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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Cruising with Teens - Part 2

Carolyne's favorite

Steve and Carolina from sv Lady Carolina and I chaperoned a group of eager cruising teens to the Puerto Vallarta Zoo. This isn't the first time Carolyne has gone - in fact, it is her third time. The first time she went to the zoo was so addictive that she insists she wants to go again every time we visit La Cruz.
The cost for 1 ticket: 100 pesos
(They also offer packages that include petting baby big cats for about $50-$70 US... we only did that once)
Bag of food to feed animals: 50 pesos
(Bag includes corn, pellets, bread slices and sliced carrots)
Bus rides (it takes 3 buses): 35 pesos per person
Long arm of the law... Mama and her baby

Cruising kids

Directions to the zoo from La Cruz:
To get to the zoo via bus from La Cruz, take the bus on the corner at the main highway to EL CENTRO.
Take the bus from El Centro to catch the bus called MISMALOYA
Once on the Mimaloya bus be sure to tell the driver you want to stop at the Zoologia (zoo-o-lo-hia).
You can take a bus back to La Cruz by backtracking these bus routes.

Pack a lunch, take some water and bring extra carrots to feed the animals... it is totally worth the trip!!
Steve got a very wet surprise when he offered a kibble from his mouth...

go figure!

And yet again, Marina La Cruz hosted ANOTHER teen beach party sleepover! Marina Katrina and Mike at PV Sailing brought a telescope for stargazing and the teens brought their tents. This month has been like I might imagine summer camp - although I never went to summer camp!
(Thanks Marina La Cruz and PV Sailing for the beach photos!)
No one recalls ever seeing so many cruising teens in La Cruz at the same time!

There is no magic recipe for how a teenager will handle living on a boat and cruising to different countries. But most adults will tell you that boat kids are exceptional. They typically exude confidence and can look an adult in the eye. They frequently will introduce themselves to a group or will shake hands when meeting someone the first time. They many times jump in to lend a helping hand regarding younger children. Cruising kids tend to have an "I want to help" mentality.

Some secrets we discovered for successful cruising with our teens:
1. Privacy is important - personal space is important. If you are cruising for a short period of time (say a year or less), I think this is not so much an issue. However, if you are living on your boat full-time, it does make a difference in the attitudes and behaviors of your teen children. You can read about how we made some serious changes to our family's cruising life.

2. Money of their own is important. Any way your teen can make some spending cash - babysitting, dog watching, cleaning winches, boat bottom cleaning, showing old or dumb people how to use their computers (that would be me!), etc... This is as important while cruising as it is living on land in a house. Give them chores aboard your vessel that take the pressure off of you and pay your teen for it - maintaining the outboards, cleaning all the stainless, washing out cupboards or de-greasing the bilge...

3. We discovered that our teens learned more and were more eager to learn when we allowed them to choose their own schooling subjects... with the exception of math, reading and writing... core to everything else... because if you can do math, if you can read, if you can write... you can teach yourself or learn everything else. Why should learning be boring and miserable? It should be exciting! Or at the very least, pragmatic.

4. Stop when there are peers. For younger children, too, but especially for your teenagers. For example, one morning we may decide to sail to another location and a teen boat pulls into the anchorage just as we're preparing to leave. Jim and I will stop what we're doing - get on the radio - make plans to have our teens meet on the beach and we'll stay another day or 2 or long as we feel is needed so that our teenagers get some valuable visiting time - even if we don't click with the parents that well. (And yes, that sometimes sadly happens.)

5. Allow your teens to be a part of the trip planning - where you're going. Let them map it out, get them interested in what lies ahead, treat them like they are part of the crew - not just your child, under your thumb, stuck on your boat. Many times in the researching process our teens have showed extreme interest in a particular place and talked us into going there - like our trip to Oaxaca.

Enjoy your teenagers while living aboard... it can be accomplished even living in cramped quarters with no internet and no peers. But doing more than just taking a teen's feelings into consideration is a big part of how successful - or not - the outcome can be.

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