Category Archives: kids on boat

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Experiencing Mexican culture – and more. 8 weeks in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle 

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.

For lunch, a meal of mixed meat and vegetables and a whole table full of toppings to make your own tacos 🌮 .Burning frankincense

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.

Another orphanage visit to the Marina for some poolside play time with the cruising kids.

Templo de Guadalupe in PV
Talent show at Marina La Cruz

Birthday 🎉 parties!

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. 

La Cruz Kids Club community service at the orphanage. Kids from the sailboats Ceilydh, Nomi, Pickles, Shawnigan, Velella, and Zimovia.

A beautiful family on one of our bus rides. 

La Cruz Kids Club burgee.

La Cruz poolside deli hangout; cruising kids unite! Sailboat kids from August Dream II, Full Monty, Kenta Anae, Luminesce, Princess Ericka, Raireva, Riki Tiki Tavi, and  Shawnigan.

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Sick and stuck in La Cruz (Puerto Vallarta)

Sick and stuck in La Cruz (Puerto Vallarta) 1/21/2017

Ok, I say this with as much light hearted attitude as possible. Life tends to always throw curve balls whether you’re working the daily grind or sailing the world having a good time. Our’s in this case is being faced with Christian’s sickness and having to choose the best, safest option for him and our family. 

Christian originally started feeling sick late October when he returned  back to the States from a quick trip working on the boat in San Carlos, Mexico. At the time it just seemed like a normal sickness since everyone else around us was sick too. He recovered from the initial part, at least we thought he had, and went on his way back to the boat in San Carlos, Mexico with Nina and Taj early November. His energy was starting to get lower and his stomach frequently upset. Mid-November, they set sail to cross the Sea of Cortez and made their way south, down the Baja side. In the meantime I was up working in The States only having occasional text messages on his health report. Once it was clear that this “thing” wasn’t going away on its own, I told him to go to the doctor and take a poo (stool) sample with him to test for parasites. 

He wasn’t near a doctor at the time, so he took this medicine that we keep on board called “Vermox“, which is normally a quick and easy fix for “non bloody travelers diarrhea” AKA “la tourista”.  That didn’t work either. In the meantime he was still sailing down to La Paz, thankfully buddy boating with our friends aboard S/V Kenta Anae. They helped ease the parenting load off of Christian and helped with meals along the way. 

As soon as he got to La Paz, after talking to other sailors who are practicing doctors from various locations, they decided that he probably got Giardia from the U.S. It made sense to us, because he had been drinking out of this spring and did so after a huge rain. So, he went to the farmacia in La Paz and got himself Flagyl for that, no prescription needed. Still no poo sample given to a doctor at this point (sense a little frustration from me?). 

This is when I went down to La Paz to visit at the beginning of December. He was still on flagyl and seemed to be doing ok, if not a little better. We sailed, hiked a bit, ate out , and even surfed once. Nothing was screaming “get this guy to the doctor” yet.  Then Nina and I left and Christian’s father, Gene Lauducci, hopped onboard to cross the Sea of Cortez with him. 

With Christian, his dad Gene, and Taj aboard S/V Shawnigan they sailed away and across. Doing ok, but progressively getting weaker they made it across and to La Cruz anchorage. I only found out after the fact,  when we made phone contact, how much he struggled with his energy and urged him to go to a doctor. He did finally! And the doctor in La Cruz wanted to just send him home on a 7 day course of Cipro without checking blood or poop. Christian had to ask for these. The labs were done, but limited (no blood culture and no stool culture). He did however order a specific test for Salmonella called the Widal Reaction Test. It showed that he had low-moderate levels of Salmonella of three different types. One of which was typhi (aka Typhoid Fever). 

Phew, we thought we were on the right track now, but 2 days into it, the day Nina and I flew back in to Mexico, he started having negative and rare side effects from the Cipro and had to stop them immediately. I have never seen Christian like this. I have to admit it was a little scary.  

The very next day we found a new doctor, after having a hard time contacting the previous one and not completely trusting him either. This new doctor took his own labs and agreed that it looked like Salmonella, and did a quick abdominal ultrasound mainly to look at the gallbladder, since it likes to harbor there long term. Based on the labs and apparently enlarged gallbladder, he said it seemed that Christian has had this for more than 2 years, not a recent infection. He started him on 5 days on IV Gentamicin and 10 days of oral Bactrim. After the 2nd day of treatment, Christian initially felt better but his energy was off and on and by the end of treatment and 4 days later he felt just as sick again. 

He went back for a follow up and to ask for cultures. For some reason these doctors down here just don’t want to do cultures! He did do follow up Salmonella labs and found the level of one actually got higher! He suggested to Christian, without re-ultrasounding his gallbladder, that if he just wanted to get the Salmonella out of his system now and quickly he should just have him remove his Gallbladder. Can you believe it?! From one course of treatment to “let’s remove your Gallbladder” ?!?! Needless to say, we went and got a second, I guess this was actually a third, opinion. 

We were referred to this doctor husband and wife team in Punta Mita through ours friends Richard and Doña on Profligate. They first used the collection of labs we’d already gotten and looked at the latest and started treatment based on that, but they interpreted it as normal values of Salmonella and raised values of Rikettsia.  We asked for cultures again but they said he needed to get started on some treatment right away before waiting to see results.  So again, Christian got three days of IM shots of a Cephalosporin and was asked to come back in a week for follow up labs and this time stool (poo) cultures using a really good reliable lab that the hospitals use. He was also sent to an ultrasound specialist for a full abdominal ultrasound. It was a good thing we did all of this. The ultrasound (which only cost us $20 USD) showed that his gallbladder was fine! And the 3 days of shots did not make Christian feel better. We were shocked when the lab results came back as still having Salmonella Typhoid, not Rikettsia, AND his stool culture came back as having multi antibiotic resistant E. Coli and no Salmonella (meaning the Salmonella is still in his blood, but he can’t spread it). Again, they did not do a blood culture because they don’t normally do them in Mexico and didn’t have the proper lab bottles for them in stock. URG! We found out the doctors around here hardly ever do them because it’s “expensive” and usually they don’t need to. To us, it’s worth it and in all my nurse training you get a blood culture first thing. Lesson learned, demand one in the very beginning, even if you come off as a crazy paranoid American.  

So here we are currently finishing up the 1 of only 3 antibiotics that the E. Coli is susceptible to and hopefully the Salmonella as well. We go in on Monday to have both stool AND blood cultures drawn and Salmonella levels of course with a complete Blood Count as well. Christian has had a low white count through this whole thing. The labs should take five days for results to come through, which get emailed to us (pretty cool). We still have no idea where and when he got this nasty stuff. 

We are keeping our fingers crossed. Christian is feeling better. The last three days he’s had a lot more energy. So far though, the one thing that all the doctors had in common was that they all said this Salmonella and now E. Coli might take up to a year to fully clear. So it looks like we are stuck here for in the Puerto Vallarta area for a bit. 

Saying “stuck” really isn’t the correct word, since we are choosing to stay here until Christian is healthy, but at the same time it’s hard not to think about where we could be or want to be sailing now and in the near future. So for now, we are trying to stay positive and we’re ok with being here, because we are still here in Mexico and with the whole family together on the boat. Meeting lots of great people and other sailing families. 
We are hoping to at least get healthy enough to cruise Mexico again and the Sea of Cortez again. We don’t want to push our luck in going too far off the beaten path. Safety and fun is better than an adventure unsafe and possibly life threatening. 

I’ll try to update on the latest results next weekend. Hopefully Christian will be so healthy we’re out having fun! 


At least there are tons of cruising kids here to keep our kids entertained! 

Writing funk…but still adventuring 

I apologize for the delay in an actual blog post. It seems to be more convenient lately to post pictures and videos to our instagram, facebook, and YouTube sites. 

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! 


Boat school Christmas Vacation is ending today. 

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. 

Stayed tuned.

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

Christmas Eve potluck at Marina La Cruz (Banderas Bay)

Kids camp out, organized by Marina La Cruz

Liam’s (S/V Riki Tiki Tavi) birthday party.

Talent show at the Marina La Cruz amphitheater.

45 peso haircut (2.25 USD)!

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 

Satellite Phone fund Campaign. A Family Afloat shirts And Sweaters 

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. 

https://www.bonfire.com/dashboard/details/josies-campaign-12/

 

My visit with my sailing family in La Paz

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!

The road trip up from San Jose del Cabo was just over 2 hours. All of the main roads were surprisingly very well kept and I was surprised to see actual seat belt signs along the way.

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).

7 weeks of separation

We are making our way back to the boat, well at least 3 of the 5 of us are.  After just over 4 months of being back in the US, leaving our boat in Mexico, its time to start heading back to our cruising life.

This morning, November 4th, we all woke up at 4:30 AM. Christian and the 3 kids left in a rental car to drive to Phoenix before making their way to the boat and I went to work. Once Christian gets to Phoenix, Ellamae (the middle boat kid) will fly to Florida to spend some time with her Papa Jason. Christian will be taking Nina and Taj back to the boat via the Tufesa Bus that runs from Phoenix to Guaymas, Mexico.After a 12 hour over night bus ride, its a quick taxi ride to the boat in San Carlos.  I will be staying in San Francisco for another 7 weeks to finish up my contract. It’s been a bit of an emotional day for me, to say the least.

The kids are super excited to get back to boat life and meet up with all their boat friends that they have met, and hopefully meet that many new ones that are sailing down to Mexico this season. Christian is super exited to get back on the water, fill the sails with wind, and do some free diving/ spear fishing. I am excited that as well. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. All the hard work will pay off. I’m most looking forward to being back in the warm air, swimming/surfing in warm water and being back in the cruising mode with my family.  I also am looking forward to meeting the new cruising families that make it to Mexico this year.

I will be flying down once during the 7 weeks to visit in La Paz. I will be bringing Nina back with me to San Francisco for a few weeks for her to spend her 14th birthday with friends and family up here. I look forward to that time with her and know that it will help me with my “homesick” feelings.  Thankfully I will be heading to the boat just before Christmas to get some quality holiday family time.

We had a great last week together!

Halloween 2016

Another Great Radio Interview!!!

A big thanks to Mike McDowall with Boat Radio for the fantastic radio interview.

We were interviewed while we were in Barra de Navidad, Mexico last March of 2016.  Still pretty fresh in the cruising scene, it’s fun to reflect on our perspective at that time.

Listen Here: Boat Radio

or Here for Facebook users: Boat Radio on Facebook

 

img_4321our picture from over a year ago already seems so outdated, can’t wait to compare  5 years from now.

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