Ahoy, everyone! I’m Nate’s sister, Lizze and I just got back from visiting S/V Astraea. Here are my nine tips for visiting cruisers:
1. Pack light!
There isn’t space on a sailboat for suitcases and ten pieces of luggage. When I visited, I packed EVERYTHING I used for the week in a small backpack. The portability of my pack allowed my adventure to start as soon as I stepped off the plane. Nate, Nat, and Sully took me to Bucerias where we enjoyed shrimp tacos from a roadside stand. If I had a duffle bag or suitcase, we would have had to go directly back to S/V Astraea before exploring beautiful Mexico.
Here is the complete list of what I brought:
-camera and charger
-assorted boat parts
-comb and hair ties
-eyeliner, mascara, and
chapstick (seriously, you don’t
need foundation – you’ll
sweat it off anyway)
2. Don’t be afraid to get WET!
I didn’t get my sea legs, so the first night I fell into the water while stepping out of the dingy onto the dock. I just laughed it off – this was my initiation into the seafaring brethren. Luckily, my big brother took me back to the boat to put on dry clothes. This little splash was more about making a memory for our family to laugh about than actually getting wet.
3. Eat your way through the trip!
The S/V Astraea crew is eating their way through Mexico, and you should too. Order something different, and if you don’t actually know what it is, eat it anyway. We went to a cute little surfer town called Sayulita and had sandwiches and agua frescas (juices), and they were tasty hodgepodges of flavors I never thought to try in my own kitchen.
Breakfast was my favorite meal in Mexico. We had chilequiles. I liked it so much used day old corn tortillas and enchilada sauce to make a replica on Saturday morning when I got home!
4. Pee in the Pacific Ocean. To mark your territory and make memories.
The water is clear and warm, and being able to jump in at will is a memory that you won’t forget. As I sit at my office desk now, I wish I could walk downstairs and have this outside my door. Plus, peeing in the ocean smelled waaayyyy better than the latrines I use back in Pennsylvania.
Also, there are crazy little green bioluminescent plankton that illuminate phosphorescent light because of chemiluminescence that occurs when they are startled, so go swimming after the sun sets. We couldn’t capture it in a picture, but the memory is picturesque.
5. Embrace your crazy hair.
It’s hot and humid, and your hair will do some silly things. Throw it in a ponytail and forget about it. Everyone looks just as crunchy as you do, and everyone likes it.
On a different note, I don’t shampoo my hair. I haven’t washed it since the beginning of February (about two months ago). I only rinse it with water or an egg wash every few days), and being in and out of salt water and only rinsing it with fresh water has given my hair the “refresh” it wanted – it’s still shiny and voluminous from the trip!
6. Take the bus, don’t take a cab.
We rode everywhere on the van-buses. They were cheap and they let me see the real side of Mexico that my cruises never showed me. Plus they gave me dedicated time to have conversations with the cruisers I love, depending on who I was sitting with! I also brought little toys for Sully that we would open to occupy little hands on the bus.
7. Get off the boat.
Check out the towns! In Puerto Vallarta, we found some cool bridges and walking trails to explore and have family-bonding time.
8. If you get seasick, go up to the cockpit.
Yes, I got ridiculously sick on my second night, but Nat came to the rescue with some pretzel chips and tasty pasta. I just sat up in the cockpit all night to watch the other boats dancing in the harbor. The swells were crazy! I had no idea that there would be that much turbulence with the anchor down, but everyone assured me that the waves that evening were very unusual.
9. This is a lifestyle – take some of it home with you.
I stole a little bit of S/V Astraea’s mantra, “Invest in Experiences, not things.” Coming back, I miss the feeling of closeness to everyone on the boat, so I apply the mindset by calling and checking in with my stateside family a little bit more.