3/27/16

SPRING BREAK YACHTING IN MEXICO

 I was so lucky to have the opportunity to go yachting with some of the kids I babysit for this spring break in the Sea of Cortez. I helped out watching the kids and filmed a travel video for them. It was such an adventure and perfect way to satisfy my cravings to travel. I pasted my journal entries at the end of this post if you care to read the details! There's also a little vlog at the end of this post & video coming soon.
The boat we stayed on belonged to the kid's grandparents (known by them as Nona &Yahoo). They designed and built it themselves a few years ago. The story behind its name, Zembra, is so sentimental and symbolic. From what I was told, the grandfather, Steve Thomas, was working hard on the ocean when he was a teenager and looked off in the distance and saw a beautiful lush island that was his idea of paradise. Later on he found out the island was called Zembra and from then the name became a symbol of the ideal place he worked hard to inhabit.
Graham was the sweetest little boy ever. He's 7 and such a tender little heart. While aboard Zembra he was constantly learning things and had a knack for asking questions. What fish is that? Do you know what an onomatopoeia is? What direction is twelve o'clock? 
 Ella is 4 and such a sassy and spunky little thing. I cracked up so many times at her little comments. We had the best time getting to share a bedroom and having "sleepovers" every night. Cosette (Coco) is the sweet little baby that celebrated her 8 month birthday while aboard the ship! All you have to do is give her a big smile and she'll burst out into a fit of giggles. 
we had so much fun taking polaroids- these are the few that actually turned out hah!
(and how cute is that rashguard! I want one in my size so bad)
 
 Wherever I go, sunsets are always my absolute favorite. I love that time of night when everything winds down along with the sun, you're showered off and in cozy clothes after a long day, and everything is peaceful. This trip sure was no exception.
 Sierra (the mother of these sweet kids) was so nice and sure to send me lots of the pictures from her phone that I was in.
 
 Three five star meals a day is no exaggeration. The table was never lacking beautiful embellishments and the smoothies never went without an umbrella and fresh fruit on the side.
 browsing pictures and videos I had taken^
I feel so beyond blessed to have had this opportunity! Huge thank you to the Murray & Thomas family for their hospitality and kindness towards me while staying with them! It is a memory I will cherish for a long time to come. Here are my lengthy journal entries if you care to hear my detailed thoughts throughout this whole adventure-

3/19- 
Today I started a crazy spring break adventure on the Thomas's private plane to La Paz, Mexico to babysit and be an extra hand for the Murray kids while on their vacation in the Sea of Cortez. We got on their yacht and headed for anchorage on Holy Ghost Island. The boat is absolutely gorgeous. There are 4 levels, each tastefully decorated and following a subtle ocean theme. For example, the carpet in the salon and dining area is lush, long, and a pretty shade of brown with white incorporated in the middle of each individual bundle to slightly resemble coral. Instead of tile, the bathroom on the sky lounge has a million tiny white spiral shaped beads covering it from floor to ceiling. There are abstract pieces of art and light fixtures throughout it that resembles a variety of sea shells from close up and other ocean elements. I really enjoy that a lot of things on the boat are white (which keeps me busy, making sure the kids don't destroy it). There are white couches in the salon, Sky lounge, dining area, and decks, and even white patterned fabrics on the wall leading from the galley (kitchen) to the bedrooms. The lowest level of the boat  has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The parents stay in one room, the little boy, Graham, and the baby in another, and the little girl, Ella, with me. There is storage thoughtfully planned and layed out for us to unpack our suitcases into. About half way to the next level is the master bedroom where the grandparents & owners of the boat, Steve and Karen Thomas (known by the kids as Nona and Yahoo) stay. The next level is the main one. It contains the galley, dining room, and salon. We don't spend too much time in the salon and dining area- it's mostly for meal time. The galley is nearly a full sized kitchen. There are 2 ovens and, a full sized refrigerator and freezer, a sink, stoves, and lots of cabinent space. Outside on this level is the main deck where we can get on the smaller boat, jet skis, and kayaks. On the opposite side of this deck is where all of these things are stored. Up on the next level is the sky lounge and captains lounge. The sky lounge has a stair climber and excersise balls, a large tv screen that comes out of  a storage area with the push of a button, and the pretty bathroom with the swirly ceramic beads I mentioned earlier. One item I noticed in the sky lounge is a globe with all the places the boat has been marked on it. It's no exaggeration to say that they've been all over the world on it. Clear from the Mediterranean to the top of Alaska, through the Panama Canal, up the east coast of the US, and, of course, the Sea of Cortez (just to name a few). The sky lounge opens up to another deck which is equipped with several lounge chairs, a table, and shade. It's my favorite and one of the most peaceful spots on the boat. The captains lounge is where all of the magic happens and I was lucky enough to be able to go in it. It's exactly what you'd expect of a room from which the boat is controlled. There are tons of buttons, readers, screens displaying our coordinates, and maps (all of which are very up to date using the latest technology I'm sure). The highest level contains a hot tub, another large marble table for a dining area, grill, and sun lounge (notice how most of these places have the word lounge in their title- that's pretty much the main thing we do here). After unpacking, taking a tour of the boat, and hearing rules and guidelines of it, we sailed away to our first anchorage, Holy Ghost Island (a Spanish translation of -----). We then got out the jet ski and kayaks and paddled to a beach nearby. The beach was scattered with tons of seashells. They weren't just the broken up and basic kind you'd be lucky to find in California or anywhere like that- I was able to find many of them that were intact and in elaborate colors and shapes. Then we came back aboard and got dressed for dinner. I watched finding Nemo with the kids (very suitable for the occasion) and got them cleaned up while the captain and first mate (Nancy and Zoe) helped the girls prepare dinner. The table was set so nicely and the food was delicious as expected. We got ready for bed and went to sleep right after dinner because we were all so exhausted from our travels. 

3/20- 
It is so easy to sleep on the boat because you can shut the shades down there and get very cozy while gently rocking back and forth. I woke up to Ella's parents coming in to get her and telling me I could sleep a little longer if I needed to but I told them I'd get up and get ready because I didn't want to intrude on a breakfast that had already started and wanted to be as much help as I could with the kids. We had vanilla and chocolate mixed muffins and the yummiest smoothies ever for breakfast. The smoothies were topped with a large pineapple slice slid onto the side and a little decorative drink umbrella, made with absolutely fresh fruit and what Brother Thomas claimed were a few "healthy things" in them. We set off to explore the island by boat. It used to be a volcano but over the years eroded to allow water to pass through. At one point in the tour we were in the middle of what once was the crater. The kids snorkeled with their dad and we went to a cave where they found "pirates treasure" (Oreos in plastic bags) hidden behind rocks. We saw seals and a variety of exotic fish on our way back to the yacht. We then had hot dogs and coleslaw (not what comes to your mind when you think of those two things... They were just as quality as all other meals on the ship) at the table on the sky deck for lunch. Watching the way the grandparents treat the kids makes me so nostalgic for when I was little. Seriously I remember it being the best feeling ever going to grandma and grandpas house because I knew I would be treated like a queen. When I was little (even still when I visit them) my grandparents would do everything to make sure I was comfortable and had all the treats, food, surprises, manicures with grandma, boating trips with grandpa, movies and tv, webkinz, and everything else I could ever want. Granted now if they were spoiling me they'd be giving me Valentino rockstud flats and $100 gel mani/pedis but when you're a kid the small things are the world. I miss the times I could be pleased with simple little kid things like a new toy or sleeping in grandma and grandpa's King bed because it meant going to their house would always be the ultimate special treatment. It makes me excited to move up to Utah this fall because maybe they'll still treat me when I hang out with them all the time ;). After lunch the kids took a quick nap then we had a short church meeting since it was Sunday. We sang a few hymns and since Brother Thomas had the bishop's permission, we were able to have a sacrament service. At sunset we moved the ship and looked for whales. I don't know what the place we anchored in is called but it is long, white sandy beach as far as the eye can see. On the other side of us is only water and sky- no land in sight. On our way over there we saw lots of sting rays flipping their fins out of the water. For dinner we had fish which I enjoyed a lot because it had more of a caprese than seafood taste since it was served with tomatoes, onions, and basil. Then for dessert we had chocolate Nutella cake with strawberries which Graham helped his grandma make. It was so so tasty. The food really is one of the best parts of the trip. 

3/21-
 After we all had fresh fruit and yogurt breakfast this morning we went kayaking and paddle boarding to the shore. It was a long ride considering I was in a boat with Graham and had no help paddling but we made it without any incidents hah! On the shore we found some seashells with holes in them for Graham to make a necklace out of. We also found a large fish skeleton that was as large as (if not larger) than me. We paddled back to the boat and I stayed with the kids in the hot tub and played games with them while the adults (minus Nancy the captain and Sierra the mother) went deep sea scuba diving. While they were gone we spotted a little family of dolphins which was the coolest thing! The kids took a nap and I took a long and we'll needed shower. I get really motion sick and claustrophobic so showering in a tiny moving shower was a little rough but I got used to it. Usually we just shower and rinse off on the back deck of the boat because the Thomas' take lots of care to make sure the salt water doesn't get inside the boat or on certian decks but I felt so yucky and grimey from being in the sun and ocean all day it was necessary for my peace of mind. After dinner I had a long talk with Sister Thomas about college and the future which meant tons to me. I hope that when I get older I can be as beautiful, well traveled, well dressed, and well spoken as Karen Thomas.

3/22- 
Today we woke up in a completely different location than last night. The boat moved while we were asleep and none of us noticed even though I'm pretty sure the engines are near where the bedrooms are. We spent the morning boating out to a rock with seals all over it. There were at least 100 and it smelled so bad. But we got on our wetsuits and snorkel gear and swam with them. It was so freaky to be so up close and personal with them but such a once in a lifetime experience that I didn't mind it too much. At any given time there would be anywhere from 3-10 of them swimming around and under me. The best part happened on the way back- we were in just the right place at the right time to see Dolphins! There were at least a dozen and though they weren't as close as we would have liked, it was still an awesome experience. The mother, Sierra, was so excited I half expected her to jump in and swim with them hah!

3/23- 
Today we were at a new anchorage which is probably my favorite spot so far. There are rocky cliffs all over the place and the water is so turquoise and bright. I took the kids kayaking along with their dad and we had so much fun exploring the caves and beaches around us. Towards the end of the day when we were having dinner the boat started rocking a ton to the point where nearly everyone was complaining of seasickness. I couldn't finish dinner because I felt so sick and we had to clean the table quickly because if the waves kept up like that, our food and dinnerware would be on the floor. Going to sleep wasn't very easy either. We were rolling around like crazy and the noises from the pumps were very loud and disruptive. We are planning on moving locations soon though so we can relax and not just endure. 

3/24- 
Two items of good news: 1 we moved locations so the boat is quite still now and 2 I didn't fall off my paddle board with little Ella sitting on the back of it during our adventure and exploration. While we moved I took the longest nap while the kids did and it was so nice. I get so much sleep on the boat it's not even funny. I go to bed and wake up when the kids do so I pretty much sleep from 8:00-8:00 every night (plus the occasional nap). It's really easy to sleep too because down in our rooms there is no light if you shut the blinds, the gentle rocking can be soothing, and the motor of the boat is actually really nice background noise. For dinner we had a yummy Caesar salad and tomato soup which is making me count my blessings because on my list of things I couldn't wait to do once I got home was going to Panera and getting Caesar salad and tomato soup. Hashtag blessed. After eating dinner we got our pajamas on and watched a movie upstairs in the sky lounge with popcorn and treats. That was another blessing because I'm very exhausted of chasing kids down on the decks and drying them off after hot tubbing so just getting to relax felt so good.

3/25- 
For our last breakfast aboard we had yummy pancakes with berries. After finishing that up, we got on our swimsuits and took one last dip in the hot tub and watched a movie while the parents got everything all packed up. Our Captain Nancy drove us to the dock on the smaller boat and from there we had a van take us to the airport. The streets in Mexico are crazy in case you didn't know. While we were driving, another car in the lane next to us just randomly swerved so close to us our driver had to get away by going on the curb. It was rough. It also makes me super super grateful for all the luxuries I enjoy back in America.