Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Our People
By Michael

Ethan showing Windy what's what.
(courtesy Nancy Jones, Eyoni)
Del Viento is sitting high and dry and defenseless (against adverse weather) in a Sonoran desert boatyard. But more on that in a later post. I want to write today the story of our getting here, the story of our people.

We first met Ethan, Nancy, and their daughter Zada two years ago in La Paz. Afterward they sailed south on Eyoni to discover Panama while we headed north on Del Viento to discover Alaska. Now here we all were again, in this same city, the kids and parents picking up where we left off, but with a history. It was all good, except for what wasn’t.

The Eyoni crew were now at the disquieting intersection between their 6-year cruising past and a future that will look very different. While their return to stateside life is a fate we all share, for various reasons—and a personal reminder that we cannot forever delay our own return to the workaday world—it seems sort of unjust in Eyoni’s case. I’ve never met—nor even read about—a family that derives more joy from this floating vagabond existence.

Eleanor atop a Baja navigation light tower.
When we left La Paz the first week of May, we left Eyoni behind. But the night before we raised anchor, over shots from Ethan’s tequila flask, Nancy said they may be right behind us, heading north for a short last hurrah in the Sea they’ve come to love. So we went slowly, just in case.

During our seven-day rendezvous, we saw more, explored more, and did more with the Eyonians than we would have done in a month on our own. (We admit to letting days pass at beautiful anchorages where we hang out aboard just doing our thing.) Ethan and Nancy are keen observers and despite having spent seasons past in the Sea, they explore with a contagious sense of wonder, zeal, and appreciation that left us following in their footsteps, eager to have our eyes opened.

Ethan shaping a found bone into a
needed marlinspike.
In a single day, we anchored in three different places, miles to sail between each of them. In that same day, we walked a beach as far as we could see, Nancy and Ethan helping us to identify the bones, shells, and tracks we encountered along the way. We climbed navigational lights, built a fire to roast marshmallows, and dinghied deep into mangroves for a picnic. We saw centuries-old hand tools hidden in plain sight among middens and we swam to the sandy bottom twenty feet below our boat to see the distinct shotgun-muzzle sign of buried clams. By the time we arrived at our evening anchorage at San Evaristo, Nancy had taught each of the three girls to braid their own Challah loaf for dinner.

Eyoni is north now, way north, but out of the Sea, on the outside of the Baja, and not far from the U.S. border. I doubt assimilating back into U.S. life will be a painless affair, but I wish them the best. There are all kinds of families in this world, but only a tiny percentage of those who have the means and are otherwise able to be out here—living this unique, floating way—choose to do so. So the families we meet on this proverbial mountaintop, the ones who made the same set of choices we did, who face the same challenges, who yearn for and appreciate many of the same things, and who are as unabashedly pleased with their path after six years as we are after three years…well, those are our people.

Fair winds ashore Eyoni family. We’re spending the rest of the year in your beloved Sea and will refer often to the notes and superlatives that Ethan scribbled throughout our cruising guide.

Eleanor, Nancy, Windy, Zada, and Frances walking the salt flats.

Eyoni at anchor, Isla San Francisco.

The two crews. It's clear Nancy and Eleanor are the posers.

Ethan and Nancy waving from Eyoni.

Frances and Zada herding fiddler crabs.

Hiking down the road to the salt flats behind San Evaristo.

Frances greeting mama burro.
Two mothers and their daughters enjoying a Mothers' Day walk.

Who brings marshmallows and fire starting stuff with them
on a hot Baja hike? I think you know.
(courtesy Nancy Jones, Eyoni)

Me launching off a cliff.
(courtesy Nancy Jones, Eyoni)

Frances and Zada waiting outside a San Evaristo tienda.
(courtesy Nancy Jones, Eyoni)
Eyoni motoring into the sunset.


  1. Wish you and the boys were here...

  2. So you made me cry.
    Wow....didn't expect to see this when I jumped on to see an update on Bean the rescue doggy, but thank you. One never knows how they are seen by the outside world and though we love to share and get so excited about many of the things we have done or seen, it's few, really, who take it in and want to go and do the same. Too often we bring our State-side limitations in life along for the ride which slows us down, stops us from stepping forward or seeing really, what is before us. We loved that you all just "got it" and appreciated what was before you for there are too many (from land based to cruisers) who simply don't and for that reason, and more, it was with heavy hearts that we had to say goodbye and sail away from you in the most charming of places, San Evaristo. We are happy to have met you and are thrilled that you and the girls will explore the Sea of Cortez - one of the most finest places on this watery globe of life. We look forward to your take and views on the new things you will see and do. Your all have such good, good minds and great attitudes and that is 9/10ths of the cruising lifestyle which makes all the difference between living in a small space and doing well, vs. having it be a nightmare. So enjoy the ride and who knows, the good ship Eyoni might just turn around and sail south again after our re-entry into the States. If there is one thing we've learned, it's easy to up and go and Mexico and that beloved Sea of Cortez is right there, just to the south and a couple left turns along the way. We love you guys so much and are happy for you. With love and a clean hosed off boat and bodies too, from Ensenada...our last Mexican port o' call before we clear back into the States in less than a weeks time. Oh now, here's those damn tears again.....Amor amigos.... - Nancy


Thank you for taking the time to comment; we look forward to reading your feedback. Don't forget that you may also contact us directly at (please type DEL VIENTO in the subject line)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...