Archive | Sailing

Proud Cande.

Why They Stay: A Town On the Edge

On a windswept knuckle of land that juts proudly from Mexico’s Pacific coast, a tiny town perches between cliff and sea. With a smattering of artisanal fishers and restauranteurs, Tehuamixtle has tucked into a precarious edge, protected only slightly by the jagged black headlands of Punta Ipala. To get to the town by land requires […]

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Oleada heels in a gust as the rain pelts the cockpit.

Into the Wind

Three weeks ago and a few days before the US election, we faced a building storm in one of the most remote areas of Caribbean Panama. Totally alone out on the ocean, our transmission died just as I was hoisting the main sail as we departed from an offshore island. We were leaving an anchorage […]

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Any sunset on the water is a good one.

The Truth About Researching by Sail

This blog could also be called ‘Why Sailboats Are the Slowest Possible Way to Get Anywhere.’ Or maybe ‘Research is Tough Enough Without Doing it From a Sailboat.’ Or perhaps ‘How a Sailboat Teaches Me What It Really Means to Learn.’ Let me explain. After we pulled up the hook in Chacala, we made our […]

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Shannon and I test the water and we think it will do just fine.

The Unfinished Path: Yoga for the People in Chacala

When we sailed into a little bay in the center of Mexico’s Pacific coast, we came to meet old friends. But because we stayed in this town for a couple weeks, I found myself facing some of the uneasy questions of development in Mexico. I didn’t figure it out until much later, but this little […]

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Blue-footed Boobies at the edge of the sea.

What Can a National Park Do?

“Mexico has many good laws.” Professor Martín Soto leans back from behind a clump of papers on his desk and sighs. “It’s the enforcement that lacks.” I’m sitting in Martin’s office on the second story of the Marine Science and Limnology Institute in Mazatlán, Mexico. The building hangs on the edge of a cliff above […]

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Mazatlán and the rising tide just outside of the marina. The breakwater becomes impassable with bigger swells.

Getting It Wrong: Fear and Learning in Mazatlán

I love giving presentations. It’s sick, I know. But I used to fear it deeply. I have a friend who is a professional street performer, and I have always admired his ability to withstand the potentially saucy, unforgiving, or worst of all, bored crowd. But as the result of training and good advice during my […]

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We finally made it! The Quepos anchorage, Oleada in the background.

Sailing to Your Wedding …and other ill-advised feats

You may have noticed the quiet state of this blog for the past few months. This is not because a meditative calm has pervaded throughout the Pacific, or because we have stopped sailing and settled down in the mango-laden mountains of Central America, or even because we have found the perfect wave for Josh.   […]

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Finding Altata

“Whatever you do, don’t go to Altata.” These were the last words we heard as we cast off our dock lines in Guaymas. We were about to sail 300 miles with limited charts but plentiful warnings—with the goal of getting to this near-mythical town protected by a bar that might as well be filled with dragons. […]

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Callo and Antonio pull alongside as we motor. I took these two photos with Josh’s phone while navigating the channel at the wheel.

Rising Waters, Fewer Fish: A Local Change

‘Its beauty has been compared with the Greek isles,’ the guidebook waxed—followed by the incongruous statement that Topolobampo is primarily a cargo port. “Sounds good to me,” Jon said with a grin as we sat around the table on Oleada, discussing our trip through 400-plus nautical miles of coastline mostly unexplored by sailors. Beginning from […]

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Lunasea on a stormy day.

The Storm That Caught Us on a Changing Sea

We are the only isolated object for 40 miles, and lightning surrounds us. It’s eleven a.m., and we are sailing over twenty miles from shore. I have been awake since three a.m., and this is not typical thunderstorm weather. Thin and high clouds filter the sunlight with wisps of virga, rain that trails from the […]

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