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Turning Your Cruising Dreams Into Reality
Practical, entertaining and informative stories. From adventures around the globe on a small boat to practical tips and advice from international commercial and recreational sailors.
Aug 22, 2021
Costa Rica's Little Gem Isle de Cocos
With nothing more to worry about than craving succulent roast chicken and gooey ice cream, we sliced through the ocean, enjoying the stuff dreams are made of. The concerns of motoring much of the way temporarily held at bay. Leaving Acapulco, Mexico for Isle de Cocos we were blessed with perfect sailing for four whole days.
Aug 5, 2021
Visit San Diego: War Ships, War Cries and Wannabes
With a charming mix of mega yachts and masquerading pirates onboard 7-metre sailing ghettos, San Diego is like a melting pot of poverty and prosperity. On the edge of America, with Mexico insight, here lies the stepping-off point for cruisers. San Diego is not a cruising ground as such with its king’s ransom fees and stifling regulations. It is a gateway to the Pacific Ocean. Late in the season, most cruisers are already in Mexico and beyond by now. But a few cruisers lurk, mainly small sailboats with no fixed agenda. Vessels that ‘live’ here are all pristine.
Jul 16, 2021
Visit Las Perlas with us onboard our sailboat
Chatting to my dad on Skype, he in England me in Ecuador, I told him how we planned to sail to Panama to collect our new sails. “You talk about it as though you are popping off to Supermarket” he laughed. With only 560 nautical miles to traverse, we thought the journey a breeze. But the trip grew to epic proportions, even before we started. Farewells are a continuous part of the cruising life that can pitch and roll the equilibrium that sailing bestows. After seven months anchored in Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador, we had collected many friends; most we would never see again. But tipping the scales into a whole new level of sadness was the news.....
Jun 24, 2021
Join us in Diverse San Francisco with (near) Calamities in California
San Francisco is one of the most diverse and exciting cities we have had the pleasure to visit. It has a unique cultural tapestry and is a gay hub in more ways than one. Open water vistas are just waiting for a breath of wind to kick up into a brutal chop. Combined with a myriad of shallows, this recipe can cause even the seasoned sailor some difficulty.
May 25, 2021
A Trip to Niue - A Jewel in the Pacific Ocean
We are 15 metres underground in a silent, echoing cave. Only the solemn plop of icy, freshwater can be heard, woven between our awed whispers. I take two big breaths, the chill of the encompassing sapphire water temporarily forgotten. Two metres down, with lungs bursting only moments after a big breath, I turn underwater to head through to the next cave. My thrashing arms and legs fight for propulsion and I feel stuck in a current that does not exist! Suddenly I see the torchlight from our guide in the next submerged cave and head to the surface, seeking much-needed oxygen. I am that close to being able to breathe again, I think I can just make it, when a firm hand reaches down and pushes my head back under. I am coming up too early, my soft head-on course for sharp, jagged rock. Fighting to withhold my panic I swim further along and the hand releases me, I break back into my world with the sweet smell of air. In reality, I have been underwater a few seconds and swam a few metres. “That was pretty easy” I grin.
Apr 27, 2021
Futile Thoughts, Towing traumas and Exploding Toms
First stop, Salinas, an over-nighter from San Diego, into a new marina. The entrance is narrow and has a distinct ‘east coast of Australia bar’ feel, creating a strong desire to make use of a rather large blindfold. The marina is reasonable at $30 US per night, but there is no running water directly to each slip. The key advantage is the assistance in the arduous process of checking in. A personal chauffeur ride to Ensenada (checking in port about 30 km south), helps smooth the historically renowned paperwork trail for Spanish speaking countries. The officials desired our company for the day, together with the entire contents of our bank account. We didn't really understand what was happening; the officials wrongly assuming they were dealing with intelligent and capable listeners. We wrongly thought everything was squared away. We smiled a lot, mimicked nodding dogs, filled out blank boxes with personal details and gave everyone we met money. We purchased a fishing licence for all persons on board (a requirement - we thought). With these licenses and new fishing gear, our first (and only) fish so far has cost about $300!
Mar 24, 2021
Angels, Goats, and Eloquence, in Aitutaki
It stole our hearts, we wanted to stay. The island's charm, the people, the way of life appealed to us both, although we tried we couldn't. We did make the most of our stay - dancing, lunching, sharing, making new friends, even doing the laundry became a cherished memory! Join us in Aitutaki... where the women chew tobaccy.....
Feb 12, 2021
Sailing the World - Panama Canal Experience
There are assorted methods to choose from to achieve the same thing. Whether at anchor, or in the mosquito-infested marina, there is a standard three days to complete all the paperwork. Once you have handed over all your dollars to anyone you meet, lied through your teeth, and signed your life away, you accomplish your “go through” date. Depending on how you reach this highly sought status, those three days can be effortless or can feel as though you have a three day pass into hell.
Feb 12, 2021
Sailing the World - San Blas
Behind schedule by three months (due to problems on terra firma not nautical) we hurriedly sailed 2,500 miles in six weeks to enable us to witness for ourselves why the San Blas is “a place to see”. We are also preparing for the Panama Canal experience, traversing the magnificent Pacific Ocean and heading home to Australia. We left Demopolis Alabama (which is approximately 200 miles north of New Orleans, up the TennTom River), then bumped and ground our way south towards the Grand Caymens where my Dad, Roy, patiently waited. “I felt a bit like Robinson Crusoe” he says, “waiting for my ship”. We prised him away from his luxurious hotel in exchange for a 33ft boat, disturbingly lacking in air con, maid service and fresh linen. Noel and I kept quiet about what the trip across Caribbean Sea offers, as my Dad has only sailed in protected waters. But Mother Nature took pity on us and presented a stalling low, enabling us to gain plenty of easting and rest for a night on Jamaica’s shores. The prevailing south easterlies are constant and strong across the Caribbean Sea. We took advantage of the gift of a suspended low, then rode on its back in a north easterly. A bouncy but speedy ride delivered us safely into the sanctuary of the San Blas islands.
Dec 23, 2020
The Essential Cruising Peacemaker
A successful ‘Flopper Stopper’ principally has to do two things. (1) Sink easily. (2) Resist an upward force. One simple method is to have a weighted horizontal door. The ‘door’ opens on the way down (sinks) and ‘closes’ on the up lift from the halyards, a bit like a one-way valve. I have plans, in my head, for a stainless steel flopper. Sort of like a flat door in a four-sided door jamb, the whole thing being held by a halyard at each corner. That was not going to happen off the coast of Ecuador today.
Dec 23, 2020
Precision Performance by Marine Police and Volunteers
With unemotional precision and no time for niceties the facts are disseminated to the awaiting crews. The silence buffets between the groups and the adrenaline starts pumping as a few of us peek over the wall to the building seas that await us. Many of us are scribbling down the information and start swaying from foot to foot in impatience of ‘getting out there and doing what we do’ – rescue!
Dec 6, 2020
Being a Licenced Captain Carries a Heavy Responsibility
It's easy to judge people's decisions, especially those on the water. Being a Skipper must not be taken lightly. That little piece of paper saying you are a licenced Captain carries a heavy responsibility. As a Skipper, you are responsible for everything and everyone on board. You are responsible even when you are not onboard - and even for your crew's actions. So don't judge decisions and don't criticise those who have a good understanding of the weather and how a handful of small issues can quickly escalate to a possible disaster...
Nov 14, 2020
Tantalizing Tahiti - A circumnavigation of an Island
We arrived Papeete the same day as Noel’s daughter, Mel arrived from Ayers Rock. We were nonchalant about the timing, only because we had not considered that marvellous innovation of the date line. After negotiating low flying aircraft, we chose the most popular anchorage, on the west of the island, south of French Polynesia’s Capital. Deep, clear water welcomed us in to a plethora of tightly packed boats. Supermarkets were a black-pearl throw away and the dusty, dirty city, just a twenty minute, bone-shaking bus ride. By this time in our voyage (over 35,000 nautical miles) I had become a little tired of amps, torque and bronze brushes conversations. The prospect of another woman onboard was exciting, I planned to get in depth about clothes, hair and, well anything but boats. We were both looking forward to playing host to our long awaited guest. On trawling through our emails that we read a note from Mel, “I arrive on the 21st July, not 22nd!” Four hours later, damp, dishevell…
Oct 23, 2020
A Tender Moment in a House of Ill Repute
‘Successful cruising is a matter of continual awareness’. This adage was not followed. Sitting at a beach bar, boasting about crossing oceans to the only people who care to listen, other cruisers, is not awareness. With my back firmly placed to the worrying scene of two dinghies porpoising in their attempts to ride the increasing swell, I figured the ‘Ostrich Theory’ would work. Could we not relax now, tonight of all nights, after all we have just crossed the Atlantic? We deserve a break, do we not? The result answers the questions. The concrete wharf rips the large, sturdy rib to shreds as if it is paper thin, its’ 15 hp outboard drags what remains of the planning hull into the depths of swelling sands and coral sea. Our beloved servant from Aussie, ‘Penguin Jack’ aka ‘PJ’ is shattered, the remnants float off in the moonlight.
Oct 13, 2020
We may not have the refinement of fine arts but what we have is so much better. In a remote anchorage, with a welcoming beach and shady palms, where do we get our culture from here? Well these can be the best spots. Good anchorages will fill by the end of the day with Aussies; Pommies; Americans; Turks, Canadians, Dutch, Kiwis ad Infinitum. A potluck will be organised. We all take enough food for everyone on our boat only. Putting the different dishes together, the feast becomes a banquet. Not only sharing the food but stories, cultural differences and many laughs – tell me, where else would this happen?
Oct 10, 2020
Five Capital Experiences
Featuring just five of the many cities we visited - here are some unique escapades that make us smile - from mesmerising strangers in Paris, to Mad motorboat owners in America. Plus fun in Havana, Casablanca and San Juan, in Puerto Rico.
Sep 12, 2020
Fear is a Funny Thing
Recently, in the midst of teeth grinding fear I realised it was not the event itself causing my sleepless nights it was the lead up to it. It was the ‘what ifs’ that stirred up those little fear gremlins into a frenzy. I know this because during the event as we surfed down waves at twenty knots in the blackest of black nights, I spread my arms and felt like I was flying. I loved it! I’m not scared! I should be scared. I pondered that for a moment as the boat whooshed forward. Well, you are a maritime trainer with many miles of commercial and recreational boating under your belt, you know you are in safe water, and you are with an incredible skipper and super strong boat, you’ve rescued many boats in much worse conditions than this as a Rescue Skipper. I reflected on that. We do get caught up with in the what ifs, don’t we? Well, I know I do. The myriad of thoughts helped me grow in so many different ways.
Sep 9, 2020
Destination NSW Australia: Greenwell Point
The ebb and flow of wants and needs alter unexpectedly for us all, we will deal with the quick-sand of life, but we think it'll be okay at Greenwell Point. Nestled in the heart of NSW this lovely little village welcomed us in and allowed us to call it home for a brief time.
Aug 31, 2020
Buying and Selling a Boat
"It was wonderful to see Mariah sing along to the tune of her new owners." But before we reached the stage we had to weather the storm of time-wasters and dreamers... but then we are all dreamers...
Aug 7, 2020
Suwarrow - No Strangers Here
Paradise - A word I try not to use often. Previously, we’ve visited a handful of islands without airports, cars, and supermarkets, but Suwarrow (pronounced sue-warh-row) has its own, unique, harmonic constant. The north-facing entrance has a low reef extending east of the wide bar that does a fantastic job of fending off the deep rolling swells. These pulsing lumps of sea had grown into mountains during our five-day sail from Huahine in the Society Islands. The three o’clock sun was high enough to reveal the coral-fringed entrance; between the frothing white caps and scorched sand we puttered into a symphony of blues, to a life changing experience...
Jul 23, 2020
The Cruising Lifestyle - "What do you do all day?"
There is always something to fix, maintain, improve or add on. Once the boat is running smoothly, we do one main job a day, around the day-to-day chores. Then occasionally we can have a day off for sightseeing or simply enjoying swinging on anchor.
Jun 17, 2020
Conversation with Erin Carey, Cruiser, Mum, Businesswoman, Adventurer
What does it take to load your family into a plane with masses of luggage to move onto a boat on the other side of the world! But, also, onto a boat which they haven't even seen yet (other than a photo!) This extraordinary story of courage, risk, and adventure is laced with advice and tips that will show you that it is possible. And Erin, with Dave, and their three boys prove it. Let Erin enlighten you to the secret of success and living your life on your terms.
May 21, 2020
Conversation with Tanya Rabe, Founder, Dogs Who Sail
Tanya Rabe lives onboard full time with her partner Anthony. Dogs and sailing are their passions and Tanya has combined both to bring you Dogs Who Sail. Her FB page and website are full of useful information, but this is different from the usual 'loving our pets' - it's all about the dogs! People seeking advice can receive tough love with regards to taking their dog on their boat - but if it is all about the dog, then that's how it should be. If you following Tanya's advice then you will have a much better change of enjoying your watery lifestyle with your favourite pet and better still - a happy - favourite pet! But it's not all been petals and roses, Tanya's faced her own battles.
Apr 21, 2020
A View for every Occasion
With each journey my soul is reshaped. I’ve bid farewell to places where I know I’ll miss the people and the lands, but also a part of me because I’ll never be that way again. I wonder what part of me I’ll leave in which corner of our natural Disneyland. And what new thoughts and outlooks I’ll collect to replace what I’ve left behind; refreshing my layers with a view for every occasion.
Feb 20, 2020
Lightning Storm at The Nicobars
When you are desperate to hop in your bunk, sleep and hide. But your partners is suffering through a frightening storm, you will stay up and endure it together. That's just what we did. Then we sailed on to Sri Lanka and dealt with flying fish. Join us on this fun voyage!
Feb 20, 2020
Occluded Fronts & Associated Stunts
Living onboard means that we quickly learn to prepare and adjust - never moreso than with weather. But on one particular night in the Pacific in a "safe" anchorage we experienced horrifying, vortexing winds and all-encompassing fear that became paralysing!
Nov 22, 2019
Travelling Through France on a Barge
After the somewhat stressful time of purchasing a Dutch Barge in France, it is the start of our moving journey. Join us on the highs and lows (and learnings) of puttering through France.
Nov 10, 2019
Buying a Dutch Barge in France with an Aussie
It takes guts to buy a boat in a country where you don't speak the language. This hurdle creates much more than just a language problem, the culture is something you have to learn and adapt to. Join us on our adventure of buying a boat, that took us through France, Holland, and back to France again. You'll giggle your way through this one.
Oct 27, 2019
I found the nautical world so daunting I withdrew and became really shy. I couldn't cope with the new language and culture, and as a person who wasn't particularly 'handy' I struggled with boat maintenance. I look back at that time and realise it is helping me so much now. As a professional mariner, I went from one extreme to the other. Now I can help others make that transition. Whether you are a seasoned sailor, a beginner, or anything in between - there is advice for you all - some may be a surprise... where do you sit with your knowledge, how do you help newbies fit in and have you tapped into this great resource of ideas...?
Oct 22, 2019
Ditch Bag, Grab Bag, Flee Bag
Find information and tips on things you may never have considered. Did you know saltwater is denser than fresh? Find out why that is important when considering surviving if your boat sinks... there's lots to think about. What's a necessity and what's 'nice to have.'
Oct 14, 2019
The Great Loop Adventure - Inland Boat Travel in the USA - Part 3
Our year traversing The Great Loop in America, experiencing the unique and ever-changing pattern and culture of the great USA. Part 3 (final).
Oct 14, 2019
Top Twenty (Humorous) Observations when Living on board
A fun episode, but there are some gems in here that will help every boater.
Oct 13, 2019
The Great Loop Adventure - Inland Boat Travel in the USA - Part 2
The Intracoastal Waterway is just part of The Great Loop in America, where we spent a year experiencing the unique and ever-changing pattern and culture of the great USA. Part 2.
Oct 13, 2019
The Great Loop Adventure - Inland Boat Travel in the USA - Part 1
The Intracoastal Waterway is just part of The Great Loop in America, where we spent a year experiencing the unique and ever-changing pattern and culture of the great USA. Part 1.
Oct 13, 2019
From Pirates to Injuries: Why long-range radio still has its place when cruising
Modern technology is proving popular for communication onboard boats. It has its place but so does the HF/SSB (long-range) radio. I'd still have one on board today... from worldwide weather (free) to communication (free) and safety channels (free - and let's hope AMSA keeps them!) - this type of communication should be part of the safety plan on board every boat. Then there's the added bonus of breaking the ice with a Net!