kids-in-cubbies

Top reasons cruising is great for families

Tight tribe: siblings on the bow off the Costa Rica coast Over the years, we have run into many couples cruising as empty-nesters who expressed regret they didn’t go with their children. The reasons for waiting are individual, but tend to follow similar themes. Fears of missing out on the cultural rituals of an American […]

letter-to-malaysia

Mail call challenges highlight cruiser priorities

No mail service anywhere near here. The instant gratification of click-to-buy for next day delivery disappears faster than steak at a potluck when you go cruising. An hour’s drive from a mailbox at the US border drives this point home: whether it’s boat parts or a care package, getting a delivery overseas can be tricky. […]

Group of adults hanging out in a small swimming pool

Cruising relationships are different

Familiar names come into focus on the hulls of sailboats as Jamie and I walk along the gravelly hardstand rows. It’s like seeing old friends after the space of time and distance; variations in the gap bring recollections for some in a heartbeat, others in just a few beats more. Remarkably, among the 70-odd cruising […]

three people on the bow of a sailboat

Sea change

Our language is full of words and phrases drawn from maritime origins. Whether you’re hoping to be on an even keel, can’t fathom what that is, or simply need Dutch courage to ask – terms with nautical roots pepper our everyday lexicon. The one most present on Totem lately: sea change. Thank Shakespeare for the […]

Jamiea and Karen at Isla Isabel

Challenging anchorages revisited

Miles and years slide by, but the feel of an anchorage sticks with you. Name a bay, and memories flood back: the quality of the holding. The way the swell could wrap around one end. The dogleg track to avoid a shoal. Returning to old haunts, the filter of experience casts a new light. Two […]

LaCruz sunsets

Migrating for hurricane season in Mexico

Cruising has seasonal rhythms; weather is the dominant factor, and for cruisers in Mexico it’s time to be in – or well on your way to – an area to spend hurricane season. From Mexico’s “Gold Coast” on the Pacific, the primary choices are south to El Salvador or beyond, north towards the Sea of […]

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Murder in paradise: is cruising dangerous?

A few days ago we learned that a cruising family was attacked on their boat in Guna Yala (aka San Blas), Panama, with the tragic outcome of death aboard. We met the New Zealanders in the Bahamas in 2017: their uncommon boat (a sky-blue trawler) and friendly crew made for memorable anchorage neighbors during a […]

Jerry cans on the dock finger. That monster at right is a 50 l tank, standard for Mexican fishing boats.

Tanked: mixology woes aboard

The dull thud of your heart sinking at that horrifying moment when you realize what you just did and consequences will follow: we all dread it. It happens anyway. Cruising comes with higher highs, and lower lows… pouring the wrong stuff in your diesel tank is one of those lower points. In mid-2012, Totem was […]

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New tools on Totem

It’s fun when you’ve been cruising for a bunch of years and can find delight in a few new pieces of kit on board. Here are a few new additions to Totem that earn their keep very nicely. What does that have to do with whales? read on! Laser rangefinder. OK, this has been on […]

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Totem’s Coppercoat application

Coppercoating Totem’s hull was a thrilling prospect, but pressure to do the application correctly gave me more anxiety any boat project in memory. The product features are substantial: a strong environmental case (nothing toxic ends up in the water, as with conventional antifouling paints), and solid financial value (the epoxy bottom should last for many […]

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