Saying goodbye is so hard. So challenging, un-fun, emotional, and awful. So. HARD. And yet, we’ve chosen a life that requires frequent goodbyes. What were we thinking?!? A lot of the time we know we’ll see people down the big blue watery highway, so it is more of a “see you later.” But this time it was different. And harder. And to be honest, our hearts broke this morning. (Written on 10.14.21)
If you’ve been following along, you know that we’ve spent the last nine months based at Marina Puerto Escondido, located about 14 miles south of Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico, on the Sea of Cortez. Loreto is a “Pueblo Magico,” which as I understand it, is a designation that a Mexican community can achieve for its beauty, friendliness and general magical-ness (I know, a new word, right?). It is rightly earned, as it is indeed a magical place. But so is Marina Puerto Escondido. Sure it has stunning scenery, sitting right at the base of the Sierra Giganta mountains, with crystal clear blue water, amazing geology and immediate access to the Loreto National Park islands. It is a natural hurricane hole, has five year old docks, wired internet, a great little store, a super tasty restaurant and 50 amp power (and 30 and 100 amp for you boaty people reading this). But that isn’t why it is “magico.” The people that make up the Marina Puerto Escondido team are the special sauce. They are selfless, generous, kind, caring, friendly, funny and welcoming. For us, after nine months of “homesteading (and cruising around the area),” they are family. Our family. And we love them fiercely. So, leaving them this morning took our four hearts (the dogs too of course) and shattered them into about a million pieces.
Red Rover in her slip, next to the beautiful N63 Ursa.
Add to this the fact that we left many of our cruising and Nordhavn family as well. And while a lot of us are headed in the same direction (south), the time spent together in this remarkable part of the world has been amazing. We also left our Loreto family – people who have embraced us as friends, as people who belong and not simply as tourists. After saying adios to one very special amigo, Diego, last weekend, we ran into him in the grocery store yesterday. Huge hugs and tears from all of us. SO HARD.
This morning we said goodbye to our cruising family and our Mexican family. We laughed, we received beautiful gifts (yum those scones are fabulous Hilda, and I am looking forward to bubbles when we anchor tonight, Eric!), hugs, incredibly touching messages, videos and notes, and a huge send-off with a marina of honking boat horns, waving friends on boats and on building balconies, team members taking selfies with Red Rover, and a special dinghy escort by Deanna and friends. Kevin and I had our headsets on and we could hear each other sniffling and choking up. Kevin could barely talk to Maritza on the VHF as he said goodbye. I want to note that we couldn’t get photos with everyone, but we wish we had. Particularly you, Javier, Enrique, Maritza and Wendy. Much love to you.
In all of this, we have learned some things that seem worthy of sharing.
Learning #1 – we love Mexico and the Mexican people. Well, we knew that. But it is deeply engrained in our hearts now and will never fade. Particularly in regards to our MPE and Loreto familia. We have been coming to Mexico for vacations for many, many years. But spending significant time in this country has completely changed our perspective. We now realize we knew very little as casual tourists. And we have so much more to learn about this incredible, diverse country. Mexico can have a PR problem in the US and Canadian media. That’s a shame. We have never felt more welcome and cared for than we do in Mexico.
Learning #2 – Cruising can be a mix of passages and pauses. When we set off to cruise, we had a big agenda! We were off to see the world! Circumnavigate! Move right along, see things, check the boxes, do all of the stuff in the guide books and on the blogs. Make it happen! We were approaching our cruising life like our full-time working life. It was great fun for awhile, kind of like vacation. However, we aren’t on vacation, we are living our life. And it didn’t feel like we ever learned the true essence of a place. Staying in Loreto was a decision made over some Don Julio 1942, and it was influenced by the need to increase our focus on Kevin’s company in Seattle, but it taught us how “magico” it can be to pause, learn and engage. I can’t really find the words to express the depth of this experience, but trust me. Sometimes it is good to stay put.
Learning #3 – slow down, be present, be open. Perhaps this one was best learned from our Mexican friends. In the US we are always in a rush. We’re impatient when dinner doesn’t arrive in seconds, when the phone isn’t answered on the first ring or when someone wants to actually talk to us at the grocery store. That was us too. Here on the Good Ship Red Rover we’ve changed. We’ve taken it down a notch. Well maybe like 10 or 12 notches. Our amigos have taught us by showing us. Take the time to sit and talk to the people around you. Learn about them and their families. Hear their stories and say yes when someone invites you to join them for lunch, a conversation, dinner or whatever! Don’t carry preconceived notions around in your head about who people are, but be open to hearing their stories and perspectives. Linger over meals. Sit and simply take in the natural beauty around you. Read. Learn. Understand. It’s a lost art. I’m glad we’re rediscovering it.
There are many more lessons learned from our four seasons of Loreto…including a whole lot of Spanish vocabulary, a rapidly growing affinity for hotter and hotter hot sauce, the best places to anchor in a summer south wind, and knowledge about how to stay cool during the middle of the day in a Mexican summer. But all of that is for another time.
I’m writing this in the pilothouse as we cruise south toward San Evaristo, our anchorage for the evening. We’ll drop off some school supplies for the village English school, started by “retired” cruisers, enjoy the gift of delicious champagne, and sleep well before we head to La Paz tomorrow. From there, we’ll be crossing to Mainland Mexico and wandering about for a bit before our scheduled haul-out in La Cruz on November 1. After some bottom paint, stabilizer service and a few other maintenance items, we’ll be back in the water and working our way south toward Barra de Navidad and the Panama Posse kick-off, followed by Christmas with our kids in Zihuatenejo. Panama, the canal and a trip to the east coast of the US are all in store for the first half of 2022. I’ll be trying to keep the blog more updated now that we’re moving again, but you never know, we might find another place to pause for a bit!
To our Loreto amigos…. I know that some of the MPE team and our Loreto friends may be reading this. We love you and miss you. Thank you for your friendship. I know we will see you again soon, even if we arrive on an airplane instead of a boat. But we will be back.
Another note – COVID is taken very seriously in Mexico. Everyone not wearing a mask in photos did so simply for the photo. We’re all happily vaccinated as well. 😊