Walking down the dock the other day, I stopped in my tracks, looked at Yahtzee and smiled. What a magical piece of fiberglass, metal, canvas and ropes this thing is. Our home for over 8 years, Porter and Magnus have lived here since they were hours old and we’ve traveled thousands of miles since as a family. To be sure, it’s a dream machine and adventure mobile that we’ve upgraded, doted on, and setup to our liking through countless hours of work and a good bit of coin to go with it. The priceless memories we have made, and continue to make, seem to flow freely in an endless stream.
In that moment, though, I wasn’t really thinking about all that. While watching the boys scurry on and off the stern, laughing and getting on with their next activity, I was just happy to be back. Happy to have put her into sailing shape once again and excited for the future — which is now.
End of a Glorious Summer
Our summer foray back to the states for hurricane season was everything we’d hoped it would be and more. Yahtzee was safe, and we got to spend lots of time with both sides of the family, including some quality cousin time for the boys, and we even got to see some friends that we haven’t hung out with in years. On top of that, we hiked, fished, sailed, golfed, ate great food, enjoyed lots of laughter, and much more.
Alas, summer in Michigan slowly turned to fall and by the time we left at the beginning of October, the boys had carved pumpkins, trees were fully changing colors and the temperatures were causing us to don pants, socks and shoes more that I would have liked. That was our cue to fly south towards home.
Throughout all of our travels to and from the states we felt safe and took all the necessary Covid-19 precautions needed in order to decrease the likelihood that we’d get infected and then potentially pass it on to others. In many ways, returning to our little bubble in Mexico safe and sound has been a welcome respite from the craziness we left north of the border.
Since our return to Barra de Navidad and Yahtzee, we’ve been working very hard to get her into cruising shape. Here are a few highlights from the past couple weeks…
Community, Community, Community
Barra de Navidad is a small beach town that is divided into two parts by a narrow channel and lagoon. On the south side is the Grand Isla Navidad Resort and Marina — where Yahtzee is — and an even smaller town called Colimilla. On the north side is the town of Barra de Navidad and then a bit further down the road, Melaque. There is no bridge, so we either take our dinghy across to town and park it on the beach or use the system of water taxis that ferry people back and forth. It’s a pretty sweet spot.
From our time here over New Years to this spring and fall, one of the things we’ve come to love so much about this place is the various communities that we are apart of. As cruisers temporarily residing in the marina, we’re not considered tourists, but we’re not full-time residents either. We’ve gotten to know the community of people that work at the marina and work on boats, and it was fun to come back after time away to smiles and greetings, like seeing old friends again.
Similar to those who work in and around the marina, it was refreshing to walk through town again chatting with the community of locals we’ve come to know in Barra. A young surf instructor, the lady who works at the surf shop, several employees at cafes, shopkeepers, and more, were all happy to see us — in some ways, it was like we never left.
The other community that exists here is the close-knit group of cruisers who call the marina home for hurricane season. Due to Covid, there’s a larger than normal group of sailors who stayed on their boats throughout the summer and we are fortunate to count many of them as our best friends. The crews of Arrow, Prairie Fox and Yahtzee — seven kids and six adults — were all overjoyed to be reunited again and it was great to see and catch up with many of the other boaters we’ve come to call friends as well. Right now, we’re all in the mode of getting our boats ready for cruising, and it’s exciting to share tips and chat with everyone about what new horizons, anchorages and ports lie ahead.
Besides the people, one of the things we love most about Mexico is the food. Most if not all dining here is open air and socially distant, and we’ve felt comfortable going out for some of our favorite meals. From an assortment of tacos, ceviche and other Mexican favorites to pizza, yes pizza, we’re definitely not going hungry. We eat most meals at home, though, and it’s easy to do when there are so many fresh, inexpensive vegetables, fruits, and protein options to treat ourselves to. Also, there are no big grocery stores here like in the states, so part of the fun is buying our favorite meats at one place, vegetables at another, tortillas at another, and so on.
Surfing, Sailing … and soon, Cruising
As much as we loved spending time with so much family over the summer, it has been nice for the four of us to get back into our own family routines. Throughout our time away from Yahtzee, Jill diligently kept up with the boys’ homeschooling and I did my usual thing working, editing and writing, so those routines went largely unchanged. After the initial growing pains of getting our stuff settled on the boat, we’ve fallen into everyday life here almost like we never left. We’ve also been working hard on a relatively long list of to-do items and projects, the likes of which I won’t bore you with. Suffice it to say, Yahtzee is nearly ready to rock.
Surfing has once again been part of our weeks and the beach in Barra has a decent break for all of us to get out and catch some waves when it’s pumping. And we’re definitely looking forward to exploring more surf spots moving on from here. Part of gettingYahtzee dialed in and ready was to go for a mini-shakedown sail over the weekend, and we were all happy to be home and under sail again.Yahtzee was fast, and we even found a few issues to fix before we head out cruising. Speaking of that, we’re now just a few days away from shoving off for points unknown. While we’re definitely going to miss it here, we’re excited to once again go where the winds of change take us — wherever that may be.