Emily's Page
Emily loves to read and write (among
other things), and this page has  an
article that she and her friend Kimberly
had published, we think in the February,
2005 issue of Latitude 38, along with
photos from that submission:  
Two Kids' Perspective on their Cruising Life
By Kimberley Miller and Emily Dietz
September, 2004

"Mom, what's for breakfast?"  "Good morning!  This the Pan Pacific Net." "Quiet! I can't hear the SSB!"  "Come
dry the dishes, please!"  We have just woken up and our morning is already wild with the parrots and the
howler monkeys 'Caw-Cawing'  and 'Hoo-Hooing' in the background. On this particular morning after a
sleepover, we find that breakfast is Cheerios without milk because the milk went bad yesterday.  

"We" are Kimberly Miller, age 12, on S/V Amorita and Emily Dietz, age 10, on S/V Ace.  (Kimberly set sail with
her family from San Diego in January 2004, and Emily departed from San Francisco with her family in
September 2003.)

We first met each other in Tenacatita, Mexico in February 2004.  Since the first time our paths crossed, we
have continued to rendezvous with each other in other interesting anchorages as our families travel
southbound along the western coast of Mexico and Central America.  

We each remember the day we first told our friends we would soon be leaving "home sweet home" in California
to cruise on our sailboats with our families.  Almost all our friends thought our parents were crazy, and
truthfully, we weren't quite sure ourselves that our parents weren't experiencing a touch of insanity.  But that
story we're saving for our next article.

In the beginning, we both had mixed feelings about living a cruising lifestyle and what it might be like for us.
Although the first few weeks of cruising weren't the best, each day continues to be much better, and now, we
really have a lot of fun times.

Most of our cruising days begin with us putting on our typical school uniform  - board shorts and a bikini top  -  
do our school work and chores before we make contact with each other on the VHF.  "So, whatcha wanna do
today?" we ask each other. There's really so much to choose from each day.

We each have a younger brother onboard and when they're together, we fondly refer to them as the "blonde
headed terrors." (Emily's brother is Martin, age 9, and Kimberley's brother is Nathaniel, age 10, and both keep
everyone on the edge of their seats with their constant shenanigans.)

When we can, we love having sleepovers so we can talk all night about important subjects, such as Brad Pitt
and Orlando Bloom. Recently we were remembering the time we camped out on the beach together
overnight.  While we were trying to sleep, our brothers, those "blonde headed terrors" made howling noises
from the boat late into the night.  

During the daytime there is so much we can do for fun. Sometimes in the late afternoons we roast hotdogs on
the beach and trade ghost stories. Other times we make grilled cheese sandwiches, which is one of our
favorite snacks. While we munch, we enjoy making jewelry and listening to music while we talk. For music we
used to listen to Shania Twain and Avril Lavigne, but these days we listen to Jimmy Buffet and the Beach
Boys.  We also read Latitude 38, the cruisers' People magazine.

We usually look for nice anchorages along the coasts but sometimes we spend a little time in a marina. While
we were in Huatulco at Marina Chahue in Mexico, we put on a ballet performance for the cruisers who were
there.   We were both ballerinas in our previous life in the States.

When there is a big fleet in an anchorage, we enjoy having dinghy raft ups!  But when chips and salsa get old
with the crowd, the boys go spearfishing; and when we get tired of eating fresh fish, all the gals take the long
walk to the Super Mercado, and then walk all the way back to the beach where we leave our dinghy, lugging all
our groceries and working up a sweat. It's a great workout! Then we wade into the breaking surf to load the
groceries into the dinghy and sometimes get soaked (and all cooled off) on the ride home to our boats.

We've had to be really creative in how we pass the time and think we've come up with some good ideas along
the way. Some of our favorite past-times include acting out scenes from our favorite movies, like "Pirates of
the Caribbean", showering in the rain or flipping a kayak over and jumping off. All of us have a great time
jumping off the bow of our boats like Captain Jack Sparrow in "Pirates of the Caribbean" to doing a wild
cannonball - we love it!

On Friday nights it's movie night on Ace, so when we're in the same anchorage the kids dinghy over to make
popcorn and eat home made pizza. If we're really lucky, we'll have root beer when we can find it (on rare
occasions); a definite favorite.

We love to surf, so wherever there's good surf, we go surfing together. A couple of weeks ago we were in
Potrero Grande where the surf is excellent.  Way before our time, they filmed the opening of a famous surf
movie at Potrero Grande called "The Endless Summer." Some of you may have heard of it.

Our passage from Potrero Grande to Playa del Coco in Costa Rica was in calm seas. S/Vs Ace and Amorita
sailed close to one another and played Beach Boys songs for each other while we danced up on the bow of
the boats.  Thank God for autopilot, since none of us were at the helm!  We were racing and Ace won, so
Amorita bought everyone ice cream when we arrived in Playa del Coco.

When we can, we organize all the kids together to go skurfing. "Skurfing" is when we're towed behind a dinghy
on a surfboard. It takes a while to figure out how to stand up, but once you’re on your feet, it’s a blast!

One day recently, all the kids were looking for something different to do.  Our parents dropped us off on the
beach where we built a raft out of only what we found on the beach.  After several hours of designing, hauling,
and engineering, we proceeded to paddle our fabulous raft to our boat, all the while singing "99 Bottles of
Beer on the Wall."  About half way, our raft of many logs became a raft of one log.  Another crazy fun-filled day
in paradise!

Soon we'll be in Panama and, as we mentioned earlier, we both do ballet. Hopefully we'll find a ballet school
where we can take ballet lessons together.  There is still a lot that we look forward to doing together.

Before we decided to go cruising, when we lived in our house, we took certain things for granted  -  like hot
water, electricity, and root beer.  But when you are living on a boat, you really see how lucky you are.  The first
time an electric light was installed on Amorita, the family all stood in the salon while the lights were turned on
and off, over and over again. Wow!  After living with no electricity for a month and a half on Amorita, never
before had electricity been so greatly appreciated by the entire family.

So kids, if your parents are considering taking you cruising here is our thoughts:  Life is what you make of it.
Some kids might think their parents are crazy (and they might be),and that cruising life is horrible (it isn't). For
us, it has only gotten better. We think cruising is fantastic (and so is life!). Someday you'll thank your parents
for this really cool opportunity! Cheesey ending, huh?
The crews of Ace, Nueva Vida, and
Arclyd, hanging out in the pool at
Hotel Bahia del Sol in El Salvador.
The kid crews of Monkey Girl,
Lumeria, Amorita, Carmelita, and
Quetzal clowning around on Lumeria
in Tenacatita, Mexico.
The authors (Emily left and Kimberly
right) taking a dinghy bath after a
heavy rainshower in Bahia Ballena,
Costa Rica.

The authors (Kimberly left, Emily
right) hanging out at a palapa
restaurant in El Salvador.
Crew of Amorita (including Reynolds
kids visiting from states) in Potrero
Grande, Costa Rica, on kid-built raft.  
“Didn’t we start with more than one log?  
Nice paddles, huh?”  Photo courtesy of
Terry Reynolds.