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S/V Si Bon
Ocean Institute
12/02/2010, Dana Point

I'm back in Mission Bay and will be sailing home later today. On Tuesday, my last day in Dana Point, my friend Yvette came to visit me, we decided to take a walk and went over to a place called Ocean Institute, Ocean Institute is a fairly large facility which includes a learning center with teaching labs, ocean aquariums, a maritime learning center, a research vessel R/V Sea Explorer, the tall ships schooner Spirit of Dana Point and brig Pilgrim. The Pilgrim is a replica of the ship that Richard Henry Dana Jr. worked on from 1834-1836. Dana was a 19 year old Harvard University student who left his studies and took a job as a common sailor aboard the Pilgrim, he kept a journal of his travels and it was made into a book called Two Years Before the Mast (Ric), while we were in the gift shop I bought a toned down version of the book to read on my back to San Diego. One of the many thing OI does is to bring young children onto the Pilgrim and teach them what it was like to be a sailor aboard a brig in the 1800's, life was VERY difficult in those days for the men who carried freight from the east coast to the west coast and back. As Yvette and I were walking back we saw a group of young children, maybe in the 10 year old range, lined up at the entrance to the pier that leads down to the Pilgrim, the kids had bags to spend the night and were excitedly listening to some dude dressed up like a sailor of the 1800's barking out at them, and responding back with a very enthusiastic " YES SIR MR. SO AND SO", Yvette and I stopped to watch and the sailor dude yelled that he needed two volunteers for galley duties, two young girls came quickly up from the back of the group and the sailor dude stepped up to them and in a VERY loud voice yelled " GET YOUR FOOT OFF OF MY PIER, WHO GAVE YOU PERMISSION TO STEP ON MY PIER" and then proceeded to rake the poor little kids over the coals for not obeying orders. Yvette and I looked at each other in shock, we walked to the other side of the pier listening to sailor dude continue to rant and rave at these poor little kids who by this time were responding back in very meek little voices "yes sir and so". Well Yvette and I decided this horrible abuse of the little kids had to stop so we set out to find someone in authority and came across a guy by the name of George Mack, who is the History Coordinator, Maritime Department for OI, we explained the horrible things we had witnessed and George responded back "good, that means we're doing our jobs", well Yvette and I looked at each other in disbelieve....has this whole place gone crazy, George picked up on our shock and immediately began trying to calm us down. George explained that the children have been working towards this day for some time, they had to read the book, they had to learn to do different types of jobs required of sailors in the 1800's, they leaned to tie knots and most importantly they were prepped that they were to be treated the same as an ordinary sailor would have been. George, whom is the most passionate man about his job that I have ever meet, then began telling us about all of the things the kids have been doing and were to be doing during their stay aboard the Pilgrim, they are put to work cleaning, hauling freight, hoisting sails (in a mock set up with pads, see pic) rowing the smaller boats around the bay and standing watches throughout the night. George took us into the training facility and showed us how to "lay on"(pic) while hoisting/furling the sails, and showed us many other teaching aids which they use.
Ocean Institute is a VERY well respected teaching facility founded in 1977, that has received numerous national awards, their mission statement is "to inspire all generations through education, to become responsible stewards of our oceans". George could have just told us to take a hike and mind our own business, instead he took at least an hour of his valuable time to educated us about a very special program.
I would also like to add that the parents, teachers and kids are given a chance to opt out of the program, it is also explained to the kids that yelling at people is not a proper way to act and as demonstrated to them no one likes to be treated that way.

12/02/2010 | Ashley Cook
that sounds pretty awesome pops! what a fun little adventure!
12/05/2010 | mark
11/30/2010, Dana Point

Living on a cruising yacht you must ALWAYS conserve Water, fuel and electricity, your life depends on it. Si Bon has two freshwater tanks with a capacity of about 175 gallons total. In order to be able to cruise for extended periods (more than just to Dana Point), I have a watermaker onboard which will turn saltwater into freshwater, my watermaker is a Spectra 150 Ventura Deluxe (whew), which has a rated output of 6 gallons of freshwater per hour. One of the BIG advantages that the spectra has over other watermakers is a very low AMP usage, remember that you MUST also conserve electricity, so you can make all the water in the world, but if in doing so you use up all of your electricity/fuel you're screwed. Sunday before the kids came over I made 5 gallons of freshwater in about 45 minutes...not bad, seems like I might be getting a little more than the rated output. I also have a water tester which allows me to monitor the quality of the water I'm's where it gets a little scary for the folks in San Diego city water district, before leaving my land based house I tested my water from SD water district, it had a "parts per million' (PPM) of 474, the EPA says that anything over 500 PPM is "not fit for human consumption", Si Bon's water on Sunday tested at 140 PPM....anyone want to come by for a glass of water?
One BIG question that comes to mind is...if I, on a relatively small sailboat, can turn saltwater into freshwater without a whole lot of trouble...why is the state of California not able to do it??????

11/30/2010 | SCOTT
We had a water purification system in Bimini in the 60 that produced almost pure water, go figure....It's 40 years past and SD is using tooling from the 50's probably...
11/30/2010 | Kathy
If you think SD water is scary - have you tested bottled?
11/30/2010 | Mark
There are plans now for a local city about to install a water maker plant north of us. But i can't remember what city it was. Also, USA has installed many Salt to fresh water plants in many 3rd world countries.
12/01/2010 | Steve Cook
good question Kathy..yes I tested a bottle of costco water and it was 50 bottled water is still your best bet.
Mark..isn't it funny how the broke US does all these things for foreign countries...and squat for us???
Thanksgiving with kids
11/29/2010, Dana Point

Amber, Ashley and Jeff came up to Dana Point yesterday to celebrate our Thanksgiving. Since the kids were getting sick of turkey, we decided to go for the world famous Cook tuna noodle casserole, (which is never the same twice in a row and all the Cook's/Gilbert's make it different). It great seeing them and we had a nice family time together before I had to rush them off so I could go watch the Chargers kick some Colts ass.
Due to the very accurate weather forecast for 35 knot wind on Saturday night and Sunday, I made the decision to get a guest slip in Dana Point for a couple of nights. I felt very good Saturday night as I listened to the wind howling through the marina...I definitely slept MUCH better than I would have if I had stayed on the hook, being at a slip was also much easier for our family get together. Not sure when or where I'm headed next, but I can tell you that it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas on S/V Si Bon.

11/30/2010 | Ashley Cook
we've gotta get on the same page with our recipes so we can actually have a "family recipe" :)

I say we each cook a batch and then vote on one! ha.
11/30/2010 | Steve Cook
You are Sooo right Ashley, I should have said that the only one who ever made the same twice in a row was Grandma. Wish she could have been with us :-(
Fun in the sun
11/27/2010, Dana Point

I LOVE DANA POINT. OK I know I've only been here one day....but this place is sooo cool. Yesterday I started exploring Dana Point, I putted around the beautiful marina in the dinghy, figuring out where the public dinghy docks are, where the restaurants/bars were and checking out all of the mega yachts. The weather yesterday was almost perfect and in the afternoon there were people of all ages gliding past me on paddle boards, kayaks and of course all sorts of boats. Not being one to miss out on any kind of fun, I inflated my own kayak and joined the crowd paddling around this wonderful little cove. I ended the day guess where.....of course happy hour silly, I met two very nice ladies and we talked (and drank) into the night.
I'm not quite ready to forgive "the establishment" for screwing (not the word I wanted to use) up what was once a great surf spot....but let's be real for a moment and realize that unless you were a Dana Point local, your chances of actually catching any waves here would have been slim.

11/29/2010 | ric
Read "Two Years Before The Mast" by Richard Dana and imagine sailors throwing cow hides off the cliff down to the waiting boats to be loaded on the cargo ship "alert" headed for Boston.
11/30/2010 | Vicki
Hey Steve ... I lived in Dana Point back in 1973 ... before the Marina! A very rocky shore kept most people away, but when the tides were out, there were great tide pools ... it's where I saw my first octopus ... a tiny baby one. Talk about a cool place to explore.
Point break
Steve/cold but sunny
11/26/2010, Dana Point

I decided to blow off (no pun intended) Oceanside and come directly to Dana Point yesterday. I left Mission Bay at 0630 and was on the hook (anchor) in Dana Point at 1530, I did not see one other boat on the way here...not one, which is VERY unusual for So Cal. Dana Point was built in the early 1970's by taking one of So Cal's few point breaks and building a one mile long breakwater out from the end of the point, thereby destroying this fine right point break. You must know that in the 70's I was a DIE HARD surfer...and I mean DIE HARD, so the fact that " The Establishment" ruined this perfect wave did not sit well with me, I am currently anchored where perfect rights peeled off of the point.
That said (whew), DP is a great marina with parks, small beaches, tall ships and of course all of the tourist type things, which I will begin to explore today. This pic is taken from the stern of Si Bon.

11/24/2010, Mission Bay

Congratulations to NOAA, after two days of wrong forecasts they finally got it right, the wind started coming up right after I posted yesterdays blog, it continued to build as the sun went down. My friend Bill Hughes had a surprise 50th birthday party last night, which conveniently was at a rented party house here in Mission Beach, as we stood around the keg and tasted the great food the wind continued to build and I made the decision to cut out early and head back to Si Bon. Throughout the night the wind howled through the rigging and I could feel the boat being blown around....but the anchor held fast and even though I was like a jack-in-the-box, popping my head out every hour or so...we didn't move an inch.
I plan to spend tonight here in Mission Bay then head up to Oceanside Harbor tomorrow, the weather guess is calling for a "mild offshore flow" which means a mild Santa it should be a great Thanksgiving Day sail up the coast....if they guessed right. Stay tuned.

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