Friday, January 22, 2021

Five years before the mast


               

This is an appropriate moment to revisit this long-neglected blog. We have a major anniversary to celebrate! Yes, Joe and I celebrated 20 years of marriage about three weeks ago and that was huge, but here’s another biggie. January 20, 2021, marked five years that the Grieser family has lived aboard Kyrie. Five years! We’re also getting close to the longest time we’ve lived in one particular residence. Before this, the longest time we had lived somewhere was Anchorage—June 2006 to July 2011. By next month, Kyrie as a home will surpass that.


                Memories flood back as I think about the last five years. The frenzy of packing up the house to leave Juneau. Seeing Kyrie for the first time in person and hauling everything from the overloaded van down to her, and somehow finding a place for everything. Adjusting to boat life, instead of house life—figuring out the stove and oven, having to move every time someone wanted something from a pantry, having to pack up and walk up the dock every time you wanted a shower, and getting in tune with the weather and realizing how much it affects our everyday life. Our trip back to Juneau from Washington—long days and so much to see, but not enough time to stop and explore. Weekends and two-week vacations in our floating home—is it really a vacation if you take your home with you? But at least I got to sleep in my own bed every night! Dealing with winters while living aboard—emptying the dehumidifier twice a day, pulling the girls’ frozen sheets off the wall, brushing snow off the plastic covering. Counting down the months and days until we could leave Juneau at last to officially start our adventure, and at the same time, wondering if we really will be able to leave.

                More memories: leaving Alaska with the realization that it would be a long time before we saw our home state again. Bouncing through heavy seas on the outside of Vancouver Island, gritting our teeth and knowing there was a hot springs at the end of it. Gritting our teeth again in Port Townsend at the price tag for the work that needed to be done, but knowing it all needed to be done to make our floating home ready for further adventures. Spending time with family and friends in Oregon, Monterrey, and San Diego. Weather keeping us in places longer than expected and having to rush through or skip other places to make up the time. The craziness of the Baja Ha-ha and meeting friends that we are still traveling with today. Swimming in the ocean, seeing fish we’ve only seen on TV, listening to the sound of the kids shrieking through their snorkels when they saw something exciting. Engrossing ourselves in a new culture with a language we could barely squeak by in, and enjoying meeting locals and seeing their amusement as we tried to communicate in Spanish. Learning how resilient we could all be as a global pandemic shut us down and how flexible the kids have proved to be as we bounced from place to place, trying to isolate, but still be with people (namely kids) as we could.

                Today, we are in Bahia Manzanillo. Where do we go from here? At the moment, I have no idea, and I’m honestly okay with that. These five years of boat life have given me and my family a much greater appreciation for living in the moment, while still looking ahead at future possibilities. We’re no hurry to go anywhere and simply want to enjoy wherever we are, with whoever we can share that time.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Megan's Musings, Volume 1

     I've been trying to get the kids to participate in the blog by writing their own posts. At long last, in her debut posting, here is little miss Megan, sharing about our pets aboard Kyrie. :)

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Pepino ("cucumber" in Spanish!)
my family has a dog his name is rio we also have two hermit crabs we have one bigger and one tiny one the bigger  hermit crabs name is hermes and the tiny ones name is pepino and you really need to see pepino. she is oh my gosh cute and rio well. he is also so cute! he has brown eyes and loves to play a lot! 😁😁

Hermes, who likes to pretend
she's a "Klingon."
Rio the sailing dog, our 
"Sonoran short hair"

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Back to the beginning

    This has been a surreal couple of weeks. Actually, about a week ago, we dropped anchor in Caleta Partida, an area we spent a lot of time in when we first arrived in the Sea of Cortez a year ago. We spent about a day and a half there, enjoying being back for a little while. We have quite a few good memories from there. In the good ol' pre-Covid days, we spent lots of evenings in the cockpit of our boat and other people's boats, talking, laughing, and enjoying a glass of wine while our kids gathered below, eating popcorn or brownies, watching movies and playing games. One of the most fun was the evening Deerfoot II invited everyone in the anchorage over. The couple zoomed around in their dinghy, visiting all the boats and extending an invitation. That evening, there must have been twenty extra people on that 70-foot sailboat, including 10 kids! Brownies, ice cream, an upside-down Christmas tree, watching Levi talk to three kids from Mexico City, using their dad as a translator, meeting new people. Those were definitely the days... 
    This time had some highlights as well. Levi happily met a boy his age--something of a rare occasion so far on this adventure. They spent most of the time swimming off our boat and talking about video games. Our boy had a good day! Even better, this new friend is here in La Paz, so they have plans to spend some more time together while we're here. Of course, there was also kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling to be enjoyed, which we did! Joe and I found King Angelfish, Reef Cornetfish, and drooled over a couple of hogfish. 
    A week ago, the weather report encouraged us to leave the islands and head for cover. Well, weather and our list of things to be fixed. Our genoa repair needed to be completed, our watermaker was (and is!) still giving us headaches with low production, and a few other items needed attention. Plus, there was the hope my birthday wouldn't be rained out this time and I could have shrimp tacos and a margarita in town. Success on that front! My birthday was dry. We enjoyed a walk on the malecon and finally managed to make it to Neveria La Fuente and try the mango ice cream my mom said we "have to get." You're right, Mom. It's delicious!
    As I said, it's surreal being back here. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here before and it's lovely to be back, but there is definitely a different feel. Walking on the Malecon is nice, but we miss that busy feeling in the evenings when all the families were out. Club Cruceros is closed, so there isn't the usual coffee and cookie mornings at the marina, or any other big gatherings. Mercado Bravo is still full of beautiful, delicious food, but the kids missed being able to go in and order their own empanadas. However, this is where we feel as though our time in Mexico really began, and at almost exactly a year later, we're thoroughly enjoying a repeat visit here.    
    Perhaps next time Joe can regale our readers with our watermaker woes and how much he has fixed or replaced on it. At that point, we will have our genoa back with a brand new sun cover and we'll be ready to cross back over to the mainland. It's getting cooler and time to go south. How far south we will get this year? Stay tuned...
We met up with our friends 
on Tulum again. It's like 
these girls never were 
apart!
I had to take a photo of 
everything that was in the
smoothie we got at Mercado
Bravo today! Delicious!

Friday, October 30, 2020

Plans may change, but the adventure goes on

    

     I'll admit it--I've been feeling bereft lately. This whole Covid thing has changed the entire face of our cruising plans, and completely altered my dream of what I thought cruising with my family was going to be like. But you know something I've started to realize and maybe finally accept? What we're doing isn't all that different from what I really wanted to do. I'll try to explain...    

    When Joe and I decided we wanted to take our family out of our normal world and go cruising, there were a few overall goals, no matter where we went. After all our time exploring Southeast Alaska, we knew we loved going to remote anchorages, being the only boat, or at least one of just a few, in some secluded little nook, enjoying whatever sights and experiences that spot had to offer. That was high on the list, naturally, but even more important, especially in terms of traveling with our children, was experiencing the different cultures and people this world has to offer. 

    I've found myself grumbling at the amount of the time we have spent at a dock during this journey so far. I love the times out at anchor, when we can jump off of Kyrie, swim around and chase the fish, explore the beaches, etc. Even though there have been good reasons we've spent dock time--a broken outdrive, a pandemic lockdown, respite from heat and humidity, and now, a damaged sail--I've still felt somehow we weren't spending our time the "right" way and were somehow missing out on something. I mean, it was a bit jealousy-inducing to see photos from friends in the Bay of Los Angeles with whale sharks and beach bonfires and hikes with other friends. 

    However, I have to stop and reel my thoughts back in. Those times we had to stay at the dock have had their moments. La Cruz was full of meeting new friends and realizing just how many cruising families there are out there. San Blas let us really to get to know another family as we created our own little bubble to survive the lockdown, as well as see how a small town could shut itself off from the rest of the world to try to keep their people safe and still be welcoming to those outsiders who were stuck there. San Carlos gave us a front-row seat as a community crawled back to life after the shutdown. We got to see how locals and ex-pats reacted to everything reopening, for better or for worse. It also gave us a bunch of chances to explore some other communities, with friends, or just ourselves. 

    And now, Santa Rosalia. This is the kind of town we wanted to spend some time in. It really isn't touristy, or at least not foreign-touristy. The history of this town is incredible. It is a town built by mining, started by the French. The architecture is completely different from other places we've seen in Mexico, and the ruins from the foundry and other mining paraphernalia make me think of towns in the California foothills, like Angel's Camp or Grass Valley. We've wandered around town a fair bit already, and have had a lovely time eating tacos (which we think are the best we've had in Mexico yet!) and trying to remember our Spanish so we can converse with the locals. As usual, a lot of them speak better English than we speak Spanish!

    Joe and I went out on a mini-date this afternoon to find Pan de Muerto, but also to find yet another place to eat tacos. We talked about how nice the weather was--it's finally cooled down and the norther that was blasting through here has eased--and how lovely it was to be able to leave the kids for a little while and enjoy some time just the two of us. That was when I was at last able to articulate these thoughts. I told Joe that this--wandering around a town, enjoying the scenery and the food--was one of the reasons we went on this adventure. We've been mourning the loss of something (I'm still not absolutely sure what we're mourning. Perhaps just the freedom to be able to move around as we please?) and forgetting about the rest of the experiences we're having and the memories we're making. Paul said it best, and someday we will learn this valuable lesson: "... I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances..." Cruising during this time of Covid may not be what we thought our cruising experience would be, but maybe, just maybe, we can still have an amazing time and make incredible memories.