Social overload

We finally made it to La Cruz, a focal point for cruising families. The marina hosts a kids’ club that’s becoming pretty famous; we’ve been told since Panama that once we arrived, our kids would never want to leave. Fortunately, the anchorage is rolly enough that I don’t think that’ll be a problem, but we do have quite a bit of time to spend here before pushing on to the north.

F works out her CPR technique

F works out her CPR technique

And that time will be action-packed. Before we’d even arrived, we signed up the kids for activities. Scuba Ninja ran a CPR clinic in the marina lounge, and both kids got to run through their first drills on a resusci-Annie—if they’re anything like their parents, the first time of many. This immediately rolled into a slime-making workshop by the pool, with more cruising kids that we’d seen since the Bahamas.DSCF3562

T overcomes his short stature with a boat hook

T overcomes his short stature with a boat hook

The next day, Kat from the marina had organized a kids’-only camp out on the beach. We dropped our kids off with what gear we could scramble from deep storage, and stuck around to watch the kid-led construction of an elaborate base camp structure—maybe not up to building code, but enough to keep the morning dew off. As the parents went off to town in search of tacos, we could see the flames from the bonfire reaching up over the trees. In the end, the intensive kid together time proved to be too much for our guys to handle, and they opted not to stay the night, retreating to the calm and quiet of our boat.

Structure taking shape on the beach

Structure taking shape on the beach

After a day off to regroup, they were back in action, with a movie in the VIP lounge, plus some hosting of kids on our boat. One of the big advantages of a monohull over a catamaran for family sailing: we can rig a swing from our halyard. Our neighbors took full advantage, and we sent them home covered in bruises but smiling.

Another cool activity run by the kids’ club lets cruising kids get some restaurant experience by taking over service in a local place for part of an evening. T opted for the kitchen, learning to mix up guacamole and plate tacos, while F worked the front of the house in tandem with an eight-year-old buddy. I wouldn’t say that things went smoothly, but our kids had a really good time, and T has been using his new skills to assault all the avocados on the boat. He was also really proud to be the most fluent Spanish speaker among the kitchen kids, and did the bulk of the translating.

Kat gives the kid/servers the 411

Kat gives the kid/servers the 411

F joined in to some grown-up activites, as well, jumping in with the Wednesday afternoon musicians and joining me at the Women Who Sail meet-up on Thursday. One week down, seven activities attended, and we are just about maxed out for social events.

There was a lot of Grateful Dead.

There was a lot of Grateful Dead.

The packed calendar!

The packed calendar!

We’re feeling like we occupy a weird middle ground here among the cruising hierarchy. Most of the people we’ve met have come down the west coast of the US, either from California, Seattle or Vancouver; and while that’s a challenging stretch of coast to navigate, they haven’t done a lot of boat travel to other countries. The other side of the coin is the circumnavigators—a small group that’ve gone around the world, or around the Pacific Rim, and returned to hang out in lovely Mexico. The long-term sailors are in the minority, though, and when we mention how we find Mexico to be akin to the US in terms of availability of goods and services, we’re met with gaping stares. Honestly, we feel like there’s so much English spoken here, so many tourists, expatriates and cruisers, so many American chain stores, that we’re really understanding how distinctive our time in Central America was.

That’s not to say that we feel like awesome, worldly cruisers. We don’t feel much different then when we left, although we don’t worry much about the anchor dragging any more, and a three-day passage isn’t disconcerting. But it does make us look back on the last year and a half and realize that yes, we’ve seen a lot of stuff, and learned a ton. We’ll always have more to learn, but we apparently can’t think of ourselves as newbies any more.

F on the radio; the kids have their own cruisers' net following the regular net--no grown-ups allowed!

F on the radio; the kids have their own cruisers’ net following the regular net–no grown-ups allowed!

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