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We’ve Arrived!!!!
by Capts. Dave and Desiree
05/08/2009, Ventura Harbor, California

We had a relaxing few days cruising a few anchorages around Catalina Island. We were on a perfect schedule to arrive to the Ventura coastline. The weather, however, was beginning to decompensate, and my need to return to Ventura to take call by Friday, May 8th, at 5pm was suddenly becoming a challenge.

It is a well-known fact that the weather around the Channel Islands can be one of the most defying in the world, and unfortunately we would come to experience it on our last leg home. We were carefully monitoring the weather earlier that week, and our best option (besides waiting a week to cross), was to head out Wednesday morning May 6th. We left Twin Harbors, Catalina around 6:30 am, hoping we would get into Oxnard before the small craft warnings would overcome us in the late afternoon.

Our first eight hours were primarily motoring across, and then the winds kicked up. The seas became choppy, irregular and ever increasing in size. As the Gone Native began to be tossed in the seas, we decided it was time to get the sails up. We were only off shore five miles, but suddenly it became an incredible distance. Then the starboard engine decided to give out, really making it difficult to get the sails up. However, on cue, all the crew went into action, and finally the sails were raised, a reef in place. Dave went into McGyver mode. He crawled into the engine room, trying to restart the starboard engine, but it continued to sputter. Of course that left me at the helm in the thirty plus knot winds, but the co-captain was confident. The waves were ever increasing, and with only one effective engine, we were getting broadsided by the seas. I then saw a massive wave coming, and told the twins to brace themselves. The enormous wave engulfed the boat, and as I held the helm, I was grateful I had my foul weather gear on. Fortunately shortly afterwards Dave tried something new (he pulled out the fuel filter)...and voila! The engine turned over! We then tacked and were heading in. And fortunately, the winds were "dying" down to twenty-two knots and we were all smiling. By 9pm we were tied on to the dock at Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club, Oxnard.

We stayed in Oxnard for two days cleaning the boat, doing loads of laundry, and had the joy of going to our favorite breakfast nook, Mrs. Olson's. Friday morning, May 8th we pulled out from Oxnard, in flat seas and did our final cruising leg up the coast to Ventura.
Ryan and Wesley were at the helm and took a picture of our smiling faces entering Ventura Harbor. We had made it!!!

A Stop at One More Island
by Capts. Dave and Desiree
05/04/2009, Avalon, Catalina Island

A direct route as the crow flies from San Diego to Ventura is approximately 140 miles, and conveniently, Santa Catalina Island is at the midpoint. We left San Diego at 10pm, for our last overnighter to arrive in daylight hours to Catalina. None of us would feel a loss after this last evening venture to be now able to sleep completely through the night.

We arrived early afternoon, and were impressed by their very simple and functional mooring system. The crew certainly felt like they were getting off easy situating the boat. We took the dinghy onto shore, and enjoyed walking around the island and getting into the cruising mode for probably the last time of this trip.

With our bellies full (Desiree was happy---no chopping, cooking or cleanup!), we returned to the boat as the sun was setting. Ryan and Wesley took a pose with the casino in the twilight hue that has been an icon of Catalina Island for years. Both Dave and I have childhood memories of this place, so it was quite a special moment to see our children with the casino in the background.

by Capts. Dave and Desiree
05/01/2009, Calabasas, California

After an evening of settling at Silver Gate Marina, we rented a car and took a road trip to Legoland. Ryan and Wesley have continued enjoying their passion of creating incredible models of legos. In fact, since our last crewmember Bill has departed, Ryan and Wesley have converted his cabin into their own "personal" Legoland. Whenever possible, they spend hours making innovative creations. With the real Legoland just forty miles north of us, we could not resist the opportunity to visit.

The first Legoland was built in Denmark in 1968, the native country where the master, Ole Kirk Christiansen, first designed and produced the toy. The Legoland in Calabasas was built in 1999, and we figured the first time we came as a family was probably in 2000. Every time we have visited, we ALL have had a marvelous time.

The models throughout the park are incredible. The photo above is from an area representing a cross-section of America. We could not resist standing by the lego masterpiece representing the Santa Barbara mission. In a sense, it was our closest encounter yet to Ventura.

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