Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's raining!

I'm not exaggerating when I say this is the first rain we've seen since we left San Diego last April (well, there was that time we drove to CA). I forgot what it was like! Wet! Evidently, the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone)is known for squalls. Now when I thought of squalls, I thought of major storms, thunder, lightening etc. That's not what we're getting... just your everyday storm, mostly sprinkles with a few good showers...all night and all day.

So it seemed like the perfect time to try out our rain catch system. In addition to our water maker, Savannah came with a pretty elaborate rain catch system. While in La Cruz, Andy spent some time figuring out how it worked, replacing old tubing and adding filters. For those who are always asking for something more technical, I've asked Andy to contribute here...

How it works:
There is a small gutter system in our cabin top that catches rain into small catch pans and it's piped down inside the boat. It is diverted overboard until the cabin top is washed off, then it's diverted back through a series of tubes and a filter system into our water tanks. If we don't need to use it, we divert it overboard the whole time.

Now for the cool part. Our water maker makes 8 gallons of water an hour at 8 amps. We have the spectra water maker which is still considered (I think), somewhat top of the line. In the last 15 minutes, we filled up our water tanks with about 30 gallons of water through the rain catch system and didn't use one amp! Now that's efficiency! I'm not knocking the water maker, because it's been a dream all summer long, I'm just saying, time to give it a break.

Onto other things...I'm feeling like a regular old Betty Crocker out here. Yesterday, tired of pancakes, french toast, eggs, potatoes, etc. for breakfast, I decided to plan ahead and make some dough for cinnamon rolls this morning. Well, over a lb of flour later and a dough ball bigger than all of our heads put together, I have enough for the next 10 days! This morning Jake and I rolled a piece out and made all the fillings and we had our first homemade cinnamon rolls (at least my first time making them). They didn't turn out too bad if I do say so myself. Jake thought they were "the best thing I've ever eaten." Of course he's been known to describe his PB&J that way too. But even Betty Crocker needed a break, so we may very well have popcorn for supper tonight. The routine of cook, do dishes, school/laundry, cook, do dishes, play/laundry, cook, do dishes, play/laundry is wearing on me.

Either tonight or tomorrow we're going to turn south and make a run for the equator. We've seen a few boats get stuck and a few boats plow right through. I don't know if that has to do with who turns on their motor or not, but we're going to give it a shot. We're not adverse to motoring through as we carry plenty of diesel and have certainly gotten the view out here already. We've been running our motor for about an hour each day to keep the batteries charged anyway (the fridge and autopilot are sucking up juice with all this cloud cover). So wish us luck!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 12

Yesterday was a day of rest so we left the squirrel in the bag (aka spinniker). Consequently, we only made 124 miles progress. Today, being a new day, we decided to get it back out and make some additional headway. I was the one laughing today when we started turning to wind to bring the main down. The spinniker was all rigged and ready to go and then it started getting back filled and blew right in Andy's face. He struggled a few minutes grabbing at sail and then he leaped (yes, leaped) on top of it into the net and tried to hold it down with everything he could (including arms, legs and all other body parts) and he did it all with such grace! But it's flying now and we're back to 7.5 - 8 knots.

I think Jake lost his brain at the halfway mark. Today was quite a struggle with school. Math problems he was breezing through two days ago suddenly became more complicated than calculus. I guess that's normal, my brain shuts down sometimes too, but it's frustrating when you're star student's brain turns to mush! As for school, I've gotten a lot of questions about what do we do. I'm not going to get into the right or wrong of methods as it's a whole can of worms I don't want to open but I will share what we do and what has worked so far. Since he's only five, I try not to pack the day too much. If we do an hours worth of work, that's plenty to make significant headway on the basics. Which is what I try to do...stick to the basics - Math, Reading, Writing. Occasionally, we'll do some science experiments or read about certain topics he's interested in (i.e. Volcanos, Weather, Sharks), but for the most part, those things come in our every day activities. For Math, we use Math U Can See, which Jake loves (relatively speaking of course). It presents the basic math principles in a very different way than when I grew up, but it seems more in line with his way of learning (hands on). We're using Hooked on Phonics for Reading which is going pretty good. I do try to switch this up with games like scrabble, or building words with alphabet noodles, or some other silly things as reading is definitely not his favorite activity. Finally, for writing, we use Handwriting without Tears. So far, no tears. I've found the Jack and Annie Magic Treehouse series to be great for reading aloud to him and the research guides are fantastic. The last time I went home, I picked up as many as I could get my hands on. As for curriculums, I started out with Calvert but only used it for a short period of time as it was just way too much for a five year old and much of it was irrelevant to our life, therefore "boring." I'm not poo-pooing Calvert because for the teacher, it really does lay it all out for you but for Jake's age, it didn't work for us. Not to say I may not revisit it in the future when the work gets more complicated... Of course this is not all inclusive of what we do, but it does cover the basics and seems to be working so far. I think the key is to be flexible...

I've made a discovery about sea sickness...for me, there's no "getting over it"...meaning, I need to take my medicine the whole time we're out here. I took it for a week and then thought, well, maybe I don't need it. Maybe I'm "used" to it. I think today is probably the first day it's all out of my system and I'm not feeling so hot. So back on the pills I go. My hesitation is that I'm taking the Mexican version of Scopamine (or Sturgeron, I'm not sure which) and there's quite a bit of controversy about it. I've read all the articles in Latitude 38, and done some of my own research, and my final conclusion is that it works for me, and on top of that, some of the side effects they mention sound like a walk in the park compared to being sea sick. With all that said, I'm disappointed that I still have to take it as I don't like taking any medicine for 20 days!

And hopefully, that's all it will be, 20 days! We're on day 12 so it's all down wind from here, so to speak.

Two items of note... I mentioned Latitude 38. For those of you that don't know, it's a magazine for cruisers and sailors and always proves to be very entertaining. They organize this "puddle jump" that we're doing and in their February issue, they wrote small blurbs and posted pictures of many of the boats leaving Mexico. You can go online and read it if you're interested to see exactly what kind of company we keep :) Google Lattitude 38 and you should find it no problem.

Second item... I screwed up our positioning a few days ago...sorry about that. If you're looking at YOTREPS you'll see that it looks like we took a turn for Ecuador. I assure you that's not the case. Just a case of fat fingering here with no way to correct it. Apologies all around.

That's it for now! Lunch is waiting! I hope everyone has a wonderful Monday (yes, I still know what day it is) and rest of the week!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 11

We're into our 11th day and have 1300 miles under our hulls. We should be crossing the official half way point this afternoon!!

As part of the celebration, Jake got his "half way" present today. I'm particularly impressed with the patience he's shown on getting this present. You see, he was with us when we bought it. He wanted a new Hero Factory figure so bad and I couldn't justify getting it for no reason, so I told him I would buy it but he couldn't open it until we were half way across the Pacific. He agreed. He held the box, loved the box, showed it to everyone on the dock, then we promptly put it away in my closet. Yesterday, when we were talking about getting close to being halfway, he mentioned his "surprise." I praised him for his patience and how he has been so good about not asking for it along the way. His response was, "Well mommy, I knew if I asked too much you might give it away to another little boy that doesn't have any presents so I just Zipped it!" and he took his fingers and acted like he was zipping up his lips. Hmmm... I swear I have never actually given away one of his toys as a punishment, but my bark must be pretty good, because he was serious as a heart attack. This morning after we finished some leftover school work from yesterday, I gave him his gift and he's been playing ever since.

Our gift will come tonight in the form of a big fat juicy steak that we splurged on at Carnes del Mundo before we left (ok, so we splurged on 12 of them, but this will be the first time we try them...they're the only aged beef we've found in Mexico).

Yesterday we caught another tuna. Not as big this time but the perfect size for our sushi dinner. Andy normally makes the sushi but I took a shot at it this time. Not as good as his, but it was a pretty good first try. Jake ate every last morsel, as usual.

Normal routines continued today...I'm trying to keep up with the laundry. Not that we're wearing that many clothes, but somehow it adds up. I always did our laundry when we were underway in the Sea of Cortez because the clothes dried so much quicker and what else did I have to do? It's a lot different out here. It's actually a dangerous job! Here I am trying to hang laundry up on a line with 10 foot seas pushing the boat causing us to surf down them at 10-12 knots, trying my darndest not to fall overboard! Who knew laundry could be life threatening? Andy thinks I'm being a little dramatic, but I'm sticking to it...

I really wish I could post some pictures as this blog would be a 100 times more interesting. In the meantime, I'll keep posting if for no other reason than to assure our family and friends we're ok. Until tomorrow...

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Groundhog Day

Did you ever see that movie, Groundhog Day? It's kind of like that out here. We're making good time but the scenery doesn't change, the routines aren't changing much and conversation is getting short. We're all still in good spirits and no one is arguing or even getting snippy (this still amazes me). But fatigue is starting to set in. Our naps are getting longer and I'm much less creative with Jake than I was a few days ago.

The good news is that we should be crossing the half way point in the next day or so...1350 miles! It's really hard to believe that after all that planning and all those years of us talking about it, we're finally crossing this big 'ole ocean. I'm not even really sure what to expect when we get there. We're just now getting around to reading all of our guide books for the area. We've been so focused on getting there, we never talked about what we would actually do!

At night the sky is super dark before the moon comes out and you can see stars for miles but not really see any waves or know what's behind/in front of you. When the moon comes out, you can see the waves and it surprises me every night how big they are and that this little boat can move this fast with only the elements at work. It really is incredible.

Our food/veggies are still going strong. I might have gotten a bit too many peppers as we've had to throw some over board as well as the lettuce but everything else is still keeping pretty good. I'm pretty sure no one has lost any weight on this trip.

Time for me to take over watch as Andy's going to take a nap...thanks for hanging in there with us.

Oh yeah, some folks can see our positions when clicking on the link in the blog and some cannot. If you cannot and want to, try going to the YOTREPS site (you'll have to google it) and look us up by WDF4139 (not Savannah). That seems to work.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spinnaker debacles

If only we had a camera the past two days, we might have made America's Funniest Home Videos. It was definitely a comedy of errors. At the risk of us sounding like idiots, I'm going to tell you what happened.

I'll start with what will soon become the obvious...we don't fly our spinnaker very often, but to be fair, we had a good two days of non eventful spinnaker flying before we ran into issues. For those of you that don't know, a spinnaker is the big pretty billowy sail that you fly in fairly light winds and it makes you go faster. It's the one in all the pretty pictures of sailboats you seeing flying off the bow of the boat. Ours is a monster, both in size and temperment.

It started the day before yesterday when we were trying to get it up. I'm not sure how it happened but not only did we get it twisted at the point it was attached to our spinnaker pole, but as it was going up it got caught on our anchor. Andy got it unhooked fairly quickly but not before it ripped a small hole near the clew.

Yesterday morning, after repairing the spinnaker, we were ready to try again. In an effort to learn from our mistakes, we thought through everything before we acted and got it up without much hubbabaloo. We scooted right along most of the day until the wind shifted on us and we needed to tack, or change the side of the boat we were flying the spinnaker on. It's not as easy as tacking with our jib in which we just turn the boat and pull the jib over to the other side with the sheets already rigged. Our Spinnaker requires you to take it down, switch the sheets to the opposite sides of the boat, along with the pole after moving a few shackles around as well. All the while the boat is bucking like a stinking bronco because of the direction of these 8 foot swells coming at us.

So we started by trying to lower the spinnaker pole first to unhook the sail, but that wasn't working. The force of the wind was too much and I was sure Andy was going to go flying over the side holding onto the pole like that scene in Captain Ron. Next we decided to contain the spinnaker in it's little sock thingy (It pulls down over the spinnaker making it look like a long snake), then bring down the pole. Well, that wasn't happening either. Andy pulled and pulled and pulled and he bounced up and down with the wind, over and over. He tried laying down and pulling and even tried tying it to a winch, only to get the lines overridden and pretty much shredding them trying to get them out... all the time with this huge spinnaker flying wildly in front of the boat - catching all the wind she refused to catch earlier. We tried letting out line, we tried turning the boat, all to no avail. It looked like the three stooges trying to sail (only there were two of us).

Finally, after letting the lines out completely and letting the thing flap out in the water and wind, we got the sock to start coming down. Only then, I wasn't able to get the lines in quick enough so we started running over the part that was still in the water. Then I had to turn the boat around and get us in irons (so we could back up a little bit) and run up and help Andy pull it all in. Did I mention this thing was HUGE!

You would think it would be over now, right? nope. He went to hook up the spinnaker pole but the part of the spinnaker that didn't get in the sock is flying around madly so he tells me to come hold it down, stand on it, sit on it, whatever. So I do all of the above...I'm sitting in the net arms flying everywhere trying to keep this giant pink and orange (yeah, did I mention it was pink?)monster from flying out again when a huge wave comes up right under my butt and soaks me (wouldn't you know i just took a shower). An ocean enema.

We finally got it all hooked up and got the spinnaker out and we made 150 miles yesterday. Today we're doing 7 knots and I asked Andy if we could take a spinnaker break. Our winds are 15-20 knots and how fast do we really need to go (don't answer that)? My legs ache, my arms ache and my nerves can't take wondering if Andy is going over the side. He swears he has no desire to ride the sails.

But spirits are still high and we got a good laugh about it later. Practice makes perfect and I know we have plenty of time for practice. In the meantime, I'm taking advantage of the lack of shade and I'm going to work on my tan :).

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 7

A lot of folks were curious about how Jake would handle this passage, being he's only five so I thought I would give my first week impression.

Being on a boat 24/7 with your five year old in the middle of the Pacific Ocean brings on a whole new meaning to "stay at home mom/dad." I wasn't too worried about Jake on this trip because, truth be known, he's a home body and I usually have to force him to leave the boat when we're on land. And up until the last three months, he hasn't really had anyone to play with so he's been pretty good at keeping himself entertained. He's doing great, but I think having kids around the last few months has him hankering for a playmate. If I hear "will you play with me?" once a day, I hear it a thousand times. The problem is, mommy isn't too keen on blowing things up, watching Star Wars for the 500th time, or killing the bad guys with our super corrosive flame throwing missles. So most of the "playing" has fallen to daddy.

I, however, have been queen of activities (none so fun as blowing things up though, I can assure you). We've kept quite busy... we've read books, played with sea animals, done science experiments like separating pepper from salt and building gliders to learn about lift, thrust, drag and gravity. We've colored, baked, put together puzzles. We've started a fish log (although we only have one entry so far) and we've started a rather ambitious project of creating a pinata with papier mache.

We're only a fourth of the way through this trip so the jury is still out, but I think the moral of the scallywag is pretty good. As I write, he's in the cockpit with his imaginary light sabor killing every single bad guy within a 100 miles of this boat. Pirates beware.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 6

We have our first injury aboard. Little Jakey fell out of his rack while sleeping last night and hit his nose pretty hard (enough to bleed). It was a little scary but he's ok now. He's got a little carpet burn on the tip of his nose and a few cuts on his face but I told him it made him look tough and he's all good now. I really wish I could post a picture here breaks my heart to see his little face all bloodied up! I can now officially quit feeling guilty though when he asks me to sleep with him and I say no. His bed is the same size as ours. How that little kid can move around so much in one night to actually fall off the END of the rack (the other three sides are surrounded by hull), I don't know. I can only imagine some very lively dreams going on there.

Everything else is scooting right along. We had extremely calm winds yesterday and even with the spinnaker, we only made 90 miles. We had been averaging about 140 so that was a little disappointing. We seem to be doing a bit better this morning and we're back up to 7 knots. The other boats reporting in around us seem to have similar weather.

It looks like I have the position reports working so if you want to click on the link at the top right of the page, you should be able to follow exactly where we are. I can't see it, but I think it's very similar to the map that I keep on the right with Google, only it's tracking us across the ocean according to what I send.

Me, always enjoying a nice routine, have managed to get us into a rhythm here (at least I think I have). I start my morning watch at 5:00 every morning and then get weather at 7:00. Jake usually gets up around then and we make breakfast and start school. Then I go for a nap around 10:00 and wake up in time to make lunch. After lunch, I either bake, do a project with Jake, laundry or read a book. Somewhere in between all that you can add dishes but I hate dishes so I put them off as long as possible. Then it's dinner and sometimes a movie...put Jake to bed, take another nap, wake up for my 9:00 watch. Andy does his own thing (meaning he's not the routine kind) and makes water, messes with sails, plays with Jake, etc. and stays pretty busy as well. So far, no one is bored. I feel busier than I did at the dock!

The battery is dying here and my little man is begging for someone to "play with me" so we're signing off for now. Thanks again for the support. Until tommorrow...

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 3/4 - 400 miles out

We're ending our day 3 and moving into our day 4 now as we complete 420 miles of our 2700 mile adventure. Morale is still good but the winds are starting to poop out on us. We put our spinnaker up and we're still making 5-6 knots but not the 7-8 we've been doing the last few days.

Yesterday afternoon we caught our first fish, a yellowfin tuna! Jake is keeping a fish log for our trip as part of his school work so he had to measure it. It came in at 24 inches long. Since we don't have a scale, we're guessing it was about 20 lbs. Enough for a huge sushi meal last night and tuna steaks tonight with lots left over!

One of our activities every morning is to go around the boat and look for any suicide victims from the night before. There's always a flying fish or a tiny squid that just couldn't take it anymore. This morning there were five! Unfortunately, it's too late to save them, but it gives Jake a chance to really look them over and see all the pieces and parts.

Not a whole lot else going on. We're settling into a routine pretty well and eating good. The scenery doesn't change much other than the size of the waves and the color of Jake's underwear. We check into the nets every night and hear other people's positions and weather. We're close to a few other boats that left before us but haven't seen any of them yet.

We can't see any of the comments left on the blog but sure would like to hear from people. We're running out of things to say to each other and it's only day 4. So feel free to drop us a note now and then. In the meantime, we appreciate all the well wishes and prayers you guys are sending our way!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Check out procedures for Mexico

I wanted to put a quick note out here for anyone interested in the exact procedures for checking out of Mexico in Banderas Bay (at least as of Wednesday).

We were in La Cruz, so first we had to check out with the Port Captain of La Cruz. You cannot officially check out of the country in La cruz so you have to go to either Nuevo Vallarta or Puerto Vallarta. We chose Nuevo Vallarta since it was closer.

YOU HAVE TO TAKE YOUR BOAT. Several people tried riding the bus and checking out that way but it didn't work. I think one boat was able to do that but they at some point in the recent past had been at Paradise Village and for some reason that was ok. The Port Captain is on your right side just as you come in the breakwater. There are plenty of places to park your boat right there. Immigration closes at 2:00 so it's best to get there before lunch.

You need to take your passports, tourist cards/visas (with receipt) and boat documentation. We were told we needed the receipts for our tourist cards. Andy had his but Jake and I came in via air so there was no receipt. This didn't seem to be a problem. If you've lost yours, some other folks had to just pay the equivalent of another visa (about $20). The Zarpa cost was $306 pesos.

Immigration is in Bucerias, so the port captain calls them and you have to wait about 20 minutes. We had to show Jake's birth certificate as well as his passport but I think they were trying to figure out my name (some discrepancies with how things were spaced out?? wierd). After looking through our paperwork, the two ladies went down to our boat. One got on and just walked through both hulls and looked around. Nothing intrusive and it only took about 30 seconds. Then they stamped our passports and we were on our way.

After checking out, you have officially 48 hours to leave the country.

Overall, it was a very painless process...should be a piece of cake for you too. Hope this helps.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Day 2 - Smooth Sailing

Since I apparently still don't have our position reports working, for anyone interested, our current position is 17 degrees 44 minutes N, 109 degrees 09 minutes W. So far, so good. Winds have been great and we've been averaging 7 knots or so, seeing 8 to 8 1/2 at times. Morale is good, although Jake has already asked if we're almost there. I guess he has no concept of 20 days yet.

I tried to watch a movie on my night watch tonight but it was a bit distracting having to get up every 5-10 minutes for that silly "watch" thing. Then, just when it was getting to the good part (We are Marshall - anyone seen it?), my battery on my laptop went dead.

I need to thank my friend Tami on Andiamo III again for my entertainment so far. She gave me the movie and she also gave me this really good book I'm reading, The Motion of the Ocean. The first page and a half had me in stitches because it is EXACTLY indicative of Andy and I. I even had to read it out loud to him...and he laughed. It's about a couple who decided to go sailing for the two years on a honeymoon of sorts. So far, I would highly recommend it. It's pretty much a chick book, but some of the more "sensitive" men out there might enjoy it, too.

Jake's picked school back up well, although it is very hard to do any kind of handwriting exercises on a rocking boat. Everything looks a little snakey. It's a strange motion out here. I haven't done a lot of sailing on monohulls so I might sound stupid to most, but on a catamaran, we're doing a figure eight sort of thing. The waves are coming at us from the side so we're not just rocking back and forth, we're also rocking side to side. Luckily, all of our bellies are still doing good but it does cause for a lot more breaks during the home schooling hours.

Someone requested that we put more info out here on our diesel tank leak. As soon as I can get Andy to help me write it in the technical terms I'm sure you guys are expecting, I'll post that up.

Back to the task at hand...lunch!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Underway - Day/Night 1

We got off to a nice, but slow start. We motor-sailed out of the bay and when we turned our motors off just outside Cabo Corientes, we only had about 9 knots of wind and were making 3 knots speed. And so it went. We put a reef in the main before Andy went to bed just for good measure (and because I asked to) and now...
Here I am on my first night watch in a long time and conditions have changed drastically since Andy went to bed. Wind is up to 16 knots (very nice) and we're doing almost 8 (I'm in my happy place at 61/2 - 7). The wind is coming on our beam which makes for a funny ride. I have to say, this speed scares the bejesus out of me. I'm still trying to get back in the grove of things. Night watches can go either way... tonight I'm trying not to let my mind take over and just go with the flow. Andy asked me what I was thinking earlier and I told him, I'm trying not to think anything. If I think too much, I just might ask to turn around. So here I am, after listening to all my playlists on my iPod, attempting a French podcast (did you know those were all in French?), and doing all the exercises I could think of, I'm distracting myself with a blog post.
We decided to extend our normal 3 hour watches to 4 at night so that in theory, we could get more sleep. If all goes well, maybe we'll up it to 5 hours later in the passage. Some good news is that I'm feeling great (although I am questioning the decision to have hamburgers for supper). A lot of folks were worried about us leaving today since I've been sick, but all is good here. No headaches, no queasy stomach, no tiredness (yet).
It's getting up to 17 knots, pushing 20... it's times like these I remember how much I don't know. Should I wake Andy up and put another reef in? (I know that's what I would LIKE to do) Should I slow us down by adjusting the sails or our course? I know, you're thinking "geesh Monica, it's your first night out!" Cut me some slack. I haven't done a night watch in months and I've never had the daunting task of crossing an ocean in front of me...just getting my sea legs back.
For now, I'm going to watch the wind, put some Uncle Kracker back on and keep watch on this boat coming at us on AIS...
Update from the morning... Watches went well for both of us. We've gone over a hundred miles since we left yesterday. We were able to check in with the nets on low power (kind of a cruiser conference call) so our radio is working really well. Jake slept well and we're trying to power up this school thing again for the first time in a few weeks. He says he's feeling queasy and needs a break. I don't know if he really is or if he's already figured out a ploy for delaying school work? Andy is on deck breaking out the spinnaker. Our winds have been good but they're petering out a little bit now. I think he just wants to practice... All is good on Savannah. Thanks for tuning in!
By the way, you'll notice a new link above our picture on the blog. So far, it's not working. It was my intent to send our position so everyone could follow exactly where we are. The e-mail preprogrammed into our computer (and the email address I wrote down off the website) is not working so I'm stumped. I'll let you all know if/when I get it up and running. In the meantime, if anyone already using this feature knows the current address for yotreps, send me an email wdf4139  (AT) sailmail (DOT) com - keep it short and sweet, no attachments, no address books, no spam - but you already know that, right?).
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Adios Mexico!

We did it! We pulled anchor about a quarter to 12 today and headed out for the Marquesas. We said goodbye to some really dear friends and now we're on our way. Thank you to everyone who gave us our grand send off (several times!). We heard the horns and waved our little arms off as we saw you running back and forth on the break wall. Thanks to those who sent us off in their dinghy's (we love you Scott and Teri), and Thanks to Victor and Hose who sent us off in the SeaBeast (I want pictures)!

And thank you to all of our friends and family who have been with us the whole way. Andy has dreamed of this for 20 years and I've been dreaming and planning for the last 10. There's no way we could have lifted that anchor without all of your support, both emotionally, spiritually and physically (getting our mail, money matters, etc.).

No... keep saying your prayers, keep the good wishes coming and we'll keep you posted as we go along.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

One MORE day delay...

He looks remarkably happy for fixing a leak
Through a series of unfortunate events, we are now delayed one more day.  We came home from our last day of shopping Monday and I started to feel bad.  What looked to be an upset stomach turned out to be a 24 hour bug that about killed me (at least I was hoping it would).  I don't think I've ever been that sick.  Well, while I was laid out, Andy was trying to find a place to store the rest of our rum and he started looking around the diesel tank under Jake's bed.  Instead of storage, he found a leak.

Eyoni rafted up next to Savannah
So he spent the better part of yesterday afternoon fixing that leak.  Thanks to Eyoni for delaying their departure to Yelapa...without Ethan's help, I think Andy would have gone nuts.  Eyoni pulled up next to us and helped us unload 60 gallons of fuel into their tank and a few jerry jugs so that Andy could get to the problem.  Then Ethan hung around to help with the actual fix.

We woke up this morning with a few things on our list to do... fill water tanks, wash boat, check out from Marina and La Cruz, then head over to Nuevo Vallarta to check out of Mexico (I'll try to post the actual procedures after we complete them for those of you leaving later or going next year).  One more problem.  No water.  This has been an ongoing problem this past week for the marina but we though for sure after it happening 2 days in a row they would have it figured out by now.

But all is good now...the water is back on, Andy's washing the boat and Jake and I are finishing up last minute things before checking out.  This seems to be what Savannah does before a big trip - spit parts.  Remember the pinhole leak in the hull before we left San Diego?  Better that it all happens here at the dock than out there, right?  Baring no unexpected delays today, we'll be out of here tomorrow.  It looks like it might actually happen!  And it's a good thing...I've got veggies ripening as we speak!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Provisioning for Fruits and Veggies...check

Last on my list is provisioning for fruits and vegetables.  Thanks to Diane on Ceilydh and all of those puddle jumpers before us, I have hit the mother load.  One of my worries has been how I was going to get vegetables that would last more than a few days.  The tiendas here always sell good veggies, but they need to be eaten within a day or two of buying them.  Where was I going to find green tomatoes? 
It turns out, there is a warehouse in town that opens its doors twice a week at 6:00 pm to supply all of the local restaurants.  It is filled with green veggies and fruits.  And I mean FILLED.

For those of you in LaCruz (or possibly doing the jump next year), as you walk to Philo’s you’ll see some red tables always set out at night for tacos.  Turn right at the road right before those tables.  On the left you’ll see some warehouse doors.  They open on Sunday night and Wednesday or Thursday night (there’s debate about that and I personally haven’t checked it out on those nights) and you can buy as much as you want.

So today was the day…  I started off my day visiting the Sunday market close to the marina here and bought up the smoked mozzarella and smoked cheddar.  I made my way to the pesto stand and bought a few containers of some of the best pesto I’ve ever eaten.  It freezes well and goes great over pasta, so I’m planning on that being one of our easier dinners within the first few days while we’re getting acclimated.

Andy took some friends to Mega (we still have our rental car) to buy their groceries while Jake and I stayed on the boat and watched movies.  He was up sick all night and I thought it was best to keep his cooties on the boat today. 

This evening, I took our neighbors who are leaving the same day as us to the warehouse to get our vegetables.  I can’t believe I didn’t take my camera.  It was so much fun to go through the bags and bags of beautiful produce.  For about $100, I got apples, oranges, limes, lemons, peppers of all kinds, watermelon, lettuce, grapes, chayote, onions, potatoes, and the list goes on and on…hopefully, enough for the next three weeks.  (Now the trick is to figure out how to store all this stuff and keep it from going bad.)  The night was going so beautifully until it was time to leave. 

“Where are the keys?” someone asked.
“I gave them to Jobie when he started loading the car” I responded
“SH#&^@” and someone took off running.

Apparently, Jobie was on his way to Sayulita to see his wife, not to return until tomorrow.
I was sitting on our neighbor’s boat using their phone to call the rental company to try to get a new key when I heard Jobie outside our boat talking to Andy.  He had gotten as far as Bucerias and reached in his pocket for change and found the key. 

No harm done.  The veggies are resting and we are heading that way ourselves.  Tomorrow is our last day to do the last minute things before checking out with the port captain on Tuesday.
2 more days…

Saturday, March 12, 2011


We woke up this morning to the same news much of you did…Japan had been hit by a major earthquake and then a tsunami that was heading toward Hawaii and ultimately us, here in Mexico.

After a little debate, we decided to be safer than sorry (after all, we’re not exactly insured) and head out to the anchorage.  In our opinion, it was much better to be out of the marina so we don’t have to worry about big swells pushing into the docks.  Once out in the anchorage, we heard news that they actually expected a good 3-6 feet and maybe a 6 knot current.  So ultimately, we decided to head out to open water, as did a number of other boats.  I counted at least 75 boats and I’m sure I missed a few (unofficial report was 155).

But it was a beautiful day for sailing.  We had a few minutes to run in the marina with the dinghy and get some beer and ice.  We just went to Costco yesterday so we were stocked with food.  We had a little bar-b-que, drank a few beers and enjoyed our day.

The marina saw over 6 feet of surge and the channel to the marina got pretty good currents which kept all boats out the rest of the day.  So we fired up the grill and had a nice dinner with Ethan off of Eyoni while we waited it all out.  There were well over 100 boats here in the anchorage as all of the ports were closed in Banderas Bay and no one could get in or out.  We’ll spend the night out here and hope for reentry in the a.m.

Dock 11 sits right at the mouth of the channel.  It's now missing 2 of the finger piers.

Having sat through a few hurricane warnings on the east coast, I think I prefer the Tsunami.  At least we felt like there was something we could do…leave.  The safest place for a boat… 

Kind of exciting for our last few days here.  It did push our trip out a day or so as we didn’t get to continue on our marathon provisioning session and will have to keep our rental car another day.
I know I’m being rather blasé about the whole thing but those who were in real danger and had to endure the real experience, our heats and prayers are out to you and your families.

For an account on how it was in the marina, check out Diane's blog on

Thursday, March 10, 2011


One thing I’ve totally miscalculated this past couple of months is how many friends I’ve actually made (ok, "we've" made...but really, who's writing this blog?).  I normally complain about how I don’t bond with anyone and I miss my friends and yes, I love the cruising life but if there’s one thing I REALLY miss (aside from family)….it’s my friends.

Aren't they cute?  Who says he won't get any socialization?
Well, the last few weeks have made me eat cake (although I still miss you all VERY MUCH).  I have met some fabulous people and now that we’re coming down to our last few days, I’m getting kind of sad.  OK, I’m getting really sad.  Jake has not only been reunited with old friends, but he’s made plenty new ones.  There’s a whole Kid’s Club here that he gets to do 3 days a week and in reality, they informally get together the other days.  Not a day goes by when he’s not running up and down the dock with some other little person.

My running partner and great friend, Tami (and me)
Today, I went to the “Cooking with Amanda” classes here at the marina, which is really how my friend Tami and I manage to get away from the kids and disrupt class while we get to drink free beer AND take home a bunch of good recipes (I cooked the Chicken Tinga last week for Andy and he loved it).  Tami’s husband works in the States for two weeks and then he comes back here for two weeks, so she’s single today.  Andy was sick, so I was single too.  I had a fabulous girls day just doing girl stuff.  Heck, I’m typing this while watching borrowed Sex in the City DVDs from Tami (although I do have to sleep on the sofa tonight…germ free…who’s getting the good deal here?).

Tonight, I was finally able to check my email and my good friend Nancy had sent me some wonderful pictures of our two kids (check out the blog on the right of my page “Eyoni”).  I love Nancy.  We have spent many a hot days in the sea just doing the girl thing…watching kids, talking… Nancy’s the one that taught me about bones (remember that post?).  I will REALLY miss Nancy.

Diane and Evan on Ceildyh
Due to a few different circumstances, we’ve had to blow off our good friends on Ceildyh the last few nights while we were supposed to be doing some South Pacific planning.  Diane and I are two unlikely friends but I really enjoy her company and she’s about the only friend I have here that is also crossing the Pacific, albeit 10 days after us (really?  Can’t you move that up?).

Then there’s Andrea, Kat, Amanda, Ann, my new friend Vicki, Lisa, Dan, Tammy….  I feel bad if I leave anyone out…but seriously, I feel like I live here now and I’m moving out (Hunter, remember how that went?).

But even still, I think we’re all ready to leave.  Jake informed me he was tired of Mexico because it was a really long walk from our dock to the Palapa and can we please go ahead and go to the South Pacific so he will have days and days to play and play?  Andy is doing the piddly things around the boat, and I start my provisioning marathon tomorrow.  We're totally going to miss this place and the people (even the chicken guy is starting to know who I am).  But the boat has the itch and we’re all excited.  Five more days….

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Andy the Electrician

Radio setup at our Navigation Station

I was trying to decide what to write about when Andy started losing his mind over our radio.  Which radio?  This time it was our radio we use to plug our ipods into.  Jake was wiggling the cord one day to get it to “work” and the end of it snapped off into the radio.  It worked for a little while if we stuck the broken piece in and wiggled it this way and that but eventually, it stopped working all together.  Overall, not a must have item for crossing the ocean, but it sure is really nice to have.

We’ve had lots of radio problems this year, the past few weeks in particular.   First we ordered some cables to help us hook our SSB radio up to our modem and computer so we can get weather faxes and send/receive email.  Well, the cables didn’t come in time (before I left CA), despite paying for 2 day shipping so we had to find them here in Mexico.  In addition to that, we were having trouble getting people to hear us on our BRAND NEW SSB.  We called a local radio guy over and not only did he have the cables but he fixed our tuning problem too.  Technically, I think Andy fixed it the day before, but Rob was able to make a few tweaks to our settings to get everything working together.  (Anyone in PV looking for radio help, call Radio Rob on VHF22 – great guy)  Needless to say, I’m thrilled as we’ve never had our email working and we’ve sounded fuzzy on the radio nets for the last 8 months.

When I came back from CA I brought a new hand held VHF because ours was crap.  As soon as we had that up and running, our main VHF radio decided to quit working.  After many hours of trouble shooting, two trips up the mast to install a new antennae and a few cocktail hours getting ideas from others, Andy finally decided the problem was in the wires leading from the mike to the radio.  Well, they don’t sell those separately.  The only way to replace that is to replace the radio.  So we have one on the way from LA where a fellow boater is flying in from next week.  But today, Andy got ambitious, took ours apart and now it’s fixed!  At the very least, we have a spare.

As I write this, he took the drill to our music radio as he announced he knew exactly what he was doing and well, lo and behold, we have a working radio!

He’s very close to adding electrician to his resume.  He’s even starting to fix things that aren’t broken (like our autopilot).  We have a hard drive that won’t power up…let’s see what he can do with that.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Testing 1, 2, 3

We're down to the wire now...10 more days until we leave for the Marquesas.  One of my items on my list of to do's is to make sure I can email posts to the blog.  So here is my first test.

My plan is to email our position and general weather conditions, catch of the day, deepest, darkest thoughts (well, maybe not) daily so that all of our friends, family and followers won't worry too much about us while we're crossing that big pond out there.  I won't be able to upload any pictures since I'll be sending the emails through our SSB radio, so you'll have to wait until we get there to see those.  We're anticipating anywhere from 17-21 days - give or take.

All that's really left to do (from a big project standpoint) is to change the oil and provision.  I'm sure I'll be complaining about the small things over the next few days but in general, we're ready to go.  Even Jake is ready.  He asked me this morning if we couldn't just go ahead and leave - "I'm ready for the South Pacific."

So there you have it.  I'm going to stop now and keep this short in case my little test doesn't work.  Keep us in your prayers and please don't forget to follow!  It's really nice to have this connection back to everyone and it means a lot to us that we can spend our days with you, even if it's just through my big mouth on the internet.  It can get lonely out here :).


Well, I had hoped to have the time to write a few posts about our last couple of days but time seems to be flying by.  We're about 12 days out now from our departure and I'm taking the lazy way out and just posting pictures (I know that's all most of you want anyway).

Jake's friend, Zada turned 6 last week so here are some pictures from her birthday.  Her parents ordered her a jumpy tent and invited all of the kids (boat and local) to join.  Jake had an absolute blast and Nancy, Ethan and Zada were perfect hosts, as usual.  Again, my pictures are kind of crappy...Nancy has some good ones I can hopefully add later.

Lola and Yude were able to join in the party as well.

Nancy, Zada's mom.  I made her pose for this :)
I don't think I have any other pictures of Nancy in the past 8 months I've known her.

Zada and Jake munching on cupcakes.  I think Jake had
three that day.

Yesterday, Jake and I went with some other families to a local town called Sayulita (no idea how to spell that).  We had a great time exploring the town and continuing to make our way through the bus system.

Jack, Jake, Abby, Christian enjoying their ice cream after a long day
at the beach.
Local town square

The mom's.  Me, Tammy (from SANTOSHA), Tami (from ANDIAMO)


More shopping.

Local art gallery (My intent is to go more into this at some point in the
future.  I'm fascinated by the Huichol Indians and their art)

Our new friends!  We found them at the beach as well!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

2/28/2011 - Whale Watching and New Friends

In the midst of busily preparing for our trip across the pond, we managed to take some time out and go for a nice sail around the bay on Sunday and do a little whale watching.  When we were in Yelapa we met a nice French Canadian couple with two kids and they had never been sailing on a Catamaran.  They are doing a bit of traveling of their own and made their way to LaCruz this past week so we asked them if they wanted to bring the kids and head out for the day.

They have a really neat story.  They’re from Quebec and have been traveling in Mexico for about two months.  They have varied backgrounds but the purpose of their travel (aside from getting reacquainted with their adorable family) is to make a pilot for a TV series about family travel.  They take their cameras with them everywhere and film their kids as they interact with the local folks, learning their culture, history and just making new friends.  They’re having such a great time and making such good headway on their project that they’ve decided to stay in Mexico a bit longer and finish their pilot.  You can check out their website at (but you need to brush up on your French J ).

Lola driving the boat.  She didn't want my help at all.
We had a great day on the bay.  The weather was questionable so we went out with low expectations, but as soon as we got out of the channel we saw a mama humpback and her baby.  We spent about 20 minutes just drifting and watching the whales.  Then the wind picked up so we were able to have a nice lazy sail for most of the afternoon.  The kids had a great time.  The youngest, Lola, took right to it and even helped me steer the boat.  Yude and Jake just enjoyed each other’s company playing legos and Hero Factory, occasionally coming outside to see what all the hubbub was about.


Sailing is really exhausting!

Lola, after seeing a whale!

We’re not the most outgoing people in the world so we’re not the best at meeting strangers.  In this case, I’m glad Patrice and Maria were there to make the first move.  This is a truly beautiful family and I hope we find some way to keep in touch and keep up on their travels and movie and become better friends.

I didn't get as many good pictures as I thought.  Patrice and Maria took some additional pictures with their camera (the professional one, as opposed to my happy snap)…hopefully I can get a few of them in the next few days and add them here.