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.
Lab results are in and Christian is good to go! We finally kicked the E. Coli, Salmonella: Typhoid fever, and Rickettsia in the booty! Hopefully it stays away for good. Everything came out normal with his stool culture and 10 day blood culture! Yes, they did a full 10 day blood culture.
His stomach is still pretty sensitive after so much inflammation and so many antibiotics, but overall his energy is back and we are set to start sailing again!!!
Thanks for all your positive thoughts through all of this. We were glad to be in the Puerto Vallarta area for treatment. Total damage was about $1,000. Not too bad for 5 days of IV antibiotics, many other days of IM antibiotics, and oral antibiotics, many labs and visits to the doctor. This price included my tests and treatment for Salmonella as well.
If you missed the previous post about Christian’s 3+ month sickness click here.
Stay tuned for more sailing adventures!
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 😃)
For more useful links click here or see our blog menu for boatschooling links.
As some of our followers might know, I , Josie, mother and wife on S/V Shawnigan, post a #shipshape blurb on occasion on our blog and more frequently post exercise poses on our instagram. I do this in hopes to inspire other sailors, not just women, to exercise on their boats as well.
The other week, I was invited to speak at a Women Who Sail event in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico, in regards to fitness for sailors. I was one of 4 speakers in front of 40+ women. Diane and her daughter Maia spoke as recent circumnavigators! Our daughter Nina spoke about life changes as a kid going from city life to cruising to regards to friendships. And I had the pleasure for the opportunity to share my thoughts on boat fitness and for the potential to inspire this fantastic group of sailing women. My focus was on my background, the importance of staying fit for sailing and an example of a few poses.
I’m not sure how many of you were excited about P.E. when you were growing up, but I have to be honest here, I hated it! No offense Mr. Eryr if you’re reading this. It wasn’t the teacher. I just could not stand someone telling me to do 20 push-ups, 50 sit-ups, 8 laps around the field. In fact, I disliked it so much that I would sometimes fake being sick and (sorry Mom and Dad) even ditched a few classes. I was an active kid though. I was very competitive on the swim team, hiked, karate, skied/snowboarded, skateboard, and was always riding bikes around the neighborhoods.
It wasn’t until I broke my arm when I was 15 that I realized the importance of exercise in my life. That broken arm put me out from doing so many of the things I loved for over 3 months. No playing piano, no swimming, snowboarding, drumming in band, nothing. As a normal hormonal teenager and recent injured and inactive teenager, I saw my mood decline. That was when I first signed up for a weight training class with my parents. I hopped on board with the gym scene since there were so many options to get exercise and rebuild mobility in my arm. It was then that I saw my improvement in my overall mood and physical stamina. I even started working out before school, especially on test days in order to stay focused throughout the day. In college, you could find me with me flash cards on the elliptical studying for my nursing exams. I found something that worked and kept with it.
My physically active life went on and I found myself and Ellamae moving out of the “normal” house life and onto a 35′ boat with Christian and Nina. I maintained exercise off the boat by riding my bike to work each day and swimming, yoga, or occasional surf on my days off. We moved onto our current bigger 40′ monohull, had Taj and found our way to cutting the dock lines and sailing down to Mexico.
One of my biggest concerns about sailing around the world with my family was how I was going to maintain my fitness and the for the family. I know I’m not alone on that thought. Our Stevens 40 doesn’t offer much in regards to extra space for exercise, so we had to get creative on board. Our friend bought us a TRX, so that was helpful. I found places throughout the boat to do core exercises, but I had to get creative about it. Actually, I really enjoy doing some of my exercises on night watch. It helps me stay awake and keeps me alert. For our cardio based exercise, that usually comes in the form of surfing, swimming, and power yoga when we are anchored somewhere and not underway.
Christian and I both value the importance of exercise. So we make sure that we both fit it in to our days. It helps with our parenting, our marital relationship and our sailing longevity. If either of us slack of, our mood becomes a little short, parenting and homeschooling becomes harder and life just isn’t as smooth. Not only that, but our physical strength is important to us, especially our core. We’ve noticed after 32(ish) that as soon as we let our core strength go, we run in to back problems. The last thing you want while out sailing is a hurt back.
It is extremely important to be able to act quick and with agility on your boat. Whether you need to make short tacks up the windy channel, hoisting sails, pulling up anchors, to, knock on wood, performing a “man overboard”, your core strength matters most. All the other strength comes with “the job”.
I am not a certified trainer, or certified TRX trainer. I get most of my ideas from my family’s Crossfit Gym in Bishop, so I am happy to give credit and gratitude to them. I hope my #shipshape gives you ideas and inspiration. If you are a cruiser and in my area I can come show you some exercise specific to your boat, “trade for coconuts “. Here are a few poses that I demonstrated during the Women Who Sail speech and a short video from last year.
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Sick and stuck in La Cruz (Puerto Vallarta) 1/21/2017
Ok, I say this with as much light hearted attitude as possible. Life tends to always throw curve balls whether you’re working the daily grind or sailing the world having a good time. Our’s in this case is being faced with Christian’s sickness and having to choose the best, safest option for him and our family.
Christian originally started feeling sick late October when he returned back to the States from a quick trip working on the boat in San Carlos, Mexico. At the time it just seemed like a normal sickness since everyone else around us was sick too. He recovered from the initial part, at least we thought he had, and went on his way back to the boat in San Carlos, Mexico with Nina and Taj early November. His energy was starting to get lower and his stomach frequently upset. Mid-November, they set sail to cross the Sea of Cortez and made their way south, down the Baja side. In the meantime I was up working in The States only having occasional text messages on his health report. Once it was clear that this “thing” wasn’t going away on its own, I told him to go to the doctor and take a poo (stool) sample with him to test for parasites.
He wasn’t near a doctor at the time, so he took this medicine that we keep on board called “Vermox“, which is normally a quick and easy fix for “non bloody travelers diarrhea” AKA “la tourista”. That didn’t work either. In the meantime he was still sailing down to La Paz, thankfully buddy boating with our friends aboard S/V Kenta Anae. They helped ease the parenting load off of Christian and helped with meals along the way.
As soon as he got to La Paz, after talking to other sailors who are practicing doctors from various locations, they decided that he probably got Giardia from the U.S. It made sense to us, because he had been drinking out of this spring and did so after a huge rain. So, he went to the farmacia in La Paz and got himself Flagyl for that, no prescription needed. Still no poo sample given to a doctor at this point (sense a little frustration from me?).
This is when I went down to La Paz to visit at the beginning of December. He was still on flagyl and seemed to be doing ok, if not a little better. We sailed, hiked a bit, ate out , and even surfed once. Nothing was screaming “get this guy to the doctor” yet. Then Nina and I left and Christian’s father, Gene Lauducci, hopped onboard to cross the Sea of Cortez with him.
With Christian, his dad Gene, and Taj aboard S/V Shawnigan they sailed away and across. Doing ok, but progressively getting weaker they made it across and to La Cruz anchorage. I only found out after the fact, when we made phone contact, how much he struggled with his energy and urged him to go to a doctor. He did finally! And the doctor in La Cruz wanted to just send him home on a 7 day course of Cipro without checking blood or poop. Christian had to ask for these. The labs were done, but limited (no blood culture and no stool culture). He did however order a specific test for Salmonella called the Widal Reaction Test. It showed that he had low-moderate levels of Salmonella of three different types. One of which was typhi (aka Typhoid Fever).
Phew, we thought we were on the right track now, but 2 days into it, the day Nina and I flew back in to Mexico, he started having negative and rare side effects from the Cipro and had to stop them immediately. I have never seen Christian like this. I have to admit it was a little scary.
The very next day we found a new doctor, after having a hard time contacting the previous one and not completely trusting him either. This new doctor took his own labs and agreed that it looked like Salmonella, and did a quick abdominal ultrasound mainly to look at the gallbladder, since it likes to harbor there long term. Based on the labs and apparently enlarged gallbladder, he said it seemed that Christian has had this for more than 2 years, not a recent infection. He started him on 5 days on IV Gentamicin and 10 days of oral Bactrim. After the 2nd day of treatment, Christian initially felt better but his energy was off and on and by the end of treatment and 4 days later he felt just as sick again.
He went back for a follow up and to ask for cultures. For some reason these doctors down here just don’t want to do cultures! He did do follow up Salmonella labs and found the level of one actually got higher! He suggested to Christian, without re-ultrasounding his gallbladder, that if he just wanted to get the Salmonella out of his system now and quickly he should just have him remove his Gallbladder. Can you believe it?! From one course of treatment to “let’s remove your Gallbladder” ?!?! Needless to say, we went and got a second, I guess this was actually a third, opinion.
We were referred to this doctor husband and wife team in Punta Mita through ours friends Richard and Doña on Profligate. They first used the collection of labs we’d already gotten and looked at the latest and started treatment based on that, but they interpreted it as normal values of Salmonella and raised values of Rikettsia. We asked for cultures again but they said he needed to get started on some treatment right away before waiting to see results. So again, Christian got three days of IM shots of a Cephalosporin and was asked to come back in a week for follow up labs and this time stool (poo) cultures using a really good reliable lab that the hospitals use. He was also sent to an ultrasound specialist for a full abdominal ultrasound. It was a good thing we did all of this. The ultrasound (which only cost us $20 USD) showed that his gallbladder was fine! And the 3 days of shots did not make Christian feel better. We were shocked when the lab results came back as still having Salmonella Typhoid, not Rikettsia, AND his stool culture came back as having multi antibiotic resistant E. Coli and no Salmonella (meaning the Salmonella is still in his blood, but he can’t spread it). Again, they did not do a blood culture because they don’t normally do them in Mexico and didn’t have the proper lab bottles for them in stock. URG! We found out the doctors around here hardly ever do them because it’s “expensive” and usually they don’t need to. To us, it’s worth it and in all my nurse training you get a blood culture first thing. Lesson learned, demand one in the very beginning, even if you come off as a crazy paranoid American.
So here we are currently finishing up the 1 of only 3 antibiotics that the E. Coli is susceptible to and hopefully the Salmonella as well. We go in on Monday to have both stool AND blood cultures drawn and Salmonella levels of course with a complete Blood Count as well. Christian has had a low white count through this whole thing. The labs should take five days for results to come through, which get emailed to us (pretty cool). We still have no idea where and when he got this nasty stuff.
We are keeping our fingers crossed. Christian is feeling better. The last three days he’s had a lot more energy. So far though, the one thing that all the doctors had in common was that they all said this Salmonella and now E. Coli might take up to a year to fully clear. So it looks like we are stuck here for in the Puerto Vallarta area for a bit.
Saying “stuck” really isn’t the correct word, since we are choosing to stay here until Christian is healthy, but at the same time it’s hard not to think about where we could be or want to be sailing now and in the near future. So for now, we are trying to stay positive and we’re ok with being here, because we are still here in Mexico and with the whole family together on the boat. Meeting lots of great people and other sailing families.
We are hoping to at least get healthy enough to cruise Mexico again and the Sea of Cortez again. We don’t want to push our luck in going too far off the beaten path. Safety and fun is better than an adventure unsafe and possibly life threatening.
I’ll try to update on the latest results next weekend. Hopefully Christian will be so healthy we’re out having fun!