Many cruisers are in search of something albeit a secluded anchorage, a great marina, titillating snorkeling/scuba..you get the picture. For us, it is kids. We still hold those previous for mentioned "pearls" but traveling with a teen on board has shifted our focus towards finding kids. After 6 months of virtually no kids (we have had a few..thank you mv Adagio and sv the Vortex) but it just didn't seem enough. Having an almost 14 year old girl who craves social interactions (other than her parents) has put us on the quest for the Holy Grail. Fortunately, due to the nature of many other boaters whose maturity is equal to that of young teens (thank you sv Kialoa, sv The Red Thread, sv Naoma, sv Luna) she at least has had intermittent opportunities to play games, be goofy and enjoy some great laughs and teasing. It also brought up some conversations that (pardon the sexism) men at 20,30,40, and 50 are still 13 in so many ways.
We found the Grail at Paradise Village in Nuev
o Vallarta and we have loved having our girl thriving as she navigates the social schedule that she so craves. I have even let school slide a bit so that she can go to the pool earlier with her friends and have established a 10pm curfew at night.
We have had to develop and learn as we go as we hadn't dealt with teen parameters too much before we left. For example, communication and checking in to let us know where she is. Since we do not have phones here, she cannot text or call. Option B is carrying a VHF radio and initially she was required to check in every 2 hours. As she proved her ability to be responsible with checking in, we went to every 4 hours and eventually she no longer carried the radio and would just come back at dinner and then at her 10pm curfew. Establishing a curfew was also new for us.
Traveling with a teen on board can have challenges. We find that teens that grow up on a boat may have an easier time adapting than those plucked out of their "typical teen" lifestyle as their lives become misaligned with what they have come to know. Patience and humor is a must-on both sides. We have many discussions about communication and respect when conversing with each other-often in teen land there is only yelling, eye rolling, and doors slamming. It is a privilege to watch this evolution from the former to a more articulate teen who can express her frustrations and desires intelligently.