September 22, 2010, Channel Islands Harbor, Oxnard, CA
Here we are tied up to the reciprocal guest dock at the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club in Channel Islands Harbor, Oxnard, CA. What a beautiful place this is! And FREE!!! We joined up with our good friends Rod and Jane aboard sv Isabella back in Santa Barbara and share the dock once again with them here. The club is wonderful, a pool, hot tub, restaurant and bar, great facilities, and awesome showers. The people here are some of the nicest we've met. We were even fortunate enough to be invited to the home of one of the members here for dinner on Monday night. Earlier that day, they even drove Tami and Jane to the commissary over on Port Hueneme to get some grocery shopping done. They were so generous and we all had just a great time.
Yesterday was spent doing boat chores, cleaning, and reorganizing. The kids helped me scrub the decks and they look great now. Today was spent relaxing by the pool in the awesome sunshine, job hunting, and snoozing. We even took a spin on Rod's paddle boards earlier in the day to introduce Abby to stand-up paddle boarding. She hated it at first, but finally got comfortable sitting there on the board while I paddled. She'll come around eventually, especially once we get to warmer water.
Tomorrow, we head further south to Marina Del Rey, the largest marina in the world! Will post more from there.
September 17, 2010, Santa Barbara, CA
So for our small loyal band of blog readers, we must apologize for being severely delinquent at updating the blog. We appreciate the fact that there are friends and family that really care about our adventure and how we are doing. So, in an attempt to make amends, we will get everyone caught up and let you know where we have been the past few days.
After a two week stay in San Francisco Bay, we headed south and stayed two nights on the anchor in Half Moon Bay. Our next stop after that was Monterey. We got such a great deal on a slip that we decided to spend two nights tied to the dock in Monterey Harbor. While there, we had an awesome trip to the aquarium. It was probably one of the best ones we have ever been to. We will try to get some photos into the gallery soon. We also enjoyed a great dinner at the Old Fisherman's Grotto at Fisherman's Wharf and acted like tourist in all the gift shops.
From Monterey, we decided our next stop should be Port San Luis near San Luis Obispo. We wanted to stop in San Simeon and see the Hearst Castle, but the weather forecast for rounding Point Conception (the Cape Horn of the North) was only good for a few more days. So, we decided to make good distance south in order to round the cape in favorable conditions. Since Port San Luis was 125 miles from Monterey, we decided to do an overnight passage and arrive the next afternoon. We left Monterey in the late afternoon under absolutely gorgeous conditions. We sailed for a bit out of the harbor, then as the sun went down the wind went with it. We saw our first whales! We spotted a pod of about 10 humpbacks about 500 yards off the starboard beam just before sunset. It was magical. We motored for the next 19 hours on glassy seas with absolutely zero wind. It was a dark and cold night, but overall an extremely comfortable passage. The kids slept liked rocks down below and Tami and I shared some informal watches and took naps when we could.
Port San Luis was nothing to write home about, at least from our perspective. The anchorage was not very comfortable and the dinghy ride in would have taken half an hour. So, we decided to just stay a few hours and then do another night passage to Santa Barbara, another 95 miles south. We left Port San Luis around 2300 hours with the kids already in bed. We had checked and checked and checked the weather forecast for Point Conception and were convinced it was as good as it was gonna get. So we motored through another dark, foggy night and rounded the cape at sunrise. Thankfully, it was a very benign passage. The neatest thing was passing the huge oil platforms in the dark and fog as you enter the Santa Barbara channel. Having safely rounded Point Conception, we celebrated the fact that we were finally in Southern California. We were told that it would be 'noticeably warmer' here. We laughed at this as we shivered in our foul weather gear and 45 degree temperatures at 4 in the morning.
We arrived Santa Barbara on the afternoon of the 15th. We anchored in 'fools anchorage' just east of the wharf. What a mistake that was! Of course, we didn't know it was called 'fools anchorage' until later. The holding is terrible, it's crowded, and unprotected. We rocked and rolled all night long. It was probably the worst night we have ever had on the anchor. Some time in the night, we actually got rolled so bad that a bunch of our stuff fell off the desk, galley counter, bookshelves and seats. The boat was a wreck in the morning and we were exhausted. We knew we wanted to enjoy the town, so we immediately decided to call and get a slip in the marina. Fortunately, they had 1 left so we motored through pea soup fog around the wharf and into the harbor where we tied securely to the dock. Our friends Rod and Jane were there already on sv Isabella, so we got caught up with them. It was a nice reunion. They came over to the boat for dinner and we enjoyed some great grilled flank steak, fajitas, and sea stories.
Today, we visited the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and took a long walk up State Street to see downtown. The museum was amazing. We all enjoyed the self-guided tour and displays. If you are ever in the area, we highly recommend it. The weather was nice and we all enjoyed a great day. This really is a neat town. We've decided to stay until Sunday when we will head further south. Rumor has it, things only get better from here. So, we are eagerly looking forward to some good sailing and warmer weather. We are all anxious to put away the foulies and put on the swimsuits.
By the way, the log sits at over 1500 miles now since leaving Olympia, WA in early June. We are having a great trip and are always eager to see what the next day brings. We are ever appreciative of your prayers and encouragement and are happy to share our story with you.
September 14, 2010, Monterey Bay, CA
You don't hear them in Washington. You don't hear them in San Francisco either. But as soon as we were still and quiet, tied to the dock in Monterey Harbor, we heard them! Well, at first we didn't know what we were hearing. We thought there was something wrong with our boat, such as the fiberglass delaminating, or something else going horribly wrong. Then we remembered that we had heard rumors of small animals in the water that make this constant clicking sound.
After an awesome trip to the Monterey Aquarium, we finally learned what they were - Snapping Shrimp! They are also known as 'Pistol Shrimp'. Apparently, they have one claw that is much larger than the other and it's joint is hollow and cavitates when it moves. The shrimp use this noise to 'stun' their prey. I guess they either suck at it or eat a lot because they make this noise all day and all night. You can hear it through the hull of the boat. It is the strangest thing. Apparently, these little guys live all along the west coast south of San Fran. I guess we can expect to hear them just about everywhere we stop from now on.
Maybe this is where we get popcorn shrimp from?!?
September 13, 2010, Half Moon Bay, CA
After two weeks of sitting in San Francisco, we finally continued our journey south. Having made one last trip to Costco, Safeway, and Trader Joes, the boat was once again full of goodness and we were ready to leave the hustle and bustle of the Bay area. We left the bay early the morning of the 8th. Once under the bridge and southbound, we hoisted sail and joyed a nice ride down to Half Moon Bay. The anchorage there has got to be one of the calmest we have stayed in. The wind was strong enough to keep the generator turning, but the water as smooth as glass and the boat didn't seem to move an inch. Our new friends Mike and Wavey from Emerald Star joined us and we enjoyed a nice couple of days there.
We visited the famous Maverick's Surf Shop. Some of the world's largest surfing waves show up just off Pillar Point during the winter time and big competitions are held there each year. The photos of these waves are unbelievable. We were glad it was smooth as we sailed down. I can only imagine how it would be during the winter.
The day before we left, we bought a fresh fish from one of the fishing boats on the dock. We got a small Chilipepper (kinda like a rockfish) for $3, took it home, and cooked it up. We didn't really know what we were doing, but it made some good fish tacos!
Half Moon Bay was a great stop. We could have spent a few more days there but were eager to continue south. We left very early on the morning of the 11th in the pitch dark and in the thick of some pea soup fog. It was a challenging departure, but we made it. Next stop...Monterey Bay!
September 5, 2010, San Francisco, CA
Having the kids back on board is awesome. We are forever grateful to Honey and Grandpa (Tami's parents) for watching them for us for the past 2 ½ weeks. Wednesday night the 1st, we all went to a San Francisco Giants baseball game. They played the Colorado Rockies and won 2 to 1. We all had such a great time. The weather was amazing and we had great seats in the upper deck.
So we bought tickets online. Ticketmaster was "sold out" so we had to go directly to the Giants website. We tried to buy the cheapest $6 tickets, but the website claimed these tickets were "unavailable". So, we opted for the next available being the $13 tickets which isn't that bad for a major league game. We did have a great view of the stadium and the bay after all. After purchasing the tickets, we had the choice of "print at home", "pick up at will call", or "send to mobile phone". Since we don't have a printer and didn't want to stand in line at will call, we decided to have the tickets sent to our mobile phone. Shortly thereafter, we received a text message and email confirming our ticket purchase and instructions telling us to simply show our phone to the ticket agent at the stadium for gate entry.
Off to the ballgame we went. After paying $25 for parking in this overcrowded city, we finally made it to our first stadium gate. That's right, our first gate.we eventually tried about 5. Each time, we were turned away because the ticket agent didn't know what to do with our mobile phone tickets. So finally, we gave up and went to stand in line at the will call window. When I finally got to the window (the game had already started by now) I told the agent my problem. She just smiled and said "oh this always happens" and gladly printed me a set of tickets that got us into the game. What? This always happens? Now for a little background.
.the San Francisco Giants stadium used to be called Candlestick Park. Since the banks and large corporations own everything from the west coast to the east coast, most stadium names have been changed to advertise for their financial giant owners. So, Candlestick Park has been renamed to AT&T Field. How ironic, we have Verizon cell phone service. Coincidence that the cell phone option for tickets for the AT&T stadium don't work on Verizon cell phones? I think not! Just our conspiracy theory at work.
Anyway, after getting into the stadium and into our seats, we looked over at the $6 section and were surprised to see it only about 25% full. "Sold out"? Is this a marketing scam? Well, I guess it worked, we bought the next price tickets and Im sure others did as well. But it was a little disappointing to see empty cheap seats.
Nonetheless, we had a great evening. We spent more on food than we did on the tickets. A hot dog costs over $5! But it was worth it.well not the hot dog, it stunk so $5 was a rip off, but everything else was great!
September 1, 2010, Sausalito, CA
After a little over 2 weeks without our kids, Tami and I were ready to pull our hair out. We missed them like crazy! Finally, they flew into San Francisco airport last night with Tami's parents and we were there to meet them. We were so happy to have them back. It was late, so we made a mad dash to get some dinner, then headed back to the boat.
On a side note, we rented a car for the day for only $45! After doing the math, it was the cheapest way to go. We would have had to pay about $8 each to catch the ferry from Sausalito to San Fran, then about $4 each for the BART train to the airport, then we would have all (6 of us) would have had to pay for the same return route if we even made the last ferry at all. Had we missed it, we would have had to pay $60 for a cab ride from the airport back to Sausalito. So in the end, we would have been out well over $100. So, $45 for a rental car was a no brainer! We even kept it for one more day and made a trip out to Richmond to pick up some used charts and cruising guides for Mexico that we found on Craigslist.
For lunch today, we ate at the infamous Salsalito Taco Shop. It was awesome and the service is great. We all shared a great watermelon margerita that was to die for.
It has been a great day of having the kids back home and having the grandparents visiting for a few days. The weather has been warm and beautiful. Tonight, we are headed to a San Francisco Giants baseball game. We'll try to blog about that tomorrow (cheap seat tickets are still cheap).
We are having a great time here in the bay area, but it's EXPENSIVE! You have to pay for just about everything you do and every bridge you cross, and if you don't own a mercedes, audi, ferrari, lexus, range rover, or jaguar, you are out of place. We are trying to keep our money in our wallets and are eager to continue our trek southward. We can't wait to get to some more "cruiser friendly" grounds. It's nice here, but we could run out of money very quickly. We have to be careful not to get caught up in the spending hype.
It's a joy to have the kids back and we are eternally grateful to Honey and Grandpa for taking care of the munchkins for the past two weeks.