Who would have thought being retired could be so busy? I have been back in Boulder for 10 days now and am only now finding the time to sit down and write this blog entry.
It was great to see my dear friend Marsha and hang out with her in her new environment. Mexico definitely agrees with her. Marsha picked me up in Cancun where we spent the night and had a fabulous dinner at a new restaurant in the city center called "Cristian Morales". Finding the restaurant was quite an adventure. We eventually called the restaurant for help and they were kind enough to send a rescue party to personally guide us the final mile to the restaurant.
The next day we headed to Akumal with a slight detour to Solomon Bay where Marsha had an interview for a B&B sitting job. They were anxious to hire Marsha but unfortunately they failed Marsha's interview. The living quarters were not up to par.
After looking at about 12 different available condos on the beach in Akumal we settled on a condo that was perfectly decorated with views of the sunrise off the front deck and views of the sunset off the rear deck-- All of this for a bargain off season price (Thanks to Marsha's superior negotiating skills!). While in Akumal we went to the beach, visited Tulum where we toured the ruins, went swimming in a cenote and had our first zip line experience.
After 4 days in the Akumal area we headed for Merida where Marsha lives. Unfortunately, the day before, Marsha ate something that didn't agree with her and she was sick for the next couple of days. We made it to Merida (a 4 hour car ride) without any problems. Merida is a big city with lots of hustle and bustl--a definite change to the beach environment. While in Merida we were pretty laid back. It was really hot and hard to be out in the sun during the middle of the day. We did our best to see the sights of Merida. Marsha hosted a dinner party my last night there where I was able to meet some of her Merida friends. I especially enjoyed her roommate Annah, a fellow Canadian from Vancouver.
Thursday morning, following a smoothie at the local square, Marsha dropped me off at the bus station where I boarded a van for a 4 hour ride to the airport in Cancun. When I finally got to Boulder it was great to be home.
It has been a busy several days catching up on personal business and visiting friends. I am now almost packed and ready for our next adventure to Europe.
04/12/2011, Palos Verdes
There was a glitch in the results for the race announced at the awards ceremony on Sunday, putting us in 2nd place in our category. In fact, we won our division, which is now official. Not bad for a first race.
We are now sailing off the coast of Redondo Beach as we head for home port in 18+ kt. winds at our back so we are flying at 6+ kts. Should be in port in about an hour at this rate.
Yesterday, we left from San Diego at 6AM for Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island. On the way out the channel, we were confronted with a nuclear sub coming into San Diego Harbor, which triggerd a 500 yard avoidance zone and seveal SP boats with machine guns. Once out of the harbor, there was no wind (very typical for Southern California mornings) so under motor for the first 6+ hours. The wind finally came up but on our nose. Eventually, a slight direction change and we were able to motor sail. Winds continued to build, maxing out at 22kts. Were taking pretty good water over the bow as we plowed through 6-8 ft. wind swells.
Finally arrived at Avalon Harbor a little after 7PM, about an hour behind schedule. Moored in the harbor and took the shoreboat to shore with a planned dinner at Avalon Grill. For whatever reason and to our disappointment, it was closed. Walked down the street to find Steve's Steakhouse. Being out of options (this is offseason, and everything closes early-it was already after 8PM), we went there for a mediocre dinner. Bob went for steak, but the rest of us chose the seafood combo (fish/shrimp/scallops) platter. Tasty but nothing special. Back to the boat and off for a full night's sleep.
Avalon requires you to leave your mooring by 9AM, despite the fact that the harbor was over 3/4 empty. A cruise ship was anchored offshore, and the shoreboats were actively brining passenger to the dock in the harbor. Winds were minimal until almost 1PM so we motored to Palos Verdes when the wind finally picked up. Experienced the largest ocean swells yet: 6-8 ft. Murar's Dream handled them like a champ. We are now in the shelter of Santa Monica Bay so just mostly wind chop but running with the wind makes them only slightly annoying.
Next adventure is on Friday when I drive to Oakland for the sailboat show. Debra will be landing in Cacun this afternoon and then visits to Cancun, Tulum and Merida before returning to Boulder. Delivery of our Audi on 5/4 has been confirmed, so we leave for Europe of the 3rd. Look for blogs from our European adventure, even though not on the boat.
04/10/2011, Southwestern Yacht Club
Well, we made it intact (check out the next morning photo of the crew). Crossed the start line 10 seconds after the horn, which was excellent when considering the traffic. A moderate and building wind out of the SSW was very accommodating so we were crusing along. 20 miles from the finish, and an estimated finish time of better than 12 hours (6+ knots). Then we hit the doldrums. But for the westerly wave swell and northerly current, we would have been sitting dead in the water until the wind decided to compensate. For the next four hours we just drifted. I was ready to end my shift and head downstairs while still 12+ miles from the buoy when the wind decided to pick up and accommodate. Started at 8 knots building to 12+ out of the south, so we were finally able to move again at a brisk pace. Crossed the San Diego channel about 1/2 mile in front of the cruise ship entering port and crossed the finish line at 4:11AM. After an hour sail to the yacht club, we docked the boat and off to sleep until breakfast at 8:30AM. Cleaned the boat and filled the water tank. Dan and Carol Sheehy happened to be in San Diego for the day awaiting the time to board their Celebrity Cruise through the Panama Canal, so they taxied over, and we were able to show them the boat.
It is now 1:30, and we are about to go to the regatta barbeque-free drinks and food thanks to those who donated to LLS. Will be an early to bed night, as Debra will be renting a car and driving back to LA tomorrow AM to catch her early morning flight to Cancun on Tuesday. The rest of the crew sails to Catalina Island for an overnight at Avalon, returning to home port on Tuesday.
I am on the boat until the 26th when I return to Boulder to visit the doctor for my updated surgical status and then to Germany to pick up the Audi.
03/15/2011, La Quinta, CA
We are now officially on the boat. Our trip to the Indian Wells Tennis Tournament was really fun for both of us. We arrived on Wednesday afternoon. After checking into the LaQuinta Resort and lunch on the Plaza, we went to the tournament and tracked down Linda, Bonnie and Janet for our passes. We ultimately found them and spent the afternoon watching early matches. That evening, we hooked up with Nancy and went to dinner at Lavender Bistro, a beautiful French restaurant where we sat outside under heat lamps (a chilly evening).
Thursday and Friday brought more days of tennis watching where we were able to start watching the "stars" of the tours, both men and women. Thursday night was sushi. I went back to the resort, and Andy returned to watch an evening match.
Andy decided to head to the boat and unpack on Saturday, so he was off to Marina del Rey that morning. (He had overdosed on tennis and needed a break.) I took the shuttle to the tournament and spent the day with Nancy until she had to catch her flight back to Denver. Met up with Michael and Laura Bailin and caught more matches in better reserved seats than our regular general admission seats, returning to the resort by shuttle late that night.
Andy returned Sunday morning, and we spent the full day watching more matches. After a break for a Thai dinner, we returned for one final match, catching what may very well be the high velocity serve of the tournament--143mph by a Canadian. After turning our guest passes back to Linda, we were off to the resort for a final night's stay.
Temperatures during the day at the tournament were in the mid-80s and sunny so we were in the sun alot. My 70 SPF saved our skins, and the lemonade slushies helped to cool us down during the heat of the day.
The drive back to LA went smoothly. We spent all day yesterday trying to unpack and organize, a project that looks like it will take several days. Our "to do" list seems to grow exponentally as we make make the boat our home! Our next major event will be the Border Run Regatta in early April, so look for the next blog then.