For the world premiere of Songs From the Spreaders, I chose to cover the theme song from my favorite cartoon as a child, M.A.S.K. Yes, I could have literally chosen any song in the world to play, but none of them would be half as face melting as a song about Matt Trekker flying his sweet sports car out of his disguised gas station high-tech headquarters to defeat the evil forces of VENOM. Masked crusaders working overtime, fighting crime, fighting crime. Secret raiders who will neutralize when they arrive at the site. Trekker's gonna lead the mission, and Spectrum's got that Super Vision. M-m-m-M.A.S.K. has the mighty power that can save the day M-m-m-M.A.S.K. No one knows what lies behind that masquerade M-m-m-M.A.S.K. and they're always riding on VENOM'S trail Come see the laser rays Fire away! Pure poetry. M.A.S.K.wasnt JUST a great TV show. It was also a series of INCREDIBLE transforming vehicles. I spent countless hours playing with Trekker's car, a semi truck mobile HQ, and a bad guy's motorbike with a sidecar. BTW, this was filmed in the spreaders of our mast (hence the name). Although from what my camera showed I could have just stood on deck. Dito
This is my favorite photo of fatherhood. That's me, munching a cracker and proud as a peacock that I'm steering the boat, oblivious to my Dad's guiding hand on the tiller. Before I had kids, I thought fatherhood was about lovingly instructing an attentive child in the Ways of the World. Day One of daddyhood taught me that being a father is about hugs, cheering my kids on, cleaning up messes, and leading by example. Ain't nobody got time for instructing. Or sleeping. I'm lucky to have a dad who backs me up and leads by example. Happy Father's Day, El Capitan! Dito (rhymes with Cheet-oh)
A year ago, we were getting the ever-loving snot beaten out of us on a southerly bash across the Caribbean Sea. Thanks to emphasized trade winds, our hopes of pointing high enough to hit Cartagena faded with each teeth-jarring mile. Eventually, we gave up and settled for Colon, Panama instead. Our priority was staying far from the eastern coast of Nicaragua due to the increase in offshore piracy. Even with as many offshore passages as we've done, that was a tough one. Lots of time to question our life decisions as the ocean slapped us around for a week and a half. What a difference a year makes. This year we explored a deserted island, snorkeled with rad fish, and...oh yeah, partied with dolphins! Dad and I zipped out to a pod of forty dolphins in the dinghy. A couple days earlier we hung out with three small dolphins in a little cove. We made slow passes with the dinghy, while I held a GoPro underwater. They lazily popped up and swum on our bow wave for a few seconds, as long as we kept the speed down. This pod was a different beast altogether. All the dolphins were at least seven feet long, and they ignored us unless we zipped along at more than ten knots, in which case they gleefully surfed our bow wave for as long as a minute. Ocassionally some dolphins jumped out of the water as high as eight feet. I just leaned over the bow and held on to my GoPro as tightly as I could, smiling with my mammalian friends. This is why we take the pummeling and pay the price. This is the stuff of which my dreams are made. Dito Also, I'm putting in a picture of a stingray because she was beautiful and surprised me out of nowhere. Dolphins shouldn't get all the glory.
The Sea of Cortez continues to blow our minds. Spending quarantine off the grid, amongst sheer mountains that plunge into the sea.
NORTH! Finishing the last days of our self quarantine after provisioning in La Paz. Running downwind overnight to the Loreto area. Stoked to see friends we last cruised with in the Perlas islands!
I could tell you about what we've been doing this last week or I could just post this entry from Joss' daily journal.
A celebratory post this morning! For the past year and a half of sailing I've been writing my first novel. Every day, while Mom and Sarah teach the girls, I bust out the laptop, headphones, and crank words. When I started, my goal of 80,000 words seemed impossible. The longest paper I'd ever written was a 5,000 word paper for music history class in college. I read books on craft and listened to podcasts, then dove in. When we hit Panama, I took advantage of rainy season to pound consonants. The offshore passage to the Galapagos was good writing time and put me across 100,000 words(!). Once we got quarantined in Santa Cruz, I put all my video editing aside and focused on using our mandatory anchor time to write. After forty days confinement, we raised anchor and headed for Mexico, 2000 miles away. My goal was to finish the first draft by landfall. After 22 days at sea, we pulled into Mexico, and I was half a chapter from finishing. As of yesterday, my first draft is FINISHED. It took ages, but averaging around 500 words per session, I finally crossed the finish line with 134,651 words (things got out of hand). We celebrated with ice cream, of course:) If you enjoy my writing on IG and want to follow my journey to producing a book, you can follow my author IG account @ditoabbott It's going to be a long journey, but it feels great to take the first giant step:) And yes, that is my real hair. Going for the Doc Brown look.
Today I explored my fourth grocery store for provisioning. It was a 25 minute walk from the marina, plus a five minute dinghy ride. These numbers became very important when I discovered THE FIRST MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP ICE CREAM I HAVE SEEN IN OVER A YEAR! Fortunately I brought an insulated backpack. After some rapid calculations, I bought a bag of ice, 2 liters of mint chocolate chip, and two liters of cookies and cream. I poured the ice in the bag and hit the road, hoping to make it back to the boat before everything melted. Fortunately it wasn't super hot today. Plus my feet were empowered by the purity of my purpose, much like Hermes, the Greek messenger god. I wish you guys could have seen the girls faces when I pulled nearly a gallon of ice cream out of my backpack (nothing melted!). Since we don't have a freezer, we had the perfect justification to eat it all in one go. Then we collapsed in sugar comas. A wondrous day all round.
WE ARE OFFICIALLY CHECKED INTO MEXICO! We earned this one. Broke our old record by one day (current longest passage mark now stands at 22 days), so suck it, 1995 versions of ourselves. You think you're so cool with your fanny packs and CD walkmen. You just got served a bowl of salty dawg blue water French fries with extra creamy tartar sauce (I have no idea what that means but it's too late to change it, gotta keep rolling). I went to the grocery store today (once again, the rest of the crew is confined to the boat during quarantine). It was somewhat overwhelming. I got lost in the pastry section and needed a search and rescue crew to rappel in and show me the way to the produce aisle. Evidently in Mexico they organize vegetables into a mountain range. It was intimidating until a friendly Sherpa helped me scale the Carrot volcano. From there I was good to slide into Banana Explosion, taking care to avoid falling into the Avecado Crevasses. Nearly crushed by an Onion Avalanche but I grabbed the bottom of a passing shopping cart and an old lady drug me out. Of course, all that really mattered was buying ice cream - and in this mission, I excelled. Went the extra mile and sprung for a celebratory Haagen-Dazs. I could tell you so much more about how all the Mexican people we've met have been helpful, joyful, and fun to hang with. Or how we saw a giant dead sea turtle that turned out to be a humungous upside down sea lion. Or how Sarah, the girls, Mom, and Dad STILL haven't set foot on land (65 days and counting since the start of quarantine in Galapagos). But it all comes down to helado in the end. And tacos. Stoked to be in La Paz! Grateful for a successful, safe passage. Dito
HOLA FROM THE LAND OF TACOS! This morning, after an 18 day passage, we pulled into Mazatlan. The crew rejoiced as we prepared to motor through the breakwater. Then a swell pushed in from behind us and broke in in the middle of the channel - full-on, 4-5 foot crashing waves. We stopped rejoicing, examined our life priorities, spun the boat around, and anchored. A few phone calls later (Google Fi), we talked to someone who knew someone who had a cousin who had a boat who might be able to help us get fuel. Thirty minutes later, I was rocketing through the breakwater at Mach four with my new Mexican friends and fifteen empty Jerry jugs. It took almost an hour to fill them up. When I went to pay, the bill for roughly 105 gallons was $8,250. My jaw dropped. Horrified, I read the receipt out loud, Eight THOUSAND DOLLARS? The fuel guy laughed in my face. That was when I learned they use Mexican Pesos here. Huge relief. In Panama and Galapagos they use US dollars for everything, so my mind had to switch over. Once we made it back to the boat, we siphoned fuel into our tanks, cleaned everything up, and got the boat ready to go. Since the breakwater is so sketchy, we are heading north west to Baja this afternoon. NORTHWEST FOR TACOS! Points of interest: - we may break our Longest Passage record of twenty-one days, assuming we don't dock ourselves for dropping the hook for a few hours today - I'm still the only person from the crew to set foot on land in sixty days now, which incidentally is roughly how long it would have taken to sail straight from Galapagos to New Zealand. - Mazatlan is ghost town, but not a mask or gloves in sight. Super weird after the quarantine in Galapagos. - we are down to three potatoes. Everyone stay calm. If you aren't following our real-time travel map while we sail, you are missing out on our daily blogs. Dad writes relevant stuff about sailing and I write about my dreams, 1980s TV shows, and rank Neil Diamond's live albums. Just go to maxingout . Com and click on where are they now? Take it easy and stay healthy. Dito
NORTH! NORTH TO TACOS!!! After forty days in quarantine, we are off! Many thanks to the wonderful people of the Galapagos for sharing their islands with us and for being so generous to cruisers in a difficult time. I hope we can come back someday when the world is ready for tourism again. Our next stop is Mexico. 1700 miles or so - a two to three week sail. You can follow our progress on our website www.maxingout.com. just click on the where are they now? To see our satellite transponder location in real time, even with some notes from us about the day. Stay safe out there. See you on the flippity flip. Dito
You bring joy to every room you walk into. Were I a snake charmer, I would make Merry and Pippen, my twin Egyptian spitting cobras, entwine in a valentine shape as you walked past in the Marrakesh market. But you wouldn't notice, because Habib and his accursed fire-breathing Look-At-Me, Look-at-Me routine would distract you at that exact moment. So I would kick over my largest snake basket and release Frodohno, my Burmese python, who would entangle your lovely legs and start wrapping around your torso. Then I would pounce and wrestle Frodohno, prying open his jaws with my bare hands and throwing him into the awestruck crowd. You would gaze in wonder as I was silhouetted against the sky, biceps flaring, every picture the snake wrestler of your dreams. Then I would reach down and help you to your feet and invite you for coffee. We would fall in love, marry, and have nineteen children. Then one day you would come across old newsclippings advertising El Dito's Magical Serpent Caravan Spectacular, showing me holding Frodohno on my shoulders, and you would discover my secret. WHY OH WHY DID I THINK YOU WOULDN'T FIND OUT? I would beg you for forgiveness but you put your finger to my lips. Then you would call me into the attic and pull out a treasure chest full of doubloons and pirate daggers and tell me you needed to confess something, too. At the bottom of the chest would be a photo of you AND FRODOHNO(!), who you had raised from a hatchling when you were growing up in Borneo. GASP. Your father sold Forodohno to an aspiring snake charmer boy knowing that someday your paths would cross again AND THAT SNAKE CHARMER WAS ME. GASP AGAIN. We would fall into each other's arms and promise never to lie again. Then you would take me to the main staircase of our castle and reveal that THE BANNISTER ON OUR STAIRCASE WAS ACTUALLY FRODOHNO IN DISGUISE THE WHOLE TIME I'M SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU AGAIN BOY AND THIS EXPLAINS WHY ALL OUR CATS HAVE BEEN GOING MISSING BUT I FORGIVE YOU FRODOHNO, I FORGIVE YOU! Happy birthday Sarah. You are loved by many, but the most by me and I will fight anyone who says otherwise, including our children. Dito