been visiting: they are a mix of thoughtful perspectives, good […]

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