Update from La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

We are nestled into the tropical marina here in La Cruz, a slice of civilization like we haven’t seen in quite a while. We are tucked into beautiful Banderas Bay, which is surrounded by tall, jungle clad mountains–a real treat after seeing only coastal plane for the past few months. There is a big sailing community here, and many sailors our age as well–a real rarity. And, of course, this is a tourism mecca for Mexico. Despite the strong tourism influence, (which I always expect will sour people,) every Mexican we meet is friendly and open, always pleased to answer my questions. It really is a gift.

We will be here for the next 1.5 weeks as we have a little surgery to perform on the boat. A while ago Josh noticed that the door in the head (the bathroom) wasn’t closing properly. Upon investigation he discovered that the mast collar (where the mast goes through the cabin top and into the interior of the boat) was sinking slightly into the cabin, which compresses the interior supports on the boat (thus making the door stick.) Two days ago, he cut a hole in the cabin sole (the floor) to see how exactly the mast was supported from below. (The mast is held in place by the metal rope rigging on the deck, but still has to rest on the keel.) Amazingly, the mast is only supported by three fiberglass L-supports–which is why it is slowly sinking and crushing those supports. So before we sail through any (more) gnarly weather (like the Gulf of Tehuantepec) we have to fix this. Fortunately, Josh can do all the work, but we have to have the mast pulled so we can build a reinforcement under the mast.

Ah, boat stuff.

In the meantime, I will continue to seek interesting people for interviews. Very curious to learn when and if people will start talking about sea level rise…

About the Author

In a first for ICWA, Jessica and her partner Josh Moman will conduct a seafaring Fellowship, exploring adaption to climate change in coastal communities in México, Central America and the Caribbean. Sailing the Pacific coast through the Panama canal and into the Caribbean on her 39-foot sailboat Oleada, Jessica will focus on how communities experience climate change impacts. Hazards such as erosion, storm surge, and the spread of disease can be consequences of sea level rise and sea temperature change, and Jessica will examine how these changes tear or build the social fabric. With her background as a research scientist, she has worked as a field biologist at the largest thermal solar plant in the world, mapped renewable energy development for 23 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa with the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, supported satellite-based forest mapping in the Andes-Amazon Region with the Carnegie Institution for Science, and authored multiple reports and user guides to translate science into digestible instruction. With a desire to better connect the science of climate change with stories on-the-ground, she plans to use her mapping experience to build vulnerability maps of the coast while gathering accounts of change and adaptation. Jessica was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to document climate impacts in México; she holds an Ecology degree from Brown University and an interdisciplinary MS from the Energy and Resources Group (ERG) at UC Berkeley, where she also studied video journalism. By harnessing wind and sun to travel, Jessica hopes to access remote locations, share the ocean-bound experience of local communities, and listen to and document the stories of climate adaptation with words, images, and video.