www.cruisingworld.com - February 2011 pg 27
by Elaine Lembo
Pacific Mexico: A Cruiser's Guidebook by Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer (2010; $40; Blue Latitude Press, www.bluelatitudepress.com). Aboard Om Shanti, their Westsail 32, this adventuresome duo - he, a boat captain, scuba diver, and former graphic designer; she, an equestrienne, sea kayaker, and white-water rafter - combine their love of wandering the rim of western North America with thier passion for sharing advice that's attractive to look at, detailed, and fresh via their publishing house Blue Latitude Press. Like their 2009 guide to the Golfo de California, the book relies on color graphics and photography, including satellite imagery. Covering the area farther south along the Pacific coast of Mexico, it features chartlet details for anchorages gained from among other sources, GPS readings and couple's on-site surveys; advice for sail and power; short bits about flora and fauna; and even tips on hiking trails and surf breaks. The website includes chart updates.
www.noonsite.com - December 2010; Books, Charts and DVDs Section
by Jimmy Cornell
Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer have earned themselves unanimous praise for their excellent guide to the Sea of Cortez, the body of water that lies between Baja California and the Mexican mainland, which they explored over a number of years on their Westsail 32 Om Shanti.
They have just published an even more ambitious guidebook that covers the Pacific coast of Mexico south of the Sea of Cortez, from Mazatlan to Huatulco. Following the user- friendly model of their previous volume, the book deals in detail with every cove, anchorage, port and marina, each accompanied by a detailed chartlet. These plans stand out for their attention to detail, a fact from which this reviewer profited greatly on a week charter in the Sea of Cortez earlier this year when the electronic charts displayed on the chart plotter were dangerously inaccurate and our only reliable means of navigation were the chartlets published in their guidebook.
Pacific Mexico is richly illustrated by hundreds of colour photographs depicting ports and anchorages thus making it easier to identify certain landmarks. The description of the various places, with their amenities and services, local art, customs and feasts are all accompanied by excellent photographs. This attractive book can only be described as a true labour of love as the affection of the authors for all things Mexican permeates each page. Pacific Mexico is worth buying even if you never plan to sail in those waters although you may change your mind before you finally manage to put it down.
Northwest Yachting Magazine - November 2010, pg 52
Following up on their popular Sea of Cortez: A Cruiser’s Guidebook, which has become known as the “bible” for cruising in the Sea of Cortez, authors Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer have once again raised the bar for cruising guides. Pacific Mexico: A Cruiser’s Guidebook follows the same popular and easy to use format that has made their other guide a cruiser favorite.
Pacific Mexico: A Cruiser’s Guidebook, is the most up to date and comprehensive guide detailing the anchorages and harbors of the Pacific mainland coast. The guide contains in depth coverage of the harbors and anchorages used by cruising boats travelling along the Mexican mainland coast from Mazatlán to Zihuatanejo. For boats continuing south towards Central America, harbor charts are included for this more remote section of coast.
In an area where the official government charts can be up to two miles off, boaters can travel with confidence knowing that the locations described in this guide are illustrated with 72 original GPS-accurate chartlets featuring detail not available elsewhere. Chartlets are derived from current surveys, satellite photography, US and Mexican topographic and bathymetric data, as well as the author’s first-hand exploration. GPS waypoints including prime anchorage locations, approaches, and navigational hazards accompany each chartlet. Detailed charts don’t necessary tell the whole story, so the authors have also included stunning color photography, high resolution aerial photos, and annotated approach photos. And since the cruising life doesn’t stop once the anchor is dropped or the dock lines are made fast, detailed city maps, marina guides, fuel stops, provisioning locations, surf breaks, hiking trails, dive and snorkel sites and much more are also included with each location, helping voyagers make the most of their time on this beautiful and friendly coast.
Important cruising information such as weather, ham and SSB radio nets, customs and immigration information, marina locations and layouts, fuel availability, boat haulout facilities, and marine chandleries are among many of the features detailed throughout. Sample itineraries are also included to fit a variety of boater’s schedules to help insure that readers don’t miss a thing while exploring the Pacific mainland coast.
Pacific Mexico: A Cruiser’s Guidebook, is a must for anyone heading to Mexico. This beautiful guide will be equally at home on your chart table while living your cruising dreams, or on your coffee table at home while planning your adventure to the warm waters, swaying palms and sandy beaches of Pacific Mexico. With a release date of mid-October 2010, this new book will help guide mariners to an unforgettable experience on the Pacific coast of Mexico.
Authors Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer have been cruising and exploring Mexico for seven years. With backgrounds in graphic design, writing, and cartography, Breeding and Bansmer have combined their talents and passion for boating in Mexico into a comprehensive, beautifully designed guide. They are also the owners and operators of the publishing company, Blue Latitude Press. For further information please contact Blue Latitude Press.
Latitude 38 - Lectronic Latitude, October 22, 2010
by LaDonna Bubak
Cruising guide authors are a rare breed. Oh sure, it’s tough to feel too sorry for them — they get paid to go cruising, after all — but if you stop to think about all the work that goes into those books, not just the initial printing but the updating as well, you’ll realize that the authors are really paid a pittance for the valuable information they deliver. Check any cruising boat’s library and you’ll find guides to where they’ve been, where they’re going, and places they only dream of reaching.
The latest book to add to your library — whether it’s just for dreaming or real-life planning — is Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer’s Pacific Mexico: A Cruiser’s Guidebook, following up their vibrant and informative Sea of Cortez: A Cruiser’s Guidebook from a couple years ago.
Some other cruising guides that should be on every wanna-be cruiser’s shelf include:
* Gerry Cunningham’s Complete Guide to the Sea of Cortez, which includes all three guides to the Lower Gulf, Middle Gulf and San Carlos.
* The newly updated Mexico Boating Guide by Capt. Pat Rains, which covers both sides of Baja, the entire Sea of Cortez, and all of mainland Pacific Mexico from Mazatlan to the Guatemala border
* Charlie and Margo Woods’ updated classic Charlie’s Charts to the Western Coast of Mexico Including Baja, now in its 12th edition.
If you’re in San Diego this Sunday, you can chat with Gerry’s granddaughter Heather — Gerry passed away in May — about their guides at the Baja Ha-Ha Kickoff Party in the West Marine parking lot.
Northwest Yachting Magazine - April 2010, pg 62
Authors Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer have once again released an incredible cruising guide that sets the bar for all of the rest. The new second edition of Sea of Cortez: A Cruiser’s Guidebook, takes you on a vivid, inspirational tour of where desert meets the sea in Mexico’s stunning Sea of Cortez.
Sea of Cortez: A Cruiser’s Guidebook, is the most up to date, comprehensive guide detailing the remote anchorages of the Baja peninsula and Mexican mainland. The harbors and anchorages listed in this guide are illustrated with over 100 GPS-accurate full page chartlets, derived from satellite photography, NASA data and first-hand exploration. GPS waypoints including prime anchorage locations, approaches, and navigational hazards accompany each chartlet. And because cruising doesn’t stop when the hook is dropped or the docklines are made fast, detailed city maps, grocery store locations, hiking trails, dive and snorkel sites and much more are included with each location to help readers make the most of their cruise through the Sea of Cortez.
Important cruising information such as weather, ham and SSB radio nets, customs and immigration information, marina locations and layouts, fuel availability, boat haulout facilities and marine chandleries are among many of the features detailed throughout this guide. Sample itineraries are also included to fit a variety of boater’s schedules to help insure that readers don’t miss a thing while planning their cruise.
New features added to the second edition include beautiful high resolution aerial photographs of the anchorages, added depth soundings and bathymetry for the chartlets, new GPS waypoints, and a detailed planning and overview map. The authors also added two new off the beaten path anchorages along with pages of new and inspiring color photographs to give the reader a true sense of what it is like to cruise the remote Sea of Cortez. The guide contains the latest, most up to date city and marina guides as well as updated regulations for boating in Mexico. This new guidebook is a must have for anyone cruising to Mexico or for anyone daydreaming of warm white sand beaches and turquoise waters.
Authors Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer have been cruising and exploring Mexico’s Sea of Cortez for the past seven seasons. With a background in graphic design, writing, and cartography, Breeding and Bansmer have combined their talents and their love for boating into a comprehensive, beautifully designed guide. The two are also the owners and operators of the publishing company Blue Latitude Press. The authors are already hard at work on a sequel to the Sea of Cortez guide. The new guide will detail the cruising grounds along Mexico’s mainland Pacific coast and will follow the same design as the Sea of Cortez guidebook. The expected release date for the mainland guide will be summer 2010. For further information please contact Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer at: (360) 421-1934, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Cruising World Magazine - June 2008, pg 16
by Beth A. Leonard
"In an area where the charts may be off by as much as a mile, sailors will appreciate the detailed, GPS-accurate chartlets and the thorough research that went into the making of Sea of Cortez: A Cruiser's Guidebook by Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer. It also helps that this guide was well thought out, which means it's beautifully designed and easy to use.
Compiled from a variety of computer-based sources and supplemented by thousands of soundings taken by the authors, the chartlets would in themselves justify the price of this book, available from Blue Latitude Press ($50; www.bluelatitudepress.com). Users also get all that one expects from a good cruising guide plus useful suggestions for hikes and activities ashore, recommendations on restaurants and shops, recipes using local ingredients, and hundreds of professional-quality photographs. Sample itineraries simplify voyage planning, and tables showing distances to nearby anchorages offer the appropriate next-stop possibilities at a glance. With Sea of Cortez, the authors have raised the standard for cruising guides in general and guides to Mexico in particular."
For more information on noted author and cruiser, Beth A. Leonard, check her website at www.bethandevans.com. Beth and Evans Starzinger have completed two circumnavigations and are currently (2008) wintering in Ushuaia, Beagle Channel, Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.
www.noonsite.com - June 2008; Books, Charts and DVDs Section
"This book is a true labour of love, its two authors having spent four years (2003 to 2007) compiling a most comprehensive guide to one of the most attractive cruising areas of the world. Exploring every nook and cranny between Baja California and the Mexican mainland in their Westsail 32 Om Shanti, the authors’ enthusiasm and affection for this unique body of water comes through on every page.
The reader’s appetite, including this reviewer’s, is constantly whetted by colourful descriptions of secluded anchorages, amazing encounters with the prolific wildlife, all illustrated by a generous supply of excellent photographs. As an experienced graphic designer, Shawn Breeding has produced scores of harbour plans as well as detailed chartlets, all matched to accurate GPS readings and accompanied by relevant waypoints. As the subtitle suggests, this is more than just a cruising guide as shore attractions and facilities are described in enough detail to provide a complete picture of what to see and do on land..."
Noonsite.com is the culmination of Jimmy Cornell's work on the global cruising scene for the last quarter of a century and a distillation of his best-selling books World Cruising Handbook and World Cruising Routes.
Latitude 38 - May 2008, Sightings: pgs 108-111
by LaDonna Bubak
"It's been awhile since a new cruising guide for Baja's Sea of Cortez has been published, so Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer's Sea of Cortez: A Cruiser's Guidebook will be a welcome addition to every Baja-bound boaters bookshelf."
Breeding and Bansmer spent more than two years painstakingly researching this beefy 312-page guide. They even created chartlets of the most popular - and some lesser-known - anchorages in the Sea. Using satellite photos and NASA data, as well as taking depth soundings by hand, the couple have created extremely detailed charts that include accurate GPS waypoints, topography and the best snorkeling spots.
The spectacular photography and bits of history, trivia and recipes scattered throughout really bring the book to life, while the entries for each area offer a wide cariety of activities and services for cruisers to choose from.
When we ran into the couple at Strictly Sail Pacific last month, we asked the how their guide is different from others. "It's better," laughed Shawn. That rather biased opinion aside, we have to say that their efforts have resulted in an extremely user-friendly resource. If you can't find Sea of Cortez: A Cruiser's Guidebook at your local chandlery - or you'd just like to check it out before committing - you can buy a signed copy at www.exploringcortez.com."
Gringo Gazette - April 28, 2008, pg 16
by Diane Carmona
"Sea of Cortez: A Cruiser's Guidebook is the most up-to-date, comprehensive guide detailing the remote and pristine anchorages of the Baja peninsula and Mexican mainland within the Sea of Cortez. The colorful, well-designed guide is full of accurate, up-to-date GPS chartlets, local information, and stunning photography, allowing the boater and dreamer alike to explore the striking beauty of the land where the desert meets the sea.
Authors Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer have spent four seasons cruising and documenting the Sea of Cortez aboard their sailboat, Om Shanti. Originally from Bellingham, Washington and the beautiful but frigid cruising grounds in the Pacific Northwest, Shawn and Heather set sail in June 2003 to pursue their cruising dream which ultimately took them to the warm waters of Mexico and the Sea of Cortez. Breeding, who is a professional graphic designer, and Bansmer, who has long pursued writing as a hobby, have combined their talents and their love for boating to create this one-of-a-king coffee table guide, which is beautiful and a practical cruising guide. The graphics are stunning, and make this book a joy to use. It even makes a great armchair cruising guide, it's so descriptive and beautiful.
Important information like weather, Ham and SSB radio nets, customs and immigration information, marina locations and layouts, fuel availability, boat haul out facilities and marine chandleries are among many of the features detailed through this guide. And because the cruising doesn't stop when the hook is dropped or the docklines are made fast, city maps, grocery store locations, hiking trails, dive and snorkel sites and much more is also included.
The guidebook uses today's technology, with satellite imagery, NASA SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) data, marine navigational software and GPS to construct accurate chartlets. As many boaters find out first hand when cruising the Sea of Cortez, the large-scale government charts are outdated and inaccurate (sometimes by more than a nautical mile), based on surveys from the 1800s. Using navigational software or GPS chart plotters, boaters often find their boat's position plotted erroneously over land rather than their actual position on the water. This makes the new guidebook an invaluable aid to mariners, with accurate chartlets and descriptions of the anchorages, personally surveyed depth information, and hundreds of GPS waypoints personally taken by the authors. As updates to information become available, they are posted to www.exploringcortez.com or the publisher's website, www.bluelatitudepress.com.
You can purchase your own copy...at Allende Books, La Paz's English language bookstore, which is located just up the street from the mermaid and dolphin statue on the malecon, on Allende St. Allende is the publisher's authorized reseller for Sea of Cortez. The eponymously named bookstore is open 10 to 6, Monday through Friday and 10 to 2 on Saturdays... Email: Allendebooks@gmail.com or phone: 612-125-9114."
48 North - March 2008, Lowtide Book Reviews: pg 32
"Sea of Cortez: A Cruiser’s Guidebook, written by Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer is a full color cruising guide details over 100 anchorages found within the cruising waters of the Sea of Cortez, off the eastern coast of Baja, Mexico. This colorful, well-designed guide is full of GPS accurate, up-to-date chartlets as well as stunning photography, allowing the boater and dreamer alike to explore the striking beauty of where desert meets the sea.
Sea of Cortez, harnesses today’s technology by utilizing satellite imagery, NASA SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) data, marine navigational software and GPS waypoints to construct the most accurate chartlets available for each anchorage. As many boaters find out first hand when cruising throughout the Sea of Cortez, the small scale government charts currently available are outdated and based on surveys performed in the late 1800s to early 1900s. These government charts are also inaccurate, occasionally off by more than one nautical mile, showing boats traveling over land on their navigational software systems or chart plotters. For this reason, Sea of Cortez, is an invaluable aid to mariners, providing detailed, GPS accurate chartlets of anchorages, personally surveyed depth information, along with hundreds of GPS waypoints collected by the authors.
This cruising guide also features many helpful details outside the realm of boat navigation, such as local history and activities, informative sidebars, hiking trails, dive and snorkel sites, beaches for shell collectors, as well as city maps, restaurant guides, grocery store and marine chandlery listings. This handy information allows boaters to navigate both on the water and on land with ease and the ability to explore each destination to its fullest.
The authors, Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer, have spent four seasons exploring and documenting Mexico and the Sea of Cortez aboard their Westsail 32, Om Shanti."