1. Myanmar is more open to tourism than ever before. The country welcomed some 3 million visitors in 2014, about half of those international tourists. Five million tourists was a target set for 2015, although the numbers are not in yet. The number of tourists to Myanmar (Burma) is exploding because tourists may now enter freely after acquiring a visa online and picking it up on arrival; they can travel freely throughout the countryside without escorts (this was not the case during my first visit in 2006); and Myanmar is the most authentic and untouched of all the countries in Southeast Asia. Tourists are rushing to see it before it turns into another Thailand. So now is the time to go!

My husband and I chose Myanmar as our international vacation destination for 2014. Because of skyrocketing tourism, hotels tended to be scarce during the high season, so we chose to leave in October and return in early November. We booked through Enchanting Travels, Myanmar. They organized an independent “slow travel” tour for us via auto and plane, with a local tour guide at each destination. Our round-trip tour included the bustling city of Yangon, the fertile farms of Shan state, the mountain villages of Pindaya, the fishing villages of Inle Lake, the stupas of Bagan, a two-day cruise up the Irrawaddy River to Mandalay, and relaxing at Ngapali beach, where I had an opportunity to journal before heading home.

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You can access my blog posts and photos about my trips to Burma here:

Why Go to Myanmar?

Burma in My Blood

Walking a Village in Myanmar

Burma, My Next Favorite Place

I recommend booking hotel rooms in advance through a local travel company—at least for the first few days of your trip. Cash is king in Myanmar. You can exchange dollars for kyats as you go.  Credit cards are not widely accepted but ATM machines are readily available. WiFi is like dial-up internet of the 1990s in most places, but that only forces you to adapt to the slow travel approach. Just be patient, take it easy, and enjoy the spectacular scenery and friendly people. Pack for hot weather. The “peak season” to visit with the best weather is from November to February. We traveled in October during the “shoulder season” because we wanted to be home for Thanksgiving. If you visit in other months, you’ll suffocate (110F/45C in Yangon) or you’ll soak during the rainy season.

2. Cartagena, Colombia is one of the most charming cities we visited during our entire sailing circumnavigation. Now you can fly there from almost anywhere in the world. The city holds a special place in my heart because this was our refuge from a Force 10 storm that we encountered off the coast of Venezuela during the Maiden Voyage of Pacific Bliss. In fact, I wrote this about Cartagena in Chapter 7 of In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss: Maiden Voyage:

Cartagena is a magical place that must be experienced at least once in a lifetime. But a word of caution: Once you come to see her, you will dream about when you can return. From its charming, old walled city to its historic naval and land fortifications to the posh, modern high rises and its tourist beaches, Cartagena dazzles and thrills. However, this is a city that cannot be devoured; she needs to be savored—slowly and deliciously. Mark my words: Gunter and I will be back!

The photos below are taken from Maiden Voyage.

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Although we haven’t returned to this marvelous destination yet, rest be assured, it is on our bucket list! If you want to see the city, just book a hotel and take a city tour or travel around by cab. Be sure to spend a full day in Old Town Cartagena. While you’re there, you might want to take one of the many Spanish language courses offered. Or you might want to book a day sail to Islas del Rosario for some swimming and snorkeling. If you’re more adventurous, contact Worldview Travel about one of their jungle tours.

3. I never tire of Bali, Indonesia. But beware: Once you go there, you’ll return again and again. Bali has a special significance to me because Gunter and I spent our honeymoon there back in 1995. We rented a hotel at world-famous Kuta Beach, not far from populous Denpasar. If you like loud music and crowded beaches, this is for you. If you are more adventurous, you can do what we did. We checked out of our hotel after two noisy days and booked a four-day boat trip to Lombok and then to the Komodo Islands to see the dragons. Back in Bali, we spent the second week at the far side of the island, at a quiet beach resort with a volcanic, black-sand beach. We were instructed to hit the dong of a wooden carving outside our door to call for coffee service. Later, a server asked us, “Did you know that Mick Jagger slept here—in your bungalow?” Hmm. But our favorite part of Bali was the traditional town of Ubud in the interior, where we watched Balinese processions, visited carving and silver shops, and took in a Legong Dance at the King’s Palace.

When we visited Bali the second time, during our world circumnavigation, we knew exactly where we wanted to stay. With Pacific Bliss safely berthed at the Bali International Marina, we took a taxi to Hotel Tjampuhan on the outskirts of Ubud. For one week, we enjoyed a totally hedonistic experience in a secluded hillside bungalow overlooking a lush valley.  Birds called back and forth, their high notes overriding the deeper sounds of rushing water far below. Squirrels raced up tall tamarind trees and red hibiscus blooms added color to the verdant landscape. We swam in a cool, spring-fed pool, and enjoyed side-by-side massages at a spa dug into the hillside above the waterfall. In the cool of the evening, we walked into town and enjoyed performances at The Royal Palace. Later during our sojourn in Bali, we booked a few days with friends in Sanur Beach—a much better alternative to Kuta. I haven’t been back to Bali since the advent of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love book and movie but rest assured, this island will never lose its charm.

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4. Vietnam is a must visit that combines history and beauty—and they openly welcome Americans. We visited Vietnam in June 2006, along with a cruising couple who had set up our private tour for four with a local travel agency, Focus Travel. That worked out well because we could share a van and driver. In fact, the total cost for each of us to tour there for 10 days, including guides, private transportation, four-star hotels, tours, a cooking class, 10 breakfasts, 4 lunches and one dinner, plus domestic flights from Hanoi to Danang and from Hue to Saigon was $673. We flew from Langkawi, where Pacific Bliss was berthed, into Hanoi and out of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).

Vietnam has over 2,000 miles of coastline and our route from Hanoi to Saigon covered most of it, backed by central highlands and jagged mountain ridges throughout most of it. Fertile farms line the rivers and deltas. We loved Hanoi with its charming French colonial boulevards and landscaped lakes. The city was a wonderful mixture of old and new. In addition to taking in a Water Puppet show and a Vietnamese cooking class, we toured the Military Museum and the sobering Hao Lo Prison Americans called the “Hanoi Hilton.” 

DSCN2056 (2) Rice Fields of Vietnam

We found the people giving, gracious and anxious to please. I was fascinated to learn what the younger Vietnamese think about what they call “The American War:” According to them, that was but a blip in their history, following a1000-year war against China and a 30-year war against France. Yes, the older generation of Vietnamese are battle-hardened, proud, and nationalist. But for the energetic younger generation (the median age is 29) Vietnam is a place to succeed, to earn a lot of money, and to have a good time. They care little about politics; they were born since all those wars occurred.

From Hanoi we drove along the coast to Halong Bay, a World Heritage site, then flew to Danang with its stretches of unspoiled sandy beaches, and drove on to Hoi An to relax at a beach resort for a couple of days. In a town famous for its tailors, we dropped off clothing to be “copied” and picked up the next day. Next we drove over the mountains to Hue, the former capital city of Vietnam where we took an evening barge trip down the Perfume River. We flew to Saigon and checked into a 1920s hotel in the heart of downtown, great for shopping and touring a city that, in 2006, had no McDonalds, KFC, or chain stores of any kind. From Saigon, we toured the Mekong Delta and then drove through industrial areas south of Saigon—car assembly plants, and numerous manufacturing complexes. There, we could see that rapid industrialization was underway.   

DSCN2035 (2) Tourist Boats, Halong Bay

With over 90 million inhabitants in 2014, Vietnam is the world’s 13th most populous country. A full 65% of its population is under 30. Since 2000, the country’s GDP growth in has been among the highest in the world, with the U.S. as its largest trading partner. When we were there, the populace was very excited about joining the World Trade Organization in 2007.  Since then, much has changed dramatically, so if you want to see parts of the old Vietnam with the simpler life, go there soon!

5. If you want a more adventurous vacation, check out Savu Savu or Fiji’s remote Lau Island Group.  We sailed almost all the way around Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, then left our yacht in Savusavu, on Fiji’s second-largest island, Vanua Levu. We had obtained a special permit in Suva to visit Fiji’s remote Lau Group for a thatched-hut-on-the-beach experience. Not easy, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Chapters 8 and 10 of Sailing the South Pacific, my second book in the adventure series, describes two sailing seasons we spent in Fiji, where we had too many adventures to list here. Feel free to ask for advice in the COMMENT section below.

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What are your travel plans for 2016?

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After seeing the Lord of the Forest, an ancient kauri tree, while touring New Zealand, I still could not get those kauri trees out of my mind. So when we saw some furniture made of kauri wood in a museum, I made a wish: Someday, if I would have a lake or mountain home, and if I could somehow manage to purchase and ship some of that kauri wood to the States, I would have a coffee table made of a slice of that marvelous wood. Never mind that this is a protected species, like the ancient California redwoods. I put it “out there” anyway.

We walk through the Waipoua Forest to see the ancient, graying Tane Mahuta, Lord of the Forest, the world's largest living kauri tree (Photo from p. 197 of

We walk through the Waipoua Forest to see the ancient, graying Tane Mahuta, Lord of the Forest, the world’s largest living kauri tree (Photo from p. 197 of “Sailing the South Pacific”)

Years later, part of the money from the sale of Pacific Bliss enabled us to purchase Northern Bliss, our family heritage home on a Wisconsin lake. Amazingly, my wish has come true. During the remodeling process of our lodge-style home, wonderfully completed by my son-in-law, Mike Mowers , I googled kauri wood. I discovered that—lo and behold—there was one distributor of kauri wood in the U.S. and he happened to be in Wisconsin! The company is called Ancientwood Ltd, owned by Bob Teisburg. The kauri he sells is pulled out of New Zealand swamps. It’s taken a year, but I finally have a coffee table and fireplace mantle made of that ancient kauri wood.

Coffee table made of kauri wood from New Zealand

Coffee table made of kauri wood from New Zealand

Here’s an excerpt from Sailing the South Pacific:

The Lord of the Forest

I cannot get those giant kauri trees out of my mind.They say that even the redwoods of Big Sur, California, cannot compete with the kauris’ ancient appearance and aura. I must have another look.

We take the West Coast Road (also called the Kauri Coast Road) south. We follow signs posted for Tani Mahuta Track and the Waipoua Forest. There, we have been assured, we will find Tani Mahuta, Lord of the Forest, the world’s largest living kauri tree, guaranteed to take our breath away. This great work of nature was discovered in the 1920s by surveyors who had been contracted to build Highway 12 through the forest. They called it Tani Mahuta after a god in Maori mythology. Tani was the son of Ranginui, the Sky Father and Papatuanuku, the Earth Mother.  Being a jealous child, he separated his parents and then, out of love for his mother, created the living forest to clothe her. As a result, even today, all creatures of the forest are considered to be Tani’s children.

Walking the short track that leads through the cooling shade of the forest canopy, I flush with anticipation. Not far into the walk, we sweep around a corner and I stop dead in my tracks. There he is! Suddenly, I’m brought face to face with the Lord of the Forest. I stand perfectly still. I stare. My first glimpse of this magnificent tree takes my breath away! I can sense Tani Mahuta’s ancient presence and animal strength. He dominates the forest. 

Almost 2000 years old, he, too, is almost 16 stories high, but he has a circumference of over 45 feet.  He is the giant of giants!  An enormous growth that dwarfs everything else. 

A wooden fence protects him. A viewing bench surrounds him. I sit in silence. Awed. I wonder at the centuries that have come and gone under the spreading branches of this primeval forest patriarch. Then, I stand and move back…farther…farther…farther.  I must fit this entire majestic being into my camera lens. I must…I must….And, finally, I rejoice…because I have him!

Two plaques hang in our guest bathroom, one of a humpback whale surfacing, another of a baby humpback swimming atop its mother’s back. They are both signed by the artist, Sheri. Like most of the art in our home, this piece has a back story.

P1040744 Humpback Whales in Tonga

Humpback Whales in Tonga

Gunter tells the story on page 148 of Sailing the South Pacific:

The Eye of the Whale: A Moment of BlissBy Günter

Our guide spots a mother humpback whale with her calf; she orders the driver to approach them slowly. Then at the spot where we had last seen them, the four of us on this excursion, along with our guide, take to the water with our snorkeling gear. With my face down, I do not see anything right away. Suddenly, I see something right below me—big and white. Then I realize that what I am seeing is the mother on her back, letting the calf drink her milk. In the next moment, the calf begins to surface very close to me, just a few arm lengths away. It comes up and looks at me with a large black eye as large as a dinner plate. I am mesmerized. I cannot move.

I feel intimately connected to this animal in a very friendly way. I have a very strong urge to touch it. So I swim a few feet toward it and reach out with my arm. That is too close for the whale’s comfort! The calf rolls on its back and paddles away from me with a few powerful strokes of its large flippers. In doing this, one of its flippers hits me on the right shoulder. It feels like being slapped with a big piece of wood. I’m not injured, but the spell is broken. I become concerned that the mother will surface and toss me into the air. However, she doesn’t; she is a gracious creature who forgives my intrusion.

The Moment of Bliss in which I felt deeply connected to this fellow animal is gone. What is left is a scolding from the guide. I had violated the rules of engagement in the Whale Watcher’s Guide. I feel like a little schoolboy being reprimanded by the principal. But she is right. It is a very dangerous thing that I did.

Back in the anchorages, we find a houseboat with a sign saying ARK GALLERY. We motor over with our dinghy. We tell Sheri, the artist/owner, about Günter’s experience. “Then you will want a souvenir of that experience,” she says. “Here’s a set of plaques that I painted of those whales. One of the humpback surfacing. The other, as you can see, of the baby swimming above the mother.”

I love them!  There is no need to negotiate. I pay the price. I know exactly where they will hang in our home.

During my Spring Author Tour, I took a question from the audience about how to maintain one’s health while cruising. I explained how healthy we’d been during our eight-year circumnavigation and added that we’d only faced hospitals and surgeries since becoming landlubbers.

“Serious?”

I shrugged and easily dismissed the question.

“I had both rotator cuffs repaired and Gunter is facing a total knee replacement—but it’s only body parts.”

The audience laughed and the Q&A session at the Point Loma West Marine store rolled on.  If only I knew then what I know now—but maybe it was better not to know.

The following Wednesday, May 15th, Gunter was admitted to the hospital for his new bionic knee, an amazing prosthetic made of stainless steel and strong plastic that will last him another 20-30 years—in other words, the rest of his life.

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We’d both attended the total knee orientation class given by exuberant physical and occupational therapists, (PTs and OTs) who exuded confidence and efficiency. “You’re going to be the primary caregiver after he returns home? Good for you!” one of them said to me. What followed was a thorough instruction in preparing our home: remove all scatter rugs; rearrange furniture to allow for a walker; make sure risers are attached to low toilets; and add a grab bar to the shower.  Piece of cake. We were ready.

During the pre-op appointment, Gunter’s orthopedic surgeon assured us he had done “hundreds of knees.”

“What’s the earliest I could travel to Northern Bliss—that’s our lake home—if all goes well?” Gunter asked.

“How long is the flight?”

“Just three hours.”

“Okay, no problem. Make sure you order a wheel chair to take you to and on the plane. You’ll be in the hospital for two to three nights, then you’ll begin OT and PT right away. They’ll come to you. Figure three weeks of that. Then you should be able to finish your therapy up at the lake. Stationary bike and lots of walks. You’ll be fine.”

I know that our surgeon admires and respects us for completing a circumnavigation. He has read both my books, Maiden Voyage and Sailing the South Pacific. Having gone through three prior surgeries with him, a meniscus repair (Gunter) and both shoulders (me) he has had plenty of opportunity to get to know us. Now I wonder whether he overestimated our abilities.  Or the knee was worse than he thought.

After the surgery, I waited in the surgical waiting room, for a long time, longer than he said it would be. I tried to get interested in a book, The Language of Flowers, but I kept reading the same page over and over. Finally, he appeared. His mood is always up, so I couldn’t read anything from his face.  “The surgery took about a half hour longer than expected,” he began. “That knee was a mess. Before I could put in his new knee, I had to clean up all the inflammation that spread to the linings. He’s in recovery and awake. You’ll be able to see him in his room within the hour.”

Try four hours. But finally, Gunter—attached to a plethora of equipment—was wheeled into a semi-private room, next to the window. Machines hummed. He was on oxygen, morphine, and an antibiotic/electrolyte drip.  A CPM (continuous passive motion) machine slowly moved his right knee up and down, up and down. He was out of it. He probably didn’t even know I was there. I sat by his bed, looking at him, then out the window to the rooftops of the city and then back to the machines. I stayed until the night shift came on.

At 7:00 a.m. I picked up a disturbing voicemail on my cell phone:  “Lois, where are you? No one is coming to help me since a long time. Please come help me.” I heard a nurse say that she would give him two pain pills. I rushed over to the hospital. He’d had two Percocet, in addition to the morphine drip that was controlled by him, but monitored by the machine so he couldn’t overdose…and he was hallucinating. All day long, he drifted in and out of sleep; he kept trying to convey his weird dreams and hallucinations. The oxygen monitor kept beeping, a signal that it was below the threshold, but seldom did anyone show up. He was supposed to get out of bed that first day, but no way, Jose! I stayed until the night shift came on. By then, I realized that information was not automatically being transferred from shift to shift.

The second day was an improvement, and but all the OT and PT promised in that orientation did not materialize. I had to be there, to ask, to confirm schedules, and to push if necessary. It was then I realized the importance of being not just a visitor, but a patient advocate, a role that goes beyond that of a caregiver.

The third day, Gunter was scheduled to exit the hospital. These days, in the U.S., certain floors are set up for recovery from surgery. That’s it. Since he could not yet come directly home, he would have to go to a rehabilitation facility—something we had not planned for. Best laid plans…

The rehab facility in La Jolla was where all the orientation promises actually took place.  I was amazed at the tools and tricks the OTs had up their sleeves: the sock puller-upper, the pants grabber, and of course, the walker. Simple tasks can seen impossible when one cannot lift one’s leg or bend one’s knee. The PTs are the taskmasters, pushing patients to do more and more painful exercises every day. And all the while, the CPM machine works the knee for 6-8 hours a day, bending it and forcing it higher and higher, stretching those tendons. I would not have been able to lift that bulky machine, let alone position it underneath Gunter’s leg—from the buttock to the ankle. It was good that part of the therapy was done there.

Now, I’m so happy to have my soul mate home with me again. He is making tremendous progress every day, currently transitioning from the walker to a cane. And before long, we’ll be enjoying the lake and the wildlife at Northern Bliss.

It has to be done. It’s all part of the process. An author agonizes over writing every line of the book manuscript. Then he or she fusses about the editing, the formatting, the layout, the cover. When all that creative work is finally completed, the author—an introvert during this time, working in PJs—is forced to change roles and to promote his or product, first to get it published, and then to get it sold.

I’d gone through the process once, but that didn’t make it easier the second time around. Because now, with two books on the market and a third book still “in creative,” I’m expected to take on both roles, sometimes within the same day: donning my “presentation clothes” and my smiley face to promote the first two of the series, and then changing to my PJs and trying to get into my creative mode. Schizophrenic? You bet!

This spring, I presented at the Pt. Loma Optimists Club, MOAA (Military Officers Association) check exact name, Southwestern Yacht Club, Pacific Beach Library, and Upstart Crow in San Diego; and at Changing Hands bookstore in Phoenix. I exhibited at Strictly Sail Oakland (the largest sailboat convention on the West Coast), at the SCWC booth at the L.A. Festival of Books, and participated in the downtown library’s Local Author Exhibit. I gave on-line interviews and two podcasts: The Sailing Podcast by David Anderson, an Australian, and The Gathering Road on Women’s Radio, by Elaine Masters.

I breathed a sigh of relief when my last presentation on the Spring Author Tour, at West Marine on May 10th, was over.  I can’t say I enjoyed all the organizing, setting up the displays, and hauling those heavy books (over 2 pounds each) to various venues! Always, before I speak, I worry about forgetting what I want to say. So I update my cards, tailoring them for each event. But when I begin to speak, I relate to my audience and my stage fright dissipates. I just go with the flow. I wrote this nautical series because I wanted to share. I realize that when I speak, I’m still sharing, but in another way.

Gunter also frets over whether the computer and projector will work. But at the end, he loves interacting with audiences! The Q&A afterwards is our favorite part. Why? Perhaps it’s because we haven’t lost the love for that surge of adrenalin that occurs when one is living on the edge. We never know what question will lead to yet another revelation about adventure travel.

Audience questions challenge us and perk up our lives. And many of those we meet become our readers and our friends.

Here are a few photos from my Spring Author Tour. To see more, please visit my author Facebook page.

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Christening Ceremonies

Cheryl and Mark Mitchell attended my private book introduction party for Sailing the South Pacific in December 2012.  They, in turn, invited Gunter and me to attend the christening of their new boat, French Curve, on the docks at San Diego’s Southwestern Yacht Club. Yacht Club chaplain, Ron Dixon, performed the ceremony. I wish them well as they take off in October for the Baja Ha-ha to Mexico, and then to the South Pacific with a copy of Sailing the South Pacific on board!

Cheryl and Mark Mitchell

Cheryl and Mark Mitchell

Christening a boat has a long tradition spanning thousands of years. This naming ceremony goes back to the early days of sailing. Rituals performed by the Vikings were marked by the spilling of blood. During the Middle Ages, religious shrines were loaded onto the ship and the ceremony was performed by officials or local religious men. As a substitute for the earlier blood sacrifice, a libation of wine was offered to all on board as the vessel hit the water. This wine was poured on the deck to ensure good luck and a safe voyage and to appease King Neptune.

These practices have carried over to our current christening and launching ceremonies; however, current traditions throughout the world require that women christen ships by smashing a champagne bottle across the ship’s bow.  Cheryl does that perfectly, while a man neatly catches the broken glass in a garbage bag.

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Chaplain Ron Dixon performs the christening ceremony.

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Mark and Cheryl pop the cork.

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The christening of our catamaran Pacific Bliss didn’t go that smoothly. From Maiden Voyage in the story, Let the Party Begin:

…A Catana secretary hands me a corked bottle of champagne as I weave through the revelers toward the trampoline. She whispers, “It’s time.”

The sun has set, but someone has thought to turn on the spreader lights. Gunter joins me at the starboard bow. “Okay, now!” I position the bottle carefully over the bow, then wham it down. Tough glass against even tougher Kevlar—and it bounces off, right into the harbor. The secretary calmly hands me another bottle without a word. She has obviously been-here-done-that before.

“Here, I’ll take it,” says Gunter, reaching for the new bottle.

“Don’t you dare! A vessel is supposed to be christened by a lady.”

“Then go to the center and hit it against the anchor,” he whispers.

That’s fair. After all, that is the middle of the vessel, since a catamaran has two bows. I raise the bottle high over my head and slam it forward hard. A million pieces of glass reflect the lights of the marina as the bottle shatters and its fragments fall into the sea. A chorus of yeas drowns out the music.

The party goes on and all is well…for now.

Here are a couple of examples to show why sailors insist on carrying out this tradition:

  • The Titanic was never christened.
  • The USS Arizona was christened with water rather than wine or champagne.

God bless their souls.

De-naming Ceremonies

Another sailor’s superstition is that it is bad luck to change the name of a boat. We did not have to worry about this because we had commissioned a new boat. And the new owner of Pacific Bliss decided not to change the name.

But if a new owner really desires to change the name, he or she can accomplish this through a ritual called a “de-naming ceremony.” The owner takes something bearing the old name and thoroughly demolishes it.  Before Cheryl and Mark Mitchell could christen their new boat, Southwestern Yacht Club chaplain Ron Dixon read the traditional recitation and then the group of yachties assembled on the dock tore a throw-away preserver to shreds and stamped on it!

I found the process fascinating. This de-naming was new to me; I had never experienced such a ceremony. Of course, I Googled it upon arriving home and found the information I wanted from a posting by 48° North, a sailing site.

Chaplain Ron Dixon reads the traditional denaming recitation.

Chaplain Ron Dixon reads the traditional denaming recitation.

A de-naming ceremony should consist of five parts: an invocation, an expression of gratitude, a supplication, a re-dedication and a libation. “First you must remove all physical traces of the boat’s old name. Take the old log book ashore, along with any other papers that bear the old name. Check for offending books and charts with the name inscribed. Be ruthless. Sand away the old name from the lifebuoys, transom, top-side, dinghy, and oars. Yes, sand it away. Painting over is not good enough. You’re dealing with gods here, you understand, not mere dumb mortals. If the old name is carved or etched, try to remove it or, at the very minimum, fill it with putty and then paint over. And don’t place the new name anywhere on the boat before the de-naming ceremony is carried out. That’s just tempting fate.
“The last part of the ceremony, the libation, must be performed at the bow, just as it is in a naming ceremony. There are two things to watch out for here. Don’t use cheap-cheap champagne, and don’t try to keep any for yourself.”

I learned that there’s no specific time period required between this de-naming ceremony and a new naming ceremony. But completion of the de-naming ceremony does require more champagne! Again, one bottle for the boat; it should be sprayed over the bow. And of course, another bottle for the owners.

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It’s important to rip the item to shreds. At the end, we all stomped on it

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Visit my Facebook author page to see the post from this event.

I love voyages!  I love mixing it up: the inner spiritual voyage and the outer physical voyage. While taking the “outer voyage,” circumnavigating the world––34,000 nautical miles in a 43-foot catamaran––I was taking an inner voyage as well.  Our ship’s library was stocked with hundreds of books.

After becoming a landlubber again, I began to consolidate my eighteen journals into a trilogy called “In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss.” In the process, I undertook yet another voyage. Because, as Henry Miller once said, “Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery.  The adventure is a metaphysical one: it is a way of approaching life indirectly, of acquiring a total rather than a partial view of the universe. The writer lives between the upper and lower worlds: he takes the path in order eventually to become the path himself.”

After the creative exhilaration of writing each chapter of the second book in my trilogy, “Sailing the South Pacific,” came months of grueling rewriting, editing, polishing, and proofing.  And just when I thought I was sailing toward the home stretch, all kinds of production problems reared their ugly heads.  But finally, all of them were solved, and there I was at LightSource Printing in Anaheim, watching the cover of my new book roll off the press.

Last Friday, the first copies of the book came out of Bindery, and were delivered to my home.  The remainder will be delivered to Amazon and other outlets this week.

I tell my audiences that I write to share with them the stories of my adventures and moments of bliss. That’s true. I do write to share.

Today though, I realize that Miller was right. Writing also allows me to take yet another Voyage of Discovery. It has been quite the trip!