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.
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
12 June 2013 | Sea of Cortez, N of Isla San Francisco
24 May 2013 | Ensenada Grande
Recent Blog Posts
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.]

25 June 2015 | Exploring Magdelena Bay

Three Bars!

Most women who receive an 11:00 AM text from their husband on vacation in Mexico declaring "3 bars!" might register concern, rather than elation. Jim isn't exactly on vacation. He sent that message a few days ago just as he and his crew had anchored our sailboat in Magdelena Bay, along the west coast [...]

19 June 2015 | Off SW end of Baja

Jim, Corwin & Jan heading up outer Baja coast

6/19/15 Jim and crew left Cabo San Lucas today to start the "bash" up the west coast of Baja. 6:03PM Text: "Light wind on nose. 2 strikes, none landed. Dolphins. shearwaters. I like it out here. I feel lonely when I think of you. love, Jim." They can send 150 character texts using the InReach satellite [...]

Three Bars!

25 June 2015 | Exploring Magdelena Bay
Beth&Jim/WNW 12-16
Most women who receive an 11:00 AM text from their husband on vacation in Mexico declaring "3 bars!" might register concern, rather than elation. Jim isn't exactly on vacation. He sent that message a few days ago just as he and his crew had anchored our sailboat in Magdelena Bay, along the west coast of the Baja Peninsula after completing an all-nighter pounding into the waves on their first leg of the "Baja Bash." Along that wild coast, cell phone coverage is non-existent to patchy. Before leaving Cabo San Lucas Jim added a cell phone booster that he was keen to test. Being able to talk via cell phone--when he finally got a three bar rating--to hear more details about their journey, makes me very happy indeed.

For the past three days, Jim, Corwin and Jan have been in Magdela Bay. They've been snorkeling, fishing, and sailing the small dinghy. Here are some of Jim's text messages, to share the flavor of their experience. (My annotations in []'s)

6/20 10:20 AM MONDAY

Made it to Man of War Cove. Gregorio in his panga sold us 200L Diesel before we were anchored. Have lots of fuel for Turtle Bay. [Refueling in Mag Bay can sometimes take weeks, so replenishing fuel right away was a great relief.]

Beautiful here. Lots of dolphins and birds. We dont have an immediate plan. Here today for sure. Weather dependent. [They'd had a rough all night trip out of Cabo. Jim said that, if the conditions hadn't started to calm down, they would have turned back. Jan was sick for much of that rough passage.]

We are doing great. Calm here. 2 bars. After breakfast I will try the booster.

3Bars! Antenna up the mizzen. Call? [Yay! I called immediately.]


8:38AM Wonderful news. Started water maker. Not working initially, but got it going. Relief. Didn't want water rationing. Beautiful here.

Have a great day. Great day here.

Too nice here and no threatening weather brewing, so plan to stay here at least until tomorrow. We plan to move south so we can dive on a 400' wreck.

You can see wreck on Google Earth. 24.462N 111.79W. Verify if you have time. Go to Google Earth. Mag Bay/ Isla Margarita. SE side. Near loc we gave you. Thanks

Zoom in all the way obvious when you see it. One end of wreck is touching shore.


8:05 AM Good morning. I am up before Corwin & Jan plotting course to wreck. Vis not good here; hope it's better at wreck.

8:07 Headed to wreck. 16NM. perfect temp. preparing breakfast underway.

9:20 PM Great Snorkel. Lobster dinner tonight. Good tired. Wish you were here.


7:29 AM: I'm having trouble with Sailmail. Sonrisa weather report had scratchy reception. Can you send Sonrisa text forecast for B de Mag?

B: Mag Bay 6/23: AM NW 8 - 11; PM WNW 14-18
6/24 AM WNW 6 - 9; PM WNW 13-17; Seas SSW 3ft 14 sec
6/25: AM W 6-8; PM W11-14; Seas S 3ft 13 sec

J: I got sailmail working. Can you forward the most recent Sonrisa full forecast? [Done]

10:00 AM
J: Thank you for the weather forecast. Current plan: today here to Santa Maria. Tomorrow midnight: depart SM for San Juanico ~100 NM.


7:24AM Good morning! We are headed to Santa Maria. Have a great day.

J: "Bonita!"
B: "Wahoo!" (Not a species correction, but an exclamation of shared joy.) [One the phone the previous day, Jim told me that they caught a Wahoo while under way. He and Corwin reeled it in to the stern. Jim thought he could pull it onto deck, but when he started lifting, its tail was still in the water when Jim had its head at his waist. I think that means at least five feet long? It was also too heavy for Jim to heave on board. Before they could switch to getting the gaff hook, it broke free. Very large fish -- the one that got away!]

J: Bonita dinner was better than my memory. First course was fish head soup, second was lobster, third bonita.

7:03 AM
Good morning! Calm. Stow, breakfast then depart for SCORPION/SAN JUANICO. Fishing banks on the way.

Very large school of dolphins. 20 fishing boats.

Bonita for lunch. Excellent. Light w winds starting. Too light so far for sailing

B: Great to talk to you this morning. What an amazing place you are in.

J: Yes that was amazing to talk to you from the edge of the world.

Beth here again: It is hard to not be there with Jim, Corwin and Jan, but I am excited that things are going well. Jim spent a lot of time planning and preparing for this trip, which are paying off. The map posted with this entry shows a plot of their track since they left Cabo and up to an hour ago (6/25/2015 15:30). They will do another night cruise to get to Scorpion Bay, also known as San Juanico, supposedly a surfing hotspot.

The crew can't send photos, but if you want to see what the area looks like, I recently posted photos from when Jim, Glen and I were in Santa Maria Bay in 2012 during our journey south. Those are in the "More Photos" link on the right panel, in the "Magdelena Bay 2012" album.

Best to you all.
June 25, 2015

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