Tales of Enchantment

also known as "Michelle and Vern's Excellent Adventure"

12 January 2016
27 December 2015
15 September 2015
25 June 2015
26 March 2014
09 November 2013
16 August 2013 | The Society Islands
20 June 2013 | The Tuomotu's aka The Dangerous Archipelago
26 May 2013 | Marquesas
25 April 2013
23 April 2013
15 December 2012 | Panama Canal, Central America
16 October 2012
26 June 2012
28 April 2012
28 April 2012
19 February 2012 | The Bay Islands

Roaming Around South East Asia

21 June 2016
It has been 6 months since our last update and though we have not travelled far we have not been idle. While most of our time has been in Malaysia we have also visited Thailand twice and once to Cambodia. Later this fall we anticipate a visit to China as well as more time in Thailand. We have now sailed half way around the world, 180 degrees of longitude from where we started.
. Malaysia
After leaving Singapore in late December it was a short sail to Port Dickson/Malacca in Malaysia. The cruising along the coast of Malaysia is not very good. The water is murky with sediment and hordes of fishing boats and fish traps make sailing at night hazardous.
Predominantly a Muslim country that tolerates religious diversity we found the people friendly and outgoing. While the annual income of most is very modest by US standards there are obviously many wealthy Malaysians as seen in the capital of Kuala Lumpur. The skyline is pierced with modern office buildings, upscale shopping malls, and luxury hotels.
Further up the coast is the island of Panang. We expected a typical small island with a few small resorts and stores. The island is small but a tourist mecca. 1.5 million people live here and the economy is as vibrant as the capital's.
We seem to have settled in on the small island of Rebak, a few miles off Langkawi, itself an island and tourist destination for locals. Privately owned there is an inexpensive boat yard and marina to leave your boat for inland touring. Several cruisers we have met have also made it their home base.

Thailand
Our first visit to Thailand was by air to the city of Bangkok. We both need dental work done and Bangkok the place to go. We have received care up to US standards by highly trained staff for a fraction of the cost back home. For example, replacing a crown runs about $350 vs $1000 in the states. Bangkok is huge, has traffic jams 24 hrs a day, and the fastest way to get around a short distance is by motorcycle taxi. It's also the most intimidating. These guys weave in and around traffic jams, ride on the side walk, missing cars and people by an inch, literally. The people are extraordinarily friendly and conflict goes against their nature.
Street food vendors are everywhere and you can get a tasty, and very spicy hot, meal for under $3. Buddhism is the primary religion and they do not tolerate using his name or image for any commercial or decorative purpose. People have been refused entry into the country for having a Buddha tattoo.
Governed by elected officials the country still has King and Royal family that everyone loves. He is now in his early 90's and is the longest reigning monarch in the world, 70 years on the throne. Last year a journalist was arrested for saying something derogatory about the king's favorite dog.
While in Bangkok we visited many temples, all ornate, beautiful, and still used for worship. One of the provinces a few hours N of Bangkok has over 7000 temples alone. We plan to see more of inland Thailand later this year.

Cambodia

We flew to Siem Reap, Cambodia, primarily to visit Angkor Wat, the largest religious complex in the world. Covering almost 250 acres it was built around the 12th century, originally as a Hindu temple but eventually turned into a Buddhist temple. The country side surrounding Siem Reap is strewn with many more temples that had been gobbled up by the jungle over the centuries. Most of those discovered have been at least partially restored. We visited during dry season so the vegetation was not as lush as you would expect.
In the early 70's a brutal despot named Pol Pot led the Khmer Rouge army to over throw the government and take control. The US secretly supported them because they were enemies of Vietnam. When his army invaded Phnom Penn, the capital, they ordered everyone to leave the city and take only what they could carry. In 3 days the population went from millions to 10,000 army troops. The educated ones, teachers, doctors, artists, etc, where killed outright. Of the 14,000 people imprisoned in a former school only 7 left alive. Those herded from the city were put into forced labor growing rice, digging new irrigation channels, fishing, etc. For most the only possession they were allowed was a cup and a bowl for food. Hundreds a day were clubbed to death in the killing fields once they were too weak to work ( bullets were expensive) . In the 3 years Pol Pot was in power an estimated 25% of the population died, as many as 2 million people.
The land along the border between Cambodia and Thailand is considered one of the most hazardous in the world. Tens of thousands of land mines were planted with no maps to show locations. Even today people still are maimed and killed if they wander off the main trails. There are international efforts to remove the dangers but the challenge is finding them.

Comments
Vessel Name: Enchantment
Vessel Make/Model: Island Packet 40
Hailing Port: Chicago
Crew: Vern & Michelle
About:
Vern, originally from Chicago, has lived in New Orleans and the Nashville, Tn area. I have been sailing for almost 40 years, have logged over 15,000 offshore miles and hold a 100 ton masters license. I also work as a critical care nurse. [...]
Extra: We are currently finishing with upgrades and improvements to Enchantment in preparation for a 3-4 year cruise from Baltimore to New Zealand. Our cruising kitty will be fully funded and our departure date is set for Oct 2010 with a transit of the Panama Canal late February 2011
Enchantment's Photos - Main
84 Photos
Created 19 December 2016
A small sample of all the wonderful things to see and do in China
99 Photos
Created 19 December 2016
More than you ever wanted to know.
3 Photos
Created 21 June 2016
56 Photos
Created 21 June 2016
51 Photos
Created 21 June 2016
32 Photos
Created 21 June 2016
Just a few pix from Singapore
32 Photos
Created 27 December 2015
65 Photos
Created 10 December 2015
Photo's roughly follow our passage from E to W in Indonesia. We are currently about half way across the Southern island group. 300 miles East of Bali
83 Photos
Created 15 September 2015
37 Photos
Created 25 June 2015
The Fijians have a reputation as one of the friendliest people on the planet....we believe it
115 Photos
Created 13 March 2015
50 Photos
Created 26 March 2014
50 Photos
Created 26 March 2014
24 Photos
Created 9 November 2013
68 Photos
Created 16 August 2013
54 Photos
Created 20 June 2013
49 Photos
Created 26 May 2013
67 Photos
Created 25 April 2013
49 Photos
Created 23 April 2013
We volunteered to be line handlers on a friend's boat to transit the Canal. Each boat requires 4 handlers plus captain and a paid Canal advisor. It is a great way to see what to expect for your own transit
43 Photos
Created 15 December 2012
Photos from another world, also called The San Blas
46 Photos
Created 16 October 2012
46 Photos
Created 26 June 2012
26 Photos
Created 26 June 2012
Providencia, a real jewel of a destination.
31 Photos
Created 28 April 2012
28 Photos
Created 28 April 2012
25 Photos
Created 14 February 2012
Photo's of some the reefs and critters found in Roatan, Honduras
31 Photos
Created 14 February 2012
44 Photos
Created 28 November 2011
You can see by these photo's the living conditions in the orphanage. Most buildings are built on pilings for when the river rises as well as the torrential downpours during rainy season.
45 Photos
Created 9 October 2011
Guatemala Independence Day party on the Rio Dulce
13 Photos
Created 9 October 2011
30 Photos
Created 15 September 2011
20 Photos
Created 15 September 2011
Random assortment of pictures from the Western Highlands, where volcanoes and traditional customs predominate
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 8 August 2011
A variety of churches and colonial building we saw. Way too many to post photo's of them all
44 Photos
Created 8 August 2011
17 Photos
Created 8 August 2011
31 Photos
Created 8 August 2011
I wish our camera did justice to the splendor of the reefs and marine life in Belize.
15 Photos
Created 29 May 2011
Belize is rich with Mayan ruins and artifacts. There are still may pure blood Mayans left in Central America, mostly living inland.
28 Photos
Created 29 May 2011
Collection of photo's from along the coastal area
20 Photos
Created 29 May 2011
12 Photos
Created 29 May 2011
Georgetown to Long Island
33 Photos
Created 15 March 2011
43 Photos
Created 25 February 2011
26 Photos
Created 19 January 2011
10 Photos
Created 18 December 2010
One of the hardest things about a leaving are the freinds you have to leave behind. In the 5 1/2 years we were in Baltimore we made many friends that we will miss. Our jobs at Harbor Hospital, Hopkins Bayview, and Sitel were some of the best we have ever had and we feel fortunate to have met and worked with the people we did.
20 Photos
Created 4 November 2010
A ton of "stuff" was brought on board over the last few months.
8 Photos
Created 28 September 2010
This year about 75 boats arrived for the event. The Thursday night before it starts most of the early arrivals get together on a tiny island for pot luck, drinks, and socializing. We have met many of the couples before and at least half of them are going South for the winter, mostly to the Bahamas. For many this is a first trip outside the US. Over the weekend they have many guest lectures, short seminars, marine flea market, some free breakfasts, some catered meals, cocktail party's by various SSCA supporters, and lots of sea stories to be shared.
9 Photos
Created 28 September 2010
Our last winter, 2 major blizzards in one week.
10 Photos
Created 15 February 2010