2014 A Year of Travel Adventures

This year has been so filled with events that it has been very hard for us to document it thoroughly on the blog. There are so many places and things that happened, followed by even more things, that we simply haven’t been able to keep up with the same pace of blogging as in the past. I’ll summarize a few of the events with links to relevant links to blog posts at the bottom of this post. The map below shows a few of the highlighted places we visited, and you can look at our Tahina map to see the tracks of where the boat has gone.

Highlight Map 2014

Highlight Map 2014

We actually sailed over 8400 nautical miles this year. We also flew on planes many thousands of miles with Karen flying back to the states in late February for a graduation of one of our daughters from culinary school, a trip back to US for Thanksgiving, and multiple flights for tours in several countries.

We have had some real adventures with unexpected events mostly in the categories of broken boat parts and a couple of mistakes while sailing the dangerous waters of the Indian Ocean, but also while making repairs on land and traveling on land exploring new places and encountering wild animals and people. We also have rented more cars and motorscooters than in all the years previous as we attempted to range far and wide in Thailand, Mauritius, Rodrigues, Reunion, and South Africa. A fun-filled, and stimulating series of experiences, and also a lot of boat work which tried our patience and endurance. All this generated thousands of photos and a lot more video – of which only a small portion has been published.

Here’s a quick summary of the highlights of 2014 (with links to relevant blog posts – usually with photos):

  • Started out the year in Rebak Marina, Langkawi, Malaysia and sailed along with our Amel friends on s/v Kilkea and Callisto to Thailand with stops in Ko Lipe, Ko Lanta, and Ao Chalong. Later we sailed around Phuket and up the coast all the way to Ko Phayam near the border of Mayanmar. We continued with two months of sailing around these waters with awesome stops at Phang Gna and James Bond Island. We had adventures while sailing up the coast of Thailand and with my phone breaking, and riding around in Phuket on a motor scooter.
  • We decided not to go the northern route across the Indian Ocean, as I needed to have my last eye surgery in Singapore. So, we sailed back down to Puteri Harbor near Singapore. My eye surgery in late March was successful and my eye had great results. I have very effective use of the eye with good peripheral vision and vision correctable to about 20/40 in the center. It’s way better than even my doctor expected, who is one of the best doctors in all of Asia.
  • While healing from the eye surgery, we made lots of preparations for departing to cross the Indian Ocean. We made several trips to Singapore for provisioning and for follow up eye checkups. I went to the gym three times a week the entire two months we were in Puteri to get in good shape. We finally left on April 23 to begin heading southeast towards Sunda Straights through Indonesia.
  • We visited Krakatoa and the active Son of Krakatoa volcano islands in the Sunda Straights, after sailing (actually mostly motoring) from Puteri over 5 days, and we managed to get fuel in the area. We met up with new friends on s/v Gryphon II at the volcano.
  • After a 650 mile sail we made it to Cocos Keeling – a territory of Australia. We had some great times at Cocos Keeling, and our friends on s/v Three Ships also arrived while we were there. We had a lot of fun snorkeling and taking kite aerial photos with my Go Pro there.
  • Next we made the 2300 nautical mile trip to Rordrigues Island (part of Mauritius). We had lots of good times in the few days we spent there. Had some real adventures exploring the island by motorscooter, bus, and on foot. And photos.
  • After a 2 day sail to Mauritius, we settled in to spend over a month. We made some great friends on many other boats, and especially our new friends Paul and Gina of s/v Solace. We did lots of sightseeing as well. Many of the new boats we met had come from the Maldives or Chagos.
  • While in Mauritius, we changed our long-term plans and decided not to spend time in South America and get back to the US a year earlier (2015 instead of 2016). We had a little fueling adventure before we left.
  • We then sailed an overnighter to La Reunion – a french island with awesome terrain and fantastic driving, hiking, and French food! But, on the way we had a snafu with some sailing gear.
  • Next we sailed over to the east coast of Madagascar and checked in at Ile Saint Marie. We saw whales many times starting with our arrival. We sailed up to Diego Suarez (where we had a real scary moment during a wild sail there) and waited for weather, and then sailed over the northern tip of Madagascar to the west coast where it is more ideallic sailing. We had an awesome time sailing and exploring the west coast of Madagascar and saw whale sharks (almost hit one), lemur, and all kinds of other interesting animals. The people of Madagascar were realy interesting as well. Oh, and we had another gear failure/screwup and also caught a fish in a crazy way.
  • We needed to get to Richards Bay in South Africa early to insure we could get our arrangements for a haul-out arranged. So, we sailed to Richards Bay on a good weather window and it only took us 7 days for the crossing (see real summary here).
  • We spent over a month in the boat yard at Richards Bay and got most of the things on our list done. It ended up costing a lot more than I expected, and we had some issues with the boatyard which I’ll talk about in a later post. We also managed escape a few days our first Africa Game Parks – at Imfolozi and St. Lucia. We had an awesome time seeing the African animals! After we got back in the water, we went to test our hopefully repaired saildrive on the port side and had a real scare when it appeared to not work. But, that was amusingly found to be another easy problem to solve – read the story.
  • We celebrated having lived five years on Tahina since we left the US in 2009.
  • After our trip back to the US for Thanksgiving we immediately left to sail our way to Simons Town near Cape Town over 800 miles away in some of the most challenging waters of our circumnavigation. They call this the “Wild Coast“. We had a great stop in Knysna where we met up again with our friends on s/v Kilkea. We made it to Simons Town on the 11th of December.
  • Our daughter Trisha arrived in mid-December and we have been finishing up the year with visits to African game parks and awesome sightseeing around South Africa. More to come on all that in future posts.

Happy New Year!

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