Archive | December, 2013


What makes a hero?

About two months ago, an unexpected email landed in the Totem inbox. It was from Jessica Muffett, founder of Yachtworld, informing us we had been nominated for a 2013 Yachtworld Heroes award for our part in spreading the joy of boating by inspiring others to make the leap and embark on the cruising life. You know […]


Twelve Days of (Cruising) Christmas

It seems that maintenance and cruising are somehow inextricably intertwined…so we giggled our way through a “routine maintenance and one exotic location” riff on a holiday classic. On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: twelve expired flares! Eleven rusting stanchions Ten volt batteries Nine frozen turnbuckles Eight mildewed cushions Seven […]


Underwater in Thailand’s Similan Islands

I might have maligned the Similans a bit by pointing out that the coral is kinda dead, the diversity is lacking, and the tourists outnumber almost everything else. It’s true, but it’s not the whole story. The truth is that we still had a great time and saw some amazing things underwater. It’s just not […]


How do you decorate a cruising boat for Christmas?

Photo courtesy of Lindsey Paris How do you bring the holidays on board, adapted to the cruising life? When we sailed south from Puget Sound in 2008 to begin for cruising adventures, our children were in the thick of the “holiday magic” years at ages 4, 6 and 9. That magic was very real, and […]


Freediving in Thailand’s Similan Islands

Thailand’s Similan islands gave us a welcome dose of clear water to swim in and pretty fish to commune with again. Thanks to a timely departure from the shipyard in Satun, we got to Phuket in time to meet our friend Dan and take off with him for this limestone chain to the northwest. Dan […]


There’s this boat: Kalalau

A pretty blue sloop came around the corner of a sandy islet and into the bay where we were anchored recently. Jamie and I watched it from the cockpit: just admiring the lines, enjoying an afternoon of sun sparkling on water. We were lost in that reverie that a lovely boat can pull you into, […]


Hauling in Thailand: part 3- lessons learned

The combination of low costs and skilled labor makes Southeast Asia is an appealing region for boat refits. Phithak Shipyard was all that and more. We learned a few things, and will give ourselves a few pats on the back- but there are a couple of things we’d change if we could do it again. […]


Hauling in Thailand: part 2- through hull replacement

New antifouling was the primary objective of our haulout in Thailand, but being out of the water for the first time since early 2008 was an opportunity for other projects. One which Jamie had been thinking about for a while is replacing several of Totem’s through hulls. They are original to the boat, they show their […]


Hauling in Thailand: part 1- a new bottom

Southeast Asia is an appealing region for boat hauling and refits because of the combination of low costs and skilled workers. The Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand have shipyards where everything from carpentry to stainless work is available and relatively expensive. Our needs were more modest- just a new bottom, a few through hulls. A combination […]


Maintenance in exotic locations: preparing to haul

It’s been said that the definition of cruising is performing maintenance in exotic locations. We recently hauled Totem for new anti-fouling paint, four through hull replacements, and a few other projects. Living the definition, propped high and dry on the hard. We had not hauled Totem since April 2008. Five and a half years is […]

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