Saturday, February 28, 2015

To have insurance.... To not have insurance... that is the question

Before Chris and I left we debated a lot of whether to purchase medical insurance or not.  It is a scary thing traveling with 5 kids and accident prone parents and not have insurance.  Especially when living on a boat ACCIDENTS are bound to happen!  So far we have been extremely lucky and have only had an ear infection to deal with.  Knock on Wood.  Another aspect is the regular doctors visits for check ups.  We had decided after a lot of research and looking through many of the cruisers blogs to just pay for the medical appointments when they came up.  Often the care is just as good as in the states and completely affordable.  Dental cleanings run around $35 and to fill a cavity is around $40.  The cruisers network is so helpful and many of the cruisers live here for half the year and have for years so they are often recommending doctors that they have repeatedly seen.  Again I can’t say enough about how wonderful and helpful the sailing community is.  Whatever you may need someone either has the part/ the answer/or directs you to a way to solve it...

The kids last saw a dentist in August, so we were coming up on our 6 month cleaning appointment time.  Our friends on Pelagic had seen a dentist here in Zihuatanejo and said he was fantastic.  So I was planning on carting all the kids down to him just to get a cleaning and make sure there aren’t any issues before we leave for the Marquesas... We were having dinner with friends from another boat (Seahorse 5) who I knew she was a dental hygienist but also knew she didn’t have her instruments... so I was just blabbing and letting her know that I was going to take all the kids in... Well, Tina had mentioned that her friends that were just visiting brought down her tools so if I wanted her to, she could come over to our boat over a few days and clean the kids teeth... ARE YOU KIDDING!  YES!  that is so awesome.  Not only is it someone the kids love and are comfortable with but so easy and convenient since we were anchored right next to each other.  So the kids were all able to get their teeth cleaned... While I am assured that they have all been looked at and any areas of concern... Tristan is the only one with a cavity that we need to have filled... So I will be looking for a dentist in La Cruz to have this filled.  We now don’t have time to get it done here.  Of course she told me that without x-rays she can only see the ones on the surface and not in between the teeth... but I hear that Tahiti also has amazing dentists and it bought me some time until we get there to have some work done and full cleanings with x-rays... I wonder if the dental offices are under a tiki hut?

In the end when we were registering for the Puddle Jump we found out that in order to enter in to the French Polynesia they are now requiring proof of medical insurance... so we have purchased our medical policies through the Dan Divers Insurance for the whole family.  We wanted a medical evacuation policy and this incorporates both medical and evacuation at the same time.  So at least we have something.

Hugs to all


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

They Did it! Two new certified Divers on Family Circus

They did it!  I never thought that much of the significance of Tristan and Lexi getting their SCUBA certification - I’ve always loved stuff like that and they are always game for doing new things (which I love!)  They are also incredibly comfortable in the water- swimming and snorkeling.  Two of my favorite pictures and memories to date are them diving down 8 or 10 feet when they were five or six years old and then kicking back to the surface.  It's just such a cool sight.

However, as we approached the book work for their PADI Jr. Open Water dive certification, I started having some doubts.  I had forgotten the scientific and technical nature of diving and what you need to know.  I also didn’t know if they would take it serious enough- they didn’t understand yet why they needed to do the reading.  I started to realize the magnitude of what they were undertaking. There is an age limit for scuba certification, with a simpler certification starting at 10, but 12 still seemed super young.  I mean how many of this reading audience are well steeped in Boyle’s Law, and Nitrogen Narcosis?  I was excited about their undertaking but certainly apprehensive as well. I also remembered that Kava did this around this age.
Two pros checking out, and setting up, their gear

We actually sent business to both Scuba shops in Zihuantanejo, and I was super happy with Luis “Poto” Pelayo at Zihuatanejo Dive Center- he connected really well with the kids, had a fun energetic attitude and was very accommodating around our schedule.  I also took a free diving class with Poto and the shop the weekend before. The kids spent a day in class, and then they invited me to join them for the ocean dives.  I was hesitant to get in the way, but Tristan insisted, and I am so glad I went- it was a blast to see them doing there skills demonstrations underwater.  The dive shops’ boat (and captain “Chompy”) came and picked us up at our boat every day and we headed out of the bay to various spots.  I’ll let the kids provide their own color below, but as a parent… pretty damn awesome.  SCUBA itself is pretty surreal if you haven’t done it, or haven’t done it in a while, and then watching your kids learning and demonstrating skills they have just learned underwater is on another level. They dont have nearly the same anxious thoughts as most adults and are open to learning without questioning, or overthinking.

"Hold your mask and regulator"

Instructor Luis loved the kids and was really impressed with them- their easy going nature, their comfort level underwater and with different skills, and their comedic jousting as a pretty tight brother and sister pair.  He was very patient with them, although he often didn’t see them doing somersaults behind his back, or pulling each others’ masks off!  We went as deep as 60 feet but most of the diving was around 40 feet, and while the visibility wasn’t great on any of the dives, Luis helped us see all sort of wildlife! They are now certified to dive with an instructor, or their parent, up to 60 feet, and with the 4 tanks and compressor we have on board- I hope we will get some great diving in, as we are going to some of the top dive locations in the world over the next 16 months.

I asked Tristan and Lexi to pen a few thoughts and will let that, and a few photos, finish the story!  Chris

Tristan’s Scuba Blog entrĂ©e

Tristan slithering through the opening
       This week I got scuba certified and it was awesome because my dive instructor was awesome because he was very funny and cool. When my sister and I first joined the class my sister was worried about how much English he understood, but he ended up speaking great English. The first day we went to the shop and watched videos, but after we had lunch we went to the pool and practiced our skills such as taking the gear off underwater and putting it back on, and finding your regulator. The next day we went to the ocean and went over some more skills above water and then we went diving, and one of the first things we saw around coral was a seahorse. Later we saw a lot of eels and fish. On the next dive we went to a cove and probably saw 150 sting rays and electric rays. We only did two dives a day but they were amazing,  such as on the next dive we saw spotted eagle rays flying over us and saw tons of pufferfish and stone fish. On the next dive we saw an octopus and eels and something called a nakerjodiceo, or something like that.  This week was really fun and I am very excited about getting scuba certified.

LEXI Scuba diving

Lexi coming through the Rock Bridge

                  Scuba diving has been a great experience and I was glad I got certified for it. I’m most excited for when I get to be able to go deep down on the rocks and not worry about not being able to hold my breath long enough (Which is pretty convenient saying as the most important rule of diving is "never stop breathing"), or getting too cold down deeper. I thought getting scuba certified would be hard but it was easy. You watch a couple of videos and do as couple of dives and then take a test and then it’s pretty easy. But it was very exciting, you get to see all kinds of different animals that you would never see snorkeling because they hang out on the bottom like sting rays or seahorses and we even saw three eagle rays and Uno octopus. My favorite moment in the classes was when me and my brother got to just play in the water was (and trust me it’s different doing back flips in the water when you don’t have to worry about air supply and you are 60feet deep). I'm mostly excited about diving different ship wrecks and being able to go inside the holes in the wrecks.

Dive Buddies!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Art Class, Naming Ceremony and Valentines Day

Hello Everyone,

Well we had a wonderful time with Oma over the last 10 days.  We were able to take an art class from a local artist.  Alfredo offers a class on Saturdays with Acrylics.  The kids had a really great time.  We were really sad to see her go and miss her very much.  As I said before... I think Oma missed her calling of living on a boat.  It was a seamless transition for her and she adapted to our way of life very quickly.

We also had a great time celebrating her birthday a little early.  Happy Birthday to Oma.  Wish we were there to celebrate your Bday with you.

We received a note from Poseidon notifying us that our boat name is not recognized and that we needed to preform our boat naming ceremony in order to be protected by the gods of the sea and wind.

We all had a really great time throwing coins, pouring champaigne, whiskey, and wine into the ocean.  Everyone had a part in the ceremony from Oma to Alina.  It is so nice to finally have our name ceremony completed and the boat name now officially Family Circus is recognized and protected by all the gods that will give us fair winds and safe seas.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Valetines day.  Chris and I woke up to breakfast in bed and a note from Lexi to begin our day... I thought I would share it... She is such an old soul:

Dear Mom and Dad,

You're the reason the sun goes up in the east and sets in the west.  You're always smiling and never give up on us.  You let us fall but help us get up and try again.  Giving us an amazing experience is something I can only hope to repay.  You're paving our future but are leaving alternate routes for us to decide.  When a child grows up and lives a great life, some call it fate or destiny or hard work,  I call it good parenting.  You both add in your own touches to your children that will be passed on forever.  My teacher said that you should always write in pen so you can scratch out.  Never be afraid to start over, is the message I get from that and it reminds me of you.  You let us make our own paths, but maybe add a parentheses here or a period there.  You might entirely eliminate a personal character completely but you're only perfecting the essay of our life so that when we are done with it and turn it in, we know it would be something you're proud of.  Our essay will be graded by our children who will take some pieces and add it as their own but it will always be apart of us and something you can’t let go of.

Happy Valentines Day!

--Lexi Lou Lou

Then for a special treat Chris and I were able to go to dinner while the kids stayed on the boat with Oma and Mykaela and watch a movie.

It has been a great couple of weeks but now back to business.  The kids are in class for their scuba certification this week and are having an amazing time.  We are now focusing on catching up on school work and going through boat systems.  Time to do some deep cleaning and maintenance.  

Hugs to all and have a great day...


Friday, February 13, 2015

Epic Moment Update- RIDING a Wave!

Just a quick note with an Epic Moment update that I’m specifically sending to my brothers.  I finally really “surfed” a wave! I’ve made many attempts at surfing and have gotten better and better at catching waves and standing up- but generally they have always been rides where I have gone completely straight as the wave would close out on me on either side.  But today, I FINALLY RODE a wave! It was an awesome experience to catch a very large wave, launch down the crest as you stand up, and then start turning to my left as the wave was still developing and launching forward. I was able to carve a few small turns and grin from ear to ear, riding long enough across the wave to appreciate it - probably a good 10 - 12 seconds!  Awesome!

Backing up....we have two surfboards on board- thanks to my brother Andreas and “Bird” at the Birdshed in San Diego.  Generally, cruising and surfing dont mix that often as you are usually trying to find protected anchorages for your boat/house, while surf spots generally require the opposite - open ocean facing beaches that allow the swell to come through.  However, we are getting better at finding beaches that have waves for boogie boarding/surfing and where we can also keep the boat nearby.

We have been anchored back up at Isla Grande off Ixtapa, showing my mom the island and animals, and I noticed two other cruisers heading off in a dinghy with surfboards.  Later in the day I asked them about the surf, and the next day Mykaela and I headed out after them in our own surfing safari dinghy.  There is a river opening up to the ocean that creates a river bar break and we had attempted this spot before- and had a fairly rough day, but today the water was clear and the waves were…huge!  The water had 15 surfers in it, mostly all locals on really short boards,and we anchored our dinghy way offshore to avoid any sneaker wave sets that came in.  We paddled in to the waves and were in awe of their size and power- it was like out of a magazine.  The waves averaged head height, but occasionally a much larger set come through. It seemed a bit beyond Kaela and I’s current competence level- but we hung out for a while and realized the waves weren’t all that crazy and, while powerful, they weren’t crushing you completely if you wiped out.  We gamely approached the sets, staying out of the way of the locals, who seemed to be catching everything, and started our attempts at making the magic happen.  We inevitably tumbled more than we rode, but had enough exciting moments to balance out the exhausting effort of paddling out through the waves once you wiped out.

I really only caught two, and RODE one- but that was plenty enough to keep my excited to continue to hunt for more waves near our boat.  Hopefully the South Pacific will offer up some awesome reef breaks that we can uncover!  Andreas and Mike- we are ready for your surfing visit!  Chris

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Just another day.....

Hello Everyone,

It has been a little while since I have posted... some times the days just blend and before you know it a few weeks have gone by.  We had to say goodbye to a really fantastic family that we met along the way.  The Bradford Family have become dear friends and we have had so much fun with them over the last 3 months.  It seems that we have known them our whole lives and I look forward to our continued friendship when we get home.  I feel like a part of us is missing now that they are gone.  The kids were constantly chatting on the radio, or organizing playdates, playing basketball, or board games on our boat.  It is so nice to find a boat that you can connect with so quickly at all age levels.  I sometimes find myself looking for them.  We have been playing a game where we sabotage the others boat by hiding Tiki somewhere on their boat where they wont find it until they leave for the next marina or bay.  It is always fun to either watch them find the Tiki or the anticipation of finding the Tiki on our boat when we are least expecting.  In the beginning it was just a fun who will be the last to have the Tiki game before we depart ways and then it became a little more competitive as to who could be the most creative.  Would the Tiki be going to Polynesia or to Scotland.  I have to say that the Tiki will love seeing Scotland but Amy and Mike get the award for the most creative.  On our last day with them in Petatlan, we received a going away package consisting of 2 pineapples and a bottle of rum from them... we were hurrying to get off the boat because a Panga was waiting for us to take us to the beach so I never thought to look in the bag or put the pineapple away...  Well when we got back to the boat they were coming over to say goodbye because they were leaving at 3am.  We wanted to give them a gift as well.  We needed a bag so we of course were going to regift the bag they gave us (reuse and recycle)... Low and behold the pineapple was leaking.  Chris thought it was just a bad pineapple until he picked it up and the bottom fell out of it... Amy or Mike had scooped out the inside of the pineapple and hid the Tiki in there and then used tooth picks to put the bottom back on.  They almost got away with it.... BRILLIANT!  Chris did a midnight run and attached the Tiki to the bow of their boat at midnight... The kids found it the next day when they were looking for dolphins....  Mike and Amy take lots of pictures of the Tiki in all the places for us!  Coffee Master Mike and Sailor Amy... Miss you guys tons!

Mike, Amy, Zander (12), Porter (9) and Kenna (4) live in Beaverton, next to my sister, so it will be fun to see them when we go up.  They are having an amazing journey.  They started from Portland and are cruising down the coast to Panama and then through the canal over to Florida, over the Atlantic to Scotland, down through Europe, back across to Panama, then Puddle jumping over to the Marquesas, and either sell their boat in Australia or sail it home to Portland.  This trip will take them the same 2 years as ours... My hats are off to them, they truly are an amazing family.

As Chris has said we have been enjoying all of our time with Oma.  We have been to a few beaches.
Of course the beach in Zihuatanejo, a day trip to Petatlan, and then back up here to Isla Grande.  It has been so wonderful sharing our time with Oma and showing her our daily routines and how our new life is.  Oma is taking everything in strides and really appreciating every sunset (cocktail with me), the pelicans that fly by in rows and rows, snorkeling with the little fish, the dinghy rides into the mercado and also a little bit of reading on the front of the boat watching for whales and dolphins while we are sailing or watching all the panga's and fisherman go by while we are at anchor.  There is definitely a lot to observe and watch while we are out here.

With Oma's arrival we received a care package of goodies that Chris showed in the last update... I am so loving my new washing machine and even more so now that Tristan and Amaia love to do the wash.  It is really easy to use and works pretty good.  At least we can get the mold smell out of the clothes... My main priority...I don't care about the stains, get rid of the smell!  I have also been using my yogurt maker to make yogurt.  It is really nice and has been nice having fresh yogurt on the boat.  The kids love it for breakfast so we were going through a big tub a day... it was just to much to keep and shop for.  Jane, I still use the coffee pot method but found that I need to make 2 tubs of yogurt a day in order to keep up with the demand... I had to cheat a little to get more production going.

We have had a great time body surfing the waves at Petatlan.  Like all kids they can play out there all day and never get board of it.  Every day, day after day after day.

We came back up to Isla Grande to get out of the bay in Zihuatanejo.  Even though we love it so much, it is a fishing village so the anchorage that we are in constantly smells like fish.  The fisherman are right on the beach so ofter you see dead fish floating around your boat.  Even the sand smells like dead fish... so it is nice to just get out of the bay for awhile.  Amaia loves this little island.  It is her little animal disneyland.  There are so many rabbits and deer on this island that are friendly Amaia can catch them.  Of course since we are in Mexico they love Tortillas. The kids can feed them tortillas from their hand or in one case with a deer they named Nacho, you can feed him out of your mouth.  They have had a blast rabbit hunting and playing on the beach.

We will be heading back to Zihuat tomorrow.  Chris is taking a "How to free dive" class from the Mexican free dive record holder (8 min).  He will be taking this class on Saturday and Sunday at the dive school the kids will be getting their scuba certification with.  The kids start on Monday, it will be a lot with homeschool and all but they are super excited.  I will be setting up the kids first dental appointments for cleaning after next week.  There is a dentist that all the ex pats recommend so we will be going to him.  We miss you Dr. Mori and Dr. Tom...and think of you often!

Everyone is having a great time, all the kids confidences are growing, we are all really healthy, sleeping more than we ever have before, eating healthier than ever, and just plain relaxing.  Amaia and Alina even feel comfortable wearing dresses while paddle boarding to go visit other boats in the anchorage.  Wish you all the best, take time to smell the roses.

Hugs and love,


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Oma has landed!

The much anticipated visit of my mom is underway.  Oma, as the kids call her, traveled safely down to the Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa airport which also has the airport code O-M-A!

We love having family and friends drop in on us, as it connects us back home, and lets people see our life up close.  Given the challenges of finding and getting the right equipment and treats in foreign countries- anyone visiting also gives us a chance to ask for things to be brought down.  Oma didn't disappoint as we overloaded her with requests and she brought a few wonderful extras from home!

We've rapidly integrated her in to our life already and dragged her all over.  With all the late night ice cream visits, and town walks we've been taking her on, she is also finally catching up on "hanging out time" and relaxing in the warm weather.  Sailing, swimming, hanging with the kids on the beach and reading...

We're looking forward to the time together!

Its not all rum drinks and pretty sunsets!

Heather and I have chatted more than once about our trip and this blog.  We are excited to share our stories for our own sake and our families and friends - but we do sometimes worry that it all sounds too perfect in paradise.  Naturally we tend to share the exciting positive and beautiful things - but I suppose a dose of reality is in order every now and then as well.  This post will be cathartic for the latter.

Our boat is a beautiful home and sailing ship- but also a maze of systems that we try our best to keep running so that we can continue on our adventures in some degree of comfort. 
Things we take for granted on land we have to manage, fix/monitor and solve for differently afloat - water, plumbing, garbage, propulsion, electricity, sewage and so on.  The larger and more complex a boat is- the more systems there are to go wrong.  We are fortunate that our prior owners took good care of the boat and also had a lot of experiences with it - and we are still gaining experience on her daily.

We’ve had a great week in Zihuatanejo during Sailfest, but some greater order has been reminding us that its not all playdates at the beach. First one of the kid’s toilets stopped flushing even though we had just rebuilt it three weeks ago - this time we realized the problem was downstream and our hoses have been completely calcified/blocked . While we have been able to keep our toilet rebuilds pretty clean, this time we ended up with the nasty, messy disaster that you can imagine it to be.  I tried to wear gloves, until those broke... A simple fix turned in to a much greater project- but we got it solved and I thought we were done with toilets for a while. 

Yes - we will publish all sorts of photos.

Not So. My dear mom, our kids’ Oma, arrived safely a few days ago and no sooner had we put her in to Mykaela’s cabin, when the electric toilet/head she was going to use decided to break .  It had been making a loud groaning sound and finally a little belt snapped.  We are fortunate to have three toilets on board, and this gave me my chance to rebuild the THIRD one in the first four months of our trip!  We had 5 rebuild kits when we started and I thought it was too many- but we are now going to be ordering a few more!  We are up and running again but I know that we will need to replace ALL of our large hoses during this trip- a lovely project to look forward to.  I am in awe, however, of the power of vinegar, which completely breaks down the “hard stuff” when you soak it in vinegar for more than an hour.  My experiences in Sea Scouts also prepared me well of this lovely repair skill, and I dedicate these paragraphs to Rob Becker, my favorite toilet apprentice.

Feeling like I had put in some good work worth some good karma- I was bummed when our generator sounded an unfamiliar alarm during the the sailboat parade.  We rely on our generator to charge our batteries and run our water maker and coffee maker, and here it was, “Loss of Raw Water Cooling” staring at me. “Loss of Cooling”- but why? well it turns out that our toilet problem had caused “us" to switch off the water intake for the toilet, but did “we" turn off the wrong water intake? Crap!!  That cost us a completely fried water pump impeller that didn’t even have a single vane on it any more! 

Those black thingies are all supposed to be attached

Thankfully we had a spare on board and after two tries at cleaning all the surfaces well enough- we had a non leaking water pump and some more good karma built up (I hope).  We will add a new rebuild kit to our toilet rebuild kits for whoever is visiting us next!

As each project completes we are gaining more experience with the boat and with the tools that we have, or wish we had. I think I am going to start a blog section on my favorite tools and devices that we are using, while also keeping a list of what I wish we had, or what someone would invent/make (and send to us!) Ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting is just part of the deal though- its part of the price to pay for the adventures we are having- and it certainly makes you appreciate every time that the engine starts happily, that drinkable water comes out of the tap or shower, that toilets flush and when lights come on when you turn on the switch.  Thankfully these problems are really minor in the big scheme of things and we’ve been able to manage them well enough and still enjoy our days in this fun and funky town.  We have really enjoyed the fundraiser Sailfest and another blog post will share more of that! 

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Hello Everyone,

We have finally arrived in Zihuatanejo.  It seems like we have been sailing now for awhile.  The boat is just now feeling like our true home.  You know the feeling you have when you move into a new house and it just seems strange for awhile.  Well I had that turning point yesterday where I realized it didn’t feel strange anymore now it just seems normal.  This morning having my coffee on the front of the boat watching all the fishing pangas going by and the little row boats with the fisherman throwing their nets right in front of me, I realized I am going to miss this environment and it will be hard for us to re-acclimate back into our old routines.  Today was the first day I thought... how long could we cruise on the funds that we currently have????  

We had a great time exploring Manzanillo.  Alina really wanted to ride the local bus into town so we jumped on the bus.  It was really hot and crowded with a lot of interesting people.  From the kids on the bus, to the man with the chicken, to another man dressed in jeans material all the way to a jeans jacket in the middle of the day.  I can't believe he wasn't dying of heat stroke.  Once in town it was another visit the the mercado, a haircut for Tristan, some chinese food, this is very hard to find down here and the kids are always super excited when we find it.   Walking through the towns always amaze me and there is always so much to see.  You never know the shops you will find and what they sell inside.  It is always interesting because they often sell what ever they can.  An example is a motorcycle shop that also sold caskets... maybe this is a hint???

Sometimes I wonder what to put in the blog.  We often think, what can we share that would be interesting... often I just revert back to my ramblings of our daily lives because I just don’t know what else to put and we are using this blog more as a diary of our travels.  Our daily lives consist of homeschooling, cleaning, swimming, laundry, reading, cooking and walking.  They are all basic activities that have become routine and uneventful except for the occasional moments that come up.  Those are the little moments that I would like to remember.  For example, when we were diving the wreck and the kids were learning to scuba with Chris, I was snorkeling with the little ones.  I pick my head up to look for Amaia and she has gone back to where we anchored the dinghy.  I swam over to her and she is playing with this tiny little yellow fish.  It is the cutest thing.  She is swimming in circles trying to catch it.  It isn’t afraid and seems to be playing with her.  Amaia gets out of the water into the dinghy and this little fish is now clinging to me.  It doesn’t matter where I go or how fast I swim this little fish stays with me for at least 45 mins swimming everywhere with me.  It was the funniest thing.  When I would swim freestyle as fast as I could it would swim up right in front of my mask about an inch a way so all I could look at was the back fins of this little fish... The little girls were getting cold so we decided to swim back to the big boat that was about 100 yards away and the little fish swam with us all the way.  I then got out and it attached itself to Mykaela and was swimming with her.  We had the best time playing with this little guy for over an hour.

We then motored down the coast to a little island off of Ixtapa called Isla Grande.  It is a little tourist island that has some palapas but it doesn't have electricity or running water.  They bring all the supplies and water in by pangas.  One of the cool things on this island is all the deer and rabbits that are there.  The kids had a good time going on a rabbit hunt.  The water was crystal clear and a few times we saw a spotted baby eel swimming among us.  Obviously we all ran out of the water... even though it harmless... it is just unsettling having it swim around your legs.  We were there for a couple of days and then we had to get gas in the Ixtapa Marina and then off to Zihautaneho.

Yesterday we went to a meeting on the beach for the Sailfest activities that we will be partaking in this week to help raise money for the local kids education... Of course during the meeting I look up and Amaia is gone... she has decided to go explore by herself.  We have lost her so many times on this trip that now everyone says... “Not again,  MMMAAIIIIAAA!”  She is never worried because she always knows where she is and is usually sitting with a local family playing with their dog or talking with their kids... at least sharing facial expressions and funny faces.  Anyway, I was gently scolding (reminding her) that she isn’t to wander off on her own and she needs to ask or let us know where she is going to go when a local lady came up and drapped her arms around my shoulder and grabbed my hand.... I wasn’t sure why she was hugging me but she let me know she was watching from afar and was giggling because it was reminding her of her mother, who is coming in a week, and all the times she was talked to in the same ways.  Head down, eyes down in the yes mom I have heard this before body language.  Anyway it is another example of how friendly and approachable and warm people are that we have come across.  The family was watching this woman pretty much mall me with hugs and was wondering what in the world is going on.  I do have to admit just last night that we lost site of Amaia about 5 times.  Of course one of them was during the fire hula hooping show.  She was right in front of me one minute and then I look down and she is gone the next.  Where do we find her?  She has migrated to the family performing and she is helping them by handing them their hula hoops and lighters when they need them.  I couldn’t help but smile and watch her integrate herself into the backstage of the show... I often wonder what she will be like when she gets older :@)

After this we explored town to get our bearings and then went to dinner with the family from Pelagic.  Mike had been here 7 years ago and new of a fantastic Taco stand in town.  Let me just say that the tacos for 7 pesos apiece were worth much more.  Dinner was delicious and I think between the two families we ordered 60 tacos.  The meat was carved right in front of you and dropped onto your tortillas. Then of course it is some ice cream and then to the beach front where all the locals gathered to play basketball, perform with fire ringed hula hoops, sell hand made items and to just let the kids run around and play and be kids.... As we are sitting on the beach, stars are out, full moon shining through the palm trees, watching the kids play king of the hill on a huge sand pile... just realizing how peaceful and at ease it is living down here and can see why the cruisers migrate to these wonderful communities.

Hugs to all and have a great superbowl weekend!