Our overall route
Our Adventure by the Numbers:
Trip Mileage: 11,000 nautical miles over 13 months
Places Visited: 15 US states/territories, 5 Canadian provinces, and 8 countries
Visitors: 50 visitors totaling 172 nights with company aboard
Thank you to everyone who helped make this trip possible and supported us along the way with thoughts and prayers. We wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
See you next time,
Michael and Amanda
Yelling captains, speeding powerboats, traffic jams, people cutting each other off…and we haven’t even left the customs dock yet. We watched this circus of impatient power boaters with trepidation and little sleep. This started at 6:30 am in our first US port since Hampton, Virginia seven months prior. Home Sweet Home…
There are pluses and minuses to being back in US waters. Some of the negatives of American society were very apparent to us in our first few days; however, the benefits are extensive (NOAA forecasts, reliable charts, good wifi, better communication options, tap water, just to name a few). We also had a little trouble shutting off our Spanish!
We preferred this guy’s attitude to the rude delivery captain that about hit our stern cutting in line at the customs dock.
San Diego skyline and our first US landfall in 2016
USS Midway flight deck
A garden in Balboa Park
One of the San Diego Zoo’s new additions
All in all, we enjoyed our weekend visit to San Diego and put on 15 miles walking the city, including to the zoo
So often our timing has been a day or a week off from fun local events we learn about but our timeline or weather window did not allow us to attend. Same goes for fun people we meet and don’t have the evenings left to get to know or swap sailing stories with. So we were pleased in Ensenada to find our timing improving. Mike was especially pleased to be able to take in the start of the Baja 500, something he always thought would be cool. He would have preferred to race it, but that’s another story.
The Baja 500 is a largely off-road race on the Baja peninsula, 500 stands for the distance
One of the trophy trucks the day before race day
Toys just get bigger as we age apparently. But in all seriousness, the YouTube footage is pretty cool to see, unless the idea of not abiding traffic regulations makes you sweat.
Amanda’s favorite part of Ensenada was this boardwalk fountain timed to music. If only free blogs supported video…
We hit 10,000 nautical miles the day before our 11th month cruising anniversary.
10,000 bluewater miles under the keel is an accomplishment in some circles and child’s play in others. This blog was started to keep friends and family involved and updated on our journey. That remains its primary purpose and as we are not natural bloggers, we continue to rely heavily on the phrase, a picture is worth a 1000 words.
However by this nautical milestone, we have learned a thing or two about cruising, especially high mileage cruising years. We read all the books and articles before we left, but lacked veteran cruiser acquaintances to get “the real scoop” from. We have now met numerous such individuals, it just happened to be after we cast off the lines. One might argue this was largely a geography issue, aka Minnesota.
Thus, the majority of the “lessons” below were learned by trial and error, and some are confirmations of what you read but find hard to believe before you are actually living the lifestyle. The articles we found most useful when outfitting for bluewater cruising were of the “what worked, what didn’t” variety, so we have done the same. So keep reading if you are interested or planning to sail away yourself. Otherwise, I assure you pretty scenery photos will follow soon.
- inReach Explorer (sat texting device)
- Skype for calls home, but wifi in some countries will not support
- Chris Parker’s Marine Weather Service for Atlantic offshore leg
- Printer/scanner, very helpful in Latin America, you could wallpaper a room with how many copies officials will need, think six offices vs. one like in the US
- COMFORTseats made in Holland for the cockpit
- Flagimporter.com is an inexpensive alternative for courtesy flags
- 12V fans in all sleeping areas, you really need these below 12 degrees latitude if you don’t plan on A/C, especially where trades do not blow
- Sewing awl (we used on sails, webbing, and canvas), get both needle sizes
- Waterproof bore scope camera for the zillion tight places you can’t see, ladies don’t balk at this one, it will get used
- Magica and Roll Off are boat cleaning products we wish we would have known about sooner
- Regular rigging inspections
- Our SSB radio, good installations are critical
What Didn’t Work-
- Globalstar satellite phone
- Importing parts to Jamaica, duty appears high most places and procedures long
- iNavX app for iPad, charts stayed in memory despite being deleted, eventually had to reformat iPad to free space
- You need a cellular capable iPad to run nav apps without an external GPS source
- Polyester fiberglass resin (smell) permeates food stuffs, regardless of how many zip locks they are in, do not store it onboard
- Light colored linens, sunscreen will stain them over time, no matter what you do
Lessons Learned in 10,000 Miles-
- You just have to cast off the lines at some point, you will never be completely ready
- Cruising, even on a boat in excellent repair, still involves working on the boat in exotic locations, plan on it and carry spares
- One can not have to much duplicity in regards to self-steering mechanisms
- You will never regret the effort of cleaning your fuel tanks before you go
- This probably goes without saying, but limited exterior wood is better
- Everything you read about salt water never drying is true, a fact that never ceases to amaze
- Everything needs to breathe in the tropics: under cushions, cupboards, etc.
Expensive clearance countries- Panama, Dominican Republic
The benefits and freedom of cruising far outweigh any drawbacks or challenges
See you out there!
Michael’s galley invention…breakfast lasagna
The finished product! It was glorious.
Sailing into the sunset (aka west) is getting old after 1000+ miles
Huatulco, Mexico entrance light and surf
I think I could get used to a sanctuary overlooking the beach! (Huatulco)
Exploring Zihuatanejo, Mexico…We recommend it, very cruiser friendly
One of the helpers at the Zihuatanejo Mercado Central
Michael enjoying fajitas at one of the market’s lunch counters
Sunset over La Cruz marina last night
Puerto Vallarta beach today
We are in Bahia de Banderas, Mexico and only half done with the Mexican coast. We will be pressing on as the hurricane season is not far behind. Greetings from Mexico and Hasta Luego for now!