10/26/2009, San Diego
Well we've done Disneyland and snorkelling with Garabaldi fish. Our time in California is coming to an end.
And it hasn't all been good. The other night we struggled, as people here sometimes do, with what to do with the left over lobster.
In California, there is an endless supply of dog poopie bags wherever you might be walking your dog.
People are friendly and all the toilet seats have a supply of little tissue thingies so that your bum never has to touch real plastic.
But alas, we saw Islas Coronados in the distance as we pulled in to San Diego. It was kind of like watching the last of the mountains disappear on Vancouver Island as we said goodbye to Canada.
Tomorrow we say goodbye to the United States and hello to Mexico. It's very cool. And we are pretty sure Mexico will have endless riches too. Perhaps not poopie bags and toilet seat tissues, or endless California hot showers, but something different to offer I'm sure.
10/13/2009, Marina Del Ray
It was just before midnight in Santa Barbara.
We found the body in the men's room next to Marina 2.
Face down, spilled out of one of the stalls. Actually it was Foster and his new friend John who made the discovery. John's Dad, John and I were right behind them. The boys stopped dead before taking five steps into the restroom.
I struggle with that. I never know what to call it. Restroom? Washroom? WC? Toilet? Men's room? I'm looking forward to Mexico. It will become
simply the "banjo".
But I digress.
We sent the boys outside. John tried to talk to the body to see if it would respond. It didn't. I reached down to see if there was a pulse.
It moved its head. Or rather, she moved.
Now we weren't dealing with a body. It was a live woman. Naked from the waste down.
John called 911.
Nobody came. I guess unconscious half-naked people in the banjos of Santa Barbara are fairly common at midnight on a Saturday. John went back to the boat to raise the harbor patrol on VHF.
Harbor Patrol was actually at the other bathroom. They found Julie's husband there and walked him back to their boat. Eventually they made there way down to the our banjo. They had called off the paramedics. They woke Julie up and walked her back to her boat.
I guess they are regulars in Santa Barbara. God help them if they ever do need paramedics in a hurry.
We said goodbye to John and family and jumped in our dingy to head out to where our boat was anchored. We won't see them again until we get to Mexico.
The sea was a wash of bioluminance and our 2hp Honda looked like an underwater liquid green rocket. Quite spectacular. Watching a pelican dive and seeing the explosion of light was amazing.
We crawled aboard to get some sleep for the early morning trip down to Oxnard.
We woke up the next morning, made coffee, and went out to put the dingy on deck. Where was the dingy? We had no dingy. It wasn't where we tied it the night before.
So instead of leaving for Oxnard we motored back into the harbor to report the theft to Harbor Patrol. Welcome to Southern California.
As we were walking up the dock, we saw our dingy tied up behind one of the Harbor Patrol boats. They had found it adrift in the anchorage.
There are two plausible explanations. One of which is a fancy story about drunken teenagers who swim out to sailboats and steal their dingies and go for joyrides before abandoning them in the middle of the night. The other involves a sailor who doesn't know how to tie knots.
I'm sticking with the drunken teenagers.
Today, as we arrived in Marina Del Ray, dolphins. Lots of dolphins. Maybe 50 or more. Hunting. What do dolphins hunt? Tuna!
So Foster put out the handline with the clone and the big rubber snubber tied to the rail. Sportsmen use fishing rods and reels and play their fish before they land them. Cruisers wait for the rubber snubber to stretch and then they drag in dinner. No need to be fancy.
So what do dolphins hunt?
They look like little tuna. We are getting closer to fulfilling the dream. This entire trip is all about catching a tuna somewhere off the coast...
But first, there is Disneyland. We'll find reality at Disneyland.
10/09/2009, Santa Barbara
I thought I would write to you directly rather than post in the blog. I have a lot of questions and don't want to seem like an ignorant Canadian.
Stu, why is it that when we bought tomatoes in San Francisco they came from British Columbia? This makes no sense.
We rented a car in Monterey for $73 and found 10 artichokes for a dollar. Tracey thinks the artichokes were ten cents each. I'm pretty sure they were $7.40 each. Which one of us is correct?
Cheese is really well priced here Stu. In Canada, we believe dairy farmers should drive Ferrari Enzos and Porsche GTs, so the government has marketing boards set the prices. But why is it Stu that a lot of the cheese here comes shredded and it's not really called cheese but some name that suggests it is cheese, but sometimes it doesn't really melt well. Is this because it contains plastic or is my microwave not working properly?
American Cheese. What the hell?
Canadian bacon. We love this stuff. We can't get it in Canada. A great American invention.
I saw something the other day that suggested California was the world's eighth largest economy. Why are they shutting down half the state parks and closing the museums? Are taxes illegal here?
Back home we are used to paying extra for electricity at the dock and we plug loonies in to little boxes if we want to have a shower at the marina. In California, electricity and water and scarce, highly valued commodities. Why is it then that every marina we have tied up in has free power and free
showers - all the hot water you care to use? On Blackdragon, we've dubbed it a California shower.
There are a lot of sea lions in California. It's nice that the coast guard installs floating sun platforms for the sea lions at every harbor entrance. We find these are also helpful for guiding our way in to the harbor.
We left home and the ocean temperature was 73 degrees. We are heading south and it is now back warmed back up to 64 degrees after travelling 1500 miles. Will we ever be able to swim in the ocean again?
What is up with the sun fish? Those things are freaky.
There is a big problem in Monterey Bay, Stu. They got carried away with the whole national marine sanctuary thing. Up in Santa Cruz, you can hardly move your boat around without getting tangled in kelp. It positively littered with sea lions and dolphins. Down in Monterey, those fluffy otter things. They should have let the Russians carry on killing them in the 1800s. You ever have breakfast with a sea otter? Seven O'clock in the morning and they decide to pound shelfish against the side of your hull. Scares the crap out of you. Sounds like a deranged scuba diver with a ballpeen hammer. And the popcorn shrimp or whatever they are that pop under the hull are disturbing. Green life positively choked my water maker filters. This whole area could benefit from a minor oil spill to clear out some of the excess biology floating around.
We rounded Point Conception yesterday. It didn't live up to its reputation. We're quite OK with that. What's with all the oil platforms? We thought we were in the Gulf of Mexico.
The whales Stu. Something has to be done about the whales. They're like school buses that just pop up in front of the boat. Scare the hell out of ya. Can they not put those AIS transponders on the whales so they show up on my chart plotter like the rest of the commercial shipping traffic?
Soon we will get to see Disneyland which we understand serves as the center of government and a cultural capital. Has it been closed down for
lack of funding or is it still open?
Hope to get answers on the above soon. We've really enjoyed your country so far.
No wifi was stolen to produce this blog update. Instead it was sent out through the single sideband radio via Pactor modem. Basically, this is a way to take $5000 worth of electronics and achieve something less than dial up speed. That means we now have email service anywhere in the world.
Of course, we can't give anyone our email address. One attachment of the "Oh this is cute I must forward it to all my friends" type would shut us down. So we'll send it out only to responsible people who will never put us on a list or send us stupid stuff. Messages will have to be of the "Joe is dead. Funeral is Thursday." type.
Scupper is well. Of course I didn't really do his surgery myself. We had a whole surgical team fly down from Seattle. We can't really reveal their identities or we might be compelled to testify before various medical and veterinary licensing boards. We'll just use pseudonyms and call them Al, Sue, and Hadley. I'll insert a disguised picture via wifi at a later date.
We're still in Monterey. Gales blowing this weekend. We've commissioned the water maker and are now with high seas email we are ready to go to Mexico. Acutally, we are already in Mexico. We're just 150 years too late. The Americans had bigger guns so Mexico signed the treaty.
Whps. Rn out of bndwdth. Hv to ration the vwls...
At one point, one of the severed arteries that fed the tumour started spurting blood. It pulsed out in streaks that hit my leg and made quite a mess on the cockpit floor.
But it was OK.
We got to it in time.
We were able to get the cockpit rinsed out before the blood made any stains that were really hard to clean.
The surgery was long. Much longer than anticipated. It took a couple of hours from beginning to end. There wasn't just one tumour. There were three. Not a good a sign.
He was brave. Most dogs opt for a general anaesthesia in the veterinary hospital. Scupper was OK with having it done under local in the cockpit. Very brave indeed. I was proud of him. Just a little Gravol and codeine with an ice cube to bite on.
His decision was probably based on the last time he had general anaesthesia. He woke up and two testicles were missing. He wasn't about to let that happen again. He may have thought the lump on his foot was a third testicle.
I wish we could report that the post operative recovery was as good as we could have hoped for. After all, I sewed him a little boot out of black canvas with a white tip. Made sure he looked good so he would feel like the other dogs.
Unfortunately, a nasty hematoma developed overnight. His wound filled with blood. It was a lot of pressure and very tender for Scupper. It had to be opened up again today.
Out came the stitches. His wound was opened and drained. It looks much better tonight. He seems happy.
We've been rolling him up the dock in a cart to go for a pee so he doesn't have to walk. People look at me strangely rolling a dog around in a cart. I explain to them, "His vet says he is overweight and we need to take him for walks." This doesn't stop the strange looks.
So Monterey is memorable. We arrived here after a spectacular sail with the black dragon flying all the way down from Santa Cruz yesterday morning. It was a beautiful day.
We haven't achieved boredom yet.
But we remain hopeful.
09/24/2009, Santa Cruz, CA
Tonight's blog entry is brought to you by the Harbor Lights Motel in Santa Cruz, CA.
We are sitting at anchor with a high powered antenna stealing the signal they intended for thier guests. We've taught Foster that this is perfectly OK. If they didn't want their signal stolen, they should have encrypted it. We are hopeful that he doesn't one day drive off in cars that owners leave their keys in or help himself to flat screens from unlocked homes.
It's all very confusing. Steal wifi - OK. Download music for free - bad. Borrow movies from the library and rip them onto hard drives to watch later - OK. Steal movies from the video store - bad. It's a complicated world. Hopefully he'll turn out OK hanging out with us. He learned something from a homeless person the other day. If you go "shopping" at the laundromat in the lost and found, you can often find nice stuff for free. The added benefit is that stuff at the laundromat is usually clean. No shelter for the boy any more.
Speaking of shelter. There was none today. It was supposed to blow fifteen knots. Instead the pressure gradient steepened a bit and it blew thirty knots. That means our cruise from Half Moon Bay down to Santa Cruz was a little lively. Standing at the wheel looking out under the bimini, I could see nothing but water as we surfed down the waves. As they passed underneath, I could see nothing but sky. I think that means the seas were large. It's always fun to listen to the radio on days like this. A large boat to the north of us capsized twice and lost it's rudder.
But we made it safely to Santa Cruz. It was too rough to offload the dinghy and go ashore. So Scupper has his legs crossed after 15 hours without a pee.
We tried the breakfast zinfandel tonight. Quite acceptable, but a little sweet. Perhaps I'll try it with Cheerios tomorrow.
I'll load a random photo and position data. Too lazy to turn on the chart plotter for real position data or load recent photos from the Mac.