We started and ended 2015 in two world-renowned international cities on two different continents and oceans: Sydney, Australia on the west side of the Pacific Ocean and Cape Town, South Africa in the southeastern Atlantic Ocean (2015 trip highlights).
Between January 1st and December 31st, we traveled 14,441 miles in 153 trips at an average speed of 7.1 knots. If we could just get more focused and go in a straight line, we would have gone 67% of the way around the world this year. 11,825 of those miles, or 82%, were covered in 19 passages of longer than 24 hours. We were underway 2,063 hours (86 days) or 24% of the hours in the year. Deducting the 124 days we spent longer-term in marinas without moving the boat (15 days in Melbourne, 34 in Darwin, 23 in Reunion, 18 in Richards Bay and 34 in Cape Town), our total boating days for the year were 241 and we spent 36% of that time underway. We also covered 154 degrees of longitude, or 42% of the way around the globe, and 22 degrees of latitude.
Traveling all those miles requires a lot of fuel. We refueled 10 times this year (in Hobart, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Cairns, Darwin twice, Dampier, Rodrigues, Richards Bay and Cape Town), taking on an average of 1,233 gallons (4,670L) per fill. Overall, we consumed 12,116 gallons (45,894 L) of diesel at an average fuel economy of 1.20 nm/gallon (0.32 nm/L). We put 2,132 hours on the main engine (total 6,957), 94 hours on the wing (total 721) and 539 hours on the generator (total 4,251). Those miles require oil changes. This year we changed the main engine oil 6 times, the generator 3 times and the wing once, for a total of 10 oil changes for the year.
In terms of power for the year, we consumed 5,848 kwH from the 120V inverter and 4,527 kwH from the 240V inverter, where the power source was the generator, shorepower, and the main engine. Not counting the main engine, the generator produced 3,137 kwH and shorepower supplied 6,927 kwH. Historically the generator run time averages about 75% of the main engine. This year it was only 25%. This is due partly to being underway more and charging the batteries off the main engine. But it’s also because the combination of 9kw of main engine alternator and the 240V inverter means we never have to run the generator while we’re underway or plugged into shorepower (regardless of frequency).
We will start off 2016 with a 3,650nm run from St. Helena to Barbados, by far our longest non-stop run. After that, we plan to slow down from our 2015 pace. Our current plan is to enjoy the Caribbean and the US eastern seaboard, and perhaps explore some of eastern Canada. But one of the joys of travelling the world in a small boat is you get to change your mind every day.
Previous trip highlights are below:
Love the blog. Thanks so much for keeping it updated. I have also sat in on your course at TrawlerFest. I was curious what your total fuel costs were in 2015? I see your total gallons. I’m just curious how your average fuel cost around the world compares to the local fuel price. All for fun and curiosity. What a ride you guys are on! Where do you see yourselves in a year or two or five? So interesting.
Kent, you were looking for a quick read on the fuel prices out there. Our expereince has been fuel prices range greatly but, generally, world prices seem to be around 2x as expensive as they are in the US. Over the last year, the most we have spent is US$6.89/gal in Saint Helena and the least we have spent is US$2.85/gal in Cape Town. I don’t have the averages from Australia but think they were mostly in the US$5/gal range.
It’s kind of funny but the honest answer to your question of where we will be in 5 years, we really don’t know. And, over time, I’m actually starting to like that answer. It’s fun to be able to do different things, change our minds precipitously, and get interested in things that we never expected even a few months back. What we can say is we are absolutely still enjoying the lifestyle. It is mostly enjoyable and, even when it’s challenging, the challengs are usually interesting.
For those of us with limited mobility, it would be a delight to have a meet-up at some point when you guys hit North America again. (It could be a topographic downer compared to the other places you’ve seen, but considered cruising the Great Lakes?)
Frank, I totally agree. We don’t know when but heading into the great lakes and even stopping in Toronto and Toronto Island is deffinitely something we want to do. Hope to see you then.
Will you get to Bequia from Barbados? Our favourite harbour in the Eastern Caribbean. We will need to plan a reunion when you hit the St Lawrence. Happy New Year to you, Jen and Spitfire.
Great hearing from you Karen. On Baquia, I’m not familar with the destination but wwith your recommendation, it’s now marked o our charts. It sounds great.
It would be super fun to catch up with you both and we do expect to be on the eastern seaboard of the US and Canada next year. Looking forward to it.
Hi James. Just wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU. My wife an I caught the Dreamer bug about the time you took delivery of Dirona. We’ve followed you and Jen every step of the way and appreciate the map travelog, as well as your detailed technical blogs–I’ve learned a great deal from the design decisions that you’ve made, and as well, from your troubleshooting. All really well done. We’re wondering if the Med and Northern Europe are in your plans, or if you’ll complete your CN through the canal before then.
Thanks for the feedback on the blog Cedric. You were asking about our planned routing. It’s kind of funny how often it has changed. Fist we were planning to head from South Africa to Europa. Then we fell in love with some of the pictures we saw from cruisers in South America. Later we decided to take the canal and complete the loop. More recently we’ve decided that arriving back to the contenental United States is what we are going to call completing our run around the world.
Our current plan is to enjoy the eastern seaboard of the US and Canada in 2016. We are absolutely planning to head to the Med and the Baltic Sea eventually. One of the jobs of a small boat travel is you get to change your mind as often as you like and we have been enjoying that freedom as we think through the exciting options that lie ahead. We continue to be indecisive on precise route planning and enjoy all the plan changes.
A heads up: According to today.s London Daily Telegraph, the gounds of Plantation House, the Governor’s residence on St Helena, is home to the world’s oldest living animal Jonathan. The giant tortoise is 183 years old. Apparently he has lost his eyesight and sense of smell and was on his last legs until a local vet, a Dr Joe Hollins, put Jonathan on a healthy diet. Might be worth a visit if you can arrange it.
Good suggestion David and we did indeed see Jonathan yesterday. He’s looking GREAT for his age and appears to be enjoying himself chowing down on the Govenors lawn with a couple of other giant tortoises. We’ll get some pictures up over the next day or so.
We got underway on the next leg of our trip last night so we are currently on route to Barbados with “only” 3,581 nautical miles left to go.
Thank you for writing this blog and all the background stuff – it makes fascinating reading. I imagine that the long passages must have their own distinctive appeal. Do you find them a necessary antidote to the time ashore or just a tedious chore that must be tolerated?
Thanks David. You were asking whether an ocean crossing was a good break or a tedious chore. I’ve often heard “the journey is the destination” and certainly we have had lots of good times at sea but, generally, we cross oceans to get to the other side. When the weather is good, it’s not bad and often enjoyable. When the weather is poor it can be taxing. If it were possible to efficiently teleport to the other side, we would probably do it. I suspect that is why many owners ship their boats or pay others to take them over longer distances.
Sea 10 Ariz 0 end of 1st 1/4
Hey, good to hear! Given how poorly we did in the first half of the year, the last 5 games have been impressive at least on paper. We haven’t yet been around a TV for a single game this year. Hopefully we will have coverage before the Superbowl.
I have only started to follow your blog a month ago and it has been wonderful to see where you’ve been and what life at sea is like. We are boating enthusias with only a small Sea ray 330, but are saving every dime possible to purchase a nordhavn and live around the world as you are. Reading your posts helps keep this goal on target and the dream alive. Infact, the image of Dirona is on all our desktop backgrounds and frige door to keep the eye on the prize!
Have a great 2016, and if you do make it to eastern Canada, and Montreal, we would to show you around or guide you to all the top places to visit!
We will make it up where you are and it might even happen this year. That sounds like fun. Our first boat was similar to yours. We had a Bayliner 40 and we “drove the wheels off it.” We loved that boat, used it every weekend, and ended up putting 4,100 hours on it in 10 years.
My recommendation is boat as much as you can and, when it comes time to get a more capable boat and run longer distances, you’ll be ready and will know exactly what you want. All the best in 2016.
I have been following your current route with some interest. Talk about a coincidence, Globe Trekker (Public TV) is showing a episode on St. Helena this evening.
Make sure to count the steps up Jacob’s Ladder!! ??
Best of 2016 !!
Interesting that Saint Helena was a featured story on a world travel series. We’ll check out Jacob’s ladder while we are there.
We are currently 161 nautical miles south easth of Saint Helena so should be there tomorrow morning. We’re looking forward to it but, overall, this has been a stress free crossing without any weather issues or mechanical problems to contend with. Fuel miledge has been unusually good as well. Generally, nothing to worry about at all so it’s been a good 1,700 run. What seems impossible is that this fairly long leg is actually only 1/2 of the distance we will attempt on the next leg.
Thanks for sharing and inspiring. Safest travel wishes to you. Hope to catch up somewhere along the way.
It would be great to catch up along the way Ted. Some of our best experiences on this trip have been with folks who have dropped by to visit, recommended an adventure, or jumped in and led one with us.
Thanks so much for sharing all that data and your adventures this past year. I particularly like your last sentence above – it really sums it all up! May you all have a safe and Happy 2016!
Hey Jamie. You’re rigth that the ability to change our mind daily is a key part of why cruising in a small boat is so much fun. There are times when the logistics can be a bit of a hassle but the combination of the freedom and some of the incredible sights out there, really make it all worth doing.
James, I am not into boating at all. I just happened to follow your boat blog because I do follow “perspectives”and just starting reading on your travel progress.
It has become one of my weekly routines to read about and see the pictures of the faraway places you all are visiting plus some of the logistical elements you have to deal with to continue your path forward.
Reading your boat blog does bring some perspective as it gives me at least a glance of places that are so remote that reminds me how much more is out there from our daily routine.
I hope you all enjoy Barbados and the Caribbean
Have a great and safe 2016
Thanks for passing that along David. Your note reminds me I should be posting more on Perspectives and nothing makes posting on mvdirona.com more rewarding than a note like yours. All the best in 2016.
Impressive data! Thanks for sharing your adventures. Good luck on your upcoming crossing!
Hi Wyatt. The data actually caught us a bit by surprise as well even though we were there the entire time. I wouldn’t have estimated anything even close to us being underway 24% of the time in 2015.
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year and looking forward to more adventures.
Thanks for the Happy New year Tim. We got good weather which is as good a present as any. The next leg of our trip will be a long one at 3650 nautical miles. Hopefully our luck will hold. Generally the south Atlantic is good this time of year.
glad you have an uneventful trip, and all three of you have a great 2016, thanks for sharing all those informations
It’s great hearing from you Knut. It was really good to meet with you and Christine in Cape Town and the wine country tour was a real trip highlight. All the best to both of you and we hope you have a great 2016.
Many thanks for sharing your experiences. Please have a happy & safe 2016,
Malcolm Dale Melbourne Austrsalia
All the best in 2016 Malcolm.