30 May 2020 | RED SEA PASSAGE
20 September 2019 | Gili Gede, Indonesia
06 December 2018 | Slip H10. Bay of Islands Marina
04 November 2018 | Opua, New Zealand
09 May 2018 | Vavaâu, The Kingdom of Tonga
28 April 2017 | Great Barrier Island
05 February 2017 | Opua, New Zealand
09 November 2016 | Bay of Islands, New Zealand
26 October 2016 | Baie de Kuto, Isle of Pines
WHERE HAVE WE BEEN THE LAST FOUR MONTHS?
30 May 2020 | RED SEA PASSAGE
Wouldn't you think that living on a boat would allow for long periods of time with nothing to do? Often no one to talk to but Eric, minimal cleaning, simple cooking, no TV, I could go on and on. Why then am I four months behind in our blog? Now, I could make lots of excuses but when it gets right down to it---procrastination! Take procrastination combine it with months of Covid-19 isolation and the answer is simply----no excuse,simply haven't done it. So this post is going to be a "catch up" post and maybe at some point in time I will back track with more details.
I last left off in January as we were finalizing the boat and ourselves for our passage from Krabi, Thailand to Kochin, India. Our new Lithium Ion house batteries had been installed, our fridge and freezer were working, our friend Craig was on board, we had a new screecher (light wind sail) and a new 2200 Honda Generator.
We left Krabi Boat Lagoon at 1100 on Saturday January 25. After motoring and hand steering through the channel leading to open ocean we discovered that our Auto Pilot was not working. By 1700 we were on our way to Phuket Boat Lagoon for an emergency stop.
Tuesday found us on our way again, India bound.
Our passage was the usual boat projects for Eric, cooking, journaling and reading for me, playing the guitar, reading Moby Dick, cooking and teaching me a card game for Craig. At one point we were approached by a fishing boat with several young men all waving and yelling. Were they in trouble? Pirates? No, once they were close enough for us to hear them shout we realized they were just a bunch of young men who were probably being paid to watch fishing nets, were really bored, saw us and decided to have some fun. They asked for cigarettes and beer---we had neither. They motored off. The Indian Coast Guard started hailing us on the VHF radio a couple of days before we entered Indian waters. Each time they called they asked for the same information: What was our Call Sign, where was our last Port, how many people on board and their nationalities, where were we going? We were very careful once 12 miles from shore to turn our Iridium Satellite system off as we had read that it was illegal to have one active within this 12nm boundary.
On February 10, 12 days and 22 hours after leaving Thailand we anchored near the Malabar Hotel in what we were told by Port Control was the quarantine anchorage. Clearing into India was not difficult but took several days. This was due, in part, to Covid-19 and all of the new procedures that were being implemented. The officials were confused as to what should be done when and by whom. We were quarantined for 48 hours but were visited by customs during this time which annoyed the doctor because he had not yet released us from quarantine. Little did we know at this time that this would be just the tip of the iceberg for "Covid-19 Quarantine".
February 26 brought a crew change. We said "goodbye" to Craig Gray and "welcome" to Elena Horton and Saul Avery. Elena and Saul planned to be with us as long as possible before returning to the UK by the beginning of May. We left the dock at Kochin International Marina around noon on February 27 and began what was to be the longest, most uncertain passage we had ever done. We have been since leaving India 87 days without being allowed on land. And now at Port Suez we have been 39 days on the boat with the ability to jump off the boat onto a floating dock where we can take 50 steps to a locked gate and then back again to the boat.
Now to back up a bit and fill it n the gaps.
Our first scheduled stop was to be Djibouti where we planned on using an ATM adding to our stock of US dollars, refueling, provisioning and taking on water. Didn't happen. On March 12, we instead took on fuel, provisions and water in Socotra but no dollars because the only US dollar ATM that we were aware of was in Djibouti. This was a huge problem because we knew that as we traveled north, US dollars would be the preferred currency, especially in the area of the Suez Canal. (Tho a credit card could be used to pay for canal transit).
Grim news of the increase of Corona Virus was available from family and friends via our Iridium Go satellite system. Continuing from Socotra we knew that we would again need more fuel, water and supplies but as we traveled north each port that we had identified as a resupply port was closing. Countries were not allowing boats to clear in. Our two daughters were able to notify the US Coast Guard and the US CoastGuard, in turn, arranged for a resupply mission at sea by the HMS AL-RIYADH, a Saudi Arabian warship which was about 60 miles from us. Our next resupply stop was a mooring a few miles off Port Sudan. We were able to arrange for an agent to bring us supplies. From Port Sudan we followed the coast north to Egyptian waters and anchored at Marsa Imbarak, near Port Ghalib, Egypt. We stayed at anchor for a weeks rest and then did another resupply at the quarantine dock at Port Ghalib, again not being allowed off the boat. Our next stop was Port Suez where arrangements were being made for Elena and Saul to disembark Pied-a-Mer and fly to London.
We have chosen to wait to transit the Suez Canal until more countries in the Mediterranean open their ports. So, we will stay here in Port Suez as we are tired of moving and our agent, Captain Heebie, Prince Of The Red Sea Company, is so knowledgeable and helpful.
Really, the only down side of our "isolation/quarantine" here in Egypt is that we are so close to Pyramids and Sphinxes but we cannot leave the boat/dock! So close yet so far😰.
I have, however kept up with photos. My project today will be to get some text with some of them. Check out the zphoto zgallery
TAKING A LOT LONGER
18 January 2020
Eric Sellix | Warm with balmy breezes.
Here it is January 19 (in Thailand) and we still don't have functioning batteries. Sombat, our English speaking technician, has been on the boat for days in a row but software issues seem to be a problem. Until we have the batteries functioning and all other systems good, we can't go. Now, our visas expire January 24. We can, by going to immigration, extend them. I guess the good news is that for the 20th and maybe a few days beyond, Predict Wind shows 65% motoring. We'll just have to wait and see.
Craig Gray has arrived and will be with us until we reach India. We are looking forward to this passage with Craig aboard.
HAPPY NEW YEAR—-BACK ON THE BOAT
15 January 2020
Our seven weeks with kids, grandkids and friends went by very quickly. We spent Thanksgiving in the Seattle area with both of our daughters and their families. This was the first time in many years that we had all been together under one roof and, believe it or not, we did not take a single photo of all of us. I am certainly failing in the "grandma category".
We returned to Thailand on December 24 with much concern over the weight and dimensions of our baggage. We knew we were each allowed 2 checked bags per person on our Delta flight plus one carry on and a purse or computer bag. The concern dealt with what we were bringing, the weight and dimensions. One of our checked items was a Honda 2200 Generator which we had left it in its original box, wrapped it in clear wrap, the weight was really borderline 50 lbs., the other questionable piece was a new antennae which far exceeded the length allowed for a carry on-----we couldn't check the antennae through as checked baggage. And, even if Delta allowed us to bring these would Air Asia give us a problem, even though we had prepaid for the baggage. Worry, worry, worry! All went well, no problems whatsoever.
Returning to the boat, we did find problems. We had hired a fellow to check the boat a couple of times a week and start the engines, all was good there. However, our house batteries, which we thought we could wait and replace once in the Med, were at the end of their life. We needed to replace the batteries before leaving for India. Also our freezer had gone out, it must have happened relatively soon after we left because the smell was awful. We lost quite a bit of food but food can be replaced much more easily than boat parts!
The good news was our new screecher made by Tasker Sails in Phuket was ready for delivery.
Today, three weeks after arriving back at KBL, our new lithium Phosphate batteries are being installed. Once the batteries are up and running the new controller will be installed for the freezer then we should be pretty much ready to roll. We'll need a few days with the batteries, a sea trial for the sail, checking out the water maker and hopefully be able to leave the beginning of next week.
CHANGE IN PLANS
05 January 2020
Still alive and well on Pied-a-Mer III. My last posting from Indonesia, several months ago, mentioned a change in plans. Yes, we had a major change. Rather than taking the Southern route from Gili Gede to Mauritius, Madagascar, Cape of Good Hope and Richards Bay we decided to a) slow down b) continue to explore a change in insurance coverage c) if able to get coverage for the Red Sea and Suez Canal, go that route! We had contacted Jackline Insurance while we were in New Zealand and were encouraged to pursue coverage with them but they required an "in water" and "out of water" survey, which we would not have had time to do before leaving on passage. Now, since we were not in a hurry to leave Gili,Gede we arranged for the survey. The survey went well and many phone calls and emails later, we received our binder from Jackline, actually from the Gowrie Group. By this time we had sailed north, spending several days at Nongsa Point Marina. While at Nongsa Point we took a ferry to Singapore and spent the entire day at the Apple Store! I realized I was quite lacking in geographical knowledge as I did not realize that Singapore is an island state---not belonging to any other country than itself! My other Singapore fact is that it is illegal to chew gum in Singapore----how about that!
From Nongsa Point we sailed north to Krabi Boat Lagoon in Thailand. Our route took us up the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, a narrow 550 nm channel between Singapore, the Malay Penninsula and Sumatra.This passage was by far one of our most interesting journeys. In addition to north and south bound tankers, cargo and passenger ships we found ourselves weaving around Indonesian and Malyasian fishing boats, many fishing with nets dragging in the water.
The ships had AIS which allowed us to identify their name, size, speed, destination and closest point of approach but this was not the case with the fishing boats. There were a few times at night when it took 4 eyes watching the traffic. In addition to other vessels we also had to dodge garbage, never-ever-anywhere- have we seen so much floating trash. There were literally rivers of trash weaving along in the water.
Six nights after leaving Nongsa Point Marina we arrived at Krabi Boat,Thailand. We had reservations at KBL based on the recommendation of our fellow cruiser and friend, Tim Brill. We knew we would fly to the US for a few weeks and wanted a safe place to leave the boat. Tim had researched marinas in Thailand and felt that KBL was the best choice based on availability and price. Tim, however, did not make it to Krabi as boat issues forced him to stop and stay at Rebak Marina in Langkawi.
Where Is Pied-a-Mer III?
20 September 2019 | Gili Gede, Indonesia
Greetings from Indonesia. I think the last time I wrote we were waiting out storm season in New Zealand and completing the work after our 2018 dismasting. Putting Pied-a-Mer back together again seemed to be almost as difficult as âAll the kings horses and all the kings menâ, trying to fix Humpty Dumpty! The dismasting set our sailing plan back over a year and involved parts, parcels, pieces and advice from friends, chandleries, electronic companies, etc. in 5 countries. However, there is no better community for helping each other than the cruising community.
On May 15, after 7 months in The Bay of Islands, New Zealand, we set sail for New Caledonia, arriving in NoumÃ©a on May 23. This was our first Ocean Passage with the new portion of our mast and all of the new pieces and parts needed to make us again seaworthy. Our passage was a typical mix of reefing, motor sailing, addressing a chaffing reef line and hailing ships that were coming our way. We left New Caledonia on June 13 and arrived in Papua New Guiana on June 25, clearing into the country at The Royal Papua Yacht Club. July 10 saw us on the move again as we set sail for Indonesia and its 18,307 islands. We arrived on July 18, clearing into the country in Saumlaki, Gateway to the Tanimbar Islands. We then island hopped to our current location of Marina Del Ray on the very small island of Gili Gede which is on the southwest corner of the island of Lombok. As a point of reference, Lombok is close to Bali. In another newsletter, we'll talk about how we got to Gili Gede, the people we met and the things we did.
We arrived at Marina Del Ray with an outboard that didn't work and needing a part for our Honda 2000 Generator. We ordered the Honda part from the US and much to our surprise it arrived on the scheduled date (a lengthy piece could be written about receiving or not receiving packages mailed to remote locations). We now have a working generator which means we can use our watermaker! Our outboard is working thanks to the marina engineer.
The popular cruiser phrase, âPlans are made in the sand at low tideâ is so very true. Much of our time at Gili Gede has been associated with major changes to our navigation planâ�"â�"stay tuned!
Sent from my iPad
PAST 6 MONTHS
09 June 2019
What have we been doing? Well, I know one thing that we have not been doing! For many reasons, none of them really sound, I have not paid any attention to our blog. Must remedy that!
I am going to do a very condensed version. My last posting was in December when we motored to the big wharf in Opua New Zealand to have our mast removed. Tempo Spars in Sydney had made a new bottom half for our mast, shipped it to New Zealand and J.B Marine in Opua did the work of putting us back together.