22 June 2019 | Straits Quay Marina, Penang, Malaysia
17 July 2016 | Penang, Malaysia
20 February 2016 | Penang, Malaysia
02 October 2015 | Thailand
11 April 2015 | Krabi Boat Lagoon Marina, Thailand
25 December 2014 | Langkawi, Malaysia
04 June 2014 | Philippines
07 January 2014 | Brookeville, MD
04 July 2013 | Subic Bay Yacht Club, Philippines
31 October 2012 | Palau
02 December 2011 | Hermit Islands, Papua New Guinea
08 November 2011 | Maryland, USA
15 May 2011 | Kavieng, New Ireland, PNG
26 April 2011 | Kavieng, New Ireland
26 March 2011 | Kokopo, New Britain, Papua New Guinea
16 March 2011 | Kokopo, New Britain, Papua New Guinea
12 February 2011 | From Peava again
05 February 2011 | Solomon Islands
01 December 2010 | From Lola Island, VonaVona Lagoon, Solomon Islands
30 November 2010 | Peava, Nggatoke, Solomon Islands

Resolved: I will be a better blogger

25 December 2014 | Langkawi, Malaysia
We have intrepid cruiser friends who dutifully blog every day. They are inspiring (in many ways) but if I tried to do that not only would I get behinder and behinder every day, I fear I would bore the pants off everyone. That being said, I am flattered that many of you keep asking when the next blog post is coming so I am determined to try to be better about doing it.

In the last post we discovered we had made it past the half-way point in our slow journey about the world. That got me thinking about how many miles and countries and islands we've actually logged, questions we're often asked and never can answer (like a few nights ago in an impromptu interview with a local radio station). So before I make good on my promise to get caught up with past events, here's a short end-of-year retrospective on the voyage so far.

An impressionist's rendering of our route so far

Since leaving South River on the Chesapeake Bay on October 10, 1999, Asylum and crew have logged 32,991 nautical miles. That's 37,940 highway miles.

By rights, after nearly 33 thousand miles we should be well past the halfway point. In fact, if all those miles were wrapped around the fattest part of the globe like a big red belt there'd still be plenty of belt left over to tuck into a second loop. But our bow hasn't always been pointed west around. We've also spent a fair amount of time northing and southing and backing and forthing as well.

The country count we've sailed to so far is 39. Sometimes it's a bit gray as to whether a new port is new "country"--like Puerto Rico or American Samoa--but I figured if it has its own courtesy flag or we had to clear in/out of Immigration and Customs it was. If we also count the countries we've left the boat behind to visit, what we call "land travel," it goes up to 47 plus Antarctica.

Someday when we "dress ship" these will be the first 39 well-worn courtesy flags to fly:

Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico
U.S. Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
St. Martin/Maarten
St. Barthelemy

St Bart's harbor

St. Lucia
St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago

A Tropic Bird over Tobago's rugged coast

Caymen Islands

Transiting the Panama Canal with nephew TJ on bow duty with me

French Polynesia
Cook Islands
American Samoa
New Zealand

Jim is always a bit like the Pied Piper with village kids

Solomon Islands
Papua New Guinea

A close encounter with a rare thresher shark at Malapascua Island


It doesn't get much better than this

It's been a great ride so far!

As for actual islands visited, we never kept careful count but our best-guess tally comes to about 125. One of them, Borneo, is the 3rd largest island in the world; many of the rest you could leap in a single bound.

After How long did it take you to get here? and How many countries have you sailed to? the other questions we get all the time are:

What's your favorite place?
This one's almost impossible to answer because they're all so different. For sure Vanuatu and the San Blas in Panama have been highlights for experiencing traditional cultures and village life. But there was our amazing lovely time in the village in the Solomons...
For city life, Cartagena and Kuching both get enthusiastic nods. Of course Auckland was great, too...
See what I mean?

What about pirates?
We've had two unpleasant run-ins with thieves who boarded the boat. Were they pirates? Not according to Webster, who says that pirates do their dirty work "on the high seas." We were anchored close to shore both times. Ours were just land-based opportunists who happened to have access to a boat. The real "high seas" piracy threat comes down the road a ways and is causing all kinds of routing consternation for everyone who wants to get from here to Europe or North America. But that's a topic for another time.

What about bad weather?
We do our best to avoid it! "Waiting for weather" is one thing we do well. That being said, sometimes you get it wrong (or the forecasters do) and some passages have been less pleasant that others. We've had our share of wet, lumpy, rolly, bruising, maddeningly tedious rides, but nothing really dangerous. Asylum is a tough, patient and forgiving old girl who looks after us well when we find ourselves out there when all 3 of us wish we weren't.

A squall at the equator. At least the orchid seems happy in this weather.

Fortunately, there are more glorious days at sea:

Had you told us when we left the Chesapeake 15 years ago that we'd still be out here now, barely halfway around, I would have guffawed. But here we are, not quite ready to swallow the anchor and with many miles to go before we close the loop. If we make it that far...

At this point, we're not sure what our next course will be. What we do know, though, is how phenomenally fortunate we are to have been able to live the cruising life, slowly driving our house this far around the world, in and out of remote, exotic, jaw-droppingly beautiful places, meeting and being befriended by warm, gracious, curious, interesting, helpful, generous people everywhere. Still so many tales to tell.

Which brings me back to where I started: I resolve to be a better blogger.

And now, having managed to noodle over this into the end of December, we add Happy Holidays and Merry New Year to everyone!

Vessel Name: Asylum
Vessel Make/Model: Tayana V-42 Cutter
Hailing Port: Bethesda, MD USA
Crew: Jim & Katie Coolbaugh
In October 1999 we set out aboard ASYLUM, our Tayana 42 sailboat, on a slow wander around the world. The deal was that we’d keep going until we got tired of it or weren’t having fun anymore, or got all the way around, whichever came first. [...]
Extra: Within Malaysia: 0174209362 (Maxis) WhatsApp +60174209362
Asylum's Photos - Main
A few memories from our 17 years aboard
17 Photos
Created 19 July 2016
28 Photos
Created 19 February 2016
Where to next?
5 Photos
Created 2 October 2015
6 Photos
Created 11 April 2015
11 Photos
Created 25 December 2014
2 Photos
Created 4 June 2014
7 Photos
Created 4 July 2013
13 Photos
Created 30 October 2012
30 Photos
Created 2 December 2011
30 Photos
Created 15 May 2011
7 Photos
Created 26 April 2011
29 Photos
Created 12 February 2011
6 Photos
Created 5 February 2011
8 Photos
Created 1 December 2010
25 Photos
Created 30 November 2010
8 Photos
Created 25 November 2010
17 Photos
Created 20 November 2010
24 Photos
Created 14 November 2010
8 Photos
Created 13 November 2010
11 Photos
Created 7 November 2010
7 Photos
Created 7 November 2010
9 Photos
Created 14 August 2010
15 Photos
Created 14 August 2010
18 Photos
Created 15 July 2010
7 Photos
Created 14 July 2010
13 Photos
Created 12 July 2010
16 Photos
Created 4 June 2010
13 Photos
Created 23 May 2010
12 Photos
Created 22 May 2010
21 Photos
Created 5 May 2010
21 Photos
Created 1 May 2010
9 Photos
Created 1 May 2010
15 Photos
Created 25 April 2010
Visit Asylum and see where we live
13 Photos
Created 20 April 2010
Asylum returns to the water
3 Photos
Created 16 April 2010