Sailing Catamaran


Friday, April 27, 2012

The end of an era.

Chocobo is sold and on April 25th we not only closed a sale transaction but also the most amazing adventure of our life. We shouldn’t get attached to material belongings but for 3 years, 7 months and 21 days we lived, ate, slept, laugh, cried and sheltered in this boat. She took us through 48 different countries, over 3 oceans and over 30500 nautical miles (56730 km) across the globe. We constantly took care of her and she took well care of us in return. How can anyone other than a concrete block be unemotional about this? We sure aren’t but nevertheless our journey ends now and Chocobo cannot come with us. Did I weep a little went I read the email we received from the agent stating that all the paperwork had been processed and Chocobo was officially sold? You bet I did and for a guy who was daring Somalian pirates in their own territory about a year ago; that’s embarrassing! Her new name is now “Escape Velocity” and Chocobo will now live only in our hearts and in the ones of all of you who followed and lived our adventures during the past four years.
I would like to write a great closing text for our journey but how can one describe in a paragraph how we felt and what we saw during 1329 days of intense travelling? Even if I was to give you only one world for each country we saw I would fill an entire paragraph. I guess this will have to wait for the book I’m hoping to complete within the next year. Yet in retrospective was it worth? Every single 114 825 600 seconds of it. Was it too expensive? Indeed it was but we don’t regret any of the 18 788 200 pennies we spent. What we lived in this trip is ours forever and as we all know the point was not get anywhere since we are now back exactly where we started but to imprint ourselves of the world out there and that we sure did. Danielle and I are not the same people we used to be. The world is not a quiet and totally safe place and if anything else we are now tougher people. We’ve learn to stand our ground especially from people who trying to rip us off or with officials trying to entangle us into rules based on a logic borrowed from another dimension. We saw the bad and the ugly for sure but also the good and the beautiful. The smile of a Peruvian woman is enough to make us forget Egypt. The peaceful atmosphere of a meal in the Chora on the island of Amorgos in Greece gives us the impression that time just stopped and the universe revolves around us. We learned so many things such as that sea lions have a fur and shed millions of hairs every nights especially when they lay in our cockpit. We know that Port Vila is the capital of Vanuatu and that we can sit at a table in the central market and have a good local meal for just a few dollars. We know that the Pacific Ocean is impossibly huge. As a matter of fact, I can tell you that the ride from the Galapagos to the Marquesas in the Pacific was 3000M long but you’ll never really know how huge this is until you jump on a boat and cross it by yourself. This and many other things we now know. This may never directly be useful to us in the future but these sensations, odors, colors and all those feelings induced by the many places we saw are now part of who we are. Our views of the world are now more precise and are the ones of peoples who saw it firsthand.
Please meet the two new and very proud owners of Escape Velocity, Marce and Jack Schulz, two very nice peoples from Pittsburgh, PA who have been working for the last 20 years to reach the escape velocity, hence the name, necessary to quit their jobs, sell their house, jump on a boat and sail around the world! Yep, Chocobo has not seen the last of her oceans. Our dream comes to an end but their now begins and we are confident that our Chocobo will take them in places they can barely imagine. I invite you to follow their adventures on their blog at and to wish them fair wind and following seas for years to come.
So with the most amazing adventure one can expect in his or her life behind what’s ahead of us? Well we haven’t totally figured it out yet. The last few months have been so busy and so intense for us, with packing our stuff and preparing the boat that we couldn’t make out a perfect scenario for our future but we will find something soon and keep you posted. We know that a very large number of peoples are really curious to know how peoples end up after a trip around the world. For the time being we are moving to Montreal to stay at Danielle’s daughter’s place, Jessye, until we can find a place we call home. Everything we had fit in 24 boxes that we stored temporarily in a rented storage before shipping everything up north.
By the way, although Danielle and I have been together for 17 years, almost to the day, we actually got married just before we departed for our journey three and half years ago and this trip was officially our honeymoon. I don’t know if there is a Guinness record for the longest honeymoon in the world but I’m sure you’ll all agree that ours is one hard to beat!
By the way, although Danielle and I have been together for 17 years, almost to the day, we actually got married just before we departed for our journey three and half years ago and this trip was officially our honeymoon. I don’t know if there is a Guinness record for the longest honeymoon in the world but I’m sure you’ll all agree that ours is one hard to beat!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Arrived in the United States of America.

We arrived in Stuart, FL in the United States of America on April 9, 2012 from West End in the Bahamas after a passage of 75M (140 km) across the Gulf Stream separating Florida and the Bahamas. If everything goes as we hope with the sale of Chocobo, Stuart will be the last stop of our journey.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A different Bahamas

When we arrived at the small town of Spanish Wells on the island of Eleuthera it was to discover a quite a different Bahamas than what we saw in the past. As we see on the picture there is still was the white sand and the most beautiful water in the world as in the rest of the archipelago but there was also a village resembling closely enough to a normal suburb and contrasting substantially by its inhabitant’s wealth compared to south Bahamas or the Exumas chain. People here live in a sufficiently enviable level of comfort. But the most exotic difference, if we can say so, comes from the fact that Spanish Wells is mainly inhabited by native white Bahamians. To hear the colorful Bahamian accent when talking to a black person is normal, see expected, but it is quite a shock when it comes out of a white’s mouth!

But our stop in Spanish Wells was not really for relaxation but mostly to wait for the proper weather window to resume our sailing north through the Abacos. During the five days we spent in this village alongside the Garden of Eden we kept cleaning Chocobo and every day the dinghy was filled up with garbage or things to give away to town peoples who wanted them. More often than others we gave the stuff to workers coming to the island everyday to work since local inhabitants of this wealthy village really didn’t need our used stuff. In fact, it would have been us who would’ve needed to go through their garbages to find treasures! I also had to buy a bottle of propane and, with one and a half kilometer to walk, our little rolling cart was quite useful. Two days later we realized we could rent these golf carts that are very popular on the island. For $10.00 we wandered the village’s streets but after a bit more than an hour we had seen it all. Obviously, I couldn’t have thought to rent the cart the same day I went to buy the propane tank and saving me the long walk with the rolling cart!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


What is there to say about feet? Normally not much but as you can imagine on a boat things are different and the way we behave with our feet is no exception. As a general rule we are barefoot all the time while onboard. Reasons are simple; shoes are too dirty, we walk on our cockpit seats almost forty times per day and in the morning and evening the top deck is wet by dew. Walking with shoes would transform the boat into a sandy and muddy platform competing with construction sites for the first place in the filthy contest. Therefore on Chocobo as on every single sailboat on the water people are barefoot. But when thinking about it the vast majority of peoples, in the world, remove their shoes in their house or apartment so what does it make so special on boat? For instance, inside houses people keep their socks or wear slippers, my favorite being the ones in the shape of a football! On boat feet are bare as a born baby and this makes interesting situations when we start thinking about it.

For instance when we call a party on Chocobo guests are almost all the time other sailors. They leave their boat and jump in their commuting device, which is a dinghy, and come to our boat. Of course, wearing shoes in a dinghy is an even bigger no-no than on a boat as most dinghies leaks or always have a puddle of water in the bottom from waves splashing over the edge or from the daily rainy visit of Mother Nature. With all this the first thing we know is no matter how formal the meeting is onboard everybody is going to be barefoot. The good news is because no one wears any socks either there is no smell and the fact that we have our feet in the water all the time for a reason or another they are also clean and this certainly avoids further aggravations of the situation. Besides, there are clear advantages to that practice of feet nudity. This means no worries on what to wear for the party or having shoes that would fit the color of the dress, assuming sailors had the luxury to worry about such things. But the most significant advantage of coming to a ‘soirĂ©e’ barefoot is that we leave the party also barefoot. The tricky part in the departure is to actually go back to your dinghy. If the gathering is important, such as the time we had 19 people on board in Yemen, this makes quite a few dinghies attached on the side of the boat. Chances are that guests have to jump first on the closest dinghy by the steps, walk through it and eventually get to their own dinghy. This shouldn’t be a very big problem if it weren’t from the fact that sailors are not really well known to be easy on the bottle and consequently when comes the time for the dinghy gauntlet contest chances are that their motor faculties would be impaired. This usually end up in a spectacular acrobatic demonstration of flexibility not yet known from the drunken sailor himself and involving lots of water under the oh’s and the ah’s from the fortunate spectators mixed with a good share of laugh. In the end, as it is often the case in such situations, egos are more hurt than people. Although, very often everyone is very happy and even the ego remains intact. Actually, it did happen once that someone came aboard with his shoes and his first reflex was obviously to take them off when stepping on. But even he was not used to wear shoes on a boat and after a few drinks he left Chocobo with his shoes neatly sitting on our side deck.

But since everybody is barefoot all the time we could imagine that we wouldn’t have many shoes onboard but it’s not the case at all. The problem is that we sometimes have to go ashore and barefoot is not always a good idea when we need to walk two kilometers (one mile) to go to the supermarket for instance. If we exclude the fact that people often leave their shoes on the boat when coming ashore, the biggest question is always to decide what shoes we should wear to go ashore. Because we have to get in the dinghy and often beach it to reach the shore, and paired with the fact the dinghy is almost always wet as mentioned before, we cannot wear our shoes until we reach solid ground. Sandals are nice because they can take some water abuse in the dinghy but are not the best for very long walk. Walking shoes with socks are perfect to walk ashore but need to be put on on the beach and this requires that we rinse our feet with water, dry them with a towel then put on socks and shoes. This may sounds simple but try it without putting your feet in the sand and avoiding pouring water on your pants or shorts in the process! Of course having a gentleman to help you with that exercise always helps. There is also watershoes that can be quite useful is some situations but they are good to swim to a rocky shore than walk on the rocks and sand but cannot really be used otherwise. Finally we all, at least at the beginning of our trip, kept with us some more formal shoes imagining we would be able to have such a thing as a nice dinner in a fancy restaurant wearing clean, unwrinkled and freshly colored clothes. This my friends is just a dream for a sailor and dinners are always in the cheapest restaurant, wearing sun faded shirts and wrinkled shorts that most of time do not match and give you an exfoliation when you walk because they didn’t rinse properly due to limited fresh water onboard. We may look like homeless most of the time, which we are technically, but we do this in very exotic places!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Rum and Cats

What do rum and cats have in common? They both are islands in southern Bahamas where we stopped on our way north. After a stop in Mayaguana we sailed north-west to Rum Cay where we stopped in 2009 at the beginning of our trip. The place is just a postal card picture and really makes us appreciate the chance we have to be here. Nothing much has changed other than the consequences of Hurricane Irene which hit the area last season taking a few roofs in her wake.

A stop in Rum Cay necessarily means to stop for a beer at Kaye’s Bar and Restaurant where Dolores greats her patrons with good beer and local stories. At 80’ Dolores has seen the beautiful and the ugly of her island and keeps a collection of guest books that have been running since the 70’s. We actually saw our own comments we wrote in 2009 and Dolores was very proud to show us when Jackie Onasis KennWhat do rum and cats have in common? They both are islands in southern Bahamas where we stopped on our way north. After a stop in Mayaguana we sailed north-west to Rum Cay where we stopped in 2009 at the beginning of our trip. The place is just a postal card picture and really makes us appreciate the chance we have to be here. Nothing much has changed other than the consequences of Hurricane Irene which hit the area last season taking a few roofs in her wake.edy came in ’81 and signed her book. Now she would be able to show the signature of the “famous” Chocobo who sailed the area this year! We had a good time that day, thanks to Dolores who kept us company. For some reasons there were almost nobody else visiting the island while we were there so it was not quite a party town but sure it was relaxing to simply be there. While sipping our beer we couldn’t miss to notice the pile of lumber and shingles piled on the side of the bar. Those were to repair the roof that was damaged by the hurricane. The funny thing about this was that to get all the material here Dolores had to get them shipped to her from outside the island hence significantly increasing the cost. This adds up to 50% import fees collected by the government. We thought taxes were high in Canada! What I don’t understand is how this government tax works exactly? You see, import taxes are what we call protectionism and are intended to favor local products instead of imported ones. But there is no such thing as a local product, other than beer maybe, in the Bahamas and virtually everything has to be imported. Consequently, such a high tax is basically preventing the whole country from any tangible development and gets all prices up. In English this is called “shooting yourself in the foot” but like many other “mysteries” we encountered in this trip the 50% import tax of the Bahamas probably has a sort of rational that only locals can understand!

Next stop was in Cat Island where we could enjoy a dead calm anchorage, at least for the first two days, and go visit the only obvious attraction in the area; The Hermitage. Built by father Jerome sometimes in the first half of the last century the building is quite interesting to visit. While walking the kilometer or so leading to the place we thought, by the sight of it, that we would get to a giant structure a reminder of castles and cathedrals of Europe while in fact the building seemed to have been made for the sole purpose of offering a shelter to Father Jerome and a place of worship and prayer. Quickly we realized that Father Jerome was probably a dwarf for his castle had doors five feet (1.5m) high and even Danielle seriously hit her head when coming out of the tiny chapel. Her head didn’t even hit the wooden door frame but the stone placed on top of it! Once bells and birds disappeared around her and she was able to think straight, we were able to go back to the boat. No permanent damage here only a momentary pain that she will remember for some time but not too long for the day before, we had reached an agreement with buyers for the sale of Chocobo. Thus we are enjoying our last moments with this boat that took us in the most wonderful places in the world. A page of our life is about to be turned but nostalgia is for passive peoples. We are actually looking forward to our next life that begins.

I just couldn’t pass on this one. One night as we were relaxing while watching episodes of “Buffy the vampire slayer” we had the visit of a moth. Nothing special about that but the fact that the thing had probably been irradiated by radioactive elements in its youth and was humongous as moth goes. I obviously could get a ruler and measure it precisely but my guess is that from wing to wing the monster moth was 7” (18cm) wide! I mean, it is not a regular zapper that you need to get rid of that sort of beast but a flame thrower! But of course, we had no intentions to harm the butterfly and it just went away a minute later probably annoyed by attracting too much attention and camera flashes. As we all know moths are not too fond of paparazzis and yet we posted its naked picture on internet!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Arrived in Bahamas.

We arrived at the island of Mayaguana in the Bahamas on March 4, 2012 from Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos after a passage of 55M (102 km). It was a short and smooth ride and after paying the $300.00 fees to cruise the Bahamas we were able to start enjoying what we consider being the most beautiful waters in the world.

Arrived and gone from Turks and Caicos.

We arrived at the island of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos on March 3rd, 2012 from St-Thomas in USVI after a passage of 478M (889 km) that took us 3 days, 3 hours and 30 minutes for a total average speed of 6.3 knots. We wanted originally to stay a few days in the Turks and Caicos but being at the mercy of weather windows we had to leave immediately early the next morning of our arrival. We had the chance to sail to Mayaguana in the Bahamas that day or to be forced to stay in Providenciales for at least a week until the weather settles. The problem was that the sand in Providenciales is so fine that the turquoise water is continually clouded by sand hence making the watermaker inoperable. One week without making water is more than what we can stand and we took the very short window we had to cross to the Bahamas but not without regrets