countdown to freedom

01 March 2010 | Chacala
13 February 2010 | San Blas
02 February 2010 | Isla Isabela
27 January 2010 | Stone Island, Mazatlan
03 January 2010 | Mazatlan/ the main land
17 December 2009 | Espiritu Santu and La Paz
06 December 2009 | lovely La Paz
27 November 2009 | Lovely La Paz
18 November 2009 | Bahia Los Muertos
09 November 2009 | Cabo San Lucas
25 October 2009 | Catalina
17 October 2009 | Newport Beach, So. CAL
04 October 2009 | Sunny Santa Barbara
26 September 2009 | San Francisco
02 September 2009 | 1 inch closer
18 August 2009 | up the river : destination milltown
07 August 2009 | Still in Newport
29 July 2009 | Newport,Or

Squall,typhoon or waterspout? I called it "hell"

01 March 2010 | La Cruz,MX
slightly windblown
It started out like any other day. It was so calm outside actually, that me and the girls decided to soap up and go for a swim. The day was a little gray so we decided we would take it easy, do some schooling and maybe take the laundry up to the Lavanderia. We were anchored just outside the La Cruz harbor about 40 min (by car) north of Puerto Vallarta. We actually talked about leaving the following day and heading south.
The day had passed and the girls were tucked in for the night. Elias and I were watching Terminator 4, with some very loud special effects. We were not too alarmed when we saw lightning because there had been lightning for the past 4 nights.
I peeked out the window, "hey baby you should check outside here, it's getting pretty rolly."
He looked too and asked me to pause our show. He got up went across the salon and up the companionway. I heard quick footsteps up to the bow and the sound of our windless (he was letting out more anchor line) I got up from the couch and by the time I went into the cockpit, the boat began to heel over so far I felt like were at sea. Thunder and lightning was immediately on top of us and the wind went from about 5 knots to 75 knots in a matter of seconds. Elias came back into the cockpit, "Baby fire up the engine NOW!"
"Elias what's going on?"
"I think we might be in a hurricane!" he was out of the cockpit again...
At this time I could barely see out of our cockpit window because it was raining so hard, but I could see we were moving. Our anchor was dragging, despite our efforts to let out more rode. Other boats were also dragging. Since we have to warm up our glow plugs for 30-50 seconds before the engine will start I just stared helplessly out the window watching in horror as we blew past other bows and sterns. It was the longest 30 seconds of my life. I would later find out we were experiencing a severe freak squall and the winds reported were 100 MPH. I knew if I didn't warm the glow plugs our engine would not start and we would be done for. So, I counted to 30 slowly.
Elias was scrambling all over the place, doing everything he could to prevent damage to our boat and to try to secure the items we had stowed on deck.
"Sarah, whats happening!?" Kimberly was awake only moments after the blowing began.
"We are in a squall,honey" I could tell she was very alarmed.
"What should I do?!!!" She was starting to breathe heavy.
"Calm down. Go get your sister and get into your life vests and go into the cock pit,ok?"
As if she had woken up from a trance, she said "ok" and she was instantly calm.
We were all in the cockpit now and we were hurling towards the beach. Elias had the engine maxed out and was attempting to steer, but the winds were just too strong. The next thing we felt was a thud. We were aground. The boat heeled over hard and I had the girls in my arms just trying to stay on the high side of the boat. I could hear everything we owned crashing around inside. I was so sad. Elias looked at me and said, "We might lose her, baby..."
He then called in a mayday.
We thought if we did have to abandon ship, which we were not going to do unless we were up to our waists in water, at least people could come over to the beach to assist via land. About 10-15 minutes had passed. Boo was puking and Kimberly was trying not to. We were all soaked to the bone, just heeled over and wondering what would become of us, when all of a sudden, a wave came crashing up to the side of our boat.
We were free.
Elias had turned the engine off so we wouldn't suck sand into the impellor, so he immediately started it back up and he threw Stepping Stone into gear at full rpm's. We were making headway!!! Away from the beach! We were cheering and running below to check and see if we were taking on any water. We weren't. I could not believe it. Elias told me to drive away from the other boats, as far as humanly possibly, while he tried to rig up our spare anchor. It wasn't until that moment I realized we had lost ours and all the 200ft of chain that went with it. There were 2 huge shrimp boats on the very outside of the anchorage and Elias told me to head straight for them. I asked him if he had hit his head too hard during the grounding. He pointed out to me, that those big boats also had really big lights. He wanted to use them to pull out spare chain and rig up the other anchor. I guess that is why he is Captain. I must've driven 60 circles around those guys. It was so funny at one point because ALL the guys on the shrimp boats were out on deck with their arms crossed just watching us. They were obviously not experiencing the same difficulties we were. 
Finally, Elias rigged up the anchor, we set it but the storm was still in effect. The wind had died down to 40 knots (still a lot) and we were rolling all over the place as we were trying to pick up some of the boat. We had talked to our friends from S/V Tynamara, they had also lost their anchor and now they would head into the marina. We asked them to give us a report when they got there. They came back saying we should definitely come in and settle on the dock for the remainder of the night.
The squall kicked up @ around 10:30 pm and was slowly dying down at 2 am. It was a very long night.
We did go into the marina, where things were relatively calm and we tried to put some things in order before going to bed around 3:30 am. Needless to say, we slept in and the following day took photos and assessed the situation.
We reported everything to our insurance company, including the loss of our dinghy, with engine, our surf boards, our wind generator...the list goes on and on.
We arranged to be hauled out in La Cruz and to get everything fixed. In the meantime, we stayed on a friends boat and went to work on copious amounts of paperwork for the insurance companies.
Boo and I were interviewed by Latitude 38 (you can find a full article online; 'Freak weather plagues sailors and sunbirds' ) and the whole family was photographed and interviewed by Cruising World. The 'storm tactics' issue will be in print this fall. I'll let you know. I never thought my 15 minutes of fame would be as, "the boat that ran aground-and then got off again." But, heh, could be worse.
The lessons learned and the way my family pulled together in this time of crisis, was a very priceless experience. Not to mention, while I was here in La Cruz I was offered a three-month job on a super yacht. So you see, some things are meant to be.....even though they are disguised as tropical typhoons
Vessel Name: stepping stone
Vessel Make/Model: Mapleleaf, 42 ft.
Hailing Port: Newport, Oregon
Crew: Cptn Elias;1st Mate, Sarah; 2nd Mate,Kimberly and Swabbie Boo
We are a family of four, living on board our beautiful 42' Mapleleaf in Newport, Or. We are currently cold. Ha Ha. [...]
stepping stone's Photos - First leg (Main)
Photos 1 to 26 of 26
nothing like the hilly San Fran
first pint on land! Cheers Will!
my sister of the sea...on land :)
Crazy cool gypsy houseboat park in Sausolito
...the park had a sign that said enter at your own risk...the electrical engineering was definitely the work of a one-eyed sailor
..tied a good way.
Ahhh almost fully visible
Sausolito...a quaint little place...Will says almost looks like a little Greece.
the companionway is a very stable hideout underway
This isn
just dropped an oil filter off to a friend while sailing! It required a little engineering and several ziplocs.
Elias enjoying the view
The Lost Coast...Mendecino Canyon
different angle
I hope photography scouts are viewing this stuff
Our big,tough capt
My little swabby..hard at work
We will certainly miss our family :)
Cutest railmeat you ever saw xoxo
faces we like to make at the Captain.....when he turns around
Who says fixing stuff ALL the time 
Sometimes Boo has to take over (Anyone who has taken a drive with Elias knows what I
Eventhough there is a lot to always gotta do a little fishin
Ahhhh...a beautiful day up river....
(a lovely veiw from the Sugar Shack)
This is what I look like after I
from the beginning of the day, when we decided to bathe...til the end of the day, after the freak squall
No Photos
Created 1 March 2010
birdies and leapin lizards!
29 Photos
Created 2 February 2010
Jungle Expedition San Blas(south of Mazatlan) we went on an awesome jungle tour..crikey! We started out in a panga going into the mangroves,then visited a croc farm, and a freshwater lagoon for swimming. Some of the wildlife, including some crocs,were in the wild. It was an amazing day for all of us.
15 Photos
Created 28 January 2010
A series of great pictures, proudly showing all the things Elias has been catching.
52 Photos
Created 27 January 2010
you'll see
8 Photos
Created 27 January 2010
since we use two memory cards sometimes our updates are sporatic
24 Photos
Created 19 December 2009
Some lovely pics of Espiritu Santu and lots of the girls and La PAz...which is beautiful this time of year
60 Photos
Created 19 December 2009
a few pictures of the anchorage and the kiddies
38 Photos
Created 18 November 2009
highlights of The Channel Islands as well as pics from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas
54 Photos
Created 9 November 2009
A few pic's of a lovely day...with family
19 Photos
Created 4 October 2009
a few starter photos
3 Photos
Created 7 August 2009

Countdown to Freedom

Who: Cptn Elias;1st Mate, Sarah; 2nd Mate,Kimberly and Swabbie Boo
Port: Newport, Oregon