Welcome to our mid-life crisis! These are the chronicles of Laura and Patrick, their young son Jack, and their goofball Labrador Retriever named Evinrude (Rudy), as they travelled the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific coast of mainland Mexico in their catamaran. We went cruising in search of a change of pace, a closer knit family, and peace of mind. We found all three and more. The fun all started in October, 2008 and nearly four years later the Mexican adventure came to an end August 3rd, 2012. With our mid-life crisis cured in Mexico, we are excited to start a new adventure - life back in America.

Patrick has since joined the Sales Team of Marine Servicenter as a boat broker. Whether you are looking to make your dream of sailing away come true, or ready to sell your boat he can help. He can be reached at http://marinesc.com/about/crew/patrick-harrigan

Candeleros Chico

Candeleros Chico
Just another beautiful day at anchor on the Baja. 2010

Dolphins at play in the bow wake 2011

Dolphins at play in the bow wake  2011

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hindsight is 20/20

This blog is for all you potential cruisers out there dreaming of starting your own adventures. I've been getting all reflective now that I see the end in sight. This blog is about all the things I wish I had done BEFORE leaving the States on our adventure.

Take an in-depth, detailed emergency medical course. The more detailed the better. We have been extremely fortunate in: A) not having a lot of injuries or serious illnesses, and B) being close enough to civilization to get help in time for the ones that have popped up. I would not count on having the same luck if I were you! I did not have a clue when we left just how isolated you could be out floating around on your boat in Mexico. Also, I did not realize the fact that not every town in Mexico has a doctor, a pharmacy or a clinic. And third, I did not realize how slow a sailboat travels. When there is a problem (like when Jack dislocated and broke his toe) it is a little too late to realize that you don't have a clue as to what to do and the book that tells you is back on the boat, plus you have to READ it first. It is ridiculous to think that in the middle of a true emergency you are going to be able to read a book, understand it and follow it's directions. Thankfully, Jack's toe wasn't a real medical emergency, but it still makes you feel helpless and stupid. Get educated!

Take some Spanish lessons. I thought that I would pick up Spanish as I went along. WRONG! I am not a quick learner with a foreign language and evidently there are lots of others like me. Just about every cruiser I have met down here who did not know how to speak Spanish before they left, still do not know how to speak Spanish now. The cruising lifestyle moves you from town to town, where you have the same conversations over and over with different people, but you never get a chance to form relationships with them. Therefore, I am really good at asking "Donde es .....?" and I am one hell of a good orderer in a restaurant. Those are about the only conversations I have. Unfortunately, I have missed out on a lot of meaningful conversations with some wonderful people. There have been many times where I would love to communicate with someone or understand some nuance of a situation that is completely beyond me with my limited Spanish. Sure, you can easily get by with mime, a smile and couple key phrases, but Mexico is filled with wonderful, kind people who are worth getting to know. Learn some Spanish and give yourself a chance to really experience Mexico. (And yes, I did take two years of Spanish in high school, but that was a long, long time ago.)

Take the ham radio test and get the General license at least. I've talked before about the SSB radio and how much I appreciate it. It is a wonderful tool for cruisers and provides many benefits. Not every SSB radio net requires a ham license to participate, but some of the best ones do. I managed to take my ham test while in Mexico, so you can get it done after you leave. However, that required being in a certain place at a certain time of year - something that is not always possible on a boat. If you are planning on being gone a long time and travelling in remote areas, I would strongly suggest you have an SSB radio and a ham license. Get your license now, while you have a car and can easily get yourself to a testing center.


  1. Hi Laura and Patrick,
    Thank you sooo much for posts like these ones. For soon-to-be cruisers like us(2 months to go!), this type of information is so valuable! I'm going to go sign up for that Spanish class and First Aid Course I've been meaning to take all winter! :)

    Katie and Mark

  2. Well, you've got a lot on your plate, but I would recommend the medical course first and the Spanish second. Of course, that's after the gown shopping, caterer picking, marriage classes, etc. Maybe it will be good to have something non-wedding related to work on? Enjoy this special time in your life.