07/26/2010, Santa Barbara, CA
We've had our usual awesome time in Santa Barbara, riding our bikes around town, hitting the farmers market for fresh veggies, listening to live music and watching people on State Street. We got the last slip in the Marina due to the Kings Harbor Regatta being in town. That put us at the end of S Dock where the lack of constant boat activity invites the harbor seals to lounge about on the end of the dock, pooping profusely while they do so. The harbor patrol and I took turns washing down the docks and chasing the critters away and eventually they got the idea and found a home someplace else.
We visited with cousins Ken and Susan Radkey and enjoyed dinner at their spectacular new home in Montecito. Ken is an architect with a focus on building the most energy and resource efficient homes possible. His home is a virtual showcase of green technologies, from passive and active solar, water conservation and re-use, plus building with reclaimed materials while creating one of the most spectacular living spaces we have ever seen... and all with views of the city of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara channel.
On the docks we met Joe Elliott on s/v SEA42, who is just down from the bay area. Joe is yet another cruiser who has been following our blog over the years. He's just starting his journey, so we had lots to talk about and he even bought our South Pacific electronic charts and folding bikes after a test ride into town.
Rina and I are departing tonight at 6pm on our last overnighter of the journey, for the trip around Point Conception. Weather is benign, with overcast and fog holding the wind down. We expect 6-10 knots tonight when we pass the point and the wind/seas should be reasonable for the next 48 hours. Because the weather picks up again in 48 hours we have decided to make a straight shot 203 miles directly to Monterey, bypassing our normal overnight stops at Port San Luis and San Simeon. This should put us into Monterey Bay on Wednesday afternoon, where we will hang out for a couple of days visiting friends before heading to Santa Cruz.
07/19/2010, Avalon, Catalina Island
For months we had been planning an outing to Avalon on Catalina Island for mom's bday. As the time grew near, we fretted that the crappy weather we have been experiencing for weeks would continue. Luckily the weather gods were kind and for 4 glorious days, Avalon was warm and sunny, only clouding up on our last day, somehow telling us it was time to move on. And since this was the first sunny weekend in weeks, every power boater from Dana Point to the Channel Islands decided to join us. Luckily we arrived mid-day Thursday, putting us fairly high in the queue for a coveted inside the breakwater mooring. The problem was each morning, the owner of the mooring could decide he was coming over and punt us lowly renters off his mooring. We would wake each morning at 730 to the voice of the harbor patrol telling us that we would likely have to move to another mooring. On our second day we got pushed out of the main harbor to the western mooring field - purgatory, as far as we were concerned. We tried to make the best of it, rationalizing how it wasn't rolling *too* bad, especially compared to the big motor boats, that seemed to roll 30 degrees to each side. Just as we had come to grips with our fate, the patrol came by and shouted "166" and we knew instantly we had received a reprieve from a rolly night aboard. We happily headed back into the main harbor and grabbed mooring 166, right near the fuel dock and a restaurant with live music from 2-6 each afternoon. This was a great spot, well protected from the afternoon wind-waves, and gave us endless chuckles watching the parade of boats practice close quarters maneuvering and docking, as well as ravaging the melodic inconsistencies of the band. I'll just say that the drummer was solid. Anybody that showed up after us on Thursday and who was not an owner we unceremoniously kicked to the outer anchorage where endless drinks were spilled. Kudos to the Avalon Harbor Patrol, who have a thankless job, but do it fairly and calmly, even as indignant boaters plead over the radio for a better mooring assignment because "their guests came all the way out here and are seasick all the time"
Besides Mom, we were joined by Gene, Stephanie and Megan, who all took the Catalina ferry to join us. We all had a great time walking, kayaking, tootling in the dink with our sunset cocktails, and catching up on 2 years of family stuff. Photographic evidence of our great time can be found in the gallery.
07/12/2010, Newport Beach, CA
Our next stop was Newport Beach, which is always a highlight for us. We arranged for Alyssa to fly up from San Francisco so we could meet Dylan, the new BF and get some daysailing in. As in San Diego, the weather was not very cooperative, with overcast and light winds for most of our visit, but we had a great time on the water getting to know Dylan and reconnect with Alyssa. All we heard from Alyssa was how much she misses being on the water. The 3 months she spent with us crossing the pacific from Mexico to Tahiti has definitely turned her into a sailor. She picked up right where she left off, handling lines with skill and impressing the non-sailor BF. Auntie Pep, the Newport local and past Lido14 national champion also joined us for several days, reliving her exploits on Follow You when she joined is in the Marquesas and Tuamotu Islands in 2009.
07/09/2010, San Diego, CA
Yea, we've been gone awhile, but for a good reason... Visiting family and friends as we make our way up the coast of California has kept us very busy. After hitting San Diego and enjoying the 4th, we spent several more days with Megan and Jared before heading North to Newport Beach. Above is Jared - Megan's BF, Eric, their good friend, yours truly, and Megan.
07/07/2010, San Diego, CA
We have been anticipating a 4th of July back in the states for awhile, and San Diego did not disappoint. Daughter Megan, her boyfriend Jared and their good friends Kathy and Eric joined us for a daysail in San Diego bay and a raft-up with friends Kurt and Susan Roll on sv Pura Vida and several other motor yachts, runabouts and two huge blow-up icebergs. The icebergs provided laughs all day and night and were the hit of the La Playa anchorage, specifically opened up on the 4th of July to boats for the best parties and fireworks watching on the bay. While the weather did not cooperate, it did not dampen our spirits one bit. The wind was a fluky 4-9 knots on the bay and the water temperature in the cove was a chilling 64 degrees. The kids, both large and small climbed and jumped off the icebergs, with calamitous belly flops, wardrobe malfunctions and near misses. At night, one of the motoryachts in the raftup showed a laser light show on the icebergs while people continued with clothing optional iceberg entertainment. While the rest of Shelter Island was wall to wall people and traffic gridlock, we enjoyed the fireworks, coordinated with FM 107, thumping from Follow You's double subwoofers, in the smooth as glass anchorage. It's gooooood to be home.
07/07/2010, San Diego
From our 4th of July raftup in San Diego
07/03/2010, San Diego, CA
We arrived early Wednesday morning in San Diego after an uneventful 2.5 day passage from Turtle Bay. Our patience paid off by waiting for a good weather window. Leaving Sunday night, we headed west past Cedros island and once we turned north enjoyed westerly winds and light seas. By mid-day Monday we were motoring in a flat calm... classic millpond conditions. Light winds and great sea conditions lasted the entire passage and we timed our San Diego arrival for sunrise, although we would not see the sun due to San Diego's omnipresent "june gloom". After an uneventful check-in with customs and immigration, we snagged the last slip at the transient dock on shelter island...cruising's best marina value at 10 bucks a night! We're doing repairs to our radar, vhf and other deferred maintenance items now that we are in boat vendor nirvana on shelter island. We'll hang here till the 8th, visiting with daughter Megan, enjoying the land life before heading to Newport, another of our favorite places. (picture courtesy of U.S. Navy)
06/27/2010, Turtle Bay, Baja, Mexico
After cooling our jets for the last 4 days in Turtle Bay we are ready to go... we have a good weather window to get us the final 338 miles to San Diego. We expect 15-20 knots tonight, but the winds and wind waves are predicted to decline over the next 24 hours, with progressively better weather as we head north. We should arrive in San Diego the 30th or 1st depending on how much the wind waves slow us down.
When we arrived we were one of 3 boats in Turtle Bay. Over the past 4 days, the anchorage has filled with boats and there are now 17 waiting for the next weather window or nursing bash related wounds. We helped 2 boats who came in with bash related fuel problems. Sv Sorceress used our oil/fuel changer to suck out a bunch of gunk from the bottom of their fuel tank, and sv Pierce Team bought one of our spare filters to replace the 5 they went through getting here. Arriving last night was good friends Rich and Sheri Crowe on sv Tabu. We saw them briefly in La Paz and sailed as crew on sv Alaska Eagle with Sheri as Captain back in 2006.
We're excited to get Follow You back to the USA after almost 2 years. We'll spend July visiting with friends and family in Southern California and networking for that work thing before heading to the Bay Area in early August.
06/22/2010, Turtle Bay
The Bash is half over...430 miles covered in a little over 3 days....
We just pulled into Turtle Bay, having experience a little bit of everything. Our ride around Cabo Falso was a dream, with flat seas and light winds all the way to Bahia Santa Maria, 197 miles up the coast from Cabo San Lucas. We averaged over 6 knots and didn't spill a single drink. Cabo Falso is notorious for turning back boats who get stuck in the washing machine doing 1 knot upwind before turning around. We got the timing just right.
As we reached Bahia Santa Maria we had a decision... keep going or tuck in for what would likely be several days while some weather passed over us. We decided to continue, knowing that our sweet ride would soon be ending.
Sure enough, it lasted just a few more hours until we approached Cape Lazaro above Santa Maria in the afternoon, which is what you are NOT supposed to do. We figured a couple of hours of bashing was worth getting into Turtle Bay during daylight hours and having more schedule flexibility to get to San Diego. We also had some bashing late yesterday around Punta Abreojos, halfway to Turtle Bay. Bashing DOES suck, but there are things you can do to make it suck less.
So what's bashing? When the wind is coming from the direction you want to go above 15 knots for a long enough period it kicks up short period wind waves that hit the boat and slow it to a 2 knot crawl. Add to that 5-6 foot swells that combine every once in awhile to slam the boat into a trough, making the whole thing shudder and come to a virtual halt. We saw several hours of 20-24 knots of wind and in those conditions all you could do is bear off so you took the winds and waves at an angle to keep your boat speed higher. The boat moved through the water at 4-5 knots, but usually in a direction you didn't want to go, meaning it took longer to get anywhere. And remember, if you are going into a 24 knot wind at 5 knots, the boat is seeing 29 knots.... not the most fun, as Rina says dryly.
There was some neet stuff too btw. We saw a ton of sea life along the way.... too many dolphins to count, Orca and HUGE gray whales. Rina nearly jumped out of the cockpit one night when a gray whale surfaced just behind the boat and exhaled loudly. In another instance the engine shut down very quick and Rina yelled Whale! I was sleeping so I though "great, another whale" Instead, Rina had shut the engine down so she would not run over a 50 foot gray whale!
It all conspired to make a pretty typical but not too awful Baja Bash experience so far. The next 338 miles promises to have its own challenges, with Mexican Navy patrols and the coast guard stopping boats for inspection before the border. And then we get wonderful San Diego fog to deal with... yay!
Cabo to Bahia Santa Maria
- 197 miles
- 32 hours of motor sailing
- Avg speed 6.1 knots
- 30 gallons diesel used @ .93 GPH @ 2000 RPMs
Bahia Santa Maria to Turtle Bay
- 235 miles
- 48 hours of motor sailing
- Avg speed 4.8 knots @ 1800 RPMs
- 36 gallons diesel used @ .75 GPH
- Negative 1 knot current about half the time
06/18/2010, Puerto Los Cabos
Actually, it's looking pretty good for the next couple of days... The influence of the tropical depression 350 miles south of Cabo has created a rare southern flow, reflected in the high clouds pictured above. The weather report calls for an unheard of 1 knot of wind at Cabo Falso at 11am, just north of Cabo San Lucas, where many a sailor has been turned back to port. That's the Baja Bash. The typical northwest flow will likely join us just north of our first stop at Bahia Santa Maria, 197 miles north of Cabo. We'll keep going if conditions allow, but a likely 1-2 day layover will allow us to catch the next lull before the next passage to Turtle Bay, 223 miles further north. After that, who knows... we'll just have to see what comes our way.