One Big, Happy Family

By Guest Crew: Keri, Bryan, and Tessa Hope

One Big Happy Family

Boating isn’t ALL work and wave-hunting. Here we are building sand castles!

Hello, fellow Green Coconut enthusiasts! We are Keri, Bryan, and Tessa Hope, a family of ocean- and adventure-loving souls. We joined the Aldebaran cooperative to be a small part of something bigger than ourselves—exploration, raw exposure to the elements, and once-in-a-lifetime travels with old friends and new.

Satellite image of Huatulco's harbor, Marina Chahue (green circle). Happy family explored the coast just east for 5 days. For the interactive map, check the Google map and click on "Huatulco"

Satellite image of Huatulco’s harbor, Marina Chahue (green circle). Happy family explored the coast just east for 5 days. For the interactive map, check the Google map and click on “Huatulco” on the left menu .

We have been lucky to experience all of these things, whether first-hand at sea or indirectly through the shared stoke of the blog posts, youtube videos, and borderline-obsessive checks of the spot tracker (we can’t be the only ones, right?). Here is our rendition of 6 days spent bobbing along the wind-chopped coast of Eastern Oaxaca with the Aldebaran family in early June of 2015.

group pic

The cockpit of Aldebaran… Tessa was a natural at the helm, even though she couldn’t see over the dashboard 😉

Bryan: What a trip, 2 weeks in Oaxaca –oneth by land and oneth by sea! I’ve been eyeing this coastline of Mexico since Google has been providing satellite images for map geeks like me. The multitude of right hand points with wrapping waves is visible even from space. If you’re a surfer, you’ve certainly seen the footage of experts ripping one of the many right-hand, sand-bottom, warm-water waves. And to explore this paradise with family and friends by sailboat, my expectations were understandably high.

its all flippers and fun for Tessa!

Tessa trying out her aquatic footwear.

In the weeks leading up to the trip, we started getting nervous about how our 3-year-old daughter, Tessa, would handle our time at sea. We counted the days with excitement and enthusiasm despite having a healthy amount of fear about how badly it might go, subjecting our hosting friends to the potential tantrums with nowhere to escape. Like the dread of a child freaking out in the back of the plane on a long flight, this could have been a 6-day nightmare. But it wasn’t.

Warm tropical waters...what a treat!

Warm tropical waters…what a treat!

Keri: We hopped aboard the Aldebaran amidst loud greetings from the salty crew. Immediately, we set to work getting the boat ready for departure. Tessa dove into her assigned task, preparing the eggs for preservation at sea— dip in vinegar, then water, dry, be sure not to crack any! She had been successfully initiated into boat life– all work and all fun.

“we caught a mahi mahi!” exclaimed Tessa

Bryan: Tessa quickly found her groove on the boat. Kristian, Sabrina, Ryan, and Michael welcomed us with open arms and we instantly felt part of a tight family, one that engages in mandatory morning hugs. I thought things might get tough with Tessa in those hours of down time that travel provides, requiring one to be still and think. At home, there are the distractions of play kitchens, the LeapPad (don’t think we didn’t bring it), and a multitude of toys. As it turned out, more quiet time was what the whole family, especially Tessa, needed as part of our vacation from the norm.

leappad

oh how we all love the Leap Pad!

Keri: We surfed, we swam, and we fished our way along a mostly empty coastline. Most magical were those morning and evening surfing, hooting, and “squiggling” sessions when absolutely no one was around but the crew and maybe a lone fisherman leading his horse around the point.

Bryan on the SUP, enjoying solitude and amazing scenery

Less magical was a local, burly “surf tour guide” who told Bryan, in no uncertain terms, that a particular wave we encountered was for guided surfers only. A mere $100 could buy us his guide services, and allow us to surf this little wave. No thanks, we all decided, as more beauty and better vibes were waiting for our happy-go-lucky crew elsewhere.

Ladies party wave!!

Ladies party wave!! Loving the lighthouse spot!

Bryan: I had just come off the busiest wine tour month in 8 years in business. In conjunction with the hopefully short-lived fad of the dad bod, I had little motivation or time to prepare physically for the trip. I expected to have my ass handed to me at least once, but it never happened. The waves were small and soft, but consistent. The new shortboard came out only a couple of times as I usually opted for one of the many larger boards that make up the boat’s extensive quiver. The size did make for a user-friendly experience for anyone wanting to get relief from the heat. Point after point, you could see the potential, and it was just a matter of being there on the right swell when the stars aligned.

Keri: Maybe they weren’t the classic tubes that Bryan was hoping for, but when I dream about waves, these are exactly the type of waves that I dream about! Super long, playful, really fun and easy, waist to shoulder high. Perfect for squiggling, as Sabrina would say…

Keri and Bryan tandem surfing at the lighthouse

The Hopes tandem surfing at the lighthouse… riding “Big Blue”, a 12ft soft top board they used to own, which now lives aboard Aldebaran.

Michael ripping it up and having fun!

Michael in the early morning light

Keri: For those considering sailing with small children, we found that the persistent lulls of the ocean were perfect for inducing long naps and heavy nighttime sleep. All that quality shuteye gave Tessa the energy to chase Sabrina’s awesomeness, collect water samples with Uncle Ryan while pretending to be a pirate, scan for fish with dad and Uncle Michael, and learn the best jumping-off point from the boat (next to the ladder, in her opinion), all under the watchful eye of the competent Captain Kristian. I’m sure there were moments when those onboard were ready to make Tessa walk the plank; I know I was. But she gifted us with smiles and squeals of “Best. Day. Ever!!!” on more than one occasion during our time at sea.

Uncle Ry and Tessa just before retreating from the incoming squall

Uncle Ry and Tessa surveying the incoming squall… we retreated to Huatulco’s marina shortly after!

Bryan: All in all, it was an amazing trip. Seeing how this seaworthy group fulfills their daily needs is infectious. The effects of their healthy lifestyle are evident, motivating me to think about how I might return with the priority of better balance.

Keri: I was blown away by the culinary routines of the crew. In their tiny kitchen, they marinate their freshly caught fish, bake focaccia bread from scratch deriving yeast from the salty sea air (nope, not kidding), and make their own yogurt, creating unbelievably healthy and delicious meals based mainly around the offerings of the sea.

Tessa gobbled up the sashimi, even claiming the last piece!

Tessa gobbled up the sashimi, even claiming the last piece!

Keri: We do not come close to eating this well on land, truth be told, but watching their efforts to collect, prepare, and share food to such high standards has made a lasting mark on our own food rituals. Foods that might have gone untouched by Tessa at home were devoured, perhaps as a result of her participation in their aptly coined “hook-to-fork” food prep. As I write this, it has been almost 2 months since we’ve been back from the trip, and just yesterday, she said, “I don’t like fish. Oh yeah, we ate fish on the boat. I do like fish.” YES!

Bryan: Somewhere along our journey, our daughter transitioned from less of a 3-year-old to more of a 4-year-old– hopefully a trip she’ll never forget. Thank you to the crew and my wife for helping to instill in her a sense of adventure and the idea that anything, like sailing around the world, is possible. Until we join you on the next leg…cheers!

goodbye group

From all of the Hope Family–Thanks for the ride, guys. Best. Trip. Ever!!!

5 thoughts on “One Big, Happy Family

  1. Loved to read it,
    loved to see the photos,
    loved to feel the joy,
    wish you more of everything you already have.

    Thanks Bryan, Keri and Tessa for sharing your wonderful adventure with us all…

  2. Loved reading this post. Bravo to the Hope family for proving that joining the Aldebaran cooperative for a week with a young child was not only successful but an unforgettable adventure!

  3. I loved reading this! I have two kids, too and have been following Aldebaran and always imagine what my kid would think of sailing 🙂 Sounds amazing!

  4. Pingback: Dodging Hurricanes, part 2: Lightning, Blanca, and Carlos | Sailing Green Coconut Run

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