Trials at sea and ashore: sailing from Colombia to Panama

Gentle ripples stream in the wake of an ulu as a lone paddler sets out in the gray light of early morning. By the time the sun has inched above the horizon, a dozen more dugout canoes have joined this one to fish the reef off Anachucuna village. Meandering to pass near Totem, fishermen offer […]

Ascension to Barbados: notes from the passage part III

Continuing notes from the passage… installment three. We’re in the home stretch! Our crew, Ty, is working on a guest post: what do you want to know about life on Totem from his point of view? Ask in the comments here, Totem’s facebook page , or through the Contact form (they’ll both reach us on […]

Passage notes: Ascension to Barbados, part II

Continuing notes from the passage… from just beyond the halfway mark. Our crew, Ty, is working on a guest post: what do you want to know about life on Totem from his point of view? Ask in the comments here, or through the Contact form (they’ll both reach us on passage). Day 6 This passage […]

Passage notes: Ascension to Barbados, part I

Totem has been heading west for five days now. So far it’s been a beautiful passage: more gentle breezes than squalls, more pretty sunsets than gray skies. Departure Day I make a last run to shore, to mail a few postcards, try to visit a few people we met, and grab a last hour of […]

Passage Notes: Namibia to St Helena

The steady thrum of Totem’s Yanmar beat the departure march from Walvis Bay. Heading out under foggy skies, there’s precious little wind to tackle 1200 nautical miles and change to St Helena. That’s fine: much as we’d rather sail, this gets the battery bank fully charged, and the watermaker will run for hours; things we […]

The spark to see the world

When my husband Jamie was 11, he received a copy of “The Boy Who Sailed Around the World Alone” – the story of teenager Robin Lee Graham’s solo circumnavigation. This book was that spark for him: the awakening that irrevocably instilled a desire to see the world under sail. For me, it was a high […]

Shelter from the storm

We thought we’d be in the Comoros by this morning, a string of islands between Mozambique and Madagascar; instead, we’re still 240 miles away and anchored. Exhausted from three rough days at sea, as our course passed in the lee of an uninhabited atoll in the outer Seychelles it was all too easy to decide […]

Chagos archipelago-better than a soap opera

Cruisers love to love Chagos. They rhapsodize about the picturesque islands, amazing underwater life, and self-sufficient living. They wonder how they’’ll manage for a month without being bored out of their skulls, then wake up months later and reluctantly leave only because they’’re running out of supplies (well, back when you actually could stay that […]

How cruisers live differently

We’’re in our third week at the remote Chagos archipelago. It’’s hard not to compare what living in an uninhabited tropical island paradise is like in comparison to our prior land-based home life…it’s very, very different. [Update: related pictures are in this subsequent post, mostly…added after our return to the land of interwebs] Groceries Home: last […]

Cruiser Paradise Found

What does cruising paradise look like? For some, it looks a lot like the Chagos archipelago, a remote spread of beautiful islands where cruisers enjoy tremendous freedom. Rhapsodize about Chagos and the uninitiated glaze over-what? where? But mention Diego Garcia, Chagos’ most famous atoll and one of the largest (or the largest?) offshore US military […]