The Red Rover Top 20 AKA Oh the Places We’ve Gone – Pacific Edition

<<Written on April 19, 2022>> As I write this, we are approaching Panama City, and the Panama Canal. Last night was our last night anchored in the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific is home. It’s been home since we bought our first boat, an Old Town canoe that we paddled around Quartermaster Harbor on Vashon Island, Washington, where we once lived. That was 2001. Twenty-one years of being home on the Pacific are about to come to a conclusion when we transit the Panama Canal later this month. We found ourselves floating around in the Pearl Islands thinking about this, and about how much we have loved living on Red Rover in the Pacific. And with that, this post was born. Here we go! Alison and Kevin’s favorite places – Red Rover Pacific Addition!

Top 20 Favorites – not in order of love, but rather of geography

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
What’s not to love? Incredible vistas, whales, puffins, sea otters, glaciers, a feeling of being very small in an enormous, natural world.

A new meaning for big sky country.
Cocktails, anyone?
Anchored in the mountains.

Sitka, Alaska
Totem poles, a charming town with Russian roots, memorable meals out, watching the fishing fleet prepare for their trip north.

A totem stands watch
The fishing fleet prepping for the season.
Like a graceful ballet.

Takatz Bay, Baranof Island, Alaska
Waterfalls, mist, waterfalls and more waterfalls. Stunning.

Zoe girl checks out the waterfalls.
Fog and a fishing boat (from Gig Harbor!) create a misty beautiful afternoon.
Red at rest.
Zoe wants to know where Dad is going?

Tracy Arm, Alaska
Navigating the ice bergs (aka bergie bits), a thundering glacier, waterfalls and a dance party.

Watching for bigger bergie bits.
My that’s a small boat…

Joe’s Bay, Barkley Sound, West Coast Vancouver Island, British Columbia
“I think we’re alone now.” And we were. Kayaking, dog swimming, wilderness.

Family paddle.
Good night Red.

Bacchante Bay, Clayoquot Sound, West Coast Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Steep cliffs, misty mornings, bears and beauty.

This shot became a calendar girl photo.

Toba Wilderness Marina, Toba Inlet, Desolation Sound, British Columbia
Hiking with Leo and Mamie – N60 Paradise Found, Dig and Pam – MV Rubenesque. Stunning vistas, friends and waterfalls via dinghy.

The view of Toba Inlet.
Dig, Pam, Kevin and I at Toba Inlet.

Sucia Island, San Juan Islands, Washington
Oh, so many memories, with Red Rover and our previous boat, MV Island Dog. Hiking with “walk-tails,” kayaking, relaxing. Sunsets…

Ah Sucia. And Mt. Baker!
Red hanging out.
Zoe waiting for the stick. Lace rock in the background.

Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington
Forever a favorite  through all of our boating. But… what about that 4th of July with Shawn and Elizabeth on N43 MV Freedom where the Nordhavns were rafted?

Red Rover and her sister MV Freedom, rafted up (and shore tied).
Oh I just love this place.
It’s a busy spot, waiting for colors.
A classic.
The nightly colors ceremony.
And an orca seaplane, of course.

La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Turning 50 with Deb, Craig and Julia on the boat, swimming with whale sharks, Carnival 2020 (crazy fun), morning walks on the Malecon. Tacos. And more tacos.

Installation at the La Paz Art Museum.
With one yellow pole.


A malecon of art.

Turning 50 during Carnival!

My best birthday present ever – Debbie, Craig and Julia came from Massachusetts for my 50th.

Loreto and Marina Puerto Escondido, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Our second home. People we love. Hiking with the crew, wandering, anchoring and a fishing tournament that included Sunday Funday with Deanna and Hilda. Friendly, charming Loreto.

Oh Loreto, Pueblo Magico, you have our hearts.
Jose our friend. We miss you.
The view from our cockpit for the nine months we were based out of MPE.
An incredible view on our hikes each morning with our marina family.
Fishing tournament fun! Las Pescadoras – miss you Deanna and Hilda!

V-Cove, Isla Carmen, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Caves, cliffs, a white sand beach and turquoise water. Three weeks on the hook with Hugo and Michelle N55 Gitana, and many more days spent blissed out in this 2-boat anchorage.

Red and her beach.
V-Cove love.
Ram walking across the beach at V-Cove.
Red Rover and Gitana, sunset.

San Juanico, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Incredible geology, rock formations, beaches, snorkeling, hiking, organic farm visit during COVID, friends.

With cliffs that glowed at sunset.
Red and the cliffs.
Farm friend.

La Picazon and Isla Coronado, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Diego and Anna and their family. Lazy afternoons and the best margaritas in the world. People who live in our heart. Hiking the volcano on Coronado, watching rays dance, white sand beaches. Hilarious evenings at anchor with friends old and new, and sing alongs on the flybridge under the stars.

Our home away from home. La Picazon – a very, very special place.
View from the hike up the volcano.
Special people in a special place. Love. Gabriella and Andrew, Erin and Stu and the kids.

There are margaritas on Red Rover. Stu has been enjoying them as well.

Beautiful Isla Coronado

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Bay of Banderas, Mexico
A real Mexican town that embraces the cruising community. Pat and Alexa N50 Noeta love. Dance parties on Red Rover with paletas, eating our way around town. Building an ofrenda for Dia de Los Muertos.

There ain’t no party like a Red Rover dance party. At least if there are these four people and a small dancing dog.

Dia de los Muertos shrine

The town square in La Cruz.
Tacos on the Street with the Nordhavn gang!
Friday night dancing horses.
Beautiful La Cruz street art.

San Christobal, Chiapas, Mexico

Stunning light, friendly town, indigenous Mexican experiences. Hot chocolate at sidewalk cafes. Wandering galleries.

This is one of our favorite places we’ve been on land.

Sweaters! Cocoa! Jeans! Coffee!

Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Jungle! Monkeys, toucans and scarlet macaws. Crazy fun adventures with Doug and Mary – N46 One Life. Peaceful corner of the world.

Simply stunning
Red hanging out with the jungle.
View by horseback.
Mary’s horse just never wanted to do what everyone else was doing…
Snorkeling trip!

Islas Secas, Golfo de Chiriqui, Panama
White sand beaches, palm trees, jagged rocks, incredible snorkeling.

Private anchorage
Stunning beaches

Coiba Marine National Park, Panama
Untouched beauty, on the surface and below the water. White tipped sharks, sea turtles, incredible sea life and snorkeling.

Red Rover at Islas Cocos, Coiba National Park.
This is a stunning, protected place.
Clear, clean water.

The beaches of Las Perlas Islands, Panama
What I always dreamed a beach could look like…

Beach lovin.

And a bonus (added after this was written!) – Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama
History seeps out of every corner. Stunning building restorations proudly face the sidewalk. Guna women sell their wares on corners. The incredible story of building the canal can be felt, and learned throughout this neighborhood. Oh and the food!

Pre-canal transit dinner with the crew. Me, Mary and Doug (N46 One Life), Darren who is our awesome friend, Abby and Scott (N55 Orenda) and Kevin.
Panama history and future.
Gorgeous and alive.
Mi amor.
Rooftop drinks with our new Panama hats (thanks Abby!)
Panama hat crew in Casco Viejo!

20 Moments and Memories

Ahhh. But, what about ________ (fill in the blank)? It is impossible to choose. But, then again, there are favorite memories and experiences that while they aren’t in our top 20 destinations, they are moments that keep popping up in our happy conversations. Here are 20 of them. There are so many more.

San Francisco Chinatown and the Golden Gate Bridge
“Heading out to San Francisco…” croons Jimmy Buffet. Maiden voyage of Red Rover from San Diego to Seattle. Going under the Golden Gate Bridge. Chinatown dinner with “crew” – Laura, John, Richard, Grandpa Darrel

Laura and John getting just the right shot.
These smiles are because we finally made it to San Francisco!
A happy crew eating lots of Chinese – Kevin, me, my cousin Laura, her husband John, our friend Richard and Kevin’s dad, Darrel.

Slow afternoons at the dock, and the Harbour Public House in Winslow, Washington on Bainbridge Island
A weekend escape, happy place during the years of Monday-Friday work in Seattle. A destination with many, many friends.

Red waiting for us.
Winter cruise lunch destination.
Red is still waiting.

Dixon Entrance at sunrise, entering Alaska
Arriving in Alaska at sunrise, coffee in hand, feeling a sense of accomplishment.

Sunrise is always magical, but this one was especially so.

First NAPS, Port Ludlow, Washington
Small but mighty, the first Nordhavns Around Puget Sound. Ribs cooking in everyone’s galley. Nordhavn Family.

Kevin and Shawn making ribs – to be cooked on multiple boats.
The racing Nordhavns (N57 Set Free and Red Rover) passing N47 Epoch on the way to the gathering.
Jill and Don’s old boat. N43 Seaborne, a beautiful girl.

Leaving our slip for the last time… Shilshole Bay Marina, Seattle
What a feeling! We’re going cruising!

The people and four-legged people of Red Rover and MV Freedom saying see you down the road. Missing two of these pups now.
Bye! Gotta go!
Don’t worry, we had not left the dock yet.

Octopus Island sign making, Octopus Islands, British Columbia
Rain, rain and more rain. Carving and coloring our boat signs with Dig and Pam – MV Rubenesque. Adult beverages.

Pre-coloring sign making.
Dig and Pam with their new sign at the cabin.
A remote cabin covered in boat signage – so fun to wander through.

Pizza Party Shutdown, Blackfish Sound, the Broughtons, British Columbia
“I thought you’d be a bunch of 20-somethings.” Having our Pizza Dance Party with Leo and Mamie N60 Paradise Found shut down by the fishing lodge manager.

Red Rover and N60 Paradise Found
I think this is how we started to get in trouble.

Big Left Turn, Strait of Juan de Fuca meets the Pacific Ocean, Washington
We’d dreamed of it for years. And then it happened. “Cool Change” on the stereo. Alison barfing. Four of us cheering in the pilothouse (Kevin, Alison and our friends Kevin and Laura – MV Airship)

Red Rover, heading out to the Big Left Turn.

Laura and Kevin after the Big Left Turn (which was just after midnight)

Redwoods and Coastal Exploration
Wandering the Redwoods and the California coast in a rented minivan with Scott and Abby (then of N47 Epoch) and Laura and Kevin (MV Airship / while waiting on weather in Crescent City, CA.

Kevin and Laura and Abby wander ahead in the forest.
Kevin and the doggos and a giant stick.
These two come alive on a beach.

Fleet Photo Taco Run
Scott (N47 Epoch now N55 Orenda) calling the shots on the VHF, Kevin flying the drone, Alison driving the boat nervously with boats on all sides. Hilarious VHF chatter at the conclusion of a fun, long journey with new Nordhavn friends.

Festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parade, Puerto Vallarta
Al pastor street tacos, Mexican culture, friendly PV, respect and love.


Oh Al Pastor, you are the best thing in the world.
The march to the cathedral.
The cathedral interior.

Mag Bay Fishing
Early days of COVID, providing work for people without any, catching fish with friends, Hugo and Michelle, N55 Gitana. Mag Bay – a Red Rover safe harbor.

Hugo has a fish!
Kevin and our panga captain.
Michelle has a fish too!

Wine and the Funk Zone, Santa Barbara, California
Summer in California, introducing our daughter Kirsten to wine tasting, and then wandering and boat waxing. Boat waxing wasn’t the star of the memory…

How’s that wine, Kirsten?
Funk Zone art.

English Fry Up lazy Sunday at Punta Colorada with Seacret
Cooking together, eating and laughing with Jeremy and Hilda N76 Seacret. Friends that become family.

Let’s have breakfast! Jeremy and Hilda cooking up something good.
Red Rover and Seacret

Riding Pulmonias (funny cars) in Mazatlan, walking Old Town
Kevin was sure we would die. I loved it. An unusual change in perspectives! Beautiful, restored Old Town, rooftop dining.

Now who wouldn’t want to ride in that?
The historic downtown of Mazatlan
Mmm. Cerveza!

Zihuatanejo Christmas with our Kids, Mexico
Holiday happiness when the kids come to visit. Incredible Christmas spirit in a small, beautiful fishing town. Dinner on the cliff with our family. Malecon selfie-fun.

Kevin, Kirsten, Jenny, Mike, me and Arik testing out the holiday spirit.
Red Rover loves Christmas too.
What’s Santa bringing?
A special evening, with Red down below.

Making chocolate with Miguel, Tuxtla Chica, Chiapas, Mexico
Eating in a small courtyard, food cooked over fire, learning the points of cacao preparation in the traditional way.

Lunch – amazing.
Kevin learning to crush the beans.

Mist rising at Palenque
Spiritual destination. Mayans before us.

Stilt Restaurant in Estero Jaltepeque, El Salvador
Panga ride with Bill and Jean, selecting a fish, slow and lazy afternoon of being present and learning about El Salvador.

Selecting our fish with Bill and Jean.
Walking up to lunch – this is covered at high tide.

La Leona Waterfall hike, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
More fun with Doug and Mary, hiking and swimming up a river to a beautiful waterfall. Riding in the back of a truck and “doing all the things.” Pura Vida!

Photo opportunity before swimming upstream.
Our adventure buddies, Doug and Mary.

4 thoughts on “The Red Rover Top 20 AKA Oh the Places We’ve Gone – Pacific Edition

  1. The timing of this post is perfect, and I am scribbling all kinds of notes — thanks for sharing! As boaters, the Pacific is new to us. We said our next adventure would start wherever the right boat was… turns out she was waiting for us in San Jose del Cabo. So we left our home waters of south Florida/Bahamas and here we are in the Sea of Cortez… learning as we go and looking forward to making our way up to Alaska and then down to Central and South America. I might need your extended list 🙂 Cheers, Angie N6829

    1. Hey Angie! So glad it helped! Love your new boat, and great people who sold it to you too. Happy to give you the extended list anytime at all! You are in one of my favorite places for sure now though! We love the Sea! Reach out anytime!!

  2. What an awesome summary. Red Rover Red Rover the fun’s never over! Keep on doing exactly what you always have and thank you for sharing!

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