Baby Onboard

Ahoy from Velella velella! We are back aboard our dear floating home in Banderas Bay, Mexico and guess who we brought with us? Our new baby! After a summer working on whale watching boats around Port Townsend and the San Juan Islands, Rob and I welcomed Etolin Ocean Wallin Sanderson into the world in late September. We spent two months getting to know him on land and then flew south to introduce him to his nautical home! Adjusting to life with this new tiny crew member has been a big adventure so far. As you can see from our photos (click the link on the right side of our homepage to view them) we are officially a Kid Boat now! That’s what they call cruisers down here who have little ones aboard. We are extremely happy to say Etolin is taking to life on anchor very well. When he can tear himself away from chewing on his hands he seems to enjoy watching the water slosh and sparkle around us and the frigates and terns wheel above us. Not to say the three of us don’t have our moments of frustration and confusion but we have that on land as well. Parenting is MUCH more all-consuming than we ever could have imagined but it is usually a good kind of consuming, I suppose because there’s little else we want to be consumed by! This little guy has cast a spell over us.

Velella velella looks a little different these days with a baby swing on the setee, a changing station where tools used to be and a hammock loaded with baby books, toys and colorful blankets. But this old boat has raised children before so we know she’s up for the task! When we arrived in Puerto Vallarta in early December, we spent a little longer in the marina than usual getting the boat put back together but we made it back to the La Cruz anchorage in time for Etolin’s first Christmas and New Year’s. In case you were wondering, yes, Santa does come to sailboats. Especially if one parent braves the Christmas Eve crowds and stays up late wrestling with wrapping paper. Three cheers for Santa Rob! Christmas dinner was a grand affair aboard Lungta, a ferro-cement boat big enough to roast a turkey and bake apple pies on! To ring in the New Year we organized a beach bonfire and to prove we “still got it” we stayed up till midnight to count down with our friends and watch the dozens of firework shows that happened simultaneously around the Bay. Etolin slept in his carrier or friends’ arms most of the night, awakening briefly to gaze into the fire, listen to the waves, cry, coo and watch the fireworks explode in the dark sky.

We meant to spend only a week or two in La Cruz before sailing to nearby Punta de Mita but we have been having so much fun reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones (thanks to Etolin, our baby-magnet) that so far we have ignored our self-imposed schedule. Mostly our days on anchor are filled with Raffi songs, diaper changes, nursing, and bouncing around the cockpit trying to get the little darling to fall asleep but we’ve had boat work to do too including removing and cleaning out our soft bladder water tanks that got fouled with stinky algae growth. Above all we are loving being parents of this adorable, noisy, needy, heart melting, sweet, smart new addition to our family!

There’s more to share about this major life transition but the baby calls (insistently and persuasively) so that’s all for now!

Sending lots of love,
Kai, Rob and Etolin

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