13 September 2019
Cabrillo Harbor views
13 September 2019
Further south to San Pedro
13 September 2019
September 12, 2019
San Pedro, California
It was a glorious week we enjoyed in Catalina. We spent two nights on a mooring in Two Harbors, then motored over to Avalon to take on the "big city". We relished spending the afternoon along the waterfront, while appreciating the beautiful view of the bay during happy hour at Bluewater Avalon. Too bad we waited too long for dessert as the ice cream store shut their doors very early! We had to settle for the recently remodeled Vons. It was rather hilarious to see all of those golf carts taking up the parking lot. Such a quaint mini city it has turned into-quite unlike the visits to the more rustic version of town in my youth where we arrived by sea plane. You really felt like you were taking your lives in your hands with the hazy, old windows and loud, bumpy ride. That was an adventure!
We were not as enamored with the water quality, however, as the algae bloom had resulted in very unfortunate floating "plant life" and murky water. We bailed out early the next morning, sailing out about four miles to pick up some wind and make some more water. The sailing is perfect, with light breezes and calm seas. After that, it was back to the Isthmus for another few days in which the weather was postcard perfect, and I truly embraced my morning routine of paddle boarding, then taking a long swim in the clear, cold water along the beach. Our shower routines were further simplified with camp soap, sea water, and a quick rinse from the hot shower on the transom. We are very pleased that our two solar panels (170 watts each) are providing plenty of power, and our water maker is doing its thing beautifully! All blessings indeed!
Friday the 13th of September
San Pedro, California
Currently, we are settled in a great guest slip in San Pedro, at Cabrillo Yacht Marina. This will be our home for at least a month through mid October. Fortunately, we have some wonderful friends here we have known for a few years through my brother, Murray, who also has a sailboat here. Many of those friends have logged hundreds of miles at sea, with one couple having circumnagivated the globe. We are hoping to pick all of their brains for tips as the time for leaving the country draws nearer! Just as with Marina West in Ventura, virtually everyone we meet here is friendly, fun, and full of advice for anything you might need! We resume progess on the boat (refreshing the Cetol coat on the hand rails, toe rails, and dorades). Rolf is hard at work, putting together the new Hydrovane system.
We made a quick trip back up to Ventura yesterday to pick up our cars from the marina, and take care of doctor, dentist, and hair appointments in the area. I stayed to see some friends and get in another last workout at Anytime Fitness. Why not? It was great to see everyone. I honestly feel like I've been gone for a month, when in reality, it's been less than two weeks! I suppose that's a good thing.
Surprisingly, I am thrilled to have our cars back! Just knowing that I can jump in and head for the store to get what we need or check out a sight in the area on land without relying on others is something not to be taken for granted! I do love to drive around, and the terrain is so very hilly and interesting around here-with fantastic ocean and harbor vistas. San Pedro is even more nostalgic for us, being virtually next door to Palos Verdes, where we both spent our childhood. We have fond memories of working at Marineland together "just a few years ago". I have slightly less fond memories of Cabrillo Beach, where I first tried windsurfing and had to be rescued by the Harbor Patrol after I managed to sail out to the far breakwater real well (and quickly!) but could not get myself back to the beach when the famous "hurricane gulch winds" kicked up!
We are noticing quite a difference in the temperature, especially in the mornings down here. We got a bit spoiled up in Ventura with fairly constant temps in the high sixties and low seventies. But at least once the afternoon breezes kick in, it cools off. We are trying to be very mindful of the sun and cover up, but I haven't figured out how to stay cool while doing that, other than soaking the shirt first! For now sunscreen is one of our best friends, along with the marina staff, who have been so helpful in getting us set up with this slip, gate keys, car passes, free popcorn, and the continuation of our stream of packages from Amazon while we still have a chance to order necessary items, such as tiki torch lights for the stern. You have to love anything that contributes to the coziness and makes the boat a home. We are very pleased with how things are turning out.
03 September 2019
Two Harbors/Isthmus Cove, Catalina Island
We’ve decided to take the day off from working on the boat, phone calls and emails dealing with insurance, permits, and spare parts, etc. and just be completely “on vacation”! Life can be very short and unpredictable as we are so disheartened and sad with the news of all of the lives lost aboard the dive boat which caught fire and sank right off Santa Cruz Island yesterday, yet another mass shooting, and Hurricane Dorian which has devastated the Bahamas. Our hearts go out to all who are affected by these tragedies.
For today, we count our blessings, swim, take the paddle board and the dinghy around to the different coves, read, nap, and enjoy not having a schedule at all. We contemplate whether in time we will feel counterproductive and yearn to go back to work. Nah!
03 September 2019
Finally, the day we are leaving Ventura to start our journey. So many moments of the day continue to be bittersweet as our dock friends check in and realize we are leaving today, and not coming back. Meaningful gifts appear such as a metal Thor hammer necklace for fair winds and seas and a jug of homemade mead, champagne, tequila, and a couple more seasons of Outlander, from a dear friend, complete with a small brandy. The thoughtfulness amazes me and reminds me of just how powerful even the smallest acts of kindness can be! I'm really going to miss everyone!
This contrasts sharply with the hectic pace we need to keep up in order to be out of our slip by 2:00pm. Why did I set that time up? (Well...we are aiming to leave by noon...) Much still has to get done from a couple of loads of laundry to one last trip to the store, gas for the cars we are leaving behind for now and the outboard dinghy, dropping off used oil, filling the water tanks, checking out of the marina, and getting the last of our gear stowed. (This we finally give up on until we are under way!).
Ironically, as we are motoring toward the gas dock, we realize that this is the least prepared for even a day sail we have ever been prior to dropping the lines. Not even the sail cover is off! I'm personally annoyed at myself for working too hastily filling the water tank and letting the hose pop off the connection and take a swim in the marina water. Yuck! Of course, that took more time as I had to sterilize it! I also ended up struggling with tying on the paddle board tightly enough. The fact that these are such trivial skills in the adventure we are undertaking gives me pause for sure! There is a lot of learning that going to be happening, and I need to realize that repetition and patience with myself is going to be important.
We get it together quickly and enjoy a spirited and very wet sail over to Santa Cruz Island. Our course brings us mostly right into the oncoming waves, but we don't have any daylight to spare for extra tacks as it's almost 4:00 in the afternoon, and we wouldn't be too fond of trying to anchor on this holiday weekend-in the dark.
It's a quick ride as we motor into Smuggler's Cove before sunset on this beautiful evening. Tossing our anchor, we breathe a sigh of relief. We made it. Finally, we take a few moments to appreciate the quiet of the cove, the twilight colors, and the faintly visible crescent moon. For all of this, we are very grateful!
One month on board!
25 August 2019
One month living on the boat already-hard to believe! For the most part, I have appreciated the simplified lifestyle and am pleased that we are doing our part to start living off the grid as much as possible with our solar power. Honestly, we admitted to ourselves that we do not miss having the house. I suppose because it was such a short time (less than five years), we didn't get overly attached and neither one of us is much of a collector. I don't miss the chores and upkeep, but feel a touch of regret without fresh roses from my garden all the time! Oh, and the bathroom being down the hall!
I would talk about our routine, but we really don't have one... yet. Each day is mostly about running through our to-do checklists, crossing things off, then adding more at the bottom. We feel so fortunate to have other sailors on the dock who are doing the Baha Ha-Ha with us. Together we are working through the intricacies of Mexican paperwork, since we both were faced with the dire news that our boats had previous Temporary Import Permits which were never cancelled, assuring us a huge hassle and a trip down to Tijuana to cancel the old one and acquire the new one. Luckily, some problems can "go away" for the right price. They found a company who can cancel the old TIP, and worked through the process ahead of us, for which we are grateful! Add that to next week's To Do list, along with Mexican Liability Insurance and a third trip to the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles for a new TIP once this old one is cancelled!
Meanwhile, the mast project is done, and Rolf is onto the Hydrovane installation, which necessitates hand sanding wooden blocks to fit the shape of our transom, along with further details and testing of our water maker, the Spectra Ventura 150. I continue to feel a little guilty over my emphasis on making sure I am seeing friends and attending to social commitments before we leave next Saturday, but that is very important to me. The question that keeps coming up concerns whose idea this was, Rolf's or mine. Many people are excited for us, and others admit they would never consider a trip like this in a million years! Truthfully, we both have different goals, which we are hoping can mesh on a trip like this. He is full of passion for sailing and looks so forward to the isolation and downtime of the journey itself as well as building his sailing skills. For me, however, I get my energy from people. So I am looking forward to meeting new friends and the cultural experiences to be found in new destinations. (A bit stereotypical as we are finding from talking to many other cruisers). I still have my concerns about how I will fare on long passages and have not entirely committed to the "puddle jump" crossing to French Polynesia next March. The good news is that there are already three committed crew members for that leg, so I can successfully put off that decision until we see how things in Mexico play out.
We are so far pleased with most of the progress in organizing the tools, supplies, and possessions on the boat. We are (almost) able to drop the rest of the stuff in the two cars off at storage this week before we head out. Finding space to work on projects is a bit more perplexing, along with constantly moving things about when the births serve as storage by day, and the galley counter top doubles as a work bench. A bit of extra patience and verbal tact can be helpful when you are not used to sharing small spaces. So far so good as we eagerly anticipate and plan for a week of "vacation" as we cruise around the Channel Islands and Catalina before we make it to Los Angeles Harbor.