Force of Nature

While holed up in Escondido we met up with kid boat "Lola".
We had crossed tides with them them briefly, 'round about the time we connected with Eyoni but never got to really hang out as we were called back home to pack up our house. They and another couple of child- laden boats were moving North into the Sea for the season- and the lucky ducks spent the summer with a  flotilla of happy kids, riding whale sharks in the Bay of Los Angeles.
We were bummed not to have been up there with them, but the upside of hurricane Paul was, he drove us all into the same hideout and we were able to reconnect.
As soon as the moody clouds moved on from the peaks of the Giagantes we suggested a hike with all the kids- up the canyon to the swimming holes. 
What a change!
Everything we expected to see was completely transformed by the rains.
We have been studying "erosion" with Kai in his Earth Science book- but I think we can toss that text now, having seen, first hand, the power of water and its ability to transform a landscape.
Not only were our favorite swimming holes completely full of rubble, the entire gorge was unrecognizable. 
Hurricane Paul sent such a deluge of water coursing down the canyon that it completely flooded the narrow water-way and filled it with about 20 feet of rock and sand.
We got to explore an entirely new canyon with the good-vibe crew of Lola.
They're an affectionate, sporty young family-Swedish-British, blonde and tan, as fit and happy a tribe as you could possibly come across.  Mama Rosanna was a sure- footed climber, with adorable baby Poppy on her back and Papa Peter ( pronounced pee-der) bounded along behind their ridiculously cute, toe-headed, five-year old, Teddy.  
Hunter  and Teddy made fast buds and little Poppy had a soft spot for the gentle Kai and we all had a blast climbing up to a forty foot waterfall.
The crew of Pura Vida had actually scaled the same cliff once before, when it was dry; free-climbing the tight-squeeze, up a thirty-foot high, hollow chute. 
Now, it was a towering torrent of fun, with a  pool at the bottom, shallow enough to stand in. 
Kai disappeared underneath the crushing falls-he was gone before i could protest -and not a moment later, I was terrorized by the sound of him screaming. 
We couldn't see him behind all the water and Jon dashed to rescue him only to realize,  he was just shouting for us to follow- he had found a way past the rushing gate of water, into a private chamber behind the falls.
BIg smiles all around...and a  just few more white hairs for mom.

Boat kids

Lil' Miss Poppy

Teddy drives our dingy

Whole new hike!

There USED to be a swimming hole!

Fearless friends
Kai leads the way
Big fun

Exiting Kai's cave
Hunter takes a shower

One of Hunter's many pet refusals

The next day our thoughts drifted to where to go next.
The winds were favorable for heading South but we were also hearing new rumblings of something starting to brew in the tropical kitchen- down by Guatemala.
Lola was heading to the mainland to surf, so she decided to make the four-day crossing straight to Puerto Vallarta and beat whatever  low pressure system might be coming.
THat was a tempting call for us but we had some things to take care of still and an offer from Manta for some more diving-no way we were gonna pass that up!-so we swapped emails with Lola and made a plan to hook up again, somewhere around Punta Mita. 
We look forward to sharing some waves-and smiles-with them in a few weeks.

None of us was in any rush to break company with Manta.
As long as they kept offering days filled with diving and good tales and good fun-Dawn even invited us aboard for an unbelievable turkey dinner complete with all the fix-in's and a VAT of mashed potatoes...well, my crew on Pura Vida wasn't going to be going anywhere in too much of a hurry.

Manta filled their spare tanks with air for us and Dive crew Pura Vida went back out for some more action.
I discovered a beautiful speckled Moray and Terry showed me how to hand feed him- laughing at me when I chickened out and poked the scallop towards the creature, rather than letting him take it from me.( If you saw how lightening fast those things can move out of their holes for a snatch-n-grab you might understand my hesitation). Of course, Terry thought it was hilarious that I was afraid of something so small but he looked big to me!
Hunter and Dawn even managed to catch a lobster free-diving and Jon found another while hunting near our boat .
What luxury to think up new and interesting things to make out of lobster for dinner...every other night!
Party on Manta

Boat kitty Tigger dressed to kill

Kai tries the appy's 
I finally quit farting around and started to take more seriously my free-diving ventures. 
The kids did school work, while Jon and I went hunting on our own and unencumbered by my pups, I settled into a good rhythm, breathing up for sixteen breaths and practicing my mental yoga-relaxation before following Jon down.
I was finally able to break my previous limits of depth and nerves and metal noise and a whole new world opened up for me as I passed thirty feet.
Diving with terry and Dawn with the tanks actually has helped a great deal with free diving.
I had to learn to relax in a new way , down there at 100 feet and somehow that mind set has translated into other things, as well.
Plus, with the aid of tanks and Terry and Dawn's guidance, I now know what to look for when i'm down there so i'm much better at discovering octopus caves or following a large spotted eagle ray as he glides past Jon and I at 25 feet...

Hunter's biggest discovery happened yesterday, while on a solo paddle board mission-
exploring the perfect little anchorage of Hooneymoon Cove, she noticed the worlds biggest hermit crab, shuffling along the white crescent of beach. 
Oh, the joy!
Lately, Hunter's been besieging us with-a full-court-press, for a pet; kitten or puppy, iguana or parrot....the daily list is endless.
On this day, though, there were no parents present to loom and gloom on her parade.
"Hermes" the Hermit Crab, was immediately scooped up and brought aboard.
Upon arrival he was given his choice of bucket or box, berth or hammock, sleeping bag or drawer...He finally settled for Hunter's finger.
Not having internet and therefore not knowing  the preferred diet of a Hermit crab, he was fed everything available in the galley-chicken and roast beef, lobster and broccoli-he finally showed a  distinct preference for Nutella.
The seemingly unlimited affection that a seven-year old girl, (desperate for a pet) can shower on a crustacean, is a thing to behold.
"Hermey" as he is called by his "family" is actually the ultimate boat pet. 
No need for a trip ashore, no litter box, he's happy to eat scraps and i have to admit, he's got quite a large personality for something with six legs.
Hermey has the run of the boat, he's very good at climbing ropes and halyards and he has excellent manners- very social and loves to hang around on Hunters braid.
He also loves iced tea.

And then we were... five.


  1. The tale of Hermie will surely inspire another eight stanzas of the Pome!

  2. Ha ha ha ha ha!! Thank you we are laughing so much at those terribly sweet photos of Hunter and Hermey!!
    And we just have to know - are those streams and waterfalls slippery?!

  3. Soooo...No puppy for Christmas gift now? Phew....wasn't sure how to pack it.
    That final pic of Hunter and Hermey (already being referred to as Huntmey btw) is a ridiculously beautiful picture!!