Wednesday, February 25, 2015


One of the major highlights so far on our adventure was sailing next to a pod of whales. We spotted these whales on the way from Santa Maria to Magdalena Bay. The video is a little jumpy as it was the first time using our Nikon Coolpix camera to take the video. GoPro's don't have a zoom.

Coming into Magdalena Bay we saw pangas chasing a huge pod of dolphins out of the bay. Jessica gets a little excited thinking the panga was going to hit us. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Written in the sand at low tide

The Terrrapin crew has done a fine job at living out the old adage, "It's not the destination but the journey".  With taking our sweet time to sail down the Baja Peninsula, we've also proven the "golden rule" among cruisers.  

Anyone who sets out cruising has surely heard of the saying (what becomes the golden rule), "Plans while cruising might as well be written in the sand at low tide". With taking almost a month to sail from San Diego to Cabo we've killed any plans we had before setting sail.

Plan: Phil would turn the 40 years old while enjoying a real Mexican meal and cold beers in Turtle Bay.

Reality: Phil would remember his 40th birthday forever as he spent that day in 3 layers of clothes, wet from pouring rain and cold during a 53 hour passage that would only take us as far as San Benito Island, missing Turtle Bay by a day. 

Plan: We wouldn't even think twice about stopping in the over priced town of Cabo San Lucas or so much as consider staying in one of their costly marina slips. No chance. No way!

Reality: Did someone say laundry facilities, hot showers, wifi and cheeseburgers? We are more than happy to pay the over priced marina fee for a night or two 

Plans while cruising are like unicorns. Fun to think about but don't ever expect to actually see them in reality. 

After a week in San Janico we made our way to Santa Maria then Magdalena Bay before cruising into Cabo San Lucas this morning.  Santa Maria is known for its long white sandy beach with more sea shells than any shell shop would have to offer. Further south, Magdalena Bay is where whales gather as it's a huge bay that offers protection from all directions. Plans have once again changed and we are no longer headed to La Paz. We would have to fight the north winds for about 150 miles to make it up there this time of year. After a few days rest here in Cabo we plan to sail across to the mainland and head towards Isla Isabel, Mexico's version of the Gal├ípagos Islands.  From there, we "plan" to head down to Banderas Bay for the rest of the winter, then back up into the Sea of Cortez in late spring when the winds are in our favor.

Santa Maria

Jess never gets tired of running after birds

Santa Maria is littered with sand dollars. If you were to pick one up that wasn't quite perfect just throw it  back and grab a new one 

Emma and her sand dollar "pancake" stack. 

Santa Maria

Santa Maria has an estuary that we kayaked up.  

Kayaking down the estuary from the mangroves. 

Finding shells in the estuary waters 

Catch of the day--- Wahoo!!!  We use hand lines for all our fish. 

Nance style happy hour: homemade ceviche with freshly caught Wahoo and a 40oz of cerveca 

Long beautiful beach all to themselves. 

On the way into Magdelina Bay we saw a pod of 10-15 whales.  Video to follow.  Amazing

Cruising into Cabo San Lucas this morning.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Magdalena Bay

We made it into Mag Bay this afternoon after a short day sail. We plan to leave for Cabo San Lucas tomorrow night around midnight. It should take us around 30+ hours to get there and there are no stops along the way. Once we get there, we are treating ourselves to a couple of nights at the marina for some laundry, hot showers and wifi! We will update our position along the way.

-- Sent via SSB Radio

At 2/20/2015 12:11 AM (utc) our position was 24°34.69'N 112°04.16'W

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Santa Maria Cove

We made it to Santa Maria Cove! This beautiful cove is just outside of Magdalena Bay and has about 8 miles of white sand beach with only a small fishing camp on one end. Needless to say, we will be here for at least a couple of nights before heading inside Mag Bay for a couple of days. There is no hope of wifi here, so all updates will be by radio. We will have lots of awesome pictures to post when we get to Cabo, including the beautiful wahoo that we caught today. Ceviche and fish tacos, anyone?

-- Sent via SSB Radio

At 2/17/2015 3:15 PM (utc) our position was 24°46.75'N 112°15.19'W

Monday, February 16, 2015

Adios San Juanico!

After a whole week here, it is time for us to move on. We will be weighing anchor this afternoon and headed for Magdalena Bay. It is about 100nm from here and should take us about 24 hours to get there. We are headed a bit further offshore to take advantage of the world class fishing on Thetis Banks along the way. We will likely spend 3-4 days in Santa Maria Cove and Mag Bay, then we head south straight to Cabo. There wont be any internet access until we get to Cabo, but we will update our position and check in through radio.

-- Sent via SSB Radio

At 2/16/2015 2:15 PM (utc) our position was 26°15.23'N 112°28.28'W

Friday, February 13, 2015

Gringo lingo

Sailing into San Juanico is drastically different than sailing into our previous anchor spots. One can't help but notice the beautiful large homes that sit on the cliffs hanging over the ocean. Each home has it's own wind generator (electricity is not constant in this town) and is more beautiful than the next. We later found out that these are homes owned by gringos and for about $100,000 USD you too can start to build your own paradise.  San Juanico (Scorpion Bay) plays second home for many gringos during the winter months, judging by the license plates we've seen, Scorpion Bay is popular for those living in the Pacific North West. 

One of the many alluring aspects of our trip was the idea that one day my Spanglish would blossom into real Spanish, by conversing with those who only speak Spanish. It's been fun the past few weeks attempting conversations with people who don't speak a word of English. Most "conversations" have been in an attempt to get directions to markets or tackle shops. Without doubt I am sure we've all smiled and nodded only to walk off and go left when we should have been going right.  Here in Scorpion Bay we get a break from the routine of smiling, nodding and then walking away only to profess to each other "I have no idea what she just said". 

The slow life, warm weather and great surf is the reason why so many gringos are here. We've met people who brought their motorcycles down from Oregon just to be able to ride up and down Mexico beaches. We've been storing our surf boards on the beach with a couple who's been in Mexico for that past four months escaping Colorado snow. The girls have made friends with a kid whose  family drove down in their van from Canada. Then there's us, the family who's sailed down from San Diego, the only anchored boat in the bay, floating in the middle of it all. 

Something that struck us about Mexico is that people are free to drive their cars, trucks, tractors, motorcycles or anything with wheels on any given beach. Try that in Southern California! 

We've heard there may be rain headed our way. We're using the rain as an excuse to stay put for a few more we really need another reason. 


Mr. Sea Lion has been hanging around the boat in hopes we have something good to feed him. During homeschool we heard Mr. Sea Lion barking loudly (to get our attention) and ran up to see not only was he back he was sunbathing on our dinghy. 

This sea lion has been laying in the same spot for days. People think he's old and not doing so well, perhaps dying. 

Two items gringos are not without.....their surfboard and their dog. Lots of gringo dogs here.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Sails rips and dinghy flips.

We finally made it to San Jaunico!! Awesome little surf town where you can camp on the beach and surf.  SO happy to be here!  The past few days haven't been so easy. Somewhere in the middle of reefing during 25+ knot winds we ripped our jib.  Thankfully we have a spare that seems to work fine.   

On the way to Abreojos we caught dinner!!! Our friend Josh is right, yellow tail is awesome!!! Made for great fish tacos. 

While Phil was filleting yellow tail I brought in a bonito. 

Murphy (the worlds most tolerent cat) seems to be doing well. Here he's asking Phil , "dude, where's my tuna?"

Our last stop in Abraojos before coming to San Juanico proved to be interesting.  In an effort to reach a beautiful white stretch of beach (which it was) the four of us got in the dinghy and headed to shore. A shore with waves.  At one point I told Phil to "surf it"..... Meaning let's ride the wave in the dinghy.  Holy crud! Bad idea. As we caught a wave the dinghy promptly flipped over and all four of us flew out. Thankfully Phil had the kill switch attached to his wrist and stopped the engine.  The four of us all stood up and accounted for each other and then grabbed all our belongings. We each had backpacks with water pouring out of them. Our backpack had the camera and phones thankfully packed away in a dry bag. After flipping the dinghy right side up we pulled it to the beach and all were in a daze. The girls were actually "high fiving" each other, "that was crazy!!!!!"  Off to the beach we went.  

We're currently at a surf shack bar enjoying cold beer and chips.

Surf shack bar.  

Where we'll be anchored for a few days. 

San Juanico

We are anchored safely at San Juanico. Heading ashore this afternoon in search of wifi!

-- Sent via SSB Radio

At 2/9/2015 3:27 PM (utc) our position was 26°15.23'N 112°28.28'W

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Leaving Abreojos

We are headed to Scorpion Bay a.k.a. San Juanico early tomorrow morning. We could not find any wifi or internet here today. It appears that the town rolls up the streets on Sunday. Hopefully we will have better luck in Scorpion Bay. It is about a 66 mile sail from here and the weather looks great. We will update our position along the way and check in when we arrive. All is well with the ship and her crew.

-- Sent via SSB Radio

At 2/8/2015 8:46 PM (utc) our position was 26°42.65'N 113°34.06'W

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Sorry for the late update. We are anchored at Abreojos. We will be here for the next couple of nights. Pictures of more fish, our blown-out jib, and the aftermath of the "dinghy roll" to come as soon as we find some wifi.

-- Sent via SSB Radio

At 2/8/2015 12:11 AM (utc) our position was 26°42.65'N 113°34.06'W

Friday, February 6, 2015

Bahia Asuncion

We are anchored at Bahia Asuncion after an 8 hour motor in a dead calm. We caught 2 yellowtails and a skipjack tuna, so we will be eating well tonight! Headed to Abreojos in the morning, we will update with pictures as soon as we can find some wifi.

-Update sent via SSB radio

At 2/6/2015 9:25 PM (utc) our position was 27°08.28'N 114°17.45'W

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Cash to cruise: Our interview with Sail Loot

We were recently interviewed by Teddy of Sail Loot. Sail Loot provides financial resources for those interested in long term cruising. As we were inspired by other families who set sail, we too would like to inspire others to make their dreams a reality.  One question that is always asked is "how much does it cost to go cruising?"  By interviewing various cruisers Sail Loot gives listeners a good idea of what funds are required by different cruisers to sail and even gives some ideas about how to make money while cruising.

We weren't shy when it came to giving actual dollar amounts as to what we paid for our boat and what we plan (hope) to spend along the way. After all it's hard to inspire a family to sell everything and set sail without giving them an idea of what the costs may be. We will be publishing numbers for each month of cruising to see how accurate our budget is. 

You can check out our podcast here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cutting our teeth on our first passage

Our first big passage is in the books and it was a doozy!  We left Ensenada around noon on January 30th expecting clearing skies and moderate winds.  The skies did clear, but only after 24 hours of rain, 10 foot lumpy seas, and some nasty wind. Emma was seasick, Jessica was terrified and we were all wondering if we were cut out for longer passages (I know, 3 days is not long for most, but we are greenhorns).  Fortunately, things did calm down and we had some great sailing and nice weather.  Out of the 60+ hour total passage, we only ran the engine about 11 hours.  Around the second day, the crew began to wear down a bit after seeing nothing but water for 48 hours.  This was also Phil's 40th birthday, which we decided to postpone the celebrations until we reached Turtle Bay.  We pushed through and were able to make it to a nice calm anchorage in the San Benito Islands before sunset.  Although we were only 50 miles from Turtle Bay, we opted for a good nights sleep rather than pushing on.  We were out the next day by 5am and reached Turtle Bay before 4pm, just in time to go ashore for Phil's belated birthday celebration, which consisted of some excellent mexican food and cold cervezas.  Now that we are here, the weather is absolutely perfect and we will stay for a few days to fish, kayak, explore and relax.  For the next leg to Magdelena Bay, we've decided that we will break it up into 3 or 4 day trips, rather than one big push.  We will probably leave around the end of the week, depending on weather and how everyone is feeling.  For now, we all feel great knowing that we pulled off our first multi-day passage and made it safe and sound!

Calm before the storm. First 24 hours of our passage were rough, cold and rainy. 

First Mate looking glamorous on watch. 

Sunset on Phil's 40th birthday. 

After 53 hours we opted to anchor off San Benito and get much needed sleep. 

Jessica catches the first fish of our trip. 

Beautiful anchorage in San Benito Island. 

After a short 12 hour stay we were off before sunrise.  Murphy loves a good sunrise.  

Captain Phil looking 40 years old!

Almost to  Turtle Bay and it's finally warm!

Happy to be in Turtle Bay for a few days.