The South Pacific is closed

In the wild elasticity of time since Coronavirus shadows began gathering, although it feels like an age since we canceled plans for the South Pacific – it’s barely been a week. Since February we’ve been in prepare / wait-and-see mode. The worst-case scenario, in early days, was rerouting to Tahiti; later, waiting out a delayed […]

Provisioning for a pandemic

Conveyor belt full of food at busy warehouse store

  Plans are swirling: only a few days since I speculated about impact to our routing for the South Pacific, stringent regulations are being implemented across island nations. Our plans remain uncertain, but are taking shape. We have time to wait and watch, then make an informed decision instead of a hasty one. Whether we […]

How Coronavirus is impacting our plans

Totem’s bow floats high thanks to the anchor and ground tackle that lies on the concrete dock just forward of her stem. The bow looks naked without a chainplate as last of Totem’s original chainplates is replaced. Projects are ticking off nicely as we prepare for April’s departure to the South Pacific. Here in Mexico, […]

Fueling no controversy

“Come back tonight.” Jamie’s new friend, a businessman in a remote Indonesian port, had agreed to help us buy diesel. It’s illegal to purchase in Indonesia as a non-citizen, and yet we all find a way…eventually. After several dead ends, this fellow was our ticket. We had been repeatedly foiled: in a part of the […]

Sunsets and rainbows and a lot of work

Ah, the cruising life! Swinging in a hammock, sipping fruity rum drinks, soaking in a spectacular view. Well, that happens sometimes… Focusing entirely on life afloat as a family was a luxury we had as new cruisers. Although we were theoretically retired (for the first time!), it astounded me how much of our time was […]

How to vote while cruising overseas

“It’s just too hard,” the cruiser complained. It was the fall of 2016, and we were in a conversation about how to vote in the USA’s pending election. It’s not too hard! But it does benefit from a little bit of research and planning. I’m here to shortcut that research, so you can be prepared […]

The best dinghy for cruising

Dinghies are analogous to cars for cruisers; is that why I stand in the cockpit with the faintest touch of trepidation and watch as our teenagers disappear around the curve of a palm-fringed island? They return later grinning with adventures found…stories from their snorkeling jaunt of caverns, coral, and glowering barracuda. If a cruising boat […]

Bahamas cruising post-Dorian

In early September, hurricane Dorian slammed into the Bahamas and became the most devastating natural disaster on record for the islands. Savage winds flipped boats, leveled homes, and traumatized an otherwise peaceful corner of this beautiful country. On the cusp of cruising season, the dramatic headlines put plans in flux for many. Here’s what to […]

The measure of a year: 2019 reflections

sailing in the ocean

Totem rocks at anchor in the gentle swell off La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico. We approached the end of the year on a mellow passage down the Sea of Cortez, sailing from Puerto Peñasco to our winter base in Banderas Bay. It was a little under five days – four nights at sea – to […]

Ode to a shipyard community

127 days of living on the hard are finally in the rear view mirror. Totem baked in the Sonora desert sun for more than four months of refit projects. Our boat is capable, but time and miles meant meaningful work in was due. Life on the hard is, well, hard. We shift from the natural […]