October 11, 2010, San Diego, CA
In June of this year, the Reynolds family said goodbye to our friends at Swantown Marina and those at Fort Lewis and Olympia, WA and pushed away from the dock one last time. Gene had just finished out-processing from Fort Lewis after 11 wonderful years of serving as a helicopter pilot in the US Army. Tami and the kids had just finished their last day at Puget Sound Christian School and said goodbye to teachers and dear friends there. It was far from easy saying goodbye. But we knew we were doing the right thing...the right thing for our family. You see, since 9/11, Gene had spent almost four years away from home thanks to 14 tours to Afghanistan, 1 tour to Iraq and numerous training exercises and administrative trips. It was time to reclaim some of that lost family time. So, with an uncertain future, we shoved off the dock and headed north. Those of you who know the Puget Sound know that you have to go north for about 150 miles so you can go south to warmer waters.
June was a roller coaster of a month. We made good progress north, but then fouled our prop as we crossed the Straits of Juan De Fuca. This cost us a haul out in Anacortes, a new drive shaft, new cutlass bearing, new engine mounts, and hours of frustrating labor. In the end, we were better for it, as was our boat. After the repairs, we enjoyed a few weeks cruising the San Juan Islands and visiting with good friends.
Late July found us once again in Anacortes, but this time for a scheduled re-rig (replacement of all the wires that hold up the mast). We had a good experience with Northwest Rigging and their crew and completed the project ahead of schedule. We were happy with the outcome.
In early August, we drove all of our belongings back to the east coast - Olympia, WA to Raleigh, NC and then on to West Palm Beach, FL. We had a great road trip with stops in Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore. The visit with Gene's family in NC was great as were the visits in Atlanta and Florida. We left the kids with Tami's parents and then Tami and I flew back to Seattle to get Andiamo moving again, this time southbound!
Tami and I returned to the boat and made one last stop in Friday Harbor to say goodbye to our good friend Susan (the first owner of Andiamo). It was a great visit and a tough goodbye. We then headed over to Port Angeles where we picked up our good friend and third crewmember Marcy. From there, we headed to Neah Bay where we spent the night and waited for our long-awaited departure.
On the morning of August 18th, Andiamo III and crew of Gene, Tami, and Marcy headed out to sea. Our destination of San Francisco lay over 750 miles away. What a great trip we had! We spent a solid 5 nights at sea and had a wonderful experience including our sail through the gale that lives off Cape Mendocino. We made it to San Francisco in the early evening, but anchored in Drake's Bay so we could pass under the Golden Gate bridge in the daytime. We had made it! The boat took great care of us and we were all in good spirits when we arrived. We didn't hate each other and we weren't ready to sell the boat.
The following two weeks were spent at anchor in Sausalito. Tami and I enjoyed some quality time together as we waited on our kids to arrive with Tami's mom. After the children were back on board, we enjoyed the next couple of days with Tami's parents as we saw the sights and acted like tourists. We went to a Giants baseball game, visited Muir Woods, shopped at Pier 39 and had just a wonderful time.
From San Francisco we continued our journey south. We made our way to Half Moon Bay for a couple of nights and then departed in the fog for Monterey. The aquarium in Monterey was one of the best we've seen and worth the pricey tickets. The kids loved it! From there, we sailed overnight to Port San Luis where we took a short rest and then continued to Santa Barbara. In Santa Barbara, 'Fools Anchorage' lived up to its name and forced us to the dock the following day. We finally caught up with our good friends Rod, Jane and Tucker on Isabella and enjoyed a couple days enjoying the harbor and town. The kids loved the maritime museum there.
From Santa Barbara, we sailed to Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard, where we enjoyed the hospitality of the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club. A few days of relaxing there and we were ready to continue south.
Next we sailed to Marina Del Rey. Again, the hospitality of Del Rey Yacht Club is worth mentioning. The people were so nice. Gene was able to link up with a good friend high school that he hadn't seen in about 15 years. It was a great stop. While we were there, we took a walk to Venice Beach and Santa Monica. We saw the world famous Santa Monica Pier and visited with some good family friends there as well.
Next was a stop in Long Beach and Alamitos Bay. We visited the aquarium and the Queen Mary.
We debated sailing out to Catalina Island, but were convinced by our friends Mike and Wavey on sv Emerald Star to head to Two Harbors for a night or so. We ended up staying 3 nights out there with them and enjoyed Isthmus Cove and all it had to offer. It was one of our favorite stops - we highly recommend it.
After Catalina, we sailed to Oceanside, where we spent the evening with our friends from Isabella again. From there we sailed to San Diego. We rounded Point Loma and entered San Diego Bay on Sunday the 3rd of October 2010. We were elated! We had made it all the way down the West Coast and as far south as we could go for the time being. We docked at the San Diego Yacht Club (again for free!).
Now, we are waiting for the start of the Baja Ha Ha, an annual cruising rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. About 200 boats are participating this year making it the biggest one on record. We plan to depart San Diego on the 25th. Until then, we are sightseeing and readying the boat for the next 2,000 miles. The kids started their first official day of 'home school' last week and did amazingly well. Tami is doing an awesome job with it. San Diego is an amazing town. It wouldn't bother us one bit if we broke down here and were forced to go back to work. We love it here and wouldn't mind settling down here...at least for a little while.
So, since June of this year, we have driven over 3,000 miles and sailed over 2,000. We've come a long way as a family and as a crew. We have learned a lot and had some unforgettable experiences. We miss our friends and family, but are having the adventure of a lifetime. Thanks for following along on our blog. We look forward to sharing the next 5,000 miles with each other and with you.
October 3, 2010, Two Harbors, Catalina Island, CA
After our hike on Catalina Island, we were all hot, tired and thirsty. I remembered I had a recipe for lemonade in my Daring Book for Girls. After stopping at the market for lemons, we returned home to Andiamo. Mommy helped me get the kitchen ready and I read her the recipe and ingredients.
4 cups water
3/4 cup sugar (more or less depending on whether you want it sweet or tart)
Squeeze lemons and then combine the ingredients and mix in a blender or by hand. Serve over ice.
Mom measured the water and sugar while I squeezed the lemons in our hand juicer.
The lemonade was great! We even put some in the freezer for later. The italian ice it made was the best we've ever had.
October 3, 2010, Southern California
Enroute from Oceanside, CA to San Diego today the wind began to fill in out of the south. So, we hoisted sail and picked up a few knots. It was so nice, we decided to shut the engine down and sail along at 4-5 knots for a while. The huge genoa helps! Anyway, we guess we did the right thing because as soon as we killed the engine, we were treated to an amazing dolphin show off the bow of our boat. We must have had 100+ dolphins playing in the water just off our bow. We think they were either Saddleback Dolphins or Striped Dolphins, we aren't sure. But that's our best guess according to our handy dandy guide book. They must have followed us for about half an hour. The kids were quoted as saying "this is way cooler than playing DS". It was pretty amazing. We tried to get some good pictures, but the dolphins are just too fast. And besides, pictures could never do the view justice. There's just nothing like the real thing I guess.
September 30, 2010, Long Beach, CA
For those of you wondering....this is NOT the Long Beach Aquarium! Why would the big building painted with a mural of whales and the ocean be the aquarium? Why wouldn't it be?
Guess we should have done a bit more research before heading off on foot looking for the aquarium! We eventually found it and had a nice time. But for those of you heading to Long Beach with the hopes of going to the aquarium...don't go to this building. You will be about 5 blocks away, in the wrong direction.
September 30, 2010, Long Beach, CA
No wonder our boat always walks to port when we are backing up!!!! I suspected a problem a few weeks ago and donned the scuba gear to investigate. Much to my chagrin, our beautiful Max Prop had been replaced with this monster 18 foot prop stolen from the Queen Mary! But when we go forward...boy do we move! We made it to Catalina in about 7 minutes!
Ok, not really. But what a good blog it would make. We actually took this picture from the propeller viewing room on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. It's the only prop still attached to the boat and they have this special room attached to the outside of the ship where you can look down into the water and see the actual propeller. It's lit up all spooky like. Pretty neat!
Unfortunately, we ran out of time during our tour of the Queen Mary and had to cut things short. We needed to get back to the boat to meet some friends. The cab driver taking us back to the boat didn't really speak any english, surprise surprise and didn't really know where he was going. I had to tell him where to turn and even then he didn't believe me....but we'll save that for another blog.
September 28, 2010, Alamitos Bay, CA
Marina Del Rey was impressive. We had a wonderful stay at the Del Rey Yacht Club tied up next to our friends on sv Isabella. The kids voted the pool one of the best on the west coast! And the people there were some of the nicest we've met at any club. Kudos to the Del Rey Yacht Club!
On Saturday, the family strapped on their big kid panties and walked from Marina Del Rey to Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Venice Beach was a site to behold and must be experienced to be believed. We all enjoyed the sites as we dodged skate boarders, roller bladers, bikers, and weirdos. We pumped some quick iron at the outdoor beach gym and cheered for the kids doing adult level tricks at the skate park.
Santa Monica was nice too. We were able to visit with some friends who live there and experience the world famous Santa Monica Pier. As a side note, the kids think the word "pier" is one of the funniest words in the world. They keep referring to the "pier" as a man who is peeing. So, when we say we are going to the pier, they ask what his name is. They want to know why we are going to see this guy....as they are laughing so hard. Some people's kids....
Anyway, the world famous Santa Monica Pier was a bit of a letdown. We thought it would be bigger and more exciting. But it wasn't. We still had a great visit with some good friends that made the long walk worthwhile. Thanks Lynn and Mike!
After departing Del Rey, we motored again for another 35 miles down to Long Beach. Enroute, we saw a blue whale! It was BIG! It didn't put on much of a show, but it did come to the surface a few times. There were a lot of boats jockying for viewing position so we didn't get too close.
The LA / Long Beach area is huge! We finally made it to our berth at the Long Beach Yacht Club in Alamitos Bay around 1700. This is a nice area, but the temperatures this week have been near 100. Inland locations have been reporting temps of over 110 degrees! Apparently, after a really cool summer, LA is experiencing a really hot September. Who knew?
Anyway, gotta go for now. Lots more to blog about, but for now, the kids are dragging us to the pool...again.
San Diego and the Baja Ha Ha are getting closer every day. We can barely contain our excitement! The log reads over 1600 nautical miles with many more to go.