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ship shape # 7

Hi all my ship shapers,
We’ve been keeping up with our ship shape but not with posting about it. Urg. We’ve been in the Sea Of Cortez enjoying lots of free diving, snorkeling, fishing, and hiking. We have also enjoyed the lack of Internet.

Here’s a few pictures from our satphone (low quality) with a few exercises to do on the boat underway.

Exercise #1 pull ups from the back stay. Not only does this strengthen arms and shoulders, but also gives your hands a good workout.

Exercise #2 chin ups from the Rat lines

Exercise #3 Toes-to-nose using whatever place (back stay for Christian, the dodger for Taj, I like to use the Companion way)


Toes to nose and chin ups


Backstay pull-ups

Refill the kitty in 3 months!

After 10 months of sailing around, it was time to refill the cruising kitty. We spent over our $12,000/year budget in unexpected, yet typical, repairs and replacements. Since we were so close to the US and easy  access to work, we decided to take the hottest time in Mexico (July, August, September) off of the boat and head to The States to refill our hungry cruising kitty.

If you haven’t read the “about me” part of our blog, then you may need to be informed of my profession. I’m a Registered Nurse, specifically a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse. If you’re saying to yourself “what’s that?”, I take care of premature and very sick babies. I’ve been doing this for over 12 years now and I still haven’t lost my passion for it. In fact, it was actually hard to put in my notice at UCSF 11 months ago so that we could sail away.

In mid May, of this year,when I was able to check my email from La Paz, I found out that my old Unit at UCSF was hiring Travel Nurses for June 28 start date. I checked in with the management team and they said that they would love to have me return for a 13 week assignment! It was too good to be true! June 28 was a little sooner than we wanted, and 13 weeks was a little longer then we wanted, but really, its perfect.

We made it to San Carlos, Mexico, by June 14th with plenty time to put away the boat in Marina Real for a 3 months detour to the US. It took about 3 full days to complete the check list of things to do. This included, but not limited to:

  • pickling the water maker
  • fresh water flush through the engine
  • taking down the sails and stowing them down below
  • Putting up the sun shades
  • Cleaning and leaving the heads (toilets) filled with fresh water and vinegar
  • fresh water washing as much salt waterlogged gear as we could
  • laundry and getting rid of clothes
  • eating and cleaning out the perishable food (we did leave cans of tomato sauce, so hopefully we don’t arrive back to the boat with exploded cans of tomato everywhere. Apparently this happens when it gets too hot.)
  • Placing Bay Leaves in almost all of our bulk food containers. Apparently the Bay Leaf helps keep the Weevils at bay (no pun intended). Thanks Deb on SV Coastal Drifter for that tip.
  • Packing clothes (REAL shoes, socks, pants AND A BELT, sweaters, and WORK CLOTHES!) , oops I forgot a beanie!
  • And a couple more odds and ends stuff.

Our pile of stuff to bring back to the US was huge. Mostly because we had to pack for 3 months of on the road adventures. I say “we” but I really mean Christian and the kids. My list of things to bring was small: work clothes, 2 pairs of pants, 2 shorts, and one “nice outfit”, flip flops and my work shoes. Oh and my awesome Brompton folding bike, that we store in our aft shower, for my San Francisco commuting, yay!

Our 10 hour bus ride on the Tufesa bus line ended up being more like 11 hours, but it still wasn’t bad. Reclining seats, AC, 2 bathrooms, 1 check point and 1 border check, and 5 movies  later(3 of them, very inappropriate for kids), we made it to Phoenix, AZ for a nominal $80 fee.

After a few days at Christian’s sister’s house in Phoenix, I flew off to start my 3 months of work, leaving behind the family to road trip their way around The States visiting friends and family.

“Was it hard to leave?”, you ask.

EXTREMELY !!!  After being so close with each other the last 10 months I’m finding myself really missing their company. But I also know it’s only a short time in the grand sceme of things and totally worth it !

So now I’m here in San Francisco. Christian is on super land nomad dad duty. Boat school is out for summer break and we’ll be doing this up through late September. After all is said and done, we should have overfilled (wishful thinking) our cruising kitty with enough $$$ to get us to New Zealand by our (Northern hemisphere) fall 2017. But you know how cruising works… “We’ll see as we go”!

Yummy grub next to (Cerca de) the bus station in Guaymas. Missing me some good Mexican food !
Christian visits the Grand Canyon while I meet Travel Nurses

Then use my trusty Brompton Folding bike to get to work. Here my “brommie” is sitting pretty on the Bay Area CalTrain. 

Isla Danzante to Bahia Concepción

June 1 -13, 2016

From Candaleros, we sailed to Danzante Island, to a cove called Honeymoon Cove. The anchorage is steep, the depth is about 30 feet up to 20 feet off the shore, and quickly drops to 50 feet and deeper. It’s a beautiful cove, but hard to safely fit more than a few boats in there. Honeymoon Cove on Isla Danzante: we anchored a little too close to Cielo Grande at one point. “Excuse me sir, will you pass the Grey Poupon?” So, we re-anchored.

Puerto Escondido: the girls finally slept on deck, pool time at Fonatur and Tripui, coffee delivery via Ethan on S/V Coastal Drifter.

Loreto: mission, Papa Jason and Ellamae in a panga with Coastal Drifter in the background, Nina doing her first Net Controller for the Amigo Net, and monkey boy Taj helping with cookies.

Isla Coronado: impromptu “cookie and cocktails” potluck on the beach with other cruisers, a good few hour hike up the volcano with Coastal Drifter crew.

La Ramada/San Juanico hike: Coastal Drifter flying “the kite”, our additions to the cruiser’s shrine in San Juanico, Cielo Grande and Shawnigan (Coastal Drifter not visible) sitting pretty in La Ramada. Some amazing Apache Tears too! See Nina’s post.

Bahia Concepción : Playa Stanispac Ice Cream truck, Taj can now climb to the highest ratline.
June 13: we left at 1100 from Playa Stanispac to cross over the Sea of Cortez to San Carlos.

9 month Tally 

I’m not sure what’s going on, but a few of my posts didn’t post:

May 20th, 2016 marks our 9 months of being out cruising. We can’t believe so much time has past already. We are currently making our way up the Sea of Cortez with plans to leave the boat in Guaymas or San Carlos for the hottest three months of the summer. During that time we will be heading back to the United States as land nomads to travel around visiting friends and family. I will, however, be working as a Travel Nurse during that time to cover the expenses we manage to summon over the last few months. Here’s the latest and greatest….

9 months out tally count/costs for days anchored, days moored, days docked, and how much we’ve spent on each of those. And the good old unexpected expenses, yippee:
230 days anchored (all free except the days spent in Morro Bay)
4 days moored 
28 days Docked (14 of which were free with our YC reciprocal) 
Paid $: Mooring $40 (Morro Bay YC)
              Docked $105 (Ensenada’s Baja Naval Marina), $96 (La Cruz for furler work), $235        (Marina Mazatlán- see post)
              Dingy Dock: $15 (Cabo San Lucas), $4 (La Cruz), $4 (La Paz)

              Anchored $159 (Morro Bay Guest Anchorge) 

Fuel consumption for 9 months (85 gal diesel for Shawnigan and 6 gal of gas for dinghy) = ~    $360 
Mexico check in expenses in Ensenada: $105 for passport/tourists cards, $256 for Port Captain fees, $60 for TIP card, and $45 for fishing license.
I still haven’t been too good with figuring how much we spend on food. I’m guessing we spend around $500 a month. We’re not eating out all the time, but we aren’t living on beans and rice either. I will say that Costco in Mexico is not much cheaper than it is in The States. 

Big ticket items that were not anticipated: 
replacing our windvane with a new hydrovane. Let’s just say >$5,000 . 

replacing our windlass. Another $2500! (See our 6 month tally post for more on this)

Switching over to a harken furling set up from our previous Hank-On. $2,300 plus $550 in sail work to go with the furler. 

Plus another $275 for me to fly the old windvane up to the states to try to sell from there vs down in Mexico.

Then another $400 for emergency haul out and engine intake repairs in Mazatlán. 

Yikes! Seriously….that’s over our yearly budget of $12,000! Thank god for tax returns and an upcoming Travel job! Hopefully that will hold us over for a while as far as big ticket projects on the boat go. Oh and while I’m at it, we still have our previous Aries Windvane for sale… Contact us if interested! 

Above: Isla San Francisco with the Sierra de la Gigante range of Baja California Sur in the background

Summer in the States: Impending doom and excitedness all at once!

We are crossing the Sea of Cortez again, heading over to San Carlos, to find a spot for our boat during the summer. 

Yes, we are leaving the boat for the summer. After all the unexpected expenses and the close proximity to the US for income, we chose to take the opportunity to escape the summer heat of Mexico and land travel to the states. 

I recently lined up a Travel Nurse position at UCSF for 13 weeks. I start at the end of June. This pushed our time in the Sea of Cortez a little faster than we hoped for, but you gotta take what you can get. Once we get to San Carlos, we’ll get the boat packed up and ready to leave it alone for a few months. 

Our plan is to take the 10-12 hour bus up to Phoenix from San Carlos. From there, I’ll fly out to San Francisco to get myself situated for work. The rest of the family will hang out with Christian’s sister in Phoenix and start road tripping around to visit family and friends. 

The plan is for Christian to be back at the boat in early September, to start prepping her for our Southern voyage down Baja and then across to Central America. I’ll finish up work and meet him there with the kids. Hopefully we can start sailing again by October 1st. 

Although we are excited to visit friends and family, we don’t feel ready to leave the boat. We love this life. I do look forward to working as well, but not to being away from the family. I know it’s worth it, to keep us sailing, but after so much time together, it’s hard to imagine time apart.  I’m hoping Christian and the kids can visit San Francisco often enough to get my fix in. 

I’ll be posting more about the last few weeks soon, but wanted to get this out. 

Talk soon. 


Espiritu Santo to Candaleros 

Off the grid and enjoying the cruiser’s life. 

We left La Paz under sail May 16th and had, yet another, beautiful downwind run to Isla Espiritu Santo. We anchored in Caleta Partida with SV Tango, SV Shadowfax, and SV Nimue (see previous post). The westerlies left little to be desired for staying there longer than one night. Hopefully we get better weather on our way back down in the fall.

(Above: our Mantus anchor sitting pretty)

We wanted to stop at Los Islotes to dive with the Sea Lions, but again, the wind was in the wrong direction for that. So we shot for Isla San Francisco. We were able to tuck in on the south west anchorage for enough protection from the south westerly winds. With a few other boats there, we were exposed a bit to the swell that rapped in, so our first night was a little rolly, but not bad. We met up with Bob and Kali on SV Airie. We originally met Bob in Barra, then again in La Cruz with his daughter Kali.  We hiked with them and did some spear fishing. The water was still cold, 68 F, but we caught some trigger fish for some yummy Ceviche. We stayed in Isla San Francisco for two nights before sailing off the hook toward San Everisto. 

San Everisto was magical. We hiked over to the salt ponds to the north and the next day, we hiked up the arroyo to the south. We found tons of geode rocks and beautiful pieces of Quartz along the way. We were out hiking for five hours exploring, it was so much fun! We ate dinner at the famous Lupe Sierra’s and Maggie Mae’s restarante. Our good sailing buddy On SV Mango Mango had told us to go there. Lupe and his son remembered Mango Mango well, maybe that accounts for the special treatment? We later found out that they are always that awesome to everyone! The restaurant is decorated with all the shells other cruisers paint during their visit. It was fun for the girls to see all the other kid boats that had stopped in San Everisto. The food was good, the most expensive meal yet, but the atmosphere and the company was worth it. Nina painted a rock with our boat name and two sticks, one looking like a Coral Snake, and the other, a Great Snowy Egret. 

After a few nights there, we continued north to Los Gatos. Another amazing place surrounded by beautiful red sandstone. We put in a few more hikes and more spear fishing adventures. We are loving having more fish in our diet again. Christian speared a couple nice size Grouper to last us a few days. We also enjoyed fresh scallops! 

Next, we stopped at San Marte.  We only stayed here for a night. Snorkeling at the point was fun. Taj is really getting comfortable in the water.

Agua Verde captured us and thankfully slowed us down a bit. Our friends on SV Cielo Grande were not far behind us and trying to catch up. We hadn’t seen them since La Cruz, so we wanted to wait for them. Agua Verde ended being the perfect spot for that. The first day we had a quick snorkel, a nap and a trip to the east side of “town”. We didn’t see much of the town that day. The next day we took a few hour hike past the cemetery to the Cave Paintings.

On our way back, just as we crested the last hill, we saw our friends on Cielo Grande sailing in! Yay, a kid boat! The kids were so excited, as were we, to have our friends back with us. 

The next day we did some spear fishing and snorkeling, and our friends on SV Alert arrived. Another kid boat. Then, we got a tour of the town by a cruiser that basically spends most of their time in Agua Verde. We discovered the larger tienda, the local spring water hose, the police and jail (with not a soul around it), and Ramona, the lady who makes goat cheese and milk. I got a pint of fresh goat milk for 10 pesos (that’s less than $ 0.60 USD) and a kilo of cheese for 60 pesos. Amazing! The kids got to play with the goats and see pigs and such. 

(Above: Taj loves the fresh, still warm, goat milk, from Ramona)

(Above: 1 kilo of goat cheese = 60 pesos)

The next day we stalked up on as much fruit and vegetables the tienda had to offer. We were enjoying our time there, but needed to make our way north the next day. We treated ourselves to a dinner out at the only restaurant open on the beach. Actually I had to walk to the tienda to ask if they could let the restaurant owners know that we would like to eat there. I guess my broken Spanish worked enough. They showed up at 6 to open up and served 11 of us crazy cruisers. All that was on the menu was fish tacos or quesadillas. It was delicious! 
The sail up to Candaleros was slow and beautiful. Cielo Grande not far from us, we both sailed the 18 ish miles which took us 8.5 hours. We sailed off the hook, sailed with the asymmetrical, drifted a bit and sailed again. We finally started the engine just before 6pm for 30 minutes to get us through the point and the island and into the anchorage before dark. We were greeted by many boats that we’ve met along the way. The best part is that Taj was on the deck, naked, shouting out to everyone, “Kini Popo!”, “Hotel California!” and many more.  

In Bahia Candaleros we spent time at the beach in front of the resort. I used the internet to get some online tests done for work this summer, while the kids played.  We did find time for more snorkeling and found it quite amazing! Christian and I had Dolphins swimming right under us! And schools of rays! The water seems to be warming up a little too. We are looking forward to warmer water again. 

Taj and Josie admiring Christian’s catch of the day

La Paz

This post was delayed due to lack of Internet, YAY! 

A few weeks back, May 11-15:

We had a fantastic sail off the hook in Puerto Ballandra and a downwind run under jib alone in to La Paz on the Morning of the 11th. We anchored just west of Marina de La Paz. First thing we did, of course, walked the Malicon to find the ice cream shop. 

Over the next few days we walked around town a lot. We discovered that the bus and taxi system here is nowhere near like it is on the mainland. The streets were busy with people in their privately owned cars, and the buses were few and far between. The benefit to that was getting some mileage under our feet.  We also discovered that food was about twice as expensive as it was in Barra de Navidad. Thankfully our first dinner out was “Dia de los Madres”. (Mother’s day), so we didn’t feel as bad for spending the money on a special occasion. But over the next few days, we found ourselves wanting to leave before we spent more money. Even reprovisioning at the Chidraui (a govt subsidized store) was more expensive than any other town we’ve been to. 

We stayed through till Monday, knowing that we had a few cruising friends coming in and wanting to celebrate my Birthday on the 15th with other cruising boats. So we made the best of our time, as always. We walked the town, did the historical sites walk and played with other kid boats. Overall, we were not too impressed with La Paz as a town, but the company of cruisers was nice. And it was sure nice to celebrate my birthday with awesome people and have a good potluck.  I even had a surprise breakfast delivered via dinghy by SV Spanish Stroll for my birthday! 

We highly recommend the Museo de Ballena (whale museum). It is very well presented and the staff is very knowledgeable. They even changed some of the screens to English for us. Worth every peso!

Here are some picture: