The Journey So Far

<This page is the main guide to all posts in Familygonesailing. The following paragraphs are a high-level overview of our voyage. The links in the text lead to a brief summary of each step, with links to all posts related to it>

Our voyage, which I often refer to as a Journey, started in June 2014, when I drove across the US from Miami to Seattle, where I remained for the next two months preparing the boat, and gradually adjusting to this new life style.

My wife and our kids joined me there in August, and in early September we started to sail down the West Coast of the US. First in a hurried pace down the Washington and Oregon coasts, and then spending long times in San Francisco, the SoCal coast and San Diego.

On early Spring 2015 we sailed across the border to Mexico and made a non-stop passage to the Sea of Cortez, which we cruised until late Fall that year. We sailed down to La Cruz in Mexico (near Puerto Vallarta) before 2015 ended to start preparing for a 2-year cruise of the Pacific Ocean.

We departed Mexico in March 2016, after three months of intense preparation. The 3,000 mile, non-stop passage to French Polynesia was our longest, and we carefully journaled it as it happened. Having arrived in the middle of April 2016, we cruised French Polynesia non stop until December of that year.

Pesto is currently in Tahiti undergoing maintenance and upgrades, in preparation for a second year of cruising in the Western Pacific.

What follows is a description of each main step of the Journey up to now, with links to the posts related to them:

 

1.) ROAD TRIP MIAMI-SEATTLE:

Our journey started in Miami, when I locked the door of the long-storage cubicle. Twelve hours later I was taking the highway towards the opposite extremity of the continental US, the car full to the top with whatever we’d selected to carry onboard, the heart pumping with enthusiasm, and the head spinning. Below, the posts I wrote about it:

The long way from Miami to Seattle
The long way from Miami to Seattle

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2.a) WAITING & GETTING READY IN SEATTLE:

5 days and 3,600 miles later I arrived to Lake Union, where Pesto awaited calmly.

She was still set up for vacations, coastal sailing, and I had a long list of “projects” to turn her into our voyaging home. This was also a romantic time, the realization of a dream, the anticipation of the family moving in, the anxiety for what lie “out there”. The posts I uploaded during this period somewhat capture these feelings:

Someone's gotta do this, right?
Someone’s gotta do this, right?

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2.b) MOVING IN:

I stayed by myself in Seattle working on Pesto for over a month. Adriana and the kids joined me in the middle of August, and Pesto finally became our Home. For the following two weeks we took some time to adapt living aboard her, and did a few short cruises to known places nearby to get the dust off ourselves and Pesto.

Pesto - Aug14

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3.) THE MOVE SOUTH:

It was getting late into the season, and the US NW coast is notorious for very bad weather starting mid September. We had to leave soon, or else we would stay there for winter. So we pushed forward, overcame our anxiety, and for the following 5 weeks, sailed down the coast going as fast as our comfort allowed for, hopping between ports, and dodging the cold fronts that were starting to break though. It was almost always cold, frequently damp, and foggy. And yet, we visited places full with character, and had some exhilarating passages along the way. I will always remember this time with great fondness.

Fantastic sailing conditions in the middle of the night, under a bright moon.
Fantastic sailing conditions in the middle of the night, under a bright moon.

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4.) SAN FRANCISCO BAY:

The bay area ended up becoming a chapter in itself on this Journey. By the time we got there, we knew we had already left behind the area that could be affected the most by bad weather. Besides, Autumn had definitely caught up with us by then, and there was no point in running away from the cold anymore. Moreover and most importantly, as we rushed to break away from our landlubber roots, we’d left some loose wires and needed time to finish our homework on that front. We also took the time in San Francisco to review friends, visit nearby attractions, and accelerate homeschooling. Adriana did a number of business trips from there as well.

Pesto-06Oct14_HDR

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5.) SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA:

In early November we left San Francisco Bay, and kept moving South again – at a slow, leisurely pace. We spent three great weeks in Monterrey, CA and then headed to the Southern California cost, where we spent Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Interestingly enough, it was there that we faced bad weather for the first time. Twice – at the safety of a marina and in the middle of a passage at night! It was also in SoCal’s waters that we received Adriana’s sister and her adorable daughter for a 3-week visit. It’s all captured on the following posts:

Palm-tree-lined beaches ... boy oh boy did we miss it so much !
Palm-tree-lined beaches … boy oh boy did we miss it so much !

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6.) SAN DIEGO:

Again, we made a long strategic stop – over two months. San Diego was our base for a number of boat projects. Adriana also did a number of business trips from there. And above all, it was sociably intense – we had some dear friends visit. And we made new friends as well – what made our stay in San Diego ever so special.

Pesto-24Mar15-051

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7.) SAILING INTO MEXICO:

April 7th, early morning we finally cast off the dock lines in San Diego, and made our first international passage with Pesto, arriving to Ensenada, MX some 9 hours later. We stayed in Ensenada for three days clearing in, buying a few extra supplies, and enjoying our time with our buddy boat and friends from Coastal Drifter. We then left on a long, non-stop 750mile passage to San Jose Del Cabo, at the southeastern tip of the Baja Peninsula, where a whole new chapter of this journey was about to start.

Pesto sailing boldly, some 5 miles after rounding the Cape, en route to San Jose del Cabo. It was one great passage !
Pesto sailing boldly, some 5 miles after rounding the Cape, en route to San Jose del Cabo. It was one great passage !

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8.) CRUISING BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR:

From April through July 2015 we cruised the Sea of Cortez. We covered over 300nm of coastline, gaining 6 degrees of latitude North. But Spring was now turning into Summer. The water got warm quickly, and the air hot. The days of feeling cold and blue were over, and we were now spending all the time outdoors, in the water, and looking for ways to cool ourselves.
Except for a week in La Paz, we stayed all this time at anchor, having visited almost 20 different places. We were 100% of the time in company of our buddies from s/v Coastal Drifter, also sharing some anchorages with m/v Adagio and s/v Sarita – a sister ship to Pesto.
Looking back now, I think this portion of our journey was characterized by pristine anchorages, dramatic mountainous backgrounds, friendship, togetherness and intense enjoyment, as hopefully these posts convey:
    8.a) From San Jose del Cabo to La Paz

       8.b) From La Paz to Puerto Escondido

       8.c) From Puerto Escondido to Bahia Concepcion 

       8.d) Cruising Inside Bahia Concepcion:

We also published a few posts capturing aspects of our new lifestyle:

During this period we grew a lot as cruisers and sailors (relative measure, not absolute – there’s still SO MUCH to learn and discover!). Despite looking secluded on a large scale map, the Sea of Cortez has proven to be a tricky place, putting anchoring gear and skills to test in different ways. While cruising this area, we were lambasted by South-westers, Corumuels, and even the remnants of a major Hurricane:

Our surroundings just before sunset - how can this be Normal ?!?

    Our surroundings just before sunset – how can this be Normal ?!?

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On the early morning of July 5th 2015 we raised anchor and crossed the Sea of Cortez reaching San Carlos, Sonora in the afternoon after a great sailing passage. The hottest months of Summer were approaching, and also the most intense period of the Hurricane Season. We needed a safe place to keep Pesto while working on a number of maintenance projects:

I (Alex) took the opportunity to do maintenance to myself as well, and that yielded some introspective posts:

The long hours spent inside the air-conditioned cabin waiting for the heat to subside also fostered a few retrospective stories:

While in San Carlos, we took a time off and did an awesome road trip to some of the National Parks in the SW of the United States, as captured on these posts:

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9.) LA CRUZ (Banderas Bay) AND THE MEXICAN GOLDEN COAST:

 It was only by mid December 2015 that we were able to sail again. Taking advantage of a moderate Cold Front that was rushing down the Sea of Cortez, we left on a high-charged passage to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, in Banderas Bay. There we spent Christmas, New Years, made beautiful new friendships and solidified existing ones. We also cruised for a while further down the Mexican Golden Coast, with a short foray inland to Colima:

Designing the fresh water flush systems … this project became a Pandora Box, and I found myself running around town on a mad search for hard-to-find bronze fittings

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10.) EASTERN PACIFIC CROSSING:

 While we were still in San Carlos we decided to head to the South Pacific, and cruise there for the upcoming years. It is a fundamental decision, a huge change to our plans, and yet we were surprised by how easily we took it:

Nevertheless, we would soon learn that the getting ready for it would be far less romantic and extremely demanding:

Undaunted, we ploughed through, got ready, and left – even with a few challenges in the beginning. The passage was a successful one, and left intense memories to us. We have journaled it as it happened – from the days that led to departure all the way to arrival, and it’s all consolidated on this page:

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11.) FRENCH POLYNESIA:

We made landfall in Taiohae, in the Marquesas

on April 17th 2016, and it was Adriana’s birthday present! The next two and a half months we spent cruising the Marquesas:

We then sailed to the Tuamotus. Our objective was to start at the atoll of Hao, but we were caught by an unforeseen storm just 50 miles from it – after a 500 mile passage – and were forced to divert to Makemo. We ended up staying over two months on that atoll alone, eventually moving to Fakarava for another month and a half, and one last week spent in Toau. We captured our experiences in the Tuamotus in a journal entitled “The Tuamotus Diaries”:

– The Tuamotus Diaries

 

In late September 2016 we departed Toau on a 240 mile passage to the Societies, making landfall in Tahiti, followed by a quick cruise along the other islands of the group:

At the onset of the hurricane season, we took Pesto back to the shelter of Marina Taina in Tahiti:

We started 2017 working on Pesto to get her ready for the next cruising season:

Then awaiting the right conditions to sail West:

In the end of April conditions finally settled and we sailed to Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands, were this page was last updated:

 

Thank You for joining us on this Journey !

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<updated January, 2017>

<Last Updated May 2017>

4 Replies to “The Journey So Far”

  1. Heck I love your writing, having hooked up when you sailed to the Tuamotus I look forward to a long read from your day one road trip across the US.
    Thank you for all the work it seems you may not have had a Christmas break!

  2. Thank You !
    After so many months with little internet, and uploading posts in haste via ultra-narrow bandwidths, there was a lot to polish on the blog! Besides, it’s been fun to fix stuff by just typing on a key board instead of crouching under a bulkhead with a bunch of tools and the hands full with grease 🙂

  3. I am absolutely impressed with all the sailing you’ve accomplished esp with 2 kids on board…Bravo! Totally love the bolg. I am avid follower of your writing. Please continue sharing your updates.

    Sending Adriana, Raquel, Paulo and you loads of best wishes from cloudy Singapore for the Chinese year of Red Rooster 🙂
    Hugs,
    Deepika

  4. Thank You Deepika !
    In fact the kids have been the main driver of our decision to do it now – we wanted to do this before they outgrew the window of opportunity. And I think we nailed it on the head, because we get to be so close to them as they transition form Children to young Teenagers. It’s been beautiful to watch them blossom one day after the other. Well, this is somewhat selfish of Adriana and I of course. But I am convinced it’s been good for them as well. From the deeper learning on homeschooling to the meaningful relationships they are building along the way, the robust experiences and the sense of accomplishment.
    Time will tell 🙂
    Thank You for the words of encouragement regarding the blog !

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