My last few Ship Shape posts have either been on our instagram or YouTube channel. Here’s the last two videos that I’ve done for Ship Shape: staying fit and healthy while sailing the world with kids.
My last few Ship Shape posts have either been on our instagram or YouTube channel. Here’s the last two videos that I’ve done for Ship Shape: staying fit and healthy while sailing the world with kids.
We were approached by Marty Reeder, author of “How to Become a Pirate Hunter“, who asked us to read the book before it is published and participate in a “blog tour” of it. We gladly accepted the proposal upon hearing that it is maritime based and targeted for teens, such as Nina, as well as adults. Both Nina and Christian read it immediately. I am still in the process.
The blog tour for “How to Become a Pirate Hunter” started Tuesday the 14th. Ours is today, March 17th and we’ve provided two, since both Nina and Christian read it. I’m sure you will find Nina’s take on “How to Become a Pirate Hunter” most exciting! Below is both of our “blog tour” responses. We will be posting Nina’s to her blog as well.
Most of the books I’ve read lately are really good, but it takes about 100 pages to get fully captivated. “How to be a Pirate Hunter” was captivating from the very first page! A very well written pirate time-travel adventure of a 15 year old boy in the modern world who felt he had no purpose in life until he met a young lady of the same age with a natural-born ability to show him otherwise. Mr. Marty Reeder has written a story that you won’t want to put down until it’s finished.
Nina’s blog tour for “How to be a Pirate Hunter” by Marty Reeder:
I have just read an amazing book called, “How To Become a Pirate Hunter” by Marty Reeder. He asked me if I could read his book (before it was even published!) and do some sort of review on it, so I did a interview with him. He also did a mash-up with one of my favorite book, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. A mash-up is where you mix characters from one book and a plot from another. I will post the mash-up on my blog on a later date.
After reading this book I wondered if I had a natural-born ability. I asked Mr. Marty Reeder what he thought mine would be and I found my natural-born ability is a badminton umpire, but he is guessing I am really the next meteor jumper, what ever that is! Honestly, we’ll never know because I don’t know of any seers around (seers are characters in his book that can see anyone’s natural-born ability when they look you in the eye).
Here are the questions that I asked Mr. Reeder for the interview;
N–How long have you been writing for?
M-Like many writers, I’ve been writing since I was old enough to spell! I still have the story that I wrote before I was a teenager about two kids surviving in the woods. I’ve gone through plenty of stories since then, some of them better than others, but almost always, I write (or read!).
N-What was the writing process like? How long did it take?
M-Most of my stories tend to germinate for quite some time before they sprout, and How to Become a Pirate Hunter. is no exception. I got the idea about 13 years ago, but I didn’t start writing until a few years after that. Then I started teaching at a school and having a family … that put things on pause. I remember taking some Saturday mornings when I didn’t have grading or other things and squeezing in some writing. In fact, I recall one Saturday morning with my baby girl on my lap while I wrote the climactic scene in the story. After I finished the story, I tinkered with it for years and kept it on a back burner. Finally, last year I decided to take it seriously. After Cedar Fort liked one of the stories that I sent them, they wanted me to do some edits on it and then send them any other stories I had written. I had been saving How to Become a Pirate Hunter for something special and this seemed like the one. I did an extensive edit of Pirate Hunter and sent it in to them.
N-Are there any writers you find inspiring?
M-I’ve always loved Mark Twain. He is someone I could read as a kid and as an adult and just enjoy his humor, fun characters, and clever but sound reasoning. I also remember reading Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game) when I was younger and being blown away with how smart his characters were, but I was still allowed access to their thoughts and actions. As I grew up, I learned to love some of the classics. I have tremendous respect for authors like Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Shakespeare. While those are all good writers, whenever I need to escape the tough things in life, I invariably turn to the silly writings of British novelist P.G. Wodehouse.
N-Which character from How to Become a Pirate Hunter is most like you?
M-This is such a great question! Interestingly, I’d have to say that neither of the main characters are super close to me. I am not as reserved and subdued as Eric, but I’m also too passive to be like the confident and aggressive Charlotte. I personally think that I make for a great, loyal sidekick. So I’m going to have to say that I feel I am most similar to Samuel–though I don’t really feel like much of a natural born charioteer!
N-If you had to go up against a gang of pirates who would you want on your team (other than Eric)? (They can be real or fictional.)
M-Another great question. Okay, I’m going to list off a few here:
–Jim Hawkins from Treasure Island. This 14-year-old kid holds his own against a motley arrangement of the most desperately vile pirates in literature, from Billy Bones to Israel Hands to the master mutineer himself: Long John Silver!
–Horatio Hornblower from C.S. Forester’s excellent Hornblower series. These books are for an older audience and the main character has a funny name, but when it comes to strategic naval maneuvers and modesty, Horatio is the man!
-Sir Francis Drake, the real-life English privateer. Sure, that’s like pitting a pirate against another pirate … but technically he was a “privateer” (someone given permission from their government to plunder ships from other nations), and who better to anticipate a pirate’s moves that a good-hearted pirate himself.
M–What were some of your favorite books as a teen?
M-The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
– Redwall (and Redwall series) by Brian Jacques
-Watership Down by Richard Adams
-Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
-The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I would write more about each one, but then you’d be here all day!
N–And last, what is your natural-born ability (and mine!!)?
M-You know, you’d think I’d be ready for that question, having a lot of time to think about it. In spite of that, I’ve never really settled on something. I need a seer! My copout response is that I was naturally born to write a story on pirate hunters! … but if I were to really venture an opinion, I might say that I was a natural born Scout camp waterfront director (mainly because that is one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever done, and I felt that I was, ahem, reasonably good at it!). And yours, Nina? Well, I’m no seer, but the random natural born ability generator from my website just told me that you were a natural born badminton umpire … but I think that’s an inexact science. So I’m going to say that you are a natural born meteor jumper. What that is, exactly, I don’t know, because it’s one of those abilities for the future … but it does sound cool, I think!
This is the ends of our quick Q & A with Mr. Marty Reeder. When How To Become a Pirate Hunter comes out, be sure to get it for yourself, and find out what crazy adventures Eric and Charlotte go on. I found I was “hooked” by the prologue. Eric, who is 15, thinks that he doesn’t have a natural-born ability, until Charlotte sends them back in time, and they have to help a boat escape pirates. This book is filled with excitement and will keep you at the edge of your seat the entire time. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
“I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet”
-The Rise and Fall
I’ve provided the schedule below so that you can read other reviews as well.
If we are going to be “stuck ” here, we might as well make the best of it! This year here in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle we have put ourselves out there more than our last visits to experience more culture and participate in more activities around the area. Here are a few examples:
Christmas for the Orphanage: every Christmas season at Marina La Cruz people donate gifts for the local kids in the orphanage. Just after the New Year, the orphans are brought to the marina to participate in activities and have gift bags handed out to them. The bags themselves were made by various other sailors and with help from PV Sailing. Cookies were baked by fellow sailors, and gifts were bought and wrapped specially for each kid at the orphanage. The La Cruz Cruising Kids Club set up stations for various activities, such as face painting, makeup, perfume making, friendship bracelet making, and a table full of “archeology kits”. What a joy to see all the happy faces of these beautiful children. Most only spoke Spanish, so it was a great experience for our kids as well. Thanks Catrina at Marina La Cruz for organizing this!
Green Race: the first annual 3k and 10k run to support planting native trees and other “green” ways of living in Mexico. There is quite a bit of trash, but I’m impressed with how much recycling is happening in La Cruz and the State of Nayarit. San Pancho is especially promoting “green” living. There is still a lot of plastic use and styrofoam, but the effort is here. Bring your own shopping bags and don’t forget to say “sin popete”, this means no straw. One of the biggest polluters are plastic straws. There are reusable straws out there. We have a few we that we carry with us for when we order Cocos Frios or Jugos and Liquados.
Wall of plastic bottles at San Pancho’s recycling center.
Blessing of the fishing fleet in Bucerias: The fishermen decorate the pangas (boats) and travel from the La Cruz marina to Bucerias, to be blessed by the priest. Supposedly the boats form a sign of the cross as they motor over to Bucerias, but that was hard to see from land. They bring with them, fresh caught fish, fruit, bread, and even tequila to be blessed as well. Once they land by beaching the pangas at full speed, they bring theses items to the church for their blessing. At the church there is native dancing in traditional Mayan dress and song along with Mass. Later in the day, we saw little ladies in fancy dress riding horses side saddle and riders that have their horses dance to live music. This tradition is done annually to bless the fishermen and their boats for safety for the upcoming year.
Fairs and Carnivals: we missed the rodeo, but did get to go to the fair in Puerto Vallarta. You know you’re in Mexico when your kid is too short for a ride, so you just carry them on and hold them in your lap or right next to you. And when you pay $8/person for unlimited rides. That was a late night for us.
Day trips outside of La Cruz to Yelapa(video), San Pancho, Valle Dorado, down town Puerto Vallarta, Turtle Release(video), local(ish) surf spots, 6 birthdays, talent shows, sailing presentations, etc. We have not ventured inland yet. San Pancho with SV EmpyreanOur friend’s gourmet raw Chocolate Shop in San Pancho “Mexicolate”. A must for opening your heart. If sweetened at all, they use honey and rarely raw cane sugar.
We aren’t sure what’s next on the agenda. We are waiting for Christian to regain strength and stamina from being sick for so long. He just had 2 wisdom teeth pulled, one that was infected, so hopefully that’s it for him! We are hoping to sail south to Barra de Navidad soon before making our way back up in to the Sea Of Cortez again. Yes, another change in plans. We were going to go south toward Ecuador, but health is first in our plans this year. We will be happy just to sail out of Banderas Bay soon. In the meantime, we’ll keep seeking out cultural experiences around La Cruz, hopefully not just the ones to doctor’s appointments.
A beautiful family on one of our bus rides.
As some of our followers might know, I , Josie, mother and wife on S/V Shawnigan, post a #shipshape blurb on occasion on our blog and more frequently post exercise poses on our instagram. I do this in hopes to inspire other sailors, not just women, to exercise on their boats as well.
The other week, I was invited to speak at a Women Who Sail event in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico, in regards to fitness for sailors. I was one of 4 speakers in front of 40+ women. Diane and her daughter Maia spoke as recent circumnavigators! Our daughter Nina spoke about life changes as a kid going from city life to cruising to regards to friendships. And I had the pleasure for the opportunity to share my thoughts on boat fitness and for the potential to inspire this fantastic group of sailing women. My focus was on my background, the importance of staying fit for sailing and an example of a few poses.
I’m not sure how many of you were excited about P.E. when you were growing up, but I have to be honest here, I hated it! No offense Mr. Eryr if you’re reading this. It wasn’t the teacher. I just could not stand someone telling me to do 20 push-ups, 50 sit-ups, 8 laps around the field. In fact, I disliked it so much that I would sometimes fake being sick and (sorry Mom and Dad) even ditched a few classes. I was an active kid though. I was very competitive on the swim team, hiked, karate, skied/snowboarded, skateboard, and was always riding bikes around the neighborhoods.
It wasn’t until I broke my arm when I was 15 that I realized the importance of exercise in my life. That broken arm put me out from doing so many of the things I loved for over 3 months. No playing piano, no swimming, snowboarding, drumming in band, nothing. As a normal hormonal teenager and recent injured and inactive teenager, I saw my mood decline. That was when I first signed up for a weight training class with my parents. I hopped on board with the gym scene since there were so many options to get exercise and rebuild mobility in my arm. It was then that I saw my improvement in my overall mood and physical stamina. I even started working out before school, especially on test days in order to stay focused throughout the day. In college, you could find me with me flash cards on the elliptical studying for my nursing exams. I found something that worked and kept with it.
My physically active life went on and I found myself and Ellamae moving out of the “normal” house life and onto a 35′ boat with Christian and Nina. I maintained exercise off the boat by riding my bike to work each day and swimming, yoga, or occasional surf on my days off. We moved onto our current bigger 40′ monohull, had Taj and found our way to cutting the dock lines and sailing down to Mexico.
One of my biggest concerns about sailing around the world with my family was how I was going to maintain my fitness and the for the family. I know I’m not alone on that thought. Our Stevens 40 doesn’t offer much in regards to extra space for exercise, so we had to get creative on board. Our friend bought us a TRX, so that was helpful. I found places throughout the boat to do core exercises, but I had to get creative about it. Actually, I really enjoy doing some of my exercises on night watch. It helps me stay awake and keeps me alert. For our cardio based exercise, that usually comes in the form of surfing, swimming, and power yoga when we are anchored somewhere and not underway.
Christian and I both value the importance of exercise. So we make sure that we both fit it in to our days. It helps with our parenting, our marital relationship and our sailing longevity. If either of us slack of, our mood becomes a little short, parenting and homeschooling becomes harder and life just isn’t as smooth. Not only that, but our physical strength is important to us, especially our core. We’ve noticed after 32(ish) that as soon as we let our core strength go, we run in to back problems. The last thing you want while out sailing is a hurt back.
It is extremely important to be able to act quick and with agility on your boat. Whether you need to make short tacks up the windy channel, hoisting sails, pulling up anchors, to, knock on wood, performing a “man overboard”, your core strength matters most. All the other strength comes with “the job”.
I am not a certified trainer, or certified TRX trainer. I get most of my ideas from my family’s Crossfit Gym in Bishop, so I am happy to give credit and gratitude to them. I hope my #shipshape gives you ideas and inspiration. If you are a cruiser and in my area I can come show you some exercise specific to your boat, “trade for coconuts “. Here are a few poses that I demonstrated during the Women Who Sail speech and a short video from last year.
For more Click links below:
After a few people inquiring about a blog update I decided to throw one together.
When I first returned to the boat December 22, I came back to a very sick husband. We spent the first week together trying to figure out what was ailing him and get proper treatment. After deciding the first doctor was missing something, we found another. He seemed to be on to something and treated Christian for systemic Salmonella tyhoid! After 5 days of IV antibiotics and 10 days of oral antibiotics he did feel better. We were back to surfing and taking day sails and long hikes. But 5 days after the antibiotics were finished he started to feel sick again. He went back to get follow up labs and one of his levels were increased 3 fold! The doctor recommended taking out his gall bladder, assuming the tyhoid was festering in it and won’t dissipate until it’s removed. Needless to say, we went and got a second opinion, or rather a third one at this point. This doctor stated that Christian did have salmonella in the past, but that’s not what is wrong at the moment. The level that increased was the “proteus ox-19” aka Rickettsia. It resembles salmonella when tested for it. So Christian is now on a 3 day IM (injection/shots) of cephalosporin treatment. We will retest labs on Tuesday and go from there. We are trying to remain optimistic about this. He already feels better, so fingers crossed…
In the meantime, we’ve been on surf trips, hiking trips and lounging by the poolside with fellow cruising families. There are a lot more older kids this year, which is great for Nina. And a few younger ones. Specifically, Zoey on Empyrean, has become Taj’s best buddy.
I’ve been able to start focusing on my “ship shape” boat fitness workouts and yoga ashore with other cruisers. In fact I was asked to speak about boat fitness at the “women who sail” gathering here in La Cruz on January 13th! I also signed up for a 10k run on the 15th. I’m not much of a runner, but I figured I could pull it off for one day for a good cause (green awareness in Mexico). Thanks Katrina for organizing all of this!
Ellamae will be returning to the boat in a week!
Hopefully Christian will return to full health soon. We’d like a clean bill of health before we set sail southbound from the Puerto Vallarta area.
In the meantime here are videos we made and some pictures to look at.
Shanti from S/V Shawnigan
I accidentally spelled Yelapa as “yalapa” on the video. Oops!
Las Posadas celebration
Beach day with S/V Luminesce, S/V Mango Mango, S/V Empyrean, S/V Riki Tiki Tavi, S/V Wild Rumpus, S/V Raireva, and S/V Shawnigan
Last day to Help us keep the posts coming while we continue sailing around the world! Even from the middle of the Pacific Ocean! Purchase a shirt/sweater through our Bonfire Campaign or you can click on any of the pictures below. Pictures whist a sample of style and colors. Choose your favorite on the Bonfire site.
Last week, December 2nd, my friend Rachael and I flew down to San Jose del Cabo and rented a car to get to La Paz, where Christian, Nina, and Taj * were anchored on Shawnigan. We spent 5 days exploring around La Paz and REALLY loving being back together after a whole month of not seeing each other.
Renting a car is cheap, but they make up for it with the price of insurance!
When we arrived I was pleasantly greeted with a huge hug from my kids and a loving kiss and hug from my husband. It had been too long. I felt immediate comfort and relief. The whole that was growing from being away had vanished.
We were all starving for good Mexican food, so we went to this place called “Super Burro”. And boy did they have some good super burros (super burritos) as well as many other tasty treats. I had been missing this part of sailing in Mexico.
The next day we sailed off the hook from La Paz anchorage and straight in to Caleta Lobos. It started as a downwind sail and turned to an upwind sail, we tacked back and forth out of the channel. I realized I was out of “ship shape”, my heart was pumping, breath was working and my arms were getting pumped. It ended up taking 5 hours to go, not even, 10 miles to Caleta Lobos. It was Rachael’s first time really sailing on our boat. She was surprised with all the motion and how easily we just “sit there” in the cockpit for that much time. I love getting new perspectives. It felt so good to be sailing again! There was a decent amount of wind but that didn’t stop us from an afternoon snorkel and hot tea to warm us back up afterward. That night we had a light show from the weather gods. Lightning, thunder and rain out on the hook. We stayed nice and warm and dry as we watched out from the comforts of our hard dodger. The next day was mostly cloudy so we hiked on shore and did another snorkel-tea session and set up the hammock on our new arch. Our last morning, the sun finally came out and the sea was calm so we got one more snorkel in. We got to show Rachael some of what the Sea of Cortez is really about. Trigger Fish, King Angel Fish, Urchin, Scallops, Comb Jellies and we even saw an Eel. (I have to apologize for the lack of underwater pictures on this post. I did’t take the time to get my underwater camera set up.)Not sure why these mega yachts think its ok to anchor so close when there is so much room…guess I’ll sit here and knit and take the free entertainment.
The next few days we spent back in La Paz. More good food, fish tacos, fruit cups, Mexican ice cream from “La Fuente” and a quick road trip in the rental car to surf Todos Santos. Seeing last year’s cruising friends and meeting this year’s new ones gave me something to look forward to when I return full time on December 22nd. I loved listening to the morning “La Paz net”, “Amigo Net” and “Sonrisa Net” with chatter among the cruisers. We even celebrated Saint Nicholas Day on December 6th. I loved being more disconnected from the Bay Area business and traffic, and social media. Most of all I loved being close to my family. It was so nice just to sit there and watch the kids play and sit there and read with them while our boat was gently rocking back and forth. I’m looking forward to many more years if cruising.
Leaving wasn’t quite as hard this time around. I know that 2 and a half weeks will go quicker than I might imagine. Plus I brought Nina back with me, so at least I have a little bit of the family love!
The cruising continues as I finish up my travel RN assignment at UCSF.
As I write this, Christian is sailing Shawnigan across the Sea of Cortez with just Taj and his dad, Gene, aboard. The plan was to sail straight to Isla Isabela from Caleta Lobos. They might have stopped in Muertos, but I’m unsure if they actually did. The last I heard of them was on the 8th, the morning after I left. They were heading out from Caleta Lobos. They had just pulled up the anchor and found, wrapped on it, the fishing line with fish bling that Taj had accidentally dropped and lost 3 days prior. I find this quiet amazing and worth mentioning. What are the chances??? Glad we saved the ocean from our accidental plastic litter too. Taj was super excited.
*Ellamae was not present because she is still with her bio-father in Florida (we missed having her around).