04/17/2012, Banderas Bay
clockwise from top: James, Mackinnon, Everett, and Saunders
Spring break on the boat was very homey because I spent it with some good friends, the Bucks, Darleys and Carters. When the Bucks arrived, I was so happy I was literally jumping up and down. I just remember writing in my journal, three more days, two more days, and one more day until the Bucks come. That was all that I could think about!! When we met them at the airport, my first thought was, "My gosh, they're giants!!" My second thought, "It's so unfair!" Mackinnon was head and shoulders taller than me and Everett was as tall as my dad. Lucky for my sanity and my sense of fairness Saunders was still little Saunders!! After we were done with the hellos and caught up a bit we hopped on a bus and headed towards their resort.
Their resort was Gigantic! There are several different buildings all along the waterfront. It was more like a city than a resort. Our area alone had a huge pool, a big lazy river, an awesome water slide, two wave pools, and a not so little little kid's area. The Bucks and I spent the rest of our time that afternoon swimming. We spent most of our time in the lazy river. Our favorite activity was flipping the other person's inner tube over and dumping that person in the water. For dinner that night, we ate at a poolside restaurant. The Buck boys and I all had monster burgers that were delicious. That night Mackinnon spent the night, and we had a blast!!
The rest of the week was like that, either at our resort or theirs. We swam, boogie boarded, played in the surf, and played football in the sand, until that ill-fated sailing trip on Tuesday.
It was a bad day to go sailing to say the least. There was a big swell, and the wind wasn't great. We got to a max speed of four knots, which is about five miles per hour. The Bucks all got sick except for Saunders and Mrs. Buck. They were even too sick to swim when we stopped in the bay!! Finally, we got back to the marina and had a dinner of chicken fajitas. Once we were done, the Bucks headed back to their hotel and I was left wondering if tomorrow's sail will be kinder to the Darleys and Carters.
It was!! There was a perfect twenty knot wind and virtually no swell! The only problem was that Mathew got sick on the way to the marina and Mark had to take him back; plus Amelia and Jason were going diving that day, but the rest of us had a ton of fun! On a twenty knot wind, this boat leans over quite a bit, until the cap rail is almost in the water and the waves are splashing up on the sail and soaking half of the boat. Which Megan, the friend of the Carters and Darleys, learned really quickly while she was sunbathing on the bow. Nobody got sick this time either and we all swam except for the adults. But on the way in, we got a little bit of unwanted excitement. The Paradise Village marina hosts a junior sailing club, and all of these kids about our age go out in their little sailing dinghies and sail around. As we're coming in, this little sailor, a little younger than us, is cutting across our path. We can't turn sharply enough and we crash right into her!! SMACK BANG!! She slides about halfway down our bow, screaming the whole way!!AHHHHHHAHHHH!! Almost giving our poor parents heart attacks before finally sailing away. We all breathed a sigh of relief and continued on our way, but our excitement for the day wasn't over. As we were coming towards our slip, we realized that there was a small power boat in it, so we backed up and went into the nearest open slip, ending our sailing adventure.
The day after our perfect sailing trip was a very funny day. That day we went to the Grand Mayan for another day of swimming, but this time the parents joined in on the fun. Naturally our first stop was the slide. We grabbed inner tubes that made you go faster and allowed you to slide five feet across the water once you exited the slide. We learned that bigger people go faster and farther, and this was wonderfully demonstrated by my dad. We had all gone already and slid the usual five feet. Then it was my dad's turn. He came Flying down the slide and shooting out the exit! It was like bowling! These two little boys in front of me dove out of the way and narrowly avoided the road kill treatment and so did I. But Sydney wasn't so lucky; she got hit head on by my dad on his inner tube and got knocked backwards coming up with a nasty scrape on her stomach. Needless to say my dad got a strike! We were all laughing so hard, we must have swallowed a gallon of chlorine water! I would've given anything to have gotten that on video!
The next stop was the not so lazy river. Dad didn't go but my mom and Mrs. Buck did and I considered it my duty to give them the ride of their lives. I was feeling mischievous, what can I say? So I flipped them over multiple times and dragged them under the waterfall despite their best efforts, twice! They didn't stay in very long, whoops!? After that memorable afternoon, we went to Eddie's Place for dinner and we had fajitas and burgers.
The next day was Friday and the Buck's last day; it was sad. But we still had fun! We played two games of football, swam in the surf and the pool, and buried Saunders in the sand. After lunch the Bucks went to the airport and we went to the Darley's and the Carter's casa they had rented. We swam in their pool and had diving and cannonball contests. We even dove through their little inflatable inner tubes! We had a delicious dinner of lobster and cordon bleu with a baked potato on the side. After dinner, we played card games and just messed around. We didn't leave until almost eleven o clock that night. That ended the best Spring Break ever!!
03/30/2012, Alta Vista, Nayarit, Mexico
Last week we took a van ride to visit the Petroglyphs on the ancient holy grounds of the Huichol Indians, making a few interesting stops along the way. April, our tour guide, takes people on private tours all over the states of Riviera de Nayarit and Jalisco. She is also a surfer and a local animal lover who moved from California with her husband twenty five years ago.
Our first stop was in the town of La Panita for a Mexican street market. This market was busy with locals and tourists of every shape and size. There were stands selling stuff from underwear to pottery. There were people selling food, buying food, and eating food. I guess a better name for it would be a flea market like we sometimes call them at home.
An hour later we were off again. On our way to the petroglyphs, we stopped at a fruit stand where a little old Mexican woman was selling fruit and candy. You pull into this side stop where she has a shelf covered with Mexico candy and fruit. She was sweet and looked so happy to see us! We tried a little fruit and some candy, including Yaca and Cajeta. Yaca is a little bit bigger than a cantaloupe but shaped like an oval and has bumpy skin. From a distance it looks like it could be a nest of some kind. Cajeta tastes like creamy caramel and is made from goat milk.
Our ride to the Petroglyphs was enjoyable but bumpy. We had to go down this dusty lane with lots of potholes, rocks, and a whole lot of dust! After suiting up with backpacks and walking shoes we set off. We had to walk about two miles before we got to the actual petroglyphs. What is a petroglyph? Petroglyphs are drawings the Huichol Indians carved in boulders an estimated fifteen hundred years ago. The Huichol Indians worship nature. People have tried to understand what the drawings mean but since there was no written language, nobody can say for sure. We hiked through the jungle to find many of these glyphs. It's hard to believe that we were in real lush jungle. The technical term for this kind of jungle is a Tropical Dry Rain Forest due to the fact that it does not receive as much rain as a typical rain forest.
For me our day at the Petroglyphs was a day of experience. You see the sweet and the sour in everything, but I think the most important part is seeing everything in between.
03/17/2012, La Cruz Mexico
The cruising life is awesome, crazy, cool and freaky all at the same time. Everything is different. [Okay maybe not everything] But school, food, the people, climate, lifestyle and activities are different. One thing that is a constant is my friends and family.
First I'll talk about lifestyle and food. The food here is so different. I mean obviously its Mexico and all that but still. It's not like there's Burger Kings or Wendy's every few blocks especially where we are. Our most used food source, at least when we go out, are the palapa beach restaurants. These beach huts are so different than home. They're made out of palm fronds with no walls. You guys have probably seen these before but I've got to say they're weird. The food is sometimes fantastic, but other times it's terrible. The only consistency is that the service is never very good and all the food never gets to the table at the same time. But that's okay because you're not sitting in some stuffy, loud, overcrowded indoor restaurant. You sit in plastic Corona chairs with the loudest noise, usually, being the crash of the surf. The architecture and homes here are completely different and so is living on a boat.
Living on a boat, at least our boat, is like living in a large apartment that's always moving and always has some kind of mechanical sound running in the background. Like the freezer, fridge, generator, invertor, ENGINE, or water maker is always running. But it's also surprisingly peaceful. Each night as you go to bed the gentle rocking motion puts you to sleep like a baby, but there's a downside. During the day, it makes you lazy, especially coupled with the eighty degree weather and a good book!! And being lazy definitely doesn't help with school.
School on the boat is strange to say the least. It only lasts a few hours, I read my books in my bunk, and after school I don't go in the backyard and mess around. OH NO!!! We hop in the kayaks to paddle into shore to surf the waves, [Or I read], sometimes we'll swing off the whisker pole into the water. [Or I'll read] It's like a permanent vacation. But there's a downside, there's always a downside. I don't get to see my friends every day at school, and I don't get to see my family during holidays. But I got to say there is one thing that I don't miss about home, the weather!!!!!! Yah you guys know what I'm talking about. The climate here is the complete opposite compared to home. I haven't put on a sweatshirt or a long sleeve shirt in almost three months! But, contrary to what you might believe, it has rained. It poured, and I mean middle of January poured, for four days straight. There was just one difference. It was still warm.
Traveling on a boat is strange!! A fifteen minute drive in a car takes an hour and a half on the boat. If the water's rough, riding on a boat is miserable. Your stomach takes an elevator ride up to your throat, then down, and then side to side, especially on the open ocean. But if its calm out, there's nothing better. You can sit in the cockpit or out on the bow with the wind on you face and the spray in your hair. And sometimes if we're lucky we'll get some entertainment!! Sometimes we'll get ten to fifteen dolphins swimming three times our average speed of seven knots. Then they'll jump out of the water and play in our wake. Other times we'll see manta rays jumping two or three feet out of the water. [That's my favorite] Still other times, if we're really lucky we'll see a pod of whales, blowing spray out of their blowholes, and waving hello with their gigantic tails. And sometimes there's nothing. Just the gentle rock and creak of the boat and the wind flapping the sails.
So as you can see pretty much everything is different on a boat in Mexico. I can't wait to see everybody again this summer. I miss you guys so much!!!