Gotta Go

wing and wing
We’ve done a lot of this down the coast, wing and wing with a poled-out jib. Even with our bent boom this has worked out well. We’ve hardly had to motor since San Diego. Michael Robertson

Since we started cruising, there have been many imperatives to go, go, go. We spent much of our first cruising year working on the boat, getting it ready to travel long distances. Every day was a challenge to see how much I could get done before the season urged us north, all the way to Victoria.

Sound like hell?

No way. I have a perpetual drive to turn any potential energy into kinetic energy, to get things done. It’s part of what made me successful in the lives we left. It’s part of what allowed us to get out here in the first place. And it’s not just the perpetual boat to-do list that keeps me going; being underway, moving from place to place also sates that drive. Putting miles under our keel feels like progress.


Our season-driven itinerary was made-to-order to please me. The calendar framed our time in Alaska and our need to get back down the Pacific coast. Perfect.

Can we make it to La Paz for Thanksgiving?

Sounds good.


Even Windy’s growing weariness about being on the move was reason to go: Well, let’s hurry and get to La Paz where we’ll be able to just be someplace for a bit.

Then she dropped the bomb, suggesting we leave our anchor on the bottom here in Bahia Magdalena, 350 miles from La Paz.

“What? For how long?”


“I don’t know, till after Christmas? New Years?”

“No, seriously?” I really didn’t think she was serious. We’d already lost so much time to our boom debacle in San Diego. “We’d planned to be in La Paz for Thanksgiving; we’re already so far behind.”

“But we’re here.”



“Mexico, Baja. Let’s go cruising, let’s explore this place, Mag Bay, we may never pass by here again.”\

That was two weeks ago. Our anchor hasn’t left the bottom except to visit nearby San Carlos for a night.

You know the cruising dream. You anchor in turquoise water off a white sandy beach and you just be, in your foredeck hammock. I will tell you that’s my dream too, but I’m not sure it is. Because it ignores the urgency I feel to pack waypoints into this finite cruising life and to maintain and improve our boat.

But here we are, not moving and not doing in Mag Bay, my Christmas gift to Windy.

It’s hard to get a picture of the moonrise from the deck of a moving boat. I snapped about a 100 hoping that for one of them, I would get the momentary pause, just long enough for the slow shutter. Michael Robertson

The water here is warm enough to swim and clear enough to see the bottom. The beach is pebbly. We’ve gotten to know the crews of the three other boats anchored here over the holidays. We had a movie and popcorn night aboard Del Viento. We’ve enjoyed the special, deep-fried/powdered sugar New Year’s Eve treats of our new Dutch friends and I interviewed them about their boat name story for an upcoming magazine article. We’ve hiked ashore. I spent half a day with other cruisers helping to repair the town’s diesel generator and was then almost literally given keys to the city by the sheriff/mayor. The girls and I took a 20-minute, high-speed ride in a local’s panga. The four of us sat in the shade enjoying cold Cokes and talking about nutrition, why soda isn’t healthy.

The girls have temporarily adopted a couple stray dogs (they named them “Goldie” and “Brownie”). They handed over a few of their stuffed animals to the family that gave birth to a baby boy after we arrived. They enjoyed the feeling of giving and left in the church a bunch of toys and things they’ve outgrown. Eleanor made a friend ashore, a 10-year-old girl named Donna she likes to play with.

Del Viento
Islas San Benitos from a couple weeks back,Del Viento anchored off the fishing village. Michael Robertson

When are we leaving? I don’t know. La Paz beckons with old friends and fresh food and water. And even though we could probably live forever on the tortillas and avocados we can buy here, we are nearly out of pesos and there’s no bank or ATM, not even in San Carlos.* But we couldn’t miss tonight, it’s the big New Year’s Eve party ashore, and we’ve been invited. And we can’t leave tomorrow; we’ve not even checked the weather and we still want to go and explore the mangroves across the Bay. We want to do more hiking. We want to anchor out across the Bay near the sand dunes so the girls can run all over them.

I didn’t see any roses here, but we stopped to smell them nonetheless, and it’s been a treat.


  • Though fortuitously, another boat came in the bay the other day, two young guys headed north on a delivery and desperate for motor oil. I gave them a gallon and they insisted I take a 500-peso note ($38), insisted!—so now we’re feeling pretty flush.

In our twenties, we traded our boat for a house and our freedom for careers. In our thirties, we slumbered through the American dream. In our forties, we woke and traded our house for a boat and our careers for freedom. And here we are. Follow along at