Global Voyageur

Be a virtual voyager - join the tartan navy to follow the Mackays on their return to Scotland

21 June 2012 | Clyde Marina, Ardrossan
20 June 2012 | North Channel, Irish Sea
17 June 2012 | Bay of Biscay
15 June 2012 | Coruna Marina, La Coruna
14 June 2012 | Marina Coruna, La Coruna
13 June 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
12 June 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
09 June 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
07 June 2012 | Ponta Delgaga
06 June 2012 | Ponta Delgada
04 June 2012 | Angra
02 June 2012 | Horta, Faial
01 June 2012 | Horta , Faial
28 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
25 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
24 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
23 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
22 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
21 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean
20 May 2012 | North Atlantic Ocean

Back to the Blog.....

11 September 2010 | Bali Marina, Bali
Susan Mackay
Some time ago Andrew Bishop asked me if I would be prepared to write something for a yachting magazine. Never having been stuck for anything to write about I was more than happy to oblige. However on seeing the choice of subject matter my resolve and enthusiasm took a dive. I had thought of waxing lyrical over balmy ocean breezes and velvety moonlit nights, of pristine white beaches and swaying coconut palms. Pah! How could I have I been so naive. It was belt and braces stuff they wanted, facts and figures, practical things. None of your fanciful desert island dreams. Money, bills and home affairs? Definitely not my department. I am far too fond of shopping and too good at spending the money. Crew and crew changes. Being two up for the majority of the trip we are hardly qualified to comment on that one. Last but not least, spares and repairs. For once I am at a loss for words. Over to you Mr. Skipper! Well, the article did get written, by me of course, but with a little input from the skipper. What a HUGE subject it was too. But now that that is out of the way I can get back to the blog. No longer do I have to closet myself in the cabin at the computer. Now I can get back to blogging and tell you what we have been up to during this latest stopover in Bali. Tourism has been the ruination of Bali. We went on a day tour of the island and were dismayed at the lack of infrastructure to deal with the litter. The tour was more a shopping trip than sightseeing. Perhaps if David and I had not already been here, done that, it would have been more of an adventure but we had been there and done that.

Rice terraces, Bali
The temple of Pura Trita Empul still has that aura of calm, the rice terraces still a splendid sight to see, but what spoils all the stops are being pressed to buy souvenirs that you don't want.

Pura Trita Empul

John & David - dressed for the occasion
Lunch at the volcano at Mount Batur, was the best part of the trip and the clouds rolled away just long enough for us to get a good camera shot.

Volcano at Mount Batur

Bustling market at Ubud
Last night was the prize giving for Leg 14. The marina restaurant laid on an Indonesian buffet and we were entertained with beautiful Balinese dancing. They really "pushed the boat" out for us. It is such a shame that the pontoons are in such a state of delapidation. Now we are saying our farewells to Skylark. It seems no time at all since our first encounter in Gibraltar, one year ago. Stephen has almost delivered his boat home to Malaysia. Like the others before, we will really miss the "boys" from Skylark. It was some time before I realised that everybody received a prize last night. Suzana and Paul are certainly becoming more creative in their thinking! David and I were thrilled to receive third prize for the second time in this rally. How could that be? I look at David in astonishment. It took us a while to figure it out. Only four boats in our class crossed the start line!

A six million rupiah meal. As usual the last morning was spent shopping and stowing, the afternoon putting the finishing touches to the piece I had been asked to write. With the article now out of the way I could relax at last. (I was determined I was not going to leave Bali with it unfinished.). Then, a skippers' briefing, a sundowner aboard Tucanon, followed by dinner in Ku De Ta Restaurant in Seminyak. A truly fantastic meal, not cheap but it was our final night in Bali after all. The chef it transpired was Australian. Surprise, surprise! We raised our glasses in a toast to our forthcoming Indian Ocean crossing. Driving through the streets of Kuta we now saw a totally different side to Bali. Row upon row of designer shops. Tourism here is certainly alive and kicking! Oh, how the other half live. The security is still intense after the Bali bombings of six years ago. When we go to the supermarket we are checked for explosives. When we enter the security gate at the marina, the taxi is checked for explosives. Arriving at the restaurant tonight our vehicle was scanned by a bomb detector. Clearly they take the issue of security very seriously, so accordingly we feel infinitely safer for that. We are now ready to leave. We have everything on board except for cucumber which I omitted from my shopping list. So no Greek salads until we get to Cocos Keeling. For the first time on this trip we have had to fill the water tank with carboys of bottled water, the marina water is not potable. It is so hot and humid that for the first time ever David paid for someone to do the oil change. He felt it was more than worth the money. I could only agree. He spent an entire morning in the engine compartment changing impellers and filters and when he finally emerged I could have almost filled a bucket if I had wrung out his shorts and t shirt. Tomorrow, Monday, we leave. It will be so good to put to sea. To feel the wind at our backs, to see the moon waxing once more, to feel the ocean pushing us along, to hear the swish of the waves, to finish the book I was reading. Just the three of us out there, Voyageur and us, just to be......

A WARC Welcome!

07 September 2010 | Bali Marina, Bali
Susan Mackay
A WARC welcome! Oh, to heck with the racing! We have not the patience for it. As we came abeam of the Lombok Strait we were tossed around like a cork. There was a strong counter current against us and more perversely the wind backed to the south east. Voyageur wallowed in the confused cross seas. We had tried ever so hard not to use the engine. And we had been really satisfied with our progress in what is typically a light wind passage. I had just had the most fantastic watch, getting every bit out of Voyageur as we reached with poled out genoa, full main and mizzen. In winds that were no more than 18knots she was going 9.3kts. I put my book aside and echoed words of encouragement. We were having such fun together. With the approach of dawn however the wind died and backed to the south east. We were faced with a decision, another night at sea, jibing back and forth, or the soft option, furling the sails and motoring to the finish line. Guess what we did? We just wanted to get there in daylight, see our dear friends, uncork that bottle of champagne, enjoy another landfall, have dinner ashore, and a good night's sleep. As we approached our landfall we came upon a nasty slick of rubbish in the water. Then a floating branch, finally narrowly missing a half submerged tree trunk. Sadly we knew that we had entered Bali waters. Thank goodness it was the middle of the day. Entering the channel all the local fishermen, typified by their "coolie" hats, were casting their nets in the shallows looking so like the little matchstick figures in a Lowry painting. As always, Paul or Suzana standing on the dockside ready to take our lines, always a welcome, all part of the service. It takes away that element of uncertainty when you enter a new harbour and one less thing for us to worry about.
Third time lucky.....
We are sitting in Bali's Benoa Marina, amidst a sea of trash. It is such a shame and we were disappointed that there has been no improvement since we were last here, in fact if anything it has got worse. Every morning the tide brings in a mass of detritus, the waters in and around the marina, an unsightly cesspit. Made, the marina manager is still here and as friendly and helpful as ever. By 10am he brought the local sail maker, Norman, as Indonesian as they come, to Voyageur and our canvas work is in the making as I write this. By two o'clock in the afternoon my new outboard and windlass covers are fitted, the old ones completely shot with UV damage. We are so thrilled with the end result that we commission them with making a windscreen cover also. Now we are really glad that the work did not get done in Australia. Not only is it very much cheaper here but, more importantly these people need our money far more.

Flying the flags for WARC Tzigane are neophytes to the rally. They spent in John's words "a small fortune" buying a set of courtesy flags and there they were, the only boat in the marina, dressed overall. WARC quite rightly like to make a something of a spectacle of our presence and we do this by "flying the flags"! As time goes on there is a tendency to become a little remiss about it all. We have just as guilty as others. It is just another thing to do over and above the very many other shore side chores. But it seems such a shame not to put in the effort for the sake of a few minutes. We may have to do this on very many occasions throughout our trip but for the people who welcome us to their country it is a spectacle they only get to see only once in every two years. Three boats out of twelve, and two of them shorthanded. Come on WARC yachts! Show your colours and wear them with pride.....

A cautionary tale

06 September 2010 | Indian Ocean
Susan Mackay
As if to make the point, yesterday on the 9am SSB net we have one of our group reporting being shadowed by four men in a motor launch. The skipper sounded very tense. With just two on board you are in a much more vulnerable position than a boatload of guys in full view in the cockpit. Our duty net controller established that ourselves and Lady Ev1V were the nearest to the yacht under threat. We fired up the engine and steamed towards them. Fortunately it was without incident, the launch eventually turning away towards land. We fully understand how they must have been feeling. In 2006 in the Gulf of Aden we had a very frightening experience when approached by a high speed rib with four men wearing balaclava hoods. We were travelling in a convoy of six yachts and we followed our briefing instructions to the letter, closing in to form a tight knit group. By this time a second rib was on the scene but after a Pan Pan call from our lead boat, to our great relief a coalition warship came steaming towards us over the horizon, launching their own powerful rib, complete with armed personnel in full combat gear. Needless to say the two ribs and the mother ship disappeared over the horizon as quickly as they had come, never to be seen again. It is very unnerving to have an experience like that. Indonesia is one of those places that one cannot be quite sure about. We never felt threatened during our cruising here four years ago. Quite the contrary, the people could not have been more welcoming. I have no doubt that the threat was real enough but probably opportunistic rather than premeditated and the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Indonesian people are very poor and vessels such as ours could be seen as rich pickings. How are you to know that it is not simply an innocent attempt to make contact, that all they want are some cigarettes or a fill of their water containers as was the case when two small open boats approached us off the coast of Ecuador. The answer is you don't and you just have to deal with the situation as best you can. But it demonstrates the safety and security aspect of travelling in a group and the number one benefit for us of being part of a rally..... It is touch and go whether we can make Bali by tomorrow evening. This is one place where we would definitely not plan a night arrival. We will leave that to the racers. There is zero wind today so we motor on and hope to see no more than dolphins, flying fish and shoals of tuna.

Rally rendezvous? Our friends Jenny and John Greenwood of yacht Tzigane are to join the rally in Bali. Four years ago they sailed around the world with us as far as Phuket. We have not heard from them in a while so will they be there on the pontoon to surprise us? And what is more is their precious cargo of champagne that they brought to us in Gibraltar last August to stow away in Voyageur's cave, still intact?
Vessel Name: VOYAGEUR
Vessel Make/Model: Amel Super Maramu 2000
Hailing Port: Rhu, Scotland
Crew: Susan and David Mackay
David first learned to sail on a Loch Fyne day boat out of Helensburgh Sailing Club on the River Clyde in his mid twenties. With the arrival of a family he did not do any more, until in 1984 we bought our first boat, “The Golden Soak”, a Matilda 20. [...]

Our motto:Carpe Diem

Who: Susan and David Mackay
Port: Rhu, Scotland