Journey's Blog

Saturday, April 16, 2016


Our original plan was to cruise for 2 years and then reassess. Well, reassessment time came and we decided to go home. The best reason and the main reason is for Journey. I can only relay her feelings, but she has told us that while she loves traveling and cruising, she wants to go to school.
Journey has big plans for herself and we support her 100%. Part of her plan is going to High School, meet new friends, get involved in her new school, and then a gap year. Being a sailor, we know that plans are written in sand but this is our "now".
We did put the boat for sale while we were in La Paz and had over half a dozen people look at the boat but no "real" offers. Our options then were as follows:
1. Bash back to Seattle
2. Sail back to San Carlos and leave Namaste on the "hard" for the next few years.
3. Hire a captain to Bash back
4. Ship Namaste home
 Option #1 was kicked out as the possibilities as we just don't have the time nor the inclination to Bash. ***(The Bash is bringing your boat around Cabo and taking it the few thousand miles north against the wind and seas.)
Option #3 was an option and we looked into how this could be done. We have dear friends who offered to sail her north for a reasonable fee and so this was an option on the table. The cons with this was that the ride North can be very difficult for the boat (and crew) which can translate into things breaking which equates to $$$.
Option #2 we waxed and waned with as it is super inexpensive (~160USD/mo) to keep the boat on the hard (land). San Carlos is out of the Hurricane belt but basically the boat would be sitting in the desert for several years drying out. That means gaskets on engines and other fittings would dry out, and the constant UV exposure takes a toll on the hull.
Option #4 seemed like the best except for the financial piece. There are two companies that ship out of La Paz and we got quotes for both. One quote for 20kUSD and another for 18kUSD.
This was not in our budget so we went between Option 2 and 3 with the hope that she would sell and then a whole set of different logistics would evolve.
So back and forth, mental gymnastics as we wrestled with the options. This underlying layer of stress was at times difficult to deal with as we are not good with just throwing things to the wind and seeing what the universe gives back to us (insert control freaks).
We continued to explore all the options and then we were told about a group of boats going together on a ship and we were given their contact information. We were able to contact them and we were able to be a part of the "group" to get a better rate. Once we got our final quote which was at a considerable discount but still $$, we made our decision to ship.
Deep breathe, we committed (sent in the $$) for shipping. So shipping a boat....A large tanker/container boat drops anchor out in the bay (the boat starts it journey in Florida, through the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, and then La Paz picking up cargo (yachts) as it sails. The ship has large cranes that they position over the side of the boat where you then bring your boat next to the tanker. They drop slings and the crew essentially take over the boat while you jump off into a panga that whisks you to shore. We know this to be true as John assisted friends of ours who loaded their boat  on the April ship. We don't know when the boat will be in La Paz-just approximate dates.
So what to do in the meantime...take off and sail for a few weeks, our last hoorah in Mexico.
Here are a few pics from Guatemala since I don't have any pictures of shipping the boat just yet.
Hiking Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Finding the comforts of home in Antigua, Guatemala

Friday, April 15, 2016

What a Ride Part II

Our friend Tom flew back on March 16, 2016 and we flew out on March 17, 2016 for Guatemala. We had wanted to do some inland travel in Mexico but as our visa's were coming due, we felt this was a great option. We have heard from other cruisers about Guatemala so we wanted to check it out too.
We flew from La Paz to Guatemala City, landed around 2pm and then caught another flight out to Flores. Flores is the capital of Peten, the northernmost state and is an easy jumping off spot to visit Tikal, ancient Mayan ruins that have been uncovered.
Flores is a beautiful place, situated on Lake Peten Itza connected to the mainland by a causeway. The town has an European feel with cobblestone streets that wind around the island, beautiful colorful homes that cluster the island and narrow alleyways. It took us all of 20 minutes to walk the circumference of the island. We stayed at Los Amigos Hostel ( where we rented a private room with AC/BR for 350Q (8Q=1USD). It is a great Hostel, teeming with 20 somethings buzzing around the garden area where there is a pool table, hammocks, a restaurant/bar and a travel agency. Yes, John and I felt quite old and Journey's eyes were lighting up at the future possibilities of traveling and staying in Hostels. It was quite warm and muggy so we quickly settled into our room, turned on the AC and then made our way for dinner. The restaurant has an excellent international menu serving salads, felafel, hamburgers, pasta,etc. We made our travel arrangements for the Sunset Tour of Tikal the following day.
Tikal National Park is the ruins of an ancient city unearthed in the rainforest of Guatemala. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and dates back to the 4th century BC. We explored the ruins, watching Spider monkeys fly through the trees above us, and listening to the eerie calls of Howler monkeys as they shrieked in the tree tops. We learned about the history of the Mayans and ended the day by watching the sunset over the rainforest canopy while sitting on top one of the pyramids.
After 2 days we flew back to Guatemala City (1 hour flight) and then hired a driver to take us to Panajachel (about 5 hour drive) which is on Lake Atitlan. We stayed in another hostel but this time in a mixed dorm that slept 8. Initially we were the only ones but over the 5 days we stayed, the room filled up. Fortunately, we had lovely "room mates" from all over the world. At night we would share our stories from the day and discussed future plans for the next outing.
The lake is surrounded by several volcanos and if the weather is clear, one can have breath taking views. Small ferries take you to the many little villages that dot the lake to explore for an afternoon or one can choose to stay in these villages. We explored a few of them and enjoyed the unique personalities of each village.
On Sunday, we headed to Chichicastenango affectionately known as ChiChi where it is said that it is the largest market is Central America takes place and is open on Sunday and Thursday. Chichi sits at about 6500 ft elevation and is an easy day trip from Pana. Indigenous Mayan K'iche make up the largest percentage of villagers. Most people speak K'iche as their first language and then Spanish. It sounded like a combination of Russian with tongue clicking. People are dressed primarily in traditional native dress of colorful textiles. Artisan goods, chickens, vegetables and so many other products are sold here. The streets are a maze of stalls making it difficult to make decisions about what textiles to purchase as one was as lovely as the next. We can confidently say we contributed to their economy that day.
From Pana, we took another bus to Antigua. This time we tried our first Airbnb. It was also Semana Santa, or Holy week. To be clear, this is an EVENT! During this week, millions of Guatemalans flock to Antigua to honor the crucifixion and resurrection of JC with parades of floats, elaborate carpet-making and candlelight vigils.
We got to our apartment and it was lovely! Everything was as promised via the owner. We had a 10 minute walk to town through cobblestone streets and colonial architecture. Antigua is a lovely city with interesting architecture, dilapidated churches that somehow are charming, boutiques shops and restaurants that will satiate the palate. We wondered the streets, enjoying a parade (day and night), as well as the alfrombas (sawdust carpets) as we explored.
We hiked Pacaya Volcano which is an active volcano and when we got near the top, we watched the steam rise from the cone as we slid on lava. At night we could see Acatenango volcano spewing lava and by day blowing ash into the sky.
After 2 weeks, we were ready to come home to Mexico. We returned to La Paz on 3/31/16.
Los Amigos Hostel, Flores, Guatemala. Journey taking it all in.

Typical alley way in Flores.
The chaos of Chichi. These are the "chicken buses." 
Lake Atitlan with Volcan Atitlan
The colors of Chichi.

Beautiful Alframbas or sawdust carpets made during Semana Santa, Antigua

John loves rickety suspension bridges. NOT!
San Marcos, a small village on the Lake known for  Hippie Culture.
Panajachel Nature Reserve Hike
A family affair making Alframbas
Women carrying a float
Hiking lava fields on Pacayo Volcano
Taking a break hiking


There are many times when I thought, "I should be writing on the blog.." and didn't. So here is the summary of the last 5 months.
We came back to La Paz this year with the intention of sailing south again to the Mainland. As with most cruisers, plans are written in sand. We love La Paz, and due to the El Nino year, the Northers (Northers are strong winds that come down from the North and funnel down the Sea of Cortez bring large seas and high winds) were quite strong and weather windows were short. We also had company coming to visit us in La Paz which meant we would only be on the mainland for about 6 weeks. So we got a slip at Marina de La Paz and nested.
As a family, we decided that we don't like moving around all the time. It is tiring and we enjoy feeling connected to an area-experience the day to day life. So over the last several months we got involved in many activities. We volunteered at a shelter for battered women and children. Journey saw first hand some very trying circumstances that people live under daily. For example, the children take 2 exposed wires and put them together to turn on the light bulb next to the sink. We also volunteered for the second year in a row at an orphanage, teaching English to teens. The kids love Journey as she is very relatable to them and I enjoy it as well. We volunteered in several fundraisers to raise money for local charities that Club Cruceros supports. Journey revived her "Island Girl Bakery" business and sold/donated funds and we modeled in a pageant as well.
Journey has been busy with 9th grade boat/world schooling which kept us in a steady rhythm.  We hung with old friends that we cruised with last year and made new friends.
We flew to Nuevo Vallarta to Paradise Village in January as friends from WA came to visit. It was great for Journey to see her friend, grab some pool/beach time as it was for us adults. In February, our niece, Rosie came to visit for 2 weeks as she just graduated from college. We had a blast as we went to San Ignacio with our friends on sv Savarona and sv Astrea to see the mother whales and their new borns in the lagoon. We were surrounded by these grey whales who would spy hop all around the boat to check us out. We also went for a sail to Espiratu Santos for the weekend with our friends on sv Mana Kai. We snorkeled, paddle boarded with dolphins and sea turtles, and had a humpback breach about 25 times. Truly magical.
In early March, John's friend came to visit for a week. We did a trip to Magdelena Bay to see the Grey whales ( w just couldn't get enough)and were blessed to actually touch them and played with them for an hour. Again it was a great trip and so fun showing Tom

Kayaking/Paddle boarding around the anchorage at Espiratu Santo
Volunteering at the orphanage in La Paz, BCS

Sunset with Rosie, Journey, and Cindy at Candeleros anchorage