I finally uploaded our video of our time spent in La Cruz December 17, 2016 to February 17 (ish), 2017.
Enjoy! Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and “like” our videos!
I finally uploaded our video of our time spent in La Cruz December 17, 2016 to February 17 (ish), 2017.
Enjoy! Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and “like” our videos!
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.
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).
I want to first state that our hearts goes out to all of the Hurricane Matthew victims. Hurricanes are so powerful and scary! Please, if you live near the area and you can help out by offering a bed/boat to sleep in, car to borrow, food etc, please reach out to those in need.
To escape the hurricane season on the Pacific side (June-November) and keep our boat in a safe place, we sailed S/V Shawnigan up the Sea of Cortez to San Carlos, June of 2016. Our boat insurance will cover us if we are out of hurricane zones (above latitude 27) so all was good on that end. In the beginning of September, 2016 Hurricane Newton stormed up the Pacific, up Baja and the Sea of Cortez and straight over us. Thankfully by the time it reached our boat the wind speed was closer to 60 knots, not 80 or more. Shawnigan was in the water at Marina Real and was relatively unscathed. She did get quite a few dings and gouges in the hull, which we will be repairing. Christian will be aboard in a few days to check for further damage, but overall we dodged that major hurricane bullet (knock on wood, as we still have a few weeks left of this hurricane season).
As we have been dodging the hurricane bullet, we recently experienced a different hurricane of our own. I say this metaphorically speaking. A friend once said to me, “some of the roughest storms we ever experience are not underway crossing oceans, but rather those on land and not of natural causes”. Boy, did he hit the nail on the head. We came face to face with “our hurricane” halfway into our 3 month visit back in the United States. Without going in to too much dramatic detail, lets just say we faced the storm that we thought was going to make us stop cruising for a while with strength, support, and perseverance. My poetic version of our personal hurricane: Our house was built with integrity. The roots of the trees around our house were strong and well grounded. Although shaken, uprooted and toppled over on to the house, the house held strong. With only a few dings and shingles to replace, our house held together and we were able to mend it and keep moving on healthy and strong.
Cruising around the world in a sailboat teaches you to “go with the flow”, go with the weather, and avoid storms. With the use of technology and learned skills, sailing safely and avoiding major storms is highly probable. Life, on the other hand, is unpredictable and perfect all at the same time. Although we were faced with emotional challenges, we feel like we’ve used our cruising motto “we’ll see” (as in; we’ll see where we go and when, because you never know) to help us through this one. And it all ends up the way it should.
We are looking forward to returning to the boat in Mexico and continuing on our journey about the world. Our plans have changed a bit, but again, we’ll see. I extended my travel nurse assignment at UCSF, so I will be staying in the San Francisco area until Christmas time. Christian is heading down to the boat this coming week to get the projects for repairs started. He will be taking Shawnigan down to Mazatlan, where she will be hauled out and painted. While the boat is getting worked on, Christian will return and we will continue homeschooling in the Bay Area.
We are currently homeschooling with The Wise Academy just outside of Fairfax in West Marin. The Homeschool program uses the Oak Meadow Waldorf Curriculum. So far we love it! In addition, we have the girls in VILDA, which is this awesome outdoor education program. They love “dirt day” and have met so many other cool homeschool kids. We are fortunate to have found Wise Academy and Vilda.
In November, everyone but myself will head back to the boat life. As Shawnigan makes her way back down the Sea of Cortez, I’ll continue to work up until Christmas time. I’ll then fly to reunite with he family and boat life. We think we’ll probably cruise between Banderas Bay (Puerto Vallarta) and Barra de Navidad for a few months. And by Late February we’ll wait for our weather window to cross the Pacific. Maybe this time next year… we will be in New Zealand by way across the Pacific, through French Polynesia, Cooks, Fiji…
We are very proud to be ambassadors for Mantus Anchors. As long as we put the proper scope out, our anchor grabs so fast and holds strong. That is why we call it our sleeping pill. We are posting this video because is gives a good demonstration of that. We have a lot of experience with others and so far our Mantus is “THE ONE”!
We can’t believe that a full year has past since we left San Francisco to start cruising on our sailboat! We’ve experienced so much and all of it so wonderful: The emotions of leaving, the adjustments of boatschool, the adjustments of a life less “connected” but more connected as a family, the growth of world knowledge, the change in marriage dynamic, parenting dynamic, and educator dynamic, adapting to Mexico’s culture and food, meeting new and wonderful sailors/cruisers, and so much more I’m probably leaving out. All of these had their ups and downs, but all transformed into good experiences and contributed to our lives in such a positive way.
My friend Lara interviewed us for a radio and podcast she does out of Byron Bay, Australia. I feel like it summarizes some questions a lot of people wonder about when pondering what the life of a family of 5 sailing on a 40 foot boat is like. I posted the link on our blog and Facebook when it aired live and only on Facebook again when a link was available to the podcast version.
Here is the link to the podcast version below. It will take you to the 30 minute interview. Our 13 year old daughter, Nina, is interviewed as well and adds a lot flavor to the interview.
Becalmed off the coast of California (Oct 2015) with Christian’s father, Gene Lauducci, aboard.
Ellamae posing with her polarized #teenytinyoptics glasses
Nina and Taj posing with their polarized #teenytinyoptics glasses
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:
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”!
Then use my trusty Brompton Folding bike to get to work. Here my “brommie” is sitting pretty on the Bay Area CalTrain.