Leaving La Barca

This whole RV thing is hilarious.  To be honest, I’ve had a little bit of a difficult time embracing the RV lifestyle.  There is something not very graceful about pulling into an RV park that stands in stark contrast to dropping the hook in a secluded anchorage.  But hey, we are getting used to the idiosyncrasies of our new living situation and find more humor in it than anything else.  More on that soon.

When last I wrote, we were wrapping up our spring time cruising season in the Sea of Cortez.  We left Banyan in San Carlos in the water on the dock while we went up to Canada for almost two weeks of work. During our time there we had a few free days to play which is unusual as it is usually go-go-go.  We explored Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, we had a fun day of errands and shopping in the city of Vancouver and then found a cool petting zoo/farm that the girls loved in North Vancouver.

On the sea bus to North Van
The amazing sunken gardens
Canada’s best vineyard, Phantom Creek Estates … not that we are biased:)
This is what the girls did 90% of the time while we were in meetings. Magnatile Champions!

After Canada, I had a trip to France…  “Wait, WHAT?!?  You had another trip to FRANCE!”  I know, I know, it is a little crazy, but I was invited by a cooper (barrel maker) to see their cooperage (barrel making factory)… and who is going to say “no” to a free trip to France?  So, off I went to Sancerre, Cognac, Bordeaux, La Rochelle and Paris while the girls and Cameron stayed with my parents in Benicia and had tennis camp!  PE… check.

Bottle of wine under the Eiffel Tower… Check!
Romping around Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion

Once I returned from France it was a fast turnaround back down to Mexico.  Here is where the real work began.

Summer time is hurricane season in Mexico.  You can stay on your boat and sail from hurricane hole to hurricane hole, but the heat becomes oppressive and we just were not up for that.

Banyan weathered a direct hurricane hit last year when she was on the hard with no damage, so we put her back where she had been, at Fonatur in Guaymas, MX.

We spent almost a week with Banyan in the water in San Carlos getting her ready to be hauled.  Cameron worked hard washing, drying and stowing sails (all but the main), removing lines and replacing with runner lines, rinsing all those lines in water with fabric softener. We “summarized” the dingy engine, pickled the watermaker, pulled out all the anchor chain, flipped it, cleaned it and repainted the end of it.

Cameron (an expert sail wrangler) stowing the Genoa
Lines drying post bath time

While Cameron did most of this, I tried to keep things fun for the girls in the heat.  I would do a bit of work in the morning but mainly took care of feeding the crew and keeping us all from killing each other in the heat.  The girls and I escaped daily to the Beach Club with our friend on SV Pandion who was a professional swim teacher.  She gave the girls swimming lessons in exchange for a bit of help getting her boat ready for summer.

Once we were ready, we sailed Banyan about three hours south into the less beautiful port of Guaymas.  We stayed on the dock just a few nights and worked feverishly in the heat to get her ready.  We took all the food off the boat, sprayed all surfaces (including locker interiors) with vinegar to reduce mold, conditioned all the rubber gaskets with silicone gel, we removed the main sail, we covered all exterior plastic with towels or foil to reduce heat and sun damage, we took down and washed all exterior canvas, removed and stowed the solar panels, treated the water tanks, removed and stowed the wind generator blades, covered all ports and hatches with foil and insulation to reduced heat on the inside of the boat, changed all fluids in the main engine and rinsed it with fresh water. Deep Breath. We covered all the winches, removed anything that we would need while on the RV and disconnected anything with a battery.  After just a few days we had Banyan hauled out (always more than a little nerve racking) and continued the work “on the hard”.  The last few days were a bit brutal with the heat beating down and the air completely still.  With no respite from the heat except for the grocery store (which really isn’t that air conditioned either), 90 degrees can be a bit oppressive.

Isa taking inventory?
Cameron changing the oil
Just prior to getting hauled!

Guaymas in the warm months was a bit less appealing than it had been.  It is a working town and cool in many ways in that it is very authentic.  But the poverty is sometimes quite shocking and the lack of cleanliness is somehow much more felt when it is hot.  The air quality was just dreadful and daily the decks would be covered in a black grit.  Needless to say, I was motivated to get us on the road.

And on the road we now are!  We have had an amazing first leg, which I will chronicle in our next update.  Much Love to all of you and we appreciate all your comments and questions!


  1. Tom A Rinaldi says:

    AH, I missed those days of cooperage junkets!! Was there last year on our own dime, but the barrel company folks were our saviors…”HAPPY TRAILS”…

  2. Laurence & Veronica Donald says:

    So nice to catch up with you both while in Calistoga, albeit a quick chat at music in the park. Veronica was disappointed to have missed seeing you. Safe travels back up to Canada and a successful upcoming harvest.
    Kindest regards – Laurence & Veronica Donald.

    • Cameron Vawter says:

      Great to see you Laurence! We’re sorry we missed Veronica as well. Calistoga is such a special place to us! We’ll probably swing through the valley later this fall so hopefully we’ll get to see you both at OLPH.

  3. Toya Huijon says:

    Happy to see you Cameron, and hope to see you in Mexico when you and your Hermosa familia are there next year.
    Los quiero mucho!
    Toya Huijon

  4. Barbara Sell says:

    Loving your updates, photos & family! Thanks for great updates, Blessed to see you in California! Safe travels dear ones!

  5. Joanie Schumann says:

    I love your adventurous life and what an incredible experience
    for your girls. The photos are always beautiful and fun…Safe travels.
    Joanie Schumann

  6. Bill Tolbert says:

    Wonderful to see the world and enjoy your trip vicariously through your writings. Safe and fun travels to you all. Hugs,

  7. Janis and Fred Blue says:

    And we thought sailing was FUN AND GAMES…LOL That is quite a task to ready for storage, but will make things much easier when ready to get back in the water. So glad you got a few days of pleasure without deadline pressure. We love hearing all of this..Our love, Gr Aunt Janis and U Fred

  8. Richard Ednie says:

    Lots of work on a sailboat. Sandy and Dick are 9 days now with 4 others in England on the Avon canal operating a 70 ft by 6 ft canal boat. 4 more days to go. A new experience for sure. Aloha , Dick and Sandy.


    Hi Anne & Cameron… love the photo of your “beautiful” family at Butchart Gardens!
    It is nice to follow your travel adventures & know what you are up to…. I know what you mean about the heat, as I spent the past month in Central Oregon with 93 – 99 every day it seemed. I had to stay inside alot, which seems unnatural in the summer – I’m back in NZ for winter now 🙁

    Happy travelling!!
    Michele Herald

    • Cameron Vawter says:

      Butchart Gardens was amazing. I highly recommend it for everyone! We’re on track to see you for your summer of 2018! Can’t wait!

  10. ej says:

    August in San Carlos.. we learned the hard way… the heat can make you want to kill yourself. You were too kind about the heat… And the grit.. As I remember the municipal power plant, that runs on dirty bunker grade oil is next to the harbor.. so as I remember the smoke and ash blows toward boats there. Since you find RV’s funny, you might appreciate that the humor in experiencing power as it was generated in teh US 30 years ago. Great job summarizing the boat.. so much energy. Good for you. Keep it up!

    • Anne Vawter says:

      The heat and grit in Guaymas and San Carlos are unbearable in the summer…hence the get-away vehicle/RV. I probably was a bit kind. The large particles of pollution that you find fallen on your decks every day and then end up traipsing around your boat is extremely disheartening. Knowing that this stuff is not only on your body and boat but in your lungs… It’s enough to make you sail to the South Pacific! Thanks for your comments.

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