Coasting the Calamanian Islands

April 22, 2020

The “Amihan”, a north-east wind that blows from mid-December to mid-April in the Philippines, was howling and massive rollers hammered the “Overcomer”, an oversized banca bound from El Nido, Palawan, to Coron Town, Busuanga. Screams rang through the air with each deluge and the crew worked the hand pumps.

Anatomy of a Lockdown

March 28, 2020

COVID-19 has had Italy on its knees for weeks, yet the French seemed cavalier as recently as March 14, when the market was packed, and cafes were full of people paying zero attention to social distancing or proper cough/sneeze techniques. And let's not forget the bise—the perfect French double cheek kiss of microbial migration.

On Thursday, March 12, the French government announced schools would close the following Monday, crowds over 500 were prohibited, people over 70 were recommended to stay home, yet, for some bizarre reason, voting in municipal elections would go ahead Sunday.

Paddling Panoramic Pha Nga Bay, Thailand

February 26, 2020

Imagine a place where cyan waters meet cerulean skies. Throw in a handful of fluffy white cumulus clouds scudding overhead.  Picture dramatic karst limestone outcroppings soaring hundreds of feet vertically from the sea.  Add iconic sea gypsies plying the waters in timeless traditional wooden dories and you have arrived in Pha Nga Bay, Thailand.

“Give me an hour,” I said to my friend Det. We had just parked his pickup truck at Khlong Khian Pier, north of Phuket Island. This would be our launch site for a sea kayak trip around Pha Nga Bay. Det simply pulled his plastic kayak off the rack and tucked his characteristically minimalist kit into the cargo space and wandered off. I needed to assemble my Feathercraft collapsible kayak and then load it.

In Search of the Ho Chi Minh Trail - Part 1

January 16, 2020

The sleepy border town of Tha Khaek, Laos, is best known for the “Loop”, an easy 4-day motorcycle circuit. We were here to rent dirt bikes, find tracks less travelled and seek out the historic Ho Chi Minh Trail for the next three weeks.


Riding north along the Mekong River and east toward Khounkham, my travel companion Astried Huebner and I admired the impressive karst scenery. The famed Konglor Cave, a spectacular 7.5km river flowing through the mountains, lies 65 km south and cannot be missed.

In Search of the Ho Chi Minh Trail - Part 2

January 24, 2020

Astried’s clutch cable was on its last strand so we found a repair shop and the guy said he would install it. The cable was short so he tried to jury-rig it, but the clutch would not engage. I tinkered with it to get it going while Astried found a shop with a proper cable. We limped over, the boys looked at the crude installation, chuckled, and had the correct cable installed in minutes.


I was annoyed and decided to return to the first shop. “Face” is very important in Asia. If you “lose face”, it is over - you are mocked and the situation is rarely resolved. Smile, remain calm, be gently insistent and things eventually happen.

The Gorgeous Gorges of Verdon

January 05, 2020

"It's not the destination, it's the journey," or so goes the adage, and there is a kernel of truth in that declaration.

I was behind the wheel of my van, winding through rural southeastern France en route to the Parc naturel regional du Verdon. The Verdon River slices through this part of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence on its descent to the Mediterranean carving an impressive series of canyons that run nearly 25 km and, in places, 700 meters deep.

August 08, 2019

Palawan Island, Philippines, the perfect place for a sea kayak expedition. Chronicles of an unsupported paddle from El Nido to Port Barton.

Paddling Palawan - Part 2

August 16, 2019

Part 2 of an unsupported sea kayak adventure in Palawan, Philippines. Post typhoon seas, amazing beaches and wonderful people.

July 20, 2019

Visiting the oldest bike shop in Italy's mountain-bike heaven, Finale Ligure.

August 31, 2016

Imagine an exotic destination where cyan waters meet cerulean skies. Throw in a handful of downy-white cumulus clouds scudding overhead. Picture dramatic karst limestone outcroppings soaring hundreds of feet vertically from the sea. Add iconic sea gypsies plying the waters in timeless traditional wooden dories.

You have arrived in Pha Nga Bay, Thailand.

March 25, 2015

Sea kayaking world famous Pha Nga Bay National Park, Thailand.

April 14, 2015

Sea kayaking Thailand's deserted coast has it all.

April 17, 2014

Kayaking Thailand's west coast on the Andaman Sea.

April 17, 2014

Matt Morch takes a sunset paddle at Koh Phayam, Ranong, Thailand.

September 02, 2008

Expat builder fills orders in Asia.

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