“Why do we sail a sailing boat? Well, it’s about as close to a basic lifestyle and living with nature that we can get. We’re self-sufficient on solar energy and wind power, we make our own fresh water from seawater, we can fish the sea whenever we choose. We can travel more remote locations than most dream about, we use wind power to make our way. It’s almost a perfect existence… almost, but not quite. Family, friends and relationships are unquestionably more important… but so is the perfect love affair with my husband and the time we spend together alone.”
We finally got to leave the Mediterranean in 2007 after four years. Sänna had already been sailed from England to Croatia under her original identity of Suzeraine by her previous owner, so Dubrovnik became almost our home port for a while. Leaving Croatia we headed for Montenegro and Albania, then to Italy. From there to Greece and Turkey, spending a long good while in those incredible countries. We needed to undertake many modifications to Sänna for long-distance sailing and Turkish skills were excellent.
Arriving in Greece we decided to follow the mythical voyage of Odysseus from Ithaca to Troy; the infamous Greek tragedy described by Homer in his Odyssey of Ulysses and the Iliad. It was a wonderful cultural experience we shall never forget.
We left Cyprus for Egypt to transit the Suez Canal into the Red Sea. Over the next six months we sailed Sänna south through Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and Yemen. It’s difficult to describe our experience of desert anchorages, remote reefs and the indisputably friendly Muslim culture we found there. An unplanned and lengthy winter anchor in Yemen, carrying out sail repairs after a savage storm in the southern Red Sea, meant we were then well prepared to cross the Indian Ocean to Sri Lanka, leaving from Sallala, Oman in February 2008 after arriving there from Aden in Yemen. Our two thousand mile voyage in the northeast trade winds was our first long-distance ocean crossing – we came to realise that both our vessel and ourselves were capable of sailing much further.
Our planned one month stay in Sri Lanka somehow turned into five months, waiting for the southwest monsoon winds which meant we could make a swift passage through the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to Malaysia and Thailand. We then spent two fabulous years in south-east Asia carrying out a refit and further modifications to attempt a full circumnavigation eastwards; an unusual and difficult task for a sailing boat against the prevailing winds and currents. Nevertheless, we decided to head for New Zealand and then see what would happen from there.
We continued our adventure south to Singapore, Borneo then to the Philippines, where we again spent too much time losing ourselves in an idealic lifestyle, exploring this incredible part of the world and perhaps turning more native. Sailing further south through remote areas of eastern Indonesia to Darwin, Australia, in 2010 brought us back into first-world western culture. Storm damage from Cyclone Carlos delayed us in Darwin before we decided to beat against the eastern trade winds to cross the northern top of Australia, through the Torres Straits then southwards inside the Great Barrier Reef to Cairns then Brisbane, followed by a tough crossing to New Zealand in 2012. We’d reached our half-way destination and took a well earned breather at our furthest point south.
Our penultimate challenge was to cross the Pacific from New Zealand, northwards to Alaska which meant not only a west to east crossing but from south to north too, from one hemisphere to the other. We broke this long nine thousand mile pacific voyage in the South Pacific in French Polynesia, in Tahiti and the Society Islands which, of course, were indescribably glorious. South seas culture is alive and well. We then voyaged north over the equator from Bora Bora to Hawaii, spending a further ten months exploring the cultural Hawaiian islands before leaving for the much colder climate of the northern Pacific.
We then spent three good years in Alaska and British Columbia having sailed north from Hawaii to British Columbia, Canada in June 2014. Then in the summer of 2017, after exploring these two truly incredibly wild parts of the world for a good length of time we made a final decision to head southwards to Panama. There are only three routes from the Pacific into the Atlantic Ocean, the Northwest Passage in the Arctic, the Panama Canal in Central America or the long passage south to Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America.
So right now we are in Ensenada, Mexico having crossed the US border from San Diego in November 2017. We are planning to spend a short while in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez before continuing our way south through Central America to the Panama Canal. From there we will decide whether to transit through the canal or continue south down the west coast of South America. We shall see…
Dave & Marie
Mexico, December 2017
To read about our latest whereabouts please click ‘Where Are We Now’.