Tag Archives: boatschool

Costa Rica Rainforest zip line tours and more

We started Costa Rica off strong first with heavy winds pushing us out of our first anchorage and then with a zip line canopy tour with Vista Los Sueños Canopy tour company.

January 3rd, after our 19 day passage we thought we would have a great nights rest anchored in Punta Leona, Costa Rica. We thought wrong. Upon going to bed we had light onshore winds, most likely Papagoyo related, but not strong enough to be a concern. By midnight, they got stronger, then by 2 am we were sitting a lee shore with wind blowing 20 with gusts of about 25. No fun! We were about to pull up anchor and head south around the corner when we realized the windless wasn’t working! It was dark, windy, we were tired, there was no way we were going to pull are anchor up by hand. (I’m sure we could have if we had to.) We were solid in our holding, so we opted to sleep in the dodger and take watches until the morning. Needless to say, we didn’t sleep well at all. First thing in the morning light, the wind had calmed a bit, we pulled up the anchor and sailed out and down to the next anchorage, Herradura.

Although sleep deprived, we were so excited to get our legs on land. Shortly after dropping the hook, we rowed into shore, where we tied our dinghy up on the beach and walked into town. We spent the entire day walking around, just getting a feel for Costa Rica. The Spanish is different, faster with different words. Most people speak English here though. Figuring out the money was a challenge too. The Colones is 560 per the US dollar. After having the Mexican Pesos figured out, now we had to adjust to Colones. We quickly discovered that Costa Rica has about the same prices for everything as the US and double the prices for anything related to marina fees and boat related costs. We will not be staying in any marinas here if we can help it. One thing we loved and worth the money here, was the fried plantains. We had “nachos” with friend green plantain instead of chips as part of our first Costa Rican meal. Yum!

During our 5+ miles walk about, we stumbled upon a Canopy Zip Line tour company called Vista Los Sueños Rainforest Tours. We decided to splurge this one time and schedule a 10 platform zip line experience for the next day. Everyone was so excited! First thing the next morning, we rowed to shore and made our way up town to Vista Los Sueños for our 10 am tour. We were the first of our tour group to arrive, so we given bracelets stating we were #1, which meant that we got to go first! The staff at Los Sueños were super nice. They are all bilingual and well trained. After a safety intro, we took a tractor ride up the rainforest’s hill to platform 1 of 10. After another quick instructional talk it was time to start. I went first, followed by Ellamae, then Taj (yes, Taj went all by himself!), followed by Nina, then Christian.

The tour itself was about 2 hours. We all had a blast! At the completion, they give you a nice cup of seasonal fruit.

Afterward, we got a shuttle ride into Jaco, the tourist surf town nearby. We were in search of coffee and wifi, but instead found an acai bowl/yoga studio place called B-Fresh that offered amazing smoothies, acai bowls, panini sandwiches, kombucha on tap, and cold brew coffee for the after fruit sugar crash. It felt like we were in California again, in a good way. The prices were expensive as far as our cruising status was concerned, but still a little cheaper than California.

Before heading back to the boat we tried our first Costa Rican “Soda” place for dinner. A Soda is basically a cheaper typical food restaurant. Sometimes more like fast food, and not quite as expensive as a tourist oriented restaurant. It was good, but it was not the Mexican food we had been spoiled with for the last 2 years.

Up, up, and away!

After our crossing from Mazatlan to La Paz, our time spent in La Paz was relatively short. It was time to start making our way up, up, and away from the hurricanes before the hurricane season (June – November).  We’d planned on staying there as long as it took for me to do all of the online and other required work for my next travel nursing assignment during the summer. A few days of wifi at the Big Sur coffee shop was all I really needed and a day to re-provision. We got a little waylaid with celebrating Mike’s (SV Easy) Birthday and meeting a new kid boat called SV Secret Water. There were a few other boats we wanted to visit with too (SV Tribe, Waponi Woo, Orion, Bertie, Adventurer, just to name a few).  Oh the sailing social  life and how it ALWAYS makes you change your “plans”.Taj fearlessly jumping off the piling.

“new kids on the dock” Umbrella movement in La Paz.

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By our 5th day in La Paz we felt the itch to continue on, but the pull to stay. I think this will be a common feeling as we continue to sail the world and meet amazing people in amazing places. Alas, we chose to leave with a “see ya later” instead of a “good-bye”.

The first week of making our way north, up the Sea of Cortez was faster than our journey up last season. Now that I had work lined up with pre-work classes and assessments schedule in San Diego for June 23, we had somewhat of a time schedule. Mike on SV Easy continued to buddy boat with us. He had already been up to Puerto Enscondido as well, so he was onboard with shorter stops up to that point. Our stops were indeed brief, depending on the wind and water conditions. If there were anchorages or animals we hadn’t seen, we’d take some time exploring, but otherwise we didn’t lag too much until we got up to Bahia de Conception.

First stop, Isla Espirito Santo/Isla Partida. We sailed all but an hour of our 10 hour day to Bahia Ensenada Grande. We got out the hammock  for a swing and dip in the water while we were becalmed, waiting for wind.

 S/V Easy

The anchorage at Ensenada Grande was spectacular! There we five boats after Easy and Shawnigan had anchored. The Mobula Rays, jumping everywhere, sounded like we were in the midst of a pirate ship battle field. The slaps and splashes from their jumping dance of courtship, feeding, or communication surrounded and echoed off the steep burnt red sandstone and sedimentary cliffs of the anchorage. This was the moment that  we felt the magic of the Sea of Cortez return.

After a relaxing morning aboard, with an abbreviated boat-school day, we took a fieldtrip to hike across the island to the other side. Along the way we explored the many different geological features the island had to offer. Various igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary formations all in one place! It was perfect timing for Ellamae’s science block of her curriculum.

Two nights at Ensenada Grande and we were off to Isla San Francisquito, but first a quick swim with the sea lions at Los Islotes before the wind picked up.

We anchored in the southwest side of the island in 58 feet of water with just enough scope for a few ohour “lunch stop”. SV Easy anchored just behind us. We new our window for swimming would be narrow before the wind picked up, so we made sure to be ready to play and ready to leave. The visibility was not the greatest and the sea lions were not in their most playful state, but we did get to swim and play around with them for a while. The kids had a blast! To watch their excitement and comfortable interaction with the sea lions was priceless. As we predicted, the wind filled in after 1.5 hours of being there. We quickly rowed back to the  boat and sailed off to Isla San Francisco (Francisquito).Screenshot (3)Screenshot (4)Me, Josie, bliss.Screenshot (7)Taj and the 3 Sea Lions.Screenshot (9)Nina looking down at me with camera in hand and the Sea Lion.Screenshot (11)Screenshot (12)Ellamae (9) about 8 feet down, looking for sea lions to swim with, relaxed and in her element.

Isla San Francisco was just as pristine as it was the previous year. The white sandy beach surrounded by crystal clear azure water makes this anchorage most picturesque. We stayed two nights here in order to hike to the top of the hill and to spear fish.  Taj caught some fish himself, just off the boat with a fishing pole. Mostly catch and release puffer fish, but he did manage to catch a trigger fish. Yummy GrouperMike, paddling to shore.Isla San Francisquito

Nina And Ellamae beat us to the top.

  Mike looking ahead at the steep incline toward to top. Christian with Taj on his shoulders not far behind.

From Isla San Francisco we sailed straight to Punta San Telmo (2519.866 N, -11057.684 W) . The anchorage more of your “roadside anchorage”, but it did offer enough protection from the south south westerly winds.  Mike did an awesome job setting his anchor under sail for the first time. This wasn’t the only “first time” among us, we finally busted out the flopper stopper for the first time. We were getting quite of a wrap around swell from the south. Mike already had his flopper stopper out within an hour of anchoring. He was rocking notably much less than we were. I somehow finally convinced Christian to set up the Magma flopper stopper. It came with our boat when we bought it in 2012, but we had never used it. As we sat anchored much more comfortably, we both laughed and agreed that we shouldn’t have waited so long.  We hiked on shore a bit and settled in for a nice evening in an empty anchorage.  Not too long after a lovely sunrise, we set sail for Bahia San Marte. S/V Easy sailing off the hook!

Bahia San Marte was pretty sweet. We sailed off and back on the hook, as did Mike.  The cliffs that surrounded us were majestic. The cliffs looked rock climbable (hint to anyone looking for new amazing places to climb). Mike took his paddle board and we rowed the dinghy over to them to check out a cave that was highly recommended in the Shawn and Heather Sea of Cortez: A Cruiser’s Guidebook.  It was pretty cool. This was just the beginning of Baja’s cave exploring for the crew aboard SV Shawnigan.              Mike making is way back from the very back of the cave.

The next day we sailed off and back on the hook again to Agua Verde. One of our favorite places so far, in large part due to the quaint village where you can restock on some provisions as well as purchase fresh goat milk (seasonal) and goat cheese directly out of the farmer’s house. The local tienda, or little store, offers fresh fruit and veggies and other essentials. They rearranged it since the last time we were there to hold more products. Everyone in the village was very welcoming. Side note, there are petroglyphs in the area that was visited last year, but we didn’t this time around. See our post from last year for details here.  As per usual with our anchorage visits, we swam around to cool down and discover the underwater ecosystem around us. We found a little underwater cave/arch with sea fans and beautiful light. Nina and I dove through first and with time, Ellamae dove through her first underwater tunnel! The same day, Taj dove down to 10 feet! Our kids are turning in to fish!Shopping at the local tienda in Agua Verde.

Hammock life

 

 

Screenshot (16)Taj on his 10 foot dive.Screenshot (19)Relaxing in the cockpit after a swim.Screenshot (18)Taj on his kayak in Agua Verde.

Isla Monserrate was calling our name. We hadn’t been there before, the wind at the time wasn’t unfavorable, so why not? The sail there was great. We were in the swing of anchoring under sail, so we did it whenever we could. Mike was getting in the groove of it as well. We settled into the anchorage in time for lunch. Christian was having a bout of low energy, crummy feeling from his Lyme disease, so I took Ellamae and Taj to shore to explore along with Mike while Nina stayed onboard with Christian.  The wind picked up more than we were hoping for that evening. It was offshore, but it put a damper on exploring the underwater realm.Screenshot (20)Our 2 boats, Easy and Shawnigan, sitting pretty in the deserted anchorage.

Thankfully the next morning, Christian woke up feeling better. We set for a 10 mile sail for Bahia Candeleros. Another great day of sailing off and back on to the hook. We found ourselves anchoring in Candeleros with only a few with other boats, one of which was our friend John on SV Summer. Candeleros is known for its beachfront resort with day passes and wifi access. Word on the street says that they have gotten progressively uptight about letting cruisers come in and use the facilities. We chose to bypass these amenities this year. Truth be told, even if we wanted to partake in the resort luxuries, the wind was howling out of the west and straight into the anchorage. Needless to say, we were not leaving the boat for any reason, except to swim when there was not any wind during the early daytime hours.  In the morning, we did snorkel. The water was quite chilly, about 68F. The visibility was about 20 feet, so not optimal either, but we still enjoyed swimming with a huge group of the fasinating Mobula rays. 2 nights in Candeleros was enough for us this time around. Next stop… Loreto!Overnight anchorages overview map: From top left to right: Ensenada Grande, Isla San Francisco. Bottom row left to right: Punta San Telmo, San Marte, Monserrate (picture above), then Candeleros.

More Photos:Screenshot (13)Ellamae and Taj up close and personal.Screenshot (15)Hawlkfish

 

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“How to Become a Pirate Hunter” – a new must read book

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.

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Our Review:

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.

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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;
NHow 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.



MWhat 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!



NAnd 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.  

Nina Lauducci 


“I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet” 
-The Rise and Fall

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I’ve provided the schedule below so that you can read other reviews as well. 

3/14/2017 adayinthelifetoo.blogspot.com

3/15/2017 igobyari.com

3/16/2017 http://theyaguy.blogspot.com/

3/17/2017 https://afamilyafloat.com/

3/18/2017 http://readingtribe.blogspot.com/

3/19/2017 http://www.idsoratherbereading.com/

3/20/2017 http://www.sailingtotem.com/blog

3/21/2017 http://roeckerreviews.blogspot.ca/

3/22/2017 http://forhighschoolcounselors.blogspot.com/

3/23/2017 http://www.singinglibrarianbooks.com/

3/24/2017 http://katiescleanbookcollection.blogspot.com/

3/25/2017 https://writingwormblog.wordpress.com/

3/26/2017 http://www.rockinbookreviews.com

3/27/2017 http://www.BloomingWithBooks.blogspot.com

http://www.wishfulendings.com