I have created this blog with the hopes that you, my friend, will follow me as I sail around the world (figuratively or literally, not sure yet) with my parents on their Contest 48. Whereas I hope to keep you updated with exciting adventures of exotic ports and epic waves, keep in mind that cruising - that is, traveling by boat in a leisurely fashion - tends to be filled with days of intense boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Please keep this in mind as you read these entries, for this platform will be just as much an attempt for me to maintain my sanity (and connection to the California-based world), as entertainment and reassurance for you. And so, follow me as I sail the world.

P.S. All material on this blog, words and photos alike, are copyrighted by me. Copyright 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. If you decide that this material is worth re-publishing, please give me credit and lots and lots of money.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Its 4:30 a.m. and I can't sleep because the boat is rolling so much while we are anchored here at Punta de Mita. Really, I just want the sun to come up so I can go surf these swells that are rocking the boat, but that won't happen for another 2.5 hours, so I have some time to kill.

I have come to realize that there are some serious reconciliations to be made between surfing and sailing. Surfers and sailors want exact opposite conditions: surfers want big swells and no wind, while sailors want flat seas and lots of wind. Surfers want wide open beaches and reefs, or points with lots of swell refraction, while sailors want protected coves. I have been aware of this for quite some time, as for the past six or so years I am stoked when a big swell comes in with no wind, while my dad is not; thus a constant battle for natural states which we have absolutely no control over.

Alas, living and traveling on a boat while still maintaining my identity and passion as a surfer is taking some reconciliation. It has always been a dream to anchor off that perfect point break and wake up to waves peeling in through the bay. But what, might I ask, is the point of a dream if you can't sleep?

Although Punta de Mita is not a "perfect" point break, I can look out my cabin porthole and see the waves breaking along the reef. This is awesome, don't get me wrong. It really is a dream come true, but right now, in complete honesty, I would be stoked to be sleeping on some solid ground that is not moving 24/7. Or at least be in a marina tied up at a dock.

Am I whining? I might be. And I am going to have to get over it, because when we make the crossing to French Polynesia we will be in the middle of the Pacific ocean for days; weeks; months, although hopefully for most of these months we will be anchored inside an atoll with perfect waves peeling through the reef pass. ;)

I must embrace the swells that gently (or not so gently) rock the boat, for these little monsters that keep me awake at night and make me seasick, are also a source of great joy in my life. And the wind that sometimes terrifies me is, 1. the source of these waves, and 2. the mode of energy that will enable me to arrive at my destination some 3,000 miles across the ocean. Thus, I think a change of attitude is in order. It is just tough when I can't sleep.

In other news, we had a very nice visit from my sister Caity and my brother-in-law-to-be Danny. We did lots of fun things (in my opinion, but maybe you should ask her) and it was sad to see them go. Mom, Dad and I were so depresses when they left that we decided to get out of La Cruz and go explore a bit. We went to Yelapa, a little village on the south side of the bay, which you can only access by boat. The hike to the waterfall was nice, but the frigid 65 degree water of said waterfall was enough to deter me from taking a swim in it (the sun was setting, I swear).

Because Yelapa is so small we felt that one night there was sufficient, and I now write to you from the anchorage at Punta de Mita (but you know that). I can hear and feel the swell filling in, and the adrenaline starting to flow in my veins does nothing to help me sleep. But its okay, because who needs to sleep when you live in a dream come true?

Hahahaha. I am sorry, that was so cheesy. But I couldn't resist...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Eat, Sleep, Surf, Repeat.

I am not trying to rub it in your face, I just feel the need to share this day.

This morning I woke up to a sunny Friday morning after a delicious 8 hour sleep. I woke up a few times during the night due to the millions of bug bites I have on my feet and legs, but never mind that. Upon getting out of my bunk I made myself a nice jar of hot "drunken concubine" oolong tea (compliments to Mad Monk tea shop in Ocean Beach, SD). My breakfast consisted of the mini bananas that are the size of fat fingers, and pan dulce, mexican pastries.

While I was enjoying my breakfast, a guy from a boat a few slips down the dock, Rob, stopped by. He came aboard for a cup of tea and started telling tales of sailing the South Pacific. He told us about how he contacted a tape worm in the Marshall Islands by eating a fish that had the parasite, only to be passed 3 years later because he ate a poisonous berry that killed the tape worm and not him. He told us to always freeze our fish before eating it to avoid incidents like this. Needless to say, interesting guy.

I knew the surf would be pumping today as a south swell has been filling in. I can't spend my absolute entire days surfing and goofing off, so I asked Dad what he wanted me to do before I left for the day. He had me unload the entire anchor locker so that we could get to the wires for the navigation lights. After hauling out anchors, chain, tons of line, a machete, and some other goodies, replacing the lightbulb so that the nav lights work, and repacking the anchor locker, I was free to go.

I grabbed my board and headed for the bus stop. The bus ride to Punta de Mita is always nice, either I meet somebody or I watch the scenery of junglish shrub around the giant blue bay. When I got to Mita the surf was pumping. El Anclote, the cowells-esque break, was head high. Perfect peeling rights came through all day. I surfed El Anclote twice, ate a beautiful, cheap meal at the palapa restaurant on the beach, chatted with friends, made new friends, quemaba muchos gallos, and watched perfect waves come through the beach.

Around 5:30 I was planning to head back to La Cruz when un amigo, Mita, came and asked me if I wanted to go surf El Faro, the break at the end of the point. I was hesitant because it takes about 25 minutes to walk out there, but he said we would be taking a panga (Mexican fishing boat), so it would only take about 4 minutes. I couldn't resist.

El Faro had some chest to head high barreling waves come through, but I was pretty surfed out by that point. I caught a few waves, but really just chilled and enjoyed where I was. I went out in the panga with four other guys, so I was the only girl and the only white girl. Not that this matters, but they were all cracking jokes and telling stories about things that were totally over my head. In reality, this happens quite often.

We surfed until sunset, then headed back to the beach. I took the bus back to La Cruz, came home to the nice, comfortable boat where a big plate of pasta was waiting for me. As I was eating I got a phone call from Antonio, who said that our friends from Mita were waiting for me at the plaza to go out with them. I wolfed down the rest of my food and put on clean clothes, (never mind showering) and headed out. We went to Bucerias where we got a few beers, went to "the best taco shop in Bucerias" where we got delicious tacos and watched bad wrestling on the TV, and then went to a parking lot where a band was playing ranchera music to drink mas cervezas. When we left around midnight there were families with little kids, teenagers, and old men all hanging out and enjoying their Friday night.

This was not a crazy party night or anything, but it was a very Mexican experience. The whole day was. I wish you could have been here to experience it with me. It is inspiring to see people who work so hard but always have the time to chat for a minute or make a joke. These people laugh all the time. Most of the time I have no idea what they are laughing about, but it doesn't matter. They do not have tons of money, huge houses, or flashy cars (let alone cars for some). But they are happy, and it is infectious.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Was It My Fault?

We will never know. But it was I who tied up the dinghy, which inevitable holds me responsible. This is an embarrassing story that I would much rather forget, but 1. it teaches us all a good lesson, 2. there is no better way to attract readers than to recount mistakes, and 3. there is something refreshing about posting the stupid things one does on the internet.

Let's back up a bit. A few days ago we headed out to the anchorage at Punta de Mita on Rutea. We feel like we have been spending too much time in the marina tied up at a dock, and it is really important to keep the sea legs for the upcoming passage. I recruited Jared and Christine to buddy boat with us on their boat Archituthis, to go out there with us. Jared and Christine both graduated from UCSC with degrees in marine biology, like to surf, and are significantly younger than most of the couples cruising here. They are also planning to do the Puddle Jump. Thus, we have become good friends, especially as traumatizing experiences tend to help people bond.

Nobody was hurt, except Squib, Archituthis' dinghy. For those of you who aren't familiar, a dinghy is a little inflatable boat with a small motor that serves as a car, transporting people from their sailboats to the beach, the surf, or in this case, to our boat for a beer, that fateful evening.

Jared and Christine came aboard our boat around sun down. I took their painter (dinghy line) and tied it around the cleat on our stern. I am absolutely POSITIVE I tied a proper cleat, but that doesn't really matter. We had a nice evening, and when they went to leave around 11:00 p.m., their dinghy was gone. Shit. Of course nobody "blames" me, but it would be like if you parked somebody's car for them, and when they went to get it, the car was gone. Was it your fault? Did you leave the keys in the car? Did you forget to set the emergency break? Regardless, I have to take responsibility.

Back to the story: Dinghy gone. Christine and Jared hopped in our dinghy with Dad and they started doing circles around the boat to try to find it, but there was no moon so the sky and water were pitch black. They gave up about an hour later, and we all went to bed feeling pretty horrible. In the morning they began another search mission. After a few hours of searching, they had given up and as we were pumping up the inflatable kayak to give them, we see a dinghy towing another dinghy. Alas, Squib had been found.

Apparently Squib the dinghy did not like being tied to Rutea, and decided to go surfing at El Faro. He was found by some surfers, flipped over and inadvertently anchored in the surf. The surfers took it out of the surf and re-anchored it outside the surf, not thinking much of it. It was brought back to the anchorage by another boat who heard that Archituthis lost their dinghy.

Squib was fine, although the motor is pretty f.ed up. Christine and Jared have been really nice about the whole thing, never chewing me out and even going so far as to say that there are many other factors that could have led to Squib's disappearance- frayed painter, high freeboard, etc., etc. They even invited me to surf with them yesterday morning, which I took them up on. We anchored their boat right outside the break and surfed La Lancha for a few hours, then sailed back to La Cruz, eating a pancake meal on the way. I don't think they hold a grudge against me.

Last night we went out with a few other friends, who, when I met up with them, gave me a lesson on tying a cleat. Ha. Funny, guys. I am not sure if I will ever live this one down. But, better to embrace our mistakes, laugh about our mistakes, and learn from our mistakes, than pretend that they never happened.

And so, the moral of the story? In the words of Ice Cube, "Chiggity check yo' self before you wreck yo' self." Or, chiggity check your damn dinghy painter to make sure it is secure before it gets wrecked in the surf.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tangent of my Inner Monologue

I usually wait until I have something to post about before I write here, but as with the pictures, I have been getting requests to update my blog more often (flattering). Thus, I shall write aimlessly until my true brilliance shines through all the mumble-jumble.

I am currently reading Moby Dick, by Herman Melville. Go ahead, make your jokes, but in spite of the overly-verbose victorian style of writing, it really is a masterpiece, although it is taking me a while to get through. With quotes like, "Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian," how could it not be a masterpiece?

Sometimes when I read a book my inner monologue (which is essentially what this blog is) starts to sound like the books I read. Please forgive me if I go off on an 8 page tangent describing the whiteness of a whale. Captain Ahab has somewhat of a legitimate obsession with Moby Dick, as the whale bit off his leg. If a whale bit off my leg I might follow it to the ends of the earth to seek my revenge.

I still have both my legs and no revenge to seek, however in a few weeks time I will be sailing to the ends of the earth. Or at least what feels like the end of the earth. The Pacific ocean is unfathomably huge, in fact the hugest "thing" on earth, and we intend to cross it at a cruising speed of, oh, say, 6 mph. French Polynesia alone covers almost 1 million square miles of ocean, with about 1,600 square miles of land. I'm no mathematician, but the ratio of ocean to land is huge. Good thing we have a GPS.

Our plan is to leave Banderas Bay any time from mid-March to early April. We will conveniently be avoiding hurricane season in both hemispheres. Hurricane season is during our winter for the southern hemisphere, and during our summer for northern hemi. While I have heard that the surf is absolutely epic around here during the summer, hurricanes and boats don't mix. Or at least try not to.

This means that I have 6 weeks (give or take a few) to absorb as much of Mexico as I can: greasy street tacos, mariachi music, fresh fruit, the spanish language, margaritas, gallo, fairly forgiving reef breaks, all of the friends I have made, and of course the many virtues of Banderas Bay.

Which brings me to my final point. I have never experienced a more friendly and open surf community than here. I am the first person to go on and on about the awesomeness of surfers, but let's face it, surfers can be assholes. Especially when tourists are constantly coming to surf your waves, localism can get ugly. But here, and particularly at Punta Mita, the locals are genuinely stoked on all surfers (more or less). As long as you respect, they welcome you. I am sure they cut me some slack because I am a girl, but even the American guys I befriended agree: las surfistas locales de Mita son muy chidos (the locals at Mita are very cool).

Have I sold you on Mexico yet? There are a ton of Americans and Canadians that live here... and from what I can see they live well. I'm not saying you should move here, but if you are considering a vacation, this is one kick-ass country. Especially for all you California folk, its in your backyard! But then again, so is the whole world.