Saying goodbye – the hard part of cruising

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)

Leaving Marina Puerto Escondido…for now.

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.

Geovani, who loves the dogs so very much. And they love him. We do too!
Mario, you are one special man. Mario es muy bueno! (Kevin es muy malo.)
Edgar, who even rescued me when I fell and hurt my ankle and knee hiking.

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.

Saying goodbye to beautiful Loreto, by the square.
Diego, a man of great wisdom, at his family restaurant, La Picazon. A very, very special place.
Saying goodbye to the amazing Igartua family at their restaurant La Picazon (we actually went back a few days later so we had to say goodbye twice, but I would go there every day if I could).

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.

Jose, right after he rescued Max after he fell off the boat in his excitement to greet his amigo Jose!
Deanna and Rob (Selene Bella Luna) came to say until we see you again…
Jeremy and Hilda (N76 Seacret), Vince and Linda (N60 Last Arrow), Eric (N40 Sprezzatura) – part of the MPE Nordies. We’ll see you down the road…
One last dinner at La Brisa (at the marina) – N76 Seacret, N68 Argo, N43 Gratitude, N40 Sprezzatura, N55 Red Rover and our sailing and hurricane prep buddies, S/V Tulum.
Deanna toasting our departure with her signature beverage…
The fabulous boat kids of S/V Tulum brought us these tasty goodies as a goodbye – but we’ll see them on the way to Panama!
Lucio, Noel and Mario taking selfies with Red Rover.

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.

Arturo, who taught us so much Spanish, and who was so patient and kind with our learning. We miss you already.
Ricardo, whose beautiful smile we will miss each day.

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.

The Sierra Giganta, taken from the cockpit of our boat in our slip.

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.

Summer in the Sea of Cortez brought amazing cloud formations. A summer summary (ha!) post coming up next.
Our vaca friends who we saw hiking each day. With new babies!

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!

Red Rover anchored in front of Loreto.

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. 😊

16 thoughts on “Saying goodbye – the hard part of cruising

  1. Hello there Jeffries clan! I was actually thinking about y’all today as we set out for some fishing from Cabo (a total bust but still lovely). Got back to our place and found your blog (for which we impatiently await your updates, I might add!) and shared it, aloud, with Debbie.

    It seems so long ago that we met at Shelter Island in SD, yet it really wasn’t that long ago. Deb’s first hands-on exposure to a Nordhavn as I worked to explain the lifestyle, the little ships, and the people that embark on this remarkable path—and which you both contributed to, then and throughout, more than you realize. This wandering life isn’t for everyone to be sure (shame, that, I suppose) but surely for us, and ever closer now—though “tomorrow” would be just fine with us.

    Love this specific blog, Alison, as we too love Mexico, it’s beautiful people, and the culture. But more significantly, your Lessons 2 & 3. In 2, it actually caused us to reconsider what boat we need/want. When (not “if) we slow down, we realize that we don’t need to conquer the world via circumnavigation; we could spend 5-10 years, from Alaska to Newfoundland and all parts between, and never need to cross. In 3, we were already aligned, yet your prose (throughout) reinforced the ideal and our thinking.

    Anyway, as we sit on Medano Beach here in Cabo, lamenting a return to the working life on Sunday, we’ll be cruising along with you vicariously to be sure. We wish you both fair seas and fabulous experiences to come, and hope that our paths cross in person again in the not too distant future.

    Sid and Debbie

    1. Sid you are so eloquent. I wish we had figured out how close we were before you were on your way home or we would have had you up to the boat!!! But I am certain we will see each other down the road. I read a really awesome post by SV Totem one day about cruising and how where you go is not to be measured by others, but by what is meaningful to you. If you don’t follow them, look them up. Amazing family. I think that we will ultimately circumnavigate, but we aren’t in a big hurry. We are 50 and 51 years old and we feel like we need to take our time, as long as things like hurricane and lightning seasons don’t force us to move along (which will happen next summer). We can always go back to revisit a place too! I am not yet ready to cross an ocean but maybe in 3 years I will be ready to do so! Europe is a big goal for us, so I will work my way towards it. I guess one thing I would say is…don’t wait too long. The boat doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be right for you at whatever time you choose. The experience of cruising has changed us – and all for the better. I wish we had started even sooner. So many good life lessons in this choice. Thank you for reading and always being so kind. I hope we meet up soon! And go have some fish tacos before you guys go home! Hugs to you both. – AJ

  2. Wow, sounds like you and Kevin had a fabulous time Alison. I can understand why it was so heartbreaking to leave as everyone was like family. I hope the new adventures ahead are just as fulfilling!
    Best regards,

    1. Thanks for the nice note Stewart! We did have an amazing time. And I will post a story about our summer fun soon. The MPE team is simply awesome. And someday, when we are ready to be still for awhile, we will go back! But we are excited about the new adventures to come, just a little bittersweet. ❤

  3. Boy do we feel your pain!! How blessed are we to enjoy so many lovely humans on our travels so much so that it hurts in the sweet sorrow of parting.

    1. We are so fortunate, aren’t we? I love meeting new people and learning from them. I just hate leaving them. 😞

  4. Great post Alison, as usual! Regan and I will look forward to seeing you on the East Coast in 2022. Our new boat will be delivered in December and we have a slip in N Palm Beach. Safe travels!

    1. Aww thank you Valerie! I appreciate the nice comment! Tell me about your new boat! How exciting! What a holiday present! We should be in Florida in June, 2022. We are planning to run from Panama pretty quickly. We will have to connect then!!

      1. Check out our Facebook page, Copper Moon. She’s a Grand Banks 60. See you in FL!

  5. Ok crying was not on my agenda tonight but I still enjoyed your post. We hope to be on our way down soon.

    1. Sorry!! Didn’t mean to do that to you! But glad to hear you guys are going to be rolling soon!

  6. I really enjoyed these insights. It’s wonderful there are so many unexpected aspects of your journey. Safe travels.

  7. Beautuful and insightful post, Alison! Your “lessons” of pausing and slowing down could apply to all whether on water or land I think. All the best in your travels!

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