maintenance

Passage prep: getting ready to depart South Africa

As our time in South Africa draws to a close, we’re focused on preparing for the big miles ahead to cross the Atlantic. Although I felt like we spent a lot of last year preparing for passages, given the significant legs crossing the Indian Ocean, there’s a lot to inspect, and re-inspect. This is the […]

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Iridium GO! with PredictWind for weather and more

About one year ago, we purchased an Iridium GO! satellite wifi unit. This was a big decision as it is a significant expense and we had been happy using HF radio for years for all offshore communications. Seeds of doubt about radio connections while crossing the Indian Ocean swayed our decision; we did not want […]

entering false bay

Happily tucked into the False Bay Yacht Cub

We arrived in Cape Town weeks later than originally planned. Conventional wisdom was that multi-day windows out of Durban should cycle through regularly, but we ultimately waited nearly a month! It necessitated a road trip to meet up with visiting relatives in Yzerfontein, north of Cape Town, a road trip adventure of more than 2,000 miles […]

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Watch Captain

Our friend Ty has accompanied Totem on significant passages . We’re very excited that he’s booked a flight to Namibia next month, and will join Totem again to cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean. A little backstory on Ty and our history together seems appropriate: this is a piece Jamie wrote about our indomitable seafaring companion. […]

canning chicken jars bowl

Canning meat on board

At some point, canning food makes sense for a lot of long-distance cruisers. Totem is a boat full of omnivores, and with five people on board, canning meat has been a useful skill to acquire. For those times we need to boost our provisions with canned food, doing it yourself is cheaper and tastier than […]

shiny red Honda generator in the background powering tools for the job

Portable generator benefits, and how to care for one aboard

We strive to be a green boat, and supply our power through sun and wind as much as possible. But the wants of five people can outstrip what our solar panels and wind turbine provide, especially during a time of grey skies or equatorial calms. Unfortunately, we had periods of cloudy skies and not much […]

vehicle penguins

I love South Africanisms!

It started during our first road trip: picking up on sayings, food, treats and more that stood out to us as uniquely South African. Our expat family in Jo’burg helped further our education: a host of uniquely South African sounds, sights, tastes, and more. Animals If there’s one thing everyone knows about South Africa before […]

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Dock walk:  rigging fails

We’re rarely in marinas, but in South Africa’s harbors tying up is the norm. Jamie and I have fun walking the docks, checking out other boats; I always have something to learn from the critical eye of my sailmaker/rigging-savvy husband. Most often, it’s the condition of sails; on a blustery day in Durban, rigging mishaps […]

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365 days, 7,988 miles, 2 oceans, 1 boat

What a year! We knew 2015 was going to be big, and eagerly anticipated the change after a year of maintenance in Southeast Asia. In hindsight, it was truly epic: I still can’t believe we’ve crossed the Indian Ocean! This past year brought richness in culture and landscapes and beauty that overwhelmed us in their scale […]

upwind to kuching

Port tack blues: thoughts on comfortable cruising

Flat water and a consistent breeze provided glorious sailing back in Madagascar. Daily diurnal winds power our passage south on a port tack in the morning and a starboard tack in the afternoon, with a brief period of calm between the directional switch.  Totem’s comfortable motion in these conditions have made meal preparation in the galley […]

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