to the Rat Race
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I had planned to end the log when we returned to San Diego but have received comments from friends saying they would be interested to hear about our reentry back into the "real" world. So, I'll continue to write, but not on a daily basis.
July 21, 2004: It's amazing what a good night's sleep will do for you! We'd already decided that today would be a day of few chores and relaxing. Cousin Tim arrived in time to have a cup of coffee with us. He stayed an hour or so and it was great to see him. After that, we had no choice but to attack the shower stall. The kitty litter pan has resided in it since Day One. Although I sweep it daily, there's always some litter that is shaken off the cats' feet onto the stall floor. Well, the sump strainer got clogged and we didn't realize that water running down the sink was backing up into the shower. We had one heckuva mess to clean before we could take a shower. I talked to Pat, Linda and Colleen; Jim talked to his mom. It was so good to hear actual voices. I'm very glad that we had e-mail capability on the boat for the trip, but there's no substitute for hearing a voice. After dinner, I was walking the dock and ran into a man who looked familiar. We stared at each other for a minute before realizing we knew each other from La Paz! Basil came aboard Mañana and had a drink with Jim and me. It's a small world!
The USS Ronald Reagan
July 23, 2004: Tim was at the boat bright and early; the USS Ronald Reagan was coming to San Diego and he was at the park at the head of the dock. He invited us to join his group and said he'd drive us downtown afterwards. We joined Tim's group at 0900. There was a large crowd at the park; many people wore patriotic T-shirts or hats, some carried small flags. The USS Ronald Reagan arrived at 0930 escorted by the Coast Guard and several fire boats with their hoses spraying water. Additionally, there were probably 100 private pleasure boats following. We had to wait almost 2 hours for the traffic to subside before we could go downtown. Jim and my first stop was to buy a cell phone. Now that we're back in the rat race, we felt a cell phone was a necessity. After that, we hopped on the trolley with Chula Vista as our next stop. Someone had told us it was a 5 min. walk from the trolley station to the marinas. All I can say is that person must have had LONG legs! It was well over a mile each way. We stopped into the California Yacht Marina (CYM) and inquired about a slip. Unbelievably, they have a 45' slip opening up on 8/15 with no waiting list. The only problem is they require a survey. We went round and round with the dockmaster and finally (sort of) agreed that if we had and passed a survey, he'd let us in (we're an old wood boat and they don't like old wood boats...don't ask.) We filled out the application and left copies of our insurance, boat documentation and a photo. We also obtained the name of a surveyor. Then we walked over to the Chula Vista Marina. They had no vacancies and a 2 year liveaboard wait list. In this marina, if you're there one month, they consider you permanent, so the term "transient" means nothing. Since we're only planning to spend one year in Calif. we passed on filling out an application (they also wanted a nonrefundable deposit). We called Marv, the surveyor, and scheduled a survey for Monday afternoon. We stopped back at CYM and informed Lou so he knew we were serious about wanting the slip. We walked another mile plus back to the trolley and eventually back to the boat. We realized that we hadn't left Ruthie at the dinghy dock, and that meant that we had another 2 mile walk back to the police dock. Oh, our aching feet!
July 24, 2004: Shirley on the boat next to us here at the police dock invited me along to the little cottage she house sits for and then she offered to take me to Trader Joe's and Ralph's grocery store. The cottage is adorable and stands empty most of the time. She made me the offer that Jim and I could use it whenever we wanted a weekend on land as long as I'd give it a quick dusting/sweeping while there. What a deal! I picked up a case of Two Buck Chuck (wine) at Trader Joe's and then went to Ralph's for some fresh fruits and veggies. What a shocker! An avocado in Mexico was the equivalent of 10 cents - it was $1.99 at Ralph's. Needless to say, the avocados remained at the store! Jim thoroughly washed down the boat while I was out. She always looks much better when she's clean! Tim had invited us out to his house for dinner; we hadn't seen Elaine yet and she was headed for Israel in two days. We agreed to meet Tim at a trolley stop near the restaurant where he was picking up tonight's dinner. The first thing he did when we climbed in the car was to stick the most delicious-tasting roll in our mouths. This was a preview of dinner and we were already in heaven! It was great to see Elaine again and to see their condo -- they'd had it painted since we were last there. We were treated to a dinner consisting of ribs, a Greek salad and more of those rolls. We hadn't had a decent salad with lettuce in 7 months!! Tim drove us back to the boat at 2130.
July 26, 2004: I polished the rails and portlight trims in the morning before Marv arrived. Mañana's cosmetics aren't the greatest, but I figured it couldn't hurt! Marv arrived on time and proceeded with the in-water survey. He went through the boat, asking questions and looking and testing just about everything on board. He finished the survey a couple hours later, saying that Mañana was a pleasure to survey; it was obvious that she was loved and we were doing things right. In addition, he lowered his fee from $10/ft to $9/ft. Needless to say, Jim and I were both very pleased. We asked him if he'd call Lou at CYM to give him a heads up on our boat.
July 27, 2004: We are still at the police dock in San Diego and the caliber of many of the other cruisers leaves much to be desired, which distresses us quite a bit. On one side of us is an old wood Pacemaker. Scott spent $300/gallon for paint, but the engine doesn't run. He came in the same day we did and said he was staying 5 days; he's well past the 5 days. The other dock appears to be full of really derelict boats; there are 2 sailboats without masts and a couple more with masts but are so covered with "stuff" that it's impossible for someone to walk the decks. Many of the boats were towed in by dinghies. Also on the other dock is a boat named Lickity Split who has an engine with a loose fan belt. He loves to start and rev his engines at 0700. He has yet to adjust his fan belt. One of the other boats has a cockatoo that screeches at anyone who comes near it. This is a totally different crowd than who was here last November, when cruisers occupied these slips. We're sure that when marinas hear that we're liveaboards on an old wood boat, they picture the derelicts that we're currently seeing. I was invited to join the inaugural meeting of San Diego's Women Aboard chapter. Elaine transported me back and forth -- there were 5 women present and I was the only one who had ever attended a meeting, so I spent a lot of time advising Elaine on how it's done in the NW. In reality, my membership ran out last month, but with no income, renewing it is at the bottom of the list. Elaine lives aboard her boat at CYM -- perhaps we'll be neighbors soon!
July 28, 2004: It was time for us to visit the Mexican Consulate to straighten out our Mexican FM-3 visas. We hopped on a trolley thinking the address was 5th and India. We got off at 5th and started walking...and walking...and walking. Eventually I asked someone how many more blocks there were before we got to India. We were told that India paralleled 5th -- we would have walked to Seattle and never intercepted it!! So we headed in the direction that we were pointed and decided we'd better check the address in a phone book. Oops! Well, we had the India Street right but it was no where near 5th! We finally found the Consulate. We told the clerk we had a couple of problems: One - we'd never established a permanent residence in Mexico. She told us it wasn't necessary because we were on a boat and that it was only necessary if we were going to cruise Mexico for many years straight or we were going to buy property and wanted to become permanent residents. Our 2nd problem was that we weren't going to be in Mexico to renew our visa in Nov. because we'd run out of money and had to return to the States to work. Again, she said it wasn't going to be a problem and that we could reapply for a new FM-3 visa when/if we decide to return to Mexico. We were relieved, but wondered who should we really believe --the Mexican Consulate who should know the law, or the Mexican Immigration officials who interpret the law? For now we'll believe the Mexican Consulate. We walked around downtown before returning to Shelter Island. Our mail arrived at Downwind -- hooray -- mail call! We returned to the boat and opened the mail. A couple of months ago we noticed some fraudulent charges against one of our credit cards. Dealing with it from Mexico was a real pain, and apparently it's not fixed yet. Jim ultimately telephoned the company charging us. He was told a R. G. had placed the order using our address. The customer service rep was very helpful. Jim next called our mail forwarding company to see if this R. G. has been receiving any mail ("no"). This is the 2nd fraudulent charge against our credit card; we'd cleared up the first offense back in March, but now we're wondering if it, too, had been by Mr. (should I give him the courtesy of referring to him as "Mr."?) G. The amounts weren't that large and if we had a normal life on land where we used our cards a lot, we probably wouldn't have even noticed them. What bothers us is this card was one that we didn't use at all -- we considered it as our emergency back-up, so charges against it stood out like a sore thumb. We can't figure out how this visa account number was accessed. Marv called to say that his written survey was ready and that he was valuing the boat, in its current condition, at $65,000. We were pleased with the valuation. He mentioned that he had spoken to Lou. Jim called CYM but Lou wasn't in -- we're both afraid to get our hope up and think that the slip will be ours (but I'll be seriously ticked if Lou says no after we paid the $$ for the survey.)
(Updated November 22, 2006: R.G. sent us a nasty email threatening to send his lawyers after us if we didn't remove his name from our website. Apparently he is either extremely brazen, or deluded enough to believe that he is the only person in the entire world with his name.)
July 29, 2004: John (Pelican) surprised us with a visit this morning. He stayed for a cup of coffee and we chatted for a while. He'll be in the area for another week. Jim got a call from Lou saying he'd received our survey and we were the exact type of clients they wanted in the marina. He finally used the word "live aboard" and told us there was a waiting list. After a brief conversation, Lou asked if we had mentioned that we'd be looking for an apartment. Jim said no but then wondered if Lou was giving us an opening. Lou said he'd forward our application on to the powers that be and we'll keep our fingers crossed. We were totally bummed out after that call. Jim spent an hour phoning all the marinas in the area asking about slip availability for live aboard and was told the wait was anywhere from 6 mos. to 5 years. We do have an alternative, but it would mean doing the San Diego shuffle from anchorage to anchorage and utilizing reciprocal spaces from yacht clubs. I don't really want to be on the move every other day, especially when we'll be working. I made the decision to find a used clothing store over the weekend and will check in with an agency on Monday. My goal will be to find a job in the downtown core.
Sailboat Racing for Kids
July 30, 2004: Our ten days at the police dock were up and we won't be able to come back here for another 30 days. Jim had requested a permit to anchor in the La Playa anchorage a couple of days ago, so we headed over there midmorning, before the winds and crowds arrived. It took a couple of tries to set the anchor -- the holding is mud. At one point we were in the middle of a race of small sailboats skippered by 6 or 7 year olds. There is no shortage of wind in San Diego and sailing is obviously a huge sport here! By the end of the day, we had boats all around us and I was feeling very uncomfortable. Sail and power boats passed by us sometimes so close that we were amazed that they hadn't wrapped our anchor chain around their prop. It's been a long time since we've been around crowds, but it felt good to be at anchor.
July 31, 2004: We went ashore and walked a mile to the grocery store; Tim and Ed are coming for dinner. We put our purchases in our backpacks and returned to the boat. More boats managed to squeeze into the small anchorage, but it was quiet and thankfully the wind didn't blow so no one dragged. In the afternoon, a powerboat went by us with a wedding party and minister on board followed by 8 or 10 dinghies, one of which had a small cannon on its bow. Thirty minutes or so later, we heard a loud BOOM! and then a lovely small wood runabout went by with the captain and passenger in the front seat and the bride and groom in the back (the bride was under an old fashioned parasol). The boats around us honked their horns as the boat passed by. Tim and Ed arrived around 1745. The menu was dorado, rice, green beans, salad and cake. As Ed's a gourmet chef, we'd asked him if he would make a sauce to accompany the fish. He made a delicious beurre blanc using Meyers coconut rum, pineapple juice, whipping cream and 1 1/2 sticks of butter (no calories there!) and a salsa made up of red pepper, papaya, red onion, pineapple, serrano chili, cilantro and the juice of a freshly squeezed lime. Yummm! It's too bad that I screwed up the rice and forgot to make the salad, but the pineapple cake was a hit. I hope this Cruiseheimers goes away soon!
Aug. 1, 2004: After breakfast, I sanded and wiped down a door frame and the lower rails before putting coat one of varnish on them. I put coat #2 on after lunch. Then we headed ashore to pick up some chicken and the Sunday newspaper. It's time to get serious about looking for work. We discussed the possibility of doing the San Diego shuffle for the next year. It would be quite a challenge, but we'd have $9000 in our pockets. We're also contemplating not buying a car. We think we'll be able to get around on foot with backpacks and perhaps rent a car once a month when we have to do serious shopping. The transit system seems to be pretty good here and it may be more economical to use it rather than to buy a car. Resumes need to be updated but we need to get ourselves a local address. I imagine we'll rent a mailbox, but it would be nice to be able to get our mail somewhere near where the boat is, and of course, it would be nice to work near the boat, too! Ah, the joys of being gypsies! I never did go out looking for work clothes; there's always mañana! The anchorage thinned out quite a bit during the day -- the only ones here are those of us with either no place to go or no job to go to tomorrow morning. Actually, we've reserved a reciprocal slip for the next three days with the Silver Gate Yacht Club.
Aug. 2, 2004: We moved into the reciprocal slip at Silver Gate and checked out the facilities. It's a nice place and has everything except a laundromat, which is what I'm really in need of right now. Additionally, everyone here is very friendly. We asked if we could spend one more night here; the slip owner will be back on Friday and normally they like the slip to be open a day before the anticipated return, just in case the owner comes home early. Thursday night is "chili, soup and a movie" night. It sounds like it might be fun. Late in the afternoon I noticed a couple walking down the dock and thought I recognized them. I asked Jim if they looked familiar (after all, we don't know anyone in San Diego) and he went outside and asked if they'd been in Nuevo Vallarta in March -- yes, they had! We'd chatted with Bill the few times we'd visited Vallarta Yacht Club. Talk about a small world!
Aug. 3, 2004: I ran into Bill's wife, Karen, in the ladies room. She mentioned that they have a pump in the head that needs to be replaced and was wondering if Jim might be able to do it for them (Bill had a heart attack in May). Bill stopped by a little while later and talked to Jim about it. Jim would need to see the location before saying yes or no. As Bill and Karen had company coming, they decided to touch base another day. We'll see... We called Lou to see if he'd heard anything back about the slip at CYM. He's still waiting for an official answer from the powers that be, but said "the live aboard side of things was the bug aboo." He did say we could have 30 days to find an apartment. Jim and I talked it over again, but financially, it just makes no sense. We checked the Sunday paper for rooms, but they seem to be in the $500 plus utilities a month range. He made many calls looking for a slip to sublet, but to no avail. Additionally he called the mooring ball company and was told there's a 2 year wait for a ball. There was a sublet available until the end of the month at $7.50/day. But you get nothing except a legal place to put the boat. In the meantime, we can still get 90 days in the cruisers anchorage (although there are no permits available at the present time) and we can move down to the A-8 anchorage, which everyone who lives here says "don't do." Jim discovered that the yacht club has a computer available for internet access so he spent quality time looking for jobs. I called Kenworth and asked previous supervisors if I could use them as a reference. I'm still varnishing the rails and door trim. We aren't too far away from a restaurant/club called Humphrey's, which is on the bay on Shelter Island. The group "Heart" was performing and they sounded good. B.B. King and Dr. John are performing this coming Friday and Brad Paisley will be there Sunday. We've been told that boaters sit in their dinghies under the stage listening to the music. It's our intention to take Ruthie over to hear the music. We understand that some of the musicians have made comments about the cheap boaters who take in the concert for free, but it doesn't appear that anything comes of it. Hey, "free" is a GOOD 4-letter word!
Aug. 4, 2004: I was up very early with lots of energy and got the fifth coat of varnish on the door trim. Then I composed a half dozen cover letters to go with my resume, although I was missing an actual street address. I contacted the employment agency and got an interview for tomorrow morning, after which I dug my shoes out of the closet. My poor feet protested wildly (I've worn nothing but sandals for the last 2 years) but they are going to have to suffer for a while. We stopped by a mail box rental place to get a local address and then took the bus to a nearby shopping plaza so I could buy some interview clothes. While I was picking out two outfits, Jim was doing some shopping in Radio Shack and Circuit City. We returned to the boat at 1715, fed the cats, changed our tops and went to the yacht club for dinner, which is proper yacht club reciprocal manners. After dinner, we grabbed jackets and walked the docks.
Aug. 5, 2004: I climbed out of bed early and went up to the shower. This is a nice yacht club -- there's a hair dryer and scale (okay, so it's not QUITE so nice!) in the ladies room. I had a nice hot shower and actually dried my hair with the hair dryer, hoping to give it a little volume. I can't do anything the gray hairs at this time. I returned to the boat, had breakfast, put on a pair of pantyhose (yuk!) and my new suit, and headed out. Jim gave me a kiss for good luck. My appointment was for 1100. These days, everything is done online, so I took 30 min. to input my resume into Office Team's computer. After that, I spent about 3 hours taking test after test of various Microsoft softwares (Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Outlook). Each of those had a 50 questions/30 min. total time; in addition there were 50 questions that determined whether or not I knew how to spell, add, subtract and business etiquette. In the middle of that was a 5 min. typing test (I got 74 wpm with no errors). After that, I sat with a job counselor. Surprisingly, although I've been out of the business for 2 years, I scored a 84% in Word, 81% in PowerPoint and 78% in Excel. I did pretty good in Outlook and the math, etc. tests as well. I guess I'm not quite as rusty as I thought I was. The counselor and I chatted to determine what type of job I'm interested in and what type of pay I'm looking for. Isn't everybody looking for the most pay they can get?? Although she told me she could place me in an Executive Assistant position at $50,000, I told her I wasn't interested. For one thing, I'm still trying to adjust to living back in the rat race and didn't want to add any more stress than necessary. In the second place, Jim and I share one closet and an Exec. Asst. position would entail a fancy wardrobe. So, with luck, I'll be placed in a Senior Admin. Asst. position, hopefully with a company that believes in business casual clothes. In the meantime, I'll probably do some temporary work, just to get a few dollars coming in. I left Office Team at 1530, thoroughly brain dead and very hungry. I walked up to the Greyhound station and purchased 2 tickets to Tijuana next Tues. We plan to ride the bus down with the Encanto family and hang out with them until their bus for La Paz leaves. I finally returned to the boat; Jim greeted me with a nice cold gin & tonic and a kiss. We chatted about the day and then headed up to the clubhouse -- tonight is chili and a movie night. The chili was all you could eat for $2.50 and the movie was Hidalgo, about a cowboy who raced his horse 3000 miles across the desert sands of Arabia (or someplace over there). As we walked down the dock back to our boat after the movie, we stopped to listen to Smokey Robinson perform over at Humphrey's. He still sounds very smooth!
Aug. 6, 2004: We filled the water tank and emptied the trash before leaving our reciprocal slip at 0930. It took only 5 minutes to get to the La Playa anchorage. After lunch I headed off to the laundromat and Jim went to the internet cafe. We returned to the boat a couple hours later. Dr. John and B.B. King were performing at Humphrey's and we'd decided we wanted to listen to the performance. We had an early dinner, bundled ourselves up and headed across the bay in Ruthie. There were about 50 small boats (18' boats, dinghies, kayaks, rubber rafts, etc.) all rafted off one another. We found an open spot and tied ourselves to another boat; then we settled back and enjoyed the crowd and the music. Dr. John was terrific, as was B.B., but I felt B.B. talked too much. A good majority of the boats around us were drinking beer/wine and we wondered what it was going to be like when the evening came to an end (the area we were in was so tight that we didn't have room to turn Ruthie around.) The evening dew rolled in, getting everything damp and chilling us a bit. We left as B.B. was winding down his act. We had to paddle Ruthie backwards to get out! We were on board Mañana within 10 min. and watched the parade of boats leave. I would have liked to be on the dock to see how everyone got out.
Sailing Competition in LaPlaya Anchorage
Aug. 7, 2004: We went grocery shopping in the morning and returned in time to watch J-80 sailboat races (fast boats). In fact, the rounding mark had been placed just forward of Mañana's bow so we had what Jim considered to be a perfect viewing spot. Personally, I was a nervous wreck watching the boats racing each other come at us, a couple of times close enough that the crew members had their hands out to fend off our bow sprit. I went outside with the camera and another boat was coming so close that I said "Leave the anchor in place, boys!" Finally, several hours later a committee boat came by to pick up the mark and told us that the racing was over for the day but they'd be back tomorrow at 1100 -- oh, great! Tim called and invited us to dinner at his house tomorrow evening.
Aug. 8, 2004: The races started but the sailboat next to us called someone and complained, so the race was redirected elsewhere. Jim called the Chula Vista Marina and was able to secure a 30-day guest slip beginning tomorrow. One month down, 11 more to go. Tim met us at the La Mesa trolley stop at 1730. Ed cooked steaks, corn on the cob and pineapple slices on the grill. Great food! Tim then drove us back to our dinghy at 2200.
Aug. 9, 2004: We were underway by 0730 and had the channel all the way to Chula Vista pretty much to ourselves. We passed the A-8 anchorage on our way. We now understand why the locals we've met say we don't want to go there -- we saw at least 7 sunken boats and there were lots more that looked like they weren't too far away from going under. Unfortunately San Diego doesn't offer anything else. I often question whether staying here is a smart idea. I know Jim wants to return to Mexico. Personally, I'm sick of cruising and would like to just stay put for a while. The slip at CYM is not going to happen, despite the fact that we had and passed a survey. We'll just write it off that Lou is a butt-head. We arrived Chula Vista at 0915. The slips are very narrow -- I had our fenders out on both sides and Mañana wouldn't fit (these are single slips). Jim had to back the boat up while I ran around deck pulling up the fenders. Once secured, we registered with the office. It's a nice marina but the list of things "Not Allowed" is very long. Jim headed off to a job fair at General Dynamics; he thinks he wants to work on boats and they were looking for inexperienced people to train. From there, he went to West Marine and the Water Maker Store as both stores are looking for help.
Aug. 10, 2004: Happy Birthday, Jim! We left the boat at 0520 for the 1.5 mile walk to the trolley to San Diego, where we met up with our friends from Encanto. We took the Greyhound Bus to Tijuana together, catching up with what's been going on. When we got to Customs in Mexico, the bus driver told everyone to get off the bus. The Customs officer then told everyone to unload their luggage for inspection. John and Judy were loaded down with LOTS of bags and boxes (10 checked pieces and 6 carry-ons) so we helped unload it off the bus. Next came the red light/green light game. The two people in front of John both got red lights and had their bags searched and duty collected for anything above the legal import limit. John hit the button and received the green light. Hooray!! The six of us wasted no time in shuffling all the baggage back onto the bus. We had 3 hours to chat before their connecting bus left for La Paz. We hated to see them walk through the door to their bus; we don't know if/when we'll see them again as they are headed to the Marquesas in March. Jim was ready to head back to La Paz with them and I'm not sure how I feel. I would like to go back to Mexico, but I don't want to go by boat...yet. The cruising lifestyle is so rewarding and it makes life on land seem so shallow. Truly, WHO CARES about the majority of the stories in the news? Can you do anything about it? No! Has hearing the news enriched your life? No! We're back here and people around us are talking about this or that and we're totally clueless and that feels just fine. Ah, but I digress! We took the next bus back to San Diego, arriving back at the marina at 1600. After dinner we went up to the restaurant at the top of the dock where we split a Brownie Supreme (brownie, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and caramel and chocolate sauce drizzled all over) to celebrate Jim's birthday. Urp!!
Aug. 11, 2004: I sanded the lower rails in preparation for varnish. Unfortunately the winds were blowing by the time I finished, so I'll varnish in the morning. After lunch we went for a walk to explore the swimming pool/spa in the RV park and then walked to the park along the water's edge, where we watched a guy kite surf. There is no shortage of wind in the afternoons in San Diego and we figure he must have been going at least 15 kts. Wow -- just amazing! When we returned, Jim put a call into Fabio to have him make a support bar for the davits. If we have to, we can temporarily secure solar panels to it. We listened to the evening net and said a special hello to all our friends who are currently battling the heat and swatting bees up in the upper Sea of Cortez, and to Encanto, who checked in. We miss everyone terribly and find adjusting to life on land difficult without the support of cruisers who have "been there and done that". I sent off two more resumes but have heard nothing from no one.
Aug. 12, 2004: While I was putting a coat of varnish on the rails, Jim was busy detaching the windlass and de-installing the fuel flow display. After lunch we caught the bus to downtown Chula Vista and shipped both items back to the manufacturers; the windlass is working fine but we were being proactive regarding maintenance on it and the fuel flow display had stopped working properly shortly after we arrived in San Diego last November. As it was under warranty, we put the company on notice of it being defective and told them we'd return it when we returned in the summer. Eileen, who works in the marina office, has taken a liking to us and invited us to her boat for happy hour. She told Jim there's a full-time opening for help in the marina office; the pay isn't great, but if we could get in here, the commute would be terrific! We arrived at 1800 with a bottle of wine and some crackers and Mexican sardines. She and her husband are hoping to leave here within the next year and wanted to pick our brains (but I don't think he liked my bee story). At 2000, after her son went to bed, we moved the party down to Nancy's, the marina office manager. She, too, has taken a liking to us and insinuated she will do what she can to get us into the marina. We returned to Mañana around 2130.
Aug. 13, 2004: I received a phone call from one of the companies where I had faxed my resume. I have an interview Monday morning; it's in downtown San Diego somewhere...all I have to do is figure out how to get there, wherever "there" is! Elaine, the lady who's starting the Women Aboard chapter in San Diego, came over at 1400. She lives aboard at CYM, where we we tried to get into. We chatted for a couple of hours while Jim did some wood working around the starboard door. She is leaving for Canada at the end of the month and offered us the use of her car while she's gone. The support bar for the davits is finished, but we aren't sure how to get it from San Diego to Chula Vista as it's 108" long -- definitely too long for public transportation! Adrian, Eileen's son, stopped by to say he was going to be able to celebrate his birthday a day early and we were invited to his boat at 1900 for cake and ice cream. We were honored to be invited after having just met them yesterday. We quickly scoured the boat for a gift and card suitable for a 10 year old. At 1900 we walked over to A dock and were introduced to a few other people and once again, comments were made about seeing what could be done to get us into the marina.
Aug. 14, 2004: I put another coat of varnish on the rails while Jim continued reloading the softwares, etc. onto the laptop (he put a larger hard drive into it the other day). Afterwards, we took the bus into Chula Vista and did some grocery shopping. Albertson's had a great sale on country style ribs for $.97/lb and London broil steaks for $1.57/lb if you bought the Value-Pack size. That was fine with us. We were quick enough that we were able to catch the next bus back (the buses run every hour). On our return trip, I noticed a quilters shop...oh boy! Will have to check that out soon! Jim vacuum bagged the meats when we got back to the boat and froze all but one. Nancy stopped by in the evening and invited us to her boat for dinner tomorrow night -- shark is on the menu. She also whispered that we need to fill out an application and she's going to do her best to get us in here full-time, but said it might not be until November. Jim told her I'll be stopping by on Monday to fill out the application for the marina office job. Perhaps that will help secure us a slip.
Aug. 15, 2004: The Cappon family arrived from Huntington Beach at 1130 and we spent the day together; the RV park came in very handy for entertaining two energetic boys. After a picnic lunch, the boys played on some playground equipment at the park and then we all went to the pool. All the guys went in the water and Sue and I sat on chaise lounges and chatted girl talk. When the guys were pruned, we moved the party to the Seaport Village in San Diego, where we all had a frozen yogurt (a single scoop of ice cream was over $3.50 -- that's as bad as Sausalito!). They dropped us back at the marina at 1845 and we headed over to Nancy and Greg's. Eileen and Jamie were there as well as another cruising couple, Chris and Heather. Heather loves to buy material and asked for advice in making a pattern she bought in Hawaii. Nancy served thresher shark and country style spare ribs. I don't know what a thresher shark looks like, and I pray I never hook one on my fishing pole, but it was very good -- mild tasting white meat.
Aug. 16, 2004: I caught the 0830 bus to go to the job interview. Although the company is downtown, it is a bus ride away from the trolley stop. Additionally, the first trip on the local shuttle bus is 0730, which means I'll have to walk 30 min. just to get to the trolley. The commute will be a minimum of one hour each way. I couldn't get a read on how the interview went, but the company does not have a business casual dress code. Benefits/salary were not discussed. I won't hear anything until next week. While I was interviewing, Jim went to Shelter Island to run some errands. Fabio will deliver the support bar tomorrow, which is good because Jim said it would have been too long to be allowed on the bus. He also filled out the slip application form. Our fingers are crossed that we'll be able to stay here for the next year. We've started making friends -- it's our turn to reciprocate the happy hour/dinner.
Don't Ask Your Love to Choose
By Eileen Quinn
He says come on mother, our children are grown
it's time we were living the life of our own.
and she knows with that boat he's like a dog with a bone
she looks at the sea and her heart sinks like a stone.
life is a compromise, love's not a test
don't ask your love to choose what he loves best.
she's a little unsure but willing to try
now she's packing her memories away with a sigh
and they're casting off docklines, waving goodbye
he tries not to notice the tear in her eye.
sailing on slowly from place to place
he loves the sea and the wide open space
and he's thinking he's lucky he checked out of the race
she's thinking her grandchildren won't know her face.
now they've been out there three years
when he says to her I'm having the time of my life
feel like I'm in my prime
but to her it still feels like an uphill climb
seems like she's saying goodbye all the time.
then she says to him one day
you know I've done what I can
but I miss my family and my friends and
it's time we swallowed the hook
what do you say old man?
he's sad and he's silent but he's turning for land.
life is a compromise, love's not a test
don't ask your love to choose what she loves best.
back a year and seen grandkids maybe three times or four
she's a little surprised to find her days are a bore
and her wonderful garden is nothing but a chore
he laughs when she says let's go cruising once more.
life is a compromise, love's not a test
you're lucky if your love loves what you love best.
Aug. 18, 2004: I spent the night tossing and turning. By morning, I knew in my heart that I didn't want to continue cruising. I surprised myself at how good a time I had in Point A and Point B, but I really did not enjoy being underway. And while there were spots we wanted to return to, I just couldn't face doing another 3500 nm for 4 months. Jim and I talked about it over breakfast; I know he was disappointed but he didn't try to change my mind. We agreed to head back to the Northwest some time around Labor Day, depending on when our anchor windlass is returned. I let Nancy know so she wouldn't spend any more time trying to shuffle things around for us. Jim spent part of the day working on the bow pulpit where the anchor windlass had been and the other part trying to figure out a glitch in our computer. I took the bus to the quilt shop :-) and returned with a few pieces of beautiful fabric. What a pleasure it was to fondle the fabric! Jim loved the material and asked if I could make something for Mañana as well. I have enough material and will enjoy doing so.
Aug. 19, 2004: I left Jim working on the bow pulpit while I went food shopping with Elaine from Women Aboard. She took me to a Chinese grocery store where the "aroma" of fish was as strong as the public markets in Mexico. It was a huge store, probably 80% of the products were from China or Japan. I didn't have a clue what a lot of the items were despite the pictures on the packages and there were some fruits and vegetables that I'd never seen before. They also sold duck feet, whereas in Mexico they sell chicken feet. From there we went to Albertsons for a few more groceries and I was back at the marina in time for lunch. The boat's foredeck looked like a bomb had exploded on it and Jim told me he had good news and bad news. Looking at a torn-apart bow pulpit and holes in the deck, I couldn't imagine what the good news could be. Jim said the good news was he'd caught the rot in time and wouldn't have to replace the deck. Yup, that is very good news! It took him several more hours of chiseling rotted laminated wood before he came to solid wood. He wants to redesign the area so that the air can circulate and dry any water. I visited with Heather to check out her sewing project. Her challenge is a paper pieced quilt pattern. I'm not fond of paper piecing, but I have two more paper pieced squares to make for my memory quilt so we'll do it together next week. At 1800 we walked to CYM and had dinner with Elaine. She made Vietnamese curried chicken and showed us pictures of her trip to Paris, Tunisia (she and a friend spent a night camped out on the Sahara desert) and China. What spectacular photographs and adventures!
Aug. 21, 2004: The marina hosted a BBQ for the marina tenants in the afternoon. They served hotdogs and hamburgers with all the trimmings and the attendees provided side dishes and desserts. What a feast! A DJ played a variety of music and had all the kids up doing the Chicken Dance and Macarena. We met several people and were told of many good cruising spots that we should check out on our trip north.
Aug. 22, 2004: We removed the bimini canvas and I hosed it off on the dock. You should have seen all the brown dirt roll off it! So much for California's ridiculous EPA law that says you can't put anything foreign into the water (the way the law is written, it is illegal for rain to fall into San Diego Harbor). I happily hosed Mexican dirt into the harbor until the bimini was navy blue once again. It was a challenge putting the bimini back on the rails: (1) it was VERY heavy because it was wet, (2) the wind was blowing and (3) we didn't make note of which end was the front. So naturally, we put it on backwards the first time and had to take it down and do it again. The wind was blowing it and although I was trying to keep the bimini from blowing around, I wasn't overly successful and it made it tough for Jim to zip it on the rails. Our antics might have been worth a few dollars as a comedy show.
Hope it Doesn't Rain!
Aug. 23, 2004: I left Jim working on the fore deck while I went shopping. On Saturday someone told me of another fabric store where I might be able to find braid for the rug in our main saloon. It was a couple long blocks from the bus stop but worth the walk. They had a great selection of all fabrics and trims. Afterwards, I took the bus to the grocery store, filled my backpack and another bag and returned to the boat. Jim was chiseling away at the rot -- the hole keeps growing! It is now approximately 3' square and the rot infiltrated deep into the deck so you can now look through the hole and see the interior of the boat. He has a lead on some new marine plywood and someone has offered him the use of their truck for him to bring it back to the boat.
Aug. 25, 2004: Jim put a call into Ideal Windlass early. They now tell him that they have a backlog of work; they are currently working on order #92 and we're #98. With luck, they'll have some news for us by Friday. Heather came over midmorning with her quilt pattern and we worked on our respective paper piecing projects together. While we were doing that, Jim borrowed Roger's truck and went to pick up the plywood. Jim said he felt quite nervous driving on the California highways with all the crazy (and FAST) drivers and gripped the steering wheel with both hands. He felt like he was moving along at a very good clip but cars were speeding by him. So he looked down at the speedometer and saw he was only doing 50 mph! (20 mph feels really fast after traveling over 5500 miles going 7 mph). When he got to the lumber yard, he was told that the store screwed up and the wood hadn't gotten on the truck. Jim let them know he wasn't very pleased. Heather left after lunch but I continued sewing and finished the little turtle square I'd started. Once that was done, I worked on the oriental scroll that Jim had requested. By late afternoon it was completed and hanging on our aft cabin wall -- it looks great if I say so myself!
Aug. 27, 2004: I masked off the flybridge rails that I'd sanded yesterday and spent 3 hours putting a coat of varnish on them. While I was doing that, Jim went to pick up the plywood. After lunch I helped him cut it down to a more manageable size and then left to run errands on Shelter Island, which took all afternoon. Jim epoxied a butt block into the opening to support the plywood and cut and epoxied the plywood itself. Another call to Ideal Windlass indicated still nothing to report except the shop is now working on #96. Jim told them we need to leave San Diego around Labor Day so time is of the essence. Over the past week Jim's been helping and teaching Ron, who's on the trawler next to us, about the systems on his boat. Ron used to have an old sailboat with virtually no systems and his new-to-him boat is loaded with complex systems. Jim troubleshooted and fixed Ron's autopilot last weekend. Then earlier this week Ron's bilge pump was cycling on a regular basis but Ron didn't know why. Jim told him to check a few things but nothing was found. So Jim went on board (Ron's recently had back surgery and can't crawl around) and started looking. He found a few loose hose clamps and also discovered the source of all the water in the bilge. Ron was quite upset because he'd had the old leaky packing glands replaced two weeks ago. Ron called the mechanic and was given the okay to tighten them, which Jim did. For dinner, we decided to splurge and had really good burgers and fries at the marina restaurant.
Aug. 29, 2004: Jim had a craving for pancakes and the RV park puts on a breakfast for $3.00 every Sunday morning that includes pancakes, OJ and coffee, so guess where we had breakfast? For an extra dollar, you get 3 sausages. We sat with a couple who is new to RV'ing and it was very interesting comparing our gypsy lifestyles. We left at 0930 as the sun had broken through the marine layer and I needed to put the last coat of varnish on the flybridge rails. Jim didn't start working on the foredeck until after lunch, at which time I took off to do a little food shopping as Elaine was joining us for dinner. She arrived at 1800 and gave Jim a lesson on how to run her little Toyota Corolla. We had a nice dinner but she left early so she could return to her boat to pack her suitcase...she's off to Ontario, Canada tomorrow for 6 weeks. Jim drove her back to her marina -- we can't thank her enough for the use of her car while we're here and she's not!
Aug. 30, 2004: After lunch we headed out to WalMart for a few items...$75 later (cat food, kitty litter, food) and we were trying to figure out where to stash everything as Elaine's car is FULL of her belongings (the car is her storage locker). And just to add to the amusement, we decided to check out The Grocery Outlet, a warehouse type store with very cheap prices that Elaine had raved about. We found several food items with deals too good to pass up. Elaine had told us they have a good selection of inexpensive wines so we circled that department for a few minutes as well. We bought three different bottles of wine, two of which were priced at $1.99. We decided to sample each bottle and if they are any good, we'll run back and buy more. It seems easier to do this than to drive to Trader Joe's. We then had to find a place in the car for yet more bags. I loaded all the groceries on the boat and scratched my head, trying to figure out what to do with some of the stuff, as the storage under the settee is already full of canned goods we brought back from Mexico. We found a home for everything, opened one of the wine bottles and judged it an excellent wine for $1.99. We checked into the evening net and learned that Encanto ran into a Chubasco (localized windstorm) and blew out their main sail. They sustained some damage to the boat and both sails, and John was bruised from being tossed around a bit in the large seas, but basically they are all fine. Judy had to have a serious talk with herself, giving herself the strength to be brave enough to continue cruising. Cruising is definitely NOT for the weak of mind, body or spirit. How I hope we have the favorable weather gods with us when we head north.
Aug. 31, 2004: As I was preparing the agenda for tonight's Women Aboard meeting, I received a phone call from Office Team saying they had a temporary job for me, beginning tomorrow and running through Sept. 10. I was very excited and decided that I would get my hair cut and go to Target to see about buying another blouse or two to stretch my two skirts. Jim had errands of his own to run so he dropped me off at SuperCuts and went on his way. We eventually met at Target and I bought a pretty light-weight sweater (I'm thinking ahead to living/working back in the Northwest) that I'll be able to wear down here as well. I was making an early dinner when Office Team called to say the client had changed their mind and I wouldn't be working after all. I was disappointed but it will be much easier getting the boat ready to go north if I have the time to devote to projects. We left the marina at 1830 and headed north to the Harbor Island Yacht Club for the Women Aboard meeting. Sadly, despite all of Elaine's efforts of advertising, no one showed up except the girl who opened the club for me. We hung around for 20 minutes hoping for late arrivals, but there were none. We returned back to the boat at 1945.
Sept. 1, 2004: The folks at Ideal Windlass called us (finally). They said the windlass motor was rebuilt once before and now the worm gear and the oil seals are shot and the motor cover is corroded. The short story is it wasn't a whole lot more $$ to pay for a new motor than to repair the old (the thing has lived a good life at 35 years old). But still, when all is said and done, it will be about $1000 for repairs and shipping. :-( Supposedly they will have it finished by next Tues. We'll believe it when they actually call us to say it's on its way back. The marina office wanted to know how much more time we'll be needing, as we're currently paid through 9/6. Jim told them we'd be gone by the 21st, come hell or high water, but we both really hope to be out of here before then. Jim is making good progress with the foredeck and bow pulpit repairs. We tried the second bottle of $1.99 wine and judged it to be very good.
Sept. 2, 2004: I tossed and turned for several hours thinking of the upcoming trip north. Logically I know there's nothing I can do about the seas and/or weather and worrying is wasted energy. Realistically I know we'll have some good travel days and some not-so-good days. Hopefully we'll be in safe anchorages for any horrible days. But last year at this time I was sweating bullets worrying about the unknown, and having made the trip south, now find myself worrying about the KNOWN! Jim teases me saying we all have to be good at something in life and my best trait is worrying. Guess I take after my dad in that category. Deep down inside, though, I know that Jim is an excellent skipper and even I've come a long way from where I was a year ago. Mañana is an excellent boat, designed for offshore cruising and will take care of us...and I firmly believe my mom and dad are looking down on us, putting in a good word for us to the Man above.
Sept. 3, 2004: I'm getting antsy, feeling like I've spent enough time here and it's time to get going. There are only a few boat projects I'm capable of doing and I'm getting frustrated. I feel like I should be doing SOMETHING. So...I decided to make it a day of sewing. That always makes me feel better. :-) My first project was to recover the black leather side chair with fabric that I purchased 1-1/2 years ago. I'd actually talked about doing this last March when we were in Nuevo Vallarta and had consulted with Mai on Sowelu. I had the chair recovered and looking quite tropical within a couple of hours. Jim headed off to the RV resort with the computer for internet access after lunch and my next chore was shorten and bind a rug that we purchased in Mexico. Jim returned in time for happy hour and I was just putting my sewing machine away, the main saloon looking like it had had a makeover.
Sept. 4, 2004: We went grocery shopping this morning and bought MORE food for the provisions side of things. The space under the settee and the freezer are now, officially, full! We also went a bit overboard in the refrigerated foods department; I don't think there's room for 1/2 tomato in it! I haven't a clue what I'm going to do with the 3 bean salad I'm making for tomorrow's dock party (the recipe says to make 24 hours ahead of time so flavors can blend). The RV park hosted a luau that started at 1530, an odd hour. But for $5.00 pp, you got a BBQ pork sandwich on a bun, Hawaiian rice (rice with corn...don't know what makes that Hawaiian but that's what they called it), macaroni salad, cole slaw and a slice of watermelon. Beer or wine was an additional $1.00. You can't beat that! At 1630 the Polynesian dance show started and concluded about an hour later with the flame dancer. The guy had his work cut out for him because the afternoon winds are always present, but he didn't set himself, the grounds or any guests on fire! All in all, a very nice way to spend a couple of hours. I overhead someone talking about the latest hurricane in Florida that was battering Fort Lauderdale (we don't have TV on board). I put a phone call in to my best friend, Sue, who lives in a mobile home just outside Fort Lauderdale. Not surprising, she wasn't home (they always evacuate) but I got her answering machine, which meant they still had power.
Sept. 5, 2004: It's HOT!! The thermometer in town reached 103 degrees; the one in the shade on our boat said 99.9. Jim put the first layer of fiberglass on the fore deck right after breakfast and then called it quits for the day. The RV park was hosting free hotdogs, popcorn and snowcones beginning at noon. Being broke cruisers, we were among the first in line! Afterwards we walked out to the pier, hoping the afternoon breeze would start early to cool things down. Dock A hosted a dock party that started at 1700. There were about a dozen people and, as always, lots of delicious food. Conversation topics varied widely as they will when there are so many people. We left the party early because we'd received an e-mail from Encanto saying John had signed up to be a net controller for the Bluewater Cruisers Net and this was his first night. Propagation was such that we could hear everyone very well and were able to check in to say hi. We enjoy hearing to the various boats check into the net -- it's fun remembering who was in what anchorage with us and what we did together. After the net concluded, we chatted with Philip and Leslie on Carina for a few minutes.
Sept. 6, 2004: Another hot day, but at least there was a slight breeze. We believe this heat and humidity is coming up from the hurricane down off the Baja coast. We found relief on the flybridge, where we sat and read for several hours. A diver was cleaning the bottom of the boat next to us. I joked with Dominic that I didn't want his displaced seaweed coming onto our boat! We've noticed a few barnacles growing on our bottom so Jim asked the diver how much it would cost to scrape a few spots on our hull, the rudder, the propellor and the distance log. We decided we could easily afford the $15 charge and it took the diver about 10 minutes to complete the task. Once he was finished, he told Jim the fee was only $5, which was nice of him. Scott and Vicky called us around 1500. They live in Arizona and own a 1974 40' DeFever that they keep in Mission Bay. They discovered our website last year while browsing the internet and Scott spent one day last November chauffeuring Jim around San Diego when we were trying to get the generator/watermaker running. They kept in touch with us on and off while we were cruising Mexico. We decided to drive up to Mission Bay to meet Vicky and see their boat. I really enjoy looking at DeFevers that are our size; I find it interesting comparing the similarities and differences between the boats. There were a few minor differences and Jim and I wondered where their two extra feet were, as the cabin sizes looked the same. We chatted for over an hour before walking to a nearby restaurant for a burger and fries, and continued to chat long after our plates had been taken away. Vicky told me she has no desire to cruise Mexico and asked if I thought it had been worth it. A year ago I would have told her "I don't want to visit Mexico either." but my answer on this evening was "Do it. All in all, we had a great time and really enjoyed the people and experience." They hope to cruise the boat north after retirement and tour the the Pacific Northwest. We enjoyed their company and invited them to Chula Vista to see Mañana before they return to Arizona.
Sept. 7, 2004: While I was at the laundromat this morning, I picked up a copy of today's newspaper and an issue of a magazine called Orange Coast. The newspaper headlines reported that 7 marines were killed by a suicide bomber...so it's okay with the government that we read that 7 soldiers were killed, but we aren't allowed to see pictures of flag-draped coffins. This makes no sense to me whatsoever. Hey "W", whether you like it or not, the words "soldiers killed" implies flag-draped coffins. The Orange Coast magazine was "interesting" (it specifically features businesses and "beautiful" people who live in Orange County, California). I started focusing on the business ads; I lost count at how many dentists "created" smiles and how many plastic surgeons "sculpted" bodies. Then I started reading the section for restaurants and came across one whose dress code was listed as "casual elegance". Now what in the hell does that mean? Would I be admitted if I showed up in Dockers and my diamond tiara? Have we been gone so long that we are totally out of touch with life, or is this another "only in California" item? (For the record, our good friends, Andy,Sue and family live in Orange County and they are normal people.) Jim says he thinks you have to live here to understand it...thank God we're headed back to the Northwest. I sure hope it's like we left it.
Sept. 8, 2004: Eileen, a marina office worker, invited me to go with her to UFO, an upholstery fabric store. Never one to pass up the opportunity to fondle fabric, I said yes and left Jim working on the boat. UFO had some beautiful materials, not cheap, but I found several that I'd love to redo the settee in. I bought a piece of foam large enough to act as a bolster for the helm seat back cushion. Maybe it'll be more comfortable if we can raise it up several inches. When we returned, I invited Eileen to stay for a cup of coffee and we ended up talking about a little bit of everything until 1400. Jim and I then headed out to a couple of Mexican markets here in town. We wanted to know if we could buy some specific groceries here, rather than lug them back from Mexico. One of the stores had a deli section and sold machaca, a shredded beef. In La Paz, the machaca was dried and we added lots of tomatoes to help rehydrate it. The machaca in this store had lots of gravy, and we wondered if Pedro had left out an ingredient when he gave us his mother's recipe. As we had no thoughts about what was for supper, we bought a pound of it. I served it over rice, and it was delicious. That market also sold the marinated chicken that resembled what the chicken lady in La Paz sold. We'll make sure we make a trip to this market before we leave Chula Vista.
Sept. 9, 2004: We were off to Mexico at 0700 with plans to spend a night in Ensenada. We caught the 0800 bus from Tijuana to Ensenada and at 0930, we were standing in front of the Gigante supermercado. I had a list of items we wanted to bring back with us, so we immediately started with the groceries, checking prices in the various stores as we walked around. Jim needed medicine and contact lenses -- we were able to buy his medicine with no questions asked. They don't care about prescriptions; just hand them pesos or US dollars and the farmacia is happy. We learned that his brand name of contacts has not been approved by the Mexican government so we weren't able to get them. (We weren't aware the Mexican government approved anything!) As we were walking towards the waterfront, we heard the horn of a cruise ship -- damn! That meant all the prices in town were up. Jim bought 2 kilos of smoked tuna, but none of the vendors that we'd remembered from last month were open and I couldn't find a tablecloth. By this point, we were realizing that we'd be able to do all our errands in one day and could catch an afternoon bus back to Tijuana. We weren't sure exactly where the bus terminal was so we started walking and asking directions. One person told us it was 4 blocks up and two blocks over to the left. We took bets on what that really meant but we were both wrong. It turned out the bus terminal was 8 blocks up and 1 block over to the right! We had lunch and then caught the 1300 bus back to Tijuana. We decided to walk around "TJ" looking for my tablecloth and one of the particular liquors Jim wanted. The liquor prices were a lot more than in Ensenada, but we found the bottle of Cuban rum that he wanted. So why is it against the law to bring a Cuban cigar into the country but it's okay to bring in a bottle of Cuban rum? I still didn't find a tablecloth and decided not to pursue it further. We got our salida out of the country from Imigracion and then walked across the street to the US Customs building. They asked a few questions and let us in. I guess we don't look like terrorists. We were back on the boat by 1630, totally wiped from a hot day of travel. We decided to get fish 'n chips to go from the restaurant at the top of the dock and afterwards, we put our bathing suits on and climbed into the hot tub at the RV park. Ahhh.....!
Sept. 11, 2004: Both of us worked on the foredeck for several hours after breakfast. Unfortunately, it's been quite dewy at night making it too wet to work on deck in the morning when it's cool out. The heat and humidity has continued all week and all the locals are telling us how unusual it is. We feel like we never left Mexico. I made smoked tuna sandwiches for lunch and then we walked down to the park where *Celebrate Chula Vista* was taking place. Tied up at the California Yacht Marina was MEDEA, a beautifully restored 1904 steam yacht. She was originally built by a very wealthy Scotsman to take him hunting. Then she was put into action during WWII as part of a top-secret intelligence-gathering operation with Norway and is now owned by the San Diego Maritime Museum. At the park, three stages (kids, culture and main) had performances going on and we watched a magician on the kids stage and listened to a new-age jazz group on the main stage. Both were quite good. There weren't too many people in attendance and I found the fair to be a disappointment -- there were many booths from various realtors and credit unions, a couple of food booths and there was a large police presence, but mostly in the way of sharing information. I would have liked to see some arts and crafts as well. We shared a lemonade and then returned to the marina, where the hydroplane, Miss Budweiser, was on display. Fireworks concluded *Celebrate Chula Vista* at 2100. We had front row seats from the bow of our boat and although they only lasted about 5 minutes, they were enough to totally freak DC out, which, in turn, freaked Jerry.
White Paint is Cool
Sept. 13, 2004: It's been a busy past two days with Jim continuing to work on the foredeck and I've been playing go-fer and varnishing. He put a coat of primer paint on the deck bright and early while it was still cool out. The windlass arrived in the morning and Jim immediately removed it from the box to make sure it was okay. He noticed that the new motor is different from our old one in that this new one can be wired for chain up and/or down. Our old motor only had chain up. We talked it over and Jim convinced me that he wanted to use the chain down capability. I wasn't very happy about it, mainly because it meant he had to buy more parts, make a couple more holes in the deck and this would set us back by a day. I'm currently chomping at the bit to get out of here. But it did make sense to install the foot pedal before we put the final paint and nonskid down. In mid-afternoon, I was curious how much difference in deck temperature the white paint made. Yesterday afternoon, our temperature raygun showed the deck to be 115 degrees before paint. It was 82 degrees after paint. It's amazing that one coat of paint made 30 degrees difference! We are hearing from friends and family that it is stormy in the Northwest and we recognize there's a chance that we won't make it all the way north before the weather totally shuts safe cruising down. We talked about what we'll do if that happens; will we temporarily relocate ourselves until next summer? This is something we can't answer just yet, but mostly we're still praying that we'll have the good weather god with us. We watched The Sixth Sense last night -- a very good movie!
La Playa Mañana
Sept. 16, 2004: The stress level is way up there and neither of us are having fun. Added to the stress of getting ready is a hurricane headed up the outside of the Baja and destined for either Turtle Bay or Ensenada. If Javier turns east at Turtle Bay, it may negate the north winds and send south swells, which would be very good for us, but not good for all our friends who are up in the northern part of the Sea of Cortez. If it continues on as far as Ensenada, we'd be in storm conditions, and that's not good. I tend to get myself worked into a tizzy thinking about the trip north. I DON'T want to do this upcoming trip and Jim has said he'll single hand it, but if anything happened to him, I wouldn't be able to live with myself. So I put myself into a stupid catch 22. The sand has been sprinkled on the foredeck to act as nonskid (La Playa Mañana -- Mañana Beach), both flopper stoppers have been repaired and Ruthie's battery has been charged. Still on the list is another coat of finish paint to seal the sand, install and rewire the windlass, replace the zinc, repair the horn and reinstall the fuel flow meter. We are now planning to leave here on Sunday, hurricane willing. Jim needs the extra day, which is nothing new. Since Day One, a common phrase has been "We just need one more day." We had a farewell dinner with Tim and Elaine. We'll be sorry to leave my southern California family and our new friends, but other family, friends and my heart are in the Pacific Northwest. We each popped a Tylenol PM to help us get a good night's sleep.
Sept. 17, 2004: The first thing I did this morning was check the status of Javier. Right now it appears that it will travel NE once it gets to Bahia Santa Maria. It looks like San Diego will be spared from any of the winds/rain, but our cruising friends in the Sea may not be as lucky. We heard from Encanto last night. Judy reported that there are currently about 30 cruisers in a small but extremely well-protected anchorage (Puerto Don Juan). It is expected that Javier will be downgraded to a tropical depression by the time it gets to them on Sunday, but they are still expecting heavy rain and 25 - 35 mph winds. She stated that all the boats are trying to jockey for a comfortable position with each other and everyone is letting out 200' of scope. With luck, no one will drag anchor. Jim worked practically nonstop today. He got the bow pulpit hardware installed, did a little more epoxy work, transferred 5 gallons of oil into Mañana's oil storage tank and installed the zinc, which meant he had to don his snorkel gear and climb into the water. He decided to take a swim in the pool afterwards... he figured the chlorine would kill anything he picked up from swimming in the bay! The propane tank has been filled... the list of small but important items goes on. He put a coat of finish paint on the sand before dinner and then collapsed into a lounge chair with a well-earned cervesa. I assisted him when I could and then took some time to run to a couple of grocery stores and the gas station. If the freezer wasn't full before, it is now! There are so many times when I wish I could take on various projects, but my knowledge is very limited and with the clock ticking down, this is not a good time for me to start learning something new. In the end, I know I'm a good go-fer and Jim says that I'm a great help. He is very sweet. At 1600 we brought Elaine's car back to her marina and gave the keys to a friend of hers. We can't thank her enough for trusting her car to virtually complete strangers. Therein lies the heart of fellow boaters and the beauty of Women Aboard. Thank you very much, Elaine.
Sept. 18, 2004: We emptied out the chain locker, pouring all 260' feet of chain onto the dock and then spent the rest of the morning mounting the various deck fixtures, the windlass and cleaning the locker. After lunch Jim started wiring the windlass. He came to a stopping spot so we went up to the office to pay for tonight. Sometimes things happen and you don't know why, but you know enough not to question them. When we gave Nancy our credit card, she said she didn't want to take it and said they had found us a spot in the marina as true liveaboards. Our jaws fell open... we had been told there was a 2 year wait and were amazed that they had a spot for us and we'd been here only 5 weeks. Apparently the marina owner was in town last week and gave the office workers a lot more flexibility regarding liveaboards and said they don't have to go strictly by the wait list. We told Nancy we'd think about it and get back to her later on. I acknowledge that Jim and I have been flailing regarding our moods and emotions since we returned to San Diego. In my mind, there was no reason to stay in San Diego if we weren't going to continue cruising. It never entered my mind that we could just stay here, work and enjoy the weather and area. And Lord knows that Mañana's exterior cosmetics need work which we can do here over the winter. It's no secret that I've been especially anxious about heading north this late in the season and I felt that we'd been offered a reprieve. Additionally, we'd already spent half of the money allotted for settling back in when we returned to the Northwest. Other than family and friends whom we miss dearly, there is nothing in the Northwest for us to return to right now... no jobs, no marina slip, no nothing. We realize that family members will be disappointed but we made the decision (rather easily) to stay here in Chula Vista, at least until next summer when the weather will be more conducive to cruising north, should we decide to do so. We returned to the office and told them we would stay -- they were hinting that chocolate was a good way to say thanks so I think we'd better bring them a Death by Chocolate cake! With that decision made, we continued on with the windlass project. As the final irony to this day, after Jim finished everything up he tried to put the old windlass motor cover on and discovered the new motor is much larger than the old one was. So, short of wrapping the motor in heavy plastic to protect it from spray, we probably couldn't have left here tomorrow anyway! Jim will call Ideal on Monday and give Pedro an ear full -- Jim had spoken to him several times and Pedro never mentioned that the new motor was a different size (this after we spent $40 to have the old cover sand blasted and repainted). In the evening, we went next door to Ron's for a drink. Originally it was supposed to be a farewell drink but instead, we celebrated staying.
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