Back on Board!

We spent 4 months on Banyan in the spring of last year and put her to bed while we RV’d all over the US and Canada.  We had an awesome time and it was mainly necessary because of work… and I really wanted to spend the holidays with family.  Now, I can not begin to describe how great it feels to be back aboard.  Banyan truly is our home.

Cameron arrived back a week earlier than we did.  He finally bent to the wisdom of working on the boat without us around.  My thoughts were that he would get much more done without us constantly in his space.  It is hard to live on a boat that is being worked on; cupboards are open, floorboards are up, locker contents are strewn across the cabin sole and cushions are put away for protection from dust and dirt.  Cameron worked his tail off while he was there on his own and got a ton done without us constantly putting things back together behind him.

We had some interior wood damage due to the heat in Guaymas during the summer so Cameron set to sanding, filling and revarnishing our dining table and a few other locations.  He fixed the floor in the head which was starting to show signs of too much water seeping in from the shower area.  He painted the bottom of the boat (no small feat) and he removed the poorly done vanish job in the cockpit that has bugged us ever since we bought the boat.

When the girls and I arrived after a frantic week in Indiana ordering things like crazy from Amazon, finalizing our healthcare and working on our taxes *groan*, we were ready to get on the water.  Thankfully, Cameron had the boat scheduled to splash the next day.  Boom!  We were in the water and prepping for a passage to La Cruz, MX, where we will camp out until we are ready to cross the Pacific.

I was highly motivated to get on our way.  Guaymas has been good to us in so many ways, but I was over it and ready for some new scenery.  We all went to work provisioning and doing the last preparations for the passage.

potable water being delivered. Cameron and Adelaide worked together to fill our tanks while Isa and I went off to a few grocery stores.
Girls whooping it up just before Banyan got back in the water.
The docks at Guaymas provide endless entertainment and education for the girls. A bucket, a large fish net, and science class begins!

After less than a week and with all our ducks in a row we headed out of the bay in Guaymas with high spirits.  We were heading offshore for a 5 day, 500 mile trip down the Sea of Cortez.  The dolphins escorted us out (which I took for a good omen) and we had our sails up in no time.

The passage was a good test for our upcoming passage.  The Pacific should be anywhere from 25 – 35 days depending on lots of factors, while 5 isn’t nearly 35, it gave us all a little taste.  We found our rhythm pretty easily.  After dinner time I would lay down for a quick snooze, Cameron would wake me up at around 11 pm.  I would be on watch until about 3 or 4 am, then it was Cameron’s turn till I woke up at 9 am or so.  Then, after breakfast, he would go down for a rest.  We had a few days that were really mellow and the girls were able to pull out their instruments and practice.  Thankfully though, the wind kicked in and we were dead downwind for almost the whole rest of the trip.  Seas were fairly agreeable at around 3 – 5ft for the rest of the trip and the girls, although complaining of boredom at times, never seemed to lack something to do.  I had prepared a few meals ahead of time and I’m very glad I did, it made life much more fun.

Isa in her spot with books galore.
The girls watching the sun go down underway.
Close up of Adelaide’s plants which she has mothered for months.
said sunset

We had no major failures of systems although we noticed some areas of chafe that we caught and managed.  We found a stray bolt that we replaced from our mainsheet block and we fooled around with our boom break system, not being fully satisfied with any of our solutions.  Our depth sounder was a little finicky which gave us pause and our chart plotter has also been a bit touchy.  Finding solutions for those things as well as our outboard motor that is leaking gear oil is next on our list.

We arrived in Punta de Mita at about midnight on the 5th night and we had a great nights sleep before sailing the next day over to the La Cruz marina.  That was only after both girls had their FaceTime music lessons!  FYI I LOVE our music teachers.  Isa is excelling rapidly with lessons from Liz in Canada and Adelaide is embracing her keyboard with her lessons with Becky Baker in Indiana.  Did I mention that we bought a keyboard???  Well, we did.  Adelaide was taking lessons in Indiana.  I had seen it more as an intro-to-music-by-way-of-piano seminar for a few months while we were there and didn’t expect Adelaide to fall in love with the piano.  But, she did and we are thrilled to support her interest in piano.  Of course, we extracted very serious commitments from her before purchasing it and bringing this rather large and difficult-to-stow piece of gear aboard.  It did require some sacrifices.  I will now be taking over the Ukulele, a smaller and more agile instrument.

So, for now, we are marina rats until we get our outboard fixed up.  Which, is fine with me as the girls can easily make boat friends in this kid-hub of a marina and we can hop on and off and get our errands done.  We have lots to do in preparation for the crossing.  But, more on that later.

Adelaide pointing out a humpback whale greeting the morning in Punta de Mita
The play with nonhardening molding clay continues. Look at these tiny loaves of bread and tomatoes the girls made!
Boat Kids scarfing down food in the midst of a beach bbq


  1. Dennis Randall says:

    Hi Anne, Cameron, and kidlets, your posts are wonderful… I’m so happy for you!

    Remember Dennis, from “Second Wind”? After the Baja-Ha-Ha, and our few days spent at a very windy anchorage together, (Note to self, don’t do laundry when blowing more than 20 kts!) I managed to talk my best friend into doing the Baja Bash with me. Not horrible, but not much fun! We returned to San Diego, and, as planned, “Second Wind” was sold. I loved the whole experience, and am envious of your journey…

    Wanted to mention my good experience with the boom brake from Wichard. A Gyb Easy, I think. Only triggered it a few times, but when I did, the main just swung over gently, and went right back once I corrected our heading. Very good piece of gear, in my judgement.

    Wish you all the best, and keep your travel documentation coming!

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Hey Dennise,

      I remember those days! Thanks for the info on the boom break! That sounds like something we are considering. We take all the info we can! Thanks for continuing to follow our journey!


  2. Marianne McGriff says:

    Good morning, Anne! What a Blessing to wake up to your news and pics… Thank you for the splendid update! So, are you taking up the ukulele seriously? My 8 year old grandson, Ryan, wanted one from me for his birthday and is quite excited about it! However, he doesn’t know anything about it?!!! Any ideas? I did discover some beginning lessons on You Tube. What do you think? Have you been in touch with Gail Alden at TPC? I know that she’d LOVE to connect with you. Tell Adelaide that I’m making a new recipe today: Lamb-Ricotta Meatballs! The recipe comes from chefs in New York. If she is interested, I’ll send her the recipe. I’d LOVE to see any performances of them with their instruments Love and hugs to ALL, Marianne

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Hi Marianne,

      Thanks for your comments! We love making music and I’m sure we will have more performances up soon:) I AM taking it up seriously, but its a rather slow process right now as I’m really focusing on getting us ready for the jump. Lots of loose ends to tie up before we go. So, I’m hoping that I’ll get going seriously on the sail. I have a few good books. There is a really great gal on YouTube that I like, here is the link: She is a great teacher and artist. Her easy tutorials are great for beginners. No contact yet with TPC, Just NO idea when we will for sure be back yet 🙁

      Much Love!

  3. Joyce Beery Miles says:

    What a fabulous update. Always enjoy your postings. The sunset photo is a keeper for sure. We will. Ever sail the Pacific, so your trip and blog will be our travels vicariously. Safe travels.

  4. John Livingston says:

    Welcome aboard again! Can’t wait until you all push off and the real odyssey begins. Safe prayers and best wishes from your salty friend!

    • Cameron Vawter says:

      Hey John! We keep updating our dates and I’m sure they will change a little with weather! Our departure date for today in next Thursday the 22nd. I think of you every time I look at my port lights. I’ll never forget the old ship port light that you left in the barn at Livingston Moffett, if I remember correctly it was off an abandoned ship in Alaska when you were doing geology work up there.

      Take care,

  5. Tom says:

    Happy Sails to the Crew! My only experience crossing the Pacific was on an aircraft carrier 48 years ago, but I don’t think that counts! Lovely sunsets and sunrises are my best memories. Thank you for sharing the adventure with us….

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Hey Tom, I think that counts! It sounds like it qualified as an adventure so… it counts:) We love sharing, especially when we know people enjoy keeping up with us!

  6. Michael & Doreen says:

    Hi, Just sitting here in La Paz, gearing up for our mid April departure for Hawaii….we left Pta Mita on the 22 march 1993 to start our Circumnavigation….I note that your Etd is also the 22nd! We listened in on the Puddle Jump, 0100 Zulu net on ssb 8b tonight….a sister ship to St Leger called Marrion is departing here tom. Morning…..wonderful young couple from Alaska onboard, Travis & Marta… probably will meet them in the Islands!
    Cheers and safe travels, Michael & Doreen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.