December 9th

It’s time to go home

Posted by // December 9, 2015 // COMMENT (3 Comments)

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american flag sailboat ocean

One of the hardest parts of cruising is being far away from people we love. It’s especially hard to be far away and during their times of need, when we can’t be present with support. But we also miss sharing everyday experiences: the laughs and events, celebratory or ordinary, that build memories with our faraway friend and family.

Going homeDuring our big road trip last month, the focus was on family—namely, spending time with Jamie’s aunt and uncle, who came to South Africa as expatriates in the 1970s. They fell in love with the country, and have made Johannesburg their home.…

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June 28th

Moving the boat, part 1: Noumea

Posted by // June 28, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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It was tough to choose the first photo for this post. On the one hand, most of our time in Noumea looked like this:

Not a holiday.

But on the other, returning to Noumea felt strangely like going home. Exciting, but bittersweet. The girls and I lived there for almost a year. In that time they went to school, we made friends, and began to integrate ourselves into the community. The moment we landed, the girls wanted to visit everywhere and see everyone – our favourite bakery, their old schools, the best spot on the beach. And, of course, their friends.

We couldn’t walk down the street without bumping into an old friend.

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June 20th


Posted by // June 20, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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Lucy aloft

This is the second time Lucy and I have done this, but the first time we’ve done it on Father’s Day. We both thought it a good a idea, though Lucy, inevitably, wanted to know why there isn’t a Daughter’s Day, so we could go out then, too. Of course, we all know the answer to that. Last time, you may recall, Lucy was very focussed on climbing rocks and trees. This time it was the mast. We arrived at the Goslings quite late Sunday afternoon, having slashed through a sporty 20-knot breeze on a close reach to get there, and she had me haul her up the mast in the bosun’s chair five times after we got settled in.…

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June 7th

Communication Breakdown: Helping Family Let Go

Posted by // June 7, 2014 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

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Around about now, I expect I am somewhere on the East coast, dining out with friends.  Worried about exactly where I am? I’m used to that. Back in the day, some well-meaning family members got a little nervous about our whereabouts, too.

Originally posted as Calling All Worrywarts, or, Next Stop, 1996! on December 15, 2010
As this little blog has grown, I have gotten the odd bit of mail from you, my dear readers.  Most of it is kind.  Some of it is mystifying.  But much of it comes from landlubberly types.  With that in mind, it is time for the educational (or, as Stylish, age 3, would have put it, edumacational) portion of our blog. …

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September 12th

Arcturus is hauled out now in Öregrund, Sweden, and Mia is begging for a proper fall day. Our last sail a couple weekends ago was also the only time we’ve had a real taste of fall here, despite it being nearly the middle of September.

Mia’s parents came out and joined us on the boat for a couple of days over the USA’s Labor Day Weekend. Thankfully – for the lack of crowds I mean – there is no such holiday here, and we had the entire cruising ground outside Öregrund completely to ourselves.

The day before Mia and I had taken the ferry over to the island of Grassö and ran for a couple of hours, covering a 13-mile loop around the gravel roads and through some forest tracks.…

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September 11th

Warning: sharks…card sharks.

Posted by // September 11, 2013 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

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In 2010, my cousin Claire came to stay on Totem in Bora Bora. Three years later she’s back again, with the unique distinction of still being the only relative to have trekked the miles to visit us (at least until next month, when my parents will meet us in Langkawi!).

photo: Claire Suni

Being far away from people we love can be tough. It’s almost certainly the highest price we pay for this lifestyle. Even though email and video chat make it easier now than the cruisers of yesteryear, there’s still no substitute for being able to be right there with someone.…

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August 22nd

Our five year cruisiversary

Posted by // August 22, 2013 // COMMENT (2 Comments)


In front of Totem

I look at this photo of our children at the time we embarked on the cruising life in 2008 and wonder- how did five years pass so quickly? It’s five years today since we backed Totem out of her Bainbridge Island slip and departed on cruising adventures. At the time, I really didn’t think that we’d still cruising five years later. A couple of years seemed achievable. I didn’t dare hope or think about more, and living in those amazing moments was enough.

Today we celebrated five years since departure from the Salish Sea. To commemorate the journey, Jamie pulled out the log and we all talked about those places where we were for each of those last cruisiveraries.…

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July 18th

Which Passage Were You On?

Posted by // July 18, 2013 // COMMENT (2 Comments)

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It is a banner day here on Papillon – we have completed our first passage since last January when the forestay parted and we made an unscheduled six-month stop in Whangarei.  This was only an overnight hop, but we were out at sea! and we got from there to here with barely a hiccup.

It has been a long time since I have been able to write to you, dear readers, about actual sailing stuff.  You have kindly put up with my posts about fixing the rigging, and living in the yard, and all of the cruising-related activities that have nothing to do with boat-on-water + wind = fun. …

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January 28th

Mi Familia

Posted by // January 28, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


Jan28 1

Our neice and Ali’s parents arrived for a visit yesterday. I can’t tell you how excited Ouest was to see them all. She’s been talking about playing with Lea for a week now, discussing all the fun things they were going to do together. Today they went swimming, read books, made necklaces, and played on the beach. Lea, a fifteen year-old girl, fell asleep tonight before ten. Our kids can even wipe out a teenager.

I got my hands on a copy of Live on the Margin for the first time. That’s a big book. There’s no way I’m reading that.…

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