Bikini or Boardshorts: The Sex of Our New Sailor

 

Warning: The ballon picture is part of the story, and it may or may not be the final answer….

It turns out I just officially announced I’m pregnant by posting my first belly pic on the all telling gram of pictures. It surprised many to see I was pregnant, guess you all missed last months dramatic announcement story!…Written Here.  So, in this Instagram post I asked for a gender prediction and ALL guesses said boy! Now that I think about it, many people guessed “boy” when I was pregnant with Ella. With her I felt girl from the start which was confirmed around 18 weeks via ultrasound. But still, I would hear from old ladies at the grocery store, on the street, friends parents, everywhere, up until delivery day, people saying “o its definitely a boy! I can tell by the way you’re carrying.” A few times I would even tell them –no its a girl- and they’d say “O no honey, its a boy for sure” Haha, wtf? Ladies and their old fashion theories, prettttty cute. I imagined all the baby girl stuff I had for Ella not working and her being a surprise boy!

So this time, 8 technology years later… I know by blood test! I’ve known the gender for nearly 2 months now. Being a pretty intuitive person, I again felt it from the start, boy.  It could have been influenced by the fact that I kinda wanted a boy since I have a girl, right? Or maybe because again, anyone who knew early on said boy, except maybe one or two people, Trev and CJ (who followed her girl guess by saying she’s always wrong, so it’s probably a boy, ha). Even a nurse who was jabbing me with a needle while I was in the hospital said “O it must be a boy, they make you sooooo sick.” I started hearing boys make you very sick from many people. Honestly, I don’t think gender makes a difference, plus we learned I wasn’t just super sick, I was suffering from HG so that theory would be out the window anyways.

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I just knew boy,  or did I just really want one…then there was a twist….

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Just before the voyage I suddenly kinda wanted a girl. I started to think about how Ella just had a brother (on her Dad’s side) and it would be cool for her to have a sister. So now it wasn’t based on what I wanted, I really just felt it was a boy.

Soon the real twist came.  Day one of the voyage, just as we passed the south tip of Catalina Island, Portia screamed, “Tawn look over the side of the boat!!!” I propped up to find the 2nd piece of liter we’d seen (first was a chip bag a few hours previous.) There it was! A big mylar balloon that skimmed right up against the side of the boat. Pink, in the shape of a teddy bear, and said “It’s a girl!” Unfortunately, The boat was moving too quick to retrieve the liter or to snap a picture, but it looked exactly like this, only half deflated floating past our boat…

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This reminded me that a few weeks previous Francisco’s mother had a dream that his grandmother Violeta (who our boat is named after) was saying to her, “Norma, tell Francisco to open the door! A little girl is on the other side.”As the voyage continued, I am very happy to say we didn’t see much liter. The only other thing I saw the entire trip was 3 days later (about 4 days into trip). I spotted a regular latex balloon floating in the water. Solid pink about 50 feet away!

Now, to get the facts straight, it is not uncommon to see balloons in the ocean, sadly it’s quite common. This is why we shouldn’t release them into the air. But…this did seem a bit too coincidental that we saw these TWO balloons, 100’s of miles apart. One is U.S. waters, one in Mexico waters! So naturally a part of me switched and I thought, Oo! its a girl. A few days later, around day 6 while sailing, Ella woke up and announced that she had dreamt I was pregnant and it was a girl. She didn’t even know I was pregnant at the time! I was now {nearly} sure it was a girl. I did imagine Francisco with a baby girl.

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But…we were still waiting for the call from the doctor with the blood results and always with out service while sailing at sea. 

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Finally, on day 8 of the trip while actually on land with service in adorable Bahia Tortuga , the doctor called with my results which would reveal the gender! I handed the phone over to Portia.

An hour later my sister in law, Rebecca, texted me out of no where — How is your trip going? I’m not sure if you will get this, but are you going to want Ella’s old baby clothes back? Love you — Almost 5 years later..!? I had only saved my favorite items and sentimental stuff to share with Ella’s little cousins, all others I had donated years back. I would want them if I was pregnant with a girl. Again, very random. I hadn’t even told my mom I was pregnant yet because I knew she would worry more than she already was about us at sea.

I responded  Honestly I will have a solid answer tomorrow. Fine timing to ask. I haven’t told anyone because I don’t want them freaking about me on the boat and also it is still early…but I’m 13 weeks pregnant!  They did blood tests at 10 weeks which show gender and called with results today. I had them tell Portia. She will tell me Francisco and Ella all tomorrow while at sea. Ella doesn’t know at all.  Now you’re stuck with the secret  That evening Portia went to the store and picked up 4 different colored BALLOONS (which we popped inside to make sure they didn’t end up in the ocean, although they weren’t filled with helium anyways 😉

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She wrote little poems inside each one that revealed not only the gender to me and Francisco, but also the fact that I was pregnant to Ella!  

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Let’s see if all of our boy intuitions or the signs from the universe saying girl were stronger this time…

The reality of life and emotions and parenting — As you may notice, Ella went through many emotions here. Excited for the “balloon game,” then attitude, silly, confused, denial, funny, shocked,  and …because we don’t fluff fairytales around here… she actually became pissed, hence the video being cut off here. I think it hit her that we were really 2 different families now. I’m sure the transition of being on our way out of the country added a bit of fear as well. Of course, she absorbed it and became filled with joy after processing on her own as well as with Portia, who as a child was also many years older than her first born and “half” sibling. Ella woke me up the next morning with breakfast in bed and kisses. She expressed how she had felt worried her new sister may replace her new brother and it wasn’t fair for him. Certainly not the case, just another modern family expanding the globe. Ella connects the two as siblings. She has been so so excited, loving, happy and the biggest help every day since.

Here on land she started packing me lunches while I was sleeping in the mornings. Her school box filled with my favorite bland foods to ensure I avoided the resort poolside food that induced nausea, resulting in bad moods.

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Cabo to Puerto Vallarta Part III: A Rocky Arrival

By Portia Leigh

It was 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 12. For some reason I woke up 25 minutes before the alarm I’d set for my 6 a.m. shift— it would be the last time I’d watch the sunrise alone above deck for a while as we were nearly to our destination, and I intended to savor every last drop of it.

Thankfully, the universe had other plans– I did not spend the morning alone. If I had, we might have found ourselves in a perilously sticky situation.

I heated up some water for tea and poked my head above deck to say good morning to Francisco. “Good morning,” he said with a chipper smile. “We are off course, if we kept going through the night we would have run right into land.”

“Oh man, but we’re okay now?” I asked.

“Yeah, we caught it early enough,” he replied.

I climbed above aboard, wrapped myself in a blanket, and took a seat on the cockpit’s portside bench with Francisco sitting opposite, looking out over the ocean to starboard. It was still dark and the air was filled with dew, but it wasn’t overly cold.

“It’s crazy how calm the water is, it’s like we’re on a lake,” he said.

“I know. It’s kind of eerie. Just think how somewhere else in the world, this very second, another boat is being ravaged by the sea, the same body of water that is connected to us right now.”

Francisco looked up and saw a single cormorant circling above us. “That is the same kind of bird I saw a few nights ago, the one that freaked me out in the middle of the night as I watched it circle our mast hundreds of miles off shore,” I said. (I was quietly thrilled that someone else had a chance to see this peculiar pterodactyl like bird, it seemed otherworldly, truly).

“I see why it freaked you out, what a weird sight,” he replied.

“Hey, you know you can go to bed if you want, I’m up now so I can keep watch,” I said.

“I want to wait until we make this last turn,” he replied.

I smelled smoke from a fire and it was getting stronger, “Do You smell that?” I asked.

“Not really,” he replied.

“It smells smokey, like someone is burning trash on land, I guess the wind is carrying it towards us.”

“Maybe.”

We sat there for a few minutes, me keeping watch over the water from the bow to the portside of the boat, and Francisco checking our course on the navigation and looking over starboard.

It was barely 6 a.m. and the sun had yet to offer any light, but the moon, that magical full moon, was so unnaturally bright, it was almost bizarre. It was fate.

Looking out on the portside I saw a dark shadow about 50 feet in front of us—I rubbed my eyes frantically and thought to myself: am I still asleep, are my eyes playing tricks on me, WAKE UP!

And then I saw a thin line of water breaking on the shadow in front of us, this wasn’t a trick, “ROCKS, dead ahead,” I screamed, “Right, hard right, turn now!” (In the midst of panic my ability to differentiate between port and starboard flew out the window)… We literally missed a line of jagged rocks (about the length of the boat) jutting out of the ocean by less than 20 feet; we were headed straight for it! Had Francisco not stayed above board, had the full moon not shone bright and illuminated the path ahead, and had I not woken up 30 minutes earlier than usual, there’s a solid chance Violeta would have careened into an unforgiving jagged wall of rocks.

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Francisco and I looked at each other, half panting from the adrenaline and half laughing at the insanity of the seriousness of the situation we nearly missed.

“Portia, you just saved us all,” Francisco said.

“Thank god you didn’t go to bed, who knows what would have happened if you did—I might have gone down stairs to make some tea and then what?! We’d have been stranded on the rocks in the middle of the Sea of Cortez,” I said, shuttering at the thought of how the situation could have been altogether different had I been alone.

Francisco laughed and said, ”And we were just talking about how calm and gentle the sea is here, Ha! Maybe that bird was trying to give us a warning.”

“Maybe,” I said.

The depth meter was still occasionally ricocheting from 135 ft down to 35 ft, it was definitely best that we both stayed aboard and kept watch. Two mini rock islets, about 15 feet high, extended out of the sea a few hundred feet in front of us to port. At one point I saw another dark mass in front of us—again, unsure of whether my eyes had not fully acclimated, but after the last near miss, I told Francisco to make another hard right. I still don’t know if the second rock mass was a figment of my imagination or not, but I’m happy we didn’t have to find out.

We cruised for about 30 minutes keeping watch until we were back on course (unfortunately the first rock mass we saw was not marked on the GPS or physical map, although there was a symbol marking “shipwrecks’ quite close to the coordinates, but far from exact). The depth meter continually increased until the water was about 200 feet deep. The sun had finally come out and we both could relax. Francisco went below deck to make us some toast and another round of matte, and I kept my eyes peeled for potential obstacles. Instead of obstacles though, I caught sight of a massive spout of water being expelled several feet above the sea line, I screamed again, but this time with delight, “Whales!” Francisco was above board within seconds, and I ran below deck to grab my camera. We spent the next few minutes watching the whales splashing their tales around, about 20 nautical miles outside Bahia de Banderas (Bay of Flags).

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The rest of the crew woke up, and took turns looking through the binoculars as we neared land, everyone trying to spot the breakwater that borders the entrance to Paradise Village Marina—our new home! We found it. We got together and took our first group photo. Cheers to our first journey together.

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Welcome to Nuevo Vallarta!

Cabo to Puerto Vallarta Part II: Everyone Takes A Dive & Violeta Breaks the Wind Barrier!

By Portia Leigh

It was the first full day into the next leg of the journey and after our toilet victory (see last post), the rest of the day was all about relaxing— truth be told most days on the boat, other than a few wild curve balls thrown by the sea, have been about relaxing; regardless, we chilled harder that Friday than we had in the three weeks since we left Marina Del Rey. And it was glorious.

As we crossed the Sea of Cortez we instantly began feeling the heat of the tropics at a little over 22° N and just under 108° W. It was like night and day compared to the weeks spent in the Pacific Ocean to the west of Baja California—when, like clock work, we were layering ourselves in snow clothes from the time the sun went down until it was high up in the sky the next day.

Thankfully, it doesn’t look like we’ll be doing that again for many, many, many months! (Did I say many? Man is it hot here…)

By 11 a.m. that day everyone had stripped down to their bathing suits; and with mind bogglingly calm waters and little wind, the only logical thing to do was go swimming. Francisco turned off the engine, put out the swim step, and tied a few ropes to the port-side winches so we’d have something to grab onto if we started floating away.

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The five of us stood aboard looking over the edge, all primped and ready to swim, but nobody made a move… It’s a bit unnerving diving into something so vast for the first time. After some back and forth deliberation over who was going to take the plunge, I flung myself overboard before I could think about it any more. I plummeted into the still waters with surprising force. Within a minute I was back clinging to the rope threatening to scale my way up the rope if someone didn’t join me—my feelings were equal parts bliss and fright—it was eerie being alone in such a massive body of blue.

Francisco, then Tawnya, and after much coaxing, Ella jumped into the ocean. It felt cool as you entered, the force of your body pushing the cold water to the surface only to abruptly settle back down and allow the few feet of warmth that naturally rested on the surface to return. It was perfect. We splashed around in awe of the water’s silky calm beauty.

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Diego shook his head at us as if he wasn’t going to come in, and then he disappeared below deck. Right as we were crawling up the ladder, he remerged suited up with fins, snorkel and mask, and a knife strapped to his leg.

He and Ella jumped in together while the rest of us chilled aboard. They didn’t last long though, soon enough all of us were on board basking in the sun. Ella grabbed the purple wind inflatable couch my mom got me for Christmas and flung it open on deck, and Francisco put on Yo La Tengo’s “Summer Sun,” the perfect tune for the day’s vibe.

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The wind decided to bless us with a gentle breeze, so Diego and Francisco broke out the spinnaker. It was the first time she had been up on the trip (and only the second time since Francisco bought Violeta several years ago). In spite of its 80s tracksuit style print, the kind that brings to mind over exposed chest hair and a gold chain necklace, the spinnaker’s Sea of Cortez debut was a momentous event. It looked glorious the way it stretched from the bow to the front of the cockpit enveloping the wind like a kite.

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We kicked it up a notch with Jamiroquai’s “A Funk Odyssey,” and soon everyone was moving and grooving around the boat, never tiring of the warm tropical sun and smooth waters. Ella helped me wash my hair in a bowl, which felt surprisingly luxurious (probably more so considering I hadn’t showered in two days).

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We cruised slow and easy at 3 knots. Nobody felt the need to rush and motor to our destination, everyone felt happy just being, patiently going with the flow and seeing what the ocean wanted to show us; and boy did we see a lot. We saw a plethora of dolphins, a few red jellyfish, a whale’s tale and a sea turtle the size of a small tire.img_5298

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The following day was just as peaceful—calm waters all around. We put the spinnaker up again, this time with the mizzen, and that’s when we saw a bit of action, we were seriously cruising! Francisco called out, “Violeta broke the wind barrier!” It was true, we were sailing nearly two knots faster than the wind was blowing. Incredible!

I began to feel a bit of melancholia the closer we got to our destination, I just didn’t want to go back to land. The peace that comes with being surrounding by miles of ocean, with nothing solid in sight (aside from the boat), is one of the most freeing experiences I have had. The magnificent beauty of the sunsets, sunrises and star-filled nights, and their impermanence, filled me with a rare and simple joy– bringing into perspective all those that I’d missed because I was too busy doing something else with all the “luxuries” and distractions we have on land.

I told Ella about the magical moonlight and the way the clouds had turned into faces as I sat on my shift the night before, and she was so intrigued by this that she convinced Tawnya to let her stay up with me that night. We set up to cushions on the bow, watched the clouds and listened to a Norse mythology audio book— and she told me a story of creation, and how whales, dolphins and elephants are sacred animals because they made the earth. Needless to say, the last night sailing across the ocean aboard our lady Violeta couldn’t have been more perfect.

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Moon Rise over Sea of Cortez
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Mast in the Moon Light

The following morning we nearly stumbled into a perilous disaster, one that easily could have put the whole trip to an end! But we’ll tell you about that in Cabo to Puerto Vallarta Part III, coming soon! 

 

Cabo to Puerto Vallarta (Part I): Gas Station Rip Off, Sunset Magic & Hair Clips in the Head

By Portia Leigh

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We left our slip at Marina Cabo San Lucas around 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon, moving all of 20 ft. across the water to the marina gas station parallel to us. Despite being in Mexico, we knew we weren’t going to be getting any price breaks by refueling in Cabo; and as we expected, the diesel prices were equivalent to those in Marina Del Rey, CA. But what we didn’t expect was to be charged a $50 (USD) fee just to dock the boat at the gas station on top of paying for the actual gas—So what you’re saying is we have to pay you just so we can pay you? I don’t get it… One might assume that the $125 per night slip rental fee we paid would buy us the right to just pay for the gas and bypass that asinine additional fee (one which we weren’t informed of until we were already filling up), but it was not so. If you’re crossing by Cabo I strongly suggest not filling up your tanks at Marina Cabo San Lucas, the whole situation was disgustingly rude.

Just as quickly as we said a not so fond farewell to the tourist-saturated circus, we found ourselves peacefully enjoying an epic sunset over the famous Cabo San Lucas arch; and from then on, the evening was pure magic.

Ella and Tawnya whipped up a lovely stir-fry for dinner (one of their ultimate favorites) and everyone made their way to bed shortly after. It had been a long day packed with a monumental grocery store excursion, the refilling of ice, water and fuel, as well as the handling of multiple other odds and ends necessary for making the next leg of the trip as smooth as possible.

I’m on the 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. shift (and the 6 a.m. until someone else wakes up shift) so I sat up watching the moon shine down on the water, reveling in the unbelievable beauty of it all. I felt a noticeable difference between the Pacific Ocean to the west of Baja and the Sea of Cortez— which probably has more to do with the wind (or lack of) at the time, rather than any real difference between the waters. That night, as we headed southeast from the lowest point of Baja across the Sea of Cortez towards Puerto Vallarta, the waves rolled in parallel to the hull causing Violeta to rock dramatically from side to side.

The night was rather uneventful, until I went to the head and tried to pump the toilet… it wouldn’t flush. Ughhh, it was too late to ask Francisco what to do, so after my shift was done and Diego took over, I went to bed. Still, as Violeta rocked side to side, my mind ran wild with images of the toilet bowl overturning into a filthy catastrophe– I was sure a pee-soaked floor would inevitably be waiting for me when I woke up. To my astonishment though, not a drop spilled!

I went above board for the 6 a.m. shift, which has become my favorite part of day. Watching the moon’s final descent to the west as the rising sun paints the sky with color from the east is tragically underrated.

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This morning was particularly special though; the ocean was calm, quiet, and virtually without a ripple. It looked as smooth as velvet, appearing if a plaid-like pattern was superimposed upon the magical blue water — it’s hard to describe exactly how I felt gazing into it at dawn. My body felt physically different, as though the subtle current was moving into me and slowing things down with every breath… I felt like Jello, haha, calm, tingly, Jello.

I found a baby calamari deceased on deck and I hooked it to Diego’s fishing line, maybe this will help us score another fish! (It didn’t..) Soon Ella was up, and she joined me for a bit of yoga, pranayama and meditation.

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It was a lovely morning… and then I remembered the toilet situation. After pulling a pair of snug rubber gloves on up to my elbows and cleaning out the toilet with a red solo cup and a turkey baster, Francisco went to town. He got the Phillips and flat head screw drivers and some paper towels together, singing a song that went something like Get yourself a red solo cup we’re gonna have shit party, (something, something) Hey Mr. Hanky!

As he entered the bowhead he requested I put on Beethoven’s 9th to set the mood, it seemed most appropriate for the job. After having removed the hand pump, connecting plastic box housing and hoses—he found the culprit—a miniature and wildly unruly hair clip had gone astray and found its way into the toilet, the creator of all our subsequent woes. Lesson learned: No loose objects in the bathroom!

 **Stay tuned for part II of the journey to Puerto Vallarta and find out how Violeta broke the wind barrier!

Ensenada to Bahia Tortugas!

By Portia Leigh

Our time in Ensenada was brief, but delightful. We woke up Saturday morning and spent several hours cleaning the salt off Violeta as she had been thoroughly drenched from bow to stern the day prior by the rough seas. It was a major team effort to get the salt out of all the nooks and crannies, but the experience of working together to accomplish a task is both uniting and rewarding— a recurring theme any group of sailors inevitably encounters over the course of the journey, and one that makes life on a boat that much more fulfilling.

We made friends with several of our dock neighbors, and enjoyed some delicious local dishes at Muelle Tres on the marina boardwalk and La Jiba in town. Ella especially enjoyed playing with Bobocita and Barnacle, two of our neighbors’ dogs. She had fun running around the dock in her bathing suit hosing things down, including herself, and the dogs, and me! One of our neighbors even paid her to clean their dinghy. I’ve never met a kid who likes to clean as much as Ella, and she’s a pro!

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Ella and Tawnya enjoying some Ensenada tacos at La Jiba

On the journey to Ensenada we incurred a small rip in the jib sail. As our luck would have it, we stumbled across a couple old sailors hanging out in the marina pavilion on a Sunday afternoon using their Sailrite sewing machine. We hung out with them in the pavilion for a while, shared a few beers and stories, and they were kind enough to let us use their machine to patch the jib– a fateful coincidence that made the following days at sea that much smoother, and noticeably more beautiful as we cruised full sail with the Jib guiding the way.

After making it our home for four days, we departed the Ensenada Cruiseport Village marina the morning of January 31. It was a lovely Tuesday, and we were excited to be cruising again. Diego caught a fish right off the bat, our first one, a beautiful Bonito!

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As we got further from the bay the moisture over the ocean began to thicken and we found ourselves immersed within a serious fog bank. We couldn’t see more than a few hundred feet in front of us so we all kept a careful watch. We didn’t know what else to do. We knew there was a small island about 10 miles from Ensenada bay, and while we mark our coordinates and have GPS, it’s still a little unsettling to not be able to see a thing. Eventually the sun came out and burned off the fog, bringing the island, and the breathtaking mountainous landscape surrounding Ensenada, into view.

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The cruise was exceedingly pleasant, no puking this time (that is except for one of us, but that’s a story we’ll get into later, but no seasickness!). Ella and I spent hours playing board games, and cuddling up on the bowsprit listing to audio books. She’s recently discovered her passion for photography, and while it makes me a little nervous watching her run around the deck with my camera with the 75-300mm lens fully extended, her shots are phenomenal. She definitely has an eye for it.

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Shots by Ella Jade
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Shot by Ella Jade

It took us about three full days to get to Bahia Tortugas in Baja Sur and we saw nothing but ocean for two days. We passed the beautiful Isla Natividad late Thursday afternoon as we approached the bay of Tortugas. Tawnya spotted a few spouts of water shooting out of the ocean and screamed “Whales at 9 o’clock!”

We had been praying to see them since we left Marina Del Rey the week before, and now we finally had our chance. Everyone sat on deck, eyes glued to the ocean in search of more spouts, fingers crossed that one might breach. All in all we saw more than 20 or 30 spouts, and we were lucky enough to see a couple breach! Tawnya told us a litany of whale facts that she learned from our trusty sailor friend Captain Kerstin, who she’s been visiting in Maui every year since Kerstin relocated there after leaving Venice back in 2011. Some of the interesting facts we learned about whales include that they sleep half of their brain at a time (cool! Can I do that?), their skin is significantly more sensitive than ours, and their gestation period can range between 11 to 18 months depending on the type of whale.

We arrived in Bahia Tortugas around 6 p.m. with a neon pink sunset lighting up the sky behind us, but by the time we pulled the sails down, we found ourselves deep in the middle of a foreign cove surrounded by darkness. Just off the shore to our right was a line of lobster trap buoys, and a few boats anchored ahead in the bay, but our physical point of reference (as described in Charlie’s Charts)—a ragged steel pier jutting out from the center of the beach, was nearly invisible.

As we tried to find a suitable spot to anchor the depth meter started to go crazy oscillating back and forth between 20 ft down to as low as 2 ft! Perilous! Tawnya jumped to the helm and steered us to deeper waters, Diego and Francisco grounded themselves firmly at the bow, using their muscles to free the anchor chain as Ella held the flashlight over the water and I kept an eye out for rocks.

We spent the night on board and woke up bright and early Friday morning on a mission to restock supplies and hopefully find a shower. We lowered the dinghy into the ocean, hooked up the propane engine and set off to shore. It took two trips to deliver the five us safely to the pier. “Bienvenido Bahia Tortuga”- Welcome to Turtle Bay, and Baja Ha-Ha was painted in big block letters on the neighboring walls along the beach.

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The town is small and everything is quite limited so if you’re on your way down the coast and looking to restock supplies there are probably better places to stop. It’s definitely a fisherman’s town, one that is probably best known as a stopping point for the famous cruisers rally that comes through every November.

Once ashore, we walked to Maria’s Restaurant, but there was no Maria in sight, we were greeted instead by Tom and Heather, an old sailing couple from Canada, who made the beachfront shack their home while in town working on their disheveled ketch sail boat, Magnolia. They ended up inviting us in and cooking us dinner later that evening and told us where to find a local hotel that offered hot showers for 60 pesos ($3 each), as well as directed us to the choice markets in town. Unfortunately for us the supplies at each market were quite limited, which meant we had to make several stops in order to get what we needed. Tawnya and I both had work to catch up on, so we stayed at Tortugas Restaurant, a small family run restaurant attached to the owner’s house. Alisa, the owner, had two beautiful grandchildren, who Ella spent hours playing with despite the fact that they didn’t speak the same language. As Tawnya and I worked on the computer they watched movies in English and Spanish, and braided each other’s hair.

Diego and Francisco made several trips back and forth between the markets, eventually loading everything into the dinghy and taking it back to the boat, before we all reconvened for dinner at Heather and Tom’s house. The meal was incredible, full of nourishing vegetables and greens, which was exactly what we needed.

Everyone was exhausted by this point, but we still needed to refill our water tanks—an interesting and tricky endeavor as the water had to be transported to our boat, which meant we couldn’t just put a hose right into the tank and fill her up as we would on land. Francisco and Diego found a local fisherman, Geronimo, who had a big water tank on his blue fishing boat, and they paid him to bring the water to Violeta, but the mission was not over. Diego spent the next hour using a hand pump to suction the water out of the big tank and transferring it into a small canister that Francisco and Geronimo walked back and forth emptying into Violeta’s massive water tanks. We were victorious, and beyond thankful to have water, but we all agreed that it would be better to start brushing our teeth with bottled water just the same.

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Geronimo bringing us water

 

 

 

 

Our First Voyage

We’ve spent the last few months getting our lady Violeta in shape for an epic ocean voyage and the time of departure is getting oh so near. There is still much to do in terms of planning our meals, finishing the last few layers of varnish, making sure we have all of the foul weather gear we need and ensuring everything is rigged properly. We will be leaving Marina Del Rey, California later this week and heading to Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico. The trip should take about 10 days and we plan to stop in Ensenada to take care of our passports and then continue on down to Cabo San Lucas where we will stop to restock supplies before reaching Sayulita.

 

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