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

Day 40 aboard S/V Resilience*: Last Saturday (7/11), we ducked out under San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and motored north into 4-5 foot seas ~4 hours to the shelter of Drakes Bay, off Point Reyes National Seashore. The contrast with exploring the calm, warm-water Delta is striking. Everything [...]

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.]

Spearfishing, whale sharks, & sailing: stories from Forrest

06 November 2014 | Midriff Islands
Forrest Young / sun
TXT from Forrest to sister Kiana: "I swam with a whale shark today." TXT Kiana: "So what! I peeled potatoes today." --- We started from Sonora and sailed North to the Midriff Islands, just crossed over to Baja and now headed North again to explore before heading back South down the Baja peninsula. Thinking of you guys often. Also share this message with grandma. Thinking of her too! We woke up at five thirty this morning, started going at six. Caught a tuna before seven and ate it for breakfast before eight.

[This story was shared by Forrest Young, who has been crewing with Jim the past month. Forrest graduated from college about a year ago.]
Date: October 24, 2014 at 7:41:56 PM PDT
To: Parents Fawn and Chuck, and sister Kiana]

Dinner was interrupted the other night by shooting stars and then coyotes howling and then a dolphin swam under the boat and all you could see was out lit up by the glowing plankton bioluminescence. It's a desert and ocean wilderness down here, I don't think it's gotten below eighty side I arrived. Haven't worn shoes or pants since we left port either.

Snorkeling and fishing happens daily. When it gets so hot your brain starts shutting down you jump in the water to be refreshed immediately.

Out in the Midriff Islands we stayed a few nights at Isla Partida, these islands have been compared to the Galapagos. I believe it. The water was there clearest we've had. Remarkable geology extended from the face of the island under the surface. Saw a sea turtle and a ray a couple feet long. The evening ended with my first attempt at paddleboarding and I thought of you Kiana. It makes no sense but it is very zen if not very shakey.

The next day introduced another new sport for me: spearfishing. After spending the morning researching edible fish of the area and scouting the reefs (me towed behind the dinghy piloted by Jim), he loaded the weapon and handed it to me to catch, no, impale lunch. This thing is about five feet long and shoots a 2.5 foot spear tethered to a reel with two gigantic rubber bands. I have no doubt that pointed at someone, the spear would not have trouble going right through a chest or abdomen. The idea is to freedive, parallel the bottom with the gun pointing at whatever you look at, and when a fish comes into view, shooting it. Having practiced my free dives, and worked up to what I thought was a depth of 25 feet and duration of at least 1:15 (more like 8 feet and 25 seconds), I was on the hunt. First dive, I rounded a boulder, a decent sized triggerfish right there, point blank. I pulled the trigger already tasting the tacos, nothing... Embarrassing. Somehow the fish got away. Two dives later yielded results. An hour later we had a triggerfish, a Mexican hogfish, and a chub plus some rock oysters and a gigantic scallop. Cleaning the hogfish was interrupted by a pair of fin whales, or first pelagic whales so far!

Not only does the ocean provide fuel in the sails but also food on the table. Life is good.

After alternator problems today finds us in Bahia de Los Angeles. The engine problem has been appeased and according to the binoculars there is a restaurant in town with WiFi so I'm writing this email as Jim (in nothing more than boxers) fiddles with the engine. This is a small village, we will likely check emails, get beers and a few meals, hopefully pick up some avocados, limes, tortillas, and some other minor fresh foods and start making our way down to Santa Rosalia which is a big town for a full resupply. Not sure if I'm going to his down to Loreto from Santa Rosalia or if we'll make it sailing down there but the time has flown by.

Things I've leaned about myself:
-I enjoy living I'm cold climates
-I have a mild fear of sharks after snorkeling off of Isla Tiburon. Then learning Tiburon means shark.
-I can/have watch/ed bioluminescence for hours.
-Sometimes it takes massive isolation from rectangles for me to rediscover reading. Not totally true as the Kindle is rectangular but it doesn't really count. Thanks Mom.
-Cruising is some of the most comfortable traveling, I come back to the same need every night.
-I cannot grow facial hair. Thanks Dad.
-That I have all of you to thank for some very neat experiences, a sense of adventure and the competence and swimming ability not to be taken hostage by pirates or down while snorkeling. There have been some close calls on both accounts. Good thing we have the spear gun and my water wings.

Things that are overrated:
-Refrigerating mayonnaise
-Refrigerating eggs
-Shoes and socks
-Hot water
-Knowing the day of the week
-Sleeping in, under, or on blankets or sheets

Things that are not overrated:
-Waking up early (sometimes)
-A place where flies cannot bother you
-A good book
-Cold things
-Any amount of wind, the more the better
-Water that tastes good (especially when dehydration happens if you stop drinking for forty five minutes
-The ability to talk to family on a regular basis
-Cold things

Mucho amor!
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