When the days get short and the temperatures drop in the Pacific Northwest, our migratory senses tell us it’s time to pack our bags and head south. In November, with toddler in tow, we flew back to our other home in Mexico to resume life as liveaboards on our favorite sailboat. Humid, balmy air tickled our toes when we stepped off the plane and we found Velella velella to be in excellent shape after our summer away. No bugs and no mold! Bright varnished interior glowing and our cozy v-berth waiting for us. We are so happy to be reunited with our floating casa and excited to embark upon our SIXTH season floating around Banderas Bay, looking for whales, deepening our friendships and watching our son grow into a mini-mariner. Life is good…
But wait! If life on Velella velella is so perfect, why the title to this piece? Boat for Sale? Really!? I guess we have some explaining to do.
Does this give you a hint? Yes, baby number two is well on its way! Etolin’s little sister or brother (we aren’t finding out which) is due in early April. With this impending family change, we have decided to release Velella velella back out into the world, to be sailed by other families, couples or single-handers, while we pursue life on dry land. It has been an extremely difficult decision to make because we love her and this lifestyle so much but we know we will always be around boats, working on them and playing on them, and we hope to cruise again with our family of four in the future. But having two kids under three sounds like an ideal time to be closer to family and our jobs in the States. So, with a mix of sadness and anticipation, the hunt for new owners begins! We can’t wait to see who comes along to take Vv on her next voyage and phase of life.
Until then, we’ll keep living aboard and I’ll keep blogging! I’m pleased to say the temperatures have been kinder to us than last year, hovering in the upper 80’s for our first week which gave us time to adjust and begin unstowing the boat without worry of heatstroke or the more common, Heat Irritability Disorder. We managed to get the booms back on (with help), water tanks flushed and filled, all electronics unstowed from the oven (their summer home in case of lightning strikes) and reconnected, propane hooked up and stove cooking, solar panels back on, tiller reunited with the rudder and the engine up and running all before the temperatures soared into the 90’s. Rob went aloft multiple times to scrub the masts, install a new LED anchor light and re-run all the lines (along with the booms and spars, we remove, wash, dry and stow below all our running rigging and canvas while we’re gone to limit UV damage). Sails went back on next as well as all the canvas and netting meant to keep Etolin and his various toys onboard. Now that he’s two we’ll see how successful they are!
The last week in Port Townsend and the first week back in Mexico are always surreal. Uprooting and saying goodbye to our NW friends and life, even just for the winter, is emotional and somehow only marginally gets easier each time we do it. Etolin handled all the changes better than we did. We talked a lot about moving from our “land home” to our “other home on a boat, remember?” and it seems he does remember. It helps that on the boat he has all kinds of books and toys stowed away that he hasn’t seen for six months. “My train! My cars! My life jacket!” etc. Now when we return from running errands to the boat he says “We’re home!” and he’s content to accept the reply “It’s at our land home” when he asks about books or toys we left up north.
We’ve decided to spend the majority of this winter in La Cruz instead of going back and forth to Punta Mita like we usually do. This way, we can get in more of a routine with our friends and stay more involved in both the local and cruiser communities. La Cruz has wonderful outdoor markets twice a week, yoga classes, surf a short bus ride away and my beloved writer’s group every Saturday. It is also home to the majority of our awesome friends down here, and has more social opportunities for E. “Where are the kids, Mama?” he asks almost every day. He misses his Co-op Playschool but I’m hopeful we’ll find something similar down here. Even a few hours a week of playing at a local pre-school would be amazing, especially in the language department. He’s such a chatterbox compared with last year so it seems like the ideal time to learn some Spanish. Since we arrived he’s learned Hola, Gracias, pantalones, camiseta, Adios and Amigo. He also does a mean El Gallo impression.
Experience has taught us the best way to move quickly through the leaving/returning transition period is to hang out with our buddies as much as possible. We are so happy to see our Mexican, American and Canadian friends again. The anchorage and marina are a little empty now compared to how they’ll be by Christmas but we have reconnected with some super fun “kid boats” (cruising boats that have kids onboard). Kid cruisers are used to playing with all ages of children so it’s fun to see Etolin get to interact with older kids more than he does in the States. He is really into playing pretend right now. “Would you like your phone, Mama?” he’ll ask and then hand me an invisible phone to make pretend calls on. “I got some pineapple fish, you want some? It’s for eatin’.” Once he gets comfortable with new kids, he likes to play pretend with them too. Last night we enjoyed a torrential downpour, courtesy of a tropical depression from Hurricane Otto and he was completely giddy running around the marina splashing in puddles with boat kids five times his age. They thought he was hilarious and enjoyed chasing him and playing pretend. Today the sun is back and we are drying out and making plans for future playdates and beach days.
Hope this finds you warm and dry wherever you are! If you know of anyone searching for a dreamboat of their very own, please tell them to email us! Till then, fair winds, calm seas and happy preparations for the holiday season!