S/V Adventure

Follow the O'Neil family, sailing in their Catalina 42, on their 2-year sabbatical to see the Pacific coast of the US, Mexico, and Central America, Galapagos, the South Pacific, and New Zealand.

08 June 2012 | Home
05 June 2012 | 100 miles to the Farallons!
02 June 2012 | 475 miles off the coast
31 May 2012 | 579 miles to go
30 May 2012 | 694 miles to go
30 May 2012 | 800 miles to go
29 May 2012 | 915 miles off California
28 May 2012 | Past halfway between Hawaii and SF
27 May 2012 | Past halfway between Hawaii and SF
26 May 2012 | Halfway between Hawaii and SF
24 May 2012 | Middle of the Pacific Ocean
23 May 2012 | Middle of the Pacific Ocean
22 May 2012 | Middle of the Pacific Ocean
21 May 2012 | Middle of the Pacific Ocean
20 May 2012 | Pacific Gyre
16 May 2012 | Pacific Gyre
16 May 2012 | Pacific
18 September 2011 | Home
07 September 2011 | Crossing the southern tip of the big island
05 September 2011 | Pacific

A Day off From School

06 November 2007
The kids decided it the night before at the beach fire - they would do their school work the next day, even though it would be Sunday. We'd be sailing the entire day to get to Isla San Francisco. If the homework was done under way, then Monday they would take the day off to explore the island.

Early Sunday morning, Idefix was the first boat to pull anchor, followed by Adventure, and then by Flying Cloud, all about an hour apart. To the relief of the boats that remained in the sleepy caleta, the always-active "kid boats" had all cleared out of Agua Verde in one fell swoop.

Although we put our main sail up to make it look like we were at least trying to find some wind, the only movement was its gentle swaying to match the rhythm of the waves. Which meant that it was a perfect day for school work.the ride was a smooth as a baby's butt, so sea sickness was not a viable excuse.

Tara and Casey worked diligently on their school work as Sean kept watch and I sat to peel and de-vein part of the 2 kilos of shrimp I had bought the day before. I laughed as I thought about our walk through the small village of Agua Verde to go to the tienda (store). The villagers were friendly. We exchanged greetings of "Buenos tardes" as we passed each one. I saw a lady and girl walk quickly behind some houses, I wondered where they were going. We reached the tienda.and it was closed. "Awww." we said as we turned to leave. But just then, Maria, the owner of the tienda that we had met the last time we were in Agua Verde, came running down from her house to open the store for us.

We noticed that her hair had some strange goop on it and she had a towel around her shoulders. She was in the middle of dying her hair when her neighbor burst into her house with her daughter to tell her she had some potential business. The tienda is a room about 15' by 15' and was the best we'd seen in the small villages we've visited. It was cleaner than most (less dust on the canned products), had a concrete floor, and even a small refrigerator that contained a few meat and cheese products.

The neighbor came in and wrapped Maria's hair in a plastic bag and helped her calculate how much we owed her. I bought some Bimbo bread (Mexico's Wonder bread) which is suppose to last for 25 days in humid, hot weather) for sandwiches, a can of Veg-all (which is the only veggie Casey will eat), a few fresh veggies and some sodas. I wanted some fresh-made tortillas, but there weren't any left. The neighbor motioned for us to wait and told her daughter something in Spanish. The daughter ran out the door and returned shortly with a bag of flour tortillas. The neighbor's daughter bagged my few groceries and I gave her a 5-peso tip (in Mexico, you're suppose to tip the baggers. Baggers, who are either very old or very young people, don't get paid by the store owners, but by tips alone).

There were two shrimp boats anchored in the small bay and I wanted some shrimp. I had told all the kids that I'd buy them a soda if they came with me (all 5 of them did). Then the moms decided to come too. The fishermen on the deck of the shrimp boat smiled broadly as we approached their large, rusty, smelly boat with our dinghy that was quite full of gringo women and children.

The price was 100 pesos for a kilo of shrimp tails. I thought this was a good price because I had bought shrimp in San Carlos for the same price, but the shrimp still had their heads.which are about one half of their mass and are more difficult to clean. I bought 2 kilos.

So the next day, I sat cleaning shrimp and Sean was on watch, reading a book and enjoying the serenity that was only broken by the drone of our engine. As the day wore on, we started to close in on Idefix. Because we're a big, beamy boat, this almost never happens. Flying Cloud was coming into view behind us and the sun was starting to go down. We needed to reach the anchorage before sundown. The race was on. We all knew the prize.the first to the anchorage gets the best spot.

It was slow going. We were fighting the strong currents that flow between Baja and San Jose Island, a long land mass that creates a channel-effect. Flying Cloud had the best, but a slightly more dangerous strategy.stay close to the Island, where there is less current. They also caught a little wind for their sails. We plowed straight down the middle of the channel, doing about 4.8 knots. We ended up arriving within a few minutes of each other; Adventure first, Idefix and then Flying Cloud.

When we woke up the next day, Flying Cloud had hot-footed it to La Paz. Their son, Adrian hadn't done his school work while they were under way, so wouldn't have been able to take the day off anyway. After breakfast, Tara and Casey moaned about being bored while I concentrated on a few Sudoku puzzles. When it became apparent that I wasn't going to be their entertainment, they broke out their paints and clay and set to work on a few masterpieces, Tara painting our surrounding bay and Casey modeling a palm tree in clay.

Scott hailed Sean on the VHF to go spear fishing. I told Sean that I wanted to make a big pot of fish chowder and needed a firm meat, like trigger fish. The guys came back at noon empty-handed. They went again later, and this time Sean brought back a medium-sized trigger fish.

Elliot and Sailor swam to our boat and the kids swung off the halyards and into the water for an hour. Casey was getting stung by jellyfish, so I gave her a bottle of vinegar to ease the pain of the stings. She ended up breaking the glass bottle on the cockpit floor, so I sent the kids to swim to the beach while I cleaned it up. Casey had a small cut on her toe and I heard the kids splashing furiously and warning everyone to stay away from her in case the sharks came.Not many kids get to flee from sharks on their day off from school.

The kids came back to the boat and played a lively game of Trivial Pursuit Jr. Since Elliot and Sailor are from Canada, they didn't know any of the American history questions. It was entertaining to listen to my kids explain some of the history to them so they had a better chance of correctly answering the questions.

I used Sean's trigger fish, along with a bunch of shrimp and some yellow-tail tuna that I had in the freezer to make a yummy chowder for dinner with Idefix. I made a pot of mac and cheese for the kids, but Tara was mad because I used Mexican margarine in it, and it has a different taste then the American kind. The rest of the kids didn't seem to care. Fredrick made some delicious pan-biscuits and a "soil and engine oil" cake (chocolate).

We wrapped up the "day off from school" by watching National Treasure. The Idefix boys really liked the movie, but had difficulty with some of the references to American history. "What the Declaration of Independence?!!" Elliot finally yelled out.

We'll stay here one more day and then head to another Island for a few days before going to La Paz. We're happy that Idefix plans to stay with us. The kids said they'd try to have all their school work done by noon today so they can enjoy the rest of the time here on Isla San Francisco.
Vessel Name: Adventure
Vessel Make/Model: Catalina 42
Hailing Port: Marina Bay, Richmond CA
Crew: The O'Neil Family
About: Sean (Captain and Line Man) Kathy (Helmswoman and Cook) Tara - 12 years old at trip start, Casey - 11 years old at trip start (Crew and Students)
Extra: We're on a three-year sabbatical from the daily grind to see the Pacific coast of the US, Mexico, Central America and the South Pacific and stopping at New Zealand.

S/V Adventure

Who: The O'Neil Family
Port: Marina Bay, Richmond CA