Journal 1: Aussie Adventures 1
Journal 2: Aussie Adventures 2
Journal 3: Indonesian Escapades
Journal 4: Singapore & Malaysia
Journal 5: Langkawi, Malaysia
Journal 6: Thailand Trekking 1
Journal 7: Thailand Trekking 2
Journal 8: Indian Ocean, Maldives, & Oman
Journal 9: Oman & Yemen
Journal 10: Pirates, Eritrea, & Sudan
Journal 11: Egyptian Adventures 1

Journal 12: Egyptian Adventures 2
Journal 13: Egypt to Israel
Journal 14: Cyprus Crossings
Journal 15: Turkish Tales 1
Journal 16: Turkish Tales 2
Journal 17: Greek Odyssey

Journal 18: Italy & Spain
Journal 19: Why Go Cruising?
Journal 20: Airplanes are Faster
Journal 21: Barbados


September 28, 2004
-- We are sailing the high seas from Darwin, Australia to Bali, Indonesia. After slowly coming through the locks out of the marina we were on our way. Goodbye crocodile land! This has been my longest passage to date -- 8 days without any land in sight. Thankfully, it has been a safe passage. The weather has been soooo calm that we have had little to no wind at all. And so the engine has been puttering along for most of our sail. You might wonder how we could possibly keep ourselves occupied for 8 whole days. We may not have the internet or TV on board, but there is always something to do. I have made it through a couple of great books. We watch DVD's. We dream about all the foods we will eat once we get to land. We play games. We attempt to converse with all the dolphin pods that come our way. Donna and I whip up some fabulous meals.

We have been sailing to Bali in the company of a few other boats. We have made friends along the way with a South African boat called Sea Tjalm and the family that lives aboard. On the way to Bali they whipped out their brightly colored spinnaker (very large sail) to try and catch as much wind as possible. And just like that it became a race! Some of the games we play include circling around our friends. On one such occasion, we circled around Sea Tjalm not realizing that they were trailing fishing line behind them!! And what do you know, but they managed to snag a catamaran sailboat! We were very lucky in that the line did not mess up our prop. We ended up with a very nice fishing lure! I would call that an even trade!

But the best was yet to come when Sarah was voted most wanted for the OPERATION RETURN LURE. So there I was in the middle of the ocean, precariously perched on the bow of Exit Only. The lure was placed into a bucket and hung on the end of a pole. Slowly, we came up on Sea Tjalm and the bucket was passed. Only, the bucket was caught and pulling on the pole, and pulling on Sarah closer and closer to the water! At the last second, I let go of the pole (not wanting to become shark bait) and Sea Tjalm was able to snag the bucket. We were all laughing hilariously! And David managed to capture the whole event on video camera. If we get the chance, we will have to try and put the film online.

I am really looking forward to Bali. Just one more day of sailing and we will have arrived. I can't wait to stretch my legs and get a cold, cold, cold glass of water.

September 30, 2004 -- Hello from beautiful Bali. I feel as though I have been dropped into that old movie, South Pacific. At any moment now, someone may break out into Bali-Hai! It's just that Bali is way more crowded and everyone seems to be zipping around on mopeds at break neck speed. Bali is definitely a happening tourist place! We took a taxi into town today. Driving here is like a near death experience. Lanes mean nothing. Traffic signs mean nothing. The little streets wind this way and that. Everywhere you walk, the Balinese have put out small baskets with offerings of flowers and food for their Hindu gods. There are shrines and temples everywhere. Unlike the rest of Indonesia which is Muslim, Bali has kept its Hindu heritage strong. On all the crowded and narrow streets there are vendors selling everything imaginable -- Louis Vitton rip-offs, illegal DVD's, seashells, drums, blow darts, clothing, teak furniture ... etc. And they will do just about anything for a sale. Hmm, that must explain how we ended up with 2 blow dart guns, a few DVD's, a drum, and t-shirts! Come see boss, they yell. You can bargain a sale down to nothing. The American dollar is so strong here that everything is quite cheap Bali is also known for its beaches and surfing culture. The surfers were everywhere on the beach. I may have to head down there one of these days and give it a try.

We will be in Bali for the next week. And there will be more to discover in this very beautiful and colorful country including volcanoes, temples, rice fields, sunken ships ... So I hope that you stay along for the ride.

October 2, 2004 -- It's another beautiful day here in Bali. We have been out and about the past few days discovering the area. Yesterday, we went to an area called Sanur which is known for its shopping and beaches. All along the beach were brightly painted boats that were fashioned after lobsters! Everywhere you go people ask what you may need -- transport, driver, massage, manicure, pedicure, and even marijuana! (Just Say No!) I am beginning to become an old pro at this whole bargaining thing. They may ask up front for $10, but usually you can get the price down by 50-60%. So we have been doing some fabulous shopping here. The Indonesians are known for their colorful prints. I have been able to get some beautiful skirts and pants for next to nothing. Today, our goal was DVD's. All over Bali, DVD's are sold at a fraction of the US price -- $1/DVD!! So we went on a bit of a shopping spree. So now you know what we will be doing tonight!

October 3-5, 2004 -- The past three days have been filled with adventure and intrigue here in Bali. We have done and seen so many amazing things that it will be difficult to capture them all in this journal entry. On Sunday, we hired a car and driver to give us an in-depth tour of the island of Bali. What an amazing educational experience we had! First, we attended a showing of traditional Indonesian dance and theater. The story was based on Hindu mythology and the performers were dressed in elaborate and colorful costumes. The dancing was a series of jerking movements, almost break-dancing-like in nature.


After the dancing, we headed inland towards Ubud which is the cultural center of Bali and home to the ancient kings. In Ubud, we discovered the king’s palace which was like a house without walls. It was ornately decorated with gold lame, statues, gardens … etc. The relatives of this royal family continue to inhabit the palace to this day. Ubud is also known for its markets. Small booths were set up along the street and squares, selling everything from sarongs to fruit to wicker to woodwork. I managed to find a few great deals there. Once you get away from the markets, you enter a whole other world of narrow streets, small houses, rice paddies, and palm trees. The rice paddies were amazing. They rose like giant green steps leading up to fields of palm trees. Bali is still largely a third world country. Although their standards of living may be far below those of the western world, extreme poverty hardly seems to exist here.


Bali is a land of volcanoes. As we drove deeper into the interior, you can see the peaks rising into the clouds. Along the way, we were stopped by the police who demanded a little under the table payment. Apparently, it is quite common for them to line their pockets on known tourist itineraries. And once we arrived -- WOW! You could see the lava and pumice fields, volcanic lakes, and occasional wisp of smoke. It really was fantastic as we ate lunch over-looking the mountains. We may not have been able to climb the volcano, but it was a very enjoyable experience just the same.


The holy springs of Tampaskring were our next destination. The springs were discovered in 952 AD. A temple was built around the springs and many of the Balinese come here to help their dead relatives make the transition into the afterlife. The springs are used to create pools which people also go to swim in and wash away the evil spirits. While we visited, there were multiple ceremonies being performed.


Our final destination was the temple of Ulu Watu on the most southern shore of Bali. The temple sits on a cliff over-looking the Indian Ocean. It was first established in the 11th century. The inhabitants of the temple are rather annoying and aggressive moneys who like to snatch anything within their reach. One monkey managed to snag Donna’s hairpin with a hard yank and then proceeded to eat it. What is really worthwhile at Ulu Watu is the view of the Indian Ocean, sheer cliffs that drop straight into the pounding surf, and the sunset. It was a great way to finish off the day.


For the past 2 days, we have been working on getting the boat ready for our journey to Singapore. There has been shopping and cleaning and engine work to be done. Somehow David and I managed to work in a little surfing and shopping right at the tail end of our stay in Bali. You can go right down the beach in Kuta and rent a board. The waves are lovely and small which is great for beginners like us. David has been doing pretty good, but I have yet to really make any progress in my fabulous surfing career.


So we had a great time here in Bali. Hard to believe that a week has gone by so quickly. We will be off to Singapore tomorrow morning. It should be another week-long sail and then more adventures will come. I hope that you all manage to follow along.

October 6-10, 2004 -- We left Bali on a beautiful morning. As we sailed around the island making our way north to Singapore, a large and dark cloud formed over the water. We monitored it for a little while, but finally decided that it was not threatening. Not 10 minutes later our sailing companion, Sea Tjalm, called to ask if we had noticed the large water spout that was heading our way. As we looked off the stern of Exit Only, we saw a large spout surrounded by a fine mist reaching out from the dark clouds above. Now as I understand it, waterspouts are basically like tornados on the water. So we gunned up the engine and within another 10 minutes, the waterspout had all but disappeared.  I think that we all breathed a sigh of relief thinking that this would be the end of our adventure. Unfortunately, it was not. As we rounded the island of Bali, strong winds kicked up (40-50 knots) and started pounding the boat. The water became quite rough. At first, we thought that we might be able to outrun the winds, but even after going out 5 miles the wind had not lessened. So David and I went up to help bring down the sails. It was a little scary being up front while the wind whipped around us. As the sail came down, it started flailing in the air and hit one of the small windmills that Exit Only uses to create power. One of the blades was knocked off by the shear force of the impact and now our sail had a new hole in it. Not exactly a happy day on Exit Only.

Thankfully, the weather did not last. As we distanced ourselves from the island of Bali, the winds died down -- completely! For the next 3 days, we motored 90% of the way to Borneo. The only obstacles in our way were small fishing boats that seemed to appear out of nowhere every night. All over the horizon you could see dozens of blinking lights. It can be pretty treacherous dodging fishing boats and their nets. You could definitely tell that these fishermen were not fond of cruisers. A couple of times during the night someone would shout out over the radio “F--you” as we passed by. Definitely not friendly waters. The further north we went, the more smoke we encountered. All over Boreno, the forests are being burned down as companies set out to find minerals such as oil, coal, gold … etc. The smoke would be a thick blanket over the ocean.

Our goal was to reach Kumai, which is a small town in Borneo. Kumai is on the edge of a National Park which is home to orangutans and many other wild animals. But before we could get there, we had one more snag in our travels. We have been sailing with another boat for the past 2 months -- Sea Tjalm. As we were heading into Kumai, they happened to go in a little to close to shore. We the tide going out, they got caught on the sandbar. They struggled for a good 15-20 minutes with us circling nearby until a friendly little fishing boat came up and rescued them, throwing them a line and then pulling Sea Tjalm to deeper waters. The strange thing is, we were given precise instructions to sail through that area, as were other boats. Not 2 days later, another cruising yacht ran aground in the exact same place.

Kumai is a small town that sits on a wide river. We anchored in the river along with many other sailing boats. David and I explored the town with Richard and Mandy. Not much to see, but everyone was quite friendly. We were invited to join a town festival and dance. Women weaving thatch asked to have their photo taken. Small children would yell out whatever English they knew. That evening, Harry came by to organize our tour into the National Park to see the orangutans.

October 11,2004 -- Our orangutan adventure began precisely at 7 AM. We were picked up on Exit Only by one of Harry’s boats, called Spirit of the Forest. We had decided on a one day tour of the forest. The boat was pretty basic, but was it ever comfortable. We all sat on the roof on comfortable cushions and mattresses as our guide Danson began tell us about the Park. As we began motoring up the river, the banks were lined with palm trees. The further we went in, the denser the jungle became. Occasionally you would see a small settlement or rice paddies not far from the edge of the river. Small motor boats acting like taxis would zoom by at incredible speeds.  At our first stop, we hiked into the jungle where a viewing platform had been built. The guides would begin to call the orangutans -- Oooo-aaaah. Slowly, we would start to see the trees swaying and a rust colored shape moving about. There were 2 sets of orangutan females with their young who came to the feeding station. The guides laid out bananas and milk for them. The orangutans would contentedly sit at the feeding station or hang in the trees while they were eating. But if you got too close, up into the trees they would go. It was amazing to see just how expressive their faces could be. At times they seemed inquisitive, scared, bored … And the babies are incredibly strong, hanging onto their mother’s long hair or even by themselves in the trees. What amazing animals!! And to see them in the wild was a unique experience.

After our first encounter with the orangutans, it was back to the boat for lunch. We had an exotic Indonesian meal prepared right there on the boat as we motored down the river. Every so often our guide or driver would yell out, “monkey” or “crocodile” or “snake”. We would crane our necks out from under the awning to get a better look. There would be Dutch monkeys hanging on branches right over the river. Apparently, these monkeys were so named after the former colonists of Indonesia, the Dutch, for their large noses. And so deeper into the jungle we went until arriving at Camp Leakey. Orangutans are only found in Indonesia. This camp was set up as a research station about 30 years ago. We learned so many things about these animals. Thousands of orangutans are killed each year as the jungle is torn down. Orangutans who have prolonged contact with humans (orphaned or injured) have quite a bit of difficulty being re-introduced to the wild. They continue to rely on humans for much of their feeding. A female will give birth and wean roughly every 8 years. Orangutans are solitary animals although they do live in very loose groups. One dominant male may have up to 30 females for the taking. Orangutans live up to 50-60 years.

At Camp Leakey, we had to hike deep into the jungle. It was incredible hot and humid. Sweat would just be pouring off our bodies. But it was well worth it. We saw a large orangutan group at the feeding station. The dominant male was called Winn. He was huge, maybe +200 pounds and one of the ugliest animals I have ever seen. And there he would be hanging in the trees like all the other monkeys. Except that every so often a branch would crack under his weight and he would scramble to a better holding. There were a few other tourists at Camp Leakey, including a very annoying Japanese photographer. It seemed like his mission was to antagonize the orangutans. He would start shouting, “Winn, Winn!” Well, at some point or another, Winn decided that he had had enough and charged the guy. He came huffing and puffing down the path with the guide behind him fending off Winn with a stick. The only other dangerous position to be in was between Winn an his females. There were 4 other females in the vicinity all munching away on the bananas we provided. We tried to keep our distance. Other than orangutans, we saw gibbons, wild boars, macaques, and crocodiles.

Coming back on the boat, evening was already falling. There was a magnificent sunset right over the river. We could hear the monkeys and birds cackling in the trees. The jungle is never really a quiet place. And there were fireflies everywhere along the river. Christmas lights is what our guide called them. You couldn’t help but break out into a Christmas carol. It was a very full and fun day.  It was almost sad to get back to the boat because it meant that we would heading off to Singapore the very next morning.

October 12-18, 2004 -- The journey to Singapore was a long one. We started out very early from Kumai in Borneo, where there was a terribly heavy fog. Out into the Java Sea we went, but there was absolutely no wind. We basically ended up motoring for 700 miles. We had days where the water was so calm it looked like glass.  Every night we got to dodge cargo ships, fishing boats, and fishing nets.  Just about every day we would take a lovely shower off the stern of the boat using seawater. This means getting a bucket and then dumping lovely, cool water over your head. With the weather being so hot and humid, showering was definitely the high point of the day. On days like these, you have to keep things interesting. Thankfully, we have a good supply of books and movies on board. I read at least 4 books on the way to Singapore. We must have watched at least 10 movies: I Robot, Elf, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (don’t waste your time on this one), Under the Tuscan Sun, Zoolander, Ocean’s 11, The Manchurian Candidate … etc. And then of course, there are board games. Now, I am not claiming to be a genius, but I am a fairly good Scrabble player. Scrabble can definitely make a passage more interesting, especially when the opposing player wants to change all the rules. (I will not be naming anyone, but let‘s just say that I squashed him!) <smile>

The big event during this passage to Singapore was our crossing of the Equator. When someone crosses the equator for the first time, there typically is hazing or a party or something. Well, the Abbotts suggested a few different scenarios: walking the plank, climbing to the top of the mast, … What we ended up doing was rigging a hammock up to the boat which could be raised and lowered. I was then ceremoniously placed into the chair and at the appropriate time lowered towards the swirling sea where I could dip my toes into the water. I was a little scared at first to think of being dangled over the edge of the boat, but it was actually quite a bit of fun and very comfortable just hanging there in the sea breeze. Now David was controlling the wench that raised and lowered the hammock. I ended up getting a little more wet than expected. However, I can now officially claim the title of Shellback (one who has crossed the Equator).

The last obstacle we faced before arriving in Singapore were the shipping lanes. Singapore has a huge harbor with hundreds of ships coming in and out every day.  Getting through the lanes of traffic was kind of like playing that computer game Froggy. You have to dodge this way and that just to get out the way of enormous cargo ships.  They come roaring down the shipping lanes at 30-40 knots. As we sailed into the Singapore Straits, Sea Tjalm’s engine stalled and sputtered just as a tug was bearing down on us. We thought were going to have to tow Sea Tjalm, but thankfully their engine started back up again. You have absolutely no rights as a sailboat in the shipping lanes. Just about all you can do is bounce in the wake of these huge ships. Singapore was covered by a layer of smog, but we could just make out all the skyscrapers rising out of the haze. It looks like we have arrived in the Big City. We are going to be staying at a place called Raffles Marina and I am sure we will have more adventures to tell.

October 19, 2004 -- What a cool place we are staying at. Raffles Marina is by far one of the nicest marinas we have stayed at. There is a hotel here and a great pool with water slides and waterfalls. Our very first evening here we jumped into the pool for a rinse off and it was fabulous! Singapore gets better and better. Their public transportation system reminds me of places like NYC, Chicago, and Paris. It is just a hop, skip, and a jump to get anywhere. This city is very much East meets West. I have never seen a place so well organized, marked, and clean. Singapore is an island, a city, and a country all in one. They have 4 official languages here: English, Chinese, Malay, and Hindi, which reflect the major ethnic groups living here. Today David and I walked all over the city exploring different streets and shops. We are planning on staying here for at least 1 week, so there will be lots to do and see. More adventures to follow.

Leaving Darwin thru' Locks

Sea Tjalm under spinnaker
It's a race!!

Operation Return Lure

Kuta Beach -- Bali

Surfing Kuta Beach

Memorial to Bali Bombing 2002

Hindu god Vishna

Bali flower
Offerings to ward off evil spirits

Who's says we can't surf?
Web surfing rules!!!

Traditional Boat at Sanur Beach

Surfing with style

Beautifully Carved Indonesian Door

Indonesian Dancer at Theater

Lion Costume for Traditional Theater

King's Palace in Ubud

Terraced Rice Paddies

Volcano -- Gunnung Batur

Kids at Holy Springs of Tampaskring

The Abbotts in Fine Sari-style

Monkey Thief at Ulu Watu Temple

Awesome Sunset at Ulu Watu

Surfing Bum in the Making

Run for it, Auntie Em!!
(Waterspout outside of Bali)

Our Arch-Nemesis: Fishing Trawlers

Indonesian women in Kumai
Making thatch for the roof

Spirit of the Forest
Luxury Yacht for Orangutan Experience

Kumai River Taxi Service

Jungle homes on Kumai River

The Elusive Dutch Monkey

Thumb Wars
Orangutan 10, Sarah 0

Our South African Friends
(Mandy, Lawrie, Richard, Dave)

Princess & Baby at Camp Leakey
I got within 3 feet of her

Sweaty Jungle Adventurers

Winn: Perfecting his Yoga

Kumai Orangutan Adventure
Crew & Guides

Wild Gibbon
An Amazing Trapeze Artist

Jellyfish on the way to Singapore
(2-3 feet in diameter)

Pre-Equator Dunking
 A Smiling and Unknowing Victim

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