Voyage of Traveler / Blog

January 26, 2009

Traveler’s Chinese New Year

Filed under: Year 2: July08-June09 French Polynesia to Greece, Indian Ocean — mrlawlerjr @ 8:34 am

Hi, Everyone,

Traveler is cruising well up the west coast of Malaysia under very nice conditions.  We just left George Town on the island of Penang, where we celebrated the Chinese New Year at the posh Eastern and Oriental Hotel–a beautifully restored, colonial-style hotel like the Raffles of Singapore.  Lots of really loud firecrackers and two traditional pairs of lion dancers, with drums pounding, cymbals clanging and lots of energy.  George Town was a British trading post founded in the early 1800s and later a colony up until WWII, when it was invaded and occupied by the Japanese troops.  Now it is an eclectic blend of Chinese, Indians and Malays, with a few Brits left over.  It was recently designated as a World Heritage Site because of its colorful past and variety of architecture and historic buildings.

Brandon, our backpacking Canadian guest crew, and Brian are getting along great, both on and off Traveler.  It is nice for Brian to have someone close to his age to pal around with. Barbara and I also enjoy having both of them on board, and they are becoming valuable crew members, helping us with the watches and normal boating chores.  And I love having my son share the dream with me. My other two kids, Kellie and Scott, will be joining us this summer while we are cruising the Med, and we’re looking forward to that too.
Tonight we are going to stop at a small island called Pulau Paya (aka Payar), which is a Malaysian Marine Park–no fishing and no anchoring, but they have moorings for visiting boats.  It is supposed to have fabulous snorkeling. The air temp is 85 at 5:30 pm and the water temp is in the high 70s.  We have just six miles to go to the island and it looks great. We’ll get there in time for a late afternoon snorkel and then happy hour and a nice BBQ dinner. Then tomorrow we continue on to the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club for a couple of nights, then on to Phuket, Thailand. In Phuket we will have the fuel pump rebuilt.  Hopefully, that is the problem that has been causing the low RPMs and we can get it fixed there before sailing west across the Bay of Bengal to Sri Lanka.

All’s well,
Michael and Barbara
06 03.5 N, 100 02.5 E

January 21, 2009

Traveler’s Next Stop: Malaysia

Filed under: Year 2: July08-June09 French Polynesia to Greece, Indian Ocean — mrlawlerjr @ 1:02 pm

Hi, Everyone,
We are underway between Singapore and Port Klang, the harbor for Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur, with less than 20 miles to go.

As you all are painfully aware, this is a good time to be traveling around the world, escaping the economic meltdown.  Also, as an American traveling abroad we can see (1) how informed and interested people of other countries and of all education levels (from taxi drivers to medical doctors) are in US politics and (2) how pleased they all are that Obama is our new president.  Just walking down the street in a rural village in Indonesia a couple of weeks ago we were easily spotted as being Americans and a crowd of young villagers started chanting, with great pleasure, OBAMA! OBAMA! This was typical, from Australia to Singapore, and everywhere we go.  It is amazing how well liked he is, not just in the US, but around the world.

Also very good for us is the price of diesel is relatively low, and dropping even further with each passing week.  We paid only $3.00 per gallon in Singapore, and in Oman (six countries down the road for us) we here the price is only $1 per gallon!

However, other prices were sky high in Singapore.  I visited a dermatologist where I had a two hour exam and four moles removed and biopsied, plus some laser work on my forehead to treat sun-damaged skin, and the bill came to $2,500.  Also, our autopilot failed on the passage from Bali to Singapore so we had to replace it here, and the duty added to imported electronics caused the price to be $5,000 (the same unit in California would have been about $3,000.)

We had a pleasant ten day visit to Singapore.  Highlights were:
-Staying at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club, which is the nicest YC we have seen on our trip so far.  It was nicer than any of the clubs in Newport Beach even.  And only $20 per night for a slip there, which includes use of the pool and showers (think Balboa Bay Club-type quality, with a touch of SE Asia).
-A three-day visit from my mom and step-dad. We toured the zoo, had nice dinners together at their hotel (the Raffles), China Town and on board Traveler, and a belated Christmas gift exchange.
-My son, Brian, joined us here for the next couple of months or so for our passage through SE Asia and across the Indian Ocean and up the Red Sea.
-Singapore is an amazing city, super clean–no grafitti or litter anywhere.  Picture a very modern city with efficient, clean and cheap public transportation, sky scrapper hotels, office buildings and residential condos.  It has a very busy harbor, with hundreds of ships coming and going or off-loading containers.  Although very close to the Equator, ocean breezes keep the temperature at about 85 year round.
-By coincidence, the Volvo Round the World Race stopped in S’pore for a week while we were here, so we got to see those ultra fast ocean racers and visit with some of the crew.  Imagine a 70-foot race boat with a crew of 12 and typical speeds in the range of 20 to 30 with a top speed of 40 knots!  These boats cost between $5 and $70 million each!  And there are seven of them in the race.  An eighth boat, from Russia, had to drop out due to a lack of funds from the global recession. The next leg of the race is to China. Check out their website.
-We met Brandon at the YC.  He’s a 25 year old fireman from Canada, who is backpacking around SE Asia and hitched a ride with us to Sri Lanka, so we have a fourth crew member.  He gets along great with Brian and it is nice to have that fourth person to help with the night watches, especially in these busy shipping lanes.

Last night was one of our best under passage so far, cruising up the Malacca Strait.  It was like the Super Bowl of yacht cruising. No moon and a clear sky, so we saw thousands of stars.  The wind was blowing offshore on our starboard beam at 18 knots, so we had flat seas and were sailing at 8 knots very comfortably with a reefed main and jib. And we had nearly the whole night about 50 ships within five miles of us, including tugs with tows and super tankers–which were very well lit, of course, and easy to see on our radar too, but we also had dozens of unlit small fishing boats to try to spot on radar and dodge around.  The joke here, which sadly is not far from the truth, is that the local fisherman’s running lights at night is when he holds up his lit cigarette and waves it around, and if you get too close he fires of a flare by striking a match and throwing it in the air as high as he can.

We should be arriving at the Royal Selangor YC in a couple of hours, just in time for happy hour, where we will toast our new president and a speedy recovery from the economic recession.  Then we will take a one hour train ride into Kuala Lumpur for dinner and to spend the night at a hotel and to see the Petronas Towers, formerly the world’s tallest skyscraper.  We plan to ride the elevator up to the 41st floor Skybridge between the twin towers, just to have a look around.

For those of you following our engine problems, we had a certified Yanmar mechanic on our boat for six out of the ten days we were in S’pore.  He made some improvements to the engine, so we now have a top RPM of 2800 (should be 3600), but before we topped out at only 2000 RPMs.  We cruise, normally, at 2200, so although we are still not fully recovered we are well enough to be discharged from the hospital.  The mechanic said we might want to have the fuel pump re-built somewhere down the road.  But everything in S’pore was beginning to shut down for the Chinese New Year and it would have been another two to three weeks before we could get anyone to work on a fuel pump, so we decided to move on.

Livin’ the Dream,
Michael and Barbara

January 1, 2009

Kumai, Indonesia and the Tanjung Puting National Park

Filed under: Year 2: July08-June09 French Polynesia to Greece, Indian Ocean — mrlawlerjr @ 6:54 pm

Kumai, Indonesia and the
Tanjung Puting National Park
December 31, 2008

Hi, Everyone, and Happy New Year!

We decided that Traveler’s New Year’s resolution to us for 2009 should be “No more engine problems!”

We picked up a Boat Boy in Bali named Yansen as crew for the passage from Bali to Singapore. He is helping us with several projects on Traveler and is a joy to have on board with us for the week to ten days it will take us to complete the 1,000 mile passage to Singapore.  We are experiencing, once again, a major problem with our Yanmar engine.  We are at anchor in a river off a town of maybe 5,000 population called Kumai, on the southern coast of the Kalimantan Province, on Indonesia’s wild and exotic island of Borneo. It is about half way between Bali and Singapore.  We stopped here for two reasons: to see the orang-utans of Tanjung Puting National Park and to buy more diesel.  After doing both yesterday, we left Kumai last night but have now returned to see a diesel mechanic as we are only able to get about 1400 rpms out of the engine, giving us a speed of only 4.5 knots, and it sounds like it is laboring heavily to do that.  When performing well, we normally cruise at 2200 rpms with a speed of 6.8 or so, with a maximum of 3600 rpms and a top speed of around 8 knots.  We suspect there are clogged fuel injectors from all the sediment that was loosened up from the heat when welding our leaky fuel tank in Bali, and that fine sediment somehow got past our filters.  Hopefully the mechanic will find the problem and make the repairs, and hopefully as we would like to be on our way again soon.

My son, Brian, age 20, arrives in Singapore on Jan. 3 and we do not want to keep him waiting or by himself there for too long.  Brian will be joining us for seven weeks or so for the passage across the Indian Ocean from Southeast Asia to the Red Sea and will see eleven countries along the way: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives, Yemen, Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan and Egypt, where we hope to be by the end of February.  We plan on moving fast over the next two months so we can leisurely enjoy the Med for this spring and summer. Kathy Smith, one of our crew from Transpac, may also be joining us for a portion of the passage in the Indian Ocean.

Seeing the orang-utans was one of the top five highlights of our trip so far.  It was amazing to see the apes up close and in the wild.  We saw about 20 of them, including the king of the clan, a huge male, and I got within 10 feet of him while he was eating a bunch of bananas.  Barbara was also nearby taking photos of me while I was taking a video of the big guy chomping away.

To get to Kumai is not easy.  For most of the few tourists who come here it is a long flight with three or four connections and changes of planes followed by an eight hour bus ride. Or, as we did, you can cruise here on your own yacht.  But the long entrance harbor is very shallow and tricky, with many places only nine or ten feet deep (and we draw eight feet.) Once in Kumai, you meet a local named Adi, who arranges fuel to be delivered in jerry jugs to your boat (there is no fuel dock), and either a klotok, for most visitors, or a speed boat, like we had. The klotok is a 30 ft, colorful Indonesian-styled river boat, with a captain and crew, sleeping accommodations for six passengers, cruise-ship like deck chairs under an awning on the top deck, that slowly chugs the four hour ride up the narrow river for a two to four day trip. The Klotoks look like a cross between Humphrey Bogart’s African Queen and the boats on the Jungle Boat Cruise at Disneyland. The speed boat, for those in a hurry and want to make it a one-day trip, is a small four passenger with a 50 hp engine.  The driver only knows one speed, full throttle, at about 30 knots, even while rounding blind curves in the narrow river with several other boats going either up or down and with lots of floating logs. palm fronds and reeds in the river to steer around and try to miss. We had many close collisions with other boats and did hit a crocodile.  The bent prop caused some vibration for the rest of the relatively quick trip, which lasted about 70 minutes each way.  Our guide said the croc will probably survive the cut on his back from the propeller, but the leaches will find the wound and finish him off in five to seven days.  Imagine, a crocodile being slowly eaten alive by maybe a hundred or so blood-sucking leaches.

When we arrived at Tanjung Puting National Park’s Camp Leakey, which is the orang-utan research center in the middle of the rain forest, our guide warned us as we were stepping off the boat onto the old rickety dock that a tourist from England lost his balance and fell into the water right there and he was immediately eaten alive by a big croc in front of his family and other tourists.

One of our best moments at Camp Leakey (you might want to Google it to see photos and learn more, especially the article and photos by National Geographic, if you are interested and have the time) was seeing, up close, a mother with her very young baby, maybe just a week old, clinging to her back.  To watch these primates, our distant evolutionary cousins, swing through the trees over head and come up close to where you are, and then to watch them as they stare back at you, you have to wonder what they think about us. To experience these apes, especially out in the rain forest in their natural environment, was an absolutely amazing experience.

This part of Borneo is a malaria hot zone with lots of mosquitos, so we are taking our Malarone pills, spray lots of Off on us, and put the mosquito nets over the hatches at night.

We hope you all thoroughly enjoy yourselves this New Year’s Eve and Day, and of course hope the Trojans beat Penn State in the Rose Bowl. For all you Trojan fans, we had a Rose Bowl Pep Rally this morning, played the USC Fight Song on one of those pens, and proudly hoisted the USC banner on the foredeck.

And a final note, Barbara is so happy to be in places where she can drop off the ship’s laundry and pick it up a few days later, extremely clean, soft, folded and bagged in plastic as if it was new, out of a store, and we pay hardly anything for the service.

Livin’ the Dream
Michael and Barbara
The Indonesian Trojan Club
02 45 S, 111 44 E
on Dec. 31 at 0400 utc

December 27, 2008

“Indo” the New Year

Filed under: Year 2: July08-June09 French Polynesia to Greece, Indian Ocean — mrlawlerjr @ 3:45 pm
Hi, Everyone,
All is well aboard Traveler, once again, and we are on passage this week between
Christmas and New Years in Indonesian waters between Bali and Singapore.  We picked
up a Bali Boat Boy named Yansen (just one name, like Sting) who works for $5 per
day--and is very good, and I'll pay his airfare from Singapore back to Bali.
He is trying to get his captain's license and needs what we call "days
at sea" signed off by a captain. His English is good enough, and we are glad
to have him onboard with us as crew for this leg.
We're having some rough weather and having to beat into it.  Because of all
the delays, we missed the "weather window" of favorable southeasterly
monsoons (what the trade winds are called in this part of the world) and now have
northwesterly monsoons.  We have about 20 to 25 knots of wind on the bow with near
constant waves breaking over the bow so the decks are awash.
the occasional squall brings winds of up to 40 knots with lots of rain and thunder,
which keeps things exciting.  At least it is warm, about 85. And thanks to the dodger
and our new side curtains, the cockpit mostly dry.
We are headed for Singapore, but we'll have a stop along the way tomorrow at
the Indonesian island of Kalimantan to trek in the Tanjung Puting National Park.
This is one of the last, and best, places on the planet to see the awesome orang-utan
apes in their natural environment. Also in the National Park are tons of crocodiles,
monkeys, and, if we are lucky, we might see a leopard. For photos, Google "Orang-utans
in Tanjung Puting National Park."
The leaky fuel tank is fixed, but what a huge, distracting, upsetting and expensive
repair that was.  Imagine taking a power saw to your beautiful built-in furniture
just to get to the tank to remove it, which took four people using our boom as a
crane to lift it out, then having your boat all torn up for the ten days it took
to fix it. I guess it wasn't all that expensive.  The repair bill came to only
$600, mostly because labor is so cheap here.  What hurt was (1) spending so much
of our time in Bali dealing with the problem, and (2) filling the tank in Dili with
$800 worth of diesel only to have it all leak into the bilge and then pumped overboard--thanks
to the automatic bilge pump--while we were ashore and Traveler was at anchor.  The
workers in Bali did a good job and the boat is all put back together and the tank
works well!  We kept one of the two 250 liter temporary fuel tanks we had on the
aft deck as a reserve, strapped down with motorcycle tie-downs, so now our range
under power is about 1,500 nautical miles.
My son, Brian, is taking some time off from Orange Coast College to join us in Singapore,
arriving January 3, for the two months or so it will take to cross the Indian Ocean,
Red Sea and Suez Canal. Also, my mom and step-dad will be joining us in Phuket,
Thailand for five days beginning January 15, and we are really looking forward to
those visits.
Many have asked about pirates, especially since our route takes us through both
the Malacca Strait and the Gulf of Aden between Yemen and Somalia.  We, too, are
concerned.  The Indonesian, Singapore and Malaysian navies and local police have
done a great job patrolling the Malacca Strait over the past few years, after decades
of blatant pirate attacks, and there are now hardly any attacks in the waters around
Singapore.  If there is, it is usually a large ship and the pirates are after big
ransom money. I have heard of only one yacht being boarded by pirates in the past
year around Singapore, out of thousands who cruise through this passage annually.
The Gulf of Aden is now by far the worse spot in the world for piracy.  But finally,
due in large part to all the publicity, a coalition of 14 nations now have 150 "assets"
(ships, patrol boats, planes and helicopters) patrolling the Horn of Africa.  They
have established a new shipping lane that is heavily patrolled and since then the
reports of piracy have dropped significantly in that patrolled area. I have the
latitude and longitude coordinates for this safe corridor, as this shipping lane
is so new it is not yet on any printed charts.  Also, cruising boats of like size
and speed group up before entering the Gulf and stay together, which works well
as a deterrent.
We're still livin' the dream, and unfortunately the risk of pirates is a
part of cruising, just about anywhere in the world.
Send us an email and let us know what you did for the Christmas and New Years holidays.
We are now 15 hours later (nine time zones away from California), so when it is
noon on a Sunday in Newport Beach it is Monday at 3:00 am on board Traveler.
Michael and Barbara
06 25 S, 115 03 E

December 27, 2008 at 1200 utc

December 15, 2008

Sarangan Island near Benoa Harbor Bali, Indonesia

Filed under: Year 2: July08-June09 French Polynesia to Greece, Indian Ocean — mrlawlerjr @ 8:35 pm

Subject: Bali Hi, from Traveler
Date: Dec 15, 2008 7:12 PM

View Barbara’s Photo Album of this area on

Sarangan Island near Benoa Harbor
Bali, Indonesia
08 43 S, 115 14 E

Hi Everyone,

Barbara and I have been, for the most part, enjoying Bali for the past ten days. It is one of the jewels of Southeast Asia. Bali is eight time zones away from California, which means we are now one-third of the way around the world, with 16 time zones still to go.  As with most of the trip so far, we have both good parts and bad.  First, the good parts:

1.  We visited the art colony of Ubud, about an hour’s drive north and inland from the harbor, and stayed at one of the seven guest rooms available to the public as a hotel within the Royal Palace, which is very old and charming, and a bit rustic.  Each room has an outdoor sitting area with exotically carved wood and stone art pieces and furniture, where we were brought tea twice a day and a nice breakfast in the morning. The well-landscaped grounds were a collage of small temples, courtyards, sitting areas and koi ponds.

2.  Ubud was a fun place to walk around, especially a park called the Sacred Monkey Forest, with about 300 monkeys scampering around and aggressively begging for bananas (you can buy a bunch for $1 at the gate.) There are three amazing temples with gorgeous stone carvings partly covered in vines, huge banyan trees, and a bridge over a stream in a steep canyon–like out of an Indiana Jones movie.

3.  We saw a traditional Balinese dance troupe perform in elaborate costumes, with an 18 piece orchestra of mostly drums and Balinese-style xylophones. The setting was outdoors in a courtyard in front of a temple within the Royal Palace, just a few steps from our room.

4.  The dollar goes a long way here.  For instance, the 30-mile taxi ride from our boat to Ubud, plus several sight-seeing stops along the way and waiting in the cab while we had lunch, all of which took three to four hours, was only $30.  Entrees for dinner at nice restaurants are $5 to $8. And even more important to us, semi-skilled boat laborers for $5 per day! At the end of the day, we treat ourselves to $5 massages at a nearby resort with the massage tables out on the beach.  And a very good quality massage, too!

5.  The Balinese people are very friendly, although their English is not too good.  A few Balinese speak broken English, enough to get by.  All are blown away when we tell them we sailed here from California.

6.  All Indonesians are very pleased that Obama was elected, especially since he lived in Jakarta, Indonesia as a child.  (Once an Indonesian, always an Indonesian, so that means an Indonesian is president of the US!–is the way they see it.)  Because of Obama, there is a noticeable amount of fresh goodwill toward Americans, and we think we will find this to be the case throughout our travels around the world.

7.  We got invited to the Royal Bali Yacht Club’s Christmas Dinner Party, held at a nice restaurant, with about 40 other yachties.  Most of the guests have been here for many years and a few, like us, just passing through.  The commodore wore a Santa suit.  It put us in the spirit for Christmas, but also made us homesick. Bali is something like 90% Hindu and maybe only 1% Christian, so Christmas is not a big thing here.

The bad parts:

1.  We have been sick for most of the past two weeks. It comes and goes, with frequent trips to the head. (Love the electric toilet we have on board!) We picked up something in Dili, East Timor causing us to have “Big-D” and a low energy level.  We saw a doctor who took a variety of tests, and we are feeling much better now having taken the antibiotics.

2.  In calm water while motoring here, we took a wave (out of nowhere, possibly a wake from a distant ship or something like that) that went over the bow and washed back over our deck all the way to the open hatch on our cabin top, so about a bucket full of salt water poured onto our nav desk.  The biggest loss was Barbara’s laptop computer, and with it our ability to send and receive emails via Sailmail from the boat.  We are now using my backup laptop, but it took a long time to re-program it for Sailmail and we still do not have it working right, plus we lost all the email addresses that we had saved on only Barbara’s laptop, so we have been incommunicado for the past few days.

3.  Sadly, the Balinese carelessly litter, and it is highly evident here in the harbor, which is filthy with pollution.  It looks bad and makes swimming out of the question.

4.  There are lots of flies and mosquitos, but Barbara has sewn effective nets for the hatches using bridal veil material and spare rope to weight down the bottoms, keeping the nets in place.

5.  Our fuel tank sprang a leak while we were in Dili and we decided to do the repairs here.  The tank is large and very difficult to get to.  It took me two full days to get what I could up and out of the way (remove the stool for the nav station and the dining table, remove the floor boards and the supporting frames for those boards, temporarily disconnect or relocate several electrical wires, remove the stairs, etc.)  Then, this past Sunday, we had two wood craftsmen here for eight hours to remove the tank, with much of the time being spent on disassembling the built-in sofa.  We also had to move the (very heavy) batteries.  All this just to get to the tank.  Next, we had to cut the fiberglass away from all four sides of the tank which was holding it in place in case the boat capsized. Finally, we struggled for a full hour to get the heavy tank up and through the main hatch, off the boat by dinghy and onto the shore.  We think the tank can be repaired here at a boat yard that has a welder. It will be another big ordeal to get the tank back in place and everything put back together, we hope before Christmas.

6.  We are in the start of the rainy season, and it is cloudy and rainy almost every day.

7.  Because of the many delays over the past few months, we are now in the season where the prevailing trade winds, called monsoons, are out of the NW, instead of the SE, so instead of downwind sailing we will be beating or motoring into the wind and waves most of the way to Thailand and then across the Indian Ocean, with squally weather bringing heavy rain at times.

8.  With a population on Bali of about 3 million, the streets are very crowded with crazy drivers, including about 1 million motorcycles–no exaggeration, and the motorcycles swarm around the cars through traffic–the worst driving conditions we’ve ever seen. Everyone is free to make left hand and U-turns into oncoming traffic, and it is the responsibility of the opposing driver to yield, usually just by a couple of inches. Our cabbie explained the number one rule of the road here is that each driver is concerned only with his “Range of Responsibility” which is directly in front of him, with very little, if any, care for what is on either side or to the rear.  There is hardly any use of mirrors or turn signals and there is constant tailgating.  The painted lanes are totally ignored, often with three or four cars and five to ten motorcycles jammed together and dangerously moving rapidly forward on just a two lane road.  If a motorcycle zooms in and cuts you off, or weaves and lane straddles, its because he is now in front of you and it is your responsibility to avoid him. If there is a sidewalk, it is very uneven and narrow with frequent obstacles causing you to walk in the road often with the cars and motorcycles buzzing by just inches away, and taxis honking their horns at you to get a fare.  Often you’ll see three or four people somehow riding on a single motorcycle, weaving through traffic.  If you drove like this in LA you’d be shot.  The locals are totally used to the driving conditions here, but as a tourist it is crazy, chaotic and dangerous. We use a driver who knows what he is doing, but we still cringe as he narrowly avoids the constant hazards.

Our current plan, assuming we get the tank fixed and re-installed by Christmas, is to depart Bali for Singapore on the day after Christmas, then cruise up through the Malacca Strait to Western Malaysia and Phuket, Thailand by mid-January.  We have some catching up to do to get back on our schedule, with about 6,000 miles to go to the Suez Canal and we would like to be there by the end of February or early March.  But we’ve found over the past 18 months that schedules and cruising do not always work out.  Like experienced cruisers say about schedules, “Man makes plans and God just laughs” or “I’ve got no plans and I’m sticking to it” or “As far as our itinerary goes, I can give you a place or a date, but not both.”

We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.

Still Livin’ the Dream,
Michael and Barbara

October 21, 2008

Australia to Bali, Indonesia - October 2008 to December 2008

Filed under: Year 2: July08-June09 French Polynesia to Greece, Indian Ocean — mrlawlerjr @ 7:21 pm

Traveler Update October 11, 2008

We are on passage from Port Vila, Vanuatu to Mackay, Australia (near the WhitsundayIslands), and we’re having a blast.  The wind has picked up some, blowing 20to 25 knots, but it is behind us at 120 degrees apparent so it is a fast and funwind angle.  We’re doing 8 to 8.5 knots with reefed sails.  Yesterday we caughta 48-inch, 22-lbs mahi mahi and sailed 168 miles.

For the next four months, our expected itinerary is to sail about 7,000 miles fromAustralia to the Red Sea and is outlined below.  I’ve divided it up into fourlegs, each about a month long and about 1,750 miles of cruising (dates are estimatesand will likely change a little). If you want to join us, but cannot commit to awhole month, or leg, that’s okay, too.  One week, two weeks, or three weeks is okay, too, whatever you can do.  We’ll just keep you advised as to where we are and when we’re expected to be at a certain place, and you can join usfor as long as you can.

Cairns, Australia to Bali, Indonesia
October 25 to November 25
Stops and highlights: Sailing up the Great Barrier Reef and around Cape York,seeing the extreme 20 ft. tides of Darwin, going on a trek in search of the KomodoDragon on the island of Flores, and finishing with cocktails in the exotic port of Bali.

Bali to Phuket, Thailand
November 25 to December 21
Stops and highlights: Starting out with one of the most exotic places on the planet, Bali, then sailing up to Singapore, then up a little further to Bass Harborand Port Kelang (Western Malaysia) to visit Kuala Lumpur, and then up to Phuket,stopping at small islands along the way. Fly home from Bangkok.

Phuket to Mahe, Maldives
December 21 to January 21
Stops and highlights:  Phuket is one of the most popular destinations in SoutheastAsia, and the best way to see it is by yacht, don’t you think?  Of course, spendingChristmas and New Year’s Eve there will be quite memorable.  From Thailand, we sail west across the Andaman Sea to either Banda Aceh (place most devastated by the tsunami) or Nicobar before heading over to Galle, Sri Lanka to ride an elephantin the rain forest. Then we may stop at the tip of India at Trivandrum or Cochinto see some of the beauty of that great country, before ending the passage at oneof the most beautiful archipelagoes of the world, the Maldives, with spectaculardiving.

Maldives to Suez Canal
January 21 to February 28
Stops and highlights:  Starting the trip in the gorgeous Maldives, we sail westerlyacross the Arabian Sea and through the Gulf of Aden, stopping at Adan (Yemen), Djibouti,Massawa (Eritrea), Port Sudan and Hurghada, Egypt to ride camels and see the GreatPyramids and the Spinx. Then we cruise through the Suez Canal, which takes on average100 ships a day through its 85 miles (no locks).  Fly home from Cairo.  Note: Weplan on staying at least 150 to 200 nm off the coast of Somalia and will likely be buddy boating with one or two other cruisers and be in daily contact with theCoalition forces patrolling the Gulf of Aden to avoid pirates there. There are 100to 120 ships and boats a day that cruise through the Gulf of Aden and the reportedpirate attacks is averaging two a month, so the odds are good that the only pirateswe come across will be ourselves.  Arrrrrgh!

These are places you do not normally get invited to see or go cruising to.  Someof the most exciting places in the world.  Great cruising.  An adventure of a lifetime.

New to Traveler since you were on her last:
Clear plastic side curtains around the cockpit to roll down if rainy or too windy.Nice.
Solar panels and a wind generator, so we have lots of amps in the house bank to burn.
New sound system, with 1,000 songs on an iPod and dozens of CDs.
New engine: more horsepower and reliable.
Leaks are all fixed.
Autopilot works great, so watches are easy and comfortable!

Use up some of those frequent flier miles. Hope to see you soon.  Let us know,

Livin’ the Dream,

« Previous Page

Powered by WordPress