Tag Archives: boatschooling

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. 

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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

Boatschooling on SV Shawnigan – if only I knew then what I know now…

What a difference a year makes. I clearly remember the stress and overwhelming feelings we had six months or maybe even a year before we started homeschooling our children in January 2015. We had questions like “what are the legalities of homeschooling?” “What “program” do we choose”? “Do we even have an option of a program to choose?” “How are we, not being trained professionals in child education, going to be able to teach our children by ourselves?” “What if we miss something?” “How will our children get socialization?” “Will they have issues getting in to college?” I think these are all pretty normal thoughts of aspiring homeschooler educators. The truth is, if you are having these thoughts, that in itself means that you are going to do just fine. As long as you LOVE and CARE for your child’s education, the homeschooling will come together! 

I will start with the legality part first. Every state has different requirements. Google “(your state) and homeschool requirements (or laws)”. If you are traveling and don’t have a permanent address or are looking for a permanent address you may want to research which state’s requirements fit your family’s needs best and then apply for an address in that state.  Most states have you fill out an Affidavit, stating that you have some sort of education going on in some form. Again, every state is different and I’m referring to the United States. I am unsure about other countries and what they require.

Ok, now that the legal part is over, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. There are many styles of homeschooling to choose from:

Very structured programs, such as Calvert and Online Classes. With Calvert you buy a curriculum and it comes with a bunch of books, assignments and deadlines to fax or mail the completed work and exams by. This may work for you if you like to be told exactly what to do and when it’s due by. The people I’ve interviewed that do this have children who prefer to sit in front of books and work through them. One thing to consider is that Calvert can be expensive, especially on a cruising budget. You need online access or at least fax and mailing options in order to send and receive the school work. There are also online courses to enroll in, like college online classes, but you need internet access, and many require exact times to attend class. 

Private School/Charter School associated programs have a curriculum for you to follow and people to check in with as a resource. Each may have their own requirements as for how much work to turn in and how often to check in. So again, depending on the requirements of that particular program, access to online, email, costs, etc., this option may be a good fit. 

DIY (do it yourself) type, where you basically create your own curriculum and get your own supplies and report to yourselves. This may be a very liberating option for the eager, self driven parent/educator. 

Unschooling is a newer way and good option for parents who are very creative. The parent creates learning experiences based on the child’s natural passions and interests. To really do it correctly, for lack of a better word, the parent takes careful attention to their child’s interest and makes a fun way of expanding their knowledge based on that.  This way of teaching feels a lot less or possibly nothing like “school” which is why it’s called “unschooling”.  For those unsure about this as an actual way of schooling, I suggest looking it up further. Just to be clear, unschooling is not letting your child sit at home to play video games all day because that’s what their passion is.  If done diligently,  or perhaps eloquently is a better word, it can be a very effective way of education. 

The combo teaching style. A little bit of everything or bits and pieces from a few might work for your family. This is similar to DIY, but you have more options added to it. I call this the “Happy Medium” schooling. 

And last, but certainly not least is World Schooling. I’m not quite sure where to fit this one in, because I believe it’s more of a process/addition to schooling rather than a specific style. I’m guessing it might fit best under unschooling , DIY and combo. With world schooling you use the world to teach. Learning through experiencing culture, geography, history, science, arts, economics etc. can be very effective and enjoyable. The world has a lot to offer for education. As a family traveling all over this may be a great option. 

Choosing which style of schooling to follow can feel overwhelming. Before choosing a style, know that as a parent and teacher you know your child best. Try a program that you think fits their personality. If you have multiple kids with multiple learning styles you may want to do different styles with each one. The key part is loving and really getting to know your child. The rest will fall in to place. I highly suggest this book called, The Heart Of Learning, by Lawrence Williams, EdD. It is from the Oak Meadow Waldorf curriculum, but it speaks to everyone and education style. I just read it this last summer and I wish I had read it before my kids were born! 

Also, know that you can always start a program and decide that it’s not a good fit and try a different method anytime. That’s one of the best parts about homeschooling.  Each of your children can get focused, individualized education with you as their educator. And they can feel loved and supported through the process and all the challenges. 

What we do for homeschooling on our boat, S/V Shawnigan, has transformed a bit over the last two years. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. What I mean by this, is that the longer we have worked with our children in the school setting, the more we learned about their learning styles and what works for them. Christian and I work together as a team. I do the planning and we both implement. We can do this since we are sailing and neither of us are working at the moment. 

When we started in January 2015, we started out using a more DIY style of schooling with a Waldorf curriculum to guide us. We had been enrolled in a Rudolf Steiner/Waldorf inspired school prior to homeschooling, so this seemed to be the right way to go. We found that the DIY was too hard to do while sailing with limited access to resources and books. It took a lot of preparation and we can only hold so many books aboard our 40 foot boat. As a family of 5, the youngest as a toddler, and sailing off the shores of California and Mexico, I will admit, we struggled with it. The good thing is that our kids are strong and resilient. They still learned what they needed and gained a lot of new knowledge we didn’t expect them to learn, even if it wasn’t the best style for our family. Key point here: don’t be afraid to choose a “wrong” style, children are usually more flexible than us adults are. They will be fine!

Starting this new school year (September 2017) we found a Waldorf inspired Charter School, The Wise-Academy, from our hometown to work with. We love the structure and material it provides. They use the Oak Meadow Waldorf curriculum and supplies. We were in the US visiting and working during this last summer, so we were able to sign up for it and get all the supplies and support we needed to start. We make contact with a support teacher via email or Skype as needed and required. We can even contact and send a few copies of our completed work with our IridiumGo Satphone email. We also use the World Schooling aspect to education. This is a no brainer for us, as we are sailing the world with our kids. Unschooling is a constant… life always offers educational experiences, so why hold back if your child is interested. 

As for socialization, there are many resources out there in the world now to organize homeschool kids getting together with other homeschool kids. Extracurricular activities are an option as well. As a sailing family you might have more concerns about this subject. Our kids meet up with other sailing kids quite frequently! There are a lot of families out in the world sailing and boatschooling. Sometimes there are older kids, sometimes younger, and sometimes only adults. There are a lot of benefits to having a wide range of ages that they might be limited to at times. Our 14 year old can play with 3-6 year olds, 6-11 year olds just fine, then hop in a normal adult conversation if that’s what’s available. The cruising kid community is great in that aspect, it makes these kids very diverse in their social skills. 

Finally, LOVE LOVE and LOVE your child. They will get the most out of all of this when you show love and support. Make learning enjoyable. Make them want to learn because they actually enjoy the process of learning. As they get older teach them how to teach themselves, it will take them a lot further in life. Most homeschooled kids are very successful, because they were taught to take initiative and know how to teach themselves. Colleges are starting to realize this in homeschooled scholars and are actually more inclined to accept their enrollment over the average “straight out of high school” applicants.  

We are so happy that we are boatschooling our kids. At times it is a challenge, and we aren’t perfect, but we work through it together and lovingly. We feel so much more connected to our kids and have seen wonderful results thus far. We highly suggest taking the responsibility of your children’s education, it’s worth every minute. 

~Josie Lauducci RN-NIC (and homeschool parent/educator 😃)

The local La Cruz (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico) orphanage came to socialize with the sailing kids at Marina La Cruz.

Our kids love to read. We choose not to have a TV, so we sit around reading or playing games at night. A good group of sailing boatschooling kids that organized an afternoon of various “tag” games.

An example of Ellamae’s 3rd grade science assignment. Making a wind index.

An example of Nina’s 8th grade English assignments. 

Local Mexican Tribal Culture, blessing the fishing fleets for the year. 

The La Cruz Cruising Kids Club learning how to run a restaurant at the local Jardin del Pulpo (Octopus’Garden)

Very highly recommended book to read before homeschooling or even before parenting 😉!

For more useful links click here or see our blog menu for boatschooling links. 

One year ago… we sailed out “The Gate”

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.

https://www.spreaker.com/user/pregnancybirthandbeyond/a-family-afloat

Anchored off of Halfmoon Bay, California (August 21, 2015)

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

On top of a mountain in Turtle Bay, Baja Mexico (Left to Right: our crew Emma Casey, Taj sleeping on my back, Josie, Christian, Nina, and Ellamae) November 2015

Taj swimming in Chamela, Mexico (January 2016)

Barra de Navidad, Mexico (February, 2016)

Baja, Sea of Cortez, Isla San Francisco (May, 2016)

S/V Shawnigan with a beautiful backdrop of the Sierra Gigante Mountain Range, Baja, Sea of Cortez, Isla San Francisco (May, 2016)

My beautiful kids back in the United States (July 2016) Ellamae (8), Nina (13) Taj (3)

 

Refill the kitty in 3 months!

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:

  • pickling the water maker
  • fresh water flush through the engine
  • taking down the sails and stowing them down below
  • Putting up the sun shades
  • Cleaning and leaving the heads (toilets) filled with fresh water and vinegar
  • fresh water washing as much salt waterlogged gear as we could
  • laundry and getting rid of clothes
  • eating and cleaning out the perishable food (we did leave cans of tomato sauce, so hopefully we don’t arrive back to the boat with exploded cans of tomato everywhere. Apparently this happens when it gets too hot.)
  • Placing Bay Leaves in almost all of our bulk food containers. Apparently the Bay Leaf helps keep the Weevils at bay (no pun intended). Thanks Deb on SV Coastal Drifter for that tip.
  • Packing clothes (REAL shoes, socks, pants AND A BELT, sweaters, and WORK CLOTHES!) , oops I forgot a beanie!
  • And a couple more odds and ends stuff.

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”!


Yummy grub next to (Cerca de) the bus station in Guaymas. Missing me some good Mexican food !
Christian visits the Grand Canyon while I meet Travel Nurses


Then use my trusty Brompton Folding bike to get to work. Here my “brommie” is sitting pretty on the Bay Area CalTrain. 

Santa Cruz Island and Santa Catalina Island

Sunday, October 11, we sailed out to Pelican Bay on Santa Cruz Island. Along the sail we spotted a Mola Mola leaping out of the water. It was amazing! When we first arrived at Pelican, there were 7 other boats.  A little crowded, but manageable with bow and stern anchor. It was Colombus Day on Monday, so everyone left by the next afternoon.  In the mean time, we boatschooled, snorkeled, boatschooled, and norkeled more. We were on Island time now!

Much to our surprise our new sailing family friends, SV Agamére, on our big sister boat (Stevens 47), arrived that Monday afternoon. The kids were so excited to be reunited with their buddies that they had met in Morro Bay.  We were also excited to have other adults to converse with. 

     
   
We basically just boatschooled, snorkeled and practiced our free diving. The water temp was near 70-72 while we were there. A perfect environment for the kids to get comfortable in the water again.  Nina’s PR last year was 23 feet, she set a new PR of 32 feet! Ellamae is now diving down around 10 feet as well. Taj hasn’t braved the water yet, but he loves paddling around in his kayak. We anchor the kayak near were we snorkel, giving him a little freedom to paddle around. 

From Pelican, we buddy boated with Agamére over to Little Scorpion Anchorage, where we ended up having a potluck together, cooking five fish that we collectively caught that day for fish tacos. It was a fish medley; 1 Kelp Bass, 1 Black Rock Cod, 2 Tree Fish Cod, and 1 Sierra. Christian caught the Bass and one Tree Fish with his spear gun. I caught one tree fish and the Black Rock Cod with a pole spear. The Sierra was caught by SV Agamére. Needless to say, dinner was amazing and we managed to fit all 10 of us comfortably on their boat. 

The next day after snorkeling with seals and many other fish in Scorpion Bay, we sailed over to Smugglers Cove for even more snorkeling in 40+ visability!

On Thursday we sailed to Lovers Cove on Catalina, also know as Isthmus or Two Harbors.  We anchored in 60 feet of water and again the visability was about 40 feet and water temp about 73F . The Marine Science Center on the Island reported temps getting up to 80F!  

Friday’s field trip for boatshooling included a hike to USC’s Wrigly Marine Science Center for a tour of the fish tanks and detailed talk on all the sea creatures of Catalina.