How to Splice an Oversized Rode into an Undersized Chain

3 Jun

Our anchor chain has been looking iffy for a while now.  Not “terrible”, not “dangerous”, but not exactly the way you would want a piece of equipment that is holding your vessel in place to look.  So, much gnashing of teeth and a great deal of money later, Papillon has a new 12 mm short-link G4 chain.

We decided to add 75 m of eight-strand rode to our 65 m chain.  We wanted 24 mm, but they only had 28 mm.  Well, okay.  Bigger is better, right?  Now.  How to attach the chain?  No problem – the good people at ...

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Overnight to Santa Rosalia

2 Jun

We left last night right after putting the kids to bed. And after a star-filled inky black night we arrived in Santa Rosalia just after breakfast, bypassing in the dark what has to be one of the best bays in the Sea—Concepcion. But hey, we’ve got nothing cold to drink, and we are not those people that are cool with no refrigeration on the boat. We’re just not that hippy.

Santa Rosalia is a cool little place. It’s an old copper mining town that the French basically came in and created back in the late 1800s. The architecture is totally ...

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The Cost of Cruising – Beek Version

2 Jun

Pat Schulte gave his take on the cost of cruising here and Charlie Doane gave his here, but an article in April’s Cruising World by Jimmy Cornell (Are we allowed to refer to Cruising World on a SAIL website?) got me pondering the subject. Spendthrifts!

One guy said: “Before setting out, I’d spent about $85,000 on new equipment and getting the boat in top condition with many spares on board, so that the running expenses wouldn’t be high.”

For $85,000 I could have bought my entire boat, ready to set sail, twice over.

Jimmy Cornell’s article probably tends toward ...

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Calm Mornings

1 Jun

We’ve made no headway on the refrigeration. So that’s out of the way.

Gorgeous calm night, gorgeous calm morning, and gorgeous calm day on the beaches. This bay has a few anchorages on the north end and this one on the south. We had this one all to ourselves. Cruising confounds me at times—one day I’m thinking about where to take the boat to sell it and the next I’m staring at a world map plotting a new route around the world. Boat problems make me think of the selling, calm boat mornings make me think of the world.

Anyway, ...

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San Juanico

31 May

We moved north up to Caleta San Juanico today mainly because we have been soaking up so much battery power trying to run the AC fridge and squeeze out a degree or two of coolness out of it that our batteries are dead. So instead of running them all day at anchor we just run a couple of hours north to the next beautiful anchorage.

This huge bay is empty and we had the run of the beach today. Lowe promptly gave himself a dead puffer fish needle shot to the bottom of the foot. He’s been having a rough ...

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Green Agua

30 May

After a morning dip in Ballandra we motored a couple of hours to Punta Pulpito where we dropped the hook in twelve feet of green water.

“Green agua Papa, why?”
“Yep, it’s green. I don’t know why.”
“Me no like green agua—like blue. Why green Papa?”

The island is a volcano with big black boulders strewn about on a soft white sand beach. Pretty gorgeous actually. The afternoon was spent, as per usual, on the beach and in the water.

May30 1 May30 2 May30 3 May30 4 May30 5 May30 6 May30 7 May30 8 May30 9 May30 10 May30 11 May30 12 May30 13...

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Sponging Away at the 21st Century

30 May

On Florida’s West coast, somewhere between Tampa Bay and the panhandle, you’ll find the town of Tarpon Springs. I suppose I could be more specific but this little self-identified ‘village’ has such a distinctly odd, dream-like feel to it that it seems a disservice to nail it onto any map that isn’t decorated with sea serpents. In trying to describe the place I keep coming back to a definition I once read of “uncanny.” It went something like this: a thing which is uncanny so closely resembles reality that we are able to tell it apart only instinctively. A life-like ...

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Sun protection for pasty white cruisers

30 May
budding naturalists
Scoping boobies on Isla Isabel

Sun protection- with sunscreen, sun protective clothing, and more- is something we take pretty seriously on Totem.

When I was a teenager, my mother was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. My uncle (her brother) died from metastasized skin cancer. Jamie’s family has a history of skin carcinomas, so you could say that we have the skin cancer genetic factors all wrapped up in the pasty-white-northern-European bag.

Dermatologists have told both Jamie and me that with our lifestyle and genes, skin cancer is not “if”, it’s “when”. One doc suggested we should reconsider our choice and stay ...

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Find Sand Dollar Papa

29 May

Motored out of Puerto Escondido today and just a few hours north to Puerto Ballandra where we enjoyed a few days earlier this month. For hours Ouest repeated the phrase, “Me want you to find a sand dollar, Papa.” Cute at first, annoying as hell after number one hundred.

Fortunately I managed to find one. Just one. The last one in the ocean apparently. Got a pretty darn good smile out of that.

Refrigeration is a disaster right now. The engine driven has crapped out on us completely. I’ve no idea why. None. The compressor just cycles on and off ...

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How to go offshore sailing

29 May

Schooner Arcturus in Auckland, New Zealand (2006)

Schooner Arcturus in Auckland, New Zealand (2006)

Incredibly, it seems, I’m getting more and more emails from people looking to me for advice on how to get out and go sailing. I was in the exact same position not very long ago, and it still confounds me as to why in the world people are asking me!? But it does feel pretty cool too.

I got a recent email from a young guy in Australia looking for advice, and I asked him if I could publish our email exchange here. He said yes. This is it:

Good morning Andy,...

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