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Sue's Logs

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2012 Thailand
2011 India
2007 Seychelles
2006 Malaysia
2005 Lautoka, Fiji
2005 Yasawas, Fiji
2004 Tonga
2004 French Polynesia
2003 Ecuador
2003 Venezuela
2002 Grenada
2002 Martinique
2002 St. Martin

2007 Seychelles

            July 2007, Mahe Island, Seychelles, Indian Ocean

Rachel, together with the 4 of us, Christmas 2006
Rachel and the four of us (again!)
Christmas Day 2006 in Telaga Harbor, Langkawi

Amanda and I are in the salon of Ocelot on a sunny tropical day, anchored in 20 feet of sand off Beau Vallon Beach, on the main island of Mahe, Seychelles.  If you don’t know where that is, well, picture somewhere in the western part of the Indian Ocean, about 1000 miles east of Tanzania and Kenya.  Jon is ashore running boat errands for the day.  Going ashore is not a simple event here: Amanda dropped him off from our dinghy through a breaking swell on a long sandy beach.  Then he had a short walk past the sunbathing tourists to hail the bus.  After a hair-raising ride, costing 30 cents, across the winding, narrow, hilly roads he’ll arrive in Victoria, just four miles away.  He will be walking from one end of town to the next, probably grabbing a curry lunch at the Yacht Club, then bussing back.  To run four errands he’ll be gone for about six hours probably!  After two months in Chagos, the most remote place we've ever been, it's fun to be able to meander around a small town (well, it's actually the capital of the country) and poke in and out of the shops.  Jon, though, is not on a shopping trip as much as a day of trying to find people to fix things for us. Such is life on a boat!

Bear hugs for Chris at the KL airport
Bear hugs for Chris at the KL airport

Amanda and I are enjoying the time alone on board.  With just two of us, we feel like we have lots more space, physical and psychological.  We daydream about what fun we can have while the captain’s away – hijacking Ocelot for a short 2-girl jaunt to another bay, heading off scuba diving alone, dancing naked on the foredeck…. well, I think not.  Actually, we are ensconced on our computers, being mellow, getting some website work done.  The other teen boats are around in the town anchorage until tomorrow when they'll join us.  We hear there are some birthday parties in the making.

It has been a few months since I last wrote a log on these pages.  Much water has passed beneath our hulls, and Amanda has hoisted the flags of another five countries above the decks of Ocelot.  If you want my impressions of all those places, you may want to wander through the Destinations section on Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Maldives.  Such a kaleidoscope of images, cultures, music, religion, clothing, activities.  I feel dizzy just thinking about it.  Even after many months in each country, it never felt like enough.  I guess I'm addicted to variety!  And that's one part of what keeps me out here sailing.

Jon and his brother Tony, November 2006
Jon and his brother Tony, November 2006

On an emotional level, life has had its major ups and downs.  Since I last wrote (December 2006) there have been family births and family deaths, reunions and partings.  Jon and I now have a lovely grand-niece, Madison, born to Jon's sister's daughter in December.  Christopher flew into Kuala Lumpur in December.  He was fit, happy, and bearded.  To our infinite sadness we lost Jon's brother, Tony, to cancer in March while we were on passage to Sri Lanka.  It is a devastating reminder of how far away, and how isolated we are at times in this life on the sea.  We are all so grateful to have been able to return to the States in November to have a last warm, fun, and memorable time with Tony and his family.

Chris and Jon on the Thai coast
Chris and Jon on the Thai coast

Having Chris on board was a total pleasure.  I know we did more sailing than he liked (he's never liked the passages) and less diving (the waters of south-western Thailand are not very clear), but we all had fun sampling the SE Asian cuisine, hiking in the hills of Thailand, exploring the towns, temples, and villages of Thailand and Sri Lanka, and spending time around tigers and elephants.  It was so fun to be around his quirky, fun sense of humor, his thoughtful soliloquies and his joyful bursts of excitement.  It's also fun to recognize how much more of an adult he is than when he last lived on Ocelot in 2005!

On a long tail boat ride in Thailand -- 3 from Ocelot, 4 from Mahi Mahi
On a long tail boat ride in Thailand -- 3 from Ocelot,
 4 from Mahi Mahi

It was especially great for Amanda to have both Rachel and Chris aboard, and to have several other teen boats sailing in and around us.  Our friends on Mahi Mahi had their 20-year-old niece and her friend on board from South Africa, and we and Scud managed to coordinate sailing destinations pretty well.  There were lots of get-togethers on one boat or another, and lots of hanging out on the beaches in the evenings.  We did some diving and snorkeling up in the beautiful Similan Islands, lots of the kids took advanced scuba diving classes, and we sailed near each other throughout Phang Nga Bay east of Phuket with its wonderful limestone cliffs and caverns.  Life took a big dip in activity and socializing when Rachel left from Phuket, Thailand in February.  With just Chris and Amanda on board we returned to Malaysia and had a 10-day family trip to the interior of Thailand which was awesome, then sailed across the Andaman Sea to Sri Lanka for more traveling before seeing Chris off from Colombo in mid-March.

Amanda, Abby & Eliza cooking together
Amanda, Abby & Eliza cooking together

In the months since then, Jon and Amanda and I have spent time in the fascinating Muslim country of Maldives and the magnificent, uninhabited British Indian Ocean Territory of Chagos.  All that time we've been able to cruise with our dear friends on Estrela with their lovely daughters, Eliza and Abby, who are like little sisters to Amanda.  Chagos was other-worldly in unspoiled natural beauty and we feel so fortunate to have been able to spend time there.  With several anchorages to choose from we were able to choose to be sociable with the other cruisers, or spend time quietly doing our own thing.  We spent many hours snorkeling and taking underwater photos of all the amazing fish and corals.  On rainy days (yes, there were some) we got lots done on the website which had become terribly out of date, and Amanda got more school work done for her senior year of high school.

Amanda & Lara (Mahi Mahi) perform Ppolnesian dances on the beach
Amanda & Lara (Mahi Mahi) perform
Polynesian dances on the beach

But now Chris and Rachel are back at uni (that’s college to folks Stateside), Scud is in the Med, Estrela is in Madagascar, and we have been on the lookout for more teens.  Luckily, Mahi Mahi (whose daughter, Lara, is 14) and new friends on a South African boat, Lara Pinta, with 3 teenage girls, plus another South African boat with a 19-year-old crew member, Travis, are all here in the Seychelles with us.  It doesn’t matter that there’s a gap of 4 or 5 years in age – cruising kids, teens included, are a very flexible lot!  Believe it or not that's just about the sum total count of cruising teens in the Indian Ocean, 2007.  Sadly, there just aren't many of us out here.

The other day we had British friends over for tea and they were asking how it was that Ocelot has managed to stay sailing for so many years with teenagers on board.  It got us all thinking, and I decided to put some of our “answers” into writing.  If you are interested, you can see what I wrote under Cruising with Teens in our cruising information section.

That’s it for now.  There's a husband to pick up ashore, dinner to think about, and plans to be made for the next few days of socializing here in the Seychelles.  Amanda, no doubt, will be getting together with Lara from Mahi Mahi to teach the Lara Pinta girls a few of their favorite Polynesian dances.


Sue's Logs: Up | 2012 Thailand | 2011 India | 2007 Seychelles | 2006 Malaysia | 2005 Lautoka, Fiji | 2005 Yasawas, Fiji | 2004 Tonga | 2004 French Polynesia | 2003 Ecuador | 2003 Venezuela | 2002 Grenada | 2002 Martinique | 2002 St. Martin

Sue's Pages: Sue Muller Hacking | Logs | Provisioning

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