Missing Home…aka SV Banyan

I’ve been away from Banyan for exactly 9 days on a work trip to Napa and Canada and I have 10 more days to go… *sigh*  Working while cruising is a necessary part of many cruiser’s lives and while it is not strictly necessary for us at least for right now, it sure makes our lives a bit more comfortable and flexible. Plus, I really really really like what I do.

I’m extremely fortunate that I can keep up my winemaking consultancy with the help of the fabulous people I work with and the modern miracle of the internet which allows me to communicate wherever I am whenever I am.  Thanks also to Tmobile through which I have a plan that gets me all sorts of unlimited stuff from Canada to Mexico.  So, connecting to the internet while sitting on the back of Banyan is a cinch.

My office is constantly moving, but as long as I have a cellular connection, I'm in business!
My office is constantly moving, but as long as I have a cellular connection, I’m in business!

BUT!  You can’t taste wines through the phone.  So, here I am, in the airport in a small Canadian town freezing my tush off and getting ready to head back to Napa for tastings, meetings and the Premier Napa Valley Auction – downshift –   Unfortunately my suntan has completely blown my cover and now I can’t hide it: yes…. I live on a boat in Mexico.  I haven’t found this to incite much sympathy.

Me in work mode looking at all our baby 2015
Me in work mode looking at all our baby 2015 wines

This popping on and off Banyan has been an interesting exercise.  People ask me if I get dizzy laying in a bed that doesn’t move – no 🙂  Getting used to land is pretty easy and sliding in and out of my work life is fairly seamless.  I arrive in San Francisco airport with the clothes on my back and an empty carry on bag, pick up a rental car and drive about an hour to my parent’s place.  Forthwith I am completely spoiled and taken care of; being plied with healthy food options, witty entertainment and a comfortable bed.   The next morning I empty the contents of a drawer into my bag and I’m on my way.  Heading back to Banyan is essentially the same, but in reverse, and Cameron usually has ordered a pile of boat parts that fill my bag on the way home.

Being away does have the unpleasant side effect of missing Cameron and the girls very much.  Generally my schedule is so packed that there isn’t much time for getting sad about it though – there is never a wasted moment and my trips always feel jam packed.

Getting her school work done en route from Tenacatita to Bandaras Bay
Getting her school work done en route from Tenacatita to Banderas Bay

While I’m away Cameron is all things to everyone onboard Banyan.  He is a fabulous dad and takes great care of the girls.  It’s really quite a special time for them to be together and develop their own little rhythm and relationship.  Cameron always comes up with solutions to the challenges of daily life that he might not have while I was there.  While I have been gone he has had his parents in town which has been fun for all of them.

In fact, visitors have abounded on board Banyan.  When last I updated we were leaving Tenacatita Bay to head up to Banderas Bay to meet my parents.

In case you are like me and you have to look on a map to find these places....here is help.
In case you are like me and you have to look on a map to find these places….here is help.

We had a 130 nautical mile upwind sail which took about 36 hours.  As we were heading straight into the wind we had to do a fair bit of tacking but Banyan sails well to windward and can point fairly high so we made good time even with wind on the nose.  We sailed about 20 miles off shore for the majority of the trip and had cooperative winds around the sometimes uncooperative Cabo Corrients (Cape of Currents).

Coming from the Sea of Cortez we have been heading south aka downwind and I had forgotten how tiring it is to sail upwind.  It’s one thing when it’s an afternoon or even an 8 hour sail, but 36 hours into the wind, making breakfast lunch and dinner on a 20% heel (meaning your boat is laying over on its side) is exhausting. The only way I can explain it – It’s like one of those stress dreams where you are walking through thick goo all the time and every movement takes the maximum effort and everything is harder than it should be.

Me, exerting myself
Me, exerting myself

When we arrived in Punta de Mita we happily chilled out on the boat for a day before heading into La Cruz.  We had heard that La Cruz was a kid boat paradise with tons of activities and a hub of floating families.  It’s true, we dropped the hook right between three other kid boats.  After a day of me catching up on some work and the girls getting their schooling done, we found ourselves onboard another boat for a potluck dinner with said boaters!

When we arrived in La Cruz we met up with my parents who had flown down from Benicia, CA.  A few days later Cameron’s parents, his mom’s best friend and husband along with Kim, Cameron’s sister came in from Indiana and LA.  It was quite the flood of family and really fun.  We were completely submerged in activities and La Cruz was a great place to be while they all visited.

Mis Padres!
Mis Padres!

La Cruz, about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta, has a classic Mexico feel with stray dogs and all.  Along with the cobbled roads and friendly locals, it has wonderful local fruit and veg markets, an amazing craft market which makes you wonder if you are in the US for a minute and a huge cruiser and expat population which supports a fun restaurant and live music scene.  It’s defiantly a place to hang out for a while.

I’ll chronicle those adventures soon, but for now, I’m airport bound, looking forward…quite a ways forward, to getting back to my beautiful little family and my home on SV Banyan.

Bacchus in Mexico Cheers!
Bacchus in Mexico


  1. Patsy & Bill Hahn says:

    We love hearing about your nautical trip. Brings back many memories to this 80 yr. old couple who spent many days on our lovely “stink pot” , 32 ft. with flying bridge. We lived in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl . and spent many wonderful days cruising the clear, blue waters off the Bahamas. We had 2 young children who enjoyed our cruising days as much as we did. After retirement we bought a motor home and cruised “on land” for 15 yrs., ending in Calistoga, where we now live and enjoy the beauty of the Napa Valley, surrounded by mountains and rows and rows of grapes, ripening for the “crush” in the early Fall.
    I think we met at church and gave you our e-mail to keep in touch with your adventure. Enjoy every minute of it!

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Hi Patsy and Bill, Yes, thanks for sharing your experiences! We loved our time in Calistoga and especially OLPH. I’m glad the blog brings back good memories for you guys. It is so much fun to put together and share. I’ve never been a very good album keeper and can confidently say that I DO NOT scrap book, so this is my way. I’m so happy it is fun for family and friends to read. Much Love!

  2. Marianne McGRiff says:

    Thank you for the wonderful update. We loved La Cruz with you, Cameron, Adelaide, Isa, your parents and Cameron’s family. What a privilege and joy to be a part of such a great crew. I’m sending a pkg. to your parents for the girls…love and hugs, Marianne

    • Anne Vawter says:

      😉 I got a tip from a friend that…they had no idea where all these places where that I was talking about. And I thought… yea, well I still have to look on a map for them too so – lightbulb!

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