Tag Archives: shawnigan

La Cruz to Chacala

Now that I’m finally getting back on track with posting, we will be leaving cell and wifi reception. I will do my best to plan my posts out a bit. I’m still a few weeks behind, as e left La Cruz on April 24th, but it’s better than months behind.

We finally made it out of La Cruz and started making our way North. We first dropped Ellamae off at the airport in Puerto Vallarta to go spend time with her biological father, Jason. That same afternoon we sailed off the hook to Punta de Mita to get us further out of the Banderas Bay. First thing the next morning, after breakfast we set sail, actually motored for a few hours, around the point and headed North for a 30 mile day. Mike on SV Easy  was buddy boating with us. The wind didn’t pick up for about 3 hours, but the weather was beautiful. We saw tons of sea turtles and enjoyed a pleasant sail north.

We’d been to Chacala before and arrived in the mid afternoon. Just enough time to hit up the surf spot! Just what the doctor ordered.  That night we had Mike over for dinner and and a good nights sleep was had by all.

The next day included school, checking in with the port captain, more surfing, and beach time.

Then more surfing and a hike to the extinct volcano crater, and more beach time the next day. We met a fellow Nor Cal family and spent some time with them. The mother owns a house there and rents out bungalow through Airbnb

Chacala is beautiful and we wished we could have stayed longer. Hopefully on the way back down.

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La Cruz to Barra de Navidad and back, the trilogy. Back to adventures! Part 3 of 3

If you missed part 1 click here.

If you missed part 2 click here.

Now for Part 3. Back to adventures!!!

With a few days back together as a family and a few days before we started to head north again, we decided to fit in a Colima Volcano tour. Christian had energy for an adventure!!! Our good friend Edgard, whom we met in Barra last year, offered to be our tour guide. He leads tours for his business there, so it was only fitting to hire him.
March 21st, 2017: The day started early. Unfortunately Nina was sick, so she stayed in Barra under our friend’s supervision. Edgard picked us up at 8:30 am from the Hotel Sands (his family’s business), which is where we normally tie up our dinghy when we go to town anyway. The drive to the town of Colima was about 2 hours. We drove to a quaint town called Comala, then up another hour(ish) toward the 12,533 ft Volcán de Colima.  If you have more than a day, we recommend staying a night or two at El Litchi Hostal Colima and hiking its neighbor, Nevado de Colima (14,015ft), to get more of an adventure out of it. We didn’t and wished we had. 

We stopped for produce along the way and found our way to the first of many Coffee plantations/cafes. I indulged in coffee for the first time in 10 days! Watch out here I come!!!! Christian stayed strong and refrained.  An americano was $20 pesos. 1 dollar coffee! How could you pass that up? 

Further up the road we stopped at Laguna la Maria. We’d planned on going for a swim, but after seeing the silty brown color we were hesitant. Then a local came up to us to tell us why no one was swimming. Apparently a “devil lady”, Maria, haunted the lake. The myth is that many years ago, Maria asked her parents to go out with her friends. When her parents said no, she snuck out and drowned there and was never found. Ever since, people who swim have been known to disappear as well. Pretty creepy story. Supposably divers have gone down without finding the bottom. Some theories are of tunnels that have a vacuum effect. We may never know… Needless to say, we didn’t go swimming.

Taj with his Teeny Tiny Optics.

We drove further up the road to place called Laguna Verde. It was basically the end of the road for us. To mark the finally spot, another coffee plantation! Yay, a double dose day! The volcano was in the distance, but still magnificent. The cloud cover started to form by the time we got there, though we could still appreciate most of it’s magnitude.  

We had a pretty quick turn around, as we were doing all of this in one day. We stopped in Comala again on our way back down to eat a late lunch and buy a couple souvenirs. What a great day. If you’re down near Barra de Navidad or Melaque (San Patricio), give Edgard an email (ramseszava@hotmail.com) and tell him we sent you!🌋
A few days later we started making our way north again to La Cruz. We love Barra de Navidad. Our 3.5 weeks there flew by, but it was time to get moving again. First stopping at “Secret Cove” , then Tenacatita again, and lastly Bahia Chamela again before rounding Cabo Corrientes to Banderas Bay (Puerto Vallarta area).

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We went to Secret Cove with our boat friends on Scavenger and Luna Azul. Christian and the men from the two other boats got some surf in. I was happy just to be out anchored somewhere new. Last year there was a 8-10 ft crocodile who was sighted many times there without any incident of hurting people. No one reported seeing him this year, so we swam. Taj jumped off the bow polepit for the first time! Ellamae helped scrub the waterline on the boat. We spent time picking urchin out of Scotty’s foot. Tip: hot vinegar soak alternating with dripping melting beeswax on each spine. It’s a good thing we have a lot of beeswax on our boat. This has come in handy a few times already.
Tenacatita, always guarantees a good time. We did the mangrove tour again. This time with people from SV Easy, SV Cat2fold,SV Luna Azul, SV Scavenger, and SV Wings! Gathered Coconuts to drink while we played on the beach. Nina had a boat friend sleepover, we went spear fishing, and did yoga in the beach. Sv Empyrean and Mango Mango arrived for the party too!
The sail up to Chamela was nice. A sail off the hook and back on the hook day (meaning sailing off the anchor without starting the engine and then setting the anchor using only sail power). Love those no engine days. We did see some gusts of wind in the low 20’s, but our boat handled it well. We arrived before dark. Buddy Boating up the coast with us was Empyrean, Cat2fold, Mango Mango. Mango Mango kept heading north to round Cabo Corrientes while the rest of us spent a few days having fun in Bahia Chamela. We went to the bat cave again thanks to Cat2fold shuttling us on his boat. Some more swimming of course. And finally, we got to go see Brian and Cat2fold sing and play guitar at Scuba Jazz Cafe. He plays there regularly during the season on Friday nights. Scuba Jazz is a must if you’re cruising through Punta Perula.
Next was our epic sail up the coast around Cabo Corrientes to La Cruz. It could have only been more perfect if it was blowing a southerly.
Once back in La Cruz, we had a few items on our list to check off before finally heading back North, into the Sea of Cortez: Go see the Lyme doctor, get braces put on Nina, stock up at Costco and surf. The Lyme disease doctor in PV is amazing!!!! If you know anyone with Lyme, send them to Puerto Vallarta! He supported Christian’s naturopathic treatment options, and will help with more medical treatment if and when we want to seek it. He spent over an hour discussing Christian’s lab results. Nina had her braces placed, painlessly in the sense of ease in getting X-rays and appointments, but not so painlessly for her. See her post about it here. We love how affordable dental care is in Mexico.

Of course we went surfing and a lot more this time around. Christian had more energy and we had to get as much in as possible before heading up into the Sea of Cortez, where there is no surf to be had. It’s been a huge relief to have Christian’s energy coming back.

The Shawnigan Plan update:

We originally “planned” to keep heading south this year, with hopes to make it as far as Ecuador. With Christian’s illnesses, we decided that sticking around Mexico was a safer plan. So instead of South, the new plan is sail back North and into the Sea of Cortez again, but this time going further north into Bahia de Los Angeles (Bay of LA) and then up to Puerto Peñasco (rocky point). Then, come fall, we’ll make our way south.backstay hand stands #shipshapethe SV Pickles kids! And Riki Tiki Tavi kids

La Cruz to Barra de Navidad and back, the trilogy. The Holistic Path to Recovery. Part 2 of 3.

If you missed part 1 click here.

Christian finally started to feel on the up and up after completing 10 days at the Centro Naturista DAR in El Grullo. When the kids and I showed up at the center to have lunch there and pick him up, it was nice to see some life and color restored back into him. In fact, I was so impressed with the center I signed up to do a few days as well. I did this mainly to detox and cleanse and get on the same track as Christian, so that I can help support his healing process.  So we switched places. I took his room at the center and he took the kids and a bus ride back to the boat in Barra de Navidad. 

The center was amazing! They feed you fresh fruit and veggies everyday. They make you fresh juices and herbal healing teas at specific times during the day. Throughout the day you receive specific detox, lymph draining therapies. All of this is based on an assessment of your irises and current symptoms. Pretty neat stuff. The diet they prescribe is suppose to be followed strictly for 45 days. I’m so glad I got to participate. I learned a lot of different recipes to make for Christian and got a jump start for myself to stick with the diet alongside with him. The diet. 

Cooking class, which was all in Spanish, but I understood enough to make sense of it all.

 They grow their own wheat grass, stinging nettle and aloe for treatments. 5 am stinging nettle brushing, 5:30 am steam baths alternating with a cold shower, barefoot walks on cold grass, coffee enema and lymph draining exercises, mud compress, and tea all before a 9 am fruit only breakfast. This was by no means a “retreat”, but it was in the sense of treating your body to what it deserves. Jicama con limón for breakfast. 

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The town of El Grullo was amazing as well. Quaint and clean. They have sugar cane farms all around the valley. Unfortunately they burn the scraps of the cane, so there is cane ash floating around. The fortunate side of it, is that everyone sweeps the sidewalks and streets. There is literally no trash around in the streets. A rare treat for Mexico. Many people ride bikes around or take the “Hubercito” (meaning mini über) . There are also a lot of herbal and natural food stores. There is a chapel at the top of the hill, which you take a “street” staircase up to.  Between treatments at the center, a stroll around town and up to the chapel was a good way to promote blood circulation and lymph drainage. Looking down at El Grullo from the Chapel.


There was a fresh water hot spring called Balneario nearby in the town of El Limón that a few of us “inmates” took a cab to go swim in. The hot wasn’t too active at the time, but the fresh water swim with not a soul around was nice. To top it off, it was only a $1.25 for admission. 

A few days in to my stay there I received an email with the lab results for the Lyme disease test that Christian had drawn in Puerto Vallarta 3 weeks prior. To our surprise it came back POSITIVE! It actually came back positive for 2 different tick borne diseases. One is the typical Lyme disease and the other is a type Rickettsia know to come from the Lone Star tick. Both of the levels were really high, indicating an active infection. He has most likely had it for a while.  Lyme is famous for hiding out in dormancy for a long time, then surfacing when your immune system weakens due to various causes. The good thing is that a lot of the treatment for Lyme is diet related, so we were already on the right track. The other good thing is that Christian is super strong, so he didn’t get as sick as some people do with Lyme. We promptly made a consult with the Lyme disease specialist in Puerto Vallarta just to make sure we were on the right treatment path, but we were pretty confident that we had the right tools to a full recovery.  

“Meanwhile, back at the ranch”, Christian was at the boat with the kids, in Barra, back to surfing, and making new friends with cruisers we hadn’t met yet. He was sticking to his diet of fruits, veggies and nuts, no caffeine, sugar, diary or alcohol. Our sailing life and health was in an optimistic trajectory. I returned revived and ready to support him and our family’s health. Apparently Lyme can be sexually transmitted, so I’m doing my best to keep it away or possibly rid it as well.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who helped support us during this time both emotionally and through the “go fund me” post. Although medical treatment in Mexico is extremely affordable, it adds up. We wouldn’t have been able to do it and keep sailing if it wasn’t for your help. Muchos Gracias por toda sus ayuda!

That’s it for part 2 of the “La Cruz to Barra de Navidad and back, the trilogy. The Holistic Path to Recovery”

If you missed part 1, click here.

Stay tuned for part 3. “The adventure returns!”

La Cruz to Barra de Navidad and back, the trilogy. Part 1 of 3. 

After our 2 months in La Cruz (Dec 17-Feb 20) working with Christian’s various illnesses, we did one last lab test for him and left to head toward Barra de Navidad. Christian was finally feeling well enough to depart the Puerto Vallarta area and venture down the coast of Mexico to places that we sailed to last year. We felt safe leaving the populated area knowing that if Christian began to feel really sick again, it was an easy bus ride back to Puerto Vallarta or Manzanillo. The sail was familiar and included only one overnight. We felt confident that Christian’s energy would hold strong for the sail. We needed to get our sailing fix!

Although Christian was diagnosed and treated for Salmonella Typhoid, Rickettsia,  and antibiotic resistant E-Coli, he was still feeling ill. We weren’t sure whether it was just because his body had been through so much in the last 4 months or if we were missing something. In our “guts” we felt like we were missing something. The day we left to start sailing toward Barra de Navidad, February 20th, Christian went to have his blood drawn to test for Lyme Disease at the Lyme Disease specialist in Puerto Vallarta. A week prior, we went to see the Lyme Disease specialist ($30 for an hour consult!)  as something to rule out. We were skeptical that he had it, but we were on the “leave no stone unturned” path. The lab results would not return for a few weeks, we would be getting them sent by email, so sailing south while we waited made sense. Yes, Mexican doctors will send you results via email, they’ll even text you on their personal cell phones! The test for Lyme and other tick borne parasites was $250. This apparently is a universal fee throughout labs in the US and Mexico because the test is quite extensive and 95% accurate. We were lucky to be able to have it drawn in Puerto Vallarta and sent to Mexico City for testing.

Meanwhile, we remained hopeful that health was ensuing after so much time. We set sail as soon as Christian retuned from his lab draw appointment. The overnight sail from La Cruz to Bahia Chamela usually takes around 20 hours with good wind the whole way, so leaving in the afternoon was perfect to get us there first thing in the morning. The sail was great! For a few hours that night with downwind speeds reached ~30-35 knots, we had a double reefed main and furled jib to 70%.  The bioluminescence was brilliant.  Dolphins swimming and playing around the boat, hearing their breaths and seeing floresence glow as they move through the water. We arrived in the anchorage off of Punta Pérula in Bahia Chamela at 0400. It only took us 16 hours! 

Bahia Chamela was such a nice breath of fresh air after being confined to Banderas Bay (Puerto Vallarta area) for over 2 months. We handled the overnight well, but it had been a while since we had done it together. We were not in a groove and both of us didn’t sleep much. The next day (our first day in Chamela Bay) was exhausting and homeschooling was a challenge. Note to self, do not attempt to homeschool after a sleepless passage! After a nap, we pulled up anchor and went to the furthest anchorage south in Bahia Chamela to try to catch some surf. S/V Cat2fold and S/V Full Monty joined us as well. We caught some waves and potlucked on Shawnigan. The next day we went to a bat cave before heading to another anchorage nearby.  There was a bit of wind and the water was pretty stirred up. The snorkeling we were hoping for was not happening.

S/V Full Monty 

Brian from SV Cat2fold.

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After 2 nights in Bahia Chamela, we set sail for Bahia Tenacatita. A nice day trip, downwind. No complaints from the Shawnigan crew. We stayed at “La Vena” anchorage, although most cruisers call it Tenacatita. We spent many days here last year. We did the mangrove dinghy adventure again with a S/V Full Monty, Mango, and Sea Glass. No crocodile sightings this time around, but it was fun none the less.  We enjoyed the company of SV Empyrean again as well as SV Mango Mango. We even managed to organize a dinghy raft up potluck.SV Full Monty and SV Mango weaving through the mangroves. 

A few days of playing and sailing , the action started to take its toll on Christian. He was being really careful with his diet, not eating sugar, dairy, and not drinking alcohol, but his fatigue and reoccurring symptoms were surfacing again. The sail down from Tenacatita to Barra de Navidad was thankfully painless and did not require a lot of energy. Along the way, we remembered about a friend of ours who recently went to a holistic center in the mountains near Barra de Navidad. He had been pretty sick with a lot of vague symptoms and came back healed! With going through all of the western medical treatment for Christian and having him still struggling, we decided to have him go the natural route while I stayed with the kids in Barra. As soon as we anchored, he called the center and planned to be there within 2 days for a 10 day treatment. (The experience at Centro Naturista DAR could be its own post, so I’ll save the details for part 2.) 

Shawnigan was safely anchored in the Barra Lagoon while Christian was away. I had many fellow boat neighbors to help us if we needed it.  There were a few other kids boats as well for most of that time to help keep the kids company. 

I feel like I’m repeating myself a little from our last year’s experience in Barra. We did a lot of the same things, but with different sailors. We did our schooling, which was usually done by lunchtime. After that, we’d go swim with our boat friends that were in the Marina at the Grand Bay resort. The kids always have a good time there, because the pool area is huge and the slides at the pool are fun.  Sometimes we’d go to town for “El Reconcito” for Papas Rellena ( stuffed potato) or get Rosa’s 10 peso Tamales for dinner. Rosa selling her Tamales. She remembered Taj from last year. 

We met up with some of the local friends that we made last year and went to the beach with them and had sunset potlucks. We did some hiking and kayaking and bird watching too. Sunset dinner potluck at our friend’s beach house. 

Don’s service with a smile, pouring rounds of tequila shots is what he does best 🙂


Ellamae doing school 

Spoonbills and Ibis

Taj and Zoey playing onboard Empyrean.

Taj looking up the birds in the bird guide. 

SV Carumba boys with Ellamae and Nina.

Hike up to “shipwreck lookout” looking down on the ship that crashed during 2015’s Hurricane Patricia.

Sunrise reading.

Hike with SV Empyrean to the secret beach.


2.5 weeks and no test results yet for the Lyme disease. We waited it out in Barra longer. Meanwhile treatment for Christian at the Centro Naturista seemed to be working well. It was time for him to come back to the boat. On Christian’s 10th day at the Centro Naturista, the kids and I took a bus ride up to the mountains to the town of El Grullo to see the center, have lunch with him and pick him up. It was a super windy road as we all got car sick. No one threw up, but we were sure close. The bus takes you to Autlán, which is where the singer, Carlos Santana, is from. From there we took a taxi to El Grullo. Dinghy to the Hotel Sands with the Grand Bay resort in the background.

Taj at the coffee shop across from the bus station in Melaque (San Patricio). 

Sunrise in Barra de Navidad.

Full Monty departs heading toward Panama 🇵🇦. Happy for them, but sad to part ways.
That’s is it for part 1 of a 3 part post.

Don’t let having kids stop you from living an adventurous lifestyle.

Happy Easter! Hopefully one full of adventure!

One thing I will never regret is having kids. We are a sailing family of 5 living on a 40 foot monohull. Both my husband, Christian and I come from adventurous lifestyles which do not include having children for many people. From the very beginning, we decided to not let having kids get in the way of living an adventurous lifetime together. Sure, there was an adjustment period, some things are harder and more limited, but with the desire, patience, the right safety tools, good gear, and amazing friends, we are able to still live life to its fullest… well, almost.
First and foremost all you need is the desire to continue living a life full of adventure. I realize this make look different for everyone. For some it may include skydiving, base jumping, climbing the 10 highest peaks in the world. For others, adventure might be a few camping trips a year. For us adventure is surfing, swimming, yoga, biking, hiking, camping, road trips, and SAILING THE WORLD! The biggest change with having kids is the thought process that “life is not about just you anymore”. So, for those skydivers and base jumpers, the fact that you have a little one that depends on you may alter your adventurous activities a little more than the weekend camper type adventurer. Keep on having fun, be open to finding a new balance. 
Having a child teaches patience and a level of selflessness. No longer can you do things on a whim, for the majority of the time.  Selfishness turns to selflessness. That doesn’t mean you need to let that stop you from doing what you want. You just have to work on planning better and creating the opportunity to allow for what you want to do to happen. For example; add an extra 30 minutes to all of your departure times. It’s amazing how much time packing a few extra diapers, extra clothes, food, etc., will take. It goes without fail that your child(ren) will have to go to the bathroom right as your walking out the door to go somewhere. Your previously 5 hour road trip will now be 6 – 7 hours with the added necessary breaks. Just expect it and make the best out of it. Our road trips are more fun when we relax and take our time. Make it a point to slow down and enjoy it. Adventure doesn’t mean rushed.I took Ellamae rock climbing in Joshua Tree when she was 2. I timed some climbs during nap time, had her join me for a climb and friends helped watch. 
Make sure you have the right safety tools suited for yourself, partner, and children for the adventure your on. Maybe even have spares available for taking you child’s friend along. Safety for the child usually comes as second nature, but not always. For us, a major concern is keeping the kids from falling in the water while sailing. We ALWAYS have them in harnesses and tethered if they go out on deck when we are sailing offshore. Don’t forget about yourself! Remember my comment earlier about “it’s no longer just about you anymore!”? Well, it’s true, so you may wanna up the ante on safety. Going rock climbing? Wear a helmet. Sure you might look silly, but better silly and climbing than having your kid grow up seeing you in a long term facility with a brain injury, or worse, growing up without you. I know that’s extreme, but it gets the point across. Obviously the same goes for riding bikes, skiing, etc. Use your best judgement here. When sailing offshore, both Christian and I wear our life harnesses as well. Especially when we are on watch at night. We wouldn’t want to lose anyone at sea. My biggest fear is waking up and not seeing Christian on deck or watching one of our 3 children fall overboard in rough seas and knowing that it would be next to impossible to find them, so we prevent that from happening in the first place. Safety looks a little different for everyone. Living life has risks that are par for the course. If you lock yourself and family up in a bubble you may stay safe from most of life’s perils, but you probably won’t be living the adventure you sought for. Don’t let fear stop you.Harnessed in and having fun!


Now the fun part, proper gear! Usually adventure seekers LOVE gear (gear geek alert)! Having kids just means more fun gear research, seeking, and gathering. Yay! There are so many options for adventure gear which incorporates having the little tikes along with you. I will list a few items for some of our specific adventures. On the top of the list for gear is the need for a good baby carrier. The more portable and comfortable you and your children are, the more likely you will keep on keeping on with your adventures. We used the Beco Baby (ergo like) the most, but there are many other options. Our friend makes her own, know as Obimama, that are handmade and quality. Here is a link to a good guide to baby carriers site. I posted a picture at the bottom of the blog as well. Side note on baby wearing: the more you wear your baby the better balance and self awareness they gain, increasing the child’s chances of also becoming a skilled adventurer. Our friend Natasha carries her 6 month old who’s sleeping to the surf beach in a carrier that converts to a reclining bed hung over the shoulder! Sling and beco baby = versatility and easy to pack in a bag. 

As your children get older they do more on their own, maybe slowly, but let them do it. Remember, patience will allow the adventures to continue. Some other gear we suggest: Brompton folding bike,  Xtracycle cargo bike, Burley Bike trailer, also the Charriot and other joggers. The list can go on for a long time. Have fun researching ways to keep your active life going! I won’t ruin the fun of seeking your gear out. Personally we go budget style if possible. Up-cycled gear (hand-me-downs) are a favorite for us. 
Last but certainly not least, having a good support system around to help. Sometimes all you need is a few hours to go for a surf or swim or do yoga. “Back in the old days” we use to live in the same town we grew up in and family was around and readily available to help. This still happens now and again, but not nearly as it use to, so finding child care for a few hours or the day can be a challenge and can get really expensive. We suggest finding like minded friends with kids, or possibly no kids, that are willing to help support your adventurous lifestyle. We’ve met great friends on the beach to do a child watch surf swap. You watch my child while I surf, I’ll watch yours while you surf. Same for climbing. You might not be on a long multi-pitch climb, but taking turns on some smaller sport climbing routes works. All day peak bagging trips can be done as well. 
Remember that your mental health is just as important for your child as it is for you. Take the time for yourself and partner so that you are happy and your children will benefit as well. There are so many ways to think outside the box and continue on living a life of adventure while raising children too. Be adventurous, be unstoppable and have kids!Mom and daughter yoga with another boat mom and daughter in the Marina La Cruz lounge. 

Sick and stuck in La Cruz (Puerto Vallarta)

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! 


At least there are tons of cruising kids here to keep our kids entertained! 

7 weeks of separation

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!

Halloween 2016