Saturday, December 8, 2018

Phuket--It's better with Nana!

Ko Phanak
With all the stuff squirreled away in Nana's humongous suitcase (things we had ordered as well as gifts from Nana, Grandpa and others), it was like an early Christmas when she arrived. Of course the best gift of all was Nana herself!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

What do you do all day?

Matt working on the high-pressure pump for our water maker

'What do you do all day?' is one of the most common questions we get, along with 'What do you eat?' People either have a hard time imagining our daily lives or they just envision us laying on the beach and sipping umbrella drinks.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Phuket, Thailand (a new country for us!)

Poor man's drone shot of Nai Harn (also known
as 'walking up a hill')


Even though we don't feel deprived when we're in remote places, we go a little crazy when we get back to 'civilization'.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

My parents made me walk 10k...


Osa osa. Used to carry the King's bride. Luckily for the guys
carrying it, it's only made of GRANITE.

...and all I got was some lousy stone megaliths. After spending several hours on a rather treacherous walk to a waterfall the day before, we drove and swerved and bounced a couple of hours over to Gomo the following day.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

When in Rome...reach for your wallet?


100,000 Rupliah is less than $7 USD
This surfer dude did an interesting write-up of the Nias area. It was mostly about the waves, as you would expect, but he also made this observation:

After landing at Sibolga, as low key a shearing shed of an  airport as you could imagine, we went with the flow of the local grifters. It  felt right, sometimes it just does.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Let's talk about the weather

It's funny how seemingly small things can make or break what you think of a place--things like weather or a friendly face. When we visited Bawomataluo village (try saying that 3 times fast), it was a drizzly day. There weren't many people out and everything just seemed grey.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Careful what you wish for...



After many days of sun and a busted water maker, we kept hoping for some solid rain and were glad when it finally arrived. We happily traded a gloomy, wet day for not having to buy and lug water jugs to the boat. The rain filled both our water tanks, all our 5-gallon buckets, and all our water jugs, as well as anything else that would hold water. But it kept coming and coming. And on day 2, it was still coming. By day 3, the day that we were scheduled to leave Tello, the downpours were so heavy we didn't even venture out from the boat for most of the day. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Sorry I blew up



I'm pretty sure that's what the volcano Anak Krakatau would say if it could talk. As we made our way south towards the Sunda Straight and Krakatau, we had heard that it was erupting. A quick check on the internet showed it was a '4' (out of 5), and that a 2 kilometer exclusion zone had been established.  That meant that we wouldn't be able to actually land on the island. We also knew that volcanic ash is nasty stuff to get on the boat. We decided to visit anyway because the prevailing winds should have kept the ash off our boat and even if we couldn't get on the island, the sights would hopefully be worth it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Belitung to Java


We haven't seen an overpass like this since Bali

We are heading to Krakatau and one of our rest stops (near Pulau Merak Kecil) was also our first visit to the island of Java, where most of Indonesia lives. One cruiser that we met before we came to Indonesia, told us their opinion that all Indonesians are lovely people, except people from Java (I'll leave out the colorful details of how he thought they should be treated).

Monday, October 22, 2018

Belitung


Belitung resembles Virgin Gorda, with its gigantic granite boulders and white sand beaches. The area near the anchorage is busy with construction of new sewers, sidewalks, and an update to the central plaza. The Indonesia rally is also here, so there are plenty of other cruising boats (not to mention the constant stream of local tour boats that ferry people to the various islets and clusters of rocks).

Monday, October 15, 2018

Waiting for the other shoe to drop...

Bananas!

Conrad's latest obsession is 3D modeling and he could easily spend all day on the computer. This has us all vying for computer time on our sole laptop (we have another one that we keep as a spare). That time has become even more precious with the recent demise of our battery charger.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Safe but sad

We missed the earthquakes and tsunami in Donggala and Palu by about five days. We had already moved on to Kumai when we heard the news. Although the resort area where we were moored escaped with relatively minor damage, the surrounding areas were devastated. It is awful to see images of the destruction and to read about the deaths.

We are currently in Belitung, having covered many miles since Donggala. Updates coming...

Friday, September 21, 2018

Indonesia: Land of Friendly Folks and Official Officialdom

Mark riding with one of our guides, Bang Rhul'Badrul.
We enjoyed the couple of months we spent on the Sail to Malaysia rally but by the end were ready to get back to our own schedule (or lack thereof) and a more relaxed calendar. We were able to do and see things with the rally that we would not otherwise, but the pace was a bit exhausting for us.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Back to Indonesia

Jellyfish Lake at Kakaban Island
When Indonesians ask us whether we have ever been to Indonesia before, we now say we have been here twice before. It wasn't necessarily the plan, what with hitting a log and all, but it's all good, man.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tun Sakaran and Sipadan


Big school of jacks (tuna)
One of the highlights of the Sail Malaysia Rally is the trip to the Tun Sakaran and Sipadan Marine Parks. I had been looking forward Sipidan Island for so long that, in hindsight, it would have to be pretty incredible to live up to my expectations. Sipidan is touted as one of the top dive destinations in the world and visitors are limited to 120 a day.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Kinabatangan River

This little guy was spotted at the Rainforest Discovery Centre

Perry is a wildlife-loving group (it makes sense because we're practically wildlife ourselves). And the last few days on the Kinabatangan River has been the best wildlife viewing we have experienced since the Galapagos. Not only have we seen many creatures that we have never seen before, there are just so many animals.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Rallying

Dragon Boat racing in the Kudat Festival



We joined the Sail Malaysia rally to cruise Eastern Borneo, which has experienced security issues in past years, including a high-profile kidnapping by Abu-Sayaff terrorists. The main draw of the rally for us was the safety-in-numbers strategy, as well as ESSCOM escorts throughout the risky areas.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Royal Birthday Celebration



His Majesty in one of his many Rolls Royces
We got up bright and early to attend the Sultan's birthday celebration. We and a few thousand other people waited around until the three Princes (the Sultan's brother) came through in their Rolls Royces (preceded by motorcycle police and trailed by special trucks with security officers sporting traditional dress).

Friday, July 13, 2018

Brunei Darussalam

Masjid (Mosque) Omar Ali Saifuddien




Despite being an oil-rich country, Brunei's capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan ("BSB"), isn't the shining Emerald City that, say, Dubai is reputed to be. It is a relatively modern city with spots of magnificence nearby (mosques, the Royal Regalia museum dedicated to the Sultan, new bridges). But the fifth richest country in the world seems conspicuously free of bling. It's also a pretty quiet place.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Bali to Kuching (Orangutans and a poop story)

Fishermen (in their underwear) taking pictures of
 us (in our underwear--well, Matt and the boys anyway)
 taking pictures of them

Our passage from Bali to Kuching, Malaysia took about eight days and included a couple of nights of anchoring in shallow areas along the coast. Underway, we saw more boats than we have seen in awhile thanks to some narrow spots between islands that brought shipping traffic leaving or bound for Singapore into relatively close quarters.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Reunited

My family on Perry.
My cousin Eugene and his new wife Rebecka just got married in Bali. They were kind enough to invite us and it became the perfect opportunity to see my parents and some extended family. We have many blessings in this life but being so far from family and friends that we have left behind is the biggest void in our lives.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

That's why they call it sailing...

The terrain of the Komodo islands is a bit desolate
during the dry season.
...and not getting places. Cause just getting places is easy.

Based on the wind predictions, we left Kupang in the late afternoon so we would get to Komodo during daylight hours after a couple of overnights.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Fast and hard or slow and easy?



Matt and I sometimes talk about whether we would prefer fast and hard or slow and easy (Talking passages here. What did you think I meant?). What we got for a passage from Darwin to Kupang was fast, hard and a bit uncomfortable. The wind prediction wasn't wrong per se. There was just a lot more of everything.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Ooroo Australia


Apparently Ooroo or Hooroo is Aussie slang for goodbye. I haven't actually heard anyone here say it though. G'day, on the other hand, is common. And 'mate'. That part is satisfying, as is the occasional sight of a man (usually an older gentleman) dressed in a Crocodile Dundee hat, safari shirt, and very short shorts. It reminds me that I'm in Australia and not the U.S.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Back in the wattah

Perry with nifty new shades done by
our friend Rachel. The old ones were disintegrating.
Perry is back in the water. After a fitful night of sleep with rabid nooseeums attacking and the noise of the boat lift groaning at random intervals, we got up bright and early to be launched at high tide.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Watcha doin'?

Our new strut/P-bracket
Since we arrived back in Darwin after our awesome road trip, we have been busy trying to get through our checklist of boat fixes. Matt's been making impressive progress on the 'Big 3' Projects that we need to get done while out of the water. He is also sweating an impressive amount (as are we all). Warning, boring boat work blah blah blah ahead.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

FOR SALE: Lofrans Progress 2 Windlass Motor 1200W 12V


Pictures from our Australian road trip - continued

I couldn't fit all the pictures from our road trip in one post, so here are the rest.

Road trip around Australia - The fast track (redone)


This post has been republished due to some strange formatting I couldn't fix in the original post.

The kids are officially sick of the car. When we first bought it, they jumped at the chance to go for a ride, even if it was just to the store. Now there is zero interest. Being stuck in it for 11,976 kilometers (7442 miles) in 28 days has officially killed the novelty.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Civilized Darwin

From the Darwin Military Museum,
like most of the pics in this post

A big reason we went cruising was to see places different from the U.S. So I almost feel guilty writing this. But after spending so long in  areas where many people live in grass-covered huts and your choices in stores (when you can find one) are limited, it has been a nice break to spend some time in what we think of as civilization.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Indonesia to Australia


It's a bit rainy in Darwin this time of year.
We left Saumlaki on a wind forecast that was higher than we would have liked (first 12 hours was still up to 25 knots and the apparent wind would be creeping just forward of the beam).  However,  the trend was that the wind was moderating and, more importantly, there was an almost zero chance of a major low forming and turning into a named storm in the next few days. So it was time to put on the big girl panties and get to Australia.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Banda to Saumlaki

Saumlaki from really far away. The wind is blocked a bit
where we are. There are some really big Catholic churches.

Before we left for Saumlaki, Matt showed me the various wind prediction models. Two of the 'base' models were fairly consistent with strong winds of 25 to 30 knots. Another model called Predict Wind, which has been pretty accurate in a lot of cases recently, showed much more moderate winds. We decided to leave regardless, because the forecasts continued in a similar vein for at least a week and we needed to start heading towards Australia. At least all of the models showed a deep downwind sail, which would make strong winds less of an issue.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Banda Islands

Indonesian cane sugar. Don't chip a tooth.
The sugar here in Indonesia, at least what we could find in Sorong, has huge crystals. Each individual grain is about 4 or 5 (maybe more) times as big as the 'granulated' sugar you find in the States. If Matt's not careful to stir his coffee for an extra long time, it sits in the bottom of his cup until after he's finished drinking it. The crystals refused to dissolve both in cookie dough and whipped cream, making a delightful (or annoying, depending on your taste) crunching when eaten.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Misool: Macro Heaven

<Deep Voice>: I'm Bat-worm.
Our friend Lisa, whom we first dove with in Hawaii years ago and is now running an dive operation in The Solomons, calls divers who only want to look for nudibranchs, 'Nudi-Nuts'. I don't know if we qualify as Nudi-Nuts, but the little critters are fascinating. Matt got some good shots in Misool, the southern part of Raja Ampat.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

What Sorong with you?

Rawr
Insert collective groan here. Nope, not hitting the bottle early, though as they say 'It's 5 o'clock somewhere.' Just a little slap-happy waiting around in Sorong for our visas to be ready. Immigration opens again on the Thursday after New Year's, so today should be the Big Day. Unless it isn't (because it's Indonesia and you never know).

Monday, January 1, 2018

Ringing in the New Year with a Bang


Fireworks rarely turn out in photos...no exception here: This really fails to capture
 the ridiculous amount of fireworks that were being set off.
Indonesians love their fireworks. Large stalls that popped up all over Sorong in the last month were selling nothing but loads and loads of fireworks.  Have you ever been to one of those fireworks stores you see from the interstate just over the border from the state where they are banned (and are invariably named "Crazy Mike's" or "Wild Max's" or somesuch)? Well imagine a town of only 200,000 people having about 100 of these stores.  We were treated to fireworks leading up to Christmas, at Christmas, and the week after.