Neptune's Highway

Neptune's Highway

Thu Jul 4 15:54 2019 NZST
Run: 1.7nm (3.1km)
20 09S 057 30E

We are still in Mauritius and eating our weight in fresh baguettes and Dhal Puri Roti (our favorite street food). We just hauled out the boat yesterday to remedy our failing bottom paint that we put on last year in Malaysia! We expect to be in the boatyard for a week.

Happy Fourth of July to all our stateside friends and family! We hope to be celebrating with you this time next year!


Sun Jun 16 23:06 2019 NZST
Run: 336.9nm (609.8km)
Avg: 7.4knts
24hr: 177.3nm
20 08.8S 057 28.4E

We arrived at the quarantine anchorage at Port Louis Sunday, June 16 at 13:00. 350 miles in 50 hours, average speed 7 knots, which is pretty darn fast for a monohull! The only stressful weather was the last few hours when we had 30 kts of wind in the lee of Mauritious when we were expecting something a bit tamer. There were several daysail charter boats out and Sunday sailors who didn't seem to mind the conditions. We are such wimps, but also sleep deprived and hungry so we were anxious to drop the hook.

Enjoying a big lunch, beer, shower and next a nap. We'll go into port and check in with authorities in the morning.


Sat Jun 15 1:30 2019 NZST
Run: 51nm (92.3km)
19 40s 062 38E

Saturday, June 15, 17:00.

Checked out of Rodrigues this morning. Set up the boat for downwind port tack passage and it took FOREVER to get out through the reef to a point where the wind was on port and we could raise sail. A purist would have gybed but that would have been too complicated! Having a good run so far with about 14 kts apparent wind and 8 ft seas, wing and wing with a reefed main. Don't see any rain in the weather forecast. Hoping for an quick uneventful passage. ETA is Sunday afternoon.

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Tue Jun 11 0:33 2019 NZST
19 40.0S 063 25.0E

We bailed on leaving for Mauritious as the weather window wasn't that great. Looks like Friday might be better. There are now 4 boats here and we may all check out on Friday. Meanwhile, we enjoyed an evening out last Saturday to hear some traditional Creole music with dancing. We are amazed at how similar it is to Caribbean scratch band and contra dancing.

On Sunday the crew from a Montreal boat gave a French class to the rest of us, followed by wine, cheese, olives and beer - all on board Neptune's Highway. This morning we all had to leave the anchorage at 06:30, nursing hangovers, to allow a cargo ship to come in. Once the ship is tied to the dock, we file back in through a narrow channel and re-anchor. Tomorrow we may take the bus to a tortoise sanctuary (think Galapagos-style giant tortoises that used to be indigenous to Rodrigues but were devoured into extinction by visiting sailors and have now been re-introduced from neighboring Madagascar and are thriving in the protected environment). We will have to post pictures!


Thu Jun 6 16:39 2019 NZST
Run: 1nm (1.8km)
19 40.0S 063 25.0E

We have really enjoyed Rodrigues and feel fortunate that we had a good weather window to sail here. Friends located to the north and east of us are abandoning plans to come here and instead are going to Seychelles or directly to Madagascar because the winds and sea conditions surrounding this area are so rough. Our next destination is Mauritious, which is only 340 miles to the east. But the weather forecasts are for high winds and 17 ft. seas. It does abate a bit on Sunday and Monday so we are planning to leave Saturday, which will get us there before things start to pick up again. We usually never leave if the wind forecast is for more than 15 knots, because in our experience 15 means 20. But in this case, we will leave with a forecast for 25 kts of wind and 12 ft. seas. This should not last long, and we should have a more manageable 13-15 kts for most of the trip. Also, the wind will be after of the beam which will help. For the non-sailors out there, if you are riding a bicycle at 15mph with a 20mph wind on your back, the apparent wind will feel like 5mph (20-15).

So we are watching the weather very closely and looking for an opportunity.

Not ideal, but it's what we have to work with .


Mon May 27 18:18 2019 NZST
Run: 205.6nm (372.1km)
Avg: 7.4knts
24hr: 178.8nm
19 40.8s 063 25.24E

May 27, Monday, 9:00 am. BREAK OUT THE CHAMPAGNE! WE'RE HERE! 1034 miles, 7 days. It's drizzly but we are tied to the municipal wharf waiting for the customs man. No wind or wave. This passage is notorious for being difficult but thanks to Bruce's Irish luck and hours of studying daily weather forecasts, we picked the right day to leave Chagos and had a most excellent sail. Tonight the weather is supposed to turn nasty and stay that way so we are ecstatic to be here! Everyday of the trip it seemed I would come on deck and Bruce would tell me about the fish strikes he had so I was somewhat suspicious. But yesterday I witnessed a big beautiful mahi on the line. As we were lifting it from the water, in a burst of energy the fish thrashed, hitting it's head on the transom which knocked the hook out of its mouth. He quickly swam away, grateful for the headache. A few hours later just as a huge squall was closing in on us, we landed a slightly smaller mahi ( the big one always gets away). We were in a downpour until sunset so we were happy to finally catch a fish on our last opportunity.

We are eager to get cleared in, anchor the boat in the harbor, and come ashore for some exploring. Priorities are ATM, lunch, beer, wine, groceries, SIM card, locate laundromat, try the Dhal Puri Roti that street vendors sell. Then SLEEP! Bruce has been up since 1:00 am and I am so tired that when I stepped on shore it bucked and rolled more than the boat! We will be here for at least 2 weeks so no more updates for a while. We should have internet by tomorrow and will be using our usual Gmail address. Thanks to everyone who sent us emails during our 6 week internet blackout. B&L Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Sun May 26 14:42 2019 NZST
Run: 273.1nm (494.3km)
Avg: 7.2knts
24hr: 173.4nm
17 26.4s 065 29.1E

May 26, Sunday 05:00. Day 7. I forgot to post our position yesterday! At 10:00 am yesterday, after 24 hours of motoring, we were finally able to raise sail and commence sailing. The wind filled in slightly north of east to an astonishing 17 knots (what a gift!). Our apparent wind was 14 knots on the beam - perfect! We also seemed to have about 1 knot of current pushing us along so, even with 12 knots of wind, we were maintaining 7-8 knots of boat speed. Before sunset we put a reef in the main (we usually do this just to make night sailing easier - if we get a squall or more wind, we only have to roll up the jib). The moon came up around midnight and we've had a beautiful night sail, averaging 7+ knots. Now, at 5:00 am Sunday, we have 185 miles to go so a Monday arrival in daylight is looking really good! Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


I am watching windy.com...and NH....and following your passage and wondering what the wind is "really" doing. I am so happy things are going so well! Looks like you'll have a sail for your last day to Mauritius. So close to a cocktail...and hopefully the end of pb. and saltines! OXOX
Sat May 25 0:54 2019 NZST
Run: 118.1nm (213.8km)
Avg: 6.1knts
24hr: 147.2nm
13 46.60s 067 01.5E

May 24, Friday. 17:00. Day five and we are past our halfway mark. Weather models look good but as the saying goes, the only weather that's predictable is yesterday's. We were supposed to have light winds at a favorable angle but instead have no wind. Had to drop the main as it is a bit rolly! Been motoring since 10:00 this morning with no end in sight. But we have lots of fuel so no worries. We ran the watermaker, had nice showers and naps. We are a bit slower than our 6 knots average but still hope to arrive on schedule and avoid bad weather. Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Fri May 24 5:39 2019 NZST
Run: 220.6nm (399.3km)
Avg: 7.2knts
24hr: 172.2nm
12 20.50s 067 58.60E

Gotta say, last night was a gift! A clear, warm, moonlit night. Steady 15 knots of breeze. Steering for the Southern Cross. Thank you! Today was another nice day with a steady 12-15 knot breeze. Tonight we hope will be a repeat of last night. We are 82 hours into this trip and almost at our halfway point and so far, so good. We get two weather models (twice a day, at noon and midnight) and one model has changed radically so we are eager to see tonight's update so we can plan accordingly. When the models are radically different, it indicates that the weather is unpredictable! We would be foolish to believe either one. More on this tomorrow! Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Wed May 22 22:54 2019 NZST
07 03.50s 070 51.420E

Day three. Last night we worked our way through a gauntlet of clouds packing wind and rain. Fortunately we can see them coming (thanks, moon!) and reduce sail (main is reefed so only have to roll up more of the jib) so we are ready when the wind picks up. Highest wind was 24 but mostly around 20-21 and lasts about 30 minutes. Today we have a steady 17-18 from SE and have had to adjust course from 190 to 205. Not too bad, we should be able to to make this up when wind shifts to the east. GRIBS still looking good for Tuesday morning arrival in Rodrigues. We are taking turns taking naps today to catch up on sleep and be rested for tonight in case it's more of the same. The boat is riding comfortably with reduced sail and we are averaging 6 knots overall. All is well on board.

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Hellooooooo dear friends, wow, you’re on the move again. Hope this next leg goes well. Thinking of you both. xx
Wed May 22 22:54 2019 NZST
Run: 194nm (351.1km)
09 31.00s 069 29.30E

Day three. Last night we worked our way through a gauntlet of clouds packing wind and rain. Fortunately we can see them coming (thanks, moon!) and reduce sail (main is reefed so only have to roll up more jib) so we are ready when the wind picks up. Highest wind was 24 but mostly around 20-21 and lasts about 30 minutes. Today we have a steady 17-18 from SE and have had to adjust course from 190 to 205. Not too bad, we should be able to to make this up when wind shifts to the east. GRIBS still looking good for Tuesday morning arrival in Rodrigues. We are taking turns taking naps today to catch up on sleep and be rested for tonight in case it's more of the same. The boat is riding comfortably with reduced sail and we are averaging 6 knots overall. Getting really creative in the galley :). All is well on board.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Tue May 21 17:21 2019 NZST
Run: 0.6nm (1.1km)
Avg: 6knts
24hr: 144nm
07 03.50s 070 51.420E

Left Chagos noon Monday with sun overhead to see reefs. As soon as we were clear of the pass, clouds rolled in over the the atoll with hard rain and no viz so we were very happy with our timing to make our escape. Weather forecast was for light winds but we had about 17 knots, close reaching for the first 12 hours. During the night we settled in to about 15 knots. Very cloudy but with full moon we could see what was ahead. At sunrise the wind decreased to a comfortable 12 knots so much more relaxed and Laura was able to make a nice breakfast. The forecast is for it to stay like this all day Tuesday and Wednesday. That would be nice!. Our first 24 hours should produce 150 miles so that's a good start. Two or three other boats may leave Chagos in the next few days so we hope to have scheduled radio chats along the way. All is well on board.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Tue May 21 17:15 2019 NZST
Run: 149.5nm (270.6km)
Avg: 5.6knts
24hr: 133.6nm
07 03.0S 070 51.45E

Left Chagos noon Monday with sun overhead to see reefs. As soon as we were clear of the pass, clouds rolled in over the the atoll with hard rain and no viz so we were very happy with our timing to make our escape. Weather forecast was for light winds but we had about 17 knots, close reaching for the first 12 hours. During the night we settled in to about 15 knots. Very cloudy but with full moon we could see what was ahead. At sunrise the wind decreased to a comfortable 12 knots so much more relaxed and Laura was able to make a nice breakfast. The forecast is for it to stay like this all day Tuesday and Wednesday. That would be nice!. Our first 24 hours should produce 150 miles so that's a good start. Two or three other boats may leave Chagos in the next few days so we hope to have scheduled radio chats along the way. All is well on board.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Mon May 20 14:24 2019 NZST
05 21.22S 072 12.480E

Chagos, Day 26 All good things must come to an end, and I 'm talking about food! No, really, our permit for Chagos expires May 22, and we are leaving today, May 20 for the 8 day sail to Rodrigues. Our last 'western style' supermarket was in Thailand around February 9th. Our last basic provisioning was in Maldives on April 22. Our fridge is empty so yesterday I filled it with baked goods - pita bread, cornbread, coconut cake, carrot muffins and roti (tortillas). Can't remember when I've baked so much and barely had enough flour, oil and salt. The eggs in Maldives were crap but luckily I had a box of egg replacement that I think I bought in the Marshall Islands in 2015 as a back up to fresh eggs! Finally using it and it's been great for cakes and muffins. I don't really like cooking offshore and we will be on port tack the whole way which means everything will want to slide off the counters and stove and onto the floor. I have a strap that looks like it came off a straight jacket that holds me in place between the stove and the sink. I've saved all the convenience food (jars of spaghetti sauce, cup o' soup, canned chili) for this trip. And, of course, peanut butter and crackers. I call it the offshore diet - take one boat, lots of waves, and shake vigorously. I expect to be svelte and tres chic when I arrive in French Mauritious.

So today's the day! We'll leave with the tide around noon. Looking forward to having moonlight for the night watches. Chagos will be a highlight of our travels but we are ready to move on.

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Mon May 13 16:39 2019 NZST
05 21.22S 072 12.480E

Chagos, Day 19.

Happy Birthday to Maren (May 10), Happy Anniversary to Jim and Barbara on Complexity (May 11), and Happy Mother's Day to everyone else.

Had a really nice beach BBQ yesterday and finally got to meet the cruisers from the other anchorage. There is a German retired couple, an English couple that has been cruising since 2002 and has been everywhere between here and England, a spry Frenchman with his Thai girlfriend, a young couple from China who bought their boat in Turkey two years ago and are already 3/4 of the way around the world, a young couple from Seattle taking a 5 year break from "real life", and a tall, charismatic Swiss guy on a 55 ft. yacht, who organized the BBQ, and whose crew includes his on and off Italian girl friend, a young Italian couple, and a newbie sailor from Kenya taking a break from a recent devastating divorce. We grilled a bunch of fresh-caught snapper, shared rice dishes and cake, took a walk to the windward side to look for white eels in the tide pools, and the young Italian guy brought a guitar to close out the day. His playlist was Nirvana, whereas mine is baby-boomer but it was fun nonetheless.

So looking at this morning's weather forecast (and now that we have new friends!) we have decided to postpone our departure until Sunday May 19. I just have to figure out how to make our food supply last another week! Cheers! Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Thu May 9 18:00 2019 NZST
05 21.22S 072 12.480E

Chagos Day 15. The BIOT authorities arrived today. They came on a HUGE ship that stayed outside the atoll and they sent in 3 RIBs (20 ft inflatables) with at least 25 personnel. Three customs officers came aboard and stamped our passports. Is it a rule that customs officers for yachts have to be young and incredibly good looking? They are doing a one year rotation and said it's the shortest year of their career. They were going to snorkel the pass before leaving this area. Their land base is on Diego Garcia which the USA leases from the British and operates a B52 base. Totally off limits to the rest of the world and I think we have to stay 5 miles out if we sail by on our way south.

We are still planning a May 15 departure (give or take a day). An auspicious day for us as that's the day we tied the knot in 1985.

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Sun May 5 0:03 2019 NZST
05 21.22S 072 12.480E

Chagos Day 10. It's been 12 days since we left Maldives and we're eating really well! Our next visit to a market will be in about 3 weeks so we'll have to get creative towards the end. Bruce found 36 beers in the forepeak so we are now enjoying 1 1/2 beers apiece per day! Another boat arrived yesterday, Estreka. They anchored where we spent our first night, about 5 miles away so we've not yet met.

Bruce pulled out our water heater which had started to leak and pronounced it unfixable. We haven't needed hot water for over a year and now that we are heading to cooler climes we will not have hot water! Oh, the indignity! We have had near perfect weather and have been snorkeling the seemingly unlimited coral patches inside the atoll. We went ashore today to burn our paper trash and continue shredding and consolidating the plastic trash we collected off the high water line on the beach. Life is pretty simple. We would love to hear from you. We can't retrieve comments posted on the YIT site, but you can email us at neptuneshighway@myiridium.net.

Cheers! Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Mon Apr 29 5:00 2019 NZST
05 21.22S 072 12.480E

Just wanted to let everyone know that we have not had any squalls since the two we had on Friday. We are on a mooring, the weather has been perfect, our view unbelievable, and we are the only boat here, although we received an email from Zoa saying that there are 9 boats in Gan waiting for a weather window to sail here! Bruce went out in the dinghy this morning to try his hand at fishing and immediately caught a small tuna (skip jack - not our favorite but it was great for fish tacos). He spent the afternoon working on his lures and wants to try again tomorrow. There are four big sharks that are attracted to the sound of the outboard and follow him everywhere. We will have to name them! Laura defrosted the fridge as there were some goodies under the freezer box that she had picked up in Ipoh, Malaysia last January and had been encapsulated in ice since then! Two blocks of haloumi, four blocks of feta, and a big chocolate bar! We have great ambitions for exploring the island soon. Laura wants to clean up all the plastic that has found it's way to these remote beaches in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Mostly water bottles! If she can shred them and package them in small bags, each cruiser can take one when they leave to dispose of properly at their next destination. And Bruce needs a haircut! So we will keep very busy! We have email service with our sat phone but no internet which has to be a good thing. BUT we love getting news from family and friends so drop a line at neptuneshighway@myiridium.net. I'll post an update weekly while we are stationary and daily when we are offshore.

Ciao.

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Sat Apr 27 22:48 2019 NZST
Run: 0.1nm (0.2km)
05 21.22S 072 12.480E

Last night we had another scary squall around 8 pm. It was pitch black out. Bruce looked at the GPS and it looked like we had drug 50-100 ft. And, of course, there was a reef behind us. In this 'anchorage' there is always a patch reef within 100 feet! I didn't think we'd drag any farther because the bottom was littered with coral and we had most likely snagged one. But I was worried about the chain wrapping around coral which effectively shortens your chain and can pull down the bow until something breaks! We have friends who lost their boat in a storm in the Cook Islands when their chain wrapped around coral. So my stomach was churning and internal stressometer off the charts! But I reminded myself that these squalls usually last less than an hour and we didn't have waves like we'd had that morning. It ended, we were safe though we couldn't see anything in the dark and rain, and we actually had another peaceful night. Tell me again, why had we come here? The morning was sunny and calm. While Bruce gathered all the gear and hardware he would need to make us a mooring in a better location, I ran a load of salty clothes through the washer and dryer. For those of you unfamiliar with the cruising lifestyle, the washer is a bucket and the dryer is the sun. We set off to resurrect a mooring we had scouted out yesterday As soon as we arrived at the mooring, four five-foot reef sharks appeared to check us out. They soon lost interest and swam away. Bruce added to the mooring 25 feet of chain and some 3/4 inch nylon rope that had been on board since the previous owners. Once that was set up, we went back to Neptune's Highway and snorkeled over our anchor and chain to see how badly it was tangled in coral. I pronounced it impossible without Bruce donning dive gear and freeing it up, and Bruce said, "I think it will come up." And you know what? It did! In minutes the anchor was up and we were tied to our 'new' mooring! I happily made us a nice big lunch! Then I treated myself to a swim/snorkle to the patch reefs surrounding the boat. They didn't disappoint and I kept thinking, oh yeah, that's why we are here! This may be our last opportunity to see coral and reef fish for a long time. Later today, we want to venture ashore, a la Robinson Crusoe. Did I mention we are the only people here? Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Fri Apr 26 22:33 2019 NZST
Run: 4nm (7.2km)
05 21.14S 072 12.580E

Enjoyed a celebratory glass of wine last night (OK, two!) and a great night's sleep at anchor our first night in Chagos. Woke up this morning and had a hellacious storm come through ( basically 3 squalls in a row). We had big waves on the bow sending salt spray over the foredeck. Behind us was the reef and beach with the remains of a boat that encountered a similar storm a few years ago! Rougher conditions at anchor than we ever had on the trip here! We had the engine running and as soon as there was a break, we got the anchor up and motored out to deeper, safer water. Slowly worked our way over to the next (and only other) anchorage in the atoll, which is filled with coral bommies and requires that you make a mooring for yourself by wrapping any spare chain you might have around a dead coral head. By the time we got over there the wind and seas had calmed and the sun was out so we were able to pick our way through the mine field. We picked up a mooring left by last year's cruisers, launched the dinghy, and went to inspect the 4-5 existing moorings. All needed an upgrade. Back on board we made a really nice lunch from the tuna Bruce caught yesterday (big enough for 4 meals) and decided we'll set out tomorrow morning with spare shackles, chain, and rope to make ourselves a mooring. Bruce has done enough free-diving for one day and we've had way too much exctement (sounds better than saying 'stress' don'tcha think?). I am looking forward to happy hour and finishing off the wine. Making ginger beer for tomorrow.

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Fri Apr 26 3:36 2019 NZST
Run: 111.2nm (201.3km)
Avg: 4.2knts
24hr: 99.8nm
05 19.97S 072 15.87E

Arrived in Salomon Atoll, Chagos (BIOT) after an ideal, 50 hour, 290 mile passage. We were able to sail the entire way. We could see rain all around us but managed to stay in the ' donut hole' of clear sky. Except around midnight last night when a squall appeared suddenly out of nowhere on Laura's watch. In her attempt to roll up the jib, she lost control of the sheet. All hell broke loose and Bruce rushed on deck in the driving rain to help bring everything under control. It was quickly over, no-harm-no-foul, and both the boat and the Captain got a nice fresh water rinse! Laura's 4-7 am watch was much nicer. As the sun came up she approached a long line of flat-bottomed clouds, pregnant with rain threatening to fall. This reminded her of her apartment in New York where the flimsy shower stall was in the kitchen and overhead plaster was saturated and always on the verge of collapse. After a long shower, the downstairs neighbors would complain to the building super, w ho would show up to deliver a scornful lecture and tube of caulk! But I digress. We experienced no more rain and the day was beautiful. Anchor was down by 2:00 pm. We are the only boat here. Tomorrow we will explore.

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Thu Apr 25 0:51 2019 NZST
Run: 125.9nm (227.9km)
Avg: 6.7knts
24hr: 161.2nm
03 44.28S 072 28.69E

Day 2 Conditions were lively last night with the wind about 40 degrees off the bow and lots of clouds that would give us more wind. Our main was reefed so we were able to furl and unfurl our jib as needed. Miraculously, we seemed to sail between all the big bad black clouds so no true squalls or rain. It's sunset and the wind has backed off. Time to shake out the reef while there's light. Should be easy going the rest of the way and we hope to arrive midday tomorrow.

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Wed Apr 24 6:06 2019 NZST
Run: 132.2nm (239.3km)
01 57.5S 072 52.00E

Woke up this morning to a SUNNY day (after 5 or more days of continuous squalls!). Trying to decide if we should set sail today or if tomorrow might be less rainy. Discovered that our local internet service had run out so we raised anchor and left! Our wind has been consistently 14-16 knots, about 75 degrees off the bow and we've averaged 6.5 knots in our first 12 hours, with no squalls. If this keeps up, we can do the 285 mile trip to Chagos in 48 hours! Whoo-hoo! Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Tue Apr 16 21:00 2019 NZST
Run: 303.7nm (549.7km)
00 4.00S 073 08.800E

After 60 days island hopping through the Maldives, we have arrived at Gan, the southern-most island. On the way, we crossed the equator for the 6th time. Yes, it has been more of a ' meander' than a 'highway' over the past 6 years. Our first equatorial crossing was on the way from Mexico to the Marquesas a lifetime ago in 2013! Bruce shared a tot of good Caribbean rum with Neptune, as is our custom. Our next crossing will be next year in another hemisphere when we sail the southern Atlantic from South Africa to St. John. We must be sure to save some of the good rum for that 7th and perhaps final crossing.

We hope to leave Monday, April 22 for the Chagos. For a month we will be in an uninhabited atoll owned by the British Indian Ocean Territories. We jumped through all kinds of expensive hoops for a permit to stop there on our way south. Then the dreaded 8 day sail to Rodrigues, one of the most challenging passages in the India Ocean. But Rodrigues, said to be like the French Caribbean 50 years ago, will be the reward (also beer and wine which are not available in the Maldives or Chagos). Once we are underway, we will be posting daily progress reports. Cheers!


Hi Laura and Bruce. All the best for your sail south. So glad to have met you both. It was a lot of fun sailing with you. I had a wonderful time. Stay safe . Till we meet again. Cheers Jan. Xx
Tue Mar 19 15:00 2019 NZDT
Run: 118.8nm (215km)
4 18.45N 073 33.83E

We are three weeks into our sojourn through the Maldives. The good news is that we are enjoying the sailing, swimming, schools of reef fish, daily dolphin sitings, and the occasional Manta Ray. The bad news is that this world renowned reef system is 90% dead from coral bleaching. We wonder how long before the fish disappear too. Heartbreaking. This country's economy depends on very high end tourism and the attraction is the diving.

The Maldives is a 100% Muslin country which means no bacon and no booze! Anywhere! We've been living in Muslim countries for the past 2 years and typically the Chinese merchants sell non-halal products. But not here. So our beer stash has dwindled to about half a case and we won't have an opportunity to get more until the end of May when we get to Mauritious! Fortunately, Bruce stocked up on rum in Langkawi (it was $10 a bottle for the good stuff so we have a supply of good, Caribbean dark rum). I am experimenting with my first batch of ginger beer! Hopefully the only part of our adventures that will be 'dark and stormy' will be happy hour!


Thu Feb 28 22:33 2019 NZDT
Run: 63.7nm (115.3km)
5 59.5n 73 13.3e

Spent the last few nights anchored inside reefs and not off an island. Beautiful, but not always as calm or secure as we would like. Did some snorkelling but requires towing dinghy as current is running. Today we did a short 11 mile hop to an island with an unfinished, abandoned resort.

We'll dinghy in later to explore this eerie ghost town. This should be a calm anchorage so we will stay here for a few days. Bruce has a few projects he wants to do and I would like to take down and reinforce our 7 year old bimini (that I made in Morro Bay, CA before we left on tbis adventure!). The scenery here still amazes us and we've had perfect weather so far so life is good!


Mon Feb 25 2:48 2019 NZDT
Run: 24.5nm (44.3km)
06 54.84N 073 13.82E

Lovely 23 mile sail to our next destination, an uninhabited island in the next atoll to the south of Uligan. Uligan was an amazing experience.

It is a small island of about 350 (about 77 school-age kids). Our agent and the immigration officer threw a fish BBQ on the beach for the four visiting boats the day after we arrived. We were asking about the various Maldivian dishes, which were all delicious, and the immigration officer, Niyaz, volunteered his wife, Nisaha, to give us a cooking lesson! Their 'weedend' is Friday and Saturday with Friday being like our "sabath". So, on Saturday we went to his house in the morning and his wife taught us to make roti.

Hers were perfectly round and transparent-thin. Ours looked like Australia, Africa, and Spain, befitting our international status! Then we sat around the kitchen table and mostly watched as they prepared a feast and treated us all to a wonderful lunch. Later in the afternoon Niyaz took us in his golf-cart/truck (no cars on the island) to the local farm where we were able to get eggplant, pumpkin, cucumber, greens, and chilis, cut directly off the vine and still warm from the sun. We were overwhelmed by the hospitality we experienced in Uligan. Oh, and did I mention that it is drop-dead gorgeous here and we snorkeled off the boat every day? What an incredible first impression of the Maldives!


Wed Feb 20 16:21 2019 NZDT
Run: 55.9nm (101.2km)
07 05.10N 072 55.07E

We arrived in Uligan, Maldives around 3:00 pm yesterday. Officials, all young men in nice uniforms and big welcoming smiles, came to the boat and swiftly and efficiently cleared us in. Our agent, Assad, invited us to join them for a quick dinner on a neighboring island. We declined as we were too tired, so he brought it to us as he didn't want us to have to cook on our first night.

Our surroundings are stunningly beautiful and I'm so happy we chose to come here! It's like Anegada or the Bahamas, but better, if that's possible. After we dropped the hook, which we can clearly see on the bottom, we were greeted by a large school of dolphins doing giant, joyful leaps out of the water. Schools of small fish went skip-stoning across the water, pursued by some unseen larger fish. I saw a huge splash in the distance that must have been a large Ray leaping out of the water. We haven't been in water we could swim in since Raja Ampat, almost 2 years ago! I feel like I'm 'home' in this beautiful water-world. After such an easy passage (1600 miles in 10 days) I feel like I'm getting my mojo back and might actually have the fortitude I need for the long trip back to St. John. But for now, I want to rejuvenate in these islands for the next few months. Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Tue Feb 19 16:51 2019 NZDT
Run: 150.6nm (272.6km)
Avg: 6.7knts
24hr: 161.4nm
06 53.16N 073 42.43E

We are motor sailing at 7 knots with about 9 knots apparent wind. Yesterday it looked like we were way south of our course line and would have to claw our way north against waves and current, putting us at the entrance to the atoll around midnight tonight (and we would never attempt going in at night). But in the past 12 hours our wind angle and boat speed improved, we honed in on an exact course rather than approximate, and now it looks like we can make it to our anchorage before sunset today! That means a good night's sleep tonight before meeting officials and clearing into the Maldives tomorrow. 1540 miles and two time zones behind us and 60 miles to go,! Appreciate Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Mon Feb 18 18:27 2019 NZDT
Run: 322.5nm (583.7km)
Avg: 6.2knts
24hr: 149.7nm
06 15.61N 075 48.46E

We are on our final leg and have been motoring with the main up since yesterday afternoon. Winds are light and, unfortunately on the nose. We are trying to go NW but there has been an unfavorable current so we are going below our rhum-bline. Our 24hr mileage was 120 and we will be adding distance by not being able to steer our direct route. So ETA is now February 20. The good news is that February 19 is the full moon and we will be able to enjoy it. Other than complaining about wind direction, our weather has been amazing the entire trip.

And speaking of complaining, allow me to indulge. I am very tired and cranky this morning. Our new engine, while quieter than the old one, produces a very loud and high pitched harmonic when run above 1500 RPM (recommended RPM is 1600-1800). As I was turning in for some shut-eye, Bruce cranked up the engine. Well in our aft stateroom, it was like an air-raid siren. I tried ear plugs, pillow over head, to know avail. Ended up in the main cabin to escape brain damage, but we don't have a bunk in our main cabin. So no sleep. We ended up reducing RPM to make it tolerable. Bruce slept like the dead when it was his turn to catch some sleep And......speaking of dead. In the middle of my watch, noticed a bit of gore on the deck that appeared to be a fish eye! How does that happen? When Bruce got up, he found a dead, one-eyed flying fish in the galley, almost in the frying pan on the stove! Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Sat Feb 16 14:45 2019 NZDT
Run: 157.5nm (285.1km)
Avg: 7.1knts
24hr: 171nm
05 24.02N 080 25.06E

Dropped sails yesterday and motored across traffic separation zone. Non-stop line of empty tankers headed back to middle east to load up (fuel for China and Australia, etc). Fuel seems rather cheap when you consider the miles they go to deliver and return. Everywhere we go it seems we pay about $4/gal. for both gasoline (petrol) and diesel. The wind picked back up so once we were safely across the traffic lanes, we raised sail and headed SW, away from the traffic. At 0200 we jibed and set course NW for Maldives (YAY!). We are on a beam reach with 11 kts of apparent wind and traveling at 8 kts with benefit of current! The wind is supposed to die later today and we will most likely motor the rest of the trip so we are enjoying the breeze while we can. We just finished another 24 hours logging 166 nm. So much better than we expected. All is well! Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Fri Feb 15 16:39 2019 NZDT
Run: 191.6nm (346.8km)
Avg: 7.7knts
24hr: 184.3nm
06 07.43N 082 35.41E

Dang! I've been composing my daily entry in the wee hours of my night watch, and then finishing it at 0830 when I have our 24 mileage. But the post I wrote last night has disappeared and I don't have anyway of knowing if it sent itself or deleted itself (I take no responsibility for either action). Sensei Jim Cole, any suggestions? Just after the sun came up we were hit by our first squall of the trip (pretty good considering this stretch of ocean). Laura's watch but no problem as the jib was already furled, we got a 50 degree favorable wind shift, and wind didn't exceed 20-22 knots (downwind so apparently wind was less). For you non-sailors, imagine bicycling against 20 mph wind as opposed to having that wind on your back). The rain wasn't very hard and, anyway, the old girl needed a fresh water rinse. The boat could use one too! We did 164 nm our 6th day, and we are grateful for the current assist as winds were light. Now we are approaching the 'highway' of commercial traffic that runs east-west below Sri Lanka. Some are bound for the Suez, Africa, or India, and others to points east. I did see the name of one ship on AIS, COSTCO UNIVERSE! Scary or progress? By the end of the day, before the sun sets, we should be safely across. Signing off for now.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Thu Feb 14 15:42 2019 NZDT
Run: 205.1nm (371.2km)
Avg: 9.4knts
24hr: 225.3nm
05 17.11N 085 14.75E

Logged another 178 nm between 0800 yesterday and 0800 today, for a total of 800 nm in 5 days. Not to shabby!Now our winds are diminishing and will continue to do so for the rest of the trip. Peaceful, starry night as wind lightened. When the sun rose, we jibed and shook out the reef in the Mainsail. This takes about 30 minutes and involves more lines than we have hands or winches, plus moving the Spinnaker pole is much more complicated now that Bruce can no longer 'dip' it, but the two of us must disconnect it and carry it aft to clear the new inner stay. (I see some sort of quick-release hardware in our future.) We also had many un-fair leads to sort out as we weren't sufficiently caffeinated. So we begin day 6. Bruce is already talking about more fun and games with our Spinnaker as the latest weather report shows less wind than before. We have 5 days to go and fuel to motor 3-4.

BTW, on this side of the dateline it is February 14. So Happy Valentine's Day everyone and a special shout out to Dwight Long who is getting the gift of knee replacement surgery! Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Dwight surgery went well, He came home from hsp 16th. I told him of your shout out!
Wed Feb 13 17:51 2019 NZDT
Run: 299.4nm (541.9km)
Avg: 8.8knts
24hr: 211.3nm
07 04.43N 087 37.63E

We continue westward toward Sri Lanka with 16-21 knots of wind from ENE. Wing and wing with a reefer main and full (90%) jib. We've had a favorable current and achieved a remarkable 190 nm in the last 24 hours. The wind should come down later today and continue to dwindle so we are happy to make the most of the weather we've had. We'll most likely be motoring with no wind the last three days which will give us a chance to run the water maker and hand-wash some clothes! Also, I'll save my more ambitious meals for flatter seas. I must have 6 mos. of food stashed all over the boat and haven't even put a dent in the loaded refrigerator. All is well on board.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Tue Feb 12 7:51 2019 NZDT
Run: 199nm (360.2km)
Avg: 7.3knts
24hr: 175.6nm
07 18.62N 091 59.23E

End of day three Enjoying our wing and wing downwind run with winds from the East around 17 knots.Jibed over to port tack after sunrise and coffee. Sailed through pass in Nickobar Islands by mid-day. Decided to jibe back to starboard tack before sunset as wind will eventually click north of east. Roller furling had fouled on the drum plus our newly installed inner stay makes moving the Spinnaker pole more difficult so it was dark by the time we had everything in order. Now enjoying a quiet, very dark night cruising at 7 knots. The wind is supposed to die around February 16 so we want to sail as many miles as possible before that happens. ETA still looking like February 19. Looking forward to more moonlight as February 19 is the full moon.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Mon Feb 11 4:39 2019 NZDT
Run: 167.5nm (303.2km)
Avg: 7.2knts
24hr: 171.8nm
07 40.96N 094 51.97E

our first night underway was calm and gorgeous. Crew was well fed and well rested. No moon so a zillion stars. North Star and Big Dipper on the right and Southern Cross on our left as we sail towards Orion. Our first 24 hours yielded a measly 114 miles. But today the wind picked up and we were close reaching at 7+ knots. By 1300 we decided to reef the main. So more wind means lumpier seas and we are acclimating! The winds should stay with us for another 5 or 6 days which will get us around the southern tip of Sri Lanka. Mick on Zoa is within 8-10 miles of us so we are in regular radio contact. All is well.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Sun Feb 10 5:15 2019 NZDT
Run: 82.5nm (149.3km)
07 17.5N 097 16.7E

Raised anchor at 0800. Heading west with light winds behind us. Motor sailed all day with fickle winds. Turned off engine at 2230. Currently sailing at 4 knots with 7 knots from the NW. A gentle way to ease into sailing! Spent most of the day charging batteries, topping off water tanks with watermaker, practicing ukulele, crocheting yet another beer coozie from (recycled) grocery bags, enjoying fresh food while it lasts, tweaking sails and enjoying being away from the stifling heat in the anchorage.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.


Hey Guys, Great to hear from you and thank you for the updates! Still slumming in Russell, waiting for my darling Alli to arrive for Seven weeks. Very curious where you will go next and what it is like out there, are you missing the South Pacific yet? I'm planning to sail up to Fiji again this spring and try to spend a couple of seasons up there. Between Alli's cottage in Yorkshire, Patanjali and my House in LA, we seem to stay busy. Miss you guys and the great times we spent together, keep writing! You know I want to be like Bruce when I grow up! Fair Winds! Michael
Thu Feb 7 18:45 2019 NZDT
Run: 34.7nm (62.8km)
07 49.0N 98 21.60E

Happy Lunar New Year (year of the pig!). We are planning to check out of Thailand on Friday and depart on Saturday (Friday is considered unlucky for a nautical departure although we have done that many times). We will probably have no wind for the first 12-24 hours which will give us a chance to run the engine, charge the batteries, and top off our water tanks with the water maker. After that we should be able to sail. It seems like FOREVER since we've been offshore so I am hoping for a gentle re-entry! We plan to post daily while offshore and hope to make landfall in the Maldives February 19 (full moon!). If you need to contact us while we are offshore, you can email us at neptuneshighway@myiridium.net.


Wed Jan 16 21:36 2019 NZDT
Run: 35.2nm (63.7km)
08 00.60N 98 49.7E

Spent a few days cruising the hongs of Phang Nga Bay.

Spectacularly beautiful and peaceful once you get away from day boats. Now we are at Krabi with a million noisy longtails ferrying tourists to and from the beach. Tomorrow we head back to civilization to make final preparations for our Indian Ocean crossing. I'm out of food after a week of cruising - how will I provision for 4 months. Yikes! Plus permits, visas, insurance, taxes... Ugh! Hope to be out of here first week of February.

Looking forward to having all the prep behind us and hopefully enjoy the ride.


Tue Jan 8 16:11 2019 NZDT
Run: 28.2nm (51km)
7 48.6N 98 21.3E
Weather: 20 kts from the East. Clear and sunny.

Finally official! Checked in yesterday afternoon and took a walk to check out local supermarket. OK, but disappointing after Malaysia. Will have to figure out how to get 3-4 months provisions before we leave. Wind is still blowing and anchorage is very lumpy. Long dinghy ride to shore. Looking for a more favorable option.


Sun Jan 6 21:06 2019 NZDT
Run: 29nm (52.5km)
7 44.71N 98 45.67E
Weather: 12-14 kts from SE in AM, lightening up to 5-7 in afternoon.

Perfect sailing conditions for 35 nm sail to Phi Phi Don.

Recounted plot of The Beach to Bruce as we sailed past the island where it was filmed. Picked up a mooring in gorgeous spot which we should have to ourselves once day trippers leave. Tomorrow we expect similar conditions for the 25 nm sail to Ao Chalong, Phuket to (finally!) clear in to Thailand and get some Thai food!


Wed Jan 2 20:21 2019 NZDT
Run: 103.2nm (186.8km)
7 31N 99 07E
Weather: Hazy, but sunny with 12 knots from the north.

Well, we expected to beat our way from Langkawi to Phuket - sailing NW with NE winds. But the winds have been from the north! Yesterday we clawed our way from Koh Lipe to Rok Nok into 16 kts on the nose. 43 miles turned into 50 with tacking (even motoring we needed to be off the wind with the main up to make any kind of speed). Left at sun-up and arrived at sun-down. Made a bee line for an available mooring and a charter cat came around the corner, saw we were heading for the mooring, and closed the gap when we were about 3 boat lengths away and snagged it out from under us. (Visions of Tawanda and the parking scene in Fried Green Tomatoes). It was the last available mooring so we anchored with the big boys in 120 ft! A record for us but very light breeze so no problem.

We realized early on that we can't make Phuket in these winds and a typhoon is expected to impact the area on Friday. So we did an easy jog today to Ko Lanta off the mainland and we will stay here until the weather straightens out on Sunday. Then, hopefully two easy day -hops will get us to Phuket where we can finally check into Thailand!


Hello Laura and Bruce, We hope all is well with Neptune’s Highway. We have been watching the typhoon’s progress closely and are glad it is beyond you now. Given the track of the storm we are glad you were delayed in getting further north when planned. We are eager to hear news from you. All well here. Barbara (and Jim)

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