Enjoy this funny little card, and more news below….
You probably haven’t heard of it — but how does one visit (and you should) the spectacular waterfalls and striking lushness of the Rincon la Vieja national park, in the far north of Costa Rica?
How do I begin to recall my time spent aboard the fine pirate-class vessel named Aldebaran? It is difficult to sum up past feelings, so why dont I draw them direct from the source? Here is my journal entry on the day I was departing Costa Rica to return home to San Diego:
“How to have a millionaire’s lifestyle cruising your yacht in exotic places – for pennies on the dollar ! ”
(Link to watch Video)
View the latest episode on Talk about “silver linings” … Our crew mate Eric was suffering from an eye infection and thought he’d spend the entire 10 days of the Sea of Cortez ‘dry-docked’. What appeared to be a serious boat breakdown allowed for an unexpected chain of events… Together, we explore the gin clear waters of Isla Cerralvo, find shipwrecks 80ft deep that can be seen from the surface, and meet some of the most playful and intelligent sea lions we’ve ever seen in Isla Espiritu Santo, a dreamy desert island paradise.
Thanks for our supporters for helping make it possible!
View the episode on Patreon.
We began our journey March 24, 2016 to join the Aldebaran and crew with a red-eye flight from San Francisco to Managua, Nicaragua via Panama City. Upon exiting the airport, we found a friendly taxista named Henry holding a sign with our names, thanks to Kristian and Sabrina who pre-arranged the ride for us. We drove 3 hours directly to San Juan Del Sur in the south west part of the country, to find the crew ready to gather provisions for the next 6 days and set sail for Costa Rica with our family: my wife Kendra, and 8yr old son Asher.
Our next video is out! Back in the Baja wilderness… After 3 weeks the Green Coconut Run crew finally arrived in civilization: the tourism mecca of Cabo San Lucas. It’s our first pickup of visiting crew in an international city, and we’re happy it worked out. Eric and Brian are coming aboard to dive the astoundingly clear waters of Sea of Cortez and explore its remote islands. However, Eric has an eye infection, and ends up developing a new form of pirate aerobics.
The coast of Nicaragua got the short end of the stick, geographically speaking. The moment we sailed across the border into Costa Rica, “AHHHH…!” was the collective sigh of relief. The flat windy coastline subsided; the land of endless sheltered bays began. But there are some surprising restrictions the government is trying to enact.
Captain K started the voyage in Managua battling customs. What an adventure, had to get a permit to bring a radar into the country, the equivalent of their FCC. Alongside, had to submit a special request to Customs Director since the boat was in Nicaragua for 4 months. Bureaucratic run-around but all ended reasonably well. Then the crew rendezvous-ed in beautiful Granada. Marc, Sophie and Tim joined up for the packed van ride to Playa Gigante.
We went to Playa Gigante to see Bob, captain’s dad, who had been boat-sitting for several months!! Total trooper and kept the boat safe, maintained. Then we took an overland trip to Isla Ometepe — it’s a beautiful biosphere reserve, what geological phenomenon, twin volcanos in the middle of the lake, like Maui but more comically extreme.
Playa Gigante, where the boat was moored during our off-season. Not very high tech, but very cool! A bunch of reasons why we came here: our friend Jack used to live here, there’s good waves nearby for the boat-sitters, Nicaragua is much cheaper than Costa Rica. Downside was the wind, always howling offshore, but at least it was comfortable in the boat.
Playa Gigante preparations involved A LOT of cleaning — the wind had blown dust into every corner! We sailed south to San Juan del Sur. Ripped headsail with the 30knot headwinds, Nicaragua 1 x 0 Aldebaran ! Lovely stops along the way though ; although also had to SCUBA dive at 9pm to free anchor chain stuck under a rock… kept the captain on edge.
The astounding Santa Rosa National Park, northern Costa Rica was our next stop.
The promised land lived up to expectations, as did the good swell in the water!! The Murcielago Islands are gorgeous, as are the bays in the Santa Rosa National Park, only reachable by boat. This is where we spent 3 months last season (Aug-Oct) and I could spend another 3 months easily. We anchored at night close to the beach, Sabrina was worried but captain shrugged off– “this is our backyard!”. To his chagrin the wind shifted and Aldebaran ended up in 3 feet of water, with the rudder stuck in the sand. This was our first Grounding ever! Capt K got out his popeye muscles and pushed the boat off the sand… yep that’s how it went down… the full story later.
After arriving in Playa Cocos, the crew rented cars and drove to another national park: Rincon la Vieja for some mountain time and to celebrate Capt K’s 35th bday. This park is connected to the marine reserve and Santa Rosa National Park that we had visited by boat, as a huge “wildlife corridor” in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste region of dry tropical rainforest. More on this later as well!
Four crew took off this morning… now Matt & Diana are joining us for Leg #2…. onwards to Quepos.
We’re setting sail today, from San Juan del Sur (Nicaragua) to Playa Cocos (Costa Rica)! The rest of the crew (Adam, Kendra, and Asher) just joined us.
Follow the boat by satellite live on the map below…
Green Coconut Run begins Season 2
Community sailing voyage from Santa Barbara reaches Costa Rica and heads to world famous biodiversity hotspots, expands “cruising with a cause” platform
Using a unique crowd-funding approach, this loose group of friends and ecologists is fulfilling a common dream: to sail to the South Seas while having a positive impact.
The crew aboard the Aldebaran, a 42ft trimaran with home port in Santa Barbara, is starting their second season on March 25. read more here, in our Media page ….
Green Coconut Run: 1 down, 2 more seasons to go!
This year ’16– Costa Rica to Galapagos. Next & Final Year ’17– French Polynesia.
We’ve got core crew almost lined up for both years!!! Wondering who…? Let’s just say the food is going to be gooood. Soon to announce 🙂
So.. Are you keen to come aboard the Green Coconut Run — epic island destinations in our comfy boat — sometime during these next two seasons?
Now’s the best time to sign up, even if you’re not sure when/where, you can lock in discount rates by January 31, 2016. Check out rates and Crew List in our Co-op page (password).
By doing so it helps us plan our Budget and cover our big infrastructure costs for the boat.
Maps and rough schedule for the upcoming two seasons are below…
CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA
- January-February – Aldebaran moored in Nicaragua
- late March – Nicaragua
- April – Costa Rica
- May/June – Panama
- July – Isla Cocos & Galapagos Islands
- August – Galapagos to Mainland Ecuador
- September to November – Aldebaran moored in Ecuador mainland
- late December – Galapagos Islands
Zoom in… check out the interactive map.
Want more specific dates, who’s coming aboard? Check the Crew List in our co-op page.
SOUTH PACIFIC, FRENCH POLYNESIA
- January/February – Galapagos Islands
- late March/April – Marquesas
- May – Tuamotos
- June/July/August – Tahiti and leewards isles
- September – Tuamotos
- October – Marquesas
- early November – tentatively sailing back to Hawaii
Zoom in… check out the interactive map.
Want more specific dates, who’s coming aboard? Check the Crew List in our co-op page.
R.I.P., nasty little microbeads. We thought the battle to destroy you might get arduous. But hurray! President Obama just banned you. ‘Tis great news to start 2016!
We just talked about them in our last post about microplastics, where we clarified the role of micro-beads and plastics that breaks down in the ocean. (During the Green Coconut Run, we’ve been gathering samples of micro-plastics for ASC, short for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation)
An estimated 8 trillions micro-beads enter U.S. waterways every day says Environmental Science & Technology.
“We’re facing a plastic crisis and don’t even know it,” says Stephanie Green, a co-author of the study.
Microbeads became a big deal when people saw their effect on the Great Lakes. Consumers didn’t even know that plastic was being used in our cosmetics and health care products – microbeads were surreptitiously used as exfoliants.
After application on our bodies, the microbeads get washed down the drain, and may ultimately be eaten by fish. A UC Davis study found that 1/4 of fish found in California markets had ingested plastic.
Still a bit fuzzy on how it works? Here’s a great video about the life cycle of micro beads:
Hurray for science leading to decisions that keep our waterways clean! All the more reason for Green Coconut Run and ocean enthusiasts to collaborate with ASC, and crowdsource information that scientists can use.
Want to support our voyages and videos ? Become a Patron of Green Coconut Run!
To follow this blog by email, click here. So, you think sailing is just a vacation? It IS tremendous fun, but the truth is that we do tons of work on this boat – constantly. Luckily we have incredible crew to help. Below are snippets of the stories that we’ll share during our video episodes (help out by going to Patreon and throwing a buck into the pot).
Michael (Electric Car consultant) and Ryan (Conservation Planner), returned home after six months of unstoppable stoke & determination to make the trip work out for everybody. They are phenomenal humans and shipmates. From furiously fast 24hr turnarounds in ports, to installing fans underway, these crew were… well, let’s just say I couldn’t have created better crew mates even if I had the power of creation.
Sabrina (Registered Nurse) is the captain’s sweetheart. She persevered through 4 months of living in a construction site – the Ventura boatyard – and then worked double time throughout the voyage to keep the ship’s sanity in check. Her delight in life complements her hard work ethic, and creates a space aboard the boat that everyone is happy to call Home.
Engineer Dan spent 1.5 months on Aldebaran in three countries. He brought us the power of the Sabbath with his weekly challah bread and unabashed kindness. He also helped us fix our broken rudder (bah, minor), spent hours designing our lightning protection scheme, and did some serious stoke harvesting in El Salvador’s right hand pointbreaks.
Architect Alex spent two weeks in Costa Rica and kept a perma-smile on our faces with his robust laughter (you know if you’ve heard it). He used his famous tiny home skills to build our bimini PVC support, and among other things, serviced the seized fishing reels. Total legend.
Signmaker Bret, along with sweetheart Jessica, and our dear friend Erika, carried the load for two weeks when the captain was on his own. Besides scoring the best (empty) waves of their lives, and in Jessica’s case, relaxing like a superstar, they pretty much ran the ship. Bret is his own form of superstar with an uncanny ability to fix anything in front of him.
Oceanographer Dave, the captain’s first sailing mentor back in 2004 (!) pulled out all the stops for a month of work and play. The visit by ladyfriend and fellow biologist Rachel gave him a break from his nearly compulsive ability to repair all things that stumped the captain. He managed to fix the pesky outboard carburetor, installed the diesel engine’s thermostat (long-time coming), and discovered the exhaust leak. He did too many things to mention, all essential in preparation for leaving the ship for several months moored in Nicaragua.
Spearfishermen Brian and Eric, 10 days aboard in the Sea of Cortez, played a key role during one of our first crisis – a leaking diesel line which flooded the bilge. Panic! These guys kept their cool and were invaluable in the repairs. During that same time, Eric got clearance from his eye doctor to dive again, another successful “repair”! Check out their blog post for more.
Matt took a break from his masters in foreign policy to be the ship’s carpenter. With custom woodwork, he doubled the square footage of useable storage on the boat, and installed the impossible cams to secure our hatches. He joined us for a week in northern Baja and took a 3am bus back to San Diego for 10 hours. Badass.
Believe it or not, ‘bacteria’ were the most challenging part of our voyage to sailing to Central America.
With antibiotics being our first line of defense, we learned the hard way about its limitations; and how industrial livestock, of all things (!) are affecting our body’s ability to fight these infections.
“Wait, weren’t you scared of pirates and storms?”
I’m a bit ashamed. I was doing something without realizing its full magnitude, so I’ll share my mistake.
The short of it: Despite the fact I was helping collect samples for research in the ocean, I was woefully unaware of what micro-plastics actually are. We all need to watch this video of Nat Geo Explorer, Gregg Treinish, informing us about the quickly developing micro-plastics situation. And be SURE not to purchase anything with “micro-beads”, as I explain below.
(Direct link to the video, in case doesn’t load above.)
The long of it: during the first season of Green Coconut Run, in partnership with ASC (AdventureScience.org), we’ve been collecting samples for micro-plastics. ASC is crowd-sourcing the data so that scientists can study this emerging problem quickly and affordably; our role is to encourage other cruising sailors to participate.
After 25+ samples along 4 countries in Central America, our voyage was even written up in Nat Geo. But my understanding of what I was collecting was seriously flawed! In my blog post I said micro-plastics were “miniature pieces of plastic… after decades of breakdown” in the ocean. I was WRONG!
I finally watched Gregg’s video today (after getting back to the US last week, I’m catching up on all the Youtube and high-bandwidth internet I missed the last year of travel!).
I learned that many of our face washes, fleece jackets, and synthetic miracle clothes have plastic “micro-beads”. Even toothpaste, yes toothpaste! After spreading them in our mouths, bodies, and laundry machines, the micro-plastics flow down the water pipes of our houses, and if untreated, go directly into the ocean.
These aren’t degraded micro bits of the plastic bags and toys that are clogging the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is horrendous in itself. These are micro-beads, already pre-fabricated in their terrible, tiny size, entering the food chain through fish we consume, and whose effects on our bodies and the ecosystems are still unknown.
Now I know better. Please put “micro-beads” in your DO NOT BUY list.
And sailors out there: join ASC’s global campaign to help scientists understand the extent and effects of micro-plastics. Participate in “crowd-sourcing adventure science” !
Hurray !! We’re launching our Patreon campaign today, Thanksgiving Day 2015. There is so much we are grateful for !
What is Patreon, you ask? It’s like Kickstarter for ongoing projects. It’s a way for us to have recurring income from our videos, and keep our boat afloat.
We DEEPLY appreciate your support !!!
Hang on– you’re not sure if it’s worth your hard-earned money? Check out the top 10 reasons why Green Coconut Run is the best thing since sliced bread (for uh… ocean adventurers).
Top 10 reasons for supporting us
(Direct link to video in case it doesn’t load above)
Your contribution will really help us to make a regular video series, with our goal being 1 video episode per month.
Don’t worry — you can cap your max monthly donation, in case we go on a movie making spree. We’ve made a mix of videos this last year, but the new video episodes will be more consistent, longer, and in-depth. They’ll still be available freely online for others to enjoy, thanks to your support!
We look forward to sharing more of the magic of our unique Community Sailing adventure with you !!
Finally! We describe in stylish video how the Green Coconut Run began. I am so proud we can all be a part of this amazing group adventure:
The inspiration from California’s Channel Islands. The start of the Sailing Cooperative. The route we are taking along Central America and the South Seas. The non-profits with whom we’re partnering – sampling for micro plastics and distributing mini solar lights. And our passions: the wilderness surf, diving, and nature connection.
Alongside this intro video we are announcing big news: we’re launching our Patreon site to create recurring income for our videos! Check out this blog post for more details and please contribute $1 or more!
ENJOY! THANK YOU to everyone who has been a part of this adventure.
(Direct link for the video in case it doesn’t load above)
Feeling cooped up by your work cubicle, house chores, or a sailboat cockpit with 5 sweaty guys during tropical downpour? Breath deeply.
Patience and perseverance reward all with ultimate joy. Whether it be in the form of perfect waves or perfect … fill in the blank… it is out there, waiting for sacrifices to tip the scales. Keep on the good struggle cause the blessings are just around the corner!
(Direct link for the video in case it doesn’t load above)
8 months of sailing and searching for waves in Central America during the rainy season were rewarded with special moments. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow included this spot, which was one of the benefits of postponing the Panama leg to Season 2. The main reason for not heading further south was the lightning and rougher seas infamous during Sept & Oct. In contrast, this area was uncanny calm — can you believe that water visibility? Those fish schools were 1.5 miles away on an offshore pinnacle.
“Don’t change a winning game” they say. We followed that advice and stuck around here for over two months.
Where the love of hair-dressing meets the love of the sea !! This is probably the FINEST DAY SPA ever realized aboard a sailboat (er… and goofiest). Anyone who saw the condition of the salty sailors, after two months on the ship, would agree it was a much-needed day of manicuring.
We are blessed it was run by extraordinary visiting crew Pierre (Sabrina’s brother, reknown actor) and Lianna (famous hair dresser).
Side note: thanks to everyone who came to the slideshow last Sunday night in Santa Barbara. It was really special to share our Season 1 joys and challenges with such a wonderful crowd of friends. We will upload the highlights video when we have a chance!
Direct link to the video (if it doesn’t load above).
The magic of the Green Coconut Run lies in our visiting crew. Although we only have 4-6 crew aboard at any on time, we had almost 30 people joining for different legs of the journey. The new Crew Bio page give you an idea of who they are.
CALIFORNIA TO MEXICO
CREW #1-6 (above). Annie the videographer came for 5 days to San Diego. Matt the racing sailor rode 10 days down Baja. Eric and Brian the spearfishermen did 11 days across the Sea of Cortez. Pierre and Lianna the teacher-restauranteurs did 10 days from Puerto Vallarta to Zihuatanejo.
“Don’t keep a schedule!” advised cruising sailors. Oh well. This was a community sailing expedition — the first of its kind, that we know of — and we had to make a schedule so visiting crew could book airplane tickets, organize their vacation time, and make travel plans. For the core crew running the boat, we couldn’t treat it purely like a vacation; we had to get places. But the question remained: “Would our schedule work? What if people fly down to meet the boat but we’re not there??”
CREW #7-13 (above). In the Bahias de Huatulco, state of Oaxaca: The Hope family of teacher-someliers with their three year old girl joined 5 days. Deena the tech marketer and Cristina the research doctor sailed 4 days, along with Sam the social worker. Local singer-songwriter Angelica joined us for a week of preparation and passage-making from Huatulco to Puerto Chiapas across the infamous Gulf of Tehuantepec.
It’s a cruise, right? What if we found a great spot and wanted to stay for awhile? Too bad!! We gotta keep moving, we have crew to pick up down the line. The trip was crowd-funded so there was an obligation to fulfill. But even if we were self-funded, would we have changed it? Not much. The advantages of having friends and crew come visit, bringing their fresh energy and enthusiasm to the boat, far outweighed the disadvantages of keeping a schedule (not to mention the necessary toils of hosting people in a tiny space). Sharing the experiences with people first hand was a great gift that we wouldn’t have traded for greater freedom.
EL SALVADOR TO NICARAGUA
CREW #14-17 (above). Dan the water resource engineer joined us for 1 month in El Salvador… then extended 2 more weeks into Nicaragua. Ryan’s brother Brad jumped onboard for a week, landing in San Juan del Sur. Klaus the foot surgeon and Jay the real estate manager both flew in from SF for the 10 day cruise to Costa Rica.
Our first BIG change in the trip’s schedule was our decision to stay in Costa Rica and not carry on to Panama — primarily due to our growing intimacy with squalls and lightning, which build in strength as one heads south. By July, we informed our visiting crew of that possibility. By August, we had landed in Playas de Coco and decided to stay in that region through the end of October, when the rains pick up. Did such uncertainty bother folks? Our protocol was to have crew book tickets only a month before their trip, so it worked out. Everyone coming was aware this isn’t a cruise ship — this is an adventure, maleable, ever-evolving, yet with enough planning to fit into the modern schedule.
SANTA ROSA NATIONAL PARK, COSTA RICA
CREW #18-26 (above). Picking up in Playas de Coco, Costa Rica: Ashley Curtis the middle school teacher visited us for 3 days of volcano hikes and 4 days of boating. Alex Wyndham, tiny home architect and designer, spent two weeks in some of the most perfect surfing conditions we’ve seen. Our family friend Stu, a Californian who lives near San Jose (the capital of Costa Rica) brought his son, grandson, and friend for a four day cruise with incredible weather. Erika, our youth wilderness educator, Bret, a sign-shop owner and master of all trades, and Jessica, green home builder in San Luis Obispo, all joined us in October for another 10 day+ round in the extraordinary Santa Rosa National Park.
How did we fix the boat underway, with so many visitors? As everyone knows, boats are constant maintenance. Every other day something broke. To add to this, there were new installations needed: fans to deal with heat, USB charge ports to accommodate the crew’s cameras, new lights to read in the bunks. Special mention must go to the “Core Crew members” who were onboard for long periods of time and worked hard to keep the boat in operation. Without their remarkable positive attitude, unshakeable work ethic, and boundless energy, this first season wouldn’t have run like it did — creating a dream while we lived it.
CORE CREW MEMBERS
CREW #27-30 (above). Ryan was our head yogurt-maker, video editor, and soul surfer; he put in a few months of hard labor at the boatyard. Michael was our head chef, fisherman, and project motivator; he encouraged myriad people to believe in the voyage. Both Ryan and Michael spent 6 months on Aldebaran, from Santa Barbara to Costa Rica. After they left, Dave Clark stepped in for a month to help prep the boat for the “off-season” — trying to leave the boat ship-shape for our boat sitters. His lady Rachel joined us for 10 days during our transit back to Nicaragua’s San Juan del Sur, with excellent SCUBA diving along the way.
Check out the Crew Bio page for more details!
One of the most surprising parts of our voyage is how well we are eating!
People ask, “do you have a stove and a sink?” Here is a video that will show the whole process of catching and cooking dinner, from “Hook-to-Fork”.
This video is about a 15lb Trevally Jack, which we prepare into “Sea Venison”. We’ve been eating so many different kinds of fish that we liken some to chicken, some to beef and this one in particular to venison.. It’s a red meat, hence the “crime scene” while Sabrina sweetly fillets the fish, an integral part of our cooking experience.
ps. If there’s good response we’ll try to make other “hook-to-forks” about our seafood exploits and old-fashioned boat cooking like bread, yogurt, and kim chi. So thumbs up if you enjoy it.
Our friend Ben was telling someone about the voyage while at the grocery store, looked down and there we were — on the front page of the newspaper! As we were working on the hatches on Monday morning, several people came by on kayaks and SUPs and wished us a good trip. Interesting articles around the other parts of the newspaper… Ebola scare… murder victims… hopefully we are adding some lightness to the news this week. Another interesting article was the commentary about Santa Rosa article on the back page, which talks about the Vail & Vickers family running the Santa Rosa Island ranch, back in the day. Thanks Santa Barbara Newspress for the feature!
Prepared by our media partner Loatree.com, thanks so much!
For Immediate ReleaseContact:
March 17, 2015 Eric Cardenas, LoaTree
Trans-Pacific ‘Green Coconut Run’ to set sail end of March
Promoting Island Protection: Cruising 15,000 miles with a Cause
SANTA BARBARA, Ca. – Later this month, a three year journey called ‘The Green Coconut Run’ will set sail across the Pacific and link protected areas from California to New Zealand.
Inspired by the beauty of the Channel Islands, the crew aboard the 42 foot trimaran Aldebaran will be diving, surfing, and creating a route that supports the conservation of remote islands.
A spin off of the famous ‘Coconut Milk Run’ — used to describe the downwind voyage along the South Seas taken by hundreds of ‘cruising sailboats’ every year — the ‘Green Coconut Run’ is a sailing route that visits wild and protected areas. The trip is spearheaded by the Aldebaran Sailing Cooperative, a group of young marine ecologists, environmental professionals, and artists from around California. Their goal is to encourage other sailors to cruise on the Green Coconut Run and lend a hand to island communities.
“It’s like a Pacific Crest Trail for sailing,” explains Ryan Smith, previously a project manager at a conservation investment group and now Aldebaran’s development director. “It’s a route connecting vast regions which helps us appreciate the majesty of Nature.”
The Green Coconut Run begins in California’s Channel Islands, hugs the Pacific coast of Central America down to Panama, and then west across to the Galapagos, Tahiti, Fiji, eventually ending in New Zealand. The journey will cover more than 15,000 miles.
Along the way, the Aldebaran crew will meet nonprofit conservation groups and responsible businesses that steward protected areas, using video and photography to share their stories and raise awareness about their needs.
This first year, Green Coconut Run is partnering with ‘Adventures and Scientists for Conservation (ASC)’. On behalf of ASC, the crew will sample for micro-plastics and promote the global campaign to assess the quantity and impact of micro-plastics around the world.
“This is another way cruising sailboats can help,” says Ben Best, a PhD candidate in marine ecology and Aldebaran’s science advisor. “With today’s GPS-enabled phones and cameras, we can crowdsource data collection, which opens up new possibilities for science.”
The end goal of the voyage is to support the health and vitality of islands and oceans by harnessing the collective network of cruising sailboats and the general public.
“Cruisers are in a unique position,” says Kristian Beadle, captain of Aldebaran. “We can bring resources to island communities and collect data from far-flung places. We’d like to make ‘cruising with a cause’ a reality.”
“This is how we are living our dream while also making a positive impact,” says Sabrina Littée, the ship’s nurse and dive master. “We hope other people can be inspired to do the same.”
To participate in the journey, visit www.GreenCoconutRun.com. The Aldebaran Sailing Cooperative seeks sponsors (gear and funds) and nonprofit partners to collaborate with along the route. To learn more, contact Ryan Smith at greencoconutrun at gmail dot com. Photos available upon request.