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Calou's Blog
Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
Gift Night
10/24/2008, San Diego

Pascale prepared gifts for everyone on board, for our arrival at San Diego. It feels like Christmas already!!!

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catching some rays on the way to San Diego
10/22/2008, between Avalon and San Diego

John catches some rays as the fog breaks, between Avalon and San Diego.

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From Antoine's Notebook
Antoine (age 10)
10/22/2008, San Diego

October 20: We left Santa Barbara and headed down to Catalina Island, the night sky was just gorgeous! By night time, we arrived at Catalina Island. We could see plankton glowing in the water as we headed into the anchorage. As we lit the water with our powerful flashlight we could see the bottom.

The next morning, my brother and I got in our wet suits, put on our fins, got our boogie boards out, and swam all the way to shore. We played on the beach for a while, the, John and my mom came to shore in the dinghy to do a little shopping. After a little while, we went back to the boat. We stayed one night there. The next day, we sailed to the other side of the island.

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Avalon, Catalina Island

Having arrived at Two Harbors, Catalina Island, we took a mooring in the harbor. The water is so clear, you can easily see the bottom.

The day was dedicated to getting to the bottom of projects/problems, and there have been many. In addition to the autopilot that has given up the ghost, the new Raymarine E80 display I installed has taken up the disconcerting habit of going black, at random intervals, for about a second. This was the only used piece of equipment I bought for the boat; that turned out to be a bad decision. Now I have to get a new one rather than take a chance of losing all our radar/chartplotter capability while in Mexico.

I did some tests on the autopilot, connecting the motor drive to 12v DC to see if it moves. It does, which proves the motor is good but the "course computer" electronics are burned out. In talking with Raymarine, it turns out the autopilot we have is undersized for the weight of the boat (26,000 lbs / 12,000 kg). So to just replace the electronics is out of the question. I have to upgrade the entire autopilot to something that is rated to handle this size of a boat.

This is very expensive, of course. I try not to think about the dollars involved.

I ordered new autopilot components and a new E80 charplotter/radar display from a dealer in San Diego. These will be ready for us when we arrive.

There were other obstacles to overcome today. The outboard motor wouldn't start. It turns out the cylinders and carburetor were filled with engine oil because I had laid it horizontally on the wrong side (not knowing there WAS a wrong side, silly me). A nice mechanic came out to the boat and fixed everything up for a mere $30 labor charge. That was the best $30 I ever spent.

Then it came time to make dinner. However the propane wouldn't turn on. We have a Xintex propane sniffer, and to make a long story short, the poor machine is confused. It thinks there's a second sensor connected where one isn't. I was able to modify the way the thing is wired so we could get dinner cooked.

One would think this was enough trouble for one day. But John took a shower in the aft head, and lo and behold, the sump pump for the aft shower no longer pumps water. So I have to either figure out why that pump isn't working or replace the damn thing with a new pump. I think I'll get a new self priming bilge pump in
San Diego, to carry along, even if I can get this pump working again.

I wonder, how boat owners who aren't technically inclined, manage to get through these technical challenges. I think the answer is, you have to be able to fix this stuff yourself in order to be a cruiser. Otherwise you would be helpless.

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10/22/2008 | Ken
I'm having the exact same problem with my E80!!!
I talked to Raymarine and they say that it is a graphics drive that is having a problem. It will require sending the unit it to them for repair.
10/22/2008 | Bill
Sorry to hear about all of that money down the hawse pipe...all though I have to agree with you on that thirty bucks. On the bright side, she'll be shook down and in bristol fashion before you get to Mexico.
Arriving at Avalon
10/21/2008, Avalon

View of Avalon casino from the deck of Calou

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Rebuilding the Head

Bruce installs a rebuild kit for the aft head while en route to Catalina Island. One of the sailor's favorite tasks!

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From Antoine's Notebook
Antoine (age 10)

After we left Monterey we headed towards Santa Barbara. It was a two day sail down. On the first day, we saw bottle nosed dolphins fly past us. On the second day, we saw humpback whales constantly rise out of the water. Hours later, we finally arrived at Santa Barbara at night. We then stayed another night.

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10/21/2008 | sherry in anchorage
Wow! Sounds so beautiful. I hope you're taking tons of pictures and videos.

You write so well Antoine! :o)
10/22/2008 | Bruce Powell
Thank you! Maybe you can take a trip to Mexico like us!

- Antoine
Arrival at Catalina Island
10/20/2008, Two Harbors

We left Santa Barbara at 7 a.m. this morning with the sunrise.

To our dismay we found that the autopilot was no longer working. I did some checking, looking for obvious things like loose wires, with no luck. My assessment is that the autopilot motor is burned out. I think this will be an easy, albeit expensive, item to replace once we get to San Diego.

So, we had to hand steer for our 14 hour passage to Catalina Island, arriving here at 9 PM. We took turns steering in 2 hour shifts, the four of us (Bruce, Pascale, John, and Francois), so it wasn't too bad. We'll have to hand steer from Catalina to San Diego as well.

While we were underway I did some projects. First was to rebuild the aft head. I removed the pump and did the installation of the rebuild kit in the cockpit, much to the amusement of everyone else.

Then I completed the wiring for the masthead video camera. The camera has a view of the bow pulpit and the water immediately in front of the boat. I'm sure this'll come in handy sometime.

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