Tag Archives: adventures with kids

Crossing the Sea of Cortez: from Mazatlan to La Paz 

We left Marina Mazatlan May 14th around 7:30 am, timed with the tides again. The swell was down, unlike coming in, the timing this time around was not as crucial. We had a minimum 2 day if not possibly 4-5 day crossing ahead of us, so an early departure was not necessary for the purpose of timing our arrival. Mike on SV Easy departed just before us to buddy boat across. We planned on communicating via predetermined SSB frequencies once our VHF was out or range.

The first day out was pretty mellow. We were forced by the wind to make a more north, northwesterly point of sail, which was fine. We motored for about an hour, just enough to get out past Isla Pajaro and catch a zephyr of wind. It was Mother’s Day, the sun shown brilliant, and dolphins came to swim off of our stern. Christian tried to join them in the water by tying himself off with a rope and filming with the goPro. We are pretty convinced that dolphins can hear our heartbeat, because as soon as he got in the water they swam away. When he just had the goPro in, they stuck around. Me with my Happy Mother’s Day smile after the dolphins visited.

The next day, was my birthday. I turned 36 and it was my first birthday celebrated out at sea. The day started out calm. I had planned to talk with my travel nurse recruiter via Satellite phone to try to pin down a travel job for the summer. We had already been conversing but nothing was final. I knew I needed to get something pinned down, but we were ready to set sail, so IridiumGo to the rescue! I had my nursing recruiter call me via satellite phone to secure a job while in the middle of the Sea of Cortez. I was shocked at how well the reception was. The call was dropped a few times, but we were able to get what needed to be done done and secured a job at Kaiser San Francisco for me in the summer! That was a pretty good birthday gift. This is where we were mid day on my birthday.

The kids loving Birthday cake in the middle of the crossing.

Later on that afternoon, the wind picked up to the mid 20’s and by evening was in the high 20’s with gusts of low 30’s on a close reach (upwind). We were double reefed with our Mainsail and furled in jib to about 90% for most of the night and the next day. Despite that our boat was handeling it well, and the hydrovane kept us steering perfectly, I got a little sea sick. The kids did too, but thankfully, no one reached the point of vomiting. They still were able to eat my birthday cake. Although I was able to maintain good spirits I was rendered almost completely useless. I can’t go down below to cook at all, let alone help the kids with anything. Tacking, trimming sails, steering is fine though and is actually helpful, so I don’t mind being “on watch” when I get sea sick. By nightfall I was feeling fine as long as I stayed focused and outside. I did end up taking a Bonine to help me keep from throwing up and fall asleep during my limited time off watch.     Love this “tilt boat’n” action! Water spilling over the rail, SV Shawnigan holding strong and steady.

The kids just relaxed or slept in off under the comfort of our dodger or they clipped their harnesses on and went outside for fresh air. No boatschooling was happening this crossing. So far no one on our boat has gotten so sea sick to the point of throwing up since we left in August 2015. I’ll take it as a sign that we’re getting the hang of it. All clipped in on the aft deck, singing songs into the wind to pass the time. Ellamae lounging in the dodger.

By the end of the third day the wind had us going north again, north of Muertos off of Isla Ceralvo. We tacked up before being able to tack back towards La Paz. We made it up until the channel below Isla Espiritu Santo before turning on the engine for that last hour. We made to Anchorage just north of La Paz, called Caleta Lobos, just after dark. Fortunately we’ve anchored here many times before, so coming in at dark was not ideal, but ok. The anchorage was flat and we slept so well!

More pictures:

 Taj fell asleep, clipped in to the back stay! Then again in the dodger…Nina perched up in a hammock on our first day out, while it was calm.

Mike on SV Easy at Caleta Lobos (just north of La Paz).
Stay tuned for our adventures in La Paz and up the Sea of Cortez via the east coast of Baja.

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Mazatlan: round dos

First, our sail from Isla Isabela to Mazatlan: May 5th-6th, 2017.
We sailed off the hook from the east anchorage on Isla Isabel and headed 330 * North toward Mazatlan. With about 90 miles to travel we planned an overnight passage. We drifted the first 3 hours. Then the wind barely filled in, but enough to commit to sailing on. Early afternoon, the wind picked up to a more steady 4-8 knots out of the NW. We saw tons of sea turtles. By nightfall we’d barely gone 25 miles, but the wind kept up. Over the night there were a few drifting moments, but for the most part we had enough wind to cover 40 miles. The wind slowly switched out of the west and even the south for a little bit. We saw more sea turtles the next day, probably a total count of over 40. On the way in to Mazatlan we were cruising with winds up to 12-15 over our port beam. We dropped the hook on the East Side of Deer Island @ 1600 on May 6th. 2314.238 N , -10627.679 WSV Easy off of Isla Venados (Deer Island)

The next morning we timed our entry to the mouth of the harbor to arrive at 07:30 am for a good reason.  The SW swell was rolling in at 3 feet, 0800 was high tide and the bar at the entrance to marina Mazatlan and El Cid is shallow enough to break all the way across, so we needed that peak incoming high tide. We motored close to the entrance and timed our entry between the sets. SV Easy waited just behind us.  We made it through without any problems, but if we had not been careful we could of had breaking waves! 

We came into Marina Mazatlan and we’re immediately greeted by the dock guards, who lead us to a slip. We had been to Marina Mazatlan before and liked it, but man does it burn through the pocket book fast! We’re not use to this daily fee. The funny thing about Marina Mazatlan is that it’s cheaper to pay for 8 days than it is to pay for 4 to 7. We had a few things we wanted to do on the boat while docked, we would be there a few days anyway, to pick up Ellamae from her stay with her Papa, so we paid for 8. OUCH, but we made every bit of it count.  Taj found his new #1 seat on our Mantus Anchor.

Both times that we’ve been to Mazatlan, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. This time was a little different than our last visit here around the same time of year last year. We only went to the “old-town” in the city once. We went bowling twice, swimming with our friends at El Cid Marina once, we met up with some very long ago family friends that live in Mazatlan, and spent the rest of the time on boat-schooling and boat projects. Catch and release cat fishing.Taj’s new friend at the tienda (snack shop) at the head of the dock.

The trip to the city was more to stretch our legs and get outside. We ended up walking at least 6 miles along the malecón and through town. Nina and Taj skateboarded, which made the trip a little more tolerable. Everyone was a little sore the next day. It felt great! 

Bowling was fun. Not affordable by any means ($20-30 per family for an hour), but fun nonetheless. The bowling alley is in the Liverpool mall, which is walking distance from the marina. The first time, SV Raireva took us. The second time we went with SV Easy and the family on SV Riki Tiki Tavi. What a blast!

Swimming at the El Cid was fun, but the water was not very warm and the place is a wind tunnel. Oh and they don’t let kids under 12 in the hot tub, boo 😒. Our time spent there was short. 

I mentioned meeting with family friends from long ago. The Lonsdale’s, were friends with my parents when they lived near Mammoth Mountain. This was before and maybe a little after I was born; wait for it ….. 36 years ago.  They are also world travelers and have done quite a bit of relief work all over the world. They ended up moving to Mazatlan over 8 years ago and starting up 2 Looney Bean coffee shops; one in Downtown Mazatlan and the other one in Cerritos, a town on the very north end of Mazatlan.  Looney Bean originally came out of Mammoth Mountain, so when we saw it in Mazatlan, we were super excited. They roast their own coffee down here and it is sourced responsibly. They even donate 10% of the whole bean coffee sales to families in need in local areas. Before we led the coffee shop, we left our boat card with our number and email and sure enough, a few days later, Heidi, the owner called me. She was so excited, as was I, to make the contact after so many years had passed. Long story short, they invited us for dinner and we had a great time with very good people reminiscing and talking about traveling life. We are hoping to stop by on our way back south to spend more time with them, including surfing the local spots together! In front of the Cerritos Looney Bean with one of Heidi and Tom’s daughters. Ellamae and I Sporting the Looney Bean shirts.Heidi zipped off on her scooter. Love this lady! Tom and Heidi with myself. Can’t wait to see them again next fall!

Fondue dinner on SV Easy.

  My dock yoga shipshape time on the dock. Getting “grounded” after so much water time. 

Isla Isabel (Isabela)

Sail to Isla Isabel: left San Blas at 0515. Buddy boating with Mike in SV Easy. Ellamae was in Florida with Papa. We motored 1.5 hours out then sailed with offshore winds until about 1030, we got to fly the kite. Then we drifted for a bit. Around 11:30 the wind switched to NW. The typical close reach toward Isla Isabel. We sailed until 5:30. Then motored 2 hours to the island to get there before sunset. We ended up anchoring at the east anchorage of Isla Isabela. It was flat, beautiful and calm. Anchored in 27 feet on sandy bottom, near Las Monas pinnacles.  Our anchorage position was 21 60.891N , 105 52.715W . 

Sv Easy (Ingrid 38) underway.

We got to snorkel a lot, Taj kayaked, and Christian got to surf 4 times! The south swell was coming up and hitting the south east point just perfect. He had to dodge a few rocks, but had a blast!  

We swam and kayaked to shore to explore the island. As we brought the dinghy to shore the bird conservation group out of Mexico City greeted us and gave us a run down of how to help protect the nesting birds on the island. They were very welcoming. Las Monas pinnacles and Shawnigan and Easy anchored next to them.Rebecca, who is spending her post doctorate helping to conserve the island’s birds, teaching us a few things. Above: the camp of the students that spend 2 weeks stretches on the island helping to protect the birds.

It was awesome to see all the nesting Blue and Yellow Footed Boobies as well as the Frigates. There were so many of them protecting their eggs, as well as juveniles and newborn babies. There were also iguanas roaming around everywhere. All the wildlife here is magical, they let you get so close!  There’s a baby under there!There are eggs under this Booby.

 Yellow Footed Booby guarding a nearby nest. The male and female take turns with this role.

There is no wonder why Isla Isabel(a) has been quoted as “Mexico’s Galapagos”! The island was declared as a national park in 1980 and has been preserved as such ever since, protecting its flora and fauna. 

I would have to say that Isla Isabela is one of our top places we’ve sailed to so far. This was actually our fourth time there, but our first time exploring on the island this time of year. I’m so happy we got to experience the nesting birds In the dry season. Baby Frigatebird in its nest.

Albino FrigatebirdI love this picture; Albino Frigate in the foreground, the fishing village and Las Monas in the the background. Mike From SV Easy photo bombing the Blue Footed Booby picture .  Mike on SV Easy sailing off the hook toward Mazatlan. 

Chacala to San Blas

Well, we did it… we actually came in to a Marina and paid for a slip. We hadn’t paid for slip or moorage since we left San Carlos 5.5 months ago! All of the anchorages we’ve stayed at have been free. At only $10 night with access to water, pool, showers, internet, and most importantly LESS NO-SEE-UMS AND MOSQUITOES we decided to go for it. Mike Jacoby on SV Easy came along with us as well. We love buddy boating with him.

  1. Mike on SV Easy and the kids ate the obligatory Pan de Banana (Banana bread). And of course we did the La Tovara Crocodile tour and fresh water park. We highly recomend taking the tour from just east of the river bridge heading out of San Blas vs the one from the official Tovara tour site (the one closer to Matanchén). The tour is longer through the mangroves, the captain of the panga will speak english and you get to see more wildlife. Plus I like supporting a smaller family business.

There is a bird in there. Kudos for any comments identifying it. Owl or hawk? What type?the fence that keeps the Crocodiles out of the fresh water pool. Rafael, our awesome guide!


San Blas is worth the stop. Despite all of the bugs, which it in notoriously for, we enjoyed our visit. There is a lot of history is this town to explore, which we did on our last visit here last year. The town square is lively in the evenings. We happened to stumble upon “Dia de Los Niños” this year. They celebrated Friday and Saturday with song and dance in the square. The local ballet company performed with dances from the adults and the kids. The next night they had tons of vendors out around the square and a parade with decorative floats. 

As mentioned before, San Blas is notorious for its mosquitos and no-see-ums (called jejenes here in Mexico). Last year we anchored in Matanchen and they were much worse. We had the no-see-um netting up and even gave into the not so natural bug spray and we were still eaten alive! This year, at the dock, it wasn’t nearly as bad and the natural bug repellent seemed to work.  Later, we found out that the marina sprays the property, especially around the boats that are hauled out. For this, we were glad our visit was short. Coconut oil with citronella, clove, and grapefruit essential oils. Start with 10 drops of citronella, 5 of clove and 5 of grapefruit. Double it depending on how much coconut oil you use. Doubles as sunscreen and even extra sunscreen if you add zinc powder. 
Next up: Isla Isabel

Don’t let having kids stop you from living an adventurous lifestyle.

Happy Easter! Hopefully one full of adventure!

One thing I will never regret is having kids. We are a sailing family of 5 living on a 40 foot monohull. Both my husband, Christian and I come from adventurous lifestyles which do not include having children for many people. From the very beginning, we decided to not let having kids get in the way of living an adventurous lifetime together. Sure, there was an adjustment period, some things are harder and more limited, but with the desire, patience, the right safety tools, good gear, and amazing friends, we are able to still live life to its fullest… well, almost.
First and foremost all you need is the desire to continue living a life full of adventure. I realize this make look different for everyone. For some it may include skydiving, base jumping, climbing the 10 highest peaks in the world. For others, adventure might be a few camping trips a year. For us adventure is surfing, swimming, yoga, biking, hiking, camping, road trips, and SAILING THE WORLD! The biggest change with having kids is the thought process that “life is not about just you anymore”. So, for those skydivers and base jumpers, the fact that you have a little one that depends on you may alter your adventurous activities a little more than the weekend camper type adventurer. Keep on having fun, be open to finding a new balance. 
Having a child teaches patience and a level of selflessness. No longer can you do things on a whim, for the majority of the time.  Selfishness turns to selflessness. That doesn’t mean you need to let that stop you from doing what you want. You just have to work on planning better and creating the opportunity to allow for what you want to do to happen. For example; add an extra 30 minutes to all of your departure times. It’s amazing how much time packing a few extra diapers, extra clothes, food, etc., will take. It goes without fail that your child(ren) will have to go to the bathroom right as your walking out the door to go somewhere. Your previously 5 hour road trip will now be 6 – 7 hours with the added necessary breaks. Just expect it and make the best out of it. Our road trips are more fun when we relax and take our time. Make it a point to slow down and enjoy it. Adventure doesn’t mean rushed.I took Ellamae rock climbing in Joshua Tree when she was 2. I timed some climbs during nap time, had her join me for a climb and friends helped watch. 
Make sure you have the right safety tools suited for yourself, partner, and children for the adventure your on. Maybe even have spares available for taking you child’s friend along. Safety for the child usually comes as second nature, but not always. For us, a major concern is keeping the kids from falling in the water while sailing. We ALWAYS have them in harnesses and tethered if they go out on deck when we are sailing offshore. Don’t forget about yourself! Remember my comment earlier about “it’s no longer just about you anymore!”? Well, it’s true, so you may wanna up the ante on safety. Going rock climbing? Wear a helmet. Sure you might look silly, but better silly and climbing than having your kid grow up seeing you in a long term facility with a brain injury, or worse, growing up without you. I know that’s extreme, but it gets the point across. Obviously the same goes for riding bikes, skiing, etc. Use your best judgement here. When sailing offshore, both Christian and I wear our life harnesses as well. Especially when we are on watch at night. We wouldn’t want to lose anyone at sea. My biggest fear is waking up and not seeing Christian on deck or watching one of our 3 children fall overboard in rough seas and knowing that it would be next to impossible to find them, so we prevent that from happening in the first place. Safety looks a little different for everyone. Living life has risks that are par for the course. If you lock yourself and family up in a bubble you may stay safe from most of life’s perils, but you probably won’t be living the adventure you sought for. Don’t let fear stop you.Harnessed in and having fun!


Now the fun part, proper gear! Usually adventure seekers LOVE gear (gear geek alert)! Having kids just means more fun gear research, seeking, and gathering. Yay! There are so many options for adventure gear which incorporates having the little tikes along with you. I will list a few items for some of our specific adventures. On the top of the list for gear is the need for a good baby carrier. The more portable and comfortable you and your children are, the more likely you will keep on keeping on with your adventures. We used the Beco Baby (ergo like) the most, but there are many other options. Our friend makes her own, know as Obimama, that are handmade and quality. Here is a link to a good guide to baby carriers site. I posted a picture at the bottom of the blog as well. Side note on baby wearing: the more you wear your baby the better balance and self awareness they gain, increasing the child’s chances of also becoming a skilled adventurer. Our friend Natasha carries her 6 month old who’s sleeping to the surf beach in a carrier that converts to a reclining bed hung over the shoulder! Sling and beco baby = versatility and easy to pack in a bag. 

As your children get older they do more on their own, maybe slowly, but let them do it. Remember, patience will allow the adventures to continue. Some other gear we suggest: Brompton folding bike,  Xtracycle cargo bike, Burley Bike trailer, also the Charriot and other joggers. The list can go on for a long time. Have fun researching ways to keep your active life going! I won’t ruin the fun of seeking your gear out. Personally we go budget style if possible. Up-cycled gear (hand-me-downs) are a favorite for us. 
Last but certainly not least, having a good support system around to help. Sometimes all you need is a few hours to go for a surf or swim or do yoga. “Back in the old days” we use to live in the same town we grew up in and family was around and readily available to help. This still happens now and again, but not nearly as it use to, so finding child care for a few hours or the day can be a challenge and can get really expensive. We suggest finding like minded friends with kids, or possibly no kids, that are willing to help support your adventurous lifestyle. We’ve met great friends on the beach to do a child watch surf swap. You watch my child while I surf, I’ll watch yours while you surf. Same for climbing. You might not be on a long multi-pitch climb, but taking turns on some smaller sport climbing routes works. All day peak bagging trips can be done as well. 
Remember that your mental health is just as important for your child as it is for you. Take the time for yourself and partner so that you are happy and your children will benefit as well. There are so many ways to think outside the box and continue on living a life of adventure while raising children too. Be adventurous, be unstoppable and have kids!Mom and daughter yoga with another boat mom and daughter in the Marina La Cruz lounge.