August 1st

How use less internet data

Posted by // August 1, 2015 // COMMENT (2 Comments)


Computer lessons

Before we went cruising, we took unlimited internet access for granted. Traveling full time means relying on pre-paid plans for internet, which is almost always metered data, and that data can be really expensive sometimes. [above: Jamie gives lessons on a new computer to islanders in Papua New Guinea. Computers and the internet are part of life, even in the disconnected Hermit islands]

It’s been a somewhat painful stretch in Seychelles as we’ve spent a multiple of our usual monthly expenditure for typical activity online. Hearing the frustrations of a my friend Melissa (check out her blog: Little Cunning Plan!), who was dinged with the painful cost of international access when she and Mike sailed their beautiful Olympic 47 ketch, Galapagos north of the border to cruise in Canada recently, pushed me to organize a few notes on how we deal with reducing data to keep expenses down.…

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July 28th

Cruising Praslin Island, Seychelles

Posted by // July 28, 2015 // COMMENT (7 Comments)


DSC_2577We spent much of our first month in Seychelles anchored off Victoria. With a watermaker on the fritz, it’s been helpful to be near the (very welcoming!) Seychelles Yacht Club and the drinking water tap at their boat ramp. Victoria is also the hub where we can do everything from buy locally grown produce to see new releases at a little cinema. The working harbor has its charm, but we craved clean beaches, water we can swim in, and a bit of peace and quiet.


The kicker was when boats in the harbor were targeted by thieves over a series of events, and petty theft escalated to the assault of a cruising couple.…

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July 24th

The best apps for cruising- part II

Posted by // July 24, 2015 // COMMENT (4 Comments)

tablet reading

What apps do cruisers actually use on their ipad / android to make life easier, safer, or more fun? The last post covered navigation, weather, and other apps for sailing. This post is about everything else that we find useful to our cruising life. And despite the title, the objective here isn’t actually to list the best, but to share what we- and a lot of other cruisers- actually use to improve life on board…the “best” lists I’ve read weren’t written by cruisers! So here are a few more that we actively use, as well as recommendations from other friends afloat.…

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July 21st

The best apps for cruising

Posted by // July 21, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Ch6_11- tablets for reading

What are the best apps for sailing? What apps do cruisers actually use on their ipad / android to make life easier, safer, or more fun?

There are a lot of “best apps for sailing” type lists out there (I just looked. Trust me). Honestly? The first thing that strikes me after scanning a few is what the h*&# are those and who is actually using them?! And then I wonder, am I out of touch? (my nagging worry as a former gadget geek, tenured in the digital world). Or are most of those lists promotional placements (my cynical/marketing side kicking in)?…

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July 15th

What I love about cruising Seychelles

Posted by // July 15, 2015 // COMMENT (5 Comments)

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Seychelles is Totem’s introduction to cruising in Africa. AFRICA! It’s mind-blowing to our family, and exciting after lingering a couple of years in Asia to be surrounded by such different culture, history, sights, tastes and sounds. [Above: Seychellois boy watching his president in a motorcade through The People’s Stadium, where we watched independence day festivities.]

Cruising Seychelles has been spectacular, even if much of our time here has been spent on recovering from a chunk of off-grid time (hello, people! hello, internet! Hello, grocery stores!) and, as usual, fixing things that aren’t working (watermaker, outboard, autopilot) or maintaining things so they don’t break (engine, steering system, windlass).…

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July 9th


“How do you earn money while you’re cruising?” is one of the top ten questions I think I get about this life, and my friend Sarah has by FAR the coolest answer: she’s a cartoonist and can work online from anywhere that has internet, keeping her family happily on the move in their nomadic life. I’m a big fan of Sarah’s ‘toons (if you haven’t seen 12 Reasons Why I Love Living On A Boat, and then 10 of The Most Annoying Things About Living On A Boat, just click here and go read them now. I’ll wait. tap tap tappity tap…).…

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July 2nd

The imperfect passage

Posted by // July 2, 2015 // COMMENT (6 Comments)


Sailing west from the middle (literally) of the Indian Ocean, to the Seychelles islands just off Africa: circumnavigate, and this may the best passage you make. “Near perfect sailing conditions have been encountered by boats making this passage in May and June” crows Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Routes. Spectacular! We’re IN! Slow passages in light air and way too much motoring in Southeast Asia would fall farther over the taff rail.

At just over 1,000 nautical miles, Chagos to Seychelles would be our longest passage in several years, and third longest ever. Preparing for passagemaking is never something we never take lightly, but despite the fact Chagos is uninhabited, we’ve rarely felt MORE ready.…

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June 28th

Living differently in Salomon Atoll

Posted by // June 28, 2015 // COMMENT (9 Comments)

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No question about it, cruisers live differently, especially when we’re off the grid for an extended time…possibly under a rainbow. But my tongue in cheek post about just HOW differently lacked photos, coming as it did from our sat phone. Here’s a peek into those differences, as we lived them on Chagos during the last month.


It’s exciting when the fisher folk bring home some serious bacon! Because fuel is precious when there’s no option to buy more, we usually doubled (or tripled) up with other cruisers on an expedition. Except that it’s fish, and sometimes reminds you how much you miss bacon.…

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June 25th

Highlights from 2,500 days of cruising

Posted by // June 25, 2015 // COMMENT (7 Comments)


Today marks the 2,500th day since we sailed Totem out of Puget Sound; soon we’ll start our eighth year as cruisers. It still feels amazing, and I still pinch myself to make sure it’s not a dream. There are plenty of days that aren’t all sunshine or rainbows (like much of this last passage, which was a wet, boisterous, uncomfortable ride) but never one where I don’t feel grateful that our family can follow this path.

Jamie rounded up a bunch of statistics in honor of cracking this big round number in our cruising journey. Most of them are from a database program he’s been building as a kind of logbook on aquatic steroids, but a lot of this came from laughing and sifting through memories.…

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June 24th


Anchored at the east end of Salomon atoll, Totem floats in clear water that is swimming-pool turquoise, her hull shadow sharply outlined on the sand below. On shore, coconuts sprout where they wash up with the tide, building a picket fence of young palm trees along the high water line.  It’s been nearly five decades since humans were here in enough force to bend the environment to their will, and in the interim a glorious tangle of overgrown mangrove trees and casuarinas have grown, coconut palms leaning out over white sand beaches.


Birdlife International designated Chagos as an “Important Bird Area” – certainly important to the many seabirds with colonies in the islands.…

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