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Cruising cold

I dreamed of high latitude cruising, inspired by stories like Dave & Jaja Martin’s book about wintering over with their family in Iceland and Norway, and tales of Cape Horn by classic and modern cruisers. In soft focus imaginings of our future afloat, Jamie saw palm trees… I saw glaciers. Tropical latitudes are a fine […]

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Gifts that give a little more

Among the lessons cruising has taught me: that a frugal life brings returns in personal happiness, and that seeking simplicity results not in deprivation but in a feeling of abundance. Living in our floating Tiny Home, “stuff” is the enemy. Still… once the tryptophan effect wears off after Thanksgiving, there’s an undeniable pull for a lot […]

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Thanksgiving while cruising

For the first time since 2007, our little crew on Totem celebrates Thanksgiving in the USA again. Over the years we’ve celebrated in destinations as diverse as the sunny bay at Isla San Francisco, Mexico, or a firelit rondavel high up in Africa’s land-locked mountain nation of Lesotho last year. But even away from “home,” this is our […]

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Cruiser’s bookshelf: what are you reading?

Lingering in Washington DC, we’re enjoying gorgeous days making the most of the US capital…and tucking ourselves in below on the chilly nights (40s! 30s even! rumored 20s in the next few nights- YIKES) with some solid reading to keep company. This little channel off the Potomac still hosts dinghies practicing (that’s our view from […]

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American cruisers through foreign eyes

The coconut telegraph, as the cruiser-to-cruiser communication is jokingly referenced, is good for a lot of things. The clearance process like in Vava’u, Tonga. A great deal on brie at the Carrefour in ‘Ārue. An unmarked shoal by the Santa Inez Islands. But don’t let the coconut telegraph shape your perception of a country or […]

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Passage planning: the float plan

Writing a float plan is a simple thing to do, may be critical in the event of an emergency, and is all too easily set aside and left undone in the stack of tasks that precede going offshore. Provisioning. Checking the weather. Vessel integrity checks. Checking the weather again. What and why The bare minimum […]

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Distance is relative: upriver to Washington DC

You’re going to Washington DC with your boat? You know that’s going to take days, right? It’s really far away! We heard this from nearly every individual around Annapolis that we told of our plans to take Totem up the Potomac. From Annapolis, it’s about four days of motoring (if you’re lucky, some sailing).  I’m […]

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Back to cruising! OK…almost.

With the US Sailboat Show over, life starts to return to normal…except nothing about our time in the USA feels like our ‘normal’ cruising life. I miss life without a schedule. We all crave warm weather and clear water. But some cruisey routines have returned: hanging out with other cruisers, for sundowners or to share knowledge; picking […]

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Meeting old friends for the first time

Three weeks in Chesapeake Bay so far. Three weeks with so much smiling and talking with friends that there are days my jaw aches. Old friends, new friends, old friends met for the first time. It started with the spectacular crab feed put on by a blog reader and newfound friend when we arrived in late September. This […]

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Efficient Sailing: passage routing

There’s a problem: many cruisers think that sailing performance isn’t important. Hey, cruising is about slowing down, right?! But dismissing performance is poor seamanship. Part two in a series. Efficient sailing is partly about sail trim and sail handling (that’s covered here), and partly about routing. With a few rules, routing from A to B can be […]

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