Thankful cruisers

Waiting until they’re awake before cranking out the first round of Alice’s Restaurant may not be something our boat teens are thankful for yet, but give them a few hours. I contemplate this while watching the clouds lemon-tinted by sunrise, scudding across an uncharacteristically overcast sky in Puerto Peñasco.

Eleven years ago we spent our first Thanksgiving as cruisers anchored off the dusty village of Bahía Tortugas, a fishing community near the northwest corner of Baja California Sur. At the time it seemed wildly simple compared to the more elaborate holiday celebrations, and it was. A few carefully selected provisions before we left San Diego the week before gave the holiday familiar flavors, and circumstance brought the core intent into focus. Food! OK, that too, but mostly the time we had together as a family, sharing gratitude for the place we find ourselves in the planet and in life: a welcome simplicity, now happily entrenched in the rhythm our cruising life.

I would like to point out the utter chaos of our main cabin during Pie Production this afternoon: Siobhan ably assisted by Utopia’s Max

Every year is a different, but Thanksgiving remains that specifically American holiday we celebrate wherever we are. There’s rarely turkey, but any poultry can stand in (and probably fits better in a boat oven!). I’ve been known to stash cans of cranberries for years; canned pumpkin puree doesn’t really get stocked outside the US (OK maybe Canada, I claim ignorance) but pumpkins are widely grown in the tropics. Our only Thanksgiving on US soil since sailing away in 2008 was (appropriately enough) in the company of CLODs-turned-found-family in Virginia when we sailed down the east coast a few years ago. Translation for those not in the community: CLODs = cruisers living on dirt.

What does Thanksgiving look like this year, hauled out at the north end of the Sea of Cortez? Would you believe – a whole roasted pig?!

Arrow‘s Mike anticipating the feast to come!

It’s something Cabrales Boatyard manager, Salvador, knew his cruiser residents would enjoy. A taste will be irresistible, but still we’re saving room for a conventional dinner on Totem later. Easy access to the US border and Phoenix shops mean I’ve got more than the usual complement of our traditional dishes planned.

Sitting around the table in Totem’s salon, time for rituals in our simplified Thanksgiving. Jamie will put on his cleanest, least threadbare Aloha shirt. I’ll probably still be wearing Rita’s apron, partly for shield and partly for soul. We’ll reflect on things we’re thankful for while stuffing our bellies with good food, our heads with new and relived memories, and our hearts with gratitude (I can’t wait to read the kids the list of things they were thankful for in past years: dogs. the ocean. our family. food). It will finally be time to play Alice’s Restaurant at volume with impunity! And in the warmth of our family glow, maybe then the extra doze this morning will join the 2019 list of Things I’m Thankful For around the table.

Of course there’s a ’58 Chevy wagon next to shrimper nets in the shop where the pig is being roasted.

If you’re stopping here on the way to a post-tryptophan holiday shopping spree, check out our highly practical list for 2019 holiday gifting, or any of our past year’s gift posts. Voyaging with Kids on the list? New print copies are less than half of retail right now – as inexpensive as Amazon’s ever priced it!

Turkey, our fave sides, and two pies – later in the evening aboard Totem

10 Responses

  1. Such inspiration for a family tradition.
    So God supposedly asked Michaelangelo, while he painted the Cistine Chapel,
    “When will you be done?” and he replied “when I am finished!”…so my question to you is two “ when do you leave the boatyard” and “when is it time to finish cruising?”
    We sold MV The DarkSide so happy/sad. But I thought at ages 69 and 70 not bad?

    1. LOL re: the question! Boatyard: it’s terrible to have a schedule, but we’re hoping to be splashed and sailing south in time to meet Niall’s arrival in Puerto Vallarta on Dec. 19. Re: cruising, excellent question, we’d answer that one like Michaelangelo! Not anytime soon, we hope.

  2. Touched by this post, Began. We CLODs managed mashed potatoes and green bean casserole with pork tossed together in a state of exhaustion after a tiring week down here in Australia. I’m a bit homesick tonight and reflecting on how much more thoughtful our Thanksgivings were when cruising with fewer resources than this one this year (e.g. tin cranberries schlepped between countries). This is a nice reminder to refocus on the traditions that matter to us as holiday time winds out the year.

  3. Behan, you and your cruising family continue to be an inspiration for us. I always learn something new from your blogs. Best, Jim and Joann

  4. Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Thankful you are all good and still cruising. All my other blogs seem to have gone to land. You’re the only one left. Please keep blogging.

  5. The more years I lived abroad the more impressed I was to the lengths that American expats go to to celebrate Thanksgiving (and Canadians, but of course theirs is earlier- they do do pumpkin pie btw). The fun thing about it in many ways is introducing others from where you are because everyone can get behind a holiday where you basically just have to eat and think about what you’re thankful for in your life.

    Happy belated Thanksgiving!

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