An Apology

Mexico is a funny place. Not like ha-ha kind of funny, but peculiar. And not peculiar in a bad way either. It's funny because it's really not what I expected when I dreamed of sailing here for the past 20 years.

When I first started scheming and planning for this big adventure, I was pretty excited to get to Mexico. Mostly because of an article in a sailing magazine I had read that described a couple of islands and anchorages in the Sea of Cortez that sounded amazing. And the pictures that went with the article? Well, I had visions of me and my boat sitting in the middle of those pictures for nearly 20 years. When work and life and stress all seemed to be doing their best to drag me down, the vision of me in the middle of those pictures with my boat was the motivation that picked me up and kept me going. Those anchorages were the carrot at the end of the stick.

But beyond those two anchorages, I really hadn't thought much about Mexico. I knew I wanted to get here because it meant that I actually left Seattle and started my big sailing the world adventure, but really, I didn't think there would be much more here for me beyond those 2 places. I was pretty sure that we would spend the typical 6 month cruising season here and then rush off to the next place before hurricane season set in - most likely some tropical island in the middle of the South Pacific (a deserted tropical island was the other carrot that kept me going). I sort of thought Mexico would be like a truck stop on the side of the highway, where we would stop to take a quick break before heading off across the Pacific to get to the good stuff.

Most days, I have no idea what time or date it is. Today is no different. But, while I was watching the sun go down in another spectacular anchorage, with Las Montanas Giganticas behind us, I started wondering how long we've been in Mexico (translation: the Gigantic Mountains...every landmark in the Sea of Cortez is named literally...white rock, black rock, point with cactus, bay with green water, etc... The gigantic mountains is a very fitting name). With the help of my computer calendar and some quick math, I came up with the answer. As of today, it's been 7 months and 23 days. For a guy who didn't think he would be here for more than 6 months tops, because I didn't think there would be much more to see than those two anchorages, I feel like I should apologize to Mexico.

Mexico, I'm sorry. You are pretty awesome.

After nearly 8 months in Mexico, we've barely scratched the surface of what's here. We know we'll be here for at least another 6 months riding out hurricane season, so we'll have a good amount of time to see a bunch more stuff, but, even after all of that, I don't know that we'll fully appreciate everything that Mexico has to offer. You could spend years here and still not experience it all. Again, Mexico, you are pretty awesome.

We've known a bunch of cruisers with plans of seeing the world who've spent years in Mexico and never left, and before now, I have never really understood why. With such a big world out there, why would someone want to be in one country for years? After all, there are hundreds of other countries to see.

There of course is the sheer size of Mexico. It's a big country. Even if we just wanted to sail on past its coastline, with never even setting foot on land, it would take us weeks to skirt on by its shores. Guatemala, the next country in line for us to visit and Mexico's southern neighbor, would take us about 24 hours. So, if I wanted to come up with a formula which stated the proper amount of time for us to visit a country based on landmass alone, Mexico warrants a long visit. But, as you can probably guess, there are many more variables than purely landmass which go into the equation of how much time is appropriate to spend in one country.

Here in Mexico, I could probably add multiple variables to the equation based on where we are at. Each region's food has different flavors and ingredients. Then there is the topography, the climate, and the history which all varies based on which part of the country you are in. There is the southern tropics, the jungles, the mountains, and there are huge cities and ancient ruins scattered inland. Then there is the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez with its rugged and remote coastline and dusty little fishing villages and towns. I guess all of that ties into the sheer size of Mexico, giving it lots of variables which all need to be factored in to the overall equation of what is the proper amount of time for us to spend in one country.

I still don't think a lot of people fully understand what it is we are doing because I still get emails and phone calls with questions like, “When are you coming home?”, “Why are you still in Mexico?”, “How long are you going to be doing this?”, “How long are you planning on living on the boat?”

The short answers to those questions are: We are home. Mexico is great. For as long as it takes. I've lived on a sailboat for over 20 years now, so, I kind of think it will be for a while longer – this is normal life for us. I think the big point that still needs to be made is that this is a lifestyle. We aren't on a vacation. This isn't something with a specific start or a definite end. We are currently living in Mexico on our sailboat, doing our best to experience this country, for as long as it takes, and then we'll move on to the next country.

For us, since we have no real time-line or place we need to be, the equation is this: Are we enjoying the place? If the answer is yes, then there is no point to leave. If the answer is no, well, then it's time to move our little floating home somewhere else. And since we have no real time-line or place we need to be, we are doing our best to see everything that is humanly possible along the way.

For the next few months, we'll be in Mexico's Sea of Cortez, hopping from anchorage to anchorage and doing our best to see what this place has to offer. So far, each anchorage we've been to is entirely different from the last. Sure, it's the desert and it's hot. That's a constant. But when we step off of the boat to explore the shoreline, hike up into the mountains, or roam through dusty Baja towns and fishing villages, each place is remarkably different. And better yet, each place we get to is entirely new to us. Because quite possibly our favorite thing on earth is getting to someplace that is new to us.

I know a lot of people out there think the desert is boring. They think it's lifeless and drab. For us, it's remarkable. It's really like we are sailing through some of our National Parks back home in the States. The last anchorage we were in was surrounded by red rock formations that reminded us of what we have seen in Moab, Utah, today it looks like we are sailing in the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and tomorrow, well, who knows what that will bring. And since this desert we are in is surrounded by the Sea of Cortez, the brilliant blue ocean not only makes the heat tolerable because we can jump in the water to cool off, it also provides a striking contrast to the colors of the rock formations and desert landscape. It's stunning to say the least.

And the Sea, well, it surprises us at every turn. We have had daily wildlife encounters that one could only dream of. We've swam with schools of rays, had close encounters with whale sharks, paddle boarded with pods of dolphins, and had elusive and rare species of whales pop up next to our boat as we are sailing along to our next destination. Snorkeling with brightly colored fish is a daily occurrence, we are anchoring our little floating home in crystal clear water, and Brenda has taken to lounging in her floaty while working on her tan and becoming a bronze goddess (it's hard work).

Since we are enjoying Mexico so much, does this mean we are never leaving? Of course not. It's just one stop of many for us. But, it has surprised us how much we've loved it here. So again, Mexico, I'm sorry. You are pretty awesome.

A Mobula Ray taking flight.  This is a normal sighting for us these days.

Exploring the anchorage at Bahia de Los Gatos (translation: Bay of the cats.  Sadly, we didn't see any cats there).

The View of Agua Verde from the top.  In this little village, we restocked their tiny school with supplies from our "giving back" fundraiser.

A happy customer, with a new backpack full of art and school supplies.

Brenda Claus giving out a bunch of soccer balls

Yep, that's a school of Mobula Rays.  There were hundreds.

And if you haven't yet seen the newest episode of our video series, here it is!  If the link below doesn't work on your device, copy and paste this:


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