Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm still alive again!! - Leaving Gibraltar

Ok wow I'm getting really bad at updating this!!

So, quick recap of the last few months. So we made it through Greece, picked up a new crew member, Sarah in Ithaca (home of Odysseus), sailed over to Sicily, up the west coast of Italy, checked out Pompei, climbed up Mt. Vesuvius, went to Rome and Naples and ate tons of pizza. mmmmm. Yeah so then we sailed over to Sardinia for a few days, then across to Menorca, came into the harbor of Mahon armed with only a road map for navigation, then down to the island of Ibiza. Finally we took off down the coast of Spain to Gibraltar.

We've been in Gibraltar for almost 3 months now. What a strange place. It marks the end of the Mediterranean and the beginning of the Atlantic, with the Strait of Gibraltar joining the two. The Rock of Gibraltar looms overhead, with it's Moroccan counterpart Jebel Musa on the other side of the strait (in fact the name Gibraltar comes from 'Jebel Tarik'). Gibraltar is a British colony, but not part of the EU, and has it's own currency, the Gibraltarian Pound.

The Gibraltarian people are special. Not quite British, not quite Spanish, but somewhere in the middle. In conversation they meander between English and Spanish without thought in a kind of sing-songy accent that drives both the Brits and Spaniards insane. The term speaking 'gibberish' actually comes from this very vernacular anomaly.

We've been here in Gibraltar for so long on account of a few pieces of equipment for the boat being shipped (or not shipped) in from various corners of the planet. We still don't have everything we were waiting for, but the frontal depression systems in the North Atlantic this time of the year can cause problems for little sailboats such as ours, so we must move on. So we're leaving tomorrow!!

We've generally had a good time here, we've made some good friends, met some complete nutters, and I must say it has been good to call one place home for a small amount of time.

Also while we here I was able to get my RYA Coastal Skipper License, which certifies me to skipper commercial vessels up to 200 gross tons up to 60 miles from a safe haven, woo!!

Ok so the next step before the big Atlantic crossing is to sail down the west coast of Morocco, and then over to the Canary Islands. From there we will pick up the NE trades across the ocean to the Caribbean!! And from there who knows. There's talk of Guyana, Venezuela, Cuba, DR, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala etc. but you just never know.

So now we head south til the butter melts, and then head west!

Love Willy

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm still alive!!

July 15, 2009 Korinthos, Greece
Ahhhh man it’s been a while since I’ve written!! So let’s see, since my last entry I sailed up through the Suez Canal, across the Med passing Cyprus and over to Alanya, Turkey. I had another crew position lined up already, starting mid June so that left me with about 6 weeks or so to play in Turkey! I found a couple of really rad guys in Izmir to stay with, and we had a really amazing time.
I was able to travel around quite a lot and really see the country. Some Italian and Finnish friends and I rented a car and took off down the coast for a ten day camping road trip to Olimpos, then Cappadocia and finally Pammukale. Really incredible places!! We also visited the ancient city of Ephesus as well as the resting home of the Virgin Mary.
After our road trip I set off for Istanbul and spent a good 8 days playing and seeing all of the crazy historical sights. It is definitely one hell of a town!
On June 12th I said goodbye to my friends in Izmir and took a bus to Kuşadasi, where I met up with John the captain of Galene. The boat had been out of the water for about 18 months so we spent a week straight getting it all put back together and ready for the water. We finally launched and took off for Greece! Since then we’ve been slowly cruising through the Islands of the Aegean making our way west. The plan as of now is to take the ship back to Australia via Gibraltar, then across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal and then across the Pacific. I’m planning to join John for the whole trip, but you just never know what will happen so I guess we’ll see!! It will definitely be an epic adventure.

So I’ve been gone for almost 7 months now and I’ve learned a lot of things. I’ve had a lot of time to think and I have a few suggestions for a happy life. Please let me know if you have any comments.
2) Always make funny faces at small children when their parents aren’t looking
3) Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
4) Make music whenever possible!!
5) Drink plenty of water and beer, stay away from wine that comes in old water bottles
6) Ahamdulellah
7) Read Ecclesiastes!!
8) Whistle while you work
9) Please don’t litter
10) Lavaş Lavaş!

Love Willy

Friday, April 24, 2009

dudedudedudedude egypt yeah!!

I’ve been in Egypt for just over a month now, and it’s been quite a mystical adventure! Not only have I seen the beautiful land and monuments here, but I’ve also gotten to know a few of the beautiful people here very well. From my base in Hurghada I’ve traveled to Luxor, Aswan, Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, and now Suez, at the foot of the fabled Suez Canal.
I’ve been very busy since my last entry. The next day I went to the city of Luxor on the Nile River. The town itself is relatively small and pretty dirty, but it is surrounded by the most incredible sights. I stayed at an awful little place called ‘The Grand Hotel’ for $4 US per night for 2 nights so I could explore the surroundings. First I visited the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens where they have discovered the tombs of over 60 ancient kings, pharaohs and their wives buried deep below the earth, whoa man, pretty nuts. Next was Hatshepsut Temple and Colossi Memnon. Of course my camera battery died precisely the moment I arrived at the Valley, so I only got one picture. But I have the sneaking suspicion that there may be pictures on the internet of these places if you’re really curious.
I somehow still had energy once I got back to the ‘hotel’, so I decided to drink a few beers and go for a bike ride through the scenic town up to the ominous Karnak temple, so much fun!! It’s a 20 minute ride, but I took about 4 hours getting there rolling leisurely through the streets, stopping anywhere that struck my fancy. I’m not sure what is more dangerous, the Gulf of Aden or Egypt by bicycle. On my way back from the temple I enjoyed the sun setting over the Nile riding past Luxor Temple, WOW. I ran into a few people from America I had met earlier and we went out for a few drinks. By now I’ve met so many incredible travelers that what I’m doing doesn’t seem that crazy to me anymore, but these people couldn’t believe that I was just in Egypt for a little while, didn’t know how long I would be there, didn’t know where I would be the next day, why I was just riding around on a bike and that I was living on a sailboat from Holland that I joined 3 months ago in Thailand. Ok I guess that does sound a bit odd. I don’t meet many people from North America so it was fun to hang out and trade stories and visit for the evening.
Early the next day I decided to hop on the train for the picturesque town of Aswan to go on a sailing/camping trip up the Nile for a few nights, so rad!! I met the captain of a felucca, which is a small sailboat native to the region, and for 3 nights we sailed up the river with a few other people, stopping at beaches and Islands along the way. The days were filled with relaxing in the sun, playing cards, drinking beers and telling stories, while the nights were filled with playing music, drinking beers, campfires and exploring the islands. Also on board were a couple of hilarious boys from Edinburgh, a super rad social worker from Peru, a funny young Polish boy and 3 great Spanish girls from Barcelona and Madrid. Together with the captain and his mate, who were like 17 or something, we had a great adventure for 3 days and 3 nights. After we left the boat my new friends and I all went back to Luxor, cleaned up and went out for a night on the town, ending with drinking red wine and a sheesha on the rooftop terrace of our hostel enjoying the warm Egyptian night breeze.
After I arrived back to Tulipano in Hurghada Peter decided that he wanted to leave for Suez the next day. That night I went out with my friends in Hurghada one last time. Our friend Hisham had met a Russian lady the previous week and they were to be married in 2 days, so that night we all went over to his flat for his bachelor party for him. It was a great and late night, but it was sad because we knew I had to leave the next day. We said our goodbyes and on Monday Peter, his wife and I set sail to go up the remaining stretch of the fierce Red Sea.
We arrived in Port Suez after a day and half of good sailing. Just as we were motoring into the marina the wind rapidly escalated to over 25 kts., dark clouds rolled in, and with the surrounding dessert hills all around us it quickly escalated into a violent sandstorm. 2 Egyptian boys from the marina arrived in a dinghy and with difficulty we were able to tie up to the mooring buoys and we were safe. We spent the rest of the cold evening down below sheltered from the storm.
After a few days of resting in the marina we took a car from Suez to Cairo. When we got there I split off and called my friend Fayed. I met him in Giza and he took me to the Pyramids!! Yeah!! So freakin rad!! I’ll post pictures when I can. The Pyramids really are a spectacular sight that can only truly be appreciated by seeing them in person. We met up at a coffee shop later with my friend Captain Sam and Fayed’s crazy friend Mohammad, and on a whim he suggested that we go to his house on the beach in Alexandria. OK LET’S GO!! We took a taxi 2 hours to the beautiful city of Alexandria, and in one day I had been in Suez, Cairo, Alexandria, and had seen the Pyramids and the Mediterranean for the first time!! The next day Captain Sam and I just relaxed, strolled around town, played on the beach and hung out, it was great.
Now I’m back in Suez. Peter and his wife left with Tulipano 2 days ago, and I’ve been staying with my good friend Ahmed at the office of Felix Maritime Agency. Ahmed is a very special young man, and we’ve gotten to be quite close friends in the past week since I’ve been here. Today my friend Lo arrived to the marina and I will be joining him on his boat, Mistral, to Alanya, Turkey.
My time traveling through the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea has been filled with many magical adventures; sailing over 5,000 miles across the sea, playing with dolphins, saving a runaway ship, swimming with sharks, speeding motorcycle rides through the jungle, exploring ruined castles, ancient temples and a sunken shipwreck, sailing through pirate infested waters, camping and sailing along the Nile, bike rides through crazy cities, sandstorms, gales, awful calms, rough seas and making a few great friends. While traveling alone it’s so important when you meet good people that you generally make a connection with, but it’s sad because you know you will just be leaving again in a short time. I’ve treasured my time with Hamou, Ahmed, Hisham, Captain Sam, Patryk, Milko, Kurt and Katie, John Todd and Todd Johnson, Mireia, Anna, Alba, Ahmed, Fayed and Crazy Mohammed, and I’m very lucky that I’ve met these people along the way.
I have a load of pictures form my time in Egypt and I’ll try to upload them when I can get a decent connection!!

F00dz 4 d00Dz Update:
I’ve been keeping my eyes open, looking for special ways to use the remainder of our foods for dudes project fund. I really wanted to find someone special who could not just use money, but do good things with a little bit of help from us. It’s been difficult, because it seems as though the megatourism that is Egypt’s main industry has made it difficult for foreigners to find real friends, not just people looking to trick tourists into buying useless overpriced garbage. I’ve been lucky enough to make some real friends, and one in particular was the perfect candidate.
The morning after we arrived in Suez, Peter woke me up very very early by banging on my wall and yelling at me from my upward hatch because he is mean and he hates me, and that put me in a very bad mood. I went down to the dock to hook up the hose so I could spray down the boat, and a young man from the marina introduced himself. His name was Ahmed. Everyone in Egypt’s name is Ahmed. Well not everyone. There are also men named Mohammad. We tried speaking for a minute, but being exhausted from the previous night and annoyed from being woken up so discourteously I was in no mood to make a new friend. After a few of my grumpy mumbling sentences Ahmed asked me if I spoke English, and I just walked away without saying anything more. I’m sorry Ahmed!
I got some rest and was in better spirits later, and I saw Ahmed again drinking some tea up in the yacht club. He offered me a cup and I sat down with him. We instantly connected, and in the next week we became quite good friends. When Peter left and Lo was not here yet he kindly put me up for 2 days in the office of his employer, Felix Maritime Agency, which was a life saver. He took me in and treated me as his brother. He’s a great kid, and a hard worker, but he makes only 10 Egyptian Pounds per day, which is about 2 dollars. He deserves much more but that is the way it works here. He used to play soccer for years, but he had to quit so he could go to work to help out his family with bills. He would also wish to someday marry his long time girlfriend, but that is also very expensive and difficult for Egyptian men to afford.
We had to say our goodbyes today because he was going back home to Port Said. Before he left I took him aside and asked him if I could help him in any way. At first he refused, but after a while I convinced him to take $40 to bring back to help his family. I told him that the money came from my friends and family back home, and the only thing I asked him is that he use for it for good for his family, he agreed and was very thankful.
I will see Ahmed again in a few days in Port Said, and I am excited to hear what he plans to do with your help. So thank you again to all of the foods for dudes project donors!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Pirate Alley/Yemen/Red Sea/Egypt!!

Hello from Egypt!! IT's been a long crazy month!

Yemen was great. After the long passage of the Arabian Sea and starting through the Gulf of Aden AKA ‘Pirate Alley’ we decided to stop in Mukalla to provision and rest for a few days. I took the dinghy ashore and waiting for me there was a friend named Saeed. He saw us coming in and wanted to meet me. He took me around town on the back of his motorbike for a wild ride through the lively Arabian port town. Saeed and a few of his friends have a group that meets every night to learn English together. He asked me to join them the following night and of course I said yes! The next day I met his friends Rashad, Saeed and Mohammed and they took me out a half an hour down the coast to a beach where we sat and talked and ate and hung out for hours. They’re really incredible guys. We chatted about Arabic, English, Islam and Christianity, Yemeni and Arabian politics as well as American politics, amongst other fiery topics.
Sadly in the morning I had to say goodbye to my friends, and Peter and I headed out to get through the rest of the Gulf of Aden. The rest of the Gulf was very quick, we had great wind and a favorable current which made for incredible sailing. Thankfully there were no incidents with pirates, although one day we saw a pirate mother ship off in the distance with 5 smaller boats trailing behind.
The Red Sea was a wet and wild ride with very strong head winds and violent, short and steep seas. For 5 days we fought upwind with the boat heeling over and slamming continuously on the hard waves. At times it sounded like the whole yacht was going to break in half. For days it was too wild to go above deck except to make sail changes and put in reefs. It was very exhausting. Peter said he has never had such rough sailing.
. We stopped briefly in a place called Port Ghalib, Egypt, and it was awful. It was just the worst tourist trap dive resort completely devoid of any authenticity or soul whatsoever. After 3 days there I was definitely ready to leave.
Well we are now in a lovely town in Egypt called Hurghada. It’s a great little diving town right on the water, only minutes away from the best diving in the world We’ve been here for 9 days already and it has been the best time. I’ve made a few friends in town, Mohammed and Ahmed, and pretty much every night I go to their tiny little fish restaurant and hang out all night there or go shoot pool or just to their apartment. I’ve also been diving a few times, and it really is pretty incredible. Huge beautiful reefs, hundreds of fishes, eels, rays, and other crazy sea life, and plenty of ship wrecks! The other day I went diving at a wreck called Susanna, and we entered through a window and explored the inside of the ship. It is nose down and tilted to the side so when you enter you get completely disoriented and you can’t tell what direction is what. It was nuts man.
Tomorrow I am going to the city of Luxor for a few days to see the Valley of the Kings where all of the tombs of pharaohs have been discovered. Then I will travel to the town of Aswan to hang out for a few days. When I return we will leave Hurghada and make our way up to the Suez Canal!
There is a big celebration in town tonight, so I’m excited to go with my friends and dance all night!

Notes from journal:

2/22/2009 00:47 15*32’N 71*12E Arabian Sea
Well we’re back on the open sea and I couldn’t be happier. The world doesn’t get much bigger than this.

Caught a monster today!! 55 inch Mahi Mahi, 40 lbs.!! We’ll be eating that thing for a week straight. This was the Muhammad Ali of fish man, it took me 45 minutes straight to wrestle that sucker in.
Slow sailing, lots of motoring. It’s really beautiful out though, smooth water, slight cool breeze. Moments like this make it quite obvious to me that God does exist.

2/24/2009 04:00 15* 19’N 67* 05’E Arabian Sea
The Fat Little Pigeon
I had just made a cup of coffee and sat down for night watch when I noticed tiny chirping sounds behind me. I had a look around and noticed that I was being visited by a fat little pigeon perched on the back of the dinghy. I asked him what he was doing so far out in the middle of the ocean. He responded with a facial expression as if to ask me the same question. Good point. He explained that he had gotten lost a while ago and was now just flying around in circles. I told him I had been doing the same thing for 25 years now, and that he was welcome to stay and rest for as long as he needed. I brought him some fish and some dry noodles and we sat in silence for hours enjoying the night sea together.

2/26/2009 04:00 15*23’N 59*56’E Arabian Sea
It was a very special evening. I first noticed around 5pm that there was an unusually large amount of algae floating like big billowy clouds through the water. For miles and miles it was all around us. At sunset my dolphin friend Fancy Rabbit and his wild gang put on quite the performance off in the distance. They were going nuts! In a single file line they were jumping high out of the water, over and over, keeping up with our pace and making sure we noticed.
Around 8pm I saw the first electric wave. Because of all of the algae in the water, the bioluminescence was absolutely wild. Each wave and each wind gust turned the water into bright, shiny, magical bursts of light and blue fire. Usually you can’t even see it until the middle of the night when it is pitch black, but tonight it was brighter than I’ve ever seen! And as it became darker it only got better. Gusts of wind on the water turned into electric blue ripples and our wake was so bright it illuminated the sails with bright flashes. Gradually, very slowly, the dark star-filled sky melded with the dark star-filled sea and for 3 hours I was gliding through space surrounded by glowing, flickering fluttering stars! Headed straight toward our faithful friend Venus’ open arms and with the Southern Cross to port we make our way across the Arabian Sea. It’s funny, just when the sea starts to become routine she surprises yet again just to keep you on your toes.

2/28/2009 11:15 15*35’N 57*25’E Arabian Sea
We’re only a few hundred miles from the Gulf of Aden AKA ‘Pirate Alley’, and I think we’ve both been thinking about it quite a bit. Supposedly the chance of attack is low, but the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organization has informed us that there have been a few completed ransoms in the last few weeks.
We have completely separated from the rally now, so we’re just sailing through on our own, so if something were to happen there would be no one around. Peter also just told me that he has a gun on board, a very nice Walther p99. Elina had already told me about it, but I was just waiting to see if Peter would bring it up. He took it out to show me, and we took turns firing rounds into the water. Peter said it was because he hadn’t shot it in a long time, but I think we both just wanted an excuse to shoot a gun in the middle of the ocean. Boys will be boys.
I really hope we don’t have to use it, but we have it on board just in case something should happen. Everyone’s gotta go sometime, what a hell of a way to go out.

3/2/2009 22:40 15*19’N 52*28’E Gulf of Aden
So we are now entering Pirate Alley, pretty thrilling. To quote the 2009 Red Sea Pilot addendum, “Piracy is alive and all too well between Salalah (Oman) and Aden (Yemen).” In another message from the UKMTO they state that “owners and masters of vessels should be prepared for possible attack, all passengers and crew should fully understand the risks associated with transiting these areas… demonstrate a willingness to defend yourself, do not surrender immediately at the first sign of a threat.” Well I asked for an adventure! Should I be scared?? I feel like I should be but I’m just not. I feel like I’m adequately educated of the risks and what to do if there is an attack, and I feel mentally prepared to handle anything that may happen.

3/3/2009 21:45 14*40’N 50*27’E Pirate Alley
There were a few fishing boats not far off this morning. Usually the fishing boats are no big deal, in fact many times they will come up to your boat and trade items for fish and other things. But in pirate alley sometimes the fisherman are armed and will attack your vessel. No problems though, we seem to be doing just fine. We’ve decided to stop in Mukalla, Yemen less than 100 hundred miles away. We’ve been at sea for a long time and I’m looking forward to seeing Yemen.
I was doing the dishes tonight (just like every night!) and I got to thinking about happiness. Everyone is so concerned with this elusive state of being called ‘happiness’ or the ‘secret to happiness’ or this and that whatever. But does it really have to be that complicated? I think that being happy is a very simple endeavor. Call it youthful naivety or hippie idealism or whatever, but can’t each of us figure out what makes us truly happy and just do that?? Can’t it be that simple? I think so. I think that if everyone just chilled out a bit, stepped back and just did what truly makes them happy, and fulfilled, and satisfied in the soul, we might all be a bit better off. I guess maybe the challenge is figuring or what really makes you happy.

3/5/2009 Al Mukalla, Yemen
Amazing 2 days in Mukalla. Wild Arabian town. Playing with kids in the water, the English group, goats, motorbike rides, truck rides, beach hang outs and the crazy Arabian markets! It’s been a great but short time here, I really wish we could stay longer.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Leaving India


So first off, the Foods 4 Dudes! India project went great! Thank you to everyone that was able to donate a bit of money. All together we raised $300! So on Saturday, I was able to take a few of the sisters from the Mother Joseph Orphanage in Panjim to the market for quite a shopping spree! We were able to get a lot of supplies such as school bags, shoes, underwear and a TON of material for them to make clothes out of. Very cool. And we still have about $80 left to feed some people on the street here and wherever I head to next. So thank you!

Man India has been a blast. It has also been a challenge, because with the captain in the hospital, and Elina leaving, I've had to be on watch with the boat for a lot of the time. But I was able to venture out for a few days.

Have you ever seen $3.5 million get crushed in between 300 tons of iron and steel?? I almost have!! So one night when Peter was still in the hospital, Elina and I were out for dinner and drinks. Afterwards we went to call Peter from a local pay phone. Everything was good with him, he was just taking it easy and recovering from his kidney stone procedure in the hospital. As we started to walk back along the river to the dinghy, we noticed that the boat was gone!! Ahhh!! Frantically searching in the dark we spotted the boat floating freely in the middle of the shipping channel in the river! The Mandovi river is crazy man. All day and night there are these HUGE iron barges that are constantly coming in and out with cargo. We start sprinting back to the dinghy, jump in and we haul ass back to the boat! By the time we get to the middle of the river there are about 2 or 3 of these barges coming from either side directly toward us and the boat! Elina and I hop in, start the engine and narrowly escape the metal giants chugging straight at us! We managed to get back to a safe area and reset the anchor our of the shipping channel. The conditions in this anchorage are very sketchy. The current is wild, the tide varies up to 3 meters, and it is dangerously close to the shipping lanes. We had been anchored there safely for the previous 5 days since we had arrived, but somehow the conditions caused the anchor to drag and let the boat go wild. After that we decided to let out another 5 meters of anchor rode. We've been fine ever since.

I consider myself as somewhat of an adventurist. And what do adventurists do in 3rd world countries? They rent motorcycles and get lost!! I spent 2 great days exploring Goa on a little Honda motorcycle and it was probably the highlight of my time here. The first day I went north to explore the beaches and jungle of North Goa. After hours of dodging cows, crowded city buses, bicycles and other motorcycles on the state highway, stopping in little villages and towns for fresh juice here and there, I found myself at the furthest northwestern tip of Goa. I met a few English blokes at a little coffee shop, and they told me about the ruined Tiracol Fort they were headed to just north of there. Sounded perfect! So I followed them on their beautiful Royal Enfield Bullet and we raced through the jungle to find this thing. We ended up at a river. There is no bridge over the river, but there is a free ferry that carries people across. So we hopped on the ferry and got to the other side, very fun. Now one of these guys lives here in Goa, but the other one was just visiting, but neither of them had been to the fort before. So trying as best as I could to keep up we sped through the jungle trying to follow poorly marked signs on the road. Well after about 20 minutes we ended up finding it, but it was well worth the effort! I don't know much about the history of the fort, but it's the ruins of a 16th century Portuguese fort that's been overgrown with vines and trees and other wildlife. It's pretty incredible! We spent about 2 hours exploring the ins and out of the fort, and then returned back to the ferry for a cold kingfisher (beer).

This morning I got to take the bosun's chair up to the top of the mast to fix the windvane, it's about 75 feet up in the air!

Well we're wrapping up our time here in India. We're waiting on a few parts for the generator, and then we have some provisioning to do, and then we'll set sail for Yemen probably on Thursday! It's been a good visit, but honestly I'm pretty anxious to get back out to the open sea. I think I prefer it there.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Foods 4 Dudes!


Well it has been a crazy couple of days in India. Wait I guess it's been over a week now. I don't know it's nuts man.

So Foods for Dudes! is now official!! What the hell is Foods for Dudes!???? Well quite simply it's a way for friends and fam to help out feeding dudes on the street!! As you can imagine, there is a multitude of people on the street here, and I can take 50 rupees (yeah like zelda!) which is about a dollar, and I can go to the bakery or local restaurant and give a warm meal and a big bottle of water to these people. And it's about more than the food, it's about the smile, and the handshake, and the eye contact and personal touch that comes from human to human interaction.

SO. I asked last time if this would be something that y'all would be interested in donating to, and I got enough positive responses to go ahead with it. I've created a button at the top of this page that you can go to to donate with paypal or credit card or whatever.

What it IS: -a way for you to directly donate money to help people eat.
-it's on the simple honor system, if you trust me you donate, if you don't then well i guess you don't!
-100% of your money goes to the bakery, then to the hands of a woman without legs living on the street
-proof that i'm a total sap :)

What it ISN'T: -politically/religiously affiliated. i'm not converting anyone or promoting any political agenda, so all my friends and family of different views and opinions can donate with a clear conscience.
-a way to fund my journey. i don't use this money for myself, obviously. 100% goes to the peeps.

SO. If this is something you're interested in giving to, then just click the button. Go ahead.... click the button!!

OH, this brings me to my next point. So what happens if I get $50+ in donations? That's a loooot of mutton masala. Well today I made a visit to the local girls orphanage. It's all girls that have been abandoned or come off the street, as well as elderly women with disabilities. I think I met every single one today on my visit! They are all so beautiful. The orphanage feeds, houses, clothes them etc., normal orphanage stuff yeah? Well I had a meeting with the head nun, she showed me all around, and I told her about the Foods 4 Dudes! project I was starting. I asked her about the best way we could help out (me and you) and she gave me a list of items that they are always in need of. Things like material to make clothes and bedding out of, soap, toothpaste, mattresses, oil, rice, sugar etc. So If we get enough money together then we'll be buying and delivering these items on Sunday.

Now, we set sail for Oman on MONDAY or TUESDAY, so if you intend on donating, please do it as soon as you can!! I plan to buy the materials on saturday and deliver them on Sunday. Also, if you have a preference to where your money goes, let me know.

Ok I'm done typing for now. I'll tell you about almost losing the boat in between 2 giant iron barges and the crazy casino night some other time.


Love Willy

Friday, February 6, 2009


Hello friends and fam!! I am in Panjim, Goa, India! We arrived 2 nights ago, and its been a little crazy. The morning after we got in to port, Captain Dr. Peter the Flying Dutchman Vrolijk got very sick and had to be rushed to the hospital. He is still there suffering through a couple of kidney stones. Yikes. So Elina and I have been busy keeping watch on the boat (which is anchored very precariously) and taking trips in the hospital to check in with Peter, so incidentally we haven't really been able to explore a whole lot. Of what we've seen however, it is a very charming little port town. The food is amazing and cheap, and the people are incredibly endearing and nice. We're having a good time.

Today, I went to the bakery and loaded up my bag with bread and sandwiches and other food (a LOT of food for under 4$), and hit the street. I was easily able to find a few people who could really use a bite to eat. This is something I will continue throughout the trip. Actually I have been toying around with the idea of creating a paypal account so people could donate from home and help feed these people. ANY THOUGHTS?? Would this be something you all would donate a few dollars toward?? I mean really 4$ went quite a way.

Soooooooo...... the SAILING!!

It took us 13 days to sail 1800 nautical miles from Phuket to Panjim, and every second was absolutely incredible. The open sea is truly a wonderful, magical and powerful creature!! Every day is the same, but every day is soooo different! Hope that makes sense. Elina has decided to fly home from here so it looks like the good captain and I will be sailing from here! We'll see what happens.

I miss everyone at home, and I miss Portland dearly, but I'm having a great time!! I have taken the time to type out a few entries from my personal journey at sea, I thought it might help paint a picture of what its like. I'll try to upload some pictures as well. HOPE YOU ENJOY!!

Love Willy

Jan 22 – Middle of Andaman Sea 23:50
Just woke up for first night watch.

Jan 23 – Offshore Phuket – 01:00 07*32’N 97*24’E
I’m in the middle of my first night watch. It’s the middle of the night, I’m alone, miles and miles from any land, in the middle of the Andaman Sea. There is a fairly steady 10-13 kt breeze off the starboard stern, cruising at 5-6 kts consistently on a course of 269*, just 1* E of due west.

It’s truly incredible. The billions of twinkling stars all around like you’ve never seen, a warm tropical breeze to our back, and the hundreds of bioluminescent tinkerbells fluttering off our stern remind me that I really am sailing off to Never Never Land.

Jan 24 – 15:24 – 06*35’N 94*09’E

We’re about 30 miles off the southern tip of the Indian Nicobar Islands, cruising yachts are not allowed there.

I woke up this morning to the pitter patter of heavy tropical rain on my thankfully closed hatches. We are in the midst of a tropical convergence zone, which has brought dark, heavy clouds overhead and heavy rain. Wet, but not uncomfortable. Kind of a nice change from the blistering sun.

It’s a slow simple life at sea, but it’s not boring. The changing scenery, flying fish, rolling waves and endless sky could keep you entertained for a lifetime. It’s not hard to see how men fall in love with the open ocean.

Jan 25 – 03:47 – Bay of Bengal – 06*35”N 92*46’E

An eventful day at sea! Heavy tropical showers this morning. Slightly overcast most of the day. We passed the southern tip of the Nicobar Islands this afternoon around 17:00.

I caught my first fish!! The wind was really starting to pick up around sunset, Peter and I had just put up the genoa (130% headsail), and suddenly our fishing line started to vibrate violently. I was already getting anxious to pull in a fish so this was a very welcome surprise. I ran to the stern and started reeling the line in, he was a fighter! At first glance I thought I was looking at the dorsal fin of a shark being pulled through the water. It turned out to be the pectoral fin of a 15lb Yellowfin Tuna! After a good 5 minutes of wrestling an fighting, I got the fish in to the boat and Peter immediately went to work. He cut the first filet, and we all took a bite of the still flexing meat. Now I’m not the biggest fan of raw fish, but this was incredible, primal and natural. We thanked the fish and the sea that it came from, and enjoyed delicious pan-seared Yellowfin dinner.

Jan 26 – 04:00 – Bay of Bengal

The liveliest night watch of the first week has come to an end. At 1:00 in the morning I found myself in the midst of a rather substantial shipping lane. It’s not an official shipping channel, but clearly it’s the preferred route for huge 200 ft. oil tankers and barges to make passage. Surrounded by seven massive ships, going several different directions, I did my best to keep tabs on the speed and direction of each, and to foresee and potential collision courses. It’s very exhilarating for the mind as well as the heart. As I am mentally plotting routes of half a dozen giant vessels, I start to hear a chirping noise. Hmmmm, curious. I shone my torch out into the night sea, maybe expecting to see a dolphin, but I saw nothing, yet the chirping continued. I started making clicking noises back, and as I was lighting up various areas of the deck, I saw a small black figure on my right foot! It took a few seconds for my eyes to focus, and as they did I saw a tiny bat tilt his head up at me! A bit startled, I gently brushed the bat on to the deck. It was panting heavily and clearly exhausted. His name was Monty. We are a hundred miles from any land, so I can only imagine he flew from a nearby ship.
Keep in mind this is all happening while I’m trying to keep our tiny boat from being ripped to shreds by 7 different ships. I wish I could have been more accommodating to the little fellow, but really all I could offer was a few encouraging chirps back to him. In between looks through the binoculars I spotted him ambling back toward the stern. Before I could do anything he leapt right off!! I felt awful. Next time I see Monty I will have a bowl of fruit and a cup of warm milk waiting for him.
Just after this incident as my shift was ending, I noticed a rather large vessel coming straight off our stern very rapidly. He clearly did not see us, or did not care. I changed course and illuminated our sail with our big searchlight. Just in time he saw us and changed his course as well. Elina was on deck by this time and she agreed they came a little too close for comfort. We were only a few hundred feet away by now safely moving side by side, and for five minutes we just stared in awe of this huge floating city. Unreal. The Tupilano is a fairly sizeable cruising yacht, but it is nothing compared to these mammoth ships.

Jan 26 – 19:00 – Bay of Bengal, Halfway to Sri Lanka


Leisurely day, did laundry, a bit of reading. Around 15:00 as we were setting the code zero forsail a pod of ten magical dolphin friends came to visit!! Laughing, twirling, flirting and jumping about, they were clearly enjoying themselves just as much as we were!! I named the leader Fancy Rabbit, and I asked Peter if I could keep one of the small cubs. He said no. Dutch bastard.
At around 18:00 our new magical friends came back to join us for sunset! It was a perfect scene of fluffy billowing clouds with as many different shades of red and orange as you can imagine, shared with our playful new companions.
Every day is the same, but every day is soooo different. And MAGICAL.

Jan 27 – 17:17 – Bay of Bengal – 06*00’N 87*19’E

Well I saw the captain’s penis today.

He has a shower station set up behind the helm at the stern of the boat. Very handy (and randy!). So we’re just cruising along, and all of a sudden Dr. Vrolijk drops trow and starts to bathe right there!! I’ve read about this before, and it’s not uncommon. A lot of skippers embrace a very loose dress code out in the middle of the sea, as well as the fact that he is a European. I guess now we know where the term ‘cockpit’ comes from!
On a less funny note, our water maker is leaking. Yup. Leaking. Not really the word you want to hear out of your captain’s mouth while in the middle of an ocean passage. It’s a pretty small leak, thankfully, but I now have a new chore; sponging out buckets of water from under the floorboards in the workshop every other day. Woo hoo!! We’ll see what we find after we take it apart.

Jan 28 – 03:45 – Bay of Bengal – 06*01’N 86*21’E

Fancy Rabbit and his friends came back to see me today!! 18:00, the whole sea around me was filled with an electric magic energy. My dolphins jumping out of the water and swimming together in patterns, fish leaping and flying everywhere, in the distance a huge fish bounds out of the water to evade a predator. The energy was almost a living creature.

Jan 29 – 02:45 – Bay of Bengal

Amazing night watch!! We’re doing a solid 10 kts right this second!!

What’s also incredible is how close to death I am every second. Not to sound dramatic or unduly worry anybody (mom J), but I’m crawling around in the dark on this sailboat going very fast, well fast for a sailboat. I am the only one awake. It’s very difficult to fall over the side, but if I did I would tumble into the pitch-black swells of the Indian Ocean. At this speed, and with everyone asleep, by the time the rest of the crew noticed I was gone I would be miles away, nearly impossible to find. Like I said, not to make anyone worry, but it’s a very sobering thought. And the fact that we are aware how dangerous it is makes us that much more careful.

Jan 29 – 17:37 – Offshore Sri Lanka – 05*58’N 81*19’E

We are now off the coast of Sri Lanka. In a few hours we should be able to see land quite well. It will be a welcomed sight. I’m also looking forward to a delicious Mahi-Mahi steak dinner tonight. That’s right I caught it J.

Jan 30 – 21:00

20 kt winds close hauled it’s wild!! We just put in a reef and I had to go to the mast man it was nuuuuuts. Crazy wind, deep swells and crashing waves on the foredeck!! Felt like I was looking over the edge of the world, one strong gust could send me flyin!!

Jan 31 – 3:30 - Southern tip of India – 07*35’N 77*32’E

Sailing across the Indian Ocean in the middle of the night, alone, in crazy weather that necessitates being strapped to the deck with a professional grade harness, in only your skivvies and foul weather jacket singing along at the top of your lungs to Billy Joel’s greatest hits is called living life.

Feb 1 00:15 – Off West Coast of India

This is creepy. No wind, dense fog, lurking along dark coast of India by engine.

Very low visibility, only sound is chugging of engine.. very Heart of Darkness

Dead calm sea. Like obsidian glass. It’s a thick, briny haze that coats your whole body with salt. Your hair, your skin, your clothes, all covered in thick salt crystals. You feel the saline cloud your lungs with every breath.

I am navigating these waters solely by radar. No visibility. It would feel very claustrophobic if it weren’t for the endless expanse of stars overhead.

Feb 3 9:17 – West Coast India off Mangalore – 13*09’N 74*05’E

Well the captain saw my penis today.

So my night watch every night is from midnight until 3:30 in the morning. I go to bed around 4 a.m. and I wake up at 10 a.m. That is the routine. This morning at around 7:15 a.m. Peter bursts into my cabin, “Willy I need your help”, with a sense of urgency. I cheerfully spring out of bed and come up to the deck. Peter explains that as we were motoring this morning (NO WIND) we seem to have caught something in the propeller! He had shut off the engine, and he needed me to dive under the boat and see what the problem was. I put on my diving gear and I was in the water within 3 minutes.
It took about .4 seconds to see that there was a great deal of rubbish that had wrapped itself around the propeller and it needed to be cut out. There is full SCUBA gear on board, but it was not readily available. And after looking at the problem I decided it would be best to go without, as the sea was smooth as glass. Even if the water got the slightest bit rough it would be very dangerous to be underneath a huge boat like this underwater. So I took the window of opportunity and a huge breath, and I made the plunge. Even though the water was so calm the boat was still bobbing up and down, so with one hand bracing myself on the hull I made my way to the prop. It was about 6 ft. deep and 10 ft. inward so I knew I would only have a few seconds of air left once I reached it. It took me 3 or 4 dives, but I was able to cut all of the junk loose with my knife. After about 5 minutes I emerged to the stern of the boat victoriously holding a giant jumbled mass of kelp, fishing net, rope and plastic over my head!! HUGE SHOUT OUT TO MY BOYS AT NIKE A/V, KEN, JOEL, BRIAN, GEORGE, ROBERT AND SEAN, FOR BUYING ME THIS DIVING KNIFE AS A GIFT!!! It may not have been a giant man-eating eel, but this junk in the prop was actually probably more dangerous. Luckily the mess didn’t damage the propeller or break the shaft or anything, because that is a VERY bad deal. I think that after this feat, I have finally one the heart of the captain.
I was a mess, and I needed a shower, so I decided to join the European way and go for a shower in the buff on the deck, in the company of the skipper. And that’s my story for today.