Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pacific Passage Day 10 1/2 way there... hopefully

Hello Everyone,

Today has been better... the winds have come down to about 15knts and the swells have eased up a bit. It is not so much a mechanical bull ride anymore so we are enjoying the slow roll from side to side versus the jerking motion. We have gone 1600 miles and Chris is baking a "half way there" cake... maybe even some balloons...

We are currently at 09.09N and 126.23W. We are heading 260 degrees... almost west at a speed of 7 knts. We have figured out that we believe if all continues we will be at the 130W mark on 4/2 at midnight and then we will gybe down toward the marquesas from there. The forecast is calling for light winds through the ICTZ so we are hoping that we will be able to sail a lot of it.... it just depends on the direction of the winds and if they are consistent. Otherwise we will flip on the engines and make our way through...

As I have been out here for a little while looking around the boat... I am realizing there are a few things that I brought that I could have definitely left at home... One is all the equipment we brought to keep in shape... First, there is no time or if there is I sure as heck don't want to break out yoga mats and resistance bands... Secondly, pulling the sheets, raising the sails, the dinghy, trying to keep balance... etc... you are in constant motion. Another set of items... All of my beauty lotions and creams... Ha Ha... not that anyone ever sees you in the first place but... your face is in a constant state of wet, sweaty or grimy... to add lotion onto that.. UGH> Yuck. I must say that the 7 portable egg carton containers I bought to carry the eggs from the market in was a waste of time. The plastic ones they sell in Mexico work much better and when they are done I store my limes in them to keep them fresh. I brought a kindergarten classroom full of art supplies... not so much needed and ends up making a mess that you ultimately don't have space for.
Things I couldn't live with out.....#1 is the kindle! I can't believe how much all of us are reading and without this device there is no way we could have brought the amount of books on board that we need to. #2 My wonder washer.... it is really nice to have something so small that works so well to wash your clothes. It also uses very little water which is a precious resource for us out here. #3 Lock and Lock containers along with the containers the peanuts from Costco come in. Also the plastic containers costco sells the apples in. It helps to keep the fruit fresh and since they don't touch the don't contaminate the other fruits... Once the apples are gone I put oranges in the. Need to have a pressure cooker .. I make a lot of one pot meals because everything you eat needs to come out of a bowl unless you are in a mellow anchorage. If you put your food on a plate is slides or rolls off the plate. I love my yogurt maker and my sprouter... it is nice to have fresh green spouts that you can grow your self. You really start to miss the crunchy healthy food so this is a nice additive to salad and sandwiches. Out of the kitchen now we purchased these gear ties that are useful for a bunch of things. we tie hoses up with them, fishing poles, tie up anything. They do break under pressure but they are really handy and nice to have.... the kids also use them for toys,

This was just a start to the list... there are more and when I can Chris and I will put a list together of tools we couldn't do this trip without.

This crossing so far has been easier that I ever expected and the seas have been the same as you find in the San Francisco Bay in July... maybe even a little less... Knock on wood this all continues for us for another 10 days. The forecast is looking good for us so far for the next 72 hours out... and then some... lets hope it stays the same.

Hugs and love to all


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Monday, March 30, 2015

Pacific Passage Day 9

Hello Everyone,

Just checking in again... This one will be short because of the mechanical bull we are riding. The swells have picked up and their confusion is messing with our heads... But it isn't uncomfortable just really annoying. You literally have to sit down and hang on even when sitting... We heard from commanders weather, our weather passage team, they suggest that we keep going west and then turn south at the 130W longitutde line. They say that the winds are light but good to help us cross the ICTZ and that there doesn't look to be any squall activity there for the next 10 days... So we have to continue on our course for another 3 days... unfortunately they also said that there isn't much of a reprieve of the swell conditions... I feel like I am at Mile 21 in my marathon and telling myself okay... only 3 more days to get out of this washing machine... the boat is handling everything great! Auto is driving like a champ day and night and we are just trekking along. Off to the races... and as Gayle says, "Honey lets not race the house..." although at this point I'm saying lets just get out of here... Spirits are still holding up, we are still charting all the boats that are in this with us and exchanging emails for position and weather conditions. Did I say it is nice to know they are out here and we can all help each other!

Currently we are at 9.23N and 123.41W our heading is 265 degrees and we are going 8 - 10 knots in 17-23 knot winds. 1427 miles into our trip of about 3,000. Last night was interesting... I was sitting on my watch at 3:30 in the morning, minding my own business, reading my kindle.... when this flying fish decides to join me. He jumps onto our boat hitting my leg and then landing on my foot and starts to flop around... needless to say it scarred the B-Jesus out of me and I had to get Chris's fishing glove to grab him and throw him over. I was up for a few more hours after that so Chris got a little extra sleep. These silly flying fish are landing all over our boat at night. During the day they are fun to watch fly out of our way as we go along. There are also these tiny little brown birds that look like sparrows... not sure what they are doing out here, or how they survive... did I already mention this... sorry not much to talk about.. :@)

All the kids are doing well. We havent been able to do any schooling with the motion we are in, so they are back to reading and minecrafting... Anyway gotta go look at the horizon for a little while so I don't get sick.. but we are all doing great... Knock on wood and that we keep blazing our trail to the Equator. I can't wait!

Hugs and love to all


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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pacific Passage Day 8

Hello Everyone,

Not much to report today except that we have had consistent winds in the 18 to 22 knot speed and we are flying... it is nice to be covering so much ground but I am really starting to feel it in my bones. Physically your muscles start to ache. It is hard to walk around and if you do you are hanging on to something. I used to love this in the bay for about 4 or 5 hours... but after 48 hours of it... Im just tired. I am looking forward to a little calmer weather.. or dropping an anchor. The weather is good. Skies are clear. We came across our first squalls last night and were able to skirt around them only getting a little trickle of rain on the boat. It really is true that they show up on the radar so you can do your best to avoid them. They are also pretty pronounced and easy to spot on the horizon..... especially with the moon being so bright.

We have gone 1230 miles on our trip meter. We have about 120 miles to hit 123 W where we will probably be turning south again. It seems that the winds and our comfort are really deciding which direction we take. We are currently at 10.32 N and 121.03 W and are on a course of 262 at speeds from 8 - 11 knots. The swells are around 6 -8 feet but are about 20 seconds apart, and confused so you just feel like your on thunder mountain railroad. Okay maybe one notch down from that but at this time I am so done with it that my nerves are getting shot. Then add the slamming on the boat from the water underneath and the whole boat jumps up and vibrates until the wave passes.... UGH! The kids are doing great. I think they have read everything on their kindle and listened to all the music they can over and over again. I have been able to read myself so I guess I can say that my sea legs have officially kicked in... A few of the books I have just finished (for my book clubs) are "The girl on the train".... Loved it. Ordinary Grace and One Lavender Ribbon. I finally finished Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour bookstore... That was good too.

Okay... I think this is about all I can get out for now. Some people are entering our coordinates into Google Maps if you interested to see where we are in the world.

Hugs and love to all,


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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pacific Passage Crossing: Day 7

Hello Everyone,

Just a quick update today.. I think we are starting to cross time zones so now when the sun used to rise at 6:45 it now rises at 8:15. It is weird to have all these little changes happening. The seas have been really confused for the last few days. They aren't big it is just annoying to be sailing in them because we are constantly being rolled around from side to side. It is a definite core and leg work out. We are constantly having to brace ourselves. If you can imagine going up and down stairs with either hot tea or bowls of soup and then having your floor either drop out from underneath your step or rise up on you as you go for your next step and then on top of that turn a sharp 45 degree angle and tilt.... I feel like the little ball in the labyrinth game. It is starting to wear on our nerves and stomaches and we find that all of us just want to go to sleep to get through it. It really is exhausting after awhile.

At least we have sunny skies. The winds are consistent so we can make good southerly progress to our waiting point to see when and where we should motor across the ICTZ. We want the range to be the smallest so that we have the least amount of weather issues. We are currently at 12.38N and 119.47W. We are heading a course of 186 and are cruising at about 7-9 knots. Wind speeds are around 14 - 16 knts from the NE and are coming in a broad reach... (i think).. It really is perfect except for the washing machine we are in. I am finally starting feel a little like a sailor... I am starting to get a comfortable clue on how to change all the sails and how to trim them. PHEW>>>> wasn't sure I was ever going to get there. Of course when you are on the same tack for 4 days you get an idea of how to trim the sail.

We haven't been able to do much for school today since we are all sleepy and afraid to get sick.. but the kids are doing well. Alexia and Tristan are just reading up a storm. Tristan had to read a book for school and he finished it in a day. What they say about the kids reading is really true. There really isn't much else to do and it is a nice escape. It is hard to walk around safely on the boat so there is a lot of sitting. Movies, reading, games and drawing are about our only activities.

We crossed the 1,000 mile mark today so we will have a cake to celebrate. Not sure what will be for dinner, it may just be top ramon at this point.

Hugs and love to all.


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Friday, March 27, 2015

Oops... Correction TODAY is Day 6 of Pacific Crossing Passage...

Hello Everyone,

Well... so since this trip I have come to realized that unless I look at my watch I have no idea what day of the week it is and especially what day of the month. We left La Cruz on Saturday night 3/21 and now it is Friday 3/27 at Noon. The days seem to blend together... we are often doing the same things during the day so you forget what day it is. We don't have anywhere to be or anytime frame of something to be doing so the hours just melt together. The scenery is always the same... blue, blue blue both and then maybe some grey.

Even with the light winds we were able to go 157 miles in 24 hours...Our second fastest day.... Yay. One of the times of day we look forward to is listening to the net at night. It is really fun to hear the other voices out there and to see where everyone is. The kids all gather around the table and we have the chart out and are putting little stickers on the kid boats that we are close to. Amaia has figured out that we travel about an inch a day and is now using the ruler herself to see how many more days we have till we reach land. It has stopped all the questions of are we there yet and when will we be there. She looks everynight to see where we are and where her friend Jacintha is and then she tries to measure how much longer we have. It is really cute to see her do this.

Last night I cheated and turned on the engine. I felt so guilty doing this. I really struggled with the decision to do it. I have been racing in my own mind to try and catch up with the other boats out there and look forward to passing their plotted points that I felt bad using the engine. The winds died down drastically and really turned behind us so unless we went way out of our way we couldn't catch a breeze. After bobbing for about 30 mins and going about 2 -3 knots I said screw this and I took down the gennaker sail, centered the main sail and then turned south to make a little south progress. We were cruising at about 6 knots but we were going in the right direction... it felt good. We ran the engine for 8 hours and then the winds have really picked up. Since this morning we have been sailing in about 15 - 18 knot winds and averaging speeds of 8 - 10 knots. We even hit 11.5 knots.... so nice to be cruising quickly. At this speed we should be able to reach our turn left (south) point of 120 w longitude by tonight. I will be nice to start making southerly progress.

With the swells picking up and the winds we are being rocked a little more than we have been used to so the kids have just been reading and playing. I can't help them much with the home schooling so we worked on out addition facts and are really getting them down by memory... me too... I hear it helps for when you are older :@)

We lost another lure yesterday with something that almost ripped our fishing pole out of the harness it is in. The pole almost bent in half and then the line snapped. Tristan thought it was a good idea to get the pole and I just knew that if he would have been able to take it out of the holster we would have lost him overboard... That was some big fish and as kaela says, " that fish eats lures for breakfast'!". I just know there is some fish out there that is 400 pounds wearing our fishing lures as bling bling....!

Hugs and love to all


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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Day 5: Pacific Crossing Passage

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to let you all know it is another uneventful day. We are really getting in our grove now and all is well on board. We have had another good day of winds and fair seas. The swells were a little confused this morning but then they had their coffee and got there mojo on. We are now cruising at 6-7knts in 11-13knt winds and are heading at 266 degrees. The winds are from the east and we have been told by commanders weather to keep on this west path until we reach longitude 123 and then we will make a B line for the Equator. The winds should be in our favor and we should beable to do this on Saturday. They will keep us posted on where to cross the ICTZ which our last word was around 6 latitude and 122 longitude.. now 123... Another boat that is getting advice from a weather router in New Zealand was told to cross at 8 latitude and 123 longitude.. so we are right on track with what the other boats are being told. It is nice to have so many boats out here and to hear them on the net and to be able to compare weather from what ever point they are at. Our current position is 14.57 North and 116.21 West and we have gone 750 miles so far. We have about another 300 to get to the point where we need to turn drastically left... lefting, leftaroo....

Today was good. Our routine on the boat is basically what ever keeps our sanity. Unlike all the advice that has been given on the blogs to have a routine and a schedule..... I definitely am not able to follow any type... We eat what we feel like from one of the 14 meals I prepared or what ever we feel like cooking. Tonight is the tuna that was caught the other day and RESTS>>>> Yes, Oma we are definitely eating all the RESTS (Leftovers). Nothing is going to waste. I have been sprouting for fresh greens on the boat and just harvested my first batch of alfalfa sprouts. It is really nice to have something to crunch into and something that is fresh! I started my next batch which is a salad type mix of seeds, lentils of all sorts, alfalfa and other stuff. My challenge is to see if I can get the kids to eat it. I also made chocolate chip cookies today.. that was a treat and made a double batch so we could keep the mix in the fridge to pull out and bake fresh cookies.. when ever the generator is on. Yum... I can't wait for tonight's batch.

We had a little school. It is rough getting the kids to focus on school out here. We should be getting way ahead but whenever the seas change or even just after awhile everyone starts to get sick and needs to take a break.. Then getting them back to the table is always a challange. Amaia is really picking up on her fractions.. I love watching them excel so easily. Alina is working on adding 2 digit numbers and is really taking a liking to it. I think she likes the order of it... keeping her numbers in line and having to have neat numbers. She is really anal about her handwriting and organization. I love it. Alina's reading has really taken off as well. We have been reading a ton together since we left and she has made leaps and bounds of progress in her ability to read and read fluently. I am really enjoying working with them right now.

I have been making a video blog of this passage and now Tristan and Amaia are wanting to do it as well. It is really fun to see them input on Photo booth and do a little synopsis of our day.

One of the exciting things that happened today besides the feast of the cookie dough and the fight over licking the last of the spoon and bowl.... was catching a bird in our fishing line. It is really sad to see them back there. We have actually caught 3 so far on this trip... 2 fish and 3 birds. I can't believe they are traveling so far from land and when they see our squid lures in the water they dive after them. Don't worry we have been able to save them all and they end up flying away and then circling the boat again with me yelling at them to get away... but today chris had to reel one in onto the boat because the hook was stuck on its beak... We were able to undo it and chris held it for a little while for the girls to take a look at and then set it free. I hope that we aren't catching the same bird over and over again... stupid thing :@)

Well our forecast for tonight is some squally showers and it is overcast today. Then more squally showers for tomorrow. I hope this isn't a sign of our really cool weather changing. It has been nice being able to set the sails and then not have to really check on anything for a few hours. We will see.

Hugs and love to everyone.


From Amaia:
We are on the 5th day of the passage to the marquesas. It still isn't very fun because we cant see land. It is kind of fun because we get to watch movies and play games and stuff. Mom is making chocolate chip cookies right now and it is really cool because we rarely get cookies or treats. It is pretty cool because i can read a lot and not get sea sick because i have earned my sea legs. We have caught lots of birds on this trip.... one even flew into our wind generator... that one didn't make it.. but the others flew away.

P.s. why do I keep dropping my kindle.... :@)

Love, Amaia

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Day 4 of Pacific Crossing

Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to update you... It is currently 4 our time on March 25. We are cruising at 9 knots in 12 knots of wind. I can't thank our boat friends from Flight enough for our $500 peso Spinnaker and how much it has scooted us across in these light winds. We are so spoiled with it being so easy to change out spinnakers to get the best course and winds available. Today was a little over cast and we see some rain showers ahead of us. The forecast calls for possible showers and then for tomorrow possible squally showers so we have been practicing taking down spinnakers and reefing. I think we are good. Today is the first day that I think I may have my sea legs... I don't get as nearly sick as I used to in the same sea conditions and am able to type while we are being rocked from side to side with the swells hitting us on our side. The swells have picked up a little from last night, they are about 4 - 6 feet but they are so far apart that you feel like you are on a kiddy roller coaster ride. All is good on the boat front. She is really happy and is getting us across comfortably.

In regards to all of us.. we are doing great. The kids are keeping busy with changing activities and so much reading... They are playing some games and Tristan is still working on his french. Chris brought out the chart today and went over our plans with the kids and how many days we are GUESSING it will take us to get to the islands. We think if all goes well it will take us another 16 days... How cool is that. It really is true what they say about adjusting to being out at sea and making the time pass. Everyone is on different sleep cycles and so the time passes quickly especially with all our naps... we are just sleeping our way through... We are listening to lots of music.. Alina has made herself the official entertainer on board and dances all around for us. We had a great dinner last night of Potato soup and broccoli... Tonight Alina gets to pick because she hasn't been able to enjoy a dinner in the last three nights. For tonight's dinner it is spaghetti. She is so excited... how easily the simple things become something to look forward to.

We are currently at Latitude 15.05 North and Longitude 114.00 west... our heading is 256 and we are doing 9.9 Hell Yay baby! we are flying I love it! We just passed 600 miles out on our trip meter.

Hugs and love to all.


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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Day 3 of Pacific Crossing

Hello Everyone,

It is now day 3 of our crossing and we couldn't have asked for more perfect conditions. We are sailing 8 knts in a 11 knt wind speed flying our spinnaker and heading a course of 224 degrees. Our rhumb line to the Marquesas is 225 degrees so the closer we can stay to that the better. The seas are still mellow with a 1 - 2 foot gentle roll. The only complaint I have is the swell is hitting us on our beam so we rock side to side. Outside the sun is shining with a little cloud cover and it is about 80 degrees with an 80 degree water temp. We are currently at 16.46 latitude and 111.28 longitude. It is 12 noon and all is well. We are listening to the SSB net every night and keeping track of the boats we know and their position. It is nice to hear other voices on the line and know that they are close to you. Chris has a map that he is marking so the kids can see where we are and where the other boats are as well. They like to see the little stickers get closer to the islands. We all take different courses and boats go at different speeds but it is nice to see know they are there. One boat caught a 7' Marlin yesterday... Not sure how we would get that on the deck... But would love the picture/challenge..

We had an uneventful night watch last night. The stars are amazing and the moon is growing and filling out to light our way at night. We are pretty much sailing right into the moonlight so it is beautiful and peaceful at night. Tristan took his first night watch last night. It was nice. I could sleep for an hour and then take my shift. It really helps out having so many eyes. It was a good night to start because I thought we were sitting in the Lafayette reservoir it was so still. I see it in movies the dead calm but have never experienced being 400 miles off shore and having the ocean look like a lake. It was amazing seeing the stars reflect off the water. I kept waiting to see the dolphins but no such luck last night.

The kids have really adjusted to this sailing so far. They have stopped asking "when will we be there" and now just find things to do. Tristan is trying to learn French on our way over so that someone knows how to communicate. I believe he has just been promoted to communications director for this trip. He is really taking charge of the languages and is loving the challenge. We had the Blue fin tuna last night for dinner and ..... yep we will be having big eyed yellow fin tuna tonight. I woke up this morning to the sound of the whirring from the fishing lines (TWO of them). Chris was fighting to bring one in.. which ended up being 24 lbs, and the other line we were just trying to drag the fish till he could get to it. Unfortunately that one shook the hook and we lost it. I guess it is better that we did.. we don't have any room in the fridge and I really don't want to attract the sharks by dragging a fish that long. We are 2 for 3 days...not bad for now... lets see how long our luck lasts. I have been growing sprouts for greens on our trip. We still have broccoli, green peppers and one package of lettuce but we are quickly going thru our fresh supply. Not only is the stuff ripening faster than I thought so we have to eat it but the kids are craving it. On one hand it is nice to see them eating so healthy.. on the other it needs to last another 3 weeks... I believe we will NOT be going through the eggs I thought we would. They just don't sound appetizing when you aren't 100%.

Hugs and love to all.


Chris's View:
It really has been a great start to this journey. We know we are pretty new at this stuff and the ocean is breaking us in nicely. Family Circus is also digging these conditions- excelling in the relatively light wind as long as we can keep reaching along, and not heading more southerly. Many folks shy away from spinnakers, but we are loving the fact that we have a variety of lightweight sails for these conditions. We have a gennaker we can roll up (furl) and its easier to manage, and so we put that up at sunset and through the night, but in the morning we are now on our second day of raising our 500 peso "American Flag" assymetrical spinnaker. it is a HUGE sail that is red white and blue, and is a hand-me-down, from a hand-me-down to a hand-me-down. It has patches all over it but is holding together and provides a great in between sail that we didnt have before. For the last two days we have set it up in the morning, and so far its been flying all day- plus its much cooler to look at with its colors. And for $35 USD it is amazing- I hope we can bring it back to Lafayette and use it as a tent for a party!

We are supposed to have light winds yesterday and for the next two days, and I am hopeful we can manage it the way we have over the last 24 hours. It would be nice to be more consistent- but all in all its pretty groovy.

Its also great to see everyone start to get their sea legs and start to feel better- we'll see if we can start some homeschooling and make progress on that front. Certainly I need to get better at fish dissection- as this morning's Tuna was HUGE and I found all sorts of squid in its stomach- maybe one of the scientists out there can help us get some fish dissection expertise. I also have to get better at cooking the fish- as last nights version was only average (not easy when you are trying to bread it to make it kid friendly) We are paying a price for our fishing though as there are some really BIG fish out here- one of our lures on a steel leader was eaten away with only part of the steel left, and we lost one of our handlines that snapped, even though it has a 300 lb test weight! Thankfully I loaded up on some new toys, and also downloaded some instructions on making your own lures out of plastic bottles and chip/snack bags.

Three last favorite moments:

1. Seeing Venus reflect in the water when the moon went down, I've never seen a star or planet shine so bright that you can see its reflection
2. Sitting in a bean bag, sipping Peet's coffee (thank you Andreas) and listening to classical music ("Morning" Peer Gynnt) as the sun rises over 45 minutes. Its a pretty magical deal and for the last two morning's Alexia has even been awake- a startling feat in its own right!
3. Seeing the family teamwork as we take down the "American Flag" monster sail. It didnt come with a furling sock, so it was great to have many hands to gather it in before it flew away!

We're thankful so far, and are hopeful that our good fortune continue! Hope you are all well - CHRIS

Tristan's View:
It has been a really good trip so far. The winds have been good for the boat and the swells are staying small. My main routine for now is wake up, sometimes eat breakfest, grab the hard drive and start watching movies, sometimes I listen to music but usually watch movies. Today was an exciting day because early in the morning we caught our second fish. It was a big eye tuna that weighed 24 pounds. Today I started the Rosetta Stone. It actually is more fun than I thought it was going to be. I started French and now I know some french. My mom and dad have told all of it so all go over bits and pieces of it. The sky at night is something I have never seen before, the stars are so bright that it looks like they are flashlights shining at you. About 30 minutes after the sun goes down a rainbow of colors appear above the horizon. I like seeing all the flying fish flying around our boat, today we also caught a bird, but then we released it. I hope that the trip can stay like this the whole way.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Day 2

Hello Everyone,

Since I am typing this you know that we are all doing great and our sea sickness has subsided. If I could just get the kids to stop running around on the boat that would be even better.

It has been a wonderful two days of sailing... some may say the last day has been a little slow but I have enjoyed the motion of the boat much better. The sea state is very calm right now. We have about 1 to 2 foot waves lapping up against our beam. "it rocks us gently, rocks us slowly, take it easy babe don't you know... " Okay enough. The kids are doing well, we are reading a ton and watching movies. I thought about having some school session but I'm not quite there yet and hesitate to have the battle with the kids and then tell them never mind because I can't read or focus that long.

Last night was really amazing. Mykaela was on watch when she came running down into my room and said, "Come on Mom,,,, it's really cool you have to see!" I came up to see dolphins swimming beside the boat and leaving their phosphorescence trail behind them. It was amazing to see the green glowing streaks through the water and then when they would break the water it looked like Tinker Bell has just dumped fairy dust all over them. They were sparkling everywhere. During the day, the water is so amazingly BLUE... Often, I am just staring at it. It seems almost the color of a blue raspberry snowcone... its beautiful. (and that would be really nice to have right now) We have seen a few birds fly by and I wonder why on earth they are out here so far... and then of course the spinner dolphins that join us occasionally. It is really cool how high out of the water they can jump and how fast they can go. I wish we could lasso them and have them pull us along. I am hoping that the winds pick up a little and that we can scoot along at a little faster pace but I am truly not complaining. Right now it is 13:30 and we have gone 300 miles of the 3000. We have crossed our first Longitude line and gone a 10th of our way... seams like a reason to party :@) or at least break open the snickers.

I have been trying to document this journey but it seems can only take so many pictures of the kids lying around and the sails... Tristan has taken it upon himself to video blog our trip so i am looking forward to the final stage of me crawling on the beach and taking my sand samples.... Lets hope we have fair winds and calm seas for the rest of the trip... knock on wood!

Hugs and love to all.


Lat: 18.10 North
Long: 110.03 West

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Family Circus is rolling in to the Big Blue! Day 1

Well we finally got underway! We ended up with many odds and ends, and then realized the bottom of our boat had an entire ecosystem attached to it that was going to dramatically slow us down. We thought we could do a quick clean before we headed out, but after jumping in I knew it was going to take a while, and we hired a local diver as well. A few hours later, we said our final goodbyes, raised the Family Circus Flag from the Bow and headed out of the marina. We were really taken by surprise, and got choked up, as close to fifteen boats set off horns, whistled and got on the radio to wish us well. One of the kids friends boat even escorted us out in their dinghy. It was a pretty cool moment, but also a reminder of the great local cruising community that we had gotten to know, and that we were now leaving behind. Some we'll possibly see in French Polynesia, and some we'll hopefully see elsewhere down the road. One of the aspects of cruising is that you rapidly meet people of similar interests, and you have more time to sit down and spend time with them, even if its only for a compressed time period. Hopefully, we'll get to host some of them in Lafayette, or meet them elsewhere down the road.

The late afternoon thermal was blowing and as we set the sails at around 1630, Family Circus took the bit in her mouth and headed out of Banderas Bay with a nice wake, doing 8 knots!. Unfortunately, we still have a chafe issue with our outhaul and our brand new line didnt last more than fifteen minutes before the cover parted. We made some better adjustments and think we're in good shape, but it pointed out that we didnt get a shake down sail in over the last two weeks in La Cruz.

We've settled in quite well and really made good time. The swells have unfortunately been on the beam (right angles to the boat) so we're rocking a bit more that we'd like - but the boat has been flying all night. We've averaged more than 7 knots, often close to 8, and even hitting 9 in a gust. The wind has been 11-13 knots, but has just started lightening up over the last few hours, and we now have the Gennaker up in 9 knots of wind, heading 248 degrees. Our current position is 19 degrees 36 mins Latitude North, and 107 degrees, 52 mins Longitude West, and we've covered 155 miles in the last 21 hours, which is a great start. The weather router and forecast, will keep us pointing in this general vicinity- we'd like to point at the Marquesas more, but will risk heading in to even lighter winds. We know it will go light everywhere in a 2 days but will try and ride what we have as far as we can.

Many on board are on sea sickness pills and hanging in there quite well. The sun is out today, the water is sparkly blue, and the breeze feels good. A reggae collection is currently playing the cockpit, and everyone is lounging around, snacking and adjusting to the boat motion. We finally put the fishing gear in the water, and also had 32 four inch squid jump on to the boat overnight, including up on the hard top! Its an interesting self sacrifice they make, but leaves quite a mess! I think it will take several more days until we really feel better, but we know it could be much worse and are making great progress.

We checked in to the radio net last night, and sent in a position report. Hopefully these start to get through and start to get posted to our blog. If any of you can keep me updated on that (and the Warriors games) through the secret portal that would be great! We'll be back on the radio net tonight as most of the boats doing the crossing are checking in nightly and its fun to hear their voices and compare notes on weather and progress.

Hope you are all doing great! Day One is almost in the books and its a great start! CHRIS

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Its on like Donkey Kong!

I meant to write a blog post as well- but time got away.  This will have to do for now, and I will compose some deep meaningful thoughts along the way.

I am thankful for our boat that is ready to do this.

I am thankful for the cruising community that encourages us and inspires us.

I am thankful for the all the amazing things around us. Its a Great World.

I am thankful for all our friends and family that are so supportive.

I am thankful for my mom and dad- for so much.

I am thankful for my kids that are so damn awesome- even in tight spaces.

I am most thankful for my amazing wife and 1st Mate.


The butterflies mean that you are really pushing new boundaries - we are ready to roll!

Here We Go.... Puddle Jumping across the Big Blue!

Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to send a really quick note.  We are leaving today for the Marquesas Islands.  It is a journey of about 3000 miles and about 20 - 30 days at sea depending on weather.  We are all provisioned with Food, Water, Gas and sanity checkers,,,, games, books, arts and crafts, equator celebration stuff,  Easter stuff, and gifts for the kids of Polynesia... and our weather wind for any wind at all is the next 2 days... to hit the trades.

We added a page to our blog site.  It says tracker and we will be reporting our position and information to Yotreps along the way and they will update where we are and what is going on around us.  It is under the page "Tracker - follow us across the Pacific" and just click on the link if you are interested.  Of course we haven't tested this so lets cross our fingers that it actually updates... It was a good thought anyway.  We may not update everyday but will do as often as we can.

It has been a whirl wind getting ready, but the motors are all checked, parts in place, forestay is repaired and installed, rig is tuned, generator is good, safety equipment all charged, checked over and ready for use.... Not sure what else there is to do except cleaning the bottom of the boat so we can go faster... We will do that at anchor in Punta De Mita on our way out.  We have said our good byes which as always is extremely emotional.  The older kids had made some really great friends here in La Cruz and so it was hard to see them go.  Us parents as well.  We will miss all you guys and look forward to reconnecting in the future.  Best of our wishes for your journeys in every direction! I'm sorry I missed a picture with you guys Katia.  Alexia will miss you tons.  Please send us one for Lexi so she can keep it on her computer.  Love you guys!  It has been a real treasure for her to have you as a friend.  You guys are like soul sisters... in many ways.

We won't be able to send updates with photos but will be blogging along the way.. Or chris will because I get sea sick... hopefully it will go away soon.

Take care,

Love and Hugs to everyone.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Getting ready for the jump... Puddle Jump that is...

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to update everyone on what is happening.  We are currently in the Marina at La Cruz.  We have been given a weather window to depart the bay here and head to the Marquesas as of Friday or Saturday.  There are 175 boats that are registered to make this leap with us.  I am getting really nervous, anxious, sick, sleeping issues, etc... but I also know that we are super prepared from the extra gas tanks, extra water, 14 meals preprepared for the trip, provisioning, charts, medical items, games, books, toys for the crossing... etc.  There is so much on our to do list over the next five days that it seems really daunting until you can see that you are actually checking off some of the items.

example of our to do list:
forstay replacement... Okay so this is a deal breaker
Engine Part for one of the engines... : also a deal breaker
change oil in generator and engines
dive bottom of boat for cleaning and checking zincs...
Checking all safety equipment
going through safety and emergency drills
provisioning with fresh fruits and veggies
another costco run for peanut butter and pub mix
fix leaks in dinghy
Outhaul replacement
navigation software download on computer
fill up on fuel
Have dinghy chaps delivered
pick up computer from repair shop
dentist trip for tristan
port captain checkout
Wash curtains, sheets and clothes for passage

Items completed:

chris passed his general's license for the Ham Radio (HUGE)
Heads are ready and smell free
Fans installed
Boat inspection done
Eisenglass replaced... unfortunate crack all of a sudden on last passage

Anyway... that is the short list... all these things take a while and it seems that we are having several sleepless nights trying to get these checked off.  It doesn't seem to matter how prepared you feel you are there is always so much more to do to double make sure that you have done your best to make sure you are prepared.  It always seems that we are stressed when we are here in the marina because of all the appts you set to get work done and your boat is torn apart trying to get to all the tools, equipment and things that need to be done.

Just a quick update on Amaia and her pirate eye... it has completely healed and looks great.  So nice to see how quickly the kids heal.

The kids have been enjoying being in the Marina with all their friends and running amuck on the docks and other peoples boats.  There are many dogs on our dock and so Amaia and Alina have been charging the owners a peso to walk their dogs for them.  They are having a good time with this.  What I really think is that the owners are paying them a peso to get the kids off their boat and take the dogs with them.

Tristan, Alexia, Amaia and Alina have been enjoying a Silks class in town.  They are learning how to climb with silks and they are loving it.  I guess this can count for their PE class session.  What a unique opportunity to have this class going on in the town we are in and how easy it is for the kids to walk up on their own.  They love meeting their friends and then walking up to class.

We are all anxious, excited and completely out of our minds thinking about the adventure that we have been planning for in the last 10 years coming to light.  I can't believe it is here and we will be sailing the ocean blue in the next 7 days.  Think of us.. wish us fair winds, calm seas and a speedy venture to the beautiful Marquesas islands.

Hope all is well and you are enjoying your own adventures... take time to watch a sunset or two.

Hugs and love to all


Saturday, March 7, 2015

I didn't knock on wood!

Hi Everyone,

So I have learned my lesson.  My last post was on insurance... to have it or not!  Well low and behold I didn't knock on wood when I was talking about our fantastic luck in not having anything happen to any of us since we have been gone......

As Chris posted, we had a bit of a struggle this week making our way up to La Cruz from Zihuatanejo...  (I thought of you Aunt Mary Sue... Dang it all I couldn't find the beach that they filmed Shashank Redemption on... Of course this was our primary reason for going to Zihuat).  Anyway... we had a 2 great days of motoring in VERY calm seas.. We were seeing a bunch of wild life from whales, dolphins (which Kla was determined to try and touch while hanging from the pulpit on the front of the boat while they swam underneath)... and more turtles than we had seen on this trip so far... the funniest thing is the birds that sit upon their shell and drift along with them like they are BFF's out for a stroll in the mall.

One of the things I worry about is hitting a panga at night.  Often these fisherman travel up to 100+ miles off coast in these boats.  They travel only with a cooler and maybe, if lucky, an extra bit of gas. They don't have radar, GPS, radio or even navigation lights.  On rare occasions there are some that have a make shift light system but they often travel with only a flashlight for when they are fishing. .  They go out over night so when we are sailing away.. I am always concerned that we won't see them and will not be able to turn the boat in time to NOT hit them.  I know it is a big ocean but... there are so many of them.  Here is a picture of one that I saw on the beach of Chamela... I think they throw a car battery in to run the light.

We started the day off great with a diesel fill up in Barra Navidad, a beautiful sunrise, and then a special visit by the Actual French Baker that visits the boats in the anchorage with fresh pasteries for their morning coffee.  all in all it gave us more experience in being out there... and then the a not so good day... Of course I had just mention to Chris that I was wondering what a squall would feel like while we were out on the ocean... He thought they would feel like this but instead of 14 hours of 25 - 35 knot winds they may last maybe an hour or less.  We did get a chance to see more dolphins but with the winds we were experiencing... there was no hanging off the pulpit and trying to touch them today... Any way we made it through that rough patch... the kids were amazing and every time we get into these situations I am very thankful that we have kids that are self sufficient and can manage and entertain themselves... With me being sick and Chris handling the sailing, they are on their own if they need almost anything.  I suck it up when I have to go get them a bowl to throw up in or some food... but it is very minimal and I consider a granola bar a meal at this point.  We got to Chamela bay and had a great time resting at a nice calm anchorage and then swimming to shore from our dinghy to do some boogie boarding.  The wave break on shore was to strong so we through out the dinghy anchor and all the kids jumped in with their boogie boards and swam to shore.  We must have been a funny sight with all 6 of us coming out of the water...

On our last day (Friday) we were bumping along and after about 6 hours... the kids started to get a little restless, as kids should.  They decided to don their life jackets and play a game called don't get wet by sitting on the net and who ever could sit there and not get wet for a minute won.  Well Amaia decided to get overexcited (as she does) and was adding to the game by jumping up so the waves couldn't get her!  As I am literally screaming at her to SIT DOWN UP THERE, the kids are yelling back.. "We got this mom... we are just playing a game and its fun!"  Well, it is all fun and games until.... SOMEONE LOOSES AND EYE!  Soon enough... Amaia is being brought back with blood dripping down her face and I am swearing like (Gall darnit, cheese and rice, fricken fracken.).... well like I usually do when I am so flipping frustrated that my kids never listen... :@)

Yes, that would be our graceful one.  Amaia lost the match with the boat and the boat won by splitting her eye open in the outside corner.  I wish it was above her eye cause that would be a little easier to close but Dr. Chris will have figure this out.  So we are 8 hours from anywhere.. so Chris gets her to lie down and he cleans it, then butterflies her eye and puts a sterile gauze on it and wraps her head.

She seems fine, only cried for a second and then was more worried that she wouldn't be able to read her kindle.  We decided to watch movies instead and I broke out some candy that I had been saving to make her feel better.  We weren't sure if we were going to need to get her to a Dr. when we arrived in La Cruz and get some stitches in it.  Just because of the location of the cut... it was a little concerning about how this was actually going to close.

Red Skies at night... sailors delight :@)

As we pull in to the Marina at 8 pm that night, with a beautiful sunset and of course the kids are all begging to go and get Charlie's Pizza.  They have been craving decent Pizza since we left... And when I say decent pizza it is Sausage pizza that actually has sausages and not hot dogs on it... and Hawaiian Pizza that uses real Canadian Bacon and Pineapple and DOES NOT put maraschino Cherries on top... Crazy I know!

Anyway they were really wanting Pizza, Chris and I were exhausted from the last few days adventure in getting up and were just plum to tired to cook anything.. not even a bowl of cereal.  So we decided to take a peek at her eye and if it really wasn't closing or looked infected we would take her in, otherwise we will call it good and she will have a little scar to show and talk about...

Needless to say her cut looks great.. we will see when the swelling goes down, we got our pizza and we didn't need to traumatize her more with a bunch of extra needles and stitches.  I think a scar is a little cool and will give her a look of toughness.

She is in great spirits.. her new nickname is one eyed willie and she is loving the attention from it.  Not that she doesn't get enough attention on her own or anything.  So in terms of knocking on wood and buying insurance or not buying insurance... I still feel that we made the right decision in our medical coverage and to pay as we go...

Hugs to all and watch a sunset or two...