Friday, January 9, 2015

Three months already?

Its hard to believe that its only been three months since we headed out under the Golden Gate Bridge, on an overcast fall day, and headed "Left".  I can still picture my family frantically waving from the South end of the Golden Gate Bridge, and I also distinctly remember that knot of nervousness and excitement that affirms that you are really headed in to a true adventure, in to uncharted territory.

It feels like that was so long ago, that so much has transpired. As I randomly reflect on where I thought we'd be and where we are ,it is interesting to look at the differences.

We have much to learn about the ocean, but we don't fear it as much.  We've had some exciting, edge-of-your-seat-moments, and we've had some spectacular we-could-be-on-a-postcard moments. We have a great boat that is ready for this, and we are learning more about how to really make her go.

We have loved cruising Mexico, but the truth is we've been on the "easy stretch" that is well trodden, and has a fantastic support system built in for cruisers.  Starting late next week we will start the process of breaking from the common watering holes - and we will really take a step further in to the minority when we set across the massive Pacific Ocean in early March.

We were completely novice fisherman three months ago, and now are slightly better than that.  We overwhelm the fish through persistence and dragging as many things as we can.  I wish our freezer would consistently cooperate on preserving our catches - but we aren't winning that fight at the moment.

I personally thought we'd have more free time for stuff we each brought, but a cruiser's day is much shorter, and everything takes longer.  I brought a guitar that hasn't seen use, just like kites, spearguns, watercolors and a stack of non-fiction books. I suppose that's the good news - that its only been three months-and there is still time.  On the flip side, the kids have endless drawing and crafting creativity, they read a ton, and they will stay playing in shore surf waves until the sun goes down.

We are working our way through homeschooling, managing through some lows, but also delighting in the high points.  I get a kick out of the fact that my assigned student now likes Math and thinks she's good at it (which she is!).  We still have a long way to go but we'll improve, and no one can accuse of our kids of not reading enough - they are burning their Kindles' batteries on a daily and nightly basis.

We have found that we love meeting other people on similar journeys.  Especially other "kid boats" where there is a good kid and parent match.  I can see how having to say goodbye to them as we navigate different voyage choices will be very hard to do.

I'd also say I've really enjoyed how well our family unit entertains each other.  We are fortunate in that we have happy kids that can hang out together for extended periods of time -its one of the distinct advantages of larger families.  In our normal home environment- everyone inevitably gets pulled away by other friends and activities- its fun to see them good natured as they bond together instead.

It certainly is no picnic- you have to work harder than you would think at this daily- but its been a great start.  Things will also change as we end up in more remote places- and have to be more self reliant, and do without more things.  I am sure it will challenge us, and hopefully reward us as well.

Heather and I started the process of provisioning for the next 6 months yesterday, by inventory-ing the boat and then making the first run to CostCo in Puerto Vallarta.  It has some unique supplies that are great for our large family.  It was interesting to see that most people shopping there came through the check out counters with less than 10 items.  Heather and I pulled in with two overflowing carts, and rang up a $20,000 peso bill! We've been told to expect high prices and limited options in the South Pacific, and were also recommended to bring the booze needed for ourselves and to trade.  We still have several trips planned and then have to find a home for everything on the boat- while still keeping it afloat!

We have been in a nice marina for a while, at Paradise Village, but are getting itchy to get out and go exploring.  This resort beach has 400 umbrellas stacked up on the beach in neat rows, with the staff serving below average cocktails as Parasailors and banana boats wizz around the Bay.  When we had friends over last week, we went 15 minutes up the coast and found a secluded beach with very limited access, super fine white sand and small boogie boarding waves.  We are spoiled and want to experience more of the latter.

Our plans call for a quick return to La Cruz on Sunday, a quick haulout of the boat for some maintenance work and then a few smaller provisioning trips before we try and head South to Zihuatanejo by the end of next week.  That trip should take us 10-ish days as we go in search of beaches, fish, snorkeling, surf and unknown fishing villages.  We are planning to be in the Zihuatanejo area for about 6 weeks as we countdown and get ready for the big crossing.

Heather and I's butterflies are starting to build as we think about that next big step. We have a lot to get ready for, both physically and mentally - it must be a good sign that its a real adventure!  CHRIS

"We are about to stand into an ocean where no ship has ever sailed before. May the ocean be always as calm and benevolent as it is today.  In this hope I name it Mar Pacifico"  Ferdinand Magellan, 17 November 1520

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