Anchored Out

Ahoy my salty readers! Ready for another installation from your favorite jellyfish ship? We cut the proverbial umbilical cord and left the La Cruz marina to embark on the epic 15-minute journey to the anchorage. Our tactic of strapping E in his stroller (which we temporarily lash down on deck) for non-kid-friendly activities like docking and anchoring has granted us a degree of success but we’ve learned every task with a 16-month old is time sensitive. Woe be it to us if the anchor doesn’t grab the first time and we have to manually haul it up along with 125 feet of chain. To re-set again. And again. A certain crew member will let us know when they’ve had enough of that! If we find ourselves in this situation (we are picky about getting a solid bite) then we pull him out of the stroller and pop him onto our back in the carrier. It’s a little cumbersome but workable.

Once the anchor is set, life becomes enjoyable again. E dons his lifejacket, with or without clothes but always sunscreen, and we alternate who is watching him. Not surprisingly, he is far more entertained on a swaying, anchored boat than on a still one in the marina. After breakfast he lets us know with clear body language when he wants up the ladder to hustle around the deck, “helping” Rob drop the dinghy from its hoist and looking for dolphins, fish and pelicans. The netting Rob installed around the boat is a sturdy deterrent for Etolin going in the drink but he can still find other ways to get into mischief including throwing things besides himself overboard. We try to let him know that’s undesirable behavior and so far we’ve only lost 3 clothes pins to the deep. At least, that’s all we know of. We now encourage only buoyant toys above deck, especially ones that can be tied to something.

We celebrated Winter Solstice, Christmas and New Year’s with merry friends and beach fires. A last minute invitation to some friend’s of friends on Christmas Eve ended in Rob carving a turkey and Etolin sitting at his first “kid’s table.” It was a delicious feast. Sailor Santa again paid us a visit, leaving E a little soccer ball (you must start them very young here), a book and some miniature bulldozers. We also wrapped up a bag of Cheerios and raisins as stocking stuffers and they were a big hit. After presents and pastries, we swam around the boat and E couldn’t stop squealing with glee. Such a water baby!

In January we took a short trip to California for a family reunion birthday gathering. It was very special getting to see relatives and loved ones and we boogied down at a spectacular dance party! When we returned we sailed to Punta de Mita, our other anchorage home in the Bay and visited with friends on boats and land. There were some big surf days combined with full-moon-influenced extreme tides so we had some exciting beach landings in the dinghy. Happily, there is a small jetty we can tuck behind that protects us very well when we actually reach the beach. We just have to make sure we approach the jetty at the correct time between sets. Etolin loves any chance to ride in the dinghy and when the ride ends at a beach, he is doubly pleased! Besides swimming and playing on the beach, his other passion is finding other kids to run around with. To that end, he had a blast at our last beach bonfire with our local friends who brought their whole families. Niños of all ages, even babies younger than he is! I got to hold the cutest 5 month old named Luis Renaldo. We had a fun time roasting sweet plantains over the fire and conversing in our ever-improving Spanish. When our words fail us, we get creative with hand signals and it’s entertaining for all.

The temperatures have dropped to their usual, pleasant winter range. Rob scraped, wire-brushed, primed and painted the engine and mounts so our Volvo Penta is now gleaming. His next project is making a ladder cover to keep E from climbing up when we aren’t ready to go on deck. The yoga mat we’ve been using is no longer effective. He can scramble right over it with his little monkey toes. I’ve been struggling with mal de mer (sea sick notions) due to rolly anchorages and I’m grateful Rob doesn’t mind picking up my slack when I have to parent from a reclined position. Thankfully Etolin doesn’t appear to have inherited my sensitive inner ears. And three cheers for our stellar flopper stopper! It hangs off the side of the boat and really reduces our side-to-side motion. You know your hubby loves you when he gets you a flopper stopper.

Today it’s calm and the oatmeal is ready so I better go. Hope all are well and thanks for reading! Next week Abuela JaJa arrives so we’ll have more stories then!

Love, ERK (Etolin, Rob and Kai)

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