Should We Stay or Should We Sail? Catching Up with Pigtails in Paradise.

October 22, 2017

By Jessica Nance, a teen travel blogger whose family decided to set sail full-time in 2015 aboard their boat, the SV Terrapin. See what it’s like to live on board a boat, straight from the girls who know best–Jessica and her sister Emma. Watch the video here then read Jessica’s blog update!

|  Since we last left off on my Pigtails in Paradise blog, lots of things have happened. After we decided to no longer sail south towards Panama, we stayed in Mexico, stopped in Barra Navidad for Christmas, La Cruz for New Years, then we went back down to Zihuatanejo for the guitar fest, which was awesome. It was a week of awesome music, dancing, and food.

Our crew for guitar fest.

After we went to the guitar fest, we sailed back up into the Sea of Cortez, and when I mean up, I mean WAY up there. It was so great, I felt like I was in a book or magazine. My favorite spot was a place we called “butt cheek cove” on Isla Tiburon.

From Sea to Land

After sailing the Sea of Cortez, we hauled out in Guaymas and decided that we would go to Charleston, SC (where my dad is from) for hurricane season and to help refuel the cruising kitty. We bought a car, packed our things, grabbed the cat.

Then we stopped in San Diego to see family before putzing along to South Carolina. We made a few stops along the way like in Austin, Texas.

My San Diego family includes two great-grandmothers.

We made it to South Carolina, where we lived for seven months. I have a lot of family (including 10 cousins) in Charleston, so it made it a lot easier to be in one place for seven months.

Me and most of my cousins having a blast.

With both our parents working, we were enrolled in the local public school (where three of my cousins went) after a great summer filled with beaches, family time and parties. Before going back to school, I was pretty nervous and started wondering, “Will I be behind in school?” or “Will I want to go back to the boat after this?” It turned out that I was a year ahead in math and was able to move into “honors” classes. The best part? I got straight A’s for both terms I was in school! Because I want to be a vet when I am older, I made a deal with my parents that if I got straight A’s I could go to work with my neighbor, who is a vet, on his surgery day.

In the veterinarian operating room!
Should We Stay or Should We Sail?

My parents said that, if after going back to the states Emma and I didn’t want to go back to the boat, we wouldn’t have to. I guess we would have sold the boat and just moved back into a house. After a few months at school, both Emma and I were begging to go back to Terrapin.  I wanted to go back to the boat for a few reasons. My main reason for wanting to go back to the boat was that between before-school tutoring and regular school hours, I was at school from 7:30 to 3:00, and still had three to four hours of homework a night! I felt like I had learned just as much, if not more, by doing four hours of homeschool on the boat versus 10 hours (homework included) of public school per day. Obviously, I would prefer four hours of homeschool and have the option to take part in daily activities like snorkeling, hiking, fishing, swimming or kayaking.

Another reason why I wanted to go back to the boat was that I am so accustomed to sailing and discovering new places that staying in the same place was hard, for all of us. The final reason I was ready to get back to the boat was to cross the Pacific Ocean and start new adventures. Although I was ready to get back to the boat, it was hard to leave Charleston and say goodbye to my family.

Our front porch view while living in Charleston.
Setting Sail Across the Pacific

We came back to the boat last January and began to prepare for crossing the Pacific Ocean. In April, we crossed the Pacific Ocean in 24 days.

We made it across the Pacific Ocean!

Since crossing the ocean we have visited French Polynesia, Cook Islands, American Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji. My two favorite places thus far would have to be Fakarava and Mopelia. Fakarava had so much wildlife. I loved the crystal clear water and there were sharks everywhere! Mopelia was just as great, but it was much different than Fakarava. We had a great feast in Mopelia held by the family that lives there. We are currently in Fiji for cyclone season, if you’re around please come say Hello.  I am glad that we made the choice to head back to Terrapin and start a whole new chapter in our adventures.

About the Author

Jessica Nance is a 14-year-old who has spent the last three years sailing with her family through Mexico and the South Pacific. Jessica loves fishing, snorkeling, and especially animals. Jessica aspires to be a veterinarian when she grows up and has yet to meet an animal she didn’t fall in love with. Her favorite part about sailing around the world on her family’s sailboat is being able to experience new cultures first hand.

By Kids Do the City--A Teen Travel Blog

Kids Do the City is a teen and tween travel blog. Teens and tweens who like to travel share their tips and adventures with other teens and tweens who travel.