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!
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.
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.
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;
N–How 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.
M–What 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!
N–And 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.
“I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet”
-The Rise and Fall
I’ve provided the schedule below so that you can read other reviews as well.
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.
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!
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
our picture from over a year ago already seems so outdated, can’t wait to compare 5 years from now.
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…