(Due to a lack of Wi-FI, we’re playing catch up – posting from 17 November below with real time posts to follow!)
13 days into our new lifestyle as a cruising family and only roughly 630 NM south of San Diego waiting out weather in Man O’ War Cove, Mag Bay, gives me time to reflect on what exactly we’ve entered into. We’ve talked about cruising for a few years now, so we knew what we were getting into, but let’s get real – you have NO IDEA until you’re out here doing it. Our personal goal as a family was to slow down, live more in the moment (me especially) and to hopefully give our children an enriching worldly experience. On the first leg of our journey I have my top 10 reflections and lessons learned. ALL CRUISERS: Feel free to smile and have a good laugh as if to tell me – “told you so!” What can I say, I’m a stubborn learner!
- The ocean is vast: Thank you Captain Obvious – I got it. While we know we live on the water planet, spending even the smallest amount of time without seeing land confirms the expansive nature of Mother Ocean.
- Never underestimate Mother Nature: We have a sturdy, heavy boat that has previously circumnavigated – a slow sailor unless in the perfect wind, but manning the helm as she rounded up and jibed, tearing our asymmetric, I have a whole new respect for Mother Nature and what this old girl can do. Sorry for the F-bomb on kids net btw…;-)
- Kids are resilient and possess amazing creativity once off the grid with no option for electronics: What can I say, I raided craft and dollar stores prior to leaving with no particular plan and with high aspirations, but I more often end up with a Pintrest fail. Thankfully, my kids have much more creativity and artistic talent than I. Already, they’ve been painting, making jewelry, and creating plays with our crewmembers. When left alone and untampered with by the adult creatures, it is amazing what their minds come up with.
- Securing for sea is a never ending quest: Where is that clanking coming from??? I should’ve brought more towels – not because we’re showering or anything, but to shove in every clanking cabinet until it stops (or at least dampens). Medical tape, bungees, pillows and pool noodles also have helped – our boat looked like a warzone after the first leg – what can I say. We’ll be making some long term adjustments in La Paz.
- That rod & reel we bought was highly overrated: Much praise for the handlines! (and kudos to my husband who is no doubt smirking while reading this with his extreme pride). With essentially ZERO open ocean fishing experience, within two hours of launching our trolling lines we heard from the back the soon to be familiar cries of “fish on!” – thankfully still in cell range to confirm that it was a bonito. Not to fear, there would be tuna and dorado in our future. Even myself – the nay sayer for the handline, had such a thrill bringing in a beautiful dorado very easily with the handline set up.
- I own way too many clothes: I always have enjoyed the options my closet offered, but now with limited space and a serious change in my daily uniform, the amount of clothing I have just becomes a barrier to finding what I need when I need it. My kids wardrobe too can stand some leaning as well. Pretty sure once they find out they’re doing their own laundry on an old school washboard in a bucket– they too will clear some space (Yes, I’m still waiting on my prairie bonnet to don while doing my laundry…)
- People are benevolent: Working in forensics tends to dim the positive nature of humankind, however being in a large group where people are openly offering their time and expertise to get the ha-ha fleet to their next destination certainly redeemed this quality in my eyes. At our first stop in Turtle Bay we had no working bilge pumps, hailed to the fleet and within minutes had an expert on our boat who spent what seemed like 2 hours trouble shooting the issue with Chad in our engine room. Mind you, this is the first stop after 3 days of continuous sailing at a gorgeous Mexican beach in beautiful weather– thank you Kristina Marie. Amazing how a group of strangers will help out when you need it most. I’ve heard this about cruisers and now have experienced it first hand.
- There is nothing quite like a tranquil night watch: From watching the moonrise and glisten on the water revealing no land in site to the bioluminescence in the ocean waves after she sets, the tranquil nature of a nightwatch (hopefully tranquil) allows you to be mindful and to connect with the world around you. The tranquility was of course interrupted every 2 hours by a nervous 4 legged creature trying to hunker down in “her space” in the cockpit, but nonetheless, I still love nightwatch.
- Our boat is a rolling one and we love her: She’s a heavy girl who does not downwind sail as efficiently and comfortably as many of the others in the fleet, but in time, we’ll find the right combination of sails, wind and seas to comfortably shut down the rumble of the motor and enjoy the experience of sailing much more than we have thus far.
- Cruising means you are subject to Mother Nature and her plans: We are on day 4 in Mag Bay, a complete diversion from our original plans of finishing the HaHa in Cabo while we wait out the wrath of Tropical Storm Raymond. Thank God for modern technology with highly efficient weather forecasting and for a supportive group who stayed back and continue to exchange information and resources. Despite the stress of weighing options and hoping you pick the right one for your family, the boat and your crew aboard, we have been able to breathe a sigh of relief here in Mag Bay. Taking Quincy off the leashe and seeing her sprint around on endless beaches and exploring what I hope will never get old on shore with our kids is just magnificent.
Thank you to everyone who supported this launch into our new chapter as cruisers. We are blessed for the opportunity to finally be here.
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