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Entries in gdiapers (6)

Friday
Mar072014

Three Days to Go | So Close we can Taste it

The San Diego batch of our Valentine's cards are almost done. Yes, I know it is March. They are completely late. Whatever. Getting anything hand written in the mail is great whenever it arrives.

For those of you in the SD batch, Cora got a bit exuberant in her decorating and sticker using. She pulled off the adhesive strips as well and I had to go through and open each one so I could put in the valentine and photo. If your envelope looks a bit worse for wear, yeah, well, I had a three year old at the helm, okay?

And why am I posting pictures of the Valentine cards I'm working on? Because it is 10:29pm and we aren't working on boat prep. Eric is up at the marina using fast internet to tinker with www.thekeel.com and I'm enjoying a drink and writing notes to friends.

Our checklist is pretty much complete. On the done, done, done - list is:

- decks are clear

- cockpit is clear

- rig is checked

- fuel is topped up

- propane tank is full

- water maker is fixed

- four months of dry provisions bought, and stowed

- interior cabin is organized and ship shape

- deep clean of galley, head, fans, floors, refrigerator, and cabinets and lockers, DONE

- dropped off our grocery list for super un-ripe, "green" fruits, and unrefrigerated eggs (to pick up on Sunday night)

- daily saying our goodbyes to awesome friends down here

- Eric has a huge checklist as well, but I can't keep up with his; it is pretty much done

- medications bought for our boat first-aid kit 

The in-store display at the Walmart in Nueva Vallarta. I guess even the businesses around here are on the up and up that people are doing some heavy duty provisioning.

I still need to write a post about how you can follow us during the ocean crossing, and as we hop from island to island; I also need to email close family/friends about specific contact info/emergency numbers, etc, but that kind of stuff is cake compared to what we've accomplished in the last two weeks or so.

Without further ado, I give you photos of a boat about three days away from leaving her slip. I apologize in advance for the flash-photos. I took these about twenty minutes ago and night-time lighting on a boat is poor, to say the least.

View of main cabin, looking forward. Look at all those clean surfaces. Everything is secured and ready to rock.

Peeking forward into the v-berth where Eric and I sleep. Underway, we won't be sleeping there, but instead using it as a location to store our new kayak, a stormsail, and lots of light items like a bazillion paper towels, toilet paper, and sail covers.

Looking starboard at the sea berth. Both of the girls, respectively, used to sleep there. We kept the old lee cloths and are using them to easily store items we need to get to that don't conveniently tuck away like: Lyra's mini-chair for meals in the cockpit, snack food, tall bottles like extra olive oil and laundry cleaner that would leak if laid on their side, pillow cases full of gDiaper inserts, and extra bedding and blankets.

Every drawer, cabinet, and locker in the galley has been cleaned, inventoried, and re-organized. I just need to install a few lee cloths, and we'll be smooth sailing.

Looking aft at the nav table, the quarter berth, the companionway, and the galley.

I've completely emptied out, and reorganized underneath the nav table. There is still additional space under the lid, which will be handy for any last minute items. Cora and Lyra sleep beautifully in the quarter berth each night. I keep a lee cloth up so Lyra doesn't fall out while slumbering. Also, I just noticed our vacuum cleaner matches our ditch bag. I'm just going to pretend that I planned that.

And amidst all this final prep (and now, a bit of calm), we keep trying to meet up with, and say goodbye to all our friends. Here we are for a goodbye breakfast with Sven and Nancy on s/v Senta. 

Tomorrow we have a date night too (possibly our last one in a long time, not a lot of babysitting options in the South Pacific.)

Back to writing Valentine's!

Tuesday
Mar042014

Family Day at Punta de Mita, Nayarit, Mexico

Eric tends to have a lot of great ideas. Last week he heard about the swell from a northern storm that would be hitting our area this Monday and Tuesday and he immediately organized a 'family day' at Punta de Mita, a place that gets some great surf and is a 30 minute bus ride from La Cruz.

And the man who is most definitely not our social coordinator, managed to get the word out to a ton of sailing families that we'd be hanging out at Punta de Mita all day.

A huge group of us headed out from Marina La Cruz together. Pictured from left to right:

Randy, Marcus, Jen, Charlotte, Nancy, Ben, Sammi, Adam, Max, Julie, Ben, Cora, and Eric

The boats we represented were m/v Antipodes, s/v Appa, s/v Sea Otter, and s/v Rebel Heart.

Adam (seated), Ben, Randy, and Max - kicking it on the bus to beach paradise.

Because we knew about Eric's proposed 'family day' about five days in advance, we worked our butts off on provisioning and getting the boat prepped ahead of time in order to make today feel like a real reward and break from the laser beam of focus we had had pointed at the impending trip across the Pacific.

And truly, it was a good reminder of what we're working so hard for. In other words, a LOT of family days ahead, and a lot of days on some pretty incredible beaches.

We were joined by more friends as the day waxed on.

Monique and Steve and their son, Sacha, from s/v Sea Conquest.

Bethany and her daughter, Hannah, from s/v Lilo.

Steve and Tamiko and their son, Eli, on s/v Landfall.

And, as the cruising life goes, it was a day for goodbyes too. Our friends on s/v Appa, s/v Sea Otter, and m/v Antipodes are leaving La Cruz tomorrow to head further north. 

We'll miss you, friends. Thanks for sharing your lives with us these past few months.

Julie and Jen.

Nancy and Randy.

Jen, Monique, and me.

Monique and me.

Lyra's pig tails are just killing me!

The three musketeers: Cora, Sammi, and Sacha.

When the day was finally over, and [most] of the sand had been washed off, we threw on our new 2014 Pacific Puddle Jump t-shirts to get in the spirit of the upcoming crossing.

Here's to you, Pacific Ocean. We're headed southwest soon!

Saturday
Mar012014

Our Boat, Right Now | We are Going to Cross an Ocean

When Lyra woke up this morning she immediately crawled to the [organized] mess on the floor and dug in. I have sold my Sailrite and just donated my sewing machine to a group here in Mexico, so all our toiletries and medicines have now been moved to where my sewing/craft stuff was, under the nav table.

Perfecto.

Eric and Cora removing labels from cans and writing their contents in Sharpie on the tops.

And once those things were moved, we started the laborious process of moving the provisions from the finger of the dock, into the cockpit, and down into the boat. It has been a long, hot, sweaty, we-all-feel-grumpy kind of day.

Every day the heat grows more intense and I am so motivated to get the EFF out of here. Never again will I do a season as hot as Mexico, and the Sea of Cortez is, in the summer.

Eric and I didn't stop moving today until our friends literally showed up and said, it's party time. Eric had plans to go out with some of the guys (a much needed down-time for him) and I had plans to simply sit down, have a drink, eat some chocolate, and maybe blog.

But poor Lyra had a fever of 101.1, and though she was in good spirits for most of the day, by the end of the day she was quite fussy. I gave her some baby Tylenol and am hoping she sleeps through the night and quickly gets over whatever is ailing her.

Our vessel's life raft is behind that awesome koi fish fabric panel. When we are underway, I unclip the panel so the life raft is ready to grab at a moment's notice.

I was lucky to slip away for half an hour to our friends' boat on m/v Antipodes though. My thoughtful friend, Jen, on s/v Appa, sat on the boat while Lyra slept and let me pop over to the evening soirée on Antipodes. Cora and Jen's daughter, Sammi, were also on the boat, down in the master berth, watching a movie, in hog heaven at having "big kid" time.

I was able to enjoy a cold glass of wine, kiss Eric, who looked ravishing in a new green shirt that matched his eyes, and tell him to have fun with the guys as they headed out for an evening on the town. I gave Jen a gigantic hug and then thought I'd take advantage of Cora being with her friend and Lyra being asleep to take some photos of the boat as it is right now.

I give you the reality of a boat that is days/weeks(?) away from crossing an ocean.

The cockpit facing aft.

Port side cockpit and deck (notice the tiny passage way so we can walk in and out).

Further forward on the deck, port side.

The finger of our dock. We got most of the food stuffs moved off the dock so I think the tarp is only covering paper towels, toilet paper, water tanks, and other non-perishable sundries.

Our dinghy and our sweet new kayak (aka, our second "car,", or, Charlotte's new ride!), also two new hammocks bunched up on the dinghy seat. There will be much swinging of hammocks while cruising through the South Pacific.

The dinghy gets flipped upside down and stored on top of the butterfly hatch, topsides of the boat. The kayak is going to go down in the v-berth. Normally that is where we sleep but I find I get too queasy to sleep in the v-berth underway, so it shall become a storage area. Eric and I will always be on separate watches anyway, so we couldn't sleep together even if we wanted. (Yes, it is going to be a long month. All I can say is, thank god for nap times ;)

Rebel Heart from the starboard side.

Her decks are getting cleared off, her rigging and ground tackle is solid, the solar panels work like champs, we have a new hydro-generator, a hydrovane that Eric calls his "mistress" because he loves her so much, a fancy schmancy water maker, an autopilot, and insert more technical-sailor-mumbo-jumbo here.

In other words, we are ready to go!

View of the main salon, looking forward. 

See the yellow bag jammed into the space on the stairs there? That is our vessel's ditch bag. We'd grab that as we were abandoning ship. If we ever needed to. Our EPIRB stays in the ditch bag when we sail as well, along with all kinds of other survival gear. 

View of the companionway and galley. I have no idea why the top drawer is hanging open but I thought I'd take photos as-is to show you life as we know it, currently. (Okay, I closed the drawer after the pic, because what the heck?)

Our settee and a shot of storage under where I sit. All cleaned out and ready for provisions. I'm feeling good about the space we have available so far. 

The starboard side and the empty sea berth. Cora, and then Lyra, slept in the sea berth. We are keeping their old lee cloths in place to facilitate storing things there. Today Eric sold the cushion that used to be in the sea berth at the local marine swap meet. That gives us four more inches of space (depth) along the entire starboard berth. Nice.

Underway, on a starboard tack, we would pull that bench seat out a little further and sleep there (individually), with a leecloth up to keep us from rolling off the bench. On a port side tack, we'd sleep on the other side of the boat, along the middle salon cushion, also with a lee cloth up to keep us from rolling around.

The nav table. Nice and (relatively) cleared off. Underneath the nav table lid is a huge storage area with our spare toiletries and medicine "cabinet" along with some of my crafting items, tools, and kids' stuff for the passage.

The quarterberth; this is where the girls sleep. I think, since I'm much smaller than Eric, that I'll spend most of my off-watch night-sleeping tucked in there with the girls.

A view of the salon table and Eric's side of the cushions (more forward than my side.) The rainbow and blue-striped pillows hold things like spare sheets, spare blankets, and many, many gDiapers.

That's it. Nothing too dramatic or exciting, just the reality of what a vessel looks like when it is this close to crossing an ocean. We'll have 'er ship-shape soon!

Thursday
Feb202014

Only Two Weeks to Go

We are trying to be ready to leave by March 4. Eric is helping to run a safety seminar on abandoning ship procedures and life raft safety at the Marina on March 3rd, hence our March 4th date.

I sincerely doubt we will leave to cross the Pacific Ocean on March 4th, but we want to have everything ready to go so we can head out to anchor and kick it at Punta de Mita while we get our sea legs back and wait for a fabulous weather window. In my mind, the Magic-Eight-Ball-says we'll leave mid-March, but you never know when the trade winds will call.

So what does 2-ish weeks pre-departure look like?

It looks like mid afternoon coffee. It looks like short hair for me and the girls (less hair to wash and not so hot!) It's sitting hunched over because you can't sit up straight and going through every.single.space in the boat and purging, reorganizing, and squeezing stuff in.

It's trying to figure out where to store, and how to use and wash (oh, man) cloth diapers and hybrid gDiapers.

I layed out exactly how I wanted the two new, custom-fit sheets for the girls' quarterberth and then worked with a local seamstress to turn them into a reality. I cannot wait to show you the final products.

I brought the quarterberth cushions, and the adorable sheets to a local seamstress and had her do the heavy work since she had space to actually work. I sold my Sailrite in La Paz because there is no way I can do canvas or upholstery work in the tiny cabin or cockpit.

With my trusty Kenmore home sewing machine I have hammered out three bags for our sail covers, a sacrificial cover for the windvane blade and the windvane control unit. Also finished? Two sacrificial covers for our new cockpit chairs, two new hanging bags for the girls to stow toys in the cockpit while underway, a cover for the gas can in the dinghy, a bag to stow Lyra's tiny high chair when not in use, a bag to hold our awesome clothes ringer, and three more screen covers for our port lights....all in three days.

In addition to working with the seamstress and doing my own work, the talented Meri on s/v Hotspur made us new privacy panels and some awesome line bags. We are so set for the South Pacific.

Needless to say, we are keeping ourselves incredibly busy.

Cora has been enamored with decorating the backs of our annual Valentine's cards. This has kept her busy for quite literally, hours and hours over the past few days while I sew.

Yes, I know it is February 20th. So the Valentines will be late. Who cares? A darling message in the mail is still a darling message. (And Jen on s/v Appa, if you are reading, each of the cards above represents a different member of your family. Marcus was drawn with a dress because, "some guys wear dresses, mom.")

To my sailing mom friends, some of you may receive one of the cards pictured above. I think that was the batch she was working on. I've been writing them and mailing them in batches. I think the rest will be written while we are at anchor at Punta de Mita.

What else does two weeks pre-departure mean? It means connecting. Last week I facilitated an awesome meeting for the group Women Who Sail. Check out my post on why I started the group here, and feel free to join if you meet the criteria.

I was honored to be up there with sailing greats like Pat Henry, Eugenie Russell, Tamiko Quan Willie, and Michelle Williams. And thanks to the amazing Kat Liana at Marina La Cruz for orchestrating it and providing margaritas. Yum.

Pool time with my new and awesome friend, Rani on s/v Western Explorer.

There has also been the intense friendships you get when sailing. When you meet someone you click with, you try to hang out CONSTANTLY because in 3 days, 8 days, or two weeks, either their boat or your boat will be moving on. Friendships while cruising are deep and last a long, long time. You can go for years without seeing each other and immediately pick up where you left off when you are reunited.

Hanging out with boat mamas Attila and baby Jari from s/v Bettie, me, baby Lyra, and sweet Cora, and Jess and baby Rocket on s/v Adamastor.

The lovely Sabine (with baby Alma) on s/v Sea Raven and Rani, with baby Neve on s/v Adamastor.

Sometimes the play dates are for fun, but many of us are on serious time crunches and trying to get a lot done in a short time. Often times a play date will coalesce when a few of us need to clear off our boats so our respective spouses can tear apart our boats to work on, or fix something major.

It's not always chatting and margaritas though, sometimes we get together to run errands like getting our kids the vaccines they need for the age they are at. Mom solidarity as our babies get their jabs.

With two weeks left to go, we are helping friends, and those same friends are helping us, too.

Today our friend Lupe, her daughter Karla, and her son-in-law Gustavo drove us to Puerto Vallarta so we could provision at Costco. Eric rode in the back, down the highway, the rest of us crammed into a 2-seater truck, with two jump seats in the back.

And, of course, in the middle of being crammed into a car like a bunch of sardines, Lyra tried to grab my drink, and I whisked it away from her reach, but she sliced her finger as I yanked it from her. My poor booboo.

And trying to put pressure on a 12 month old's pointer finger, on the hand with the thumb she likes to suck when she is upset? It's hard. Really, really hard. We tried pressure, we tried a bandaid (and she yanked it off), we tried gauze taped on...and nothing worked. She kept re-opening the wound. Finally, we wrapped a clean cloth around her hand and taped it around her wrist. She was quite despondent at having her left thumb taken away, but snuggles in my Tula, and her favorite lovey helped us get through it.

The Costco run involved three full carts, a new kayak, and a cheap, foam long board. I did a run to Sam's Club a few days ago and we still need to hit up Mega and possibly Walmart one more time. We've decided to provision for four months, meaning we'll reprovision in Tahiti.

Yes, we know Tahiti is expensive, but we simply don't have the room to provision for eight months of cruising in the South Pacific. You win some, you lose some.

In the meantime, as always, our sweet girls keep us grounded and quite busy. We're trying out different ways of eating in the cockpit and are so grateful that the girls get along, adore each other, and play so well together.

Lyra rocking her full hand bandage.

And bonus? With T-minus two weeks to be ready to go, the girls are officially sharing a berth. After one arduous night when neither Lyra, Cora, nor I slept a wink, the girls have taken heartily to co-sleeping. Cora wakes up when Lyra rouses and pats her back and covers her up with the blanket she is using. They roll in unison as they sleep, like little kittens. In the mornings, Cora turns on their berth light and they play blocks until Eric and I get it up.

It's pretty sweet.

And they go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. Eric had to high five me for pushing for them to share a berth. Working like a charm, and now I think the crossing will be easier since they can cuddle up together.

More soon. Gotta get some sleep.

Tuesday
Jan282014

She has a Lot of Baggage

I realize that the title is a double entendre, and in this case it is quite à propos.

Above represents the haul I arrived with in Mexico, minus one gigantic backpack, oh, and a cute baby I carried in my Tula, too. It is surreal to be back in La Cruz almost a year exactly from giving birth to Lyra. I arrived on a Thursday and Eric left for a 10-day work trip the next day...

We had one night together as a family before Eric had to head back to the States for work.

I miss him.

Cora and Lyra acted like long-lost sisters, full of smiles, giggles, and kindness.

When you are single-parenting two kids, how do you unpack and stow the pile of stuff that you brought down for the Pacific crossing?

Answer - very slowly.

Day 2, as Eric left, the boat looked like this:

The Nav(igation) table.

The galley. Yes, our Hydrovane blade is in the galley. Don't judge. I got it put away eventually.

The sea berth and salon table.

Day 3, brought more unpacking while juggling kids.

I managed to get the Nav table to have organized piles, but that was at the expense of the salon table.

Must find room somewhere...

As for the galley and sea berth? No change.

On day 3, I also stopped the organizing blitz to go to my friend Monique's son's birthday party.

It was a boat baby party extravaganza. Present were FOUR babies, all under 12 months, all born to sailor parents currently in Mexico. Baby Lyra from our s/v Rebel Heart, baby Rocket from s/v Adamastor, baby Ronen from s/v Sea Conquest, and baby Jari from s/v Bettie. It's boat-baby mania in Mexico!

Day 4, I woke up to not only the ever-present predicament of all my stuff from the States, but also the groceries the girls and I had picked up the day before and had had no time to put away on day 3. The picture on the right just shows the regular kid mess the girls created as I tried to work around them.

I managed to get the galley in working order before it was time to head out for the Sunday morning market. This time I was showing the ropes to my new friend, Rani, on s/v Western Explorer.

Lyra (11 months), Me, Rani, Neve (15 months), and yes, Cora, hidden by her sun hat (3.5 years.)

I was so impressed to meet Rani and her husband, Hamish. They also have a four year old named Rohan (kids close our kids' ages) and they literally moved down to their boat this week. Total newbies and gung-ho-ready to learn the lifestyle.

It was fun to show her after she had had a few days of non-stop cleaning and organizing, that sometimes the lifestyle is just as pleasant as it sounds. You walk with your kids to the organic, shady, Sunday Market in La Cruz.

You run into other boat parents (some you hadn't seen since Puerto Escondido, hi Jasmine from s/v Tink.) You all plop down in the middle of some palm trees, the kids dance around to the beat of bongo drums, and the parents spell each other, a few of us watching the kids while various parents run off to get some hummus, or REAL peanut butter, and other sundries.

Siblings play with siblings.

Boat kids play with boat kids.

It was a good introduction to some of the nicer points of boat life in Mexico.

When we got back to the boat, Lyra passed out for her now one-a-day nap and Cora and I got ready for our next event, baby Kaori's baptism party!

Sadly, we were the most under-dressed guests in attendance. I didn't even think about dressing up. Mainly, I was just trying to make it there with all of us in one piece.

Kaori's cousin, Melisa, and my Cora.

It was a long, satisfying day. But not much unpacking got done. (Full set of photos from the baptism party here.)

Day 5, I woke up fuzzy and disoriented. I had nothing on my social calendar, I needed to do a ton of boat organizing, and I had two little girls looking at me like this. Ok, adorables.

Luckily our friends, Steve and Tamiko on s/v Landfall, stopped by and invited us to breakfast. After breakfast they offered to take Cora with them on some errands and Lyra and I hustled back to the boat, her to nap, me to clean.

Nav table, day 5. Awwww yeah, baby.

The v-berth. It looks like a mess, but actually, everything that is in there, is supposed to be in there. Huge step towards getting it straightened up.

Salon table? Check. The mess is getting smaller and smaller.

Also, the progress I made on day 5 would NOT have been possible without the amazing help I received from Steve and Tamiko's son, Eli. This rock star 16 year old hung out with us almost the entire day, from breakfast to dinner. He had endless patience with Cora's loquacious inquisitiveness and only gentleness for little Lyra. Eli, dude, you kept me sane and allowed me to get so much done on the boat, AND have someone to talk to who wasn't speaking 3-year-old. He is one incredibly respectful, kind, and interesting kid.

Side note, see those gorgeous rainbow and blue/green striped pillows. Yeah. They aren't stuffed with pillows, but rather, gDiaper disposable inserts. I'm sneaky like that. 

Day 6, dear Eric, I still miss you. 

By the end of our morning, the boat looked like this, but this was sincerely a good thing.  Notice the very empty quarter berth in the far left portion of the photo? I've been working on cleaning out, organizing, and rearranging Cora's berth so it becomes the girls' berth. Yep, Cora and Lyra will be sharing a berth just as soon as I can make a new lee cloth for it. And as soon as we get the quarter berth cushions back from the seamstress who is making us waterproof covers for under their sheets.

Day 6, has been a triumph. Cora is sleeping on some of the cushions from the salon tonight while hers are gone for a few days. I hung a new organizer and we are using the new, soft baskets I brought down from Target. She is enamored with the cloth bags I made for her in the states and thrilled to be sharing a berth with Lyra soon. 

We also went through the (sometimes painful) process of getting rid of some of her stuff. I explained that she needed to give away some of her stuffed animals and toys in order to make room for things she may receive on the Pacific passage. The possibility of receiving surprise presents was a very helpful incentive.

On the Nav table, the pile is dwindling; things are much more organized.

Can you hear me purring? MUCH better, Charlotte. Much better. I was even able to make us a decent lunch and dinner.

----

Speaking of baggage: No current updates on the legal pursuit of justice against my father. It has honestly been a relief to not be focused entirely on it while I reconnect with the girls and work on the boat. Thank you all for the continued support; updates coming soon.