Electrical storms and cocktails

When the first murmurings of this year’s SW monsoon came rumbling in, we cancelled our plans to meet friends in town and stayed aboard. Squadrons of clouds hurled lightning across the sky at each other for two days, while we sheltered in the cockpit and collected rainwater in buckets.

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Water, Water Everywhere

Next time you turn the tap on for a glass of water, to have a bath or make a coffee, enjoy the ease of that simple act. In our latest episode we explain why it can take us over two hours to do the same.
Checking in is easy in Ao Chalong, with harbour master, customs and immigration in three rooms next to each other. The whole process took 15 minutes, considerably faster than finding water.

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Sailors Interviews #07 | Liz Cleere

If you would like to know which is Liz’s favourite anchorage, what superpower she has always wanted to have and where she would like to be right now, you’ll need to catch the video…

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Sailing from the Butangs to Ko Rok

The archipelago of Ko Rok Nai and Ko Rok Yai is the mother of all those deserted-white-sand-palm-fringed beaches you see in travel brochures and on postcards. The place is a cliché, except that it isn’t. It’s real and golden and joyous and quiet and infused with peace.

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FTB Sailing Interview #03 | Matt Matson | s/y Aventura

” …all the stuff people are interested: the car you drive; the money in the bank; the cell phone you have. I’ve traded experiences for things. I don’t do a lot of things…” Next up in our series of interviews with sailors, commissioned specially for our Patreon supporters, is Matt Matson of s/y Aventura. A candid chat about life as a liveaboard, leaving old lifestyles behind, changing, fear… and Muslims. This is a special video feature for our Patreon supporters who get to see this clip a day before it goes public, just like all our FTB video blog posts.

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The Beaches of Uligamu (Photo Slideshow)

Having dropped anchor in Uligamu, after a frustrating four-day crossing from Cochin, India, we put our worries to one side with a wander along the desolate beach of the Maldive’s most northern (but one) island. This is a little photography slide-show for your entertainment. Just click on the image below to begin and don’t forget you can view it in full-screen mode to get that “I’m-really-there!” sensation!

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Move! Move! Now! Go!

The fact we were kicked off Mersa Dudo was a blessing in disguise for Sadla Island is an absolute gem. In fact those who had managed to get ashore on the first night waxed lyrical about its wonders on the evening net. Tony of ‘Full Flight’ and I arranged to go ashore early next morning as he had discovered nesting turtles on the eastern shore.

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The Adventures Of Mutley In Freedom Bay

In my last post on Massawa I made the bold statement that Eritrea was my fave country I have ever visited. This was due to a number of factors, not least the people. It’s anchorages like Freedom Bay, however, that make Eritrea a top spot for nature lovers and yotties. Freedom Bay was a large expanse of shallow water surrounded by incredible volcanic mountains. I suspect very few humans have ever gone ashore here. Even we only made it to one of the little islands and a spit of sand where I got some great shots of pelicans and ospreys. Another top anchorage and, finally, all the rally participants meet up together for the first time since Egypt!

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Medical Aid For The Locals

Time to say goodbye to the people of Eritrea. Unbeknown to us as we continued down the coast of this beautiful country we would no longer meet Eritrean people, save for a few fishermen. Some of us did meet a few more locals, who were in need of some medication.

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Best Day of Your Life?

Can you think of the best day of your life? You’ve probably got a few, or perhaps you hadn’t given it much thought. It’s rare that a day happens and then lie in bed on the same evening concluding that it must be one of the best days of your life, but that’s what happened today. Today goes down as one of the most idyllic, perfect days I have ever experienced.

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Crossing Shipping Lanes in a Force 7

This is the second of two 20 minute podcasts recorded as we transited out from the canal and into the Gulf of Suez. If you’ve ever wondered what a Beaufort Force Seven (gusting eight) is like, we can now tell you. We have the underpants to prove it. That cargo ship approaching the side of our boat didn’t help but we made it across from the Sinai back to the west coast of the Red Sea and eventually into Hurghada.

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Negotiating Reefs & Oil Fields

followtheboat s/y Esper red sea

This is the first of two 20 minute podcasts recorded as we transited out from the canal and into the Gulf of Suez. We finally leave the evil clutches of the Suez Authority and into open waters where we anchor for the first time in Egypt, have the best sail of our lives…ever… and catch a little fishy.

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Take Me To A Gay Bar

“What are you doing in Kos?” my cousin asked over the phone. “It’s full of gay bars.” You’d know I suppose, Jay, I’m just here to use the internet. Easier said than done, mind. When we anchored off Kardemena, a sprawling town for chavs, the northerlies were hitting 30 knots. At least anchoring was easy but I was amazed at how much fetch could build in such a short space of sea. Rowing over to Odin for a beer was ludicrously difficult…

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Catch #3: Carangidae/Pompano

Started fishing at 5 this morning, about the time the cicadas started. The anchorage is a stunning setting, especially at that time in the morning. I put some coffee on and chucked some crumbs out the back. Not much action for a bit until I attracted the attention of just three fish. In all the time at this anchorage (two nights) these are the only fish I’ve seen.

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Raving About Our Rocna

In the next few articles we’ll be featuring some photographs, video clips, maps and personal experiences of our current home Fethiye, offering something for all our friends and family to enjoy. This article, however, is very definitely for the serious liveaboard: visit any online sailing forum and there is one subject that will rouse more furious debate than any other subject known to man, beast or Poseidon: anchors. The simple anchor is the one thing on our boat we need to trust more than anything else (except perhaps our vessel’s ability to keep water out) so it is little wonder grown men pull each others’ hair out when arguing which anchor is best.

We had a bit of cash to spend on an anchor last year and, after pulling some hair, we opted for a new generation Rocna. We promised its designer, Peter Smith, to return an unambiguous account of our experience with his design. He said explicitly “be honest”. You know us, Peter, a spade’s a spade…

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Google Earth & GPS For Cruisers & Boat Owners

Many of us are familiar with Google Earth. It’s good fun zooming in and out of the Grand Canyon, getting a bird’s eye view of your childhood house or playing with the built-in flight simulator. Surely there is more to it than this though? In this essay I’ve attempted to provide some pointers, resources and links for the yottie to consider when using Google Earth onboard. It’s probably of little interest to you non-boaty people out there, unless you like playing with Google Earth and all the possible extra data-layers it offers. [Please note this is the last article we’ll be sending out before changing web host company in preparation for our satellite phone blog updates. We’ll be offline in April before returning online with a faster, improved service.]

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Who Says Cats Can’t Swim?

A classic video clip of little Millie going for a dive in the warm waters of Boynuz Buku and proof that not only can cats swim but actually aren’t half bad at it either!

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A Tale of Two Has(s)ans

We decided to head next door to Hassan’s, where we were looking forward to meeting the owner. Oh boy, did we meet the owner. I’m not sure if he had got out of bed the wrong side, if he’d just had some terrible news, or if he’d taken an instant dislike to us but he was the most unpleasant man we have met in Turkey. The exchange went something like this…

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Discovering The Karpaz Region

Jim chatted about the town of Yeni Erenkoy: “It is one of the few remaining towns left in Cyprus that is still occupied by both Greeks and Turks”, he explained. “They live in harmony with no problems”. As he said this we drove past a mosque on our left and a church on our right, as if to prove his point.

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Stingray Cove

More lazy days spent at anchor with nothing to do except swim, eat, drink, play games (Trish has every board game stashed away aboard ‘Dragon Song’) and explore. Concerned about getting their guest, Susie, back in time to catch her plane ‘Dragon Song’ left us, leaving Liz and myself on our own in the middle of nowhere. Not a building, road or person for miles. Not even a passing ship.

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