Monthly Archives: February 2016

Emma Casey (post third attempt)

We got many looks as we motored through the lagoon in our dinghy packed with six people. Our 10 foot Montgomery dinghy holds our family of five without any problems. As of October 25th, held a sixth, Emma Casey, just fine, but we had to be conscious of our trim. Frequently, people smiled and/or laughed as we rowed/motored by. Come to find out, people thought we had four kids and loved seeing a dinghy full of people. 

We first met Emma along our way down California. We were anchored at Little Scorpion, Santa Cruz Island, when we spotted her on the boat she was crewing on at the time. Both Christian and I had met her separately. Christian spoke with her for a bit. Emma and I did not exchange in conversation, I only swam past her while she was rowing around in her dinghy. To be honest, I thought she was sixteen, and was super impressed with her independence. 

The next time we saw Emma was at the Baja Ha Ha 2015 send-off/Halloween party October 25th, 2015 in San Diego. Although we were not doing the Ha Ha, we were invited by Doña and Richard, of Latitude 38, to join in on the festivities. We were nearing the end of the end of the party when Richard and Doña pointed out how upset Emma was. Her crew position wasn’t working out well and wanted to find a different, better fit. Christian and I looked at each other, and without having to exchange words, we agreed to offer her a place on our boat. Our kids agreed as well. Within seconds, I was offering Emma a position with us. We told her that didn’t need crew, but would take her along with us. I warned her of our crazy and sometimes loud three kids. She said that would be fine. I also warned her of our slow sail plan. Unlike the quick Baja Ha Ha rally down Baja, we planned on taking at least a month to sail Baja and then cross over from Cabo to the mainland. We also weren’t going to leave San Diego for about another week. “I would rather go slower anyway”, was Emma’s response. Within four hours Emma grabbed all her belongings and became our sixth person in our dinghy as we rowed out to our boat, which was anchored in Mission Bay, just north of San Diego. 

After giving a tour of our boat,  finding space for her two bags of minimal belongings, Emma settled into her new sleeping arrangement on the starboard settee in the main salon. The next morning, we pulled up anchor and sailed to San Diego proper, just in time to watch the Baja Ha Ha rally depart. Along the way, two of our kids had meltdowns. Emma handled it perfectly. We thought for sure she was going to back out after experiencing that, but she was fine with it. It was game on, and she was up for what was to come. 

We got to know each other pretty quick, as one might expect living in such tight quarters. The whole situation started to feel quite serendipitous. We quickly learned that Emma grew up in Marin county (San Francisco area) not far from where we lived for many years. Her dad, Mike Casey, owns The Canvas Works in Sausalito, which was a few blocks from where we kept our boat. And to top it off, Emma’s uncle is a surf buddy of Christian’s. They have been surfing together at the local surf spot in Marin for years!  Emma looks youthful, as I stated earlier.  I’m not the only person who thought she was 16. Under her youthful appearance is a very strong, mature, and educated lady. She has graduated with a degree in Art and Spanish language and is very intelligent. 

Emma fit right in. She was skilled at “the boat shuffle”, we never felt crowded with her as the sixth person aboard a 40 foot boat. She has been great with the kids and even parrotted our parenting style. She helped in the galley, translated Spanish, and even helped with boat schooling. She also became my “ship shape” buddy, keeping each other motivated to stay in shape while underway. Emma quickly became “family”.

Her time with us became open ended. She had already been with us for three months when we sailed in to Barra De Navidad, Mexico. After a few weeks in the Barra area, Emma was experiencing “the call of the sea”. She wanted to keep going South and West. Knowing that we were not going to be crossing the Pacific this season, she started to look for another few position on another boat. Nothing seemed to be turning out, until another serendipitous moment occurred a few nights ago. We went to dinner with a few cruising buddies (sailing vessels Chae Mi, Fukngivr, and Ness). Phillip on Ness was planning on leaving the next day. He plan, South and then West and then South east toward Chile and around Cape Horn! That evening he offered Emma a crew position aboard Ness, a beautiful steel one off from a Tahiti Ketch. 

After a day of contemplation, talking with family and us, Emma made her choice to jump ship and hop aboard Ness. Don’t worry, Christian as I went and checked out Ness for ourselves and had a chat with Phillip. We know, Emma’s an adult and can make wise choices, but after four months, she was family and we felt responsible for her safety. Our consensus was that the boat’s integrity is strong and Phillip is a good man. Emma should have a good experience with him aboard Ness. 

Emma left with Phillip aboard SV Ness in the morning on, Feb 24. It was hard to let her go, but we think this new chapter out at sea will be amazing for her.  Will she hop off in Tahiti or continue south around Cape Horn?  We are super excited to find out! We also have a strange feeling that she’ll end up on our boat again at some point, if not for a crossing, at least a visit. Let’s wish Emma and Phillip fair winds and following seas.




6 months out tally count/costs 

Just a quick post of a running tally we have on days anchored, days moored, days docked, and how much we’ve spent on each of those. 

158 days anchored (all free except the days spent in Morro Bay)

4 days moored 

17 days Docked (proud to say, still only 17, all free except for Ensenada) 

Paid $: Mooring $40 (Morro Bay YC)

              Docked $105 (Ensenada’s Baja Naval Marina)

              Dingy Dock $15 (Cabo San Lucas)

              Anchored $159 (Morro Bay Guest Anchorge) 

Fuel consumption for 6 months (60 gal diesel). 

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 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. 
Big ticket items that were not anticipated: 

replacing our windvane with a new hydrovane. Let’s just say >$5,000 (yikes!). 

And just recently, replacing our windlass. Another $2500! Our manual “triple nickel” finally had its last days. Rods sheered, springs broke. Basically, our manual windlass had reached its final day. Unfortunately you can’t find a new manual windlass for a boat larger than 32 feet anymore. Since we are in this for the long haul, we chose to go with a new windlass that is electric with a manual override. Shawnigan had previously had an electric on her, but we wanted manual. At least she’s pretty much all set to install a new electric windlass. Hopefully that’s it, for big ticket purchases this first year of cruising. 
Overall a very inexpensive way of living! We’ve noticed that we are one of very few kid boats that anchor instead of docking at a marina if one if available. I’m not sure why this is, but we wished more kid boats anchored out too. I know it can be more of a challenge in ways, but to us, it’s worth it.  By not going in to Marinas we basically extend our cruising time by at least 3 months without having to refil the cruising kitty.  Or another way to look at it, a month in the Marina at Barra Navidad is about 3 months of food for our family of five! Plus we enjoy our time being  more than 10 feet away from the boat next to us. It give us time to focus on each other or school without interruption. It does take more time management to be anchored, and maybe more meal planning, but again, it’s worth it. I enjoy the 15 minutes it takes us to get from our boat to town with our little 5 hp tahatsu outboard. And in more situations, the extra time to row in and out (a little exercise never hurts). 

If you’re a kid boat reading this, come anchor with us!

Here’s our pile of chain prepping for windlass change!

Disculpe, quisiera dos tacos al pastor por favor.

  “Disculpe, quisiera dos tacos al pastor por favor.” (“excuse me, I would like two tacos that are pork seasoned and cooked over a fire”)

The food in Mexico is delicious. It’s fresh and most of it locally sourced and much more affordable than in the United States. Yes there is still food with a lot of stuff we choose not to eat, but there is also a large variety of “clean” food to eat. 

Here in Barra de Navidad, the local tiendas (small grocery stores) have so much fresh produce. We are eating so many more fresh fruits and vegetables than we did in the states. Nuts are harder to come by in large quantities, but we found some that are sold in their raw form. 

Beans and corn tortillas are pretty much a daily intake. Bulk dried beans are easy to find, cheap to purchase and super easy to make in a pressure cooker. I’ve also been making our own corn tortillas, but sometimes we buy the fresh made ones from the tienda. A dozen farm fresh, never refrigerated, eggs cost about $2.00. I mention “never refrigerated” because on a boat, eggs last longer outside of the refrigerator if they’ve never been refrigerated in the first place. 

The Carniceria (butcher shop) offers a variety of fresh local meat. Or sometimes just walking along the street you can find a local house selling their fresh chicken from their back yard. The Pescaderia (fish market) offer lots of fish and the shrimp for less than $10/kilo! So far, we’ve been able to catch our own fish. 


 Other fabulous finds on the street:

Pollo Asada (A whole bbq chicken) for 100-120 pesos, which is about $5.50, and it comes with rice, tortillas, salad, and salsa. 

El Riconcita, one of a few local restaurants who uses a tire rim to bbq the delicious food. 


   Between the three tables, three kid boats and four other boats (Agamère, Wild Rumpus, Shawnigan, Gene Butler, Chae Mi, Ness, and Fukngivr) 

The local bakery. Chicha, the mother of the house runs the bakery and her family helps out. They open the “garage door” around noon, when they sell day old pastries. At around 4pm the fresh baked goods come out!  Amazing cinnamon rolls, chocolate croissants, and ham, cheese and jalapeño croissants and many more tasty treats.    


“The tamale lady”. Rosa sets up a few tables to sell her homemade tamales daily on the street. She starts at 5pm and usually sells out by 7pm. Each day she has a different type or two on the menu. Somedays it’s chicken and sweet corn, others is pork, cheese and pepper, and pineapple. Each one is super yummy and they cost only 10 pesos each! That’s pretty much 0.55 cents each. It’s hard not to just eat tamales for dinner every night, the whole family can eat for $10!  


Hamburgers and beer. Hotel Sands has amazing burgers and beer from 7 Mares Cerveceria out of Gaudalajara.  Once in a while it’s nice to have a little taste of The States.  It just happens to be a good place to tie up our dinghy as well. The people who run the place are very nice and very welcome to cruisers.  

 Pizza. So far we haven’t really found a place in Barra that we love for pizza. Our favorite place was back in Chamela at Scuba Jazz. They make amazing pizza there. 

Coffee. Good coffee has been extremely hard to find. We wish we would have stocked up on it better before we left San Diego! Fortunetly, Barra has a little coffee house called La BRUJA. It is owned by a local gringo couple, who have it set up as a artisan coffee shop and surf shop. Pretty much a perfect combo for us. With a steady flow of smiling customers, you would think they are serving some secret happy drink. Between the good locally roasted coffee, fresh veggie juices, good salads and good vibes, this spot is a gem.

With all that said, it’s hard not to eat out all the time.  We do a pretty good job eating on the boat during the day with the occasional evening outing.  

-A family Afloat

Bahia Chamela and Tenacatita video post

Just in case you missed my Facebook post, here are two videos we put together from our time in Bahia Chamela and Tenacatita.  Look for one on Barra de Navidad in the next few weeks!

Shenanigans on Shawnigan 01/27/2016

A day or week on Shawnigan with all its shenanigans anchored in Bahia Tenacatita:

We usually wake up with the sun, which lately occurs around 7:30 am. We seem to drag getting out of bed until 8:00 am. Tenacatita is a great anchorage for swimming, so I’ve been going for a swim first thing. Christian is left in charge of breakfast, coffee and getting the kids started with boat school. 

I hop in the water with just my suit and a rash guard to keep the jelly stings to a minimum. Lately I’ve been using my mask and snorkel instead of cap and goggles in order to admire the underwater scene more as I swim along and keep and eye out for sharks. I also enjoy being able to get my heart rate up and breath whenever I want.  Sometimes I prefer cap and goggles to get me into a more meditative swim. I notice that when I swim with cap and goggles I hold my breath with a meditative rhythm, with obvious benifits as well.  Yesterday, I swam over a school of 9 Southern Stingrays as well as multiple large Jacks and various other beautiful colored fish. My morning swim averages about 45 minutes. 

I make sure to return to the boat in time to catch “the net”. The Net is the morning VHF radio check in that occurs in popular cruising ports. Six days a week people alternate who takes the Net Controller roll. The last 5 days that we spent in Tenacatita the Net Controller position has been filled by various kids on boats. Nina did it twice! The Net is usually over by 9:30 and the kids are well into boat school. If there are other kid boats around like Tenacatita has been, our girls like to start school early, before Christian and I are out of bed, so that they can be ready to play by lunch time. Math and English and art are in the daily lesson plan. Science, history, foreign language and music are placed in on different days during the week. We have the kids alternate weeks on helping cook meals and they each have various boat cleaning duties that are completed before play time with other boat kids. 

Christian gets out for his time alone/exercise sometime after his coffee and breakfast. Tenacatita is lacking in surfing opportunities, so he’s been going free diving and spear fishing. One day he helped lead a class on knots for a group boat schooling lesson. He’s also been our coconut retriever. Coco frio is a favorite on our boat, especially a fresh picked one on a hot sunny day on the beach. What a rough life.  

We anchored in Tenacatita a few weeks ago, went to Barra Navidad for a week then returned to Tenacatita after hearing about all the kid boats that were reportedly anchored. Sure enough there were four other kid boats when we arrived and at one point a total of 13 kids! We also had a day were we counted 46 boats in the anchorage. Fun times! And thanks to the Mayor and his wife (Robert and Virginia Gleser), there are activities and raft ups to bring the boating community together. 

We met many wonderful sailors and a few that have already circumnavigated the world. One in particular just finished a 25 year circumnavigation, a couple named  Doreen and Michael Ferguson on SV St. Leger. Another couple, Monica and Jack, on junk rigged SV Bella Via turned out to know Christian’s dad Gene Lauducci. Gene had repaired their sails about 30 years ago when they sailed through Sausalito. They had so many great stories to share about Christian’s dad. I mentioned before “The Mayor” Robert and Virginia Gleser.  They also have a interesting story and a few books written (Harmony on the High Seas, and Tie-dye!, the How to Book)I was happy to have an extensive conversation with Virginia about “The Farm“, with which they helped form and worked closely with Ina May Gaskin, the midwife guru! Virginia wrote books about the farm as well as sailing. The couple also make beautiful tie-dyed pieces that they sell. One day, Virginia had a tie-dye workshop on the beach. The kids loved it. The sailing community can make the world seem small sometimes. We met a John and Donna on SV Carmanah (aka “The Tin Man). Turns out that he was the swim coach in Bainbridge Island and remembers my older cousin Joy Archer in the swim team. He also know Joy’s daughter Shayla, as she is quite a swimmer as well. Upon making the connection, John stated, “I see family resemblance! And watching you swim out in the anchorage, swimming must run in the family genes as well!” Small world! 

Other than that, we made daily trips to the beach and dinghy rides up the mangroves and a group trip to La Manzanilla to re-provision and hike to a water hole. That pretty much sums up our time in Bahia Tenacatita. We’re now back in Barra de Navidad, where wifi is more abundant and street tamales and tacos are amazing. Hopefully we can add a little more surf activity to our agenda. 


 Tie Dye with Virginia Gleser   



 Virginia and William from SV Agamére

Knot tying class:



  Casey on Chae Mi teaching knots


 SV Banyon girls


 Nina learning through leading



 Tenacatita The Mayor’s Dinghy Raft Up      

  Wild Rumpus, Agamere, Shawnigan 

 Kiwi 3


Bocce ball with coconuts  

 Full moon over Tenacatita