Saturday, December 24, 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016

We're in Bali for Christmas

We are spending Christmas in Bali at Villa Cengkeh and will go to Phuket to get SV Villa G into the sea in early January.  A break for the Bali rain will be welcomed.
A Balinese Guardian

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Dinner in Bali

First Thanksgiving in Villa Cengkeh. Roast duck, Apple pie and veggies.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Diving Indonesia's Diversity Hot Spots: Komodo to Raja Ampat with SV Jaya

Just arrived in Sorong after 19 days of diving onboard the SV Jaya a ship in the fleet of Wicked Diving Indonesia.  Superb staff and excellent dive sites in over 1300 nm of the sea between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

Have a look at the brief video by David Palfrey who dove every dive and worked everyday to make some superb video footage.  I have a 25 minute version which has been uploaded HERE <--Click to see the big version on YouTube.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

KLM Jaya arrives Banda Naira

We sailed into Banda's harbour at daybreak. Beautiful setting in a very historic environment.

We continue diving tomorrow in the Banda area.

Susan's in San Diego visiting sister Diana.  They had lunch with Karin and Claes,  friends from Uppsala, today in Oceanside. Small world!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

SMS from 8816325641**

dove karang dusborgh. dive boats wow and arenui there too. no hammerhead sharks. Lat-06.643400 Lon+129.496633 Alt +0 ft (0s ago) 16-Oct-2016 00:01:53 UTC

Saturday, October 15, 2016

SMS from 8816325641**

just came across dive live-aboard KLM Matahariku stranded on reef pulau terbang selatan, Lat-07.351233 Lon+128.549866 Alt +0 ft (0s ago) 15-Oct-2016 04:56:34 UTC

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Dinner Onboard KLM Java

We're sailing across Flores Island and diving 2 or 3 times per day.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Komodo Island, Home of the Dragons

My dive boat made a short stop for a walk with rangers on Pulau Komodo.  Pretty cool creatures. Generally eat deer and pigs, not humans.

On board SV JAYA a vessel in the Wicked Diving fleet.

Dana M. Fowlkes

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Gone Diving

I have joined a 20 day dive live-aboard in Komodo, ID going to Raja Ampat. The vessel is relocating for the season. She is the KLM Java and operated by Wicked Diving who we worked with in Thailand.  Jaya is separating from Wicked Diving after this trip.

Susan is in Vancouver and will also go to San Diego and Boston visiting her sisters.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sail Indonesia etc Rally in Lovina

It has been fun watching the cruising yachts coming and leaving Lovina the past several weeks.  The numbers are thinning out now as the dry season is beginning to wane and visas begin to run out.  We have had rain twice this week for the first time in over 2 months.

We literally have a bird's eye view of the Lovina harbour.

Dusk approached

Morning and the tidal current has changed

Saturday, August 20, 2016

New Family: Chip Lord

We now have a new family member:  Chip Lord.  Chip was born about 3 weeks ago in a cave under our house.  He has one brother and one sister who will be going to other homes.  The mother is traditional Balinese and roams the streets for her meals.
Chip Lord 3 weeks old

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Living in Bali has its rewards

This week we had a special invitation to the home of a Balinese friend who had two things to celebrate.  There is also a ceremony to celebrate everything in Bali, but these were special.  Firstly, Nyoman had finished construction on a new home and it HAD to be blessed.  Secondly, after ten years, Nyoman was being ordained as a top level Hindu priest.  The ceremonies lasted over a period of three days, but since he is a true friend, we were specifically invited to a buffer dinner.  There was still gamelan music and Balinese singing, but no religious ceremonies.  Those had been completed earlier in the day.
Susan, Nyoman and Dana

Sunday, May 29, 2016

We've moved into our new home: Villa Cengkeh, Bali

One week ago today we moved into our new newly constructed home on the north side of Bali.
Overview from living room toward the north Bali sea

Sunset over Java

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Six weeks, two different houses in Lovina, Bali

We came back to Bali on 9 May and have mostly been in Lovina watching and a bit helping get our new home, Villa Cengkeh, finished.  We are scheduled to move in on 22 May.

In Lovina we have stayed in two different houses.  This first was a super house found on Airbnb called Rumah Kami.  We had
Putu (L) and Kedek (R) of Rumah Kami
thought that it was nearby Villa Cengkeh, but as Airbnb does not show the correct locations for their rentals (to provide privacy for owners, I suppose) we were somewhat mislead about its location.  It was "over" Villa Cengkeh.  Almost literally.  For a crow it was not far to fly, but a serious climb up the mountain on a poorly maintained road.  While the views were superb, the trip up and down was such that we kept it to no more than one per day.  On the other hand, the housekeeping was excellent and Putu (shown above) cooked dinner for us 5 nights per week.  Her preparation and presentation was excellent.

Last Thursday we moved down to Villa Kayu Putih which is only a 10 minute walk from Villa Cengkeh.  We found it by simply stopping in one morning and speaking to the staff.  The owner is normally here for the six winter months and had already returned to Holland and the villa was available for 17 days, so here we are.  The house is very nice and the two staff here are also excellent and live nearby, so they will be some of our new neighbors.  Susan has decided that she needs more cooking experience, so she is making all our meals here.  YUM!  Note: Villa Kayu Putih can be rented online via Micazu.

Ketut, the gardener likes to make floral decorations like this one

Monday, April 4, 2016

A Marina with a Smile

We hauled Villa G out of the water and onto the hard stand today. Nye and Toe will give her a new paint job, fix up some teak and take care of some small repairs.

I counted 12 workers from Phuket's Boat Lagoon Marina helping getting her set up on the hard stand today.

By the way, how many marinas prove live entertainment and a fireworks show. Two evenings each month here they have the Lighthouse Market with food vendors, cooking shows, movies and a night club singer. Way cool!



Thursday, March 31, 2016

Villa G's cruise route from Darwin to Phuket in 2015 and 2016

After 3274 nautical miles we're in Phuket and cannot really say that we saw or did much new during that trip.  We basically retraced our cruise path in 2013 when we traveled from Phuket to Darwin.  I have attached a link to our track here in gpx format (marine plotter) and here in KMZ (Google Earth format) where you can get a detailed map.  We'll be off to Bali soon to move into Villa Cengkeh.

Villa G's Cruise: Darwin to Phuket 2015-2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Crusing Season for 2015-2016 Drawing to a Close

We berthed in Phuket's Boat Lagoon Marina at noon today on the high tide.  That's 3274 nautical miles since leaving Darwin's Cullen Bay last August.  It was not a conventional cruise as we were somewhat sidetracked with the process of building our new home in Bali (see  We anchored in Lovina Bali for 3 weeks on the way north, flew to Bali from Singapore as well as from Penang to check on things.  So it has actually rushed cruise and generally uneventful except for losing the hydraulic steering one night and a water-maker problem that required parts sent from the USA.

We will have Villa G repainted and other, mostly cosmetic, work done here in Phuket by Nai and Toe at Phuket Inter Woodwork.  We will take off the sails and lines and get them cleaned and repaired, remove most things that might be in the way of the paint work etc.  So we will be in the water about a week and stay here another week once Villa G is up on the hardstand to complete all the arrangements.

We plan to fly back to Bali on 9 April and move into Villa Cengkeh by 15 May.  It is very exciting for us.  Like most people, we have never built a house from scratch.  Of course, we are not "building" per se, but enjoying the fruits of skilled Indonesian workers and the fine organizational skills of Tropis-Living's Roland Leijten.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Kalibukbuk, Bali: Final preparations for the community's Ogoh-Ogoh

Today the final touches are being put on the local Banjar's Ogoh-Ogoh.  The artists/constructors were soliciting donations at the last minute for more paint.  As you can see the evil devil is pulling some poor soul from the grave.  The huge figures will go to the beach with dancing and music then be burned before casting into the sea.

The Devil Herself!

The Soul being raised from his grave

Its a community event

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Bali's Nyepi: Out with the evil and in with the good

We will leave Bali the day before Nyepi, the Balinese New Year when all is quite.  Seriously, it will be quite.  No cars on the road, all flights cancelled and ALL businesses closed.  Guests will be required to stay in their hotel or resort.

However, leading up to Nyepi is a rush to complete paper mache constructions of evil which will be marched to the sea, burned and then cast in to rid the island of the evil spirits had may have accumulated over the past year. The next day will be Nyepi, or New Year's Day

Every Banjar, or community within a Balinese village, is busy preparing Ogoh-Ogoh, these are puppet like creations of frightful figures varying from small for the kids to gigantic for the Banjar.  Below are photos of the Ogoh-Ogoh being created here near our guest house in Kalibukbuk.  The young people at the school are preparing to dance the big Olga-Olga to the sea accompanied by musicians seen practicing outside the school.
The unfinshed Olga-Olga of the Banjar

Olga-Olga at a local shop

Members of the school orchestra

Practice for dancing the Olga-Olga to the beach

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Balinese Birthday Celebration

I (Dana) successfully reached 66 years of age and was feted at Lovina's Spice Beach Club.  It was a beautiful moonlit night and the crowd was happy and there was live music.  Roland and Nyoman are two of the principals in Tropis Living that is building our new home, Villa Cengkeh.  Conveniently, Nyoman owns the Spice Beach Club located in Lovina's Kaliasem village.  The food here is excellent and the staff quite professional (what else with the boss sitting at the table?)  I enjoyed Lombok scallops and Asian duck breast for dinner.

To my surprise, the dinner was followed by a huge serving of traditional nasi kuning campur (yellow rice with a selection of yummies) AND a tiramisu birthday cake.

It was a wonderful occasion and super way to celebrate.

Lovina's Spice Beach Club

Mr. Roland and wife, Dana and Mr. Nyoman and wife

Traditional Balinese Nasi Kuning
Dana and Susan

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Back in Bali: Sanur in the South

We flew into Denpasar, Bali today. We will go shopping for furniture and then go to Lovina.

Monday, February 8, 2016

More from Straits Quay Marina Penang

Today is Chinese New Year's and we are enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of the holiday here in Penang.  There are some noteworthy updates since we were staying here over two years ago.  First, Sam's Groceria which is a first class market with a focus on imported food products and fresh fruit and veggies.  It also has a large selection of ready to eat for enjoying in their cafe or take away.

Secondly, there is now a non-halal meat shop.  Specifically that means they sell a lot of pork products including imported bacon, sausages and fresh pork products too.
Entrance to Straits Quay Shopping Area
The new Sam's Groceria at Straits Quay

The "Pork" Store at Straits Quay

The Marina at Straits Quay

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Penang Malaysia

We had a very nice dinner with our friend Geron Ngo (of Onomichi Marine Enterprises) and his family in a seafood restaurant at Straits Quay Mall and then returned to SV Villa G to enjoy Australian Bulla chocolate-chocolate chip real ice cream from Sam's Groceria (also in Straits Quay Mall).  Wow, two liters of ice cream just disappeared.

Juni (far right in photo) will be attending University in Adelaide beginning next week.  Joey, sitting to the right of Susan, is a University student studying mass media in Taiwan.  To the left of Juni is Jerome who is a high school student here in Penang.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Chinese New Year in Penang Malaysia

Penang is about as Chinese as you can get without being in China.
Excellent Chinese food is to be found everywhere and experts claim it
is the best. Of course, there is excellent Indian food to be found
here too. Even a Burger King if needed.

Villa G is comfortably situated in a berth in Straits Quay Marina
where she will stay for two months. Susan and Dana will take a 3 week
trip to Lovina Bali to look after the Villa Cengkeh construction

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Waiting out the wind near Kho Lanta

There have been strong winds for several days due to a blizzard
producing high pressure over China. These winds sweep down over the
Malay peninsula blasting everything with frequent gusts of 30 knots
even a few hundred meters from the protecting shore.

Since it is not fun to sail with such gusty winds and finding good
protective anchorages a challenge too, we departed Phuket last
Saturday and motor sailed over to Kho Lanta. This is a long island
with mountains. We are just taking it easy and reading and doing

Today Susan baked fresh bread. What a good use of free time. Also,
with the consistent winds, I have sorted out the problem with our wind
generator and seem to have it producing power now.

Wednesday we will sail on toward Malaysia. We need to be in Penang by
1 February.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Hanging out in PhangNga Bay

We've been anchored in a beautiful cove off of Kho Yao Yao in Thailand's PhangNga Bay. Quite relaxing; however very sunny and rather hot in the afternoons. Tomorrow we go about 9 nautical miles to Phuket Boat Lagoon Marina for a week while we get some rigging repairs etc.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Ao Po Grand Marina - Phuket Island, Thailand

We have been able to get a berth at Ao Po Marina on Phuket Island.
When we were in Phuket previously they had yet to build sea walls to
protect the marina, thus it was not a great place to be in the winter
season with winds from north or east. However, the walls are there
and they had a berth available, so here we are. The marina has a nice
setting in Phang Nga Bay about half way up Phuket Island's east coast.
The water is deep and there are no tidal limitations for entry. A big
improvement over Boat Lagoon Marina where the draft is always a touchy
issue and 80% of the time too shallow to enter.

We hope that we will be able to organize repairs to our steering
system relatively soon, but boats are boats and one never knows what
to expect. There is a Parker hydraulic supplies store in Phuket, so
it is mainly a matter of having the right stock available and the
manpower to get it installed. Mainly we need 15 meters of half inch
5000 psi wire re-enforced hydraulic hose and a bunch of high quality
fittings to connect things. We'll take out all the old copper pipes.
Copper tubing is still recommended by the marine industry, but it is
too fragile for our comfort.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's dinner on SV Villa G

Fresh prawns from this morning's catch and homemade potatoes salad. YUM! 😋


Happy New YEAR'S from Phang Nga Bay Thailand!  Blue skies and brisk NE wind and about 87 F. Maybe a few showers next week, but it is the dry season and should be mild until middle of February.

Susan just bought a kilo of fresh prawns from a local fisherman (husband and wife). These will be great with homemade potatoes salad.

We lost the use of our hydraulic steering and autopilot on the trip up from Langkawi, so we will hang out unto business reopen and organize repairs in Phuket.  There are worse place to be held up for a week. :)