Driving lessons, Christmas caroling, and swimming in December

December 13, 2014

We are loving our new ride! Jack Jack had his first driving lesson and seems to have a knack for it. I fully expect to have my own private chauffeur in a couple years. Yesterday we started decking the halls, I love the Christmas season! We plan to finish the outdoor lights today then will post pics. In one hour we are off to the weekly Saturday sailors swap meet (aka yard sale). Hoping to find some treasures and offload some items for others to treasure. For you who know me, yard sales are my thing (re-using and re-purposing), already excited about what I might find!

Our new dinghy, snazzy eh?

Our new dinghy, snazzy eh?

Putting up the manger scene.

Putting up the manger scene.

Lots of arranging and re-arranging to be done!

Lots of arranging and re-arranging to be done!

December 15, 2014

Made a nice shrimp salad dinner last night with hydroponic greens grown locally. I’m enjoying all the veggies available at the farmers markets and love supporting local farmers.

No pics of Christmas lights yet as the project has risen to a new level. We are currently decking the new dinghy with boughs of holly and lights and our family band is practicing Christmas carols. Our fist live show will be in the near future as we travel nightly around the anchorage serenading and bringing tidings of comfort and joy to the 60-ish other boats then to the marina, which is full of boats. Marietta and I will play guitar and the Jacks are percussion with a special harmonica duet. Bet you all wish you could see this one! All for now, the kid handstand pic below is in real time, gotta get these guys off the boat for some exercise. I think the workout for today is 10X50M at 80% effort then 1/4 mile cool down. ‪#‎raisingfutureolympians‬

P.S. As a follow-up on the yard sale, we sold a few items and bought a hookah hose complete with regulators so we can leave our dive tanks on deck while cleaning the bottom of the boat.

Master griller at work with trainee watching his every move.

Master griller at work with trainee watching his every move.

 Shrimp salad with hydroponic greens, quite tasty.


Shrimp salad with hydroponic greens, quite tasty.

Pre-exercise stretching. They are ready to go!

Pre-exercise stretching. They are ready to go!

December 17, 2014

We have been enjoying the warm weather, 80s in the day and 70s at night, nice weather for December, but I have to admit I miss the snow a bit. We have become friends with a neat Canadian family living on their boat, the wife was a professional singer for years. Between their kids (and their beautiful voices) and our family band, watch out anchorage! First Christmas caroling scheduled for Sunday evening.

Marietta and I got a pedicure and ice cream downtown yesterday, fun girly outing for a few bucks. Today Jack is cleaning the bottom of the boat. Trying to think of something exciting to share, but the past couple days have been spent whittling away at boat projects. Feels good to cross projects off the list. Sometimes when I complete something I didn’t write down, I have to write it so I can cross it off, does this make you wonder about me…hmmm?

Cooking dinner in my new pants. Found the pants in a pile of clothes left, for the taking, by a movie crew who had just finished their shoot. Love them!

Cooking dinner in my new pants. Found the pants in a pile of clothes left, for the taking, by a movie crew who had just finished their shoot. Love them!

 Marietta loves pedicures!


Marietta loves pedicures!

 Jack Jack working on his swimming in the marina pool.


Jack Jack working on his swimming in the marina pool.

Swimming in the heat of December will probably never seem normal to me.

Swimming in the heat of December will probably never seem normal to me.

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Feeding the fish, bartering for art, and filling the fridge

December 8, 2014

Just dropped anchor in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico after a 291mile / 47 hour sail. We had to slow the boat down in the middle of the night last night because we were sailing so fast and didn’t want to arrive in the dark today. The seas were tossing the first day of our passage and we found ourselves flying along at 9kts and feeling like we were in a washing machine. Jack’s iron stomach is a blessing because the kids and I weren’t much help for a few hours due to fish feedings. The seas finally calmed as did our tummies.

The kids loved their daily duty of collecting all the flying fish and squid that jumped on deck to use for upcoming fishing, can’t believe squid can jump that high! They also enjoyed getting caught up on all the latest kid movies.

Aside from kid care, I read “The Fishmonger’s Apprentice”, an excellent reference book on how to clean and prepare every type of seafood imaginable. Jack spent his time navigating and tweaking the sails. We have now sailed 1235 miles on our new (to us) catamaran (12,000 on our previous monohull boat), I’m loving the catamaran. Today we will go ashore to explore a bit then settle in for a long winter’s nap.

Collecting flying fish and squid off the deck.

Collecting flying fish and squid off the deck.

A glimpse into our lives: Jack navigating in his PJs.

A glimpse into our lives: Jack navigating in his PJs.

Sunrise in Puerto Vallarta as we were arriving. Hard to see in the haze but the coastline is beautiful, full of sandy beaches and palm trees.

Sunrise in Puerto Vallarta as we were arriving. Hard to see in the haze but the coastline is beautiful, full of sandy beaches and palm trees.

Catching up on the latest kid flicks.

Catching up on the latest kid flicks.

December 9, 2014

I think I just completed the best barter of my life, and that’s saying a lot as I love to barter. We were in Mag Bay a couple weeks ago, far from any city, and a boat anchored near us needed a new alternator. Jack happened to have an old but working spare, one that we didn’t need anymore. Well, traveling with the father and daughter on the boat was a friend of the daughters. She was twenty-something and an amazing artist who has traveled the world doing her art. Marietta spent an afternoon drawing with her and came home with very interesting and thought provoking sketches that the girl had done. So…my wheels were turning when they needed something we had. I ran it by Jack and he agreed that we could trade the alternator for a rendering of our boat. She loved the idea, I think because she loved Marietta, and immediately took pics of “Let it Be” from various angles. Well, today she sent me a pic of the finished artwork and I love it! I told her it would be a family treasure always. It’s currently traveling in the mail to my parents’ house, whom I hope will visit us in January.

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December 11, 2014

Did a bit of exploring yesterday, wonderful lunch of huevos rancheros, cost was $7 for the four of us. It was market day downtown so we now have a fridge full of fresh fruits and veggies. Mandarin oranges are in season and I have to limit the kids to three oranges in a sitting because they love them so much. Last night we had a neat French family over for dinner. They have traveled 40,000nm in their catamaran from France through the Caribbean and Panama Canal, South Pacific, NZ, Australia then shot straight up to Alaska and down to Puerto Vallarta where we met them yesterday. Wow! They are an inspiration and we loved hearing their stories and picking their brains for our upcoming adventures. Today brings the delivery of our new dinghy, it’s exciting, kinda like buying a new car! The one that came with our boat was ripped up, losing air daily and in pretty bad shape. I’ll post pics soon of our new ride.

Waiting for our huevos rancheros and eating fresh homemade tortillas as fast as the cook brings them out.

Waiting for our huevos rancheros and eating fresh homemade tortillas as fast as the cook brings them out.

The whole family was excited ... we found BANANAS!!

The whole family was excited … we found BANANAS!!

Marietta and Jack Jack love babies. This was our lunch cook's baby boy, 9 days old and she was already back to work.

Marietta and Jack Jack love babies. This was our lunch cook’s baby boy, 9 days old and she was already back to work.

Marietta is learning photography, she is getting pretty good.

Marietta is learning photography, she is getting pretty good.

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Sand castles, unexpected dips in the ocean, and a little rock climbing

December 1, 2014

Just anchored in Cabo San Lucas, the southernmost tip of Baja California, after a 165nm sail. Nice sail and beautiful sunrise this morning. The evening before we left Mag Bay, Jack and the kids made a sand castle that threatened to withstand the incoming tide. I could see Jack’s engineering background in the sand castle construction and the kids enjoyed learning about solid walls and symmetrical towers that stand true and plumb. The home schooling continues! We plan to stay here for a couple days then cross over to Puerto Vallarta in mainland Mexico where we will spend the Christmas season.

"Let it Be" anchored in the background.

“Let it Be” anchored in the background.

Many many trips to the water to achieve the perfect sand dampness ... and then many many more to fill the moat. Fun times.

Many many trips to the water to achieve the perfect sand dampness … and then many many more to fill the moat. Fun times.

Sunrise this morning rounding Cabo Falso near Cabo San Lucas.

Sunrise this morning rounding Cabo Falso near Cabo San Lucas.

 The city is built into the rocky cliffs, very interesting architecture.


The city is built into the rocky cliffs, very interesting architecture.

December 3, 2014

We are really enjoying Cabo San Lucas, beautiful beaches and interesting little town with many cultural events. We plan to stay here a bit longer and explore some more. I had quite the supermarket experience yesterday. Jack and I attempted a beach landing where I would hop out of the dinghy onto the dry beach as a wave came in and he would then pop it into reverse and go back to the boat with the kids while I shopped. Well, I hopped a bit too soon or something and found myself, North Face backpack and all, pulled down by a wave in the surge. No danger involved, the only downside was walking what ended up being two miles to the supermarket, through the desert, through a factory (pretending I knew what I was doing) and then up the main road – dripping wet.

I decided to coordinate with Jack for a different pick-up location as walking two miles back through the factory then the desert with bags and bags of groceries then trying to get everything into the dinghy in surging seas wasn’t a welcome thought. Tried to take a taxi to the marina downtown, about two miles, and they wanted $12. No way! So, I hiked to the bus station with all my bags of groceries and paid 80 cents for a bus downtown then walked to the designated pick-up location. Whew! The highlight for me was stopping at a shrimp boat anchored near us on the way home and trading for shrimp. I gave them two granola bars, two packs of oreos and a pound of brats for four pounds of shrimp. All were pleased with the trade outcome. Just a little glimpse into our daily lives. Dull moments are welcomed.

Newest family photo.

Newest family photo.

The kids loved the iguana on the beach. Jack Jack kept roaring at it and saying "dinosaur, ROAR!"

The kids loved the iguana on the beach. Jack Jack kept roaring at it and saying “dinosaur, ROAR!”

 The very tip of Cabo San Lucas, can't believe there isn't a sea lion in the pic b/c they were everywhere. The kids imitated their hoarse barking all afternoon.


The very tip of Cabo San Lucas, can’t believe there isn’t a sea lion in the pic b/c they were everywhere. The kids imitated their hoarse barking all afternoon.

December 5, 2014

Went to a neat family oriented event last night hosted by the Cabo San Lucas Chamber of Commerce. They had homemade pizza cooked on the spot, many large grills set up cooking meat, more salsas that you can imagine ranging from hot to “blow your head off” hot (Mexicans don’t do mild) and various craft breweries of Baja with little stations tasting their brews. The kids loved running around playing with other kids and Jack and I loved being able to relax with happy kids. The Travel Channel was there filming, so who knows, we just might be in an upcoming documentary. Tomorrow we sail 287 miles to Puerto Vallarta. If we sail slowly we will be there in 48 hours but will probably will make it a bit faster. Today brings another beach landing and trip to the supermarket for me, hopefully I can improve my quick vault to shore and enjoy the walk in dry clothes with a dry backpack.

Easy to see the family resemblance!

Easy to see the family resemblance!

The little guys come by their love of climbing honestly, Jack and I both enjoy climbing challenges. A couple who was watching them climb were biting their nails and kept saying, "we don't know if you should let them do that, it could be dangerous". I was watching the kids closely trying not to be a "helicopter mom", but ready to jump into action if things started looking dicey.

The little guys come by their love of climbing honestly, Jack and I both enjoy climbing challenges. A couple who was watching them climb were biting their nails and kept saying, “we don’t know if you should let them do that, it could be dangerous”. I was watching the kids closely trying not to be a “helicopter mom”, but ready to jump into action if things started looking dicey.

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Surf landings, giant shrimp, and turkey on Thanksgiving

November 23, 2014

Packed up the dinghy to have a beach afternoon yesterday but had to abort because of big breaking waves. Our last two surf landings (think California surfing waves) were very wet and the kids weren’t so keen on trying with even bigger waves. How to beach a dinghy 101: 1. ride a wave in until dinghy wheels hit the sand. 2. pole vault out of the dinghy using arms. 3. pull it up on the beach as fast as you can before the next wave hits. We can usually do the beach arrival OK but our relaunching into the surf needs a little work. Two days ago we got caught between breaking waves, and wave after wave crashed on us soaking everything. Marietta is always up for an adventure but Jack Jack hasn’t yet learned to appreciate unique experiences.

Today we will sail 30 miles to Bahia Magdalena, we hear the beaches are a bit more protected there and maybe we can practice our surf landings in more controlled conditions. Half the mahi mahi is gone, between sushi for lunch then grilled for dinner, this fam of four can seriously put away some fish. Raising anchor soon, must go prepare the fishing lines, this is one of my favorite parts of living on a boat – fishing!

Off to the beach.

Off to the beach.

Grilled mahi mahi for dinner, not bad.

Grilled mahi mahi for dinner, not bad.

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I can’t convince Ta that her “Princess shoes” are inside shoes. She wears them everywhere. I also can’t convince her that Birkenstock and Chaco are the coolest shoes made. Not sure what to do with this sweet girly girl.

November 25, 2014

We are spending a few days in Mag Bay, pretty place with lots of beaches and tidal pooling that the kids are loving. Two days ago Jack called the port captain on the radio and asked, half joking, if there were any turkeys in the village for our Thanksgiving dinner. The port captain replied that he knew where he could get us one. Yesterday he showed up at our boat, which is anchored about 8 miles from his village, with a 15 pound frozen Butterball turkey. That is one resourceful guy! We paid him for the turkey ($30) and a $10 tip for the delivery. We have encountered such kind people in Baja California.

Today I need to read up on how to cook a turkey as it will be my first time. Can’t believe I’ve made it 40 years without having to cook a turkey! I’m thankful for all the fish we are catching, but I’m also extremely thankful that we will be eating something other than fish in the near future.

Sailing down the coast of Baja California, a rugged and mountainous desert.

Sailing down the coast of Baja California, a rugged and mountainous desert.

Swimming lessons in a warm tidal pool.

Swimming lessons in a warm tidal pool.

 Turkey delivery by the port captain. Score! — in Bahía Magdalena, Baja California Sur, Mexico.


Turkey delivery by the port captain. Score! — in Bahía Magdalena, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

November 28, 2014

We had a nice Thanksgiving yesterday. Seemed a little odd listening to “Let it Snow” while sweating in 90 degree weather. I’m living vicariously through all your snow pics on Facebook, keep’em coming! The turkey squeeeeezed into our little boat-sized oven with about an inch to spare on the top, whew. Early this morning the shrimp fishermen swung by to see if we would like to buy their catch of the morning, HUGE prawns. We bought four pounds for $15. We have a fridge full of Thanksgiving leftovers and now prawns? Anyone free to fly down and help us eat all this food?

 Our Baja Butterball turkey. — in Bahía Magdalena, Baja California Sur, Mexico.


Our Baja Butterball turkey. — in Bahía Magdalena, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

 Very nice fisherman selling us some of their morning catch. They were thirsty and had no water, we gave them a gallon of fresh water and they drank about half of it on the spot. — in Bahía Magdalena, Baja California Sur, Mexico.


Very nice fisherman selling us some of their morning catch. They were thirsty and had no water, we gave them a gallon of fresh water and they drank about half of it on the spot. — in Bahía Magdalena, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

 I turn my back on the kids and the prawns for about a minute and look back and they are using the prawns like puppets, making them talk to each other.


I turn my back on the kids and the prawns for about a minute and look back and they are using the prawns like puppets, making them talk to each other.

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Whales and lobsters and mahi mahi

November 19, 2014

Sailed 55 bumpy miles yesterday, the boat handled beautifully, I love this boat. The whales are currently migrating south so we spent the day trying to figure out what kind of whales we saw blowing and surfacing. Jack wanted to get closer so he could get a good view while I wanted to steer clear of the huge mammals lest they decide to get playful with our boat. Marietta wanted to share the latest shells and sea glass she found at the beach, she is organizing them to do an art project now. We had another wonderful gift from kind local fisherman, they brought us 7, yes seven, lobsters and wouldn’t accept anything for them. Marietta ate a whole lobster by herself and Jack Jack wasn’t far behind. Future suitors beware: these little guys are developing expensive tastes.

Not a bad place to watch the sun go down, eh?

Not a bad place to watch the sun go down, eh?

Organizing our growing collection of treasures found at the beach.

Organizing our growing collection of treasures found at the beach.

Free lobster!

Lobster tastes even better when it’s free!

November 21, 2014

Raising anchor in t-15 minutes to leave the little village of Punta Abreojos. Their claim to fame is to have the highest concentration of nesting ospreys in North America. Quite a cacophony of sounds floating through the breezes. We attempted to find fresh vegetables but were largely unsuccessful except for some nice looking avocados. It’s been two weeks since I went to the supermarket and our fresh veggies are looking a bit sub par. This is good practice for our jump into the Pacific in a little over a year, I’ve heard it’s difficult to find fresh foods. In the afternoon the kids made treasure maps then we went to the beach to try and find their buried treasures. We have been doing a lot of route planning so the kids are interested in learning to use maps. Today we sail 130 miles to Bahia Magdalena or “Mag Bay’, we plan to arrive tomorrow morning. Internet very slow here, could only get one pic to upload, hopefully will have better internet in Mag Bay.

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November 22, 2014

Just arrived in Bahia Santa Maria after a 145 mile sail. The highlight was definitely the mahi mahi we caught yesterday, looking forward to a hearty lunch. The seas were calm and the kids did various art projects, more treasure maps, and while Jack Jack was napping Marietta did a self portrait out of the shells and sea glass she found a few days ago. I was impressed, she did it on her own then called me over to show me. I see a nap in my near future as I did my normal 12a-3a watch. I accomplished reading a whole cookbook on my device, “The Soupmakers Kitchen”. Gotta find ways to use all the seafood that is coming our way. Never thought of making fish soup with the heads. OK, off to tidy up the boat, it’s a bit of a mess after the sail. Cheers!

Lunch.

Lunch.

Treasure maps.

Treasure maps.

Ta's self portrait.

Ta’s self portrait.

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Laundry day, dinghy on wheels, fish from sea to sushi

November 15, 2014

Arrived in Turtle Bay yesterday afternoon after a 31 hour sail, I didn’t feed the fish, not even once!! What do we do for 31 hours on the high seas? Well, the kids made a fort under the table and watched movies, they felt fine the whole time. Jack and I took turns doing watches, I did 7p-10p then 1a-4a, Jack did 10p-1a then 4a-7a. I can’t say that sailing at night in tossing seas is my choice activity, but when we arrive at a new place to explore, it all seems worth it. Did a weeks worth of laundry on arrival, the gypsy boat is here! Today brings beach combing as we have heard the beaches here are full of shells.

Jack Jack and Mama. With nothing to hit and no land in sight, one can relax a bit at the helm.

Jack Jack and Mama. With nothing to hit and no land in sight, one can relax a bit at the helm.

Laundry day.

Laundry day.

Marietta's fort.

Marietta’s fort.

November 16, 2014

Anchor raised, motoring out of Turtle Bay harbor right now. Sailing 50 miles south to Bahia Asuncion. Got to use our new dinghy wheels for the first time yesterday to pull our dinghy onto the beach, worked great, we were so pleased. Kids found lots of neat shells and have now started a shell collection. Guess the shell collection beats the rock collection they started when we were sailing the East Coast of the US. Signing off for now, better send this before I lose internet signal. Cheers!

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Not a bad shell collection for the first day!

Not a bad shell collection for the first day!

November 18, 2014

Successful fishing day yesterday, two Black fin tuna. Didn’t weigh before filleting but we ended up with 13.5 pounds of sashimi. Jack Jack absolutely loved the sushi, wasabi and all, and ate so much I had to suggest he take a break from eating lest he overdo it. I usually don’t make a separate meal but Marietta requested her fish cooked. She ate about a pound of tuna sauteed in olive oil. It was a great sail yesterday, we had the “fair winds and following seas” that all sailors wish upon each other. Our goal is to arrive in Cabo San Lucas, the southernmost point in Baja California, for Thanksgiving. I told Jack I would buy a big chicken and we’ll pretend it’s a turkey. I do have the cranberry sauce and pumpkin to make a pie. The holidays are just around the bend!

The first of the two tuna that hit our lines at the same time.

The first of the two tuna that hit our lines at the same time.

Yaaaaaaa - thanks God for the fish!

Yaaaaaaa – thanks God for the fish!

Dinner is served! Almost didn't get the pic b/c Jack Jack started crying when I told him I wanted a pic before we ate.

Dinner is served! Almost didn’t get the pic b/c Jack Jack started crying when I told him I wanted a pic before we ate.

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Biology lessons, bartering for lobster, boatbrewing

Nicole’s editor (aka sister) here. As most of you know, the Let it Be crew have been sailing down the pacific coast of Baja California. Unfortunately they’ve had spotty Internet so Nicole has only been able to post of their adventures here and there on Facebook. They’ve had some great times and I wanted to make sure everyone who reads this blog gets to hear the stories too! So with her permission, I’m posting some of her content from Facebook here. Since some of it is from several weeks back, I’ll be dating everything so you know when it actually happened. Enjoy!

November 10, 2014
Sailing down the Pacific Baja California coast. Caught a couple nice yellowtail and the kids loved the biology lesson. Sushi the first night, fish tacos the second night, probably fish curry tonite. Will have to start reading more cookbooks. Thanks to my nephew Noah for the lures that provided dinner!

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Not a bad backdrop for two smiling kiddos.

Checking out Papa's catch!

Checking out Papa’s catch.

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Putting our spinnaker sail to good use.

November 11, 2014
Two kind Mexican fisherman came to our boat this morning to trade. This is how it went: three nice sized lobsters for two Trader Joes juice boxes, four granola bars and a bit of cooked elk sausage I happened to have in the fridge. Both sides were very pleased with the outcome. Guess what’s for dinner tonight…

The kind fishermen wanting to trade the lobster they caught for some snacks.

The kind fishermen wanting to trade the lobster they caught for some snacks.

So happy with our lobsters!

So happy with our lobsters!

Jack Jack and Ta babysitting the lobsters.

Jack Jack and Ta babysitting our dinner.

November 12, 2014
This morning started off cloudy and chilly, decided to brew me some brew – an Imperial Red IPA. Jack spent the morning getting my sixth anniversary present set up, a wort chiller! He is a romantic, but glad he is practical as well. He rigged the wort chiller with a small bilge pump that we dropped into the ocean, cooled my wort in 12 minutes flat, score! This afternoon the sun came out and we went ashore to play in the sand dunes with the kids, they loved it and burned some serious energy. Tomorrow is a two-day passage down the coast of Baja California to Turtle Bay.

Is it called boatbrewing when you homebrew on a boat?

Is it called boatbrewing when you homebrew on a boat?

Jack's marvelous wort chiller rig.

Jack’s marvelous wort chiller rig.

Wort, with LOTS of hops!

Wort, with LOTS of hops!

Stay tuned for more re-postings!

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