07/16/2012, Port San Luis
July 16, 2012: We were up and out of the anchorage by 6:45 am and rounded Point Conception by 7:05 am. The waters were an easy swell with a light wind out of the southwest. Can't complain about this rounding; it was a non-issue. The rest of the day was just as easy with overcast skies but a high enough ceiling to view the coastline.
We made excellent time with the help of slight eddy current and gentle seas. Tonight we are comfortably at anchor in Port San Luis. Next stop San Simeon ...
Port San Luis 35° 10.488N 120° 44.233W
July 15, 2012: It was an easy passage to Coho Anchorage in the day but a rolly night. Don't let anyone fool you when they say they loved to be rocked to sleep in a boat. That's a big old lie. Talk about a sleepless night! We shared the anchorage with another sailboat and two small sport fishing boats along with the large commercial vessel called "Clean Ocean". This whole area has natural oil seeps along the Santa Barbara channel.
The sea lions barked their hellos to us as they floated around in social groups fanning their flippers in the air. We have seen one or two individuals floating around this way but I was surprised the number of sea lions in each group. There must have been "kids" in the group because they barked all night.
Coho Anchorage 34° 26.816N 120° 26.376W
07/15/2012, Santa Barbara
July 13 - 14, 2012: We had an uneventful 25 mile trip to Santa Barbara that included no seasickness. Going out to sea after a bad passage is like having to get back on the horse that has thrown you. So far so good, one day down with hopes of surviving the rest of the trip.
After spending the afternoon looking at weather and swell conditions we decided two nights in Santa Barbara would definitely insure us a good anchorage at Coho and a calm rounding of Point Conception. Geez two days in this lovely city ... I had to suffer and go out to dinner while enjoying the sights of the harbor.
Saturday I spent the time cooking up some more breakfast meals and stocking our basket of grab food we eat while on passage. It sure helps mentally and physically to know we will eat well but I don't have go below and cook. Just open the oven and pop in the premade dish to warm up. Bob spent a couple of hours walking along the waterfront taking in all the "eye candy". Believe me there were plenty to see since it was a weekend.
We are now back in the states just about a month and encountered problems with one of credit cards. It got denied when trying to pay for our dinner out in Ventura. A quick phone call to the bank indicated a vendor's system got compromised that we had used and the bank shut down all further activity on our card. That's fine except for the part that the bank failed to notify us. This particular card is used for automatic payments and now we have to change the card number on file ... small problem here, the new cards are being shipped to our box in Ballard, WA. We had notified our banks we are on travel status and will be using our cards traveling up the coast. Thankfully we have other cards to use while moving north.
Santa Barbara 34° 24.401N 119° 41.334W
July 10 - 12, 2012: We bid our farewells to Larry and Sue on Beverly S and departed Marina Del Rey into a fog bank that stayed with us for most of day. Right off the bat I could tell this wasn't going to be a good day ... not because of the fog but a direct result of my standard early morning upset stomach. Normally the waves and swell we encountered would not affect me but not today; life went downhill rapidly. I haven't been this sick since coming down the Oregon coast near Cape Blanco two years ago. I even took meclizine in the morning for motion sickness and it didn't work.
There was no question my breakfast was the direct cause of this ill fated passage. The little bits of sausage in my hash browns and eggs came back up with a vengeance. Boy oh boy, did I ever hurt. I wanted someone to put me out of my misery. At least once everything was out of my stomach; I began to feel better although I looked like hell.
The next adventure of the day was pulling into the Ventura Yacht Club guest dock. It is a long dock paralleling the shore with an extremely narrow passage. As we came in we could see the junior sailing dinghies lining the area where we were to tie up to. I had to pivot the boat around and head back out to the main fairway. This was no simple feat but I had the wind blowing the bow around which helped out greatly. I probably only had a spare 15 ft (?) total to a make the u-turn. If there had been a boat tied up to the end of the dock, I was screwed. And just to make it more difficult I had to do it twice as it took some more time to clear the dock of the sailing dinghies. We finally made it in safely and just in time to participate in the Tuesday night potluck dinner. We both crashed after dinner after this long 53 nautical mile day.
I was still moving pretty slow Wednesday and not actually full of "piss and vinegar". Every part of me was sore from my bout of sea sickness. An afternoon nap was definitely on the agenda. Bob got invited by Jeff on s/v Journey to join a race crew for the "Wet Wednesday" races sponsored by the VYC. We knew Jeff & Dori from cruising in Mexico and we buddy boated with them up the Baja coast. The crew on "Rival" comes in 2nd of their class and a great time was had by all. Bob, as the guest crew, got the honorary trophy of a glass mug. And yes he got soaked while out racing.
It's now Thursday and we have been enjoying a walk around the harbor area that is filled with restaurants, shops, marinas, etc. We decided to wander down and see s/v "Summer Passage", the sister ship to Ponderosa which was owned by Don Anderson, the well known and beloved weather guru for cruisers in Mexico. Don had passed away unexpectedly in early April. As we were admiring the boat, a woman aboard waved to us. We explained to her that we had the same kind of boat and knew Don thru the SSB nets. She graciously let us in the gate and invited us on board. She was Don's daughter, Carol and just happened to be there today cleaning out the boat.
It was a real treat to tour Summer Passage which is laid out exactly like our boat. Carol took the time to tell us what happened to Don and share some of her memories of sailing with her dad. She is a delightful woman and it meant a lot to hear good things about Don and what he did for cruisers. A sale is pending and it sounds like the boat will be in good hands with the new owners. It was a most pleasant encounter.
Tomorrow we are off to Santa Barbara for one night; then onto the Cojo anchorage to position ourselves to round Point Conception on Sunday. The wind and seas look calm and benign for several days so here's our weather window to make tracks north.
Ventura Yacht Club 34°14.725N 119°15.93W
07/09/2012, Marina del Rey
July 6 - 9, 2012: Thanks to the generosity of Larry & Sue of M/V Beverly S we have been guests at the California Yacht Club. It's a lovely yacht club with all the amenities you ever need or want. Our 46 mile transit from Newport Beach across the busy harbor of Long Beach was uneventful and void of much boat traffic; but the radio chatter was something else.
Ever since getting back to states and especially around the San Diego area, channel 16 on the VHF is alive with vessel hailing, radio checks, Coast Guard and Navy radio traffic. Never fails that some poor schmuck is getting chewed out by the Coast Guard for asking for a radio check. Seems to me calling for a radio check is like hailing someone ... besides you need to know if your radio transmits on channel 16. It was amusing one time listening to one Navy warship call for a radio check ... and got his reply from another naval vessel all the while the Coast Guard remained silent. Apparently now you can call on channels 26 & 27 for an automated response on your radio check.
The group of us bashing up the Baja were hailing on channel 22 (the Mexican hailing channel for cruisers) while in Magdalena Bay and getting scolded by the Coast Guard for chatting on their frequency even though we were hundreds of mile south of them. Go figure!
When first cruising around Mexico we asked the question ... "why?" a lot since we couldn't figure out the logic behind how the culture/government/society worked compared to the USA. Well now that I am back home, I have to question the over abundance of rules and regulations here. I guess it's the price we pay for technology and safety.
We can't seem to pass by Marina del Rey without having to buy a Westerbeke engine part. Sure enough after Bob changed the oil he discovered an oil leak which required a new part. The problem is now solved but it's amazing how fortuitous we have been discovering these issues before they created a monster of a problem. Hopefully we can pass thru Santa Barbara without Bob landing in the hospital like two years ago.
Tomorrow we continue our trek north. It is so alluring to settle into a southern California port on a permanent basis with easy living and great weather. Oh my!
07/07/2012, Mission Bay, Oceanside, Newport Beach
July 5, 2012: It's onto Newport Beach Harbor, another new place for us to see. We were a little concerned about the public anchorage area being shallow and full so we opted for a mooring buoy. What a mistake that turned out to be. First of all, we had to tie up at the Harbor Police dock to check in, pay and get our assigned buoy. That wouldn't be so bad except the length of the dock was so short we barely managed to fit. And compound the problem with lack of cleats to tie to.
We got directed to mooring field A, mooring ball 52; it wasn't too hard to find once we could identify the number thru the marine growth and it wasn't hard to snag the mooring line. From there it went to hell. It was not a well maintained buoy and the line was full of marine growth, mud and little critters. Bob worked his way down the line to the loop that ties off to the bow. Now we had to attach the stern. It was not a pleasant task sliding your hands down the line from the bow to the stern to find the aft loop. First time didn't work since the line was getting hung up on the rudder. Okay, now to Plan B. We shifted our focus to running the line to the port side of the boat. I managed to reach the whip that was attached to the line via a long boat hook and we found the loop for the stern tie. Success, we are now properly tied bow to stern and spaced correctly between the other boats.
After much cursing, we assessed the mess these lines made on our boat. Mud is everywhere and little sea creatures are running around on the bow while the "whip" is beating up against the boat. I have fiberglass splinters in the palm of my hand from grabbing onto the whip that now hurt like hell. Besides all this we were hungry ... never a good idea. Once I made lunch and Bob got the mud cleaned off it was nap time for me. How can something so simple like tying to a mooring buoy cause so much stress? I like the PNW buoys where you just tie off your bow and swing with the wind. We paid $25 for this fun.
Newport Beach Mooring 33°36.033N 117°53.292W
July 3-4, 2012: Luck was on our side for a change and we were able to tie up to guest moorage at the Oceanside Yacht Club for the 3rd & 4th. Sometimes life does work out very nicely as we got to enjoy front row seats to the 4th of July decorated dinghy parade with cruiser friends Mike and Julie from SV Slacker. Later that night we watched the Camp Pendelton fireworks that delighted us and well as the surrounding crowd. The show was on par to the well known 3rd of July fireworks in Poulsbo, WA.
Oceanside Yacht Club 33°12.589N 117°23.764W
July 2, 2012: With sadness we untied the lines and departed San Diego for Mission Bay. We really enjoyed SD each time we have visited mostly due to its great climate, the ease of getting around and our ability to see family. But times are a changing and we must move on to achieve our goal of getting back to the Pacific Northwest.
Mission Bay is a new stop for us. There is only one spot for us to anchor and that's in Mariner's Basin. It sure was filled with numerous "private mooring buoys" that left very little room for transient boats. We were too lazy to lift the dinghy and motor off the mother ship for a dinghy cruise so we decided one night was enough since the weather and seas were calm to keep moving. At least the fireworks at Sea World were fun to watch.
Mission Bay 32°45.903N 117°14.864W
07/01/2012, San Diego
June 18 - July 1, 2012: These two weeks have gone by so quickly. It seems like a lifetime ago we were bashing up the coast of Baja let alone cruising around Mexico. The check-in to U.S. for us was quite painless probably because it was Sunday and Father's day. No exit paperwork is required from Mexico for US citizens to check back into the states and no one came below to check out our food supply. The two agents just asked about alcohol, tobacco, firearms and fresh fruit.
The municipal police dock is now as pricey as other marinas. It was $1/ft vs. the $10/night rate just a couple of years ago; so much for hanging out here for 10 days or so. I called around and got moorage for 2 weeks at Harbor Island West Marina. It is easier to walk to the airport, jump on a rental car bus and get to a car agency from this location.
Once we moved the boat, the next order of business was getting "connected" to the world with U.S. phone and internet service. Thankfully we kept Bob's phone and our USB stick for internet access and with one phone call we were back on-line, of course, with a modest reconnect charge. Once on-line I could arrange a plane ticket for Dick, check emails, order Bob's meds and catch up on other business.
We hooked up with a few boats that bashed up the Baja together for dinner one night. Crew from Journey (Jeff & Dori), Wendaway (Mark & Wendy), Beverly S (Larry & Sue), Dick, Bob & I enjoyed drooling over the American menu but choked on the American prices. Man ... welcome home to high prices! This part of being home is discouraging.
We bid Dick farewell; what a great help he was especially with the night watches. I would highly recommend having a 3rd person on board. Having the extra amount of sleep made such a difference especially in the rougher parts of the passage. We worked on desalting the boat and doing the basic chores you always encounter after long trip. The laundry facilities are very nice here so I was able to not only clean our clothes but also tackle the bedding, blankets and rugs.
We took a break one day and toured the Midway aircraft carrier that is now a maritime museum moored on the San Diego waterfront. Goodness, we paid for 4 hours of parking and still didn't see the entire ship. It was very interesting along with all the airplanes that were on display on the flight and hanger decks. We toured the bridge, Admiral's & Captain's quarters, ready rooms, forecastle, mess, enlisted men's quarters, galley, engineering and many other areas too numerous to name. I wished I was 40 years younger, trim, fit and in good shape with good knees. Oh well, nothing like some Advil and lots of wine couldn't cure.
It was exciting being back in U.S. grocery stores. Who would ever guess grocery shopping could be so much fun? First thing we bought was fresh fruit, vegies and Triscuit crackers (I love these). A Costco run was also in order and we stocked up good candy (which means chocolate) of all things. I don't have that anxiety feeling anymore worrying about stocking up and having as much as possible on the boat to survive. That part is nice about being home although we were far from starving in Mexico; everything you need is available just not everything you want. However, drooling over the nice cuts of meats was very thrilling and we indulged ourselves with pork and beef tenderloins. And ohhh yeah, the wine selection is great.
The biggest reason for our long stay in San Diego really centers on our niece Rachael and her family. Her husband Adam has been transferred to Okinawa for a 3 year stay. So they are packing up the kids, renting the house, mucking out the household goods and farming out the cat and dog to other family members so they can meet their 2000 lb weight limit. This is no small task and takes many months. It's like moving from a 2500 sq foot house to a 47 ft sailboat, bah humbug!
We pitched in and helped where and when we could. Most likely our biggest job was keeping the 3 kids entertained and occupied. Disney flicks sure come in handy and have been a good babysitter for the 3 & 5 year old. The 12 year old is at the awkward age of too old for a little kid but too young to hang out with adults. The most fun we had was hauling the kids and Aztez, the golden retriever, to the local park to burn off energy and play. Even Aztez was happy to jump about and run free for a couple of hours. He chased the kids around the jungle gym, followed the kids up to the slides but chickened out coming down.
Wasn't long before they were bored and hot so we shuffled them off to the picnic table and shade, fueled them back up with juice and water. The beautiful butterflies caught their attention and shortly they were running themselves ragged chasing them around the park. I felt a good old fashioned water fight was in order to cool these little critters down so I instigated water wars. I refilled the water bottles and soaked them good ... yeah, they really suffered as they were yelling ..."get me auntie, get me". Turnabout was fair play, I got a good dousing myself thanks to Allie, the 12 year old. Bella & Tristan were more interested in soaking poor Aztez. Aztez was just too tired himself to avoid the little ones so he just laid there taking it all in. Tristan, Bella & Aztez took a 2 hour nap once we got home after our ice cream treat. It was a good day in the neighborhood.
Saying goodbye wasn't so much fun, too many tears. Three years isn't that long but long enough for little critters to grow up far too fast. We watch all the kids in our families struggle to mature and have the benefits of an adult. Little do they know life does not get easier as an adult just more complicated.
It is time to move north as we adults struggle thru our next challenge - getting the boat and ourselves back to the Pacific Northwest. Oh to be 3 years old again!