All in the Family
|Family dinghy cruise: Jamie, Carson, Pat & Alexa|
Ditching all of your possessions, buying a boat and taking off to see the world in that boat is not a common undertaking. When we first started dreaming and talking about it, I scoured the internet, books and Facebook groups to learn about others' adventures, how they did it, why the did it and where they went. I personally, didn't know anyone who lived this lifestyle.....or anyone who even wanted to do it, other than Pat.
Until December 10th, 2016. I was browsing Facebook, like one does, and a 'Friend Suggestion' popped up. A name I recognized, but a person I didn't know. Carson Leasure. Carson is my dad's brother's son....my cousin. On that side of the family, they didn't get together for reunions or visits much. I had met Carson and his sisters maybe once or twice when we were very young, but I have very little recollection of it. So when I clicked on his profile I was shocked to see that not only did Carson live in Tacoma, Washington (a short 15 minute drive from Gig Harbor where we lived), but that he lived on his boat! So I 'friended' him and reached out. There was a lighted holiday boat parade in the harbor mid December and I suggested that he come over to our boat, hang out and watch the parade. At the time we were not live aboards yet, only weekend and summer cruisers....but we were dreaming about it.
Carson recalls telling his girlfriend Jamie, when he got the invitation....'So, I have a cousin I don't really know, she's a boater and lives across the bridge. They've invited me over.' He was hesitant because he didn't know me, but intrigued. Thank goodness he accepted our invitation! We immediately hit it off. We discovered he, too, was working towards setting sail and heading for distant shores. We didn't know at the time that in just a couple of years we would be spending seasons together in Mexico.
|The post from that December 10th boat parade night - wish I had grabbed a picture with Carson!|
Fast forward 6 months and our family moved aboard our first live aboard boat, a Nordhavn 46, Noeta, in Gig Harbor. We spent a year prepping her and getting ourselves ready to leave it all behind. Meanwhile, Carson was working to get his sailboat, LeeAnn, a 2000 Beneteau Oceanis, 461, ready for crossing an ocean and filling the cruising kitty. While Carson was doing this, Jamie purchased her own sailboat to live and learn on, becoming a confident and independent sailor.
|Visiting Carson on LeeAnn in Elliott Bay, Washington|
12 months later, we left Washington, heading for Mexico. Carson and his girlfriend Jamie came to our farewell party and told us we'd see them there soon.
|At our going away party, Pat, my dad Larry, Jamie, Carson and I|
Sure enough, one year later, we greeted LeeAnn at the dock in La Cruz, Mexico.
|Carson & Jamie's first day in La Cruz!|
Over the past 2 years, we've spent countless hours together having docktails, hiking, anchoring out, planning for future cruises, swimming, going on store runs, saving turtles, celebrating birthdays, volunteering for Sea Shepherd, eating tacos, playing cards and helping each other out. Carson and Jamie have since gotten married and finalized plans to cross the Pacific.The time we got with Carson and Jamie was unexpected, as they had planned to cross the Pacific to French Polynesia 2 seasons ago (derailed due to Covid). The silver lining of their change of plans has definitely been the bonus time we have spent together.
|Evening walk in Paradise Village|
|Garden & Art show at Arroyos Verdes|
|Noeta and LeeAnn (and WeeAnn) snuggled up together|
|Bocce Ball and 2 x 1 Piña Coladas = Happy faces!|
|Heading off to release baby turtles!|
|Noeta and LeeAnn anchored alone in Chacala|
|Dinghy ride up an estuary brings us to awesome fajitas!|
|In Chacala, Mexico with Jamie, Carson and Hailey|
|Drifting with jumping Rays - Jamie's face says it all!|
|Removing the lettering from a Sea Shepherd vessel that was sold. Jamie is a pro with a heat gun!|
|Getting competitive with a family card game they taught us - Last Card|
|Attending a Sea Shepherd vegan cooking class!|
Thanks to this lifestyle that bonds us, I have also become reacquainted with his sisters, Tanis and Cheridan, and look forward to better knowing my cousins and their families.
|Carson's sister Tanis, back together again!|
An unplanned fortunate discovery is called serendipity. Sending a Facebook message to Carson five years ago led to one of my favorite unplanned fortunate discoveries. What are the odds that two people in the same family, separate from each other, independently make plans to leave it all behind and take off on a boat? At the same time? To the same location? It has been a serendipitous event that we are truly grateful fo. As they leave Banderas Bay for the season we are looking forward to meeting up with Carson and Jamie in new anchorages in other places in the world.
|Our daughter, Hailey, created this painting of our two boats, Noeta & LeeAnn in the Chacala anchorage.|