saltwhistleodyssey travel blog


Salt Whistle Odyssey travel blog

Welcome aboard Salt Whistle!

This is a website of the Malan family's odyssey on their sailboat from California to Australia. Having left in October 2006, the Malans spent ten months exploring the amazing people and places across the Pacific ocean.

After experiencing the charm of a secluded anchorage, Salt Whistle Quay in the Southern Carribean, during their voyage from South Africa, Sue and Justin lived up to their promise of naming their next boat Salt Whistle.

Salt Whistle is a 53 foot cutter rigged sloop...meaning that she has one mast and two stays in the front for a foresail and a cutter or staysail. She was built in 1982 in the famous shipyards of Cheoy Lee in Hong Kong and brought to Southern California that year.

We found her in San Diego in December 2004...badly neglected and in desperate need of TLC. Her hull and mast were sound, but almost everything else needed work. Our special friends Mark Francis, Tom and Dorinda Mc Millan and Paul Klein helped us bring her up to Vallejo in the Bay Area in early 2005. For the next 18 months we refitted her with new rigging, new upholstery, new electronics, electrics and plumbing and a complete engine overhaul. By October 2006 she was ready for the long ocean passage across the Pacific... with state-of-the-art navigation and safety equipment, a reverse osmosis water-maker, an electricity generator and dive tanks and a compressor to fill them. We have four cabins and two "heads" - the nautical name for bathrooms - with hot and cold showers!!! We even have an ice-maker in anticipation of those hot days in the tropics.

After giving up our house in Sacramento for a year, selling our cars, and finding new homes for our pets, we were truly footloose and fancy free. Salt Whistle was our home...our transportation and our magic carpet to the wonderful adventures that our family experienced as we sailed west to the Galapagos islands, the fabled French Polynesia and eventually to Brisbane, Australia.

We shared this voyage of discovery with all of our friends and family through this website. Our hope that many friends would keep in touch with us - and perhaps even join us somewhere along the way - was realized.
The friends that did join us enriched our lives onboard and we hope that their time on Salt Whistle will be remembered by them as a special time.

And now about the crew... Abby turned 13 the day we left San Diego on the Baja HaHa Rally. She has been the upbeat dingy darling, the rigging queen and baker extraordinaire. She proved to be fearless and game for any challenge or task. She inspired all of us with her curiosity and love of life. She did a remarkable job completing her seventh grade year with her new teacher, Hannah.

Hannah, then 17, took this year as her "year abroad." Having completed high school before our departure, she was still completing college applications and some tests as we cruised down the Mexico coast. She was our photographer and website guru as well as being our chief provisioner and sushi chef.

Matt, 20, with both brain and brawn, was our navigator, tactician and sail and deck crew. He also made some delicious marinades for the many fish he landed!

Our year aboard Salt Whistle took us 12,000 miles to some of the most beautiful places on earth. We witnessed incredible kindness from even the poorest islanders and relished the comaraderie of the fellow sailors that were also jumping the puddle to Australia. Needless to say it was not always easy. Even in a sturdy and comfortable 53 foot boat the space got cramped and the motion was often uncomfortable. On a few occasions we all felt overwhelmed by the constant changes in our lives. Yet, our three teenagers never shirked their duties or skipped a watch. As the entry below entitled "Rite of Passage" will attest, Salt Whistle had a remarkable young crew.

Our heartfelt gratitude goes to friends and family - and the California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health - for helping us to make this dream come true.
World-Pacific map

Order: oldest at top ( reverse )

Some Notes on Marine...
Costa Rica
Cocos Island
Galapagos Islands
"Jumping the Puddle"
Rite of Passage
Marquesas Islands
Tahiti and Society Islands
Niue - Another jump to...
Vanuatu and New Caledonia
The last 800...
Cruising for an...
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