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From The HelmsMistress: Tales Of The Vagabond Family

Tales of the vagabond family while Tulum V undergoes surgery.

I’ve slept in 12 different beds in the past month and a half.  It wasn’t intentional, just a product of underestimating boatwork timelines and the general state of disrepair making my floating home uninhabitable.  We had been anticipating a major overhaul all summer and finally it was time to take our geriatric teak and fiberglass lady in for a long overdue facelift.  This particular makeover however, required much more than just botox and fillers, we’re talking complete reconstructive surgery.  Much to our chagrin, Tulum V showed us that she is still full of secrets unknown until the fiberglass and teak get chiseled away!

Hauled Out and Ready for Prep
Getting Items For a Longer Stay
The Other Perspective, No Lifelines and the Stanchions would be cut off too…ugh.

Step One was haulout for bottom paint.  As much as I have thoroughly enjoyed climbing unsteady ladders some 15 feet in the air to stay in my home during haulout periods in the past (think tree house and replace the tree with a boat) this wasn’t an option down here. Not to mention, she needed some time to heal without our judgement.  Once she was back in the water and secure in a slip, it was time to get some parts for her reconstruction, renew Visas, and enjoy some time with parents – back to the States we go!  So once again we rented a trustworthy, yet fierce AdventureMobile and set out on a 2,100 plus mile road-trip.

Ready To Leave The Yard. (Being on the boat while she’s going back in the water isn’t something we’ve ever seen done in the States and took some getting used to).
The AdventureMobile, never thought I’d see my husband drive a mini-van.

Shifting gears from living on a boat to enjoying the luxuries available on shore is pure heaven!  Air Conditioning, endless electricity, space to spread out, long showers with hot running water – what’s not to love?  The breaks are relished, but living out of bags for over a month makes you appreciate the comforts and consistency of home.  Amidst all the moving parts, I’ve found that kids are resilient (it could be of course, directly linked to the availability of NETFLIX and far superior WIFI but I’ll give them the credit), homeschool can be conducted anywhere – plus the diverse environments help break up the monotony, and despite the excitement in frequent changes of environment, I really miss my home!  Home, wherever in the world it has been throughout my 4 decades of life, is my sanctuary.  It is a place of safety, solace, and that non-judgmental place where I can recharge my batteries.  So, it should come as no surprise that there is some disruption in all our equilibriums when we are away from this comfort and ability to fully, authentically recharge.  Even so we’ve enjoyed our time on the road, delighting in the decorative schemes of our various Airbnbs, enjoying a balcony with spectacular sunsets, appreciating the historic aspects of an old Baja mining town, and getting the best night’s sleep in the comfort of our parents’ homes.

 

Who says you can’t find history in an Airbnb.

The process of moving between our various temporary homes was an adventure in itself.  Locating and checking into some Airbnbs was straightforward with excellent hosts to assist with any requests while finding others felt like I was searching for an exclusive speakeasy during prohibition.  Hotels are still sparsely occupied given the huge decline in tourism and served as brief, temporary stops after long days of driving.  Generally speaking, they’re happy to have your business, just operating with a skeleton crew.  Among the tools I consider essential for travel is Google Translate.  Thank you for helping to guide me on my speakeasy scavenger hunt, navigate NETFLIX en Español, book a room on Airbnb Mexico, and secure multiple hotel rooms over the phone.  Getting there was certainly half the adventure and well worth the effort once our heads hit the pillows.

Sunrise over Santa Rosalia from the historic Hotel Frances.

Being on the move means packing and unpacking – never too much, but just enough to be comfortable and safe. “Fortune favors the prepared mind” – Louis Pasteur.  Lysol wipes accompany us for the various places we call home in the midst of COVID-19 peaking throughout the world, even in our remote sector of the world.  Baby wipes serve many purposes along the barren desert drive especially when traveling with kids with tiny bladders.  Check your vehicle and don’t overextend yourself on this 1000-plus mile rugged drive up the peninsula – no reason to rush or travel at night especially with the unexpected cow or burro on the road – respect the AdventureMobile and treat her well.  Hungry kids are whining kids – that’s road trip 101 frankly – plan ahead and be ready to feed the troops.  Speaking of wine, wine glasses are cheap and not available in every Airbnb so bring your own!  When filled with the right libation, they help us endure the seemingly every other day delivery of abject additional costs or extended timelines on the reconstructive surgery.  Tonight, I’m shamelessly drinking wine out of an orange plastic Halloween goblet that has made the trip with us – so raise a glass to time on the road -cheers!

Driving the Baja Peninsula offers diverse landscapes…Bahia Conception from the road.
Tres Virgenes
And close encounters with these guys…

With the boat uninhabitable, Quincy got an extended doggy vacay with her canine crew at Pet and Breakfast in La Paz.  We miss our stinky pooch who has continued to blog despite her time away.  She smells like home to us.  She’s big and barky, and slobbery sometimes, but she brings us joy and we can’t wait to have her back on board once the lifelines and netting is in place to prevent any unforeseen Houdini acts on the dock.

What? I have to stay longer? I guess I can manage my hardship stay.

Putting your home in others’ hands leaves you feeling incredibly vulnerable.  Nevertheless, you have to recognize your own limits and know when to consult and trust the experts.  We are comforted in the meticulous skill and dedication of those we’ve entrusted to work on our home.  This was no simple undertaking and their willingness to think outside the box and work with us to creatively navigate projects on an old stubborn boat is sincerely appreciated.  Like any boat project story, this one had unexpected twists and turns to keep us on the edge of our seats until the very end.  The vulnerability and unpredictability leads to stress that we had to realize was encroaching its way into our daily routine.  Like anything, we had to recognize it, work through it and move forward.  When we allow logic to prevail over the emotional stress, we know that we’ll be back out on the ocean again soon enough with a renewed seaworthy vessel.  Besides, we’ve been able to live in some great locations over the last month and a half.  When we stopped for long enough to shift focus away from our disassembled home, we truly enjoyed our surroundings.  Thankful for our health and happiness – home is wherever we lie our heads at night.

Sunset from our Airbnb balcony overlooking Tulum V, before Step 2, chainplates.
Santa Rosalia all dressed up for Dia de Muertos

It’s been fun after such isolation and solitude to venture out for a bit and enjoy some new scenery.  Not to mention, aside from enjoying the luxuries of being back in the US, we spent cherished time with our parents with no push to “go, go, go” and “do, do, do”.   Quarantine and restraint from risking exposure has led to some memorable moments at home with family.  This was a period to recoup, regroup and prepare ourselves for whatever lies ahead onboard our vessel.  Contrasting with this time last year, which was pure chaos prepping for the unknown and wondering if we’d have an engine in time to leave (Oct/Nov 19), we have a better idea of what to prepare for during this down period.  I’d tell you that we have a solid plan for future travels, but I think we all know how that goes.  I can at least tell you with a fair degree of certainty that we’re heading south!

Tulum V in the slip working on Step 3, all new standing rigging.

As for our post-surgical patient, Tulum V, she’s getting nursed back to health so that we can again set sail on our newly refurbished home in search of new and unexplored backyards.


The HelmsMistress runs the helm, homeschools the kids and takes the time to write for the blog on a regular basis from a women’s perspective.  Thank Goodness…cause if she didn’t then you would have to read my writing ALL the time.  Wanna read more of her writing? FOLLOW our blog and website and read her writing every Weds when we gave internet/WiFi.

Wanna read another story by the HelmsMistress?….see her story in Latitude-38’s December issue.

 

 

 

5 Responses

  1. Wow…what an adventure! The only person I ever knew to go off sailing like you was a former employee. He and his girlfriend decided to sail from LA to Australia, where he planned to sell the boat and fly home. He took a year off and away he went. Problem was too many others had the same idea – boat prices were rock bottom. So, he wrapped it up and shipped it back to LA.

    Looking forward to ready more of your adventures.

  2. Hi, we’re so happy to hear from you. Thanks for the positive note, you’ll definitely see more adventures like what we’re posting tomorrow about our recent road trips up and down Baja. Look forward to hearing more from you-

    Chad

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