Highlights from 2,500 days of cruising


Today marks the 2,500th day since we sailed Totem out of Puget Sound; soon we’ll start our eighth year as cruisers. It still feels amazing, and I still pinch myself to make sure it’s not a dream. There are plenty of days that aren’t all sunshine or rainbows (like much of this last passage, which was a wet, boisterous, uncomfortable ride) but never one where I don’t feel grateful that our family can follow this path.

Jamie rounded up a bunch of statistics in honor of cracking this big round number in our cruising journey. Most of them are from a database program he’s been building as a kind of logbook on aquatic steroids, but a lot of this came from laughing and sifting through memories.

Q flag
Day 2,497: Niall and Siobhan raise the Q flag in Port Victoria, Seychelles

Geographic Stats

Distance overall: 30,195 nautical miles (55,921 km)

Countries (or territories) visited: 20.  USA, Canada, Mexico, French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Maldives, British Indian Ocean Territory, Seychelles

Territorial waters crossed: American Samoa, Myanmar, India

Seas: 17. Andaman, Arabian, Bali, Banda, Bay of Bengal, Bismark, Ceram, Coral, Flores, Halmahera, Laccadive, Salish, Savu, Sea of Cortez, Solomon, South China Sea, Tasman

Hardest location to say 5 times fast: Dholhiyadhoo Island South Miladhunmadulu Atoll (Maldives)

DSC_1142 - DSC_1149
Takamaka anchorage, Salomon atoll, Chagos

Daily Stats

Passages: 53 passages, with 122 nights spent underway

Anchored: 367 locations, for a total of 1003 nights

Docked: 68 times, for a whopping 1237 nights (most of this is when we parked to work in Australia)

Moored: 28 places, 185 nights

Remaining days/night: hauled out, med-moored, or shore tied

Most days between docking: 266 (or, just shy of nine months…and growing daily!)

upwind to Kuching

Anchoring Stats

Depth over 100’: 4 times- Indonesia, Thailand, Maldives

Depth under 10’: 5 times- Mexico, Tonga, Malaysia

Times dragged: 2.

  • In Puerto Don Juan Mexico, with normally excellent holding but anchor hit a gravel patch
  • In Raja Ampat, in coral / gravel and 80′ of water with a 45 knot squall. FUN
  • On 10 or so occasions, the anchor has moved some under load, but never unset
Looking down at Totem
Puerto Don Juan, aka, that place where we dragged

Most challenging anchoring: Raja Ampat, Indonesia, where 90’ was typical

Most unusual items pulled up by anchor:

  • Pangkor Island, Malaysia -a large mass made up of an old anchor, broken coral, and fishing net
  • Pulau Efna, Indonesia – a 6’ tall orange fan coral. Oh my goodness, we felt terrible
  • Pulau Klang, Malaysia – mud so foul, surely the smog monster that ate Tokyo came from here
fouled anchor in Pangkor
Pangkor, Malaysia. This was a real bear to untangle.

Cultural Stats

Unusual foods:

  • Miri, Malaysia (Borneo) – live eels, python, tree kangaroo, turtle
  • Ambon, Indonesia – pepeda (local staple that looks like a bowl of snot)
  • Phuket, Thailand –crickets, cockroaches, and insects of all kinds
Grubs! Yummy!
Mmmmm, grubs! As seen in Borneo.

Friendliest people: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Mexico. It’s still fresh, but I think Seychelles will join this list.

Most pleasant people experience: The Indonesian Navy crew that looked after us in Pemangkat, Kalimantan that shamed the harbormaster out of his bribe attempts and delivered us bags of fruit, vegetables, fresh fish- just because.

Most unpleasant people experience: When Jamie was threatened with assault by marina staff members in Telaga Harbor, Malaysia, because we wanted to invite Indian university students out for a ride in our dinghy (a longer story, but there are problems with racism in Malaysia with ethnic Malaysians discriminating against Malaysians of Chinese or Indian descent, and foreigners)

New ways we’ve learned to say hello or thank you:

  • Hola! (Mexico)
  • Kaoha (Marquesas)
  • La ora na (Tahiti)
  • Talitali fiefia (Tonga)
  • BULA! (Fiji)
  • Tankyu Tumas (Vanuatu)
  • Bonjour! (New Caledonia)
  • G’day (‘Strayan, mate)
  • Melalula waiwaisana (Louisiades, Papua New Guinea)
  • Kali Katui (Budi Budi, Papua New Guinea)
  • Letu solian! (Ninigo, Papua New Guinea)
  • Selamat (Indonesia, Malaysia)
  • Sawadee khaaaaaaa. aaaaa. aa. (Thailand)
  • Vanaaka (Tricomalee, Sri Lanka)
  • Assalaamu Alaikum (Maldives)
  • Bonzour (Seychellois Creole)

 Stats That Stay With You

Number of times plugged a 110 volt device into a 220 volt outlet: 1

Number of times mistakenly put water into the diesel tank: 1

Number of times lost glasses while at the top of the mast: 1

Number of times flipped dinghy in a surf beach landing: 1

Number of times a rat fell onto sleeping crew below an open hatch: 1

Number of times we’ve lost our kayak because it wasn’t tied well: 1. maybe 2. (*cough*)

Number of times we under provisioned dark chocolate, wine, cheese, and bacon: please. this is painful.

Number of indelible memories chalked up with friends: countless.

Number of times we wished we weren’t cruising: zero.

If you’re wondering when those Chagos pictures will get posted, you definitely know we appreciate it when you read this on Sailfeed. Thanks!

Good times


14 Responses

  1. These are some amazing statistics! My husband and I hope to be able to compile our own list like this one day. We have almost hit our 2,000 mile mark . . . I love reading your blog. It gives us something to aspire to.

  2. Our family has been reading your blogs for quite a while now in preparation for cruising. My daughter is presenting a talk next week on any topic of her choice and she has chosen to discus “sailing families” with Sailing totem as a prime example and REFERENCE. See, your famous now 🙂

    Love the blogs, highlight of our week, keep ’em coming!

    Willems family x

    1. Love it Sheree! Thank you! Welcome hearing from your daughter if she wants to ask any questions or have any photos for her talk!

  3. Loved your milestones, statistics and beautiful images. And as for under provisioning (dark chocolate, wine, cheese, and bacon) I feel your pain. Looking forward to sailing with you and your family virtually for another 2500 days 🙂

  4. Great stats, very impressive accomplishment when you put it all together. we started keeping similar stats on our coastal cruising, but you gave us some new ideas.

    1. RV interpretation- I don’t know the lingo, but I guess 68 times docked is akin to 68 places you stopped with hookups or services… vs “anchoring” when you’re doing it on your own and not through a facility? How about nights in transit? We used to go “on watch” for driving time on road trips, ha!

      1. Yea – that’s what kills me! Anchored = boondocking, which we do very little of. We’re hoping to get better – but need some gear in the form of solar or a genset which we don’t have now.

        Transit time – we rarely go more >4 hours at a time unless we’re on a mission to get somewhere, but don’t do that much.

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