IMG_7576 (Large)According to local lore, the coming of the yellow butterflies signals the end of hurricane season. This hurricane season had been the biggest on record for major hurricanes in the Pacific. Brian and I were out on a boat during the most active months, which meant we were especially vulnerable.

Hurricane season was a difficult time for us. We had big plans for our honeymoon and rushed down to Mexico only to realize it wasn’t safe to go out to sea. We were truly homeless, having left our van (Vanifest) behind in Alaska at the end of the summer. We were committed to living on the boat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUnable to move around the sea, we nervously settled into the San Carlos area. Hurricane Odile, the biggest to ever make landfall on the Baja peninsula, had just devastated Cabo San Lucas. The journalism images of the destroyed Cabo airport, demolished boats and desperate people lingered in our minds, making it hard to feel good about being on the boat during this record-setting season.

Whether hurricanes were nearby or not, the summer monsoon weather was unstable. We were hit with a dramatic and unexpected storm while anchored near shore. A couple times we rode the overnight bus back to the US because major hurricanes were nearby. The worst part of it was I was becoming less enthusiastic about sailing because the boat felt like a threatening place, not a happy place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe boat was our home and we kept returning to it after the hurricanes passed. We eventually had a great time in San Carlos. We found good places to scuba dive and kite board. We had to dig deep to find fun sometimes. I have never tried jogging but we started going to shore to jog because that was one of the only ways to exercise. We ended up loving it. We would explore the beautiful back roads near a small Mexican fishing village named La Manga.

When the hurricane season seemed to be slowing down, we crossed the sea and headed south. Apparently our timing was right. We found clouds of yellow butterflies on the other side of the sea. They filled the skies near Loreto as we lingered a couple days for some great diving in the Candeleros Islands where we found walls of colorful coral. Hundreds of butterflies would flutter by the large bay where we anchored near the Candeleros, but they never landed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe left the bay to begin our 22 hour passage to Los Islotes, and once we were out at sea they would often land on the boat to rest. They were so docile and cooperative that soon it became the day of a thousand butterfly pictures.

The poor creatures seemed exhausted and would remain wherever they landed on the boat. We felt sorry for them, but also took the opportunity to get some close-up photos of them. One little butterfly rode around on my shirt for an hour before I gently placed it back in the cockpit.

It was one of those perfect days out on the ocean, too. The sky was cloudless and light blue. The water was lightly wavy and we alternated between pure sailing and sailing with the help of the engine throughout the day. In addition to the perfect weather, we were surrounded by yellow butterflies all day long and happy that the stress and danger of hurricane season was over.


Lisa Hackett

About the Author

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van. I do it all. I rappel big waterfalls, drive from Idaho to Alaska solo, live and work in a van in the wilderness and dodge encounters with wolves and bears. Seriously. More

2 Responses to The Day of a Thousand Butterflies

  1. Anjuli Global says:

    Cheers to your first sailing season.. And to the fun little treasures that come to relieve the struggles of not all going to plan.. In the end well worth it though! 🙂

  2. wally says:

    Hi well the butterfly cloud sounded great but no picys ?

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van and on a sailboat with my superhero husband, Brian. I do it all. I rappel big waterfalls, scuba dive with sharks, dodge encounters with bears and wolves, and work remotely as a full time computer programmer.
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About the Van

Hi, I’m Vanifest. I’m a big, 4x4, off-the-grid van complete with solar panel for power. I'm a 2000 Dodge Ram Van and Lisa has had me since 2009. Read more about me here.


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