It seems that the everyday life of the Totem cruising kids is somewhat opaque in recent blog content (thank you reader email for pointing that out!). They’ve been pretty busy- just a little differently than the normal ways that a 9, 11 and 14 year old are busy. Here is a smattering from the last few days.
Siobhan started a little bakery business. On Fridays, there’s a vegetable truck that comes around to sell fresh produce to cruisers in the little bay where we are anchored. She’s gotten up early to do some baking and earned a nice bit of cash by selling muffins and pastries to the cruisers who come in for veggies.…
The roundup of our current maintenance projects isn’t complete without a look at the work we’ve recently done. Totem is just one case, but a reasonable stand-in to consider the kind of work that a well used cruising boat goes through after five plus years in the tropics. It’s a different perspective than offered by the general rule of thumb, and that’s fine by us: we take good care of our baby.
1. Prop shaft and bearings. Looking good now, but turned out that it had a few kinks.
2. Bottom job. We won’t expect to get five years out of this one like we did the last, but we should be covered until at least South Africa now.
Totem is just a sample size of one, but it’s not a bad proxy for the maintenance you might expect on a well-found boat after a handful of years of tropical cruising. It’s one thing to talk in theory about how to account for the cost of maintenance while cruising; hopefully this look at what we’re addressing on Totem makes it a little more real.
These are the non-negotiables: the things that have to be addressed near term. They are safety essentials or gear we need to replace, and work that’s all planned for the next few months.
1. Battery bank.…
What does it cost to go cruising? Most of these discussions focus on month to month living expenses. Do you eat out in restaurants or stick to the boat? Do you stay in marinas or anchor out? Do you send out your laundry or wash it in a bucket? What’s easy to miss in the discussion, or not apparent in a month-to-month level examination, are maintenance costs. They get lost in the shuffle, but maintenance costs can bite you in the bum.
How can you ballpark annual maintenance costs? There are various “rules of thumb” and most of them put yearly maintenance costs at 10-20% of the boat’s value.…
We met the most fascinating cruiser recently. Erik and his family cruised through less traveled corners of the eastern Mediterranean and north Africa. They left the US numbering seven, and returned numbering eight. The Hemingways had amazing experiences and visited unusual places that I’m so interested to share with our family- Senegal! Morocco! Israel! In the way of the cruising world, although our tracks have never intersected we know a number of boats in common, and before long it was like talking to an old friend.
To be honest, it was such a pleasure talking to Erik, I really almost forgot that the purpose of our call was not for us to learn from him, but so that he could interview Jamie and I for his very cool Family Adventure Podcast!…
On our last night in Thailand, we had dinner aboard Love Song with friends we first met five years ago in Mexico. A boat coming into the anchorage earlier had caught a couple of tuna, and shared the bounty. Kathy made a delicious poisson cru, a dish with popular variations all over the South Pacific which evoked rich memories from our days cruising in French Polynesia. The combination of raw fish, lime juice, coconut cream and vegetables will probably always send my thoughts back to the Marquesas! Cruising gives us the chance to accumulate a treasure trove of memories and a handful of souvenirs, but I’m realizing that it’s also the recipes we recreate that help us keep links to some of the rich experiences of the cruising life.…
It was a trio of unfortunate events on a day that began with a beautiful sail, after a day anchored off another stunning Thai island. Any one of these three could ruin your day, and even two out of three could cause serious problems. We managed to luck out with all three.
- Autopilot failed. Inconvenient, not serious.
- Steering cable broke. Getting serious now.
- Engine overheated. Trifecta of doom?
It was late morning and Totem was scooting along nicely, nearly 9 knots on a beam reach in 20 knots, stunning blue skies, and seas peaking out around two meters. It was glorious, if slightly rolly when the bigger waves gave Totem a shove.…
We all process cultures in different ways and through different filters. One of my favorites is food, and in that respect, Thailand is truly a feast: delicious cuisine that is often much more complex than it appears. Even the Thai equivalent of fast food is a treat. A few nights ago, we trucked out to the big weekend market in Phuket with an international group of cruisers (Aussie, New Zealander, Danish, American) to do some sampling from the food stalls.
“Truck” is not the best way to describe our transport. Actually, we had a van with a driver- described as VIP, but ultimately cheaper per person than the alternatives after we crammed dozen and a half cruisers in.…
There are a host of reasons why it makes sense for cruisers to make things that are normally purchased in a store. The most obvious is that you might be out in the middle of a big piece of water, double reefed under blue skies- but no option for a store.
Or maybe you’ve made landfall. Beautiful island, but no store!
Or maybe there IS a store, but supplies are limited, and may not have anything like what you’re seeking…
…or it might not have labels or ingredients that you can understand (or want to!).
You could have other reasons, too.…
It was not one of our sunnier mornings.
Oh, the sun was up and blazing, but the utter lack of sleep the night before- when Totem sat beam onto a swell rolling in over a long stretch of the Indian Ocean- left us feeling a little dim.
Help was surely on the way, I thought, catching a whiff of propane as Jamie turned on the stove to make coffee. I turned a bleary eye and rolled over, and a few minutes later, caught the same odor again. This time it didn’t feel right, and snapped me to a consciousness. Any hint of propane only comes with lighting the stove, and it doesn’t stick around.…