Tag Archives: sv shawnigan

Earth day in Mexico, a nearly forgotten post.

I forgot to post about Earth Day in La Cruz! 
This will be a short one, as it it mostly pictures. 
Catrina, the La Cruz Kids Club director and activity director for Marina La Cruz, set up a beach clean up in the morning on Earth Day. We made it to shore by 10 am that day in order to participate. There were a few other kid boats participating (SV Pickles, Riki Tiki Tavi, Ceilydh) and few non-kid boats. We found 14 large trash bags worth of trash within a 1/2 mile from the harbor.


Afterward a few boats participated in the “Drag Net” Rally. SVs Ceilydh took a bunch of kids on their catamaran, Riki Tiki Tavi took a few extra kids and myself as crew, Mike and Catrina took their little 24 ft boat and Scuba Ninja had a few on as crew. The idea was to sail out in Banderas Bay and pick up trash floating in the water as we sailed by. As one can imagine, pickup trash under sail ads quite the challenge to the task. Plus the wind had picked up to 15-20 knots, which made for spotting the trash, quite difficult. Although we weren’t very successful in collecting trash, it was nice to go out for just a few hours and sail. Christian was out of town, so crewing on a different boat and with Sara as a female captain on Riki Tiki Tavi was a really awesome experience for me. Thanks Sara and Pete! Scuba Ninja Sailing like a boss!

Just a quick reminder; we saw most of the ocean trash in the Marina. If you’re out there in a slip, Earth Day can be everyday, please pick out the trash in the water. Every little bit helps.

We also had a “farewell” party on SV Ceilydh for their last day on their boat. They finished there circumnavigation with their daughter, Maia, and are now returning to land lubbing life for the time being. You can look at their blog here. And just in case you are in the market for a circumnavigation ready boat, their boat is for sale

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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.

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.

8 weeks in La Cruz video

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!

Experiencing Mexican culture – and more. 8 weeks in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle 

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.

For lunch, a meal of mixed meat and vegetables and a whole table full of toppings to make your own tacos 🌮 .Burning frankincense

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.

Another orphanage visit to the Marina for some poolside play time with the cruising kids.

Templo de Guadalupe in PV
Talent show at Marina La Cruz

Birthday 🎉 parties!

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. 

La Cruz Kids Club community service at the orphanage. Kids from the sailboats Ceilydh, Nomi, Pickles, Shawnigan, Velella, and Zimovia.

A beautiful family on one of our bus rides. 

La Cruz Kids Club burgee.

La Cruz poolside deli hangout; cruising kids unite! Sailboat kids from August Dream II, Full Monty, Kenta Anae, Luminesce, Princess Ericka, Raireva, Riki Tiki Tavi, and  Shawnigan.