|Long-distance ocean voyaging begins and ends with your boat.
It is your home on the open sea, and at anchor. It is your shield from the weather, your shelter from the storm. It is also what
keeps you from having to go swimming.
Crossing an ocean in a safe, seaworthy vessel, is not only so very easy to do, it is far more comfortable then many (if not most)
would have you believe. However, living today, there are only about 100 individuals that have sailed around the world solo, and
only about 2000 couples who have done it together. So, what are the odds, that by chance meeting, you would mention your
dream of sailing around the world to someone who has actually done it? . . . Not very likely.
After thousands of miles of late-night watch, alone in the cockpit, you will begin to appreciate all the superstitious stories that Old
Salts have passed down for centuries. It is true, at some point, you and your boat become as one. Each dependent on the other -
the boat a part of you - and you a part of the boat.
Crossing an ocean however, your boat is not only your home; it is also a piece of equipment. It is a tool, and it needs to be the
right tool for the job.
| The correct way to sail around the world . . . is
to follow the trade winds and predominant ocean currents as
they move through the tropical latitudes from east to west.
Timing is everything. You want to leave one part of the
globe as hurricane season begins and enter the next part as
it's ending. A typical circumnavigation with a departure from
the East Coast of the U.S. goes something like this:
Hurricane season in the Caribbean lasts from June to
November, so either you embark before this and spend those
months in some relatively safe harbor just south of the
hurricane belt (which lies roughly between 15 degrees and 30
degrees north), usually in Trinidad, Venezuela, or Colombia, or
you try slipping south after hurricane season in December
Canal around the end of March or first of April.Canal around
the end of March or first of April.
From Cape Town, it is a long stretch up the southern Atlantic to get to the Mediterranean - but that will display all zeros on your GPS - 0
degrees latitude, and 0 degrees longitude, which is south of Ghana and 670 miles west of Gabon. There is nothing there of course, and it has
no significance to anything that we know of, but it's a popular tourist spot and classic photo where there is a metal strip where you can stand
over the line and can be in the eastern and western hemispheres at the same time. So, my son and I got a kick out of sailing back and forth
across the Prime Meridian and the Equator - figuring if we crossed it just right - we could say we have been in the eastern and western,
northern and southern hemispheres at the same time.
After acting silly while crossing the exact location where the Prime Meridian and Equator meet, you will want to cruise up the Atlantic and be
sure to stop at Banana Island. It is here, on this island, John Newton after being imprisoned in chains, tied to a grating, and flogged,
Newton was left marooned on this island with nothing but heat, misery, and disease. His rescue ship caught fire and almost sank before
reaching England. This experience lead John Newton (when he reached home), to sit down and write the hymn "Amazing Grace".
Now days of course, Banana Island's lush vegetation will amaze you. Expect to see and eat (in season) Mangos, breadfruit, grapefruit, kola
nut, palm kernels (palm oil), pineapples, coconuts; and yes, even BANANAS. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to touch, smell, and eat fresh
fruit without chemicals provided courtesy of mother nature.
From Banana Island, it is a cake walk to the Canary Islands, and then on to the Rock of Gibraltar and into the Mediterranean.
Most all Marinas along the Spain, Italy, and Greece coast lines have 100 or more slips for visiting sailors. Other then a couple
of days stay in the Marina Torre del Greco near Naples, my son and I anchored out to avoid the expense. From Naples, we recommend you
visit Pompeii, the Roman city that was almost completely preserved in ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius 2000 years ago. The port cities
of Portofino and Portovenere bring back the charm of 18th century Italy where tempting sidewalk cafes are cooled by sea breezes, and fishing
is still a way of life. Cinque Terre is a walk along a natural national preserve on the Ligurian coast. The beginning and ending ports for most
Eastern Mediterranean cities to visit are Civitavecchia (Rome), Athens (Greece) and Istanbul (Turkey).
Athens can be seen in one full day and you will want to see it at night, the highlights being the Acropolis and the surrounding area
known as the "Plaka" -- a square mile of the ancient "Agora" ruins -- worth a few hours of exploration. Safe your money and skip the tour of the
National Museum of Athens. All they have to see is marble statues and artifacts like jewelry and armor from the Hellenic period. However, you
will see plenty of all this stuff free in other destinations.
The legendary Greek Isles of course, is a "must see and cruise". Islands include Delos, the ancient capital of the Hellenic Empire
before Athens and once a trading center for all seagoing people of the first millenium BC. The island's many ruins include examples of Greek,
Roman, Phoenician, Egyptian and Minoan architecture.
Santorini is the famous island with the city of Thera high atop a cliff, above the caldera of a volcano that erupted around 2500 BC. This
eruption is said to have been one of the largest known to history. You can anchor in the caldera and tender to the bottom of the cliff below the
city. From there you take a cable tram (or a donkey) to the city above.
Although there are thousands of Greek Isles, among the most famous are Mykonos, Rhodes, Crete, Cyprus, Naxos and Lesbos. Crete is
known for the Minoan ruins, some of the oldest in the world (2000 BC), and for the tales of the Minotaur and the labyrinth. Little is known of
this civilization because they did not leave any writings behind. It is believed the eruption of Santorini created a tidal wave that wiped it out.
The ruins of Ephesus is a must visit. It is near the port city of Kusadasi, Turkey, and is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
The city -- referred to in the New Testament as the place where Paul preached to the Ephesians - still has the ruins of a Roman theater and
the façade of a famous ancient library. Nearby is the house where James brought Mary, mother of Jesus, to live out her years. James' crypt is
near Ephesus in the Turkish city of Selcuk.
Venice, Italy, is one of the most beautiful, scenic and intriguing cities in the entire world. No cars or other vehicles are allowed
there - only pedestrian traffic and boats. The city is built upon hundreds of tiny islands connected by bridges. The main transportation system,
the "Vaporetto," is a network of bus-like ferries that run throughout the city on regular schedules. Many cruises begin or end in Venice. Ideally,
you should set aside at least two full days to see Venice.
Dubrovnik, Croatia is on the Dalmatian coast in what was once Yugoslavia. This walled city that juts out into the Adriatic Sea was a formidable
trading and military rival to Venice in the days of Marco Polo and city-states. Among the city sights is the world's first pharmacy, still in use.
Istanbul, Turkey: Is worth a visit, if for no other reason then to say you've been there. This famous ancient city is known as the place where
Europe meets Asia is on the dividing line of a thin strip of water known as the Bosphorus Strait that leads to the Black Sea. Some people think
the city is fascinating; My son and I thought it was too sprawling and too dirty. We walked around and left without even as much as buying a
drink or bite to eat.
Other eastern Mediterranean ports of call include Alexandria, Egypt, where you must go and see the pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Cyprus
is an island not far from Israel. If you are so incline, and the visitor climate is safe, a trip to Israel should include Haifa, and if you are really
lucky and have plenty of time, (and you should have plenty of time) a visit Jerusalem and the Dead Sea is certainly worth it.
On our voyage through and around the Mediterranean, we visited Alexandria, Egypt, but we did not enter the Suez Canal. Instead, we
sailed west out of the Mediterranean (the only time we crossed our wake on the entire voyage) and stopped in Casablanca before returning to
St. Thomas, VI.
Course, the best part of all this is: IT COSTS YOU NOTHING! Other then what you eat and drink, your boat is
your transportation to and from, and your home.
This is a view of Banana Island (in the distance) from Freetown. It is easy to
see why African slaves would be so tempted to cross - many tried, very few
made it. If you plan a stop at Banana Island, (and we recommend it) we have
1. Don't try to sail between the two islands - at low tide, you can walk ( Well, that's what happened to us anyway. lol )
2. Don't even think of drinking the local Palm Wine. You might end up
being marooned for days, and wake-up singing "Amazing Grace".
|It is not always what it's cracked up to be. . .
|It is usually much better. . .
Cyclone season in the Pacific Ocean lasts from December until April. Thus April is about the time you want to be exiting the
other side of the Panama Canal. You now have about eight months (from April to November) to cross the Pacific and find a safe
spot on the other side before cyclone season begins again. A lot of boats divide the trip in half by heading to New Zealand for
the summer, and then sailing back north to tropical climes the following May. Others push on directly to Australia.
After transiting the Torres Strait between Australia and Indonesia sometime in June, you can push south, staying below the
Equator, and head to Cape Town, South Africa. This way, you avoid the Pirates in Somalia, and you can make your transit
anytime between November and March - so it's a little more leisurely with several months in late summer to kick about
On the southern route, cyclone season in the Indian Ocean starts up again in late October, so you need to sail from the
Pacific in July or August and get across the ocean as quickly as you can. Course, at this point, (because of the War and
conflicts in Pakistan and India, and with pirates in Somali) we don't recommend sailing in the northern or western ends of the
Indian ocean or into the Red Sea.
The voyage from Christmas Island to the Cape of Good Hope, is usually a cakewalk; and Christmas Island and Cape Town are
both highly recommended visits. It is (in the right time of year, an easy trip from Cape Town up to the Caribbean, or on around
to the Mediterranean. While the South Atlantic is the one ocean on earth without a tropical storm season, heavy weather cold
and heavy rains kick into high gear around Cape Town between June to August (which is Cape Town's winter). So, this works
well if you are sailing from the Pacific in August, and then leave Christmas Island in September. You will miss the cold rain and
storms at Cape Town, and also miss the hurricane season again as you cross the equator in the Atlantic on your way to the
Mediterranean. (We are assuming of course, you don't want to chance cruising past the Pirates in Somalia to take the Suez
|What YOU can do
with a safe seaworthy sailboat
on a very frugal budget.
|1. FREE - In the right boat (remember - it's a
tool, and you need the right tool for the job.)
You can sail around the world, or most
anywhere in it - for free. Your transportation
getting there cost you nothing! Wind is free!
2. FREE - Since you are "living" on your boat,
your lodging is free. You have no hotel,
motel, or housing expenses. The roof over
your head, the bed you sleep in, cost you
3. FREE - Utilities. With a good set of solar
panels and a water-maker, you can live
comfortably with free electric and water for
the rest of your life!
4. FREE - Property Taxes. No more property
tax. No more school, sewer, waste, garbage,
mud, county, city or state taxes. The only
taxes you will pay is Income (if you still have
any) and retail sales tax when you buy stuff.
5. Almost FREE - Fuel. If you are in a sailboat
with an auxiliary engine, you will have very
little fuel to buy (if you are sailing). From
Galveston, Texas to Naples, Venice, Trieste
Italy, and the Greek Islands and back, my son
and I used less than $150 in fuel in two years
- maneuvering and motoring around in areas
we could not sail.
So you see . . . This is why "after paying for
your boat" the majority of your expenses will
be determined by your own individual
lifestyle (ie: eating out, entertainment, site
seeing, beverages, smoking, etc.)
This is also why "experienced" cruisers
prefer a smaller more frugal boat over a
larger (more expensive) one.
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