Thursday, September 25, 2014

Boat #10 - Sea Turtle IV

Name(s): Jordan and Judy
Boat Name: Sea Turtle IV
Home Port: Victoria BC (Canada)
Date of Acceptance: Mid-June 2014
Place of Acceptance: Phuket Island (Thailand)

I was so excited to see Jordan and Judy again after almost 5 years and be back on board Sea Turtle with them, the ones who started me on this amazing journey.

I was so proud to show them my experiences and how my pages were no longer bare like they were when they found me so sad and lonely in the bookstore.

I also was curious about their adventures since they passed me off so long ago. I learned that they have travelled 30,000 intrepid nautical miles with Sea Turtle visiting many exotic ports, some the same as me. It was fascinating to hear how intriguing they found Easter Island where giant stone heads carved by ancients stand frozen in a silent gaze and how anthropologists try to extract the reasons why from these mute statues. Maybe that's where the term stone-faced comes from!

From there, they went back to the remote islands of south Chile where they took Sea Turtle right up to the ominous face of a glacier as it spilled into the lagoon and how they touched Sea Turtle's nose up against a huge iceberg where they sipped Pisco Sours with 1,000-year-old ice cubes.

Exchanging our stories, we learned I was always ahead of them and on much the same route as them from Galapagos to here in Thailand.

They told me how my trail went cold and they feared I was lost. They were desperately searching and putting out the word to the sailing community to find me so they could continue recording my journey on my blog for many to follow. Then by some coincidence, I was found and we were reunited for this short but precious time.

Jordan and Judy will be staying in and around this area for about a year before jumping across to South Africa so it is time we parted and I get passed off and continue my Great Big Journey. But I am sure we will meet again!

Jordan and Judy, passing Pea Green  off to Jeannie and Bruce

Don't forget, you can follow Jordan and Judy and their continuing adventures as they circumnavigate the world at (or click on their link in the right-hand column of my blog).

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Boat #9 - Libertad

Name(s): Dennis and Virginia
Boat Name: Libertad
Home Port: Santa Barbara, California (USA)
Date of Acceptance: November 11, 2013
Place of Acceptance: Johor Bahru (Malaysia)

I'm happy to be meeting new people and enjoying the hospitality of Dennis and Virginia aboard Libertad, an Amel Maramu. This is my third Amel so I'm getting to know my way around these boats!

On November 16, we left Johor Bahru and sailed with the Sail Malaysia Rally along the west coast of Malaysia. During our exploration of Indonesia (aboard Jackster), we hadn't spent any time in marinas. Neither did Libertad. Conversely, Malaysia Rally stops were all in marinas with docks, facilities, etc. Dennis and Virginia got a bit spoiled not having to spend days locating groceries and supplies as information about the local area was available with a trip to the marina office.

Nearly every marina had arranged a tour of the local area and a group dinner. I didn't go along on these excursions but was happy to see the crew return refreshed and invigorated. Here are a couple of our trip highlights.

One day on a passage between marinas, we sailed up an estuary to anchor by Bernam. There was a big concrete bird hotel accompanied by considerable racket from the chirping residents. I was dismayed when told that they used these hotels to capture birds for selling (the birds can check in anytime they like but they can never check out). But another cruiser said that the hotels were to provide nesting space and that the nests were harvested for bird's nest soup after the birds had left. The latter story is more sustainable, so I hope it is the truth.

In Pangkor, Dennis and Virginia took a tour that visited a traditional shipbuilding operation. They were impressed that the sixty-some-year-old architect used only his eyes for shaping and alignment of the structure but dismayed for having viewed a dying art as he had no apprentice to continue the trade.

US holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving were celebrated with other international cruisers wondering what the holidays were all about.

The Malaysian Strait is wide and shallow. The tidal flow of the Strait dictates passages as you may have a 2.5-knot flow working for you or against you, and it may also dictate when you enter or leave a marina. Leaving Pangkor Marina in the early morning dark, we got stuck on muddy shoal. By the time the dinghy was deployed to find the channel, the tide had receded beyond our ability to kedge off.

As we waited for the flood tide, the boat listed a 30 degree tilt to starboard. Dennis decided to scrub the well-exposed port side waterline. With her Kindle in her lap, Virginia sat on the deck smiling and waving to the boats of curious locals that passed by.

One group stopped and took pictures, commenting on our unique approach to hull maintenance. We accepted the compliment pretending it was all intentional. That night, we anchored in shallows out of the commercial traffic lanes but miles from any shore. It was eerie, but an appropriate end to that exciting day.

Penang was not a scheduled stop on the Rally but that is where Visas for Thailand are obtained so the crew of Libertad was destined to visit that Malaysian island. There was no room at the marina on Penang, so we continued north enjoying good wind and 2 wonderful days of sailing on to Langkawi, the final Rally stop. The crew took a "fast" ferry back to Penang to do some sight seeing and to arrange Visas.

As usual, I was left on the boat to entertain myself, but to be honest, I don't mind at all. These cruisers love the water - kayaking, snorkelling, a cool rain shower, and bumpy, splashing rides in little boats like the fast ferries to Penang. Like the Wicked Witch of the West, I'd rather stay as far away from the water as possible, thank you.

They couldn't wait to note on my pages about the wonderful time they had, especially because some of their son's friends/work associates living in Penang honoured them by serving as local guides. After a few activities on Langkawi and one more "gala dinner" hosted by the Rally, the boats started heading out in their separate directions.

Dennis and Virginia in back row

I could tell it was a sad time for many as they said goodbye to new friends they had made in the last year of cruising Indonesia and Malaysia. Dennis and Virginia had mixed emotions as they were anxious to get underway to Thailand; from there they would fly to the US for a 2-month vacation back home in California for the Christmas holidays.

In just a few hours, we were cruising past the dramatic limestone islands of Thailand that push straight up from the sea in very interesting shapes covered with lush vegetation. We spent 2 days cruising among the southern islands before entering Yacht Haven Marina on the northern coast of Phuket Island. Only a few days later, their 3rd year of cruising the world had ended with a flight to the US and leaving me to myself for 2 months.

When they arrived back on the boat in mid-February of 2014, it was quite a relief to have them open up the boat and turn on some fans as the weather had gotten quite warm and I feared I might spontaneously ignite! We moved the boat to Boat Lagoon Marina to await the arrival of the freighter that would give Libertad a ride to the Mediterranean Sea.

I knew my time with them was coming to an end as they had promised to leave me in Thailand where I could be picked up by Judy and Jordan of SV Sea Turtle who had started me on this adventure. I watched as they kept busy with boat projects to keep their minds off the fact that the freighter kept experiencing delays.

Finally on April 5th, we sailed Libertad out to the freighter. When the crane started lowering to hook up the boat, we jumped off and were dinghied ashore to Ao Po Marina. I had been on Libertad for almost 5 months.

They took me with them on their air flight to Chiang Mai and on April 11, 2014 put me in the mail back to Marieke of Yacht Haven Marina in Phuket who would hold me for Judy and Jordan of Sea Turtle.

You can follow Libertad's adventures at as I continue on with other sailors.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Boat #8 - Jackster

Name(s): David and Jacqui
Boat Name: Jackster
Home Port: Greenwich ("where time begins and east meets west!")
Date of Acceptance: May 2011
Place of Acceptance: Whangarei (New Zealand)

I was lost, but now I'm found! For 18 months, I've been trapped on Jackster. Good Joanie of Pickles passed me on in Whangarei in May 2011 and my "captors" put me in a book cupboard and forgot about me.

How could they be so thoughtless? Okay, so they were distracted by the delights of Fiji, the culinary delectations of New Caledonia and azure waters of the islands, and the friends and places in Australia.

Yes, I did feel neglected, forgotten, but they were having so much fun that the annual "spring clean" where every cupboard is emptied and restowed was put off. You can forgive then this task in Indonesia too where they were forever flinging themselves in the water clad in neoprene and carrying heavy metal tubes on their backs and then coming back exclaiming "What an awesome dive!"

Personally water isn't my favourite thing; it makes my pages soggy and the ink runs so my stories are lost. I suppose I should be grateful I was kept dry and mold free. A small mercy.

How is it I am now released, free to carry on my own voyage of discovery? Two unrelated coincidences. The first coincidence was meeting Pickles and family in Danga Bay Marina (Johor Bahru) for the first time since they gave me away in New Zealand. The second coincidence was a chance comment by Virginia from Libertad saying she was looking for the Pea Green Book (me!), last known host family of Pickles.

Poor David and Jacqui must have been so embarrassed to have "lost" me on board but memories jogged, cupboards searched, until one morning the Red Cross Guide to First Aid was lifted and I saw the first light of the cabin. At last, found to be passed on once more.

I had a long rest - too long - and may not continue to record your tales of daring do, places visited, and to spread the good word of the cruising life. Cheerio Jackster, we've cruised nearly 6,000 miles together. It's time to bid adieu.

Fair winds and kind seas...and now to Libertad...

(If you wish to follow Jackster's tales, check out their blog at

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Boat #7 - Pickles

Name(s): Joanie and Family
Boat Name: Pickles
Home Port: United States of America
Date of Acceptance: October 2010
Place of Acceptance: Vava'u Group (Kingdom of Tonga)

We were given the Pea Green Book by our good friends SY Bamboozle while cruising the Vava'u Group of Tonga. What an incredible magical place it was. With four children on board, there is always lots to distract the children from their school work. In Vava'u, even more so.

One day while completing our work, the older children spotted a huge humpback whale breaching not too far from the boat. Books were thrown aside and masks and snorkels grabbed and we were off to try and swim with the whales. We weren't able to see it in the water, but were very close and in complete awe of its size and grace.

Sailing between the islands, we were constantly on whale watch and were often rewarded with spottings just a few boat lengths away.

Another day school was in recess to allow us to visit Mariner's Cove, The only way in is to swim through a tunnel approximately 10 feet long, about 6 feet below the surface (depending on the tide). Once inside, you are treated to an amazing show of the changes in air pressure as the tide surges in and retreats. You can see the moisture in the air condensing, then with a sudden pop, all is clear again.

One of the anchorages there (#16 according to the Moorings Guide) was a favourite of ours as there was a HUGE tree that seemed to be designed by children, for children. Our own crew spent days there climbing and exploring and making up games with children from other boats. It was there that we celebrated our son's 7th birthday, complete with cake and ice cream and candles. We couldn't have picked a better location!

A stay in Vava'u would not be complete without attending one of the local churches. We made the fortunate mistake of sitting in the middle of the choir section, though the entire church joined in on most of the songs. The entire building seemed to vibrate from the music and energy. It was incredibly moving.

And speaking of moving, it was time for us to leave the Vava'u Group to move south towards the capital of Tonga (Tongatapu) and eventually to New Zealand.

One often images that living on a sailboat you are in complete control of your life - you get to determine where you go and when you go. It doesn't always work out that way. There is this little thing called weather that is really in control. We had just sailed into an idyllic anchorage and spotted some of our friends already there. We were looking forward to happy hours and BBQs on the beach, but then we looked at the weather and saw a great opportunity to sail to New Zealand.

The trip from Tonga to New Zealand can be quite rough and we wanted to do what we could to make it a smooth trip. So 2 hours after dropping anchor in Hafeva, we made the decision to pull anchor, do an overnight to Tongatapu, clear out, fuel, scrub the bottom, and leave for New Zealand all in 24 hours - and that's exactly what we did. We were exhausted when we left, but the weather was supposed to be fine and that was our consolation.

It turned out to be a great decision. We had a fast run down to Opua and got cleared in without incident. We had a small radio net running with a few other boats on the same trip.

As New Zealand takes all fresh food away as you enter, everyone was frantically eating down all their stores. Lots of bacon or steak and eggs were consumed on that trip.

We spent a few weeks sailing around the Bay of Islands and taking in the natural beauty that New Zealand is famous for. We went on amazing hikes and met our first New Zealand sheep on the way!

As we were headed back to the United States for the holidays, we knew we had to get down to Whangarei to get things organized for our haul and get some boat projects started. We got the boat settled at Dockland 5 and flew back to the States to see family and friends for the first time in over a year.

After a wonderful time back in the States, we were all ready to get back to cruising, though the boat projects had other ideas and we were held up for a few more weeks - but at least we were "home".

It was getting late in the season and we knew it would be a rush to get down to Nelson and the South Island, so we took the advice of many of the locals and spent a month exploring Great Barrier Island and her surrounding islands. At Great Barrier, there is an anchorage called "Smokehouse Bay" where New Zealand cruisers had set up some public smokers and a bathhouse for all to enjoy.

You collect the wood, build a fire in a little stove, and it heats the water which is plumbed so you can have a hot bath or shower. We were given smoked fish from some local fishermen and also a lesson on how to use the smokers. It was an incredible time in a beautiful setting.

We are now back in Whangarei preparing to leave New Zealand and head back to the tropical islands. Winter is setting in and our blood is too thin to stay in this climate.

Where was the Pea Green Book all this time, you might wonder. It is a strange phenomenon of time and space that one is able to lose things for months on end in an area no larger than 400 square feet. If you live on a boat, you are quite accustomed to the "black holes" that sometimes suck things out of our present dimension and if you are lucky, spit them back out at some later time when you have completely given up any hope of finding it.

The Pea Green Book went on such a journey. Assuming she was on Pickles the entire time, we know some of her adventures and have described them above. Only she knows what went on while she was on "walk-a-bout"!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Boat #6 - Bamboozle

Name(s): Jamie and Lucy
Boat Name: Bamboozle
Home Port: London, England (United Kingdom)
Date of Acceptance: September 6, 2010
Place of Acceptance: Suwarrow (Cook Islands)

Lucy and Jamie of Sailing Yacht Bamboozle

We were delighted to sign the Little Pea Green Book on the crew of the good ship Bamboozle (a 53' Amel Super Maramu Ketch) in Suwarrow (S13°16' W163°06') in the Cook Islands, and then to carry him for the next 580 nautical miles on to Apia (S13°59' W171°45') in Samoa, and then a further couple of hundred miles on to the wonderfully named Niuatoputapu (S15°57'236" W173°46'242") - known by some cruisers who struggle with the pronunciation as New Potatoes! - in the Kingdom of Tonga.

This beautiful and remote island was catastrophically affected by a tsunami nearly a year ago on September 30, 2009 and despite much hard work it is obvious that the islanders are still struggling to recover. Given the scale of the destruction, it is remarkable that only 10 people were killed (out of a total population of just over 1,000) by the huge wave that engulfed much of the island and destroyed many of the buildings and houses, as well as the boats and crops which provided a livelihood for this community based on fishing and farming.

Despite this recent trauma, the locals are tremendously welcoming and friendly and the island remains a very special spot, cut off from the outside world apart from a weekly small aircraft flight from Nukualofa and the very occasional visit of the supply boat. The supply boat is actually out of service at the moment so the island is in need of the few staples they do not catch or grow themselves, which gives the cruising boats a chance to do something worthwhile arriving with extra supplies of flour and tools, and even giving their labour to help with the construction of so many desperately needed new houses.

At the end of our wonderful stay in Niuatoputapu, we sailed on south to the Vava'u Group just in time to join in with a regatta and cruising rendezvous in Neiafu (S138°39' W173°59') which brought together many of the boats and friends we have met over the last few  months while crossing from Panama. As the Pea Green Book is fast learning, it doesn't need much of an excuse for cruisers to get together for a celebration and a week of races, fancy dress competitions, pub crawls...and a huge full moon party exhausted even the most dedicated and hardcore revellers.

We still have many islands and bays to explore here in Tonga, but in just 3 or 4 weeks time, we will be heading on towards New Zealand for the summer and to avoid the South Pacific cyclone season. We have had a magical year cruising across the Pacific and it has been a pleasure to have the Pea Green Book aboard for a small part of the trip.

After 6 years, we're not sure when we will be back to the "real world", but for more info, our blog is Enjoy!