Sailfeed
February 2nd
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Seeing the mountains of Cuba, especially after leaving the flat and featureless Bahamas, is exciting. You know it’s going to be different, but just how different you don’t know. Equal parts of fear and anticipation, hesitancy and expectation, jitter about in your mind. It’s not at all like entering any other country.

As you approach, and generally somewhere about 9 or 10 miles out, the Cuban Guarda Frontera (coast guard) contacts you via VHF with a request you identify yourself and your intentions. This is it. You’re heading in and your entire cruising experience is about to be changed.

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ooops…..

My first visit I entered at Puerto de Vita after a 65 nm crossing from Ragged Island in the Bahamas.…

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January 30th

Preparing for passage making

Posted by // January 30, 2015 // COMMENT (6 Comments)

Cruising,

up the rig

How do you get ready for a passage? We’ve done it enough, but we’re rusty. And the upcoming ~1,200 nm from Malaysia to Sri Lanka is our first passage in a year of big passages. Even though we keep Totem in shape, after more than two years of mostly coastal sailing important to avoid complacency and make sure we’re on top of all systems aboard before taking off. Of course, life on a boat is a constantly scrolling list of repairs and maintenance, but the miles ahead add extra pressure.

So, what are we doing before we leave? Here’s a look at the current list.…

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January 28th

Why we love cruising in Thailand

Posted by // January 28, 2015 // COMMENT (8 Comments)

Cruising, ,

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We’ve checked out of Thailand, and don’t know when we’ll be back. While we wrap up pre-passage projects on Totem in Malaysia, it feels like the perfect time to reflect on what we loved (and didn’t) about the nearly six months we’ve spent in Thailand between 2013 and 2014.

The landscapes are breathtaking. The Andaman coast is peppered with stunning spots. From the surreal archipelago of limestone spires in Phang Nga bay to the sparkling water of the marine park islands offshore, there’s one beautiful anchorage after another. There should probably be a whole separate post of favorite places!

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beautiful Phang Nga bay

The food is outrageously good.

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January 21st

Last days in Thailand

Posted by // January 21, 2015 // COMMENT (7 Comments)

Cruising, Uncategorized,

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Cruising is hard work. Really. Our punch list to have Totem ready for the Indian Ocean is shrinking but it’s constant daily effort to track towards an end of month departure. Even when we’re relaxing, like those lazy weeks up in Koh Phayam, we’re not on vacation. I made this list of things Jamie did over the course of a few days while we lingered in the bay there:

  • -     cut hole in deck for inner forestay
  • -     cut six inches of 3/8 inch 316 SS plate from an overbuilt/oversized backing plate
  • -     install backing plate with some exceptionally messy butyl tape
  • -     re-splice dyneema inner forestay
  • -     connect solar panels (offline since arch was rebuilt at the shipyard)
  • -     field install connector for NMEA 2000 network GPS (getting aaaalll the little wires into an end: finicky work)
  • -     replace burned-out Caframo fan in forepeak

Relaxing is not so much relaxing lately.…

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January 17th
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The net is just buzzing with talk about Cuba since the release yesterday (Jan 16, 2015) of the new US regulations regarding the embargo. Everyone wants to go to Cuba – nothing new there – but just what do the new regulations actually say? That’s the real question, and it’s not being properly answered by most of the people discussing it.
For those of a legal bent, I’m going to include links to the new regs at the end of this article, so you can nitpick to your heart’s content. For the rest of us, it’ll be a bit more ad hoc.…

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January 14th
North channel

I’m a new face here on Sailfeed, but certainly not a new face to SAIL Magazine readers, as I’ve been writing for SAIL for nearly ten years. Nonetheless, I’m very excited about being able to speak with you here on Sailfeed, and I look forward to many conversations with you. First though, a bit of an introduction, to me, and to what to expect from me here.

I’m a full time cruiser living the dream, (and let’s be honest, occasionally it’s a nightmare!), out of Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay – truly some of the world’s best cruising grounds along with the North Channel of Lake Huron.…

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January 12th

The Great Escape

Posted by // January 12, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, Miscellany

cruisAs yet another year draws to a close I am reminded once again of what a great sport, pastime, call it what you will, we sailors enjoy. A late fall delivery from Bermuda to the Caribbean proved the perfect antidote to the continuing gloom that dominated the airwaves last year; I found there’s nothing like a bracing beat into 25-knot headwinds and a rambunctious seaway to banish thoughts of Ebola-infected ISIS militants swarming across the border to behead us in our sleep. Politics, fracking, climate change, none of these meant anything compared to the struggle of merely climbing out of your bunk at change of watch and the bleak contemplation of more of the same as the wind remained resolutely in the south.…

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January 12th

Tradition for the fun of it

Posted by // January 12, 2015 // COMMENT (7 Comments)

Cruising, Miscellany,

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It was just a little tickle on my neck, but something made me give it a flick instead of a scratch. Good thing, too, because instead of aggravating the little scorpion that perched there I knocked it to the cabin sole- and I ended up with a nip instead of a serious injury.

The little brown scorpion had jumped from a large stem of bananas (200+ bananas!) that I was cleaning and cutting into hands, the gift of a generous family back in Panapompom Island. It all worked out, but how could we have avoided a scorpion in the first place?…

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January 5th

Sailing into 2015

Posted by // January 5, 2015 // COMMENT (9 Comments)

Cruising,

seas between penang and langkawi

By many measures, we did not have a great year. 2014 was not marked by exotic anchorages and interesting cultural exchanges, but routine maintenance (and breakdown, and more maintenance), costly equipment replacements, and attempts at upgrades with varying degrees of success. Gear failures cost us plans for sailing to Borneo and the Philippines, and just much everything we tackled took significantly longer than it could or should. It is marked by complications and aggravations.

But a good year, or not, is mostly what you make of it. And although we would rather not repeat much of 2014, we had some incredible experiences that stand out like fireworks in hindsight- events and encounters and trends that added light to life.…

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December 13th

Your day is about to get better

Posted by // December 13, 2014 // COMMENT (4 Comments)

Cruising, People, , , , ,

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Get ready to smile! You know how when you smile at someone, it’s hard for them not to smile back? When someone passes along a good feeling, it’s hard not to share it and pass it along yourself? That’s pretty much how the kids & kittens fundraiser happened. It all started with a picture of the cute little boy we call Monk (for his impassive demeanor and bald head). His name is actually Hualan, but whatever the name, who can resist a trouser-less toddler gripping onto his favorite thing in the world, a new-to-him scooter?

When Mike messaged me after seeing Monk’s picture on Facebook, wanting to get scooters for other resident shipyard kids, a quick fundraiser was born.…

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