Hi, we welcome you to read the story of our travels and to follow our progress as we sail our yacht AQUARIUS to countries around the world.


We bought Aquarius in 1997 after several years of trying to decide what sort of yacht we wanted and, most importantly, what sort we could afford. Our dream for many years had been to buy a yacht with the intention of sailing it around the world. After many sailing trips on OP's (other people's boats) we were able to compile lists of essential and desirable criteria for the search of our boat. Every weekend we visited marinas, searched through yacht brokers' listings - all with no luck. Eventually, just as we were beginning to think that our hunt would never end, a friend suggested we have a look at a boat in Manly that belonged to a friend of his. The friend was looking to sell the boat but had not advertised it for sale. As an aside, a long time before an old sailor had told us that "you will know when you find your boat". As we walked down the dock at Manly and first caught sight of Aquarius, Libby and I knew we had at last found our boat. Once aboard, we found that all our essential and most of the desirable criteria were met. The rest is our story..........

Monday, April 9, 2012


Leaving was so hard, many dear friends, many lovely places, favourite restaurants, known haunts to hunt out supplies and parts; what a wrench, didn't realise how much we had grown to be part of Langkawi and vice versa. Anchor up in Telaga Anchorage on the 4th of March and a leisurely motor down to the 'Fjord' on the southern end of the Langkawi Islands. A quiet, lovely anchorage between sheer limestone cliffs 100 metres apart and 'bullet-proof' from all directions of weather. We spent two nights anchored up at the Fjord while getting used to the idea of cutting the umbilical. We also de-barnacled a very overgrown snubber that seemed to have increased to twice its girth with an infestation of barnacles in the preceding 2 weeks while anchored at Telaga.

Departed Langkawi at first light and motor sailed in light breeze towards Penang 60 nms to the south. We decided that we would cut the passage with an overnight stop at Pulau Bidan just 17nms north of Penang. Bidan used to be part of the RAAF's air weapon's range back in the 1980's and so we know the area quite well from our time working with the RAAF in Butterworth during those years. About 5 nms out from Bidan, Libby and I were watching sea bids diving for fish close by Aquarius when a whale surfaced very, very close to the boat. We so astonished at its sudden appearance that it took a moment or so the recognise the type of animal - in fact it was a small whale shark approx 5 metres in length. How fantastic to see such a creature in an area totally unexpected - what a lift it gave us.

Next morning on to Penang where we had secured a berth at the new marina 'Straits Quay Marina'. Very nice, very plush, yet so welcoming and very inexpensive. Easy to get into Georgetown to all our favourite haunts built up over many years of visits to Penang. We stayed a week and during that time caught up with many favourite eating spots like Red Garden, our favourite bar the 'Hong Kong Bar' in Chulia Street with the hosts Peter and Jenny, shopping for special foods at Cold Storage, and generally just enjoying our favourite cities in SE Asia.

Departed Penang for the southern extreme of P. Penang and anchored at P. Rimau just before a fierce thunderstorm bore down on us to bid us farewell from Penang. Left early next morning for Pangkor Island and arrived just before last light. Pangkor island is a nice peaceful spot to lay up for a few days but we were on a mission. We had boat parts to collect from a friend's boat in at the new Pangkor marina. Tried to anchor off the marina but with 15 kts of breeze and 3-4 knts of current and a very silty bottom that proved impossible. Eventually we relocated and took a very wet dinghy ride to collect the parts.

A short trip with very nice winds took us on a lovely sail to a small group of islands just 10 nms south of Pangkor. Then an overnighter through the shipping anchorage outside Port Klang to Port Dickson. Wow, how crowded was the ship anchorage - took us 2 hours to pass through it and somewhere in the order of 150 ships and some around 360 metres in length.

Port Dickson was our first stomping ground on arriving in Malaysia in 2006. We were looking forward to renewing acquaintances but the marina management has changed and so there were no familiar faces. Still, the new faces are very friendly ones and totally welcoming. We did a little shopping nearby and ha a lovely meal at the seafood restaurant that was our favourite on our previous visit.

An early morning departure saw us headed for Water Islands off Melacca. Again we have anchored here before and so knew our way into the best anchorage. Next morning we again departed early as we wanted to get to Danga Bay as quickly as we could in order to see our friends Jim and Kay on the catamaran Bach and Byte before they left to fly to Europe. Our day saw us achieve some good miles and we anchored before last light in the entrance to the Johor Straits that separate mainland Malaysia and Singapore. However, to reach our anchorage we had to transit the western shipping anchorage for Singapore. At one time our AIS (automated identification system) showed 200 targets of shipping. Mind boggling. From that anchorage our transit through the Johor Straits to Danga Bay was very easy and not challenging. So here we are, berthed at Danga Bay, awaiting the delivery of a hydravane self steering for the boat, and flying back to Oz tomorrow for 2 months before setting sail again. On our return in early June we have decided to stop in Singapore for a week or so to haul the boat and to fit a new through hull fitting to support the new watermaker. We will also finish provisioning the boat before heading to Indonesia.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


After 5 wonderful years enjoying the peace and beauty of Langkawi we have decided its time to at last move on. We have had such a great time exploring the rest of asia while using Langkawi as a base from which to travel. But now the seas beckon and the travel lust has stirred us into action and to seek more sailing adventures. We had earlier planned to sail to the east coast of Malaysia and rediscover places that we have earlier visited while backpacking - such as Tioman, Kuantan etc. However, we have now decided to leave Malaysia and head west across the Indian Ocean toward South Africa. Over the past few years we have met a lot of South African cruising yachties and their vivid and enthusiastic descriptions of their homeland has our mouths watering at the thought of the exploring that lies ahead of us. Our plan is to leave Malaysia in mid-June and sail south through Indonesia entering the Indian Ocean via the Sunda Strait that separates Java and Sumatra. The passage then will be Cocos-Keeling Islands, Rodrigues Island, Mauritius, Reunion Island and finally Richards Bay in South Africa. We expect to make landfall in South Africa mid to late October 2012.



Monday, January 23, 2012


As luck would have it, our first taste of offshore sailing was on board a friends boat as crew. We had met George and Ellen in Townsville while sharing a dock with their yacht Winddancer. In 2001 they set off for Darwin with the intention of later sailing on through Indonesia into SE Asia. During a working trip to Darwin, Gary again met with George and Ellen and they talkedof the forthcoming sail through Indonesia to Malaysia. At that time piracy was often discussed when planning trips through Indonesia and SE Asia in general. George said that they would feel more comfortable with extra crew aboard for the trip to Malaysia, particularly the legs from Bali onward. The discussion continued and before long we were signed up to help crew Winddancer from Bali to Malaysia. September found us flying to Bali via Hong Kong (where we had a fantastic stopover of week) to meet George and Ellen. On our arrival in Bali, we had just enough time to dump our surplus gear aboard the boat before being whipped of to a lovely hideawy in the middle of padi fields adjacent the town of Ubud. Quite a surprise and totally unexpected. Several days later, after making final preparations and visiting the Denpasar night spots, we sailed from Bali. The next day terrorists bombed Bali and ended paradise as we had found it. We sailed via Pulau Kangaen to Kumai in central Kalimantan. Here we experienced at very close quarters the wonders of our very near cousins the Orangutans. In Kumai we met Herry Hermann (a local guy) who runs tours into the Orangutan reserves at Tanjung Puting and we have maintained this friendship now for many years. From Kumai we travelled the west coast of Borneo experiencing our first 'crossing of the line ceremony' as we crossed the Equator near Lingga Island. We finally berthed at Raffles Marina in Singapore and felt that we had truly sailed to Asia. After 2 weeks we sailed on up the west coat of Peninsula Malaysia before leaving the boat at Lumut. Our taste for sailing overseas had been excited.

1998 to 2002

In October 1998 we moved aboard Aquarius on a permanent basis after packing our worldly goods into long term storage. Gary left full time employment and started part time employment (while working from the boat) and we set sail north from Brisbane along the east coast of Australia. We reached Mooloolaba, just one days sail north of Brisbane, and called in to see some old friends and to stock up on fresh supplies. We went no further for another 12 months due to our daughter having a serious car accident and needing our attention. Gary's parttime work became fulltime again and this continued until mid-early 2000. Again we set sail, this time from Mooloolaba and headed north. We spent the next 5 years enjoying the sailing life of cruising up and down the northern tropical east coast. During that time we met some wonderful people who are still among our very best friends.

1997 to 1998

In the first year after we purchased Aquarius, our sailing was totally confined to weekends and some school holidays in and around Moreton Bay in Brisbane Queensland. We learned how to sail Aquarius and how to navigate around the many shallows of Moreton Bay; however, to be honest we often spent some time during trips stuck on unforgiving mudbanks waiting for the tide to rise and float us free. Our children enjoyed the sailing and we think that those times also established a love of the sea within them as well.