About the authors
Long before Shawn and Heather first met, their adventurous spirits were guiding them on travels around the world. Catching glimpses of different cultures and meeting many fantastic friends along the way only fueled their desire to pursue more adventures.
Born in Youngstown, Ohio and later moving to Bowling Green, Kentucky, Shawn, along with his partner in crime and identical twin brother, took up scuba diving and boating among the many lakes surrounding Kentucky and the warm waters off Florida. In his mid-twenties, Shawn had the unique opportunity to crew on two sailboats throughout the South Pacific and New Zealand where he quickly fell in love with the boats and the cruising lifestyle. Shortly after returning to Kentucky, Shawn packed his belongings and moved to the coastal town of Bellingham, Washington to pursue his dream of buying a sailboat and preparing himself and the boat for an adventure to the South Pacific and beyond.
Heather, who was born and raised in the sagebrush hills of Yakima in eastern Washington, pursued a far different passion from the typical aspiring sailor, being a cowgirl. She grew up riding through miles of apple orchards and along the irrigation canals found on the outskirts of her home town. However, after moving to Bellingham, Washington to attend college and unable to pack her horse in her suitcase, she traded in horseback riding for sea kayaking through the maze of islands found in Washington’s Puget Sound and British Columbia, Canada. After an adventure rafting through Arizona’s Grand Canyon, Heather was inspired to learn the skills of white water rafting as well.
Working next door to each other in Bellingham, Shawn and Heather became quick friends and shared their tales of past adventures and dreams of new adventures. Armed with his new purchase of a stoutly built Westsail 32 named Om Shanti, Shawn wooed Heather with sunset sails on Bellingham Bay and taught her the finer points of sailing. Excited about dreams of living a cruising lifestyle and traveling to new destinations by boat, they concentrated their efforts to making the dream come true.
On June 1, 2003, Om Shanti left the dock in Bellingham Bay to take her crew on a magical ride, sailing to unbelievably wonderful adventures. From Bellingham they headed north, sailing with orcas and feasting on salmon while exploring the vast array of islands along British Columbia’s southwestern coast. After circumnavigating Vancouver Island, they left from the southern tip of the island to begin the voyage south, down the west coast of the United States and Baja California. By early December, Om Shanti arrived in Cabo San Lucas and began a new, beautiful adventure in sunny Mexico.
Since late 2003, Heather, Shawn and Om Shanti have been exploring Pacific Mexico and the Sea of Cortez, relishing the beauty of this foreign land so close to home. Their love of boating and cruising the coastal waters of Mexico lead to the development of their cruising guides, in hopes of sharing the unique beauty and richness of life Mexico has to offer.
In 2007, Heather and Shawn launched their publishing company, Blue Latitude Press LLC, and shortly there after, released their first book, Sea of Cortez: A Cruiser’s Guidebook. That book is now in its third edition. The duo have also produced a guide for the Mainland Pacific Coast of Mexico, Pacific Mexico: A Cruiser's Guidebook as well as a guide for their home waters in Washington State, San Juan Islands: A Boater's Guidebook.
Shawn, who is a licensed boat captain, has used his 20 years of experience as a graphic designer and cartographer to create the GPS-accurate chartlets, while Heather has pursued her passion of writing and graphic design to compose an informative and easy to follow guide. With their combined efforts, they have created one-of-a-kind guidebooks, filled with beautiful photography, accurate chartlets and descriptive text to help inspire, guide and add to your enjoyment of Mexico’s Pacific coast and Sea of Cortez.
Heather Bansmer and
Our faithful research vessel,