Thursday, December 31, 2015

Terrapin ....memories from 2015

It's the last day of the year already? It's true, time flies when you're having fun. We've thoroughly enjoyed the past 11 months living in Mexico and have grown to truly love this gorgeous country and it's generous people. One place we can all agree that has stolen our hearts is the Sea of Cortez, leaving us wanting another sailing season in Mexico. Each of us has taken the time to reflect on 2015 and recall our favorite memory and our not so favorite memory.

Favorite Memory; Anchoring at Isla Isabel because of all the wildlife. I loved the beaches because half the "sand" is black lava rock and the other half is white crushed coral.  I loved hiking up to the caldera.  I also loved going to San Miguel De Allende for the summer.

Least Favortie Memory:  Our first real passage to Turtle Bay when I got sick. Also, having to turn around at Hualtulco. I was really sad that we weren't  going through the Panama Canal.

Favorite Memory;  The 5 days we spent in Agua Verde with YOLO. I loved wake boarding, hanging out with friends, eating fist tacos and just chillin'.  I also loved the sail from Cabo to Isla Isabel, it was glorious! A broad reach for almost 24 hours was Heaven.

Least Favorite Memory:  Turning around at Hualtulco. Coming to the realization that we weren't going to see Central America and the Caribbean on this trip.

Favorite Memory; Watching daddy swim with the humpback whales at Isla Isabel. I loved Isla Isabel because of the huge sea turtle we swam with and the blue footed boobies.  Swimming with the sea lions! I loved seeing all the babies. Check out the video of daddy swimming with a mom and baby humpack whale!

Least Favorite Memory:  When the people came up to our boat in the night at Acapulco...I was scared.  (For those who don't know, a panga with 12 men approached us at night with no lights and wanted to tie up to us, then asked us to leave...they were all highly intoxicated and it was hard to understand exactly what they were saying. Phil and I held them off with bear mace and a mag light for about 15 minutes before they decided to leave. As soon as they left  we pulled up anchor, and in the dark we sailed away.) Another not so good memory was when we were going to Hualtuclo, the waves were really bad and I was really scared.

Favorite Memory:  The two times we anchored at Isla Isabel. Snorekling at Isla Isabel is nothing short of amazing...turtles, sea lions, whales, eagle rays, boobies...  Isla Coronados was another amazing place. White sand, schools of manta rays gliding under the boat, breath taking views from the top and fantastic snorkeling....can't wait to go back!

Least Favorite Memory:  Holding Jessica and being able to feel her heart pounding out of her chest and feeling her little body shake with fear as we headed into Hualtulco. Watching Emma sob as she learned we would no longer be heading to Panama. The good news? Emma's only 10 and still has a long life ahead of her. 

We're currently anchored in La Cruz (near Puerto Vallarta) and will be here for most of January. We are getting excited about our trip to Guatamela in a few weeks and sailing back to the Sea of Cortez in early Spring. 

Here are a few pictures of Las Posadas which we were able to experience while in Barra Navidad for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Snorkeling with Terrapin

After watching the movie Splash, I quickly grabbed the salt and headed into the bathtub with high hopes off growing a mermaid tail. I've been an ocean freak my whole life.

Phil spent the better part of his childhood ignoring his grandmother's calls to come in from the ocean hoping to have more time in the waves.

Jessica wasn't but 18 months old when she'd know we were at the beach, grab her binky out of her mouth and scream, "beach mama! beach", then thrash out her car seat in a fat hurry for the ocean.

When Emma was a baby, she would cling to Phil screaming bloody murder as he'd hold her in the ocean. I remember thinking, " she's going to have a miserable childhood with us ocean lovers".

This week Emma had me nervous as she was showing me how she easily she could dive 20 feet down and grab shells off the ocean floor. Times have changed!

Days like we had earlier in the week, jumping off the boat and snorkeling a cargo wreck has confirmed, we made the right decision to hang in Mexico for another season and move slow. I hadn't realized just how many miles south we had sailed till sailing all those same miles north! We've almost sailed more miles since October than all of last season. 

Kayaking between snorkel spots....just keep the flippers on

Just slithering along

Flips off the boat? Count me in!

First time seeing blue coral.

Perfect form and a Trump face to boot.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Cost to Cruise...November

To our surprise, we didn't too bad this month considering the amount we spent on diesel bolting down the coast to make it to El Salvador in time for Christmas...or not.  Another reason we're happy to be heading back into the Sea of Cortez, it's easy on the budget.

Thank you to those who bought us a beer

Mark and Stacey Teague
Atlantic Construction Management

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

We're heading NORTH to resurrect good times.

It's often said that a sailors plans are written in the sand at low tide. To the outside world, sailors must appear to be a group primarily made up of disorganized people with serve cases of ADD, as we often say one thing and do another.  Last week a huge wave came crashing ashore and completely wiped out our plans for the next year or so. We are no longer sailing south towards Panama.

For about the past month, we've all been feeling a little strange. I can't quite put my finger on it, but for numerous reasons all of us have had doubts about our sailing plans. Getting within 5 miles of the Huatulco marina and having to turn around and run with it was our final straw. The trip trying to get to Huatulco was indicative of what we'd be facing for most of our Central America sailing. We had planned to slow down our trip which would have left us looking for a place near Panama to spend hurricane season (aka dodging lightening bolts) before beating into the trade winds trying to cross up to Cuba. At the end of the day, this isn't what we want to do.

Our promise to our girls was that we'd venture as long as we were all having fun and had money to do so. With no one really having fun lately, we had a few family meetings that led us to decide to head back up and hang in Mexico. All but Emma was relieved at our decision. Emma had herself a good cry as she's disappointed we won't be discovering new countries and transiting the Panama Canal, which is on her bucket list.

This adventure is to be all about spending quality time with our daughters, making memories to cherish and opening our daughters eyes to a life most people only dream about. The fact that Emma has a bucket list of impressive adventures most kids her age don't even know exist is proof at one point of this trip we were "doing it right" and that we need to keep "doing it right".  For now, we're excited to get back with our cruising friends and spend more time relaxing and enjoying each others company. We have a reservation at the marina in Barra Navidad for Christmas and a trip to Guatemala (by plane) in January we're looking forward to.

So what's next, after sailing season? Your guess is as good as our....just 5 days ago we were headed to Panama and now we're not.

Let's be honest....Captain Fluff insisted we stay in Mexico.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

What to expect when you're expecting.. (Pacific Mexico)

Sailing the Pacific side of Mexico has proven to be challenging for the Terrapin tribe. Since leaving the Sea of Cortez about 1000 nautical miles ago, we find ourselves thinking, "hmmm, this isn't how I remember sailing".  We've had to make changes and adjust our expectations as this is a new way of sailing for us. Gone are the days of expecting that an 18-hour passage will actually take 18 hours (give or take a couple hours). We've said "adios" to nights full of sweet dreams, waking up refreshed the next day. The Sea of Cortez or as we like to call it, "The Disneyland of sailing" has spoiled us. 

For those who don't know, the Sea of Cortez has almost zero swell and offers one amazing anchorage after another, close in proximity, making passages easy. It would be a shame for anyone to sail Mexico and not sail the Sea of Cortez. Would you go to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower? 

Decent anchorages are few and far between when you get south of Manzanillo, notice I'm not saying "good anchorages"...lately we've just been searching for decent.  Just about every anchorage is rolly and faces south towards swell. Most of the anchorages that look amazing in the guide book are smaller coves with tremendous swell forming into huge gracias. Then there are the anchorages that look inviting, but the bay is so deep and rocky with a very narrow sand shelf right where the breakers start. Unfortunately, our favorite guidebook is not much help south of Zihuatanejo, as the authors admittedly did not venture this far south. It's been disappointing to say the least. We set out for what was to be an 18-hour passage and about 90 hours later we finally set the hook...we did take a small nap in a bay near Aca-puke-o, but had to keep going. It's not that we can't handle a 90 hours passage, we just weren't prepared. 

When expecting to sail the Pacific side of Mexico, forget everything you know about sailing coming from the Sea of Cortez. Reset expectations. Make enough passage food for days, not hours. Throw homeschool out the window, no one is learning anything. Insist on rotating shifts, while we would take turns throughout the day, Phil would offer to sail us through the night on a 12-18 hour passage as he loved being alone with his Kindle under the stars (and I can use extra beauty sleep)...not anymore! If an 18-hour sail can take up to 90 hours, you have to take shifts to ensure everyone gets enough sleep. 

We knew when we splashed our boat in October, we'd be early in the season. What we weren't expecting is to have only seen 6 boats in the past 2 months. 6 boats...... Where is everyone? Every boat we see is headed North....maybe that's a sign. 

On a positive note we've been anchored in Puerto Angel, a somewhat cute town with clear water and good snorkeling, here are a few pics. Oh and what's the deal? Is Oaxaca the marijuana capital of Mexico? There hasn't been one guy who's spoken to that isn't puffing on a joint.  Everyone keeps asking us if we'd like to buy some weed, to which our response is always, "no thanks dude, we've got a boat full". Just Kidding!

Always making friends

This is what it looks like when someone says, "Comin' in HOT!"