Friday, December 31, 2021

Cape Town for Christmas


The top of Signal Hill with Table Mountain in the background

 'Cape Town for Christmas' has been our mantra--repeated amongst almost every cruiser headed this way--for so long that it was hard to believe that we were actually here (in time for Christmas, with a day to spare).

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Whether to weather the weather

Caracal (Kruger National Park)

Richards Bay was a joy to us after our passage from Tanzania. We reveled in the abundance of fresh produce, good wine, quality beef, and the friendly people. Zululand Yacht Club, besides being possibly the most affordable marina anywhere, went to great lengths to accommodate the influx of cruising yachts and even presented each International boat with a bottle of champagne. With all the cruisers around, there were plenty of opportunities to socialize (braai, anyone?). We even had enough Americans (and honorary Americans) and turkey for a Pilgrim-sized Thanksgiving dinner.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Cashew--Gesundheit! Also, South Africa!

A cashew fruit and nut

Or in Swahili you say, 'maisha marefu' ('long life') when someone sneezes. Our last stop in Tanzania was Mtwara. We busied ourselves with our final fueling, provisioning, and other preparations to leave for South Africa (including the usual multi-step process of checking out of the country). While in line for the ATM, Matt met Maria, the co-owner of a cashew factory. She generously invited us to tour the factory.

Monday, November 1, 2021

The Many Faces of Tanzania

Tanga anchorage

We met a Tanzanian woman named Happy (isn't that a great name?). She visited Europe for the first time a couple years ago and although she enjoyed it, she explained why she wouldn't want to live there. In Tanzania, even though people don't have much, they will help as much as they can you if you are in need. Contrast this with Europe, where people expect themselves and others to be self-sufficient. If someone needs help, the government might help, but the culture is not one of widely sharing.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Safari in Tanzania


Mara River crossing. The number of animals was mind-boggling

As I was going through the pictures for this post, it occurred me that it will be more like a boring vacation slideshow than most of our posts (which are already pretty close). Not only are there a lot of pictures--because I had a hard time choosing, but who hasn't seen almost the same stuff in the zoo or when watching a nature documentary?

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Seychelles to Tanzania


Our six-day passage from the Seychelles to Tanzania was bumpy and fast. The confused seas made most of the passage uncomfortable, punctuated too often by the big bangs of the waves slamming against Perry's underside. So we were very happy to see Zanzibar (birthplace of Freddie Mercury) on the horizon, even as we put another reef in the mainsail ahead of an imminent squall.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Cruising the Seychelles


Baie Georgette - Our view after a long hike from Anse Lazio

Most of our time in the Seychelles has been spent on the main island of Mahé. These last few weeks we were finally able to get over to the other two 'big' islands: Praslin and La Digue.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Around Seychelles

View of our anchorage at Praslin Island

This is a bit of a catch-up post, since it's been awhile (I was in the States for about a month visiting family).

 We made it to Praslin, which is one of the other "main" islands that we are allowed to go to in the Seychelles (there's a quirky mix of private/public/ and marine national park islands here, so you need to to do your research or else you can get turned away or hit with a pretty hefty visitor fee). It's nice to have clearer water after the Eden Island anchorage, which has very 'nutrient rich' (aka 'poopy') waters.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Seychelles by the seashore


Tortoises in the Victoria Botanical Gardens

We didn't do a lot of walking in the Maldives or Chagos, so all the walking we're doing here in the Seychelles has taken some getting used to (if you read that as 'there is a lot of whining going on', you're not wrong). You would think that after all these years, the transitions would be easy, but things like going on passage after being at anchor for just a week or two is still an adjustment.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Chagos to Seychelles


The coconut crabs have grown a bit since they became protected

We managed to be in Chagos (Salomon Atoll) for the exact dates on our permit (May 1 through May 28), which is pretty lucky given the vagaries of wind and weather. We saw exactly three boats while we were there (not counting the illegal fishing boat that we spotted several miles away): Time Bandit, Skylark, and Georgia. For about a week, it was just us and the wildlife.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Gan, Maldives to Chagos

Passages are not my favorite part of cruising. Too often it's a bad version of Snow White's dwarves: Sleepy, Grumpy, Queasy. For this trip, 2 new dwarves decided to join in: Squally and Lumpy (the seas). On the bright side, we had mostly decent winds, were visited by pods of hundreds of dolphins, and the boobies that took refuge on our boat at night generally behaved themselves (no crash landing or throwing up on our heads as has been reported by other boats).

We managed to just beat the setting sun and pull into the Salomon atoll during daylight after two and a half days of sailing with just a few hours of motor-sailing at the beginning and end. The ability to sail was a good thing because our starboard engine decided to overheat and develop a leak at the heat exchanger cap bolt, leaving it out of commission until we can figure out what's ailing it. Our last day was spent dodging squalls with the accompanying reefing and unreefing of sails (lather, rinse, repeat) but we averaged 7 to 9 knots of boat speed. At the end, we were rewarded by the welcome sight of the lush Chagos isles, tiny fish jumping like popcorn, and a much anticipated good night's rest. We happily fell asleep to the sound of rain that we didn't have to sail through.

The next day, we stopped by to say hi to Time Bandit, who had gotten there a couple weeks earlier, and then went off to try our luck at trolling a lure from the dinghy. About two minutes in, we had hooked a little tunny. The cruisers who raved about the fishing were not exaggerating. One of the resident black-tip sharks happily gobbled up the remains after we filleted our catch.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

To Chagos and beyond


And, just like that (it seems), our three months in the Maldives is over and we head for Chagos. The weather and wind predictions are about as good as we can expect for this leg of our journey. We will probably have to motor at the beginning, until our wind fills in, and there may be some squalls. But we will be happy if we get some wind and not too many squalls.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Hunt for the Wilderchildren


Notice: Google has notified us that our email subscription service is ending in July and users will no longer receive automated notifications when we post a new blog entry. Bear with us as we try to figure out what we need to do.

If you haven't seen The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, I highly recommend it. This photo above is a shot from our own 'private' island (occasionally visited by locals but not since the start of Ramazan). Conrad is expressing himself using found objects, a.k.a. garbage, of which there is plenty unfortunately.

Monday, March 22, 2021

I don't care what anyone says, we love the Maldives


Auto-color in Photoshop gave this a weird look, but it's better than the original, washed out underwater camera coloring.

Before we got to the Maldives, the few recent reports we read were not particularly positive. 'It's expensive.' 'The coral is dead.' 'You can't go where you want.' Of course, the most recent reports were from cruising friends and acquaintances that were here in 2020, which was a bad time for everyone.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

$30 in a restaurant...


The dodgy pier at the abandoned resort at Dholhiyadhoo

Sometimes we play a game at dinner where we say how much we think our entree would cost if we bought it in a restaurant in the States (have I mentioned that we don't have a TV?). Yesterday, Matt made a lobster risotto and we threw out some numbers, then settled on 'Market Price' because of the lobster. It was good but could have benefited from some white wine.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Death of a Sailboat (don't worry--not ours)

Sachiyo looking like she's seen better days.
But this was the best we ever saw her.

This is a post we wrote awhile back but never published. We're still enjoying the Maldives. Yesterday Matt and the boys swam with dolphins (well, 'with' might be overstating things since the dolphins were just going about their business, but they didn't swim away).
We spent over four months with a view of this steel sailboat from our spot on the opposite wall in Galle Harbor. Apparently, she sailed from India to Sri Lanka years ago (the stories range from 5 to 10 years). 

She didn't have an inboard engine, but tried to leave Sri Lanka with a small outboard.  After the engine died and the boat was damaged in a storm, it was towed back to the port and tied up. The owner went away and the years went by.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Galle, Sri Lanka to Uligan, Maldives

Look! A sail!

We made it to the Maldives, a year behind schedule. As we were checking out of Sri Lanka, our agent gave us our port clearance document and said, 'You're going to the Maldives so it's very important that you have this because they're all Muslim there.' We're still scratching our heads over that one (for the record, just about every place you go wants a clearance document from your last port).

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Countdown and hoarding


You never know when you'll see a random cow

We're about a week or so away from leaving Galle, after over ten months here. We have been fortunate to have a relatively safe place to weather a lot of the pandemic, but are definitely ready to move on.