Tales of Enchantment

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

25 February 2011
19 January 2011 | Warderick Wells, Bahamas
09 January 2011 | Nassau Bahamas
18 December 2010 | Jacksonville, Fl
04 November 2010
28 September 2010 | Still in Baltimore
15 February 2010 | Baltimore
22 December 2009
22 December 2009 | Baltimore, Md
02 December 2009
02 December 2009
02 December 2009 | Baltimor, Mdd

Thailand bits and pieces

07 May 2021
Vern Noren
We have been "stuck" in Thailand for just over a year now. There are worse places to be stuck for sure. Phuket went 3 months without a new local case of Covid, then suddenly went from zero to 250+ in a matter of two weeks. The rest of the country is under severe restrictions in an effort to contain it again. Officials believe it all started with large groups of partying youths and other "socially entitled" in and around Bangkok. I just read the Thailand ranks 124th in the world for vaccine distribution.
It has not been boring. Since our last update several months ago we have become better friends with many of the locals, had $6,000 in damage to our boat, had our diesel engine commit suicide, and revisited my hippy days.
The photo gallery has many new pictures with no rhyme or reason to the assortment.

North Thailand

19 January 2021
Vern Noren
We took a 3 week trip to N Thailand to a region I have never been to before. Michelle toured parts of it several years ago when our son & grandson came to visit. The region is mountainous and mostly remote with many small towns and villages.

Many different ethnic groups live in the highlands, many with their own languages, customs, and beliefs. The weather is pleasantly cooler than down in Phuket, and things are a lot cheaper. Our most expensive hotel was $25/ night, most under $20, and the cheapest was $7/night with a balcony on the river.

Thailand Tales

11 November 2020 | Phuket, Thailand
Vern Noren
It has been a while since our last update and a lot has happened. We returned to the marina for a month to have some boat work completed and repairs made, then returned to Phi Phi for two weeks. There was a big festival starting in Phuket which we did not want to miss so we sailed back to Chalong Harbor and anchored for a week.
We were in a gray area with immigration, we never got visa’s when we arrived last March, just crew papers that said we could stay legally for 30 day, NO renewal, No possibility to get visa’s. We spent two months talking to immigration officials, visa agent’s, other cruisers, with no solutions. Complicating the situation the harbor masters were instructed not to clear out any yachts to leave the country until borders opened up. So one agency says you cannot stay, another says your boat/home cannot leave. Immigration policy changes every few weeks here so everyone remains confused. Eventually it got sorted out after many, many trips to immigration. Every 30 days we have to return to the main office and they will stamp us in for another 30 days until borders open, which could be mid 2021, no one knows. At least our stress is greatly reduced.
To make things interesting the following is how we spent the second night in Chalong.
MIDNIGHT MADNESS

After living on board 16 years, and cruising full time the last 11 years we had a new first. We have been anchored in Chalong Bay, Thailand for the last few days. Big anchor, 200 ft chain on a mostly mud bottom, 10-1 scope. We always back down at full throttle and our reversing prop give us almost full thrust. Around midnight, as another of many short squalls barreled through the anchorage Michelle went out to check wind speed and our position. All good. Ten minutes later the wind picked up again and when she checked this time we were less than 10 meters from a catamaran that used to be 100+ meters away.
For the first time ever we had dragged our anchor but this was not the time to celebrate. I took the wheel as she tried to get the anchor up. The chain jumped out of the bow roller toward the middle so now she is pulling it up across the teak front lip. As I struggled to gain some control and keep us off the other boat the anchor winch breaker kept tripping from the strain of the pull. Too noisy from the howling wind and rain communication was impossible and I could only guess which direction the chain was leading. Complicating the situation was the full awnings we had up. They hindered visibility forward and acted like sails, pushing us around with great force.
We finally got the anchor up and headed down wind behind all the other boats and dropped all 250 feet of chain, the 55lb Delta anchor, large snubber, and a prayer. We wrestled the awnings down, the wind dropped to about 20 kts, and we were happy again.
In hindsight I think the new awnings were the main factor in our dragging since it had never happened before and we have used this anchorage many times.
When we finally settled back down to finish a movie we had been watching my wife gave me a kiss and said we did that whole thing without yelling at each other, like that has ever happened.
Start to finish of our adventure was one hour. Since we did not damage anyone else, worked together smoothly, it was all sort of fun in a demented kind of way.

Still alive after Covid

08 August 2020
Vern Noren
After a long period of laziness I am updating our blog. The short story is about our Covid challenge. In mid March we sailed 200 miles across the Mallaca Straits and Andaman Sea to Northern Sumatra. Our intention was to join a group of other cruisers for an organized rally down the West coast. The day the rally officially began the Mayor of Sabang , our starting point, said he did not want us there because of the Covid scare. The next day there were guards at the port gates to keep us in. The following day the organizer told us the next rally stop told him not to come, and the one after that was still deciding.
Things were going downhill so we decided to drop out and went through formalities to clear out of Indonesia. Our new plan was to get to Langkawi, Malaysia as quickly as we could, 200 miles away. By the time we finished preparing to leave, Malaysia announced the closing of all borders. Our only other option was Phuket, Thailand, also 200 miles away. We were just hoping they would still be open. Thailand closed it's borders a week after we arrived. A week after that Phuket shut down the airport and were shutting down movement between provinces, with highway check points to assure compliance. Along with other shut downs of pretty much every thing.
We decided to go into a marina we have stayed at before so we would have easy access to a grocery store, boat supplies, ability to walk on land, plus see a few friends again. Shortly after that the marinas were banning all new arrivals. We were very lucky to make the right decisions. We know of many other boats that were stuck in anchorages and not allowed ashore. Arrangements were made to bring them food and supplies. The boats that continued with the rally were chased out of many harbors by police boats and scared locals. They were rumored to be carriers and few towns were willing to let them stop. Cruisers all over this part of the world were at sea when borders were closed. One family friend of ours has been stuck on their boat in Sri Lanka for 4 months now. Several other couples went up the Red Sea to the Med and were never allowed off their boat the whole passage, two months. Then a 14 day quarantine in the Med.

So any way, we are good. We spent 4 months in the marina which killed our budget. It is very expensive but at least we had unlimited fresh water and electricity. We got spoiled by being able to run our air conditioner. After the first 8 weeks the authorities started open things up slowly so we could move around Phuket. Despite the cost we were there long enough to make some new friends and felt like we were becoming a part of the local community.

Thailand did a great job containing the virus. Stay at home orders, mandatory masks, crack downs on big groups, contact tracing, temperature checks every where, and still continue. Alcohol was banned for 2 months. Thailand has not had any new local cases in 9 weeks. They just tested several thousand people would attended a crowded event, most not wearing masks despite the law. None of those tested had the virus.

Hey Ann Rowe Pramis, I can't find your email address

Check out the 2 new video links in FAVOITES section

02 March 2020
Vern Noren

We are still alive

01 March 2020
Vern Noren
Not much has happened since our last post but we thought we should update our blog anyway. Next weekend we start a new adventure. It starts with a sail from Phuket, Thailand to Sabang, Indonesia. We will sail down the Western coast of Sumatra, then up to Borneo. After a few months in Borneo we will join a small group to sail to NE Indonesia and work our way back to the S Pacific. We should each the Solomon Islands around Feb of next year.
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
A four week trip through N THailand, cut short 8 days by covid scare
100 Photos
Created 17 January 2021
73 Photos
Created 11 November 2020
Just a few photo's of how we kept busy during our covid stay in Phuket
10 Photos
Created 8 August 2020
31 Photos
Created 1 March 2020
45 Photos
Created 17 November 2019
Some of the wonderful places and people we saw on our recent sail rally through NE Indonesia. The pictures generally follow our course West to East. Our main reason for joining the rally was to get to Raja Ampat for snorkeling and scuba diving. Overall we agreed that Indonesia has the best diving and snorkeling of any place else in the world we have been.
79 Photos
Created 13 November 2018
Highlights of our passage across Northern Borneo
64 Photos
Created 28 August 2018
38 Photos
Created 19 May 2018
28 Photos
Created 19 May 2018
57 Photos
Created 23 December 2017
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