MatTag Sailabout

Stories, photos, videos, and natural history updates from a family of three traveling from Alaska to Mexico on their sailboat with their Schipperke.

Vessel Make/Model: Contest 44
Hailing Port: Juneau, Alaska
Crew: Beth Mathews, Jim and Glen Taggart
Beth is a marine biologist who has lived in Alaska for 20 years. She retired from the University of Alaska Southeast to begin this sailing adventure with her family. Her research and teaching focus has been on marine mammals and behavioral ecology. [...]
Extra: 2016: Last year Jim delivered our sailboat from Baja to San Francisco Bay where Glen and I met him for the final leg up the Petaluma River to her new home. Resilience is now moored in the Petaluma Marina, only 20 miles south of our land home in Santa Rosa.
22 July 2020 | Bodega Bay, CA
06 January 2016 | Petaluma Marina
26 June 2015 | San Juanico Bay
25 June 2015 | Exploring Magdelena Bay
19 June 2015 | Off SW end of Baja
27 May 2015 | Santa Rosa, CA
23 March 2015 | La Paz, Mexico
15 October 2014 | Bahia San Pedro, Mexico
15 October 2014 | Santa Rosa, CA
09 June 2014 | Alameda, CA
05 April 2014 | 27.55'N; 111.50'W
03 April 2014 | San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
27 March 2014 | 33.9425 N; 118.4081 W
23 February 2014 | Alameda, CA
18 December 2013 | Alameda, CA
13 June 2013 | Crossing the Sea of Cortez
Recent Blog Posts
22 July 2020 | Bodega Bay, CA

Wilderness with a big W

Wilderness with a big W:

18 December 2019 | Petaluma River

Edgy déjà vu: Petaluma River Retreat from Kincaid Fire Smoke

The Kincade fire began on October 23, 2019 and eventually consumed 78,000 acres--the largest wildfire Sonoma County has ever experienced. The first whiffs of smoke sparked an edgy déjà vu. At noon that day, Jim left our home in Santa Rosa for Petaluma to do some work on our sailboat, planning to return that evening. Although Santa Rosa did not experience an imminent threat, as the Air Quality Index rose, and high-wind forecasts persisted, we decided to shelter on Resilience and head down river to San Francisco. Leaving also meant we could offer our home to a family who had been evacuated from Windsor or Healdsburg, the heart of the Kincaid fire. This short video chronicles our oddly serene trip down the Petaluma River, through agricultural land and past a bucolic small town.

10 January 2016 | Santa Rosa, Ca

VIDEO: Beth reads "The Third Try," a story about releasing fishing line snarled around the prop

Beth Mathews is a marine biologist and writer who set out on a three-year sailing adventure from Alaska to Mexico with her ten-year-old son and husband, after her husband had a debilitating brainstem stroke. In this video, she reads about snorkeling beneath the boat, while in Mexico, to cut the boat's [...]

06 January 2016 | Petaluma Marina

Make a Difference in 2016

With the New Year's first week about to vaporize, I paused today while walking in downtown Petaluma (20 miles south of Santa Rosa) to think about what I had done last year that I wanted to do more of in 2016. The list started with "exercise." Then I remembered that in 2015, I submitted a letter to the [...]

26 June 2015 | San Juanico Bay

5:00 AM Anchor in San Juanico 6/26/2015

5:55AM B: Just read all of your posts. So glad last night went well. Wishing I knew how to teleport. 6/26/2015 FRIDAY [Note: Jim can send send 150 character texts from their InReach GPS device.]

Ensenada Grande hike

24 May 2013 | Ensenada Grande
Beth / sunny, hot
Turn off the anchor lite. Stand on fourth rung in cockpit ladder to look outside. [May 21, 2013]

Put away dishes from last night's dinner with Steve, Carolina, Kyle and Joel from Lady Carolina. I move about quietly, not wanting to wake Jim or Glen.

Add remaining ingredients to yeast bread that I started last night. I left it rising overnight using the sponge method. I have not tried this before - that is, the overnight part. Stir in another four cups of flour; roll dough onto floured counter. Rinse hands to cue up Spanish "Lesson 6, Recreation" on our stereo. Knead dough for 10 minutes.

Compose a birthday email to my brother, Tom, who turns 50-something today. Is it 53? Climb back up into cockpit to look at sun lit cliffs. Return to writing about where we are, describing it for Tom. Here is what I wrote:

"We are currently at anchor in the lower Sea of Cortez off a tiny island named Isla San Francisco. We arrived yesterday afternoon, with our friends on Lady Carolina, a sailboat, close behind us. They raised their colorful spinnaker sail for a slower more peaceful approach in the light winds, whereas we motored. They have two boys, 12 and 8. Kyle the oldest is a very good friend of Glen's; we love spending time with their family. Both parents are engineers. Steve is an electrical engineer and Carolina is a hydrologist who works on oil drilling projects.

The sun's low rays illuminate exposed layers of earth that tell a story that I do not know, but want to learn. Today, for the first time in Mexico, we are seeing a thick dusty turquoise-green layer of rock next to the abundant pale orange layers. Much of the area's geology is volcanic.

Yesterday, Jim, Glen and I did a short hike up a steep rock fall above a white sand beach at the anchorage south of here (photos). It was cool to see the rocks and vegetation up close. From a distance the wave swept lower rocks look smooth and inviting. Up close they were in fact rough conglomerates with sharp ragged edges. Sections of powder rust colored conglomerate abut other similar intrusions of gray conglomerate that looks just like concrete with chunks of rock and other loose items -- it is hard to believe that it is volcanic and not man made.

Jim found what we think is a human middens. In front of a low cave carved into the reddish rock (photo) were cracked oyster shells scattered and abundant. We tried to imagine some animal that might transport them up that far, but they looked too large to be carried by birds. The temperature in the adjacent shallow cave -- it extended back only about 12 feet and was may 3 feet tall -- was noteably cooler than out in the open, even though it was before noon. We aren't sure, but we wondered if people lived there in relatively recent times, carrying fresh oysters up the rocky face to that protected cave to consume.

THe cactus and other low growing desert vegetation is all so new -- fascintating adaptations to the arid habitat. One woody tree grows right on the rock faces, sending solid exposed root-like limbs off to the side, like a person's arm reaching around the rock to hold on."

I signed off with my brother with another birthday wish and sent the message into my Outbox. It will be days before we have any internet access.

Knead dough again. Separate into three balls. Roll out one sphere to ½ inch. Spread on melted butter; spoon cinnamon sugar across dough. Squat down to look for raisins/pasas in the main food storage cupboard. Hmmm... no raisins. I'll chop up these 8 figs and scatter them in with some chopped pecans.

Glen and Jim sleep.

Second morining alarm goes off, a reminder to turn on the SSB/Ham radio. I hear Jim stirring. Remember to turn off the refrierator and solar panels. Switch off all other electrical circuits. Tune to 3968 - Ham Sonrisa Net. Pulsing interference fills the cabin, but lets the distant voices tell us about the locations of other boaters. Soon, this net will also give us a weather forecast.

And so, our second week in the Sea of Cortez begins.
RESILIENCE's Photos - Main
Contains photos I need to store here to upload into posts.
1 Photo
Created 6 January 2016
1 Photo
Created 25 June 2015
Our 2nd stop during our passage south from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas with the 2012 Baja Ha Ha. (This is where Jim is June 20+ 2015)
56 Photos
Created 21 June 2015
Jim has prepped & is sailing/bashing our sailboat up the outer coast of Baja.
4 Photos
Created 19 June 2015
Photos by Forrest Young and Jim.
7 Photos
Created 6 November 2014
This album has 3 photos from our new home in Santa Rosa, CA.
6 Photos
Created 15 October 2014
While the hull and bottom painting projects continue below, we pull out the sails from months of storage inside the boat to reattach them to their booms -- a job that would be hard for Jim to do alone.
16 Photos
Created 5 April 2014
Boat painting continues while we pull the mainsail out of the boat and reattach it.
12 Photos
Created 5 April 2014
Beth and Glen join Jim over Glen's spring vacation in San Carlos, Mexico where the boat is hauled out for painting.
26 Photos
Created 3 April 2014
Over breakfast at the San Ignacio Oasis, I met Tad, Galia, and John, who were touring Baja by motorcylce. We shared a wonderful breakfast. They did a great job of shattering my stereotype of 'bikers.' John is a former avid bicycle rider. Seeing how they packed all of their gear for weeks onto their bikes was impressive.
5 Photos
Created 1 July 2013
San Ignacio is where Glen's cave painting trip originated and ended. I made new friends here with Faith (3 yrs old) and her parents, Isabel and Russ, wrote, walked, paid bills, rode a one-speed bike around town, and painted while Glen was off on his big trip.
30 Photos
Created 23 June 2013
Glen surfs his new board by being towed behind our sailboat as we travel north in the Sea of Cortez.
9 Photos
Created 13 June 2013
Nine of us from 5 family boats visited La Paz's Serpentarium. The highlight was the aviary, where we all got to feed birds that ate out of our hands.
41 Photos
Created 1 June 2013
We loved getting close to the cactus and volcanic rock on this steep, rocky section above a white beach along the lower Sea of Cortez.
25 Photos
Created 24 May 2013
Several mother-calf pairs of gray whales interacted with our boat and us in San Ignacio Lagoon -- an amazing experience.
16 Photos
Created 5 May 2013
Glen meets the other expedition members in San Ignacio, Baja
8 Photos
Created 29 April 2013
On our first day in San Blas we toured the town and ruins with fellow boaters from Lady Carolina
12 Photos
Created 25 February 2013
East of La Paz, in Cerralvo Channel, we encounter a lone, young sperm whale.
6 Photos
Created 26 January 2013
San Diego to Bahia de los Tortugas, including Glen's first tuna (under full sail) and our first overnight sailing.
35 Photos
Created 30 December 2012
Savoring Bahia de los Frailes.
20 Photos
Created 26 December 2012
Glen and Beth move back to Alameda from Ojai; Glen attends Cazadero Music Camp; we decide to bail on maintaining teak cap rails and paint (!) them instead.
70 Photos
Created 19 December 2012
We are coastal hopping our way south, pausing to wait for very good weather and to experience small communities and people along the way.
16 Photos
Created 1 September 2011
Still some essential projects to complete before heading out past Cape Flattery. Made time to visit the fantastic Makah Indian museum in Neah Bay.
9 Photos
Created 11 August 2011
Last days in Port Townsend getting ready to start our offshore trip. First leg to Port Angeles; fogged out on Aug 7.
30 Photos
Created 8 August 2011
We launch our new main sail and discover 2 excellent, free, interactive educational web sites.
26 Photos
Created 29 April 2011
Glen and I took a long side trip to see the edge of one the world’s most unlikely and puzzling migrations: 10 million monarch butterflies, through 4-5 generations, migrate from central Mexico to the Great Lakes region.
47 Photos
Created 12 April 2011
Ijsselmeer gets back in the water and is remasted. Christmas on board and with Nan and Ina.
6 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 23 March 2011
As the deck project marchess on to the fiberglass phase, we appreciate house-sitting for friends, a brief bit of snow, visits from dear friends, and Thanksgiving with Nan and Ina.
63 Photos
Created 23 March 2011
We (especially Jim) continue to work on the deck overhaul, while learning splicing for the running rigging from Brion; Glen celebrates his 12th Birthday in PT and thrives with homeschooling; housesitting a wonderful Victorian home while the deck project drones on keeps us from imploding.
77 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 26 February 2011
As the rigging project is pre-empted by the deck replacement mega-project, we continue to enjoy life in Port Townsend, a visit to the Bauer-Youngs near Mt Ranier, thanksgiving with Beth's cousin Nan (and Ina), housesitting a wonderful Victorian in PT, the Kinetic Sculpture event and more.
63 Photos
Created 7 February 2011
Glen meets new friends at a Marine Biology camp; rigging work continues; we enjoy PT's farmer's market; Glen starts a writing workshop with local author, Patrick Jennings; we share a dinner with the Piatt family.
25 Photos
Created 21 January 2011
We started Ijsselmeer's re-rigging project with Brion Toss, Glen took a sailing class, and we all enjoyed PT's sunny summer.
14 Photos
Created 21 January 2011
photo from our 1992 photo album taken during our stop in Nanaimo to visit Graeme and Dana Ellis, and Jane Watson durg our trip north delivering a new Ijsselmeer from Seattle to Juneau.
1 Photo
Created 1 September 2010
Shortly after arriving in Port Townsend, we started working with Brion Toss, a very talented rigger, to upgrade and revise Ijsselmeers standing rigging. The first steps in this process involve 1) removing all sails, 2) tuning and measuring the existing 'rig', 3) removing booth booms, and 4) detaching all of the standing rigging at deck level, and 4) removing both masts.
36 Photos
Created 1 September 2010
July 8-14: We had planned a quick overnight visit with our dear friends, Graeme Ellis and Jane Watson, and their daughter Dana, as we were sprinting to make our date with the rigger in Port Townsend. A new kink in the steering, however, required us to stay a week instead (take us to the briar patch!). Graeme and Jane's hospitality and help were over the top: really. We loved being folded into their and Dana�s rich lives on Protection Island, just offshore of Nanaimo, BC.
34 Photos
Created 1 September 2010
We had two beautiful days traveling down through the inside passage to an anchorage just south of Bella, Bella. Glen discovered kite-flying off the stern.
26 Photos
Created 29 July 2010
Jun 29-Jul 4: We spent a few extra days in Prince Rupert, British Columbia to do some work on Ijsselmeer, and we were also delayed by the weather.
7 Photos
Created 29 July 2010
Photos from some of the preparation steps and from days 1-8 in transit from Juneau to Prince Rupert.
29 Photos
Created 30 June 2010