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Sound Effect does the big U
Santa Monica Pier

Well, we have been sucked into the Marina monster, and are enjoying, dock power, hot showers, laundry, pools, shopping, and yes warm weather. I t is probably going to be over 80 today, and yesterday was also warm. We have officially made it whooooo.
Yesterday we rented bikes and biked the famous venice beach area. The sub culture there is very strange with homeless hippies, and surfers, tattoo parlors, and pot shops, skaters, and beach bunnies.... surrounded by foreign speaking tourists who are getting a strange perspective of America!
But lest you think everyday is a vacation, today is boat cleaning, laundry, dingy repair, and outboard maintenance. We also have a loose wire in
Connies reading lamp. I have recrimped the wire but apparently there is another loose connection. Imagine if the wiring in your house was constantly shaken, and vibrated (from the engine) and left in a salt air environment? I am here to tell you it wouldnt stand the abuse.
....I can just hear all the sympathetic groans out there...... you are right I wouldnt trade places with you land lubbers.

We are planning on moving out to Catalina island on Monday for a few days

09/26/2010 | Deb McAdams
It sounds like a really tough life. We're very busy here feeling sorry for you. If you need a touch of land, we'll trade for a week or two. I see Connie is out of fleece now. May it bode well for the rest of the trip.
09/27/2010 | Andrew.Merritt
I was standing about where mom is standing just a few months ago with the guys. You should stop in and say hi to Craig. He is only about a 20 minute walk.
Shorts,crocs & NO sox!
09/22/2010, Marina Del Rey

Today we sailed from Channel Islands harbor to Marina Del Rey. Just over 40 miles and we sailed a fair part of it with 12-18 kts from the west. The best part? Shorts, crocs and NO sox! (no pix of connie because she was head to toe fleece) Sun shine and hight 60's this day was a keeper.

A westerly wind was dead down wind... that's right to sail to Southern California you go East! who knew??? I am presently 4 degrees of longitude EAST of Tacoma washinton which in turn is east of the coast of Washington

We have been staying in marinas becasue sadly there are very few places to anchor, but the good news, Ha Ha discount is $24 buck per night for a forty foot slip. To put this in terms of back in Puget Sound. Arrabella's in Gig Harbor is $1 a foot plus electricity. Channel Island Harbor had a lot of empty slips, I know the recession but where are the boats?

We buddy boated with a couple from Hotel California again today, and while we enjoyed our sail, Rick was trouble shooting, Chartplotter, Alternator, and water maker issues. With a cell phone in hand he got the various technician to pinpoint the problems, and in one case agree to Fed Ex a new gps antenna to the marina. Easy to do off the coast of California, but not possible once we cross the border.... better now than later.

Off to Venice beach (by bike) we seen it in a hundred TV shows thought we would look in person

09/23/2010 | Rob
Wow no Sox with you Croc’s! Ok it's now official, you are no longer under the influence of the Pacific Northwest. Wish I was there.
09/24/2010 | Ursua Ahrens
Hi Connie and Jim,
We enjoy following your trip and reading about it. The photos are also a plesure to see........wishing you fair winds and looking forward to more stories...........
Ursula and Fred
09/26/2010 | Deb McAdams
You'll know you have truly hit warm weather when Connie is the one in shorts and tee shirt and crocs without socks! That may be awhile yet, but you'll get there. What an odd thing to be east of Tacoma and still on the ocean. We do have some strange geography in this country of ours.
Channel Islands harbor

We are in Channel Islands harbor (near Oxnard). Followed " Hotel California "
over from Santa Barbara in the fog. thought we had some sun but it only lasted a few hours and has been overcast since.
Did some boat projects, installing three of the six fans we will need in the tropics. Rick off "Hotel" took a look at my Honda generator today in hopes of getting it to run but no joy. It appears it will need service by a dealer. This is a new unit that ran just once!. I will try to get this done in San Diego

Rick and Pam off Hotel California, graciously made reservations for us so we just followed them in to the marina on Sunday. They gave us a tip on Marina Del Rey so we plan to follow them tomorrow heading south. They are also a HA HA boat with similar plans, so we share information... that is what the rally is all about meeting other cruisers with like plans. There are over 190 boats signed up as of now so we have alot more people to meet!

I updated the map plot and I plan to post more pictures

09/22/2010 | Ursula Ahrens
congrats, you are in a warmer climate now.
Its fun to follow your posts..........
Hope to hear more from you two soon............
Ursula and Fred
Santa Barbara Mission

It is Sunday morning and we are waiting for you guessed it the fog to lift. We are planning to leave this morning and move a few miles down the coast, weather permitting.
Our stay in Santa Barbara has been wonderful, we have walked and walked and walked to, laundry, shopping, sight seeing and church.
Some quick updates, the AIS now works in the cockpit, thanks to Denny's suggestion of changing the baud rate internal to the AIS unit. This after the compnay experts said that it wouldnt work... but it does So now we have information in the cockpit about the where abouts of large ships, their name, course, and speed as well as the closest point of appproach.
We also got WEst Marine to exchange the obsolete map chip they had sold me with an updated version this has been an ongoing saga since Alemeda, with customer service, operations and four separatge stores involved, but we are good to go. My solar panels are now in my brother's garage for installation in San Diego, and I have installed the fans but not yet wired them.
We have about 3 weeks more of coastal California to explore, and then reprovision, install solar panels, in San Diego, and celebrate my Dad's 90 th birthday onboard later in October.
Check out the latest position in Santa Barbara

09/20/2010 | Andrew Merritt
Looks like everything is finally coming together. Tell Gramps happy birthday from Steph and I.
09/20/2010 | Ron Holbrook
Great to hear that all is going well with you. We also hit Santa Rosa on the way down and the wind never stoped. Yes, it does get warmer as you go south. See you in San Diego.
09/22/2010 | Deb McAdams
It's good to hear you got the AIS in the cockpit! I know that was a big thing and you had worked hard on it. At least it will make the fog easier to deal with when it hits along the way. Hope you're having a great trip and now you have some projects to look forward to when you get further south.
Palm Trees?

If its palm trees it must be hot! Guess again, we are here in beautiful Santa Barbara, and connie is still cold. I asked her to be photographed in front of the palm trees but she wouldnt leave the heated boat and her beloved quilt to go out and be photographed..... but enough whining I did have shorts, and a short sleeved shirt on for part of the afternnon, but when we arrived we had on long johns, multiple fleeces and full set of foulies when we sailed into the marina.
We have been out of touch so to recap
First the hospitality at the Morro Bay Yacht club was fantastic, We met Bill Sanders
on the dock Friday who arranged for a diver, took my empty propane and refilled it in town and when I tried to buy his drink at happy hour in the club bar put my drink on his tab.
Sunday we met a couple (Dana and Terri )at church who drove us inland to San Luis Obisbo to see the Mission (built in 1772) and then on to the coast to Avila Beach. It was a great opportunity to meet some local people and get some inland sun.
While tied to the dock, who should show up but Ami and Michael on Peregrine. Ami and I taught at Windworks together, and we saw her on the last day in Seattle before we left. They had sailed non stop from Neah Bay (top corner of Washinton) to Morro Bay (central coast of CA) non stop inlcuding laying hove to for a day several hundred miles off Cape Medicino in a 50kt gale. After visiting Michaels dad they plan a one jump leg to central Mexico.
We also spent an evening with Howard and Lynn on Swift Current from Vancouver. They are also on the way to Mexico
Monday we left at noon and sailed through the night to get the best time to round pt Conception, and then on to Santa Rosa. This island is one of the channel island group, very remote. We arrived before dawn and hove to outside the bay until first light then as the wind built we anchored in 20kts of wind behind a dune. We spent the day and subsequent night in constant wind some times gusting 25kts. Too windy to land the dingy on the beach we had to be content with looking at the beach through binoculars. Tuesday we sailed over to Santa Barbara and civilization with hot showers and the worlds best clam chowder.
Tomorrow more work on the boat.

09/16/2010 | Deb MCAdams
Hang in there, you guys, rumor has it that warmer temperatures await just a bit further south. And as they say, be careful what you wish for. Denny and Becky untied Kokomo today after a very nice bon voyage party. They'll catch up with you before you know it in the land of shorts, tee shirts and sandals. Have a great rest of your journey!
Fouled in Kelp Forest

Thursday we left Monterey in the afternoon after fueling for 105 mi to Morro Bay. Based on speed projections it would take 15-18 hrs so an overnite was necessary. The forecast was for 10-20kts from the NW which is just perfect, however when we got out it was 5-8 from the SW not enough to sail and from the wrong direction... once again the forecast was wrong but that is to be expected... eventually the wind clocked around from the NW and began to slowly build. We put out a reefed mainsail in anticipation of building winds. How right we were it built to 35kts! But Sound effect did well once again and we rode that nicely until about 2 am when the forecasters got it right and the wind dropped to 20kts. And finally by morning it dropped to nothing and we motor'd to the Morro Bay entrance where we were told the bar was closed for moving a pipe. Now for you non sailors that is not bar as in tavern but rather bar as in the mouth of the harbor entrance. Just as we were approaching we heard a clunk and the speed dropped. We had run over some floating kelp. We had been keeping watch and dodged this stuff succesively many times during the night and morning but with the sun angle and glint on the water neither of us saw it.
Eventually our wait was rewarded with a work boat coming out to guide us in personally through the maze of floating pipes they were working on, but re starting the engine we got vibration that was frightening.. but we had to accept this guide boat or be stuck.
We tied up to the guest dock at the Morro Bay Yacht club to see if we could get a diver. The first man we met and asked said hmmm and dialed his phone and arranged for a diver in an hour! We thought we might have to wait until Monday. The diver found the kelp in the prop that is in the picture. What is amazing is that I couldn't break this stuff... it is like nylon webbing wrapped around the prop.
Check the latest position update, and we will blog later about whales, and stars and a great sail

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Who: Jim & Connie Merritt
Port: Tacoma WA
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