Getting Aboard and Afloat

Well, as we expected, things did not go as expected. We were supposed to have been put in the water on April 1st, but as we ran around the decks, preparing the boat, we listened with falling hearts to the engine of the travel lift not turning over… It turns out, the starter motor died while it straddled the boat to go in the water just before us. It took 5 days before we heard that motor rev up again. Unfortunately, It was not an April fool’s joke.

Banyan looking a bit peeved at us for leaving her on the hard for so long.

We moved aboard Banyan the night before we were meant to go in the water. Cameron even schlepped water, 5 gallons at a time up our rickety ladder so we had water in our tanks and we moved all our food aboard. Man, we put more food on that RV than I head realised! It took nearly 1/2 a day to move it all in and stow it away. So, we are now happily living aboard Banyan. Even when we were on the hard it was good to be aboard. One couple we met commented that our boat must be pretty comfortable if we were not living in that huge RV out in the parking lot. Yup, we love our Banyan.

Cameron hauling water. He has been getting lots more exercise lately and sleeping very well 🙂

Living aboard again is like learning to fit in that snug but comfy shoe you wore a few years ago. It seems tight at first but softens as you warm it up. We are reacquainting ourselves with all those little things. Sometimes it is painful, I had a nice bump on my head to prove it. There have been lots of “where did I put that” and “how did we cram all this in there” and “why did we keep this”? We have been getting lots done though. We had contemplated going for a little excursion, but the jobs that needed doing and the “getting ready” filled up our days.

We have been playing as well as working. Here we are making ice-cream!
Taking time out to fly the kite. Guaymas is a rustic place, not at all a tourist stop, but has everything we need at a fair price.

I have also been channelling my inner minimalist guru. It seems amazing that we could get rid of any more stuff, but when we went aboard, I found lots of things that we didn’t need. I was amazed since I had a major purge when we put the boat on the hard, wanting only to keep things that we really needed and used. Turns out, I have learned to be even more brutal about minimalism after living in a 3,000 square foot house for the last year!

The list of things that needed to get done before we set off was not short. Since we have to rely totally on ourselves, everything needs to function smoothly. When we first arrived, we thought we were going to need to replace our whole battery bank. We have AGM (Absorbed Glass Matt) batteries which fuel the “house” we also have a starter battery for the engine. How you leave your batteries when you leave your boat on the hard is a complex topic, it depends on your batteries, your boat and what conditions your boat will see. There is no perfect solution. Since we were going to be gone for a year we left one jauntily angled solar panel hooked up with the hope of providing a “trickle” of energy to the batteries. The AGMs are supposed to only lose about 1% per month, but because ours are not spring chickens, we decided to support them. When we arrived they were dead. We hooked up more solar panels and put our 110V charger on and they were still dead and were not accepting a charge. Then 48 hours later, just before Cameron was threatening to equalise them (the last ditch effort as it isn’t really supposed to help our brand of AGM’s (and they could explode)) they began holding a charge. Woo Hoo! High Five and “thank goodness we don’t have to spend $2,000 today”!

We are happy to be back in Mexico with the yummy and inexpensive cuisine! Dinner or lunch out hardly ever breaks 10 bucks!

Most other things have started up without a hitch, the oven switched on easily, the engine started up as well as the outboard for the dinghy. The dodger and bimini went back on easily and the dinghy is holding air. The water system is operational and there were no unpleasant surprises (aside from that stuff that was in the toilet – but Cameron dealt with that bless his heart).

The only damage we sustained in the hurricane was a few places where the Sunbrella fabric of the winch covers and the binnacle cover rubbed through due to the sun shade we had made for the boat sitting too close. That was fixed when a neighbour said she loved fixing sails and canvas so for a few pillows (that I was unloading anyway) and a few cases of beer, we had that all fixed up lickety-split!

Due to the extreme heat in Guaymas in the summer time and dryness in the winter, we have had some interior wood split. It’s cosmetic and just gets added to the list of detail work that could use a talented woodworking hand. Luckily we found just the person and he’ll dig into it when we return.

All in all, Banyan weathered the year sitting out of the water (a wholly unnatural place for a boat), rather well. It was a relief as six boats sunk at the dock during the hurricane last summer.

The RV will rest at the boatyard in Guaymas until we return. We’ve had some RFI’s (request for information) as to the RV itself. It’s a 1999 Jayco Designer 3250 Class C RV. It’s 32.5’ long with the Ford V10 Triton engine. It has one slide which expands the interior living space when we’re parked. We are fortunate to have a separate double bed in the rear and one above the cab. The girls share the area above the cab. The only unpleasant surprise was that we have additional guests travelling with us. A colony of ants is living somewhere, perhaps in the air conditioner? We are hoping that the heat of Guaymas will drive them to a cooler home. We don’t think they’re contributing to our abysmal 7mpg but that’s another story….

Banyan FINALLY being lifted into the water. She gave a huge sigh upon entry, she is happy now.



  1. Doug Vawter says:

    Welcome Home!!! Now if you just can remember how to sail and refresh all the terminology before someone gets knocked in the water from a swinging boom!!! Enjoy your time in the Sea of Cortez! Love to all.

  2. Barbara Sell says:

    So sweet to be back home. You are All very Blessed to be back on Banyon, I know she loves having you return! Happy Sails to You!

  3. Rowell says:

    That must be a big ‘slide’….. Turns out, I have learned to be even more brutal about minimalism after living in a 3,000 square foot house for the last year!

  4. sandy ednie says:

    Great synopsis of your Banyans re-entry to water!
    We sat through a horse show today, a great childrens “play day” and jumping, Judy Folk’s 41st such Annual Event.
    It seemed the whole island came, half with horses. We dont usually have such a turn-out or such wonderful sunny but cool weather.
    (Its just that wearing English Attire in Hawaii is always hot, heavy, binding.)
    Malia and Caleb did well, as did Ethan and Savannah Matsui.
    Emilia ,too, an amazing 3yr old. I wish Anne would work with us all about ‘gathering’ and riding the horses with more connection and softness. Sidney does every thing now, but that. Her body is hanging out like a very dull horse, but I am no teacher now. Malia has her jumping low but steady.
    I hope your girls love Mexico and boating. Its such a pleasure to function as a family. Love Sandy Ednie

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Hi Sandy,
      Fiona sent me a photo of Malia jumping Sydney and I was so amazed! They are doing really well together. She had her front feet nicely tucked up and Malia was giving her a lovely release over the fence. They are both looking great. I also got a photo from Erin of Savannah with her new boots that we handed down. They all looked so nice! Yes, english show clothes were not meant for Hawaii in the spring or Eastern Washington in the Summer time! What a silly thing that they don’t change the show clothes requirement to be more appropriate to the place.
      Much Love to you and yours!

  5. Fred and Janis Blue says:

    So interesting an uplifting to read of your experiences and exuberance of getting back on the water, the LOVE shines thru. Here we are in the doledrums ? of switching from winter to spring/summer wardrobes BUT enjoying the spring flowers and blooming trees. Smooth Sailing!! Love Gr A Janis and Fred<3

  6. Debi says:

    I love reading your posts and have missed them! Glad you are back on the water where your heart wants to be. Enjoy your time there. Happy sailing to all of you, lots of love and hugs as well.
    Aunt Debi

  7. Gary Souza says:

    They’re Baaack!!! Yeah!!! Happy for the Vawters. Glad I’ll be seeing more from the adventurous, awesome family. Be safe. Hugs to all

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