Sailfeed
May 14th
Local hunting conch in Bimini…

At anchor here in Bimini, after an uneventful crossing. The arrival, now that had some drama!
About seven miles out, I decided to put in the North Bahamas chart chip so that, you know, I would be able to see the channel clearly and enter without any problems.
Now where did I put that silly little chip? It’s always in the nav table. Always – well, except for now, when I need it. Seems that when I sold the old chartplotter, I left that chip in it. Darn. Someone got a deal there.
Fortunately, I’ve got my paper charts…
In any event, the entry to Bimini is very easy and well marked, especially now that the casino is here – can’t be having the guests roll the dice before getting to the tables, can we?…

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May 10th

Cuba Bound!

Posted by // May 10, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Boats and Gear, Cruising, Maintenance, Miscellany, People, Racing, Techniques, Uncategorized

A quick post, as I’m getting the boat ready for travel…

At last – the stars have aligned and it’s off to Bimini after far, far too long in Miami. From Bimini, it’s then over to Chub Key – or possibly Andros and then over to the Exumas. I’ll be avoiding Nassau like the plague – far too many murders there recently, including several on boats (see story here). Besides, why go to an island paradise and spend time in a city? I want beaches, sun, sand and rum!
From there, it will be on to the Exumas. This trip, I want to visit the northern Exumas, I’ve missed them in past years.…

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April 28th

Just in from Scott Berg of the SSCA – the Florida Legislature has adjourned three days early. This ends the current round of fighting to preserve anchoring rights in the state of Florida. In other words, we won. Our rights to anchor in that state have been preserved…for now.
Best of all, I won’t have to write (and you won’t have to read!) again about this issue for another six months.
Special congratulations to everyone! I hesitate to mention names because I’ll be sure to miss some, and there are some who deserve mention who don’t want me to mention them, or whose place was on the quiet side of this fight and who can’t be mentioned.…

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April 23rd

Some good must come from this tragedy

Posted by // April 23, 2015 // COMMENT (2 Comments)

Cruising, , , ,

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The terrible news came through last night: my friend Cidnie’s daughter, drowned in the marina where she and her husband keep their sailboat. I never experienced Kitty’s bright spark in person, but her lively personality was vividly illustrated by her mother’s stories and pictures.

The cruising community is tight. During a day of waiting and hoping and willing the best, comfort and courage was found in a circle of friends. Most of us have never met in person; we know each other through connections built over years through email, blogs, Facebook groups, chats. My fellow cruising mothers span the globe, and are a fierce tribe.…

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April 17th

True Solitude

Posted by // April 17, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising

Isla Navarino, on the Chilean side of the Beagle Channel

The expedition yacht Seal lies at anchor in a shallow bay on Isla Navarino, on the Chilean side of the Beagle Channel, while its crew of charter guests explores an isolated homestead. In the background, on the other side of the narrow channel named after HMS Beagle, loom the mountains of Argentina. Captained by Robert Fitzroy, the Beagle charted this remote part of Patagonia in the 1830s before heading up the South American coast to the Galápagos Islands. It was on this voyage that the ship’s naturalist, Charles Darwin, developed his theory of evolution.

Fitzroy too made a singular contribution to science, as a pioneering navigator and meteorologist who came up with the term “weather forecasting.” His charts of the South American coastline were so accurate that they were still in use well into the later years of the 20th century.…

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April 7th

Home is Where the Boat is

Posted by // April 7, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising

newEngland-promo

New England can be a cruel place to sail. You never can tell just what the months of March and April will bring, so you have no idea when your boat will actually touch the water. Woe betide you if you dare dream of an early launch date; like as not, you’ll find your spring commissioning plans thwarted by April snowstorms and lingering sub-Arctic temperatures, and you’ll be lucky if you’re in by Memorial Day, let alone the Fourth of July. Only twice in the last decade can I recall being fully prepped and launched by mid-May, and both times we were hammered by vicious two-day nor’easters that had me wishing the boat was still on the hard.…

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March 4th

totem in trinco

We approached Trincomalee with excitement and trepidation. This port is run by the Navy; it’s new to cruising boats after decades of civil war: officials don’t understand our needs, any more than cruisers understand theirs.

The first boats to arrive didn’t have the freedom they’re accustomed to at most cruising ports of call (such as not being allowed to anchor overnight and wait for clearance, but required to proceed to a specific location). There were concerns about the lack of transparency around fees, and ensuring that there is parity with the fees levied in Galle. Boats received services from the port (such as piloting, or dockage) which they didn’t realize they’d later be charged for.…

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March 1st

DSC_4835

Trincomalee so far has been a feast of sights, sounds, smells, experiences. It has been both friendly and jarring, and I wake up wondering what each day will bring. But that’s getting ahead of things a little. First, we had to get here!

For years, cruising boats pointing to Sri Lanka all called in to Galle on the southwest side of Sri Lanka. Trincomalee – the fifth largest natural harbor in the world – was in LTTE (Tamil Tiger) territory on the northeast coast, and not considered a safe destination during the civil war that dragged on from 1986 to 2009.…

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February 27th

PW5

Not long before leaving Malaysia, we purchased an Iridium GO!. This was somewhat unexpected because Totem has long been a radio centric boat. Since we started cruising in 2008 we’ve relied solely on our HF radio for long distance communications: it has met our needs, we value the community of an informal radio net at sea, and we are grateful the safety net of land-based hams such as the awesome Pacific Seafarers Net.

What changed?

But this past year, paying close attention to the progress of boats along our intended route in the Indian Ocean, we were dismayed to hear how much trouble they were having connecting to land-based stations for the purpose of receiving updated weather data over PACTOR modems- to the point that we know radio-centric boats that relied upon sailing in company with those carrying satellite based systems on board so that they could to receive updated weather forecasts.…

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February 25th

Giving back: the best birthday gift ever

Posted by // February 25, 2015 // COMMENT (2 Comments)

Cruising, , , , ,

dogs trinco

We’re just over one week in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. It is an explosion of new experiences: it’s so different, full of new sights and sounds and tastes and smells, which are taking time to process! But we are so happy to be here, relaxing into a familiar rhythm and learning about a new place…like walking past the gauntlet of marine police, above,to what must be the best-guarded dinghy dock we’ve EVER tied up to.

trinco beach

They named her Lucy. Dutch Beach, Tricomalee, Sri Lanka

One of the things you can’t miss in Trinco is the number of stray dogs. They’re not a problem, they’re just omnipresent.…

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