[Home] [About Us] [About Mañana] [Cruising Plans] [Where Are We Now] [Jan's Journal] [The Crew] [Contact Us]Oct. 4, 2008: This morning was the calm before the storm. It appears that the storm has stalled, but the barometer continued to drop. The organizers of this rendezvous picked up gigantic cinnamon buns from the Calico Cupboard this morning and coffee and buns were served on the dock, amazingly with the sun shining! At 1100 I headed downtown to the quilt museum with a couple other quilters. Wow! The pieces on display were terrific. We stood in front of some of them trying to figure out just how they were put together. We all returned to the marina fully charged with incentive and ideas! The winds picked up, hitting 25 kts. regularly, and the sky turned black and opened up in mid-afternoon. Thankfully the front moved through before it was time to head out for night #3 of the pub crawl, to Seeds. Tonight's dinner wasn't anywhere near as good as last night's, and to top that off, it was way overpriced. I ordered a salmon pasta in a tomato sauce and the waitress tipped my plate, sending hot sauce down my arm and into my lap. No injury incurred, but my nice top sported an orange stripe down the sleeve, which the cats kept trying to lick once we returned to the boat. To top it off, they didn't take anything off the bill and the waitress was so surprised that she'd spilled something that she hardly apologized! Needless to say, we won't be back, nor will we recommend the restaurant to friends. Jim & I stopped in the local grocery store on the way back and bought a few items. We aren't sure when we will leave here, but Jim was down to 1 bottle of beer in the fridge and we all know that no beer makes for a manifestly unsafe voyage! :-)
Oct. 3, 2008: A showery day but the winds predicted for last night never materialized. However, we are watching the boat's barometer go down, and down, and down so we know we're in for something soon! We toured the American Tug factory this morning. They build the boats one or two at a time and we were extremely impressed with the quality of the work and products used. Sometimes I think a new(er) boat would be so nice, but not when it comes with a price tag of over $500,000! After lunch I walked downtown and poked into many of the little shops. This is definitely a wonderful town to poke around in and there is no shortage of restaurants. Chris & Lynn arrived mid-afternoon and we visited until it was time to head over to the Nell Thorn restaurant, or night #2 of the pub crawl. There were 34 of us in a private room and the restaurant did a marvelous job of serving the group -- and the food was delicious!
Oct. 2, 2008: We awoke to dark gray clouds but no wind. We had to wait for slack tide at the Swinomish Slough, where LaConner is located, because of the current that runs through it. A rough formula indicated that slack would be between 1130 and 1400 so we headed off at 1115. We rounded Hope Island and were greeted with 15 kts of wind and choppy seas -- we hadn't realized just how protected we'd been on the north side of the island! Upon entering the Slough, which is rather narrow, we met up with a tug towing a log boom coming at us. Despite hailing it on different VHF frequencies and giving audible signals (horn blasts), we got no response. So we carefully passed it, mumbling under our breath at the bozo at the wheel. Several people helped us with our lines when we got to the LaConner Marina. This is our first rendezvous with the Orcas Island Yacht Club (OIYC) and we were both nervous and excited. Winds are predicted to be up in the 30 kts. range tonight so we put so many lines out trying to keep us close in to the dock that we look like a spider's web! Lucky for us that the marina just went on winter rates yesterday where we can pay for 4 nights and stay for 7 -- I think we're all going to be forced to stay here beyond Sunday, as it's expected to blow until Monday or Tuesday. Tonight was night #1 of the pub crawl. We had delicious pizza at the LaConner Brewing Company.
Oct. 1, 2008: Left Kingston in the fog and unfortunately, the fog stayed with us for the next 6 hours. But on the good side of things, we had the current with us for most of the trip! Dalls porpoises swam near us, but did not ride in our bow wake. Had an uneventful trip (the best kind) and arrived Deception Pass in time for peak flood. Yee haw! We saw 11.4 kts. under our keel as we went through the Pass. Whirlpools and eddies veered Mañana left and right; I find that a bit unsettling but Jim's a very good captain and kept the boat going in the right direction! Once through the Pass we encountered numerous buoys in the water, so many, in fact, that we didn't know which way to go as we weren't sure if they were nets or pots. So we watched where an oncoming boat went and then went where he did (they were crab pots). We took a mooring ball on the north side of Hope Island, as south winds are expected to begin later this evening. The north side of the island is in Kiket Bay while the south side is in Skagit Bay...go figure! There's a sticker on the mooring ball that says we're supposed to pay $10 for the use of the ball, but (1) we have no way to get to land and (2) we could not figure out where the pay box was. Despite a very quiet and peaceful night, neither of us slept well.
Sept. 30, 2008: Left Giff & Mary's and our timing for going through the Locks was perfect. We motored right in behind a large fishing boat -- no waiting at all! Jim experimented with the engine rpms as we crossed the Sound. As far as we can determine, we are getting slightly more speed for the same amount of fuel burned with the newly-pitched propeller. Unfortunately, though, the handling regarding maneuvering in tight spaces is nowhere near what it was. So it appears to be a trade off. We anchored in Kingston for the night -- and DC appreciates it!
Sept. 26-28, 2008: We ended up staying at Dunato's for the weekend, and it was a good thing we did! We had dinner on Friday night with friends on Sea Pilgrim at the Shilshole Marina (finally!). Brian and Terry are ex-cruisers and Brian worked for Starfish Marine down in Chula Vista. They left C.V. two days after we did and have also resettled back in the Northwest. After dinner, we walked to S dock and caught up with Kim and Eric on Abyssinia. We've known them for years; they own Kayak Transport Co., where Abyssinia is the mothership for kayakers. If you think you'd like to kayak in Alaska, then check out their website, www.kayaktransport.com. On Saturday our friend Jamie from Flying Cloud called, asking if we wanted to get together. We were neighbors with him, his wife and son on A dock in Chula Vista. Jamie is currently working in Portland, OR and said he felt like he was in the neighborhood! Shortly after he arrived, we took the bus downtown and walked thru Pike Place Market and along the Seattle waterfront. On Sunday, we showed him the Ballard Locks. Jamie had wheels and offered to drive us around, so we made a trip to Trader Joe's. That's a very dangerous place for us -- we came out with several cases of Two Buck Chuck (although in WA it is Three Buck Chuck because of all the taxes) and several other goodies, including frozen foods. We generally don't buy frozen foods unless we have wheels that can get us back to the boat before things thaw! And if that wasn't enough socializing, on Sunday evening we got together with ex-floating home neighbors, Giff, Mary, Janet and Gus. We were picked up in Gus's small runabout and went to Chinook's at the Fisherman's Terminal for dinner. (Greg: I kept my eyes open for Lady Helen but did not see her.) When we got back to the boat, I let DC out on deck so everyone could say hi to him, but he was a bit freaked -- he's not normally allowed out on deck at night and it's been a while since we've had a boat hanging onto us. He wanted no part in the socializing!
Sept. 19-25, 2008: Friday: Life on the hard...definitely not fun! We met with Ryan, the yard foreman, and discussed the issues that need to be addressed. Added to the list was the replacement of the cutlass bearing. While this was not a total surprise (Jim has checked it every time we've been hauled), it wasn't necessarily planned, either! Work is scheduled to begin on Monday. And many thanks to the Puget Sound Yacht Club, which is next door, for affording us reciprocal privileges of free internet access and a key to the club house for laundry and showering.
Saturday: The weather forecast was for a 20% chance of rain today. We woke up to rain and it poured all day. I'd say it was more like 100% chance! So instead of shopping downtown, we stayed on board where it was warm and dry. Jim worked on the computer and I quilted. We treated ourselves to a dinner from Pagliachi's -- yum!
Sunday: Google indicated that the closest grocery store was only 3/4 mile from Dunato's so we made a run for it between raindrops. Either Google was out to lunch, or it really was 3/4 mile but it felt like 5 miles because it was up hill almost all the way! We taxied back to Dunato's, arriving just as the rain became serious! We cleaned and straightened the boat in anticipation of tomorrow's survey. If the workers begin as scheduled and the surveyor shows up when scheduled, this boat is going to be mighty messy as Jim will have to empty items out of the engine room, and the hanging locker (closet) will also need to be emptied. We had dinner with floating home ex-neighbors Steve & Laura. Laura invited two other neighbors, Andy and Ed. Ed bought our floating home and offered us a look around to see what he'd done. The kitchen was given a face lift and the copper fireplace was replaced with a gas fireplace, but other than that, things were pretty much the same as the way we sold it; it felt strange! Laura is a gourmet cook so the meal was scrumptious and the wine was plentiful. I think we'll be hurting tomorrow!
Monday: I had lunch with my friends at Kenworth today. It was great to see everyone! Today's survey went well, with only 3 minor recommendations made; Jim will address those recommendations while we're in the yard. Work started on the boat. Chris was able to pull the old cutlass bearing out without removing the rudder -- no small achievement, and several bottom seams were chiseled and recaulked. The butt block was addressed from the exterior so the hanging locker didn't need to be emptied.
Tuesday: I'm constantly sweeping the interior. Tiny asphalt grains tend to stick to the bottom of our shoes and come inside, despite our removing shoes as soon as we come on board. Life in a boat yard is very dirty and made challenging because we cannot let any water run down the drains. So we capture the water in the dish basin, which is then transferred to a pail along with any dirty dishes and/or silverware. The pail is lowered down to the ground via a rope and then taken to the bathroom for emptying and washing. While this is sort of a pain, it is much better than in Ensenada, where we had to climb in the shower with the dirty dishes because the sinks didn't have hot water! I headed to the yacht club and did 3 loads of wash. With laundry at $1.00 per load (that's cheap!), I decided to wash our area rugs plus one of the quilts. In mid-morning, the dinghy vendor arrived and the dinghies were swapped out. According to the vendor, a few changes were made to the dinghy's design, but the new dinghy arrived in a box, and we've decided to leave it that way for the time being. We'll have the yard put it on our boat with the fork lift. Jim picked up our newly-pitched propeller. It will be interesting to see what effect the new size has on the engine's rpm's and/or our speed. I asked Jim if the new prop would increase our speed by 5 knots. He looked at me and said "in your dreams!" And, of course, work on the boat's bottom continued, with a new coat of bottom paint. Several months ago Jim attempted to gaff a fish and instead, gaffed the boat (oops!) so we decided to have that hole, which is right in the middle of the boot stripe, repaired. The question of the day: "Did we have any boot stripe paint left over?" We had a wonderful dinner with Marty & Bill, Jim's aunt and uncle. They took us to Ivar's; we went early enough that we got a table by the window and got to watch the UW rowing team practice.
Wednesday: We had breakfast at Voula's this morning. This was one of our stomping grounds when we lived here 6 years ago. Waitresses have changed, but Voula's sons remembered us -- "has it really been 6 years??" Jim had his favorite, the Greek Hobo, and ate the whole thing! The Food Network did a spot on Voula's last year, which apparently was good for business, not that business was hurting before then! Jim headed off to our mail forwarding company and picked up our mail while I did another couple loads of laundry (how DO we generate so much dirty laundry?). The rain started in late afternoon; it's supposed to be stormy for the next couple of days. We've been trying to get together for dinner with friends on Sea Pilgrim this week, but various crew members have come down with the creeping crud so we've been postponing. Luckily we had some frozen dinners on board so we didn't have to go out in the rain to a restaurant. And the answer to yesterday's question was "no."
Thursday: The yard workers knocked on the hull to tell us that we were going to be splashed in the morning. I told Chris that we were scheduled for 11:00 brunch on Handy Too and he assured us that we didn't need to be around when Mañana was splashed. So we had a delicious brunch with Bill and Natalie while the workers took care of things. They came and got Jim when it was time to move Mañana out of the slings. Bill and two yard workers climbed on board and helped handle the lines and fenders as Jim moved the boat into a slip; the wind was blowing the boat off the dock, which made docking a challenge. Jim said that he's going to have to get used to the way the boat handles now that the prop is smaller. It no longer has the same "bite" as before. We've decided to stay here tonight and tomorrow; it's stormy outside and we'd prefer to stay put until the weather clears.
Sept. 18, 2008: We departed Blakely Harbor in the fog. Again, thank goodness for our AIS system; we could see all of the traffic in the area on our navigation screen, even though we couldn't see it in person! Our timing at the Locks was nearly perfect, as the large locks was just emptying when we arrived. Jim and I had done a verbal dress rehearsal as it had been 6 years since we'd gone through the Locks. A smaller boat was directed to raft off us, which was fine with us except I don't think the guy had a clue what to do. He handed Jim his stern line, but the line wasn't secured to his boat. Then he handed me his mid-ship line instead of his bow line. It was a mini Chinese firedrill getting him secured to our side! The Native Americans had fishing lines strung across the waters, causing the boats entering and exiting the Locks to go around them. I don't mean to sound prejudiced, but in Washington State, whatever the Native Americans want, they get...sometimes to the extreme of common sense. We pulled into Dunato's early and made ourselves comfortable while we waited our turn to be hauled out. All of the workers remembered us and everyone welcomed us back home. We spent months in the yard between 2001 and 2002, so we feel like this is our first home. Once hauled out, we surveyed the bottom and noticed a few spots that looked iffy. We'll know more hopefully tomorrow. The propellor was pulled and Jim took a quick taxi ride to see if it could be modified (based on his conversation with our engine company). I'm still of the belief that there is something going on with the engine, but if a modified propellor eases the strain on the engine, then I suppose that is a good thing. Anyway, the propellor will be ready next week. Our calendar is full with visitations with friends and family for the next week. First on the list was dinner with Starfish Marine ex-customers, and good friends, Jim & Sheilagh from Aurora. We split a pizza and a couple pitchers of beer at the Northlake Tavern. As always when we are with them, there was lots of laughter. They stopped by the boat for a while before leaving -- it sure was good seeing them.
Seattle Skyline from Blakely Harbor
Sept. 17, 2008: After a leisurely breakfast, we got underway around 1000 with no real destination in mind, other than "north". We ran on the outside of Maury Island and Vashon Island, ever so thankful that Jim had installed AIS. In the space of 2 1/2 hours, we passed 4 tug boats, 3 cargo ships and 2 ferries! The AIS system really came into play when two ferries were crossing the Sound as a cargo ship was headed south. Another ferry remained docked as we passed behind it going north! The ability to see everyone's projected track, even when we couldn't visibly see the vessel, put us at ease. Well, that and listening to the commercial traffic talk to one another on Channel 13! Puget Sound was hopping! We ultimately decided to anchor in Blakely Harbor (not to be confused with Blake Island), which is on the east side of Bainbridge Island. There are a half dozen boats on mooring balls here, but none are occupied. The shore is lined with tall evergreen trees and dotted with expensive houses. Our guide book says that this little harbor once housed the world's largest sawmill, which employed over 1000 workers from around the world, and that lumber ships jammed the harbor from one side to the other. The sawmill closed in 1920. The view of the Seattle skyline is spectacular from here as the lights of the city twinkled once the sun went down. Neither of us slept very well -- we weren't accustomed to the sounds of Puget Sound.
Sept. 15-16, 2008: We got underway around 0900 and had a nice cruise south. We caught the flood tide as we went through both Rich and Colvos Passages; Mt. Rainier was out in all her glory. At one point, a trawler passed our port side and as it did so, Jim commented that the boat was flying the Orcas Island Yacht Club burgee. We hailed Saratoga and talked to Bob and Kay for several minutes. Their plans were the same as ours -- Gig Harbor for 2 nights. We arrived Gig Harbor at 1320 and after a bit of poking, located the reciprocal dock for the Gig Harbor Yacht Club. Lucky us! There was room on the dock for us and the price was a very reasonable $3.00 per night! Because the yacht club's dock is further from the downtown area than if we had gone to Arabella's Landing Marina (at $45 per night), we lowered the dinghy and motored to the public dock. We passed Saratoga on our way, so we stopped, introduced ourselves and chatted for a bit before we continued on. I made a quick trip into the fabric store, then another quick trip to QFC, before we returned to the boat. On Tuesday we busied ourselves with boat and domestic chores; Jim hosed the boat off while I baked cookies. I was hoping to do the laundry as the dirty laundry is piling up but surprisingly, there are no laundromats anywhere within Gig Harbor! Oh well! Colleen, Rachel and the kids arrived at 1800. Adam was so excited to see the boat while Karina couldn't believe how little space we live in. Jim lowered the dinghy and took everyone for a short ride around the bay while I got dinner ready. I made macaroni & cheese from scratch, thinking that it would be a hit with everyone. Little did I know that Adam (age 7) has only had boxed macaroni & cheese and didn't care for the real thing (he said it didn't taste like macaroni & cheese!) However, my snickerdoodle cookies were a bit hit!
Early Morning - Mats Mats Bay
Sept. 12-14, 2008: I requested that we leave Mats Mats Bay when there would be a little more water under our keel, but that would have been afternoon and we were both anxious to get underway earlier than that. Again, we cautiously made our way out of the Bay, with just a few feet of water under our keel. We had another short, but lovely, run down towards the Hood Canal and into Port Gamble. By road, Port Gamble is a little town with a lot of history, but by water, it is essentially nothing, as there is no shore access to the town. However, it is nicely protected from the winds. There were 6 DeFevers at this year's rendezvous -- not a big crowd but we still had fun. Blue Eagle hosted Friday night's happy hour. As always, there was a lot of good food but the real entertainment of the evening came when Jim noticed a couple of dinghies floating away! Jim went to the rescue and retrieved them while Rod took some good-natured ribbing about his knot tying skills! On Saturday morning, the majority of the group decided they wanted to tour Port Gamble. The first challenge was getting to shore, as it was low tide. Jim and I wore our aqua socks in an attempt to keep the mud from oozing between our toes! Dinghies were tied together so they'd be easier to retrieve later on. Rod promised that he had spent the night practicing tying knots! We piled into a couple of cars and went into Port Gamble for some shopping and lunch. We enjoyed looking in the antique shops and we found one store that was giving out fudge samples, so everyone hit that shop after lunch! The ladies made a quick trip to Albertson's and then it was back to the boats for the open boat tours. I enjoy touring the different boats but Jim and I both agree that it would be so much nicer to live in 54' rather than 38' and in that respect, we get a bit down when looking at the larger boats. Interestingly, there were 3 54' boats, all woodies built in 1971 in Japan; we, too, are a woodie and were built in the same yard in Japan, but in 1970. Also in attendance was a 40' Down East design and a 48' Sharp design. The average age of the 6 boats was 33 years! The 40' was very similar to ours, except that the layout was swapped. Personally, I preferred our galley set-up better as we have more counter space. Happily, everyone got on and off 6 different boats and no one fell overboard! A potluck/BBQ was held on shore in the evening and after dinner, Rod made a small bonfire, which felt really good once the sun went down. Retrieving and getting into the dinghies was a bit of an adventure as the tide had started going out while we were ashore. The rendezvous concluded with a Sunday brunch. Again, it was fun going ashore as it was low tide and that mucky mud had enough suction to make people nearly walk out of their aqua socks! Fixings for omelets were provided and everyone else brought along a side dish. The plan was to make the omelets using a technique that was found in the 2008 Farmers Almanac. The recipe indicated that the fixings be placed in a freezer ziplock bag, along with the slightly beaten eggs. The freezer bag was then to be placed in a pot of boiling water for exactly 15 minutes. So we wrote our names on the freezer bag and loaded them up. Bill was in charge of timing the bags. About halfway through, he noticed that one of the bags had burst, creating quite a mess in the water! Upon further examination, he determined that more than one bag had burst. The bags that had not yet burst were double bagged, but eventually, they, too, burst. Ultimately the eggs were brought inside and cooked on the stove. They tasted good and it was an interesting experiment, but we don't know whether the technique might have worked better had we used a better quality freezer bag (don't try this using Western Family brand). Still, a good time was had by all and no one went hungry. Many many thanks to Rod and Marilyn for their hospitality and the use of their camp for all our on-shore functions. All but 2 boats left Port Gamble around noon. Jim and I flipped a coin and decided to head south today. It was a "two mountain day", with both Mount Baker and Mount Rainier out. It's been a long time since we've dealt with weekend warriors, people who take their boat out on an occasional weekend in the summer and don't have a clue how to run it properly. There were a lot of boats out on Puget Sound, given that it was a Sunday afternoon of a beautiful weekend. After almost a 5 hour run, we anchored in Manzanita Bay, which is on Bainbridge Island. It's another pretty bay surrounded by big (read big as expensive) homes that overlook the bay.
Mats Mats Bay
Sept. 11, 2008: It was rather chilly this morning...53 outside and not much warmer in! We were up and out at 0800, while it was still slack tide. We ran through the Port Townsend Canal, picking up the flood as we flew through at 9.1 kts! Yee hah! We didn't have to pay attention to the tides when we were in San Diego or Mexico. Here, though, if you don't, you might find yourself going backwards! In keeping with our "let's explore new places" phase, we decided to check out Mats Mats Bay, which is just north of Port Ludlow. I'm not sure what Mats Mats means, but I'm pretty sure it is Native American based. The entrance to Mats Mats is well marked, which is a good thing because it is VERY skinny. We noted 3' under our keel as we came in -- yikes! The bay is small with quite a few boats on private mooring balls. We managed to find space to anchor and the windlass performed flawlessly. I did a load of underwear and hung our colors out to dry; I wonder how often the locals see that?! After lunch we dinghied ashore and walked along one of the side roads. We're in the country with lots of tall evergreens around us and the air has a sweetness to it. As we were returning to the dinghy, we startled a large sea otter. The poor thing didn't know which way to run, and ultimately ended up hiding in a drainage pipe! We took a dinghy tour of the bay before returning to the boat -- the shore has a combination of large beautiful homes and small, uninspiring mobile homes. We had a very peaceful night as we watched several blue herons fly by.
Views from Kilisut Harbor
Sept. 10, 2008: It felt funny not writing in the log, so I've decided to write occasionally, when there's something of interest to write about. Yesterday we left Westsound at 0600 and caught the flood down Upright Channel, through Cattle Pass and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where I commented that it just didn't feel right having the swells on our starboard side! We pulled into Kilisut Harbor six hours later. I have no idea how to pronounce where we are, so I've affectionately nicknamed it "Kill-a-slut" Harbor! The harbor is between Marrowstone and Indian Islands. We're on a mooring ball because our windlass gave Jim grief when he anchored in Neah Bay. A call to a technician at the windlass company in Rhode Island gave him one suggestion, so Jim banged the unit apart and cleaned the various surfaces. We'll know if the cleaning process worked tomorrow. It is absolutely beautiful here; it's very peaceful and we look out at the Olympic Mountains on one side of us and Port Townsend in front of us. There is a state park here, too. We went ashore yesterday and walked the beach; we can see Mt. Baker from there. The sun is out and we are all in a good mood. DC is especially happy to be able to go outside, having spent the past 4 days at a dock!
Sept. 6, 2008: I took the shuttle from SeaTac Airport to Anacortes, where I caught the ferry to Orcas, arriving at 1830. We had burgers at the Tav before returning to the boat. Neither cat had been fed and didn't want to talk to me until after they had food in their stomachs. Jerry was reluctant to forgive me for leaving; DC was a bit more accepting! It felt really good to be home. We have driven Mañana hard and have several projects that need to be taken care of sooner than later. We will spend the next week enjoying the islands before we go to Port Gamble for the DeFever Rendezvous Sept. 12-14. Plans are to continue to Gig Harbor so Jim can visit the kids and they can see our home. Then we'll spend time on the hard at Dunato's, tackling a few of the projects. I'm hoping we'll be able to visit friends while we're in Seattle. I expect we'll be back on Orcas around Oct. 1. So Mañana's Great Adventure - Part 2 is now finished. Stay tuned for Mañana's Great Adventure - Part 3...Alaska??
Cape Flattery / the Strait of Juan de Fuca
Aug. 27-Sept. 5, 2008: I headed off at 0615, leaving Jim behind. The trip up was long, but pretty, and I really liked the Amtrak portion. Beautiful scenery! Colleen met me in Tacoma. I spent the next 9 days getting to know Rachel, Karina and Adam, and of course, catching up with Colleen. They have rented a lovely house on Fox Island, which is in the country, just outside of Gig Harbor. Deer and raccoons regularly wander through their backyard. I tried to make myself useful and help with meal preparation, laundry and general house cleaning. For the most part I had the TV remote to myself and watched home decoration programs, one after the other! Jim and I kept in touch either by email or cell phone. He ended up staying in Charleston until Sept. 1. The weather systems were bypassing the Washington coast and curving in at central Oregon. He finally made the decision to leave Charleston when the weather eased slightly and deal with whatever the seas threw at him. It turned out to be a good decision as he was able to get north of the weather systems. Once he left Charleston, he made long runs every day from port to port, taking advantage of the weather window. I was pretty anxious on the days he was underway, even though I knew he and Mañana were both extremely capable. I worried that he'd get too tired and make a silly mistake. I researched transportation possibilities to Westport and Neah Bay but found nothing. I could have gotten myself to Port Angeles but Jim ultimately decided to bypass Port Angeles and head straight to Westsound; it was looking like he would arrive in Westsound on Sept. 5, which amazingly, was 5 years TO THE DAY from when we left! Jim's folks delayed their cruise by a day and were on hand to catch the lines as Jim pulled up to the Orcas Island Yacht Club. This, too, was fitting, as they were the ones who helped us cast off the lines back in 2003.
Aug. 26, 2008: Another sunny but cold morning...invigorating! as my dad used to say! At 1000 we walked downtown, such as it is in Charleston, to the bakery. The place had no lights on, but there was a car parked out in front. We poked our heads in the door and asked if they were open. A lady came out from the back and asked if we wanted to buy pastries. I thought to myself, 'no lady, I came to the bakery to buy a quilting magazine!' We told her that we did want pastries so she asked what kind. When I told her we wanted jelly donuts, three guesses what her response was! "We don't have any jelly donuts!" Why was I not surprised?! Oh well! We continued on to Englund's marine chandlery to buy a new portable electric heater. The cabin will benefit greatly from it! The wind was up when we returned to the boat. Jim had contacted the fuel dock earlier and we planned to fuel up ($3.78/gal). But the wind had us pretty firmly pinned against the dock, so he will have to do it another time. We could see white caps on the waves in the inner bay. Fortunately we are in the lee of the fuel dock so it wasn't too bad, although we still rolled a bit periodically. You know it's bad outside when the commercial fish fleet returns early in the day! I finished packing, thinking that I must be forgetting something. We don't have luggage on the boat, so the only things I can bring are those which will fit in Jim's backpack. Fortunately Colleen, Rachel and I are all of similar size so I don't have to pack any bulky items. The weather window that Jim thought he had for tomorrow is collapsing, so he'll probably spend the next 5 or 6 days here until the next front passes through.
Pretty Charleston, OR
Aug. 25, 2008: It was sunny when we woke up, a nice sight! After a groggy start, we went to the office to pay ($14.00 per night but no free wi-fi) and get travel information to Coos Bay. Then we went in search of the World's Best Jelly Donut (as rated by me back in 2003)! The bakery was still there, but it didn't open until 1030 -- oh no! What is it about me and jelly donuts?! We were both hungry and not willing to hang around for over an hour, so we walked back to the marina, stopping at the Boat Basin Cafe for cheese omelets. I have mixed emotions about getting off the boat here...we are so close to Neah Bay. Jim says I need to be absolutely comfortable within myself that I will not regret getting off the boat at this point. My thinking is this is not an Olympic event; no one is waiting to award me a gold medal for having endured the trip up the coast. In fact, I had made it clear long ago that I would not guarantee my presence north of San Francisco. So I feel like I've done good making it to Oregon. Sometimes I think that surely I should have a little more left in my reserves to allow me to tolerate the last 300 miles to Neah Bay, but yesterday's episode has convinced me that I cannot continue. I'm sure I could continue if the ports weren't so far apart and/or weren't bar crossings. Maybe I'd have lasted if the bar crossings had been within the first 300 miles and not the last 300 miles. I don't know...I'm not comfortable with the idea of Jim bringing the boat the rest of the way alone, but he says he's fine with it. And it's not like he's the first person to do that. I guess it's just me being silly. I sat out on the forward trunk cabin in the sun for a while in late morning and admired the beauty of the bay with its sandy beach and evergreen-lined shore. It's a good feeling to be back in the Northwest! Jim thinks there may be a weather window coming up so I made my travel reservations for Weds. It's not easy to get from here to Tacoma: first I take a taxi to Coos Bay, then I take a bus to Eugene, OR, where I transfer to another bus to Portland, OR and finally I board Amtrak to Tacoma! It's an all day affair, but at least there will be no bars to cross! Colleen will meet me and I will crash with her family until either (1) I can hook back up with Jim someplace in Puget Sound or (2) they kick me out! We spent a quiet afternoon recouping from yesterday's travels. This marina is open to the public and many people bring their lawn chairs, coolers and crab traps and spend the afternoon crabbing. In 2003, Jim and I had a lot of fun (and success!) crabbing but since then Oregon has changed the law saying that individuals must now buy a crabbing license. So I was content to watch people eagerly check their traps...but a crab salad sure does sound yummy! Jim called Westport, WA for a fuel price -- $4.20/gal. He will call the fuel dock here tomorrow.
Aug. 24, 2008: We finally left Crescent City at 0600. Winds were from the south and it was a pleasant trip north, although we had fog for most of it. We passed by Brookings, OR. Conditions were good so we continued towards Port Orford. Conditions were still good so we rounded Cape Blanco, with the plan that we'd go into Bandon. Thoughts of the nice quilt shop filled my mind! But then the Coast Guard issued an announcement that the Coquille River bar (Bandon) was closed to recreational vessels due to high and breaking swells -- so much for Bandon! As predicted, heavy rain began shortly after we rounded Cape Blanco and the winds switched to being out of the north. Plan B was to continue on to Coos Bay. Jim checked the tide table and realized that we would arrive Coos Bay during peak ebb, not good timing. So on to Plan C...continue north to Newport. By this time I was tired. I hadn't slept well the night before and hadn't been able to sleep off watch. Something inside me mentally exploded with the thought of Plan C and I went nuts. I began freaking out about crossing the bar, eventually working myself into a mental tizzy. I absolutely could not face having to run an additional 15 hours and wanted off the boat NOW! I called Colleen and asked if I could stay with her should I decide to jump ship. This is something I have been fighting within myself for the last several passages, but somehow I have always managed to hang in there. Now it had become painfully apparent that I could not, mentally or physically, continue up the coast. Somehow I had to pull myself together, as there was obviously no way I could get off the boat until we got to the dock. Jim suggested I have a shot of tequila for medicinal purposes...that seemed to do the trick! Jim had a "duh!" moment and throttled the boat up to our high cruise speed (8 kts). This would allow us to arrive at the Coos Bay bar 40 min. after slack flood (the perfect time to cross a bar entrance is at slack flood). We should have done this sooner -- we are definitely out of practice figuring out the logistics of arriving at our destination by a certain hour! About 1.5 hours out of Coos Bay the Coast Guard announced that the bar was running 2-4' ocean swells...not bad. I did self-talk reminding myself that we'd survived the horrible crossing at Altata and this bar crossing wouldn't be as bad as our San Simeon to Monterey run. Jim contacted the Coast Guard for a bar report as we were approaching the outer buoy; conditions hadn't changed. We put on our life jackets and held on. We had 4-6' ocean swells pushing us in, and a 3 kt. current coming at us, slowing us to 5 kts! Luckily the swells were not breaking; Jim did some mighty fine hand steering as Mañana was being skewed sideways from the swells from behind. I commented on the bar crossing as being "the longest mile". Whew! Once across the bar, we slowed the boat down and got our bearings with all the navigation lights as we didn't want to get the lights for Coos Bay confused with the lights for Charleston. Thankfully there was enough space for us on the transient dock in Charleston. We tied up and were in bed and asleep within 15 minutes!
Aug. 23, 2008: Brrr! Got up this morning and the main salon was chilly. When I asked Jim if he minded if I turned on our little electric heater, he said "yes". Turns out he'd had it on and the thing started smoking and smelling like something electrical was burning. So I guess we'll have to bundle up from now on and pray the sun comes out early to heat the cabin up! We made the mile trek to Safeway for some last minute items. Jim was able to squeeze a 30-pack of beer into his back pack, but he was walking tilted back! We had a quiet afternoon; it was my turn to play on the internet while Jim hung out with the folks on the fish boat next to us. Tonight Jim suggested dinner out; I don't think he was crazy about what I was planning for dinner! Besides, we needed to drop off another night's moorage at the office. So we headed out, dropped off the payment and then walked over to the Chart Room restaurant. The place was packed, but we decided to wait. Turns out they called us right away and we had a delicious dinner -- much nicer and cheaper than last night's dinner. On the way back to the boat, we walked down B dock, admiring some of the boats tied up. A new sailboat from Canada had come in in the late afternoon so we stopped by to see if they were headed north or south. They are headed south. We asked what today's sea conditions were and they told us that everything went flat calm from Brookings south. Figures!! Well, if we'd gone out, it would have been horrible! We chatted for a little bit before returning to Mañana; one week in a slip and we go into condo mode with things on every horizontal surface! We plan to leave here at 0600 and we'll play the day by ear.
Aug. 22, 2008: Another pretty day after a foggy start. I decided I was unhappy with the quilting that I'd done yesterday, so I spent the morning "unstitching". Note to self: I hate ripping out stitches, so do it right the first time! I reworked 80% of what I'd done yesterday before calling it quits for the day, and this time I was pleased with the results. The package containing the upper housing assembly for the fresh water pump arrived from Fisheries at noon. As we were walking to the office, we chatted briefly with the owner of Outlaw, a 50' fish boat that is being converted into a full-time liveaboard cruiser. We've been watching and admiring the work that is being done on the boat. The owner said he bought the boat for $1.00 from the fisheries buy-back program -- the engine worked and the boat was in tact. He plans to take the boat to Alaska next summer. He asked if we had a boat in the marina and Jim told him we have a DeFever trawler. The guy thought that was great and then offered us the use of his truck and invited us to check out the boat. I'd love to see it, but Jim says it will be dangerous if he goes on board! :) Jim returned to the boat and repaired the fresh water pump (again) while I did two loads of laundry at the RV park. When I returned, I made a batch of Indonesian curry bean stew, portioned it out and put them in the freezer for future dinners. The folks on Summer Place are heading out tomorrow. We rechecked the weather forecast (it changes hourly), but it still showed a "hazardous sea" warning for tonight and winds out of the NW gusting to 25 kts. tomorrow. Based on that forecast, we decided to stay put another day, when the winds are predicted to die down and come out of the south. Neither of us felt like cooking so we went out to dinner at a local restaurant. The food was underwelming; the batter was too thick and the fries hadn't been cooked long enough. And on top it off, the atmosphere was nautical tacky!
Aug. 21, 2008: After a foggy start, the sun broke through and it was a beautifully warm(ish) day. I worked on the wallhanging until noon. Then I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and walked over to the RV park to check out their laundry facilities. From there, I poked into the local gift shop. I hadn't brought any money so there was no temptation to buy stuff we don't need! Jim purchased 6 gallons of oil from Englund's Chandlery; it was cheaper to buy 6-1 gal. containers than 1-5 gal. drum. Yesterday's rain washed the dirt off the flybridge and cabin top, down onto the deck and over the hull, where it dried. We borrowed our neighbor's hose and washed the port side off. I'm sure the starboard side isn't much better, but the hose didn't reach and we can't see it so it's fine for now (sort of the outta sight, outta mind attitude)!
Aug. 20, 2008: We woke this morning to the sound of rain on the cabin, a sound we haven't heard in 9 months! We were toasty warm beneath two quilts and neither of us was in a hurry to climb out of bed, much to DC's dismay! Once out of bed, we went on "leak" patrol and saw that the aft starboard portlight was leaking. It figures that that is the portlight above my quilting magazines. :( We removed all the books to minimize damage; there's not much Jim can do to fix the leak right now. He thinks he'll probably have to remove and rebed the portlight. Just add it to the projects' list! After a yummy bacon and eggs breakfast, I finished my turtle wallhanging. Too bad there isn't a wall large enough on board for me to hang it -- I think we need a bigger boat! The rain stopped briefly after lunch so we made a quick trip to the office to pay for another 3 nights. At $18 per night, which includes unlimited electricity and free wi-fi, it's not a bad deal. While there, we inquired as to the price of diesel fuel -- $4.05/gal. This is the cheapest we've found so far (San Diego = $6.00; Half Moon Bay = $4.38; Bodega Bay = $4.89). The price of fuel is coming down so we aren't sure whether we'll fill up here or wait until we get to Westport, WA and hope that the price is lower still. The rain started again shortly after our return and continued throughout the rest of the day. Both DC and Jerry wanted to go out on deck but didn't appreciate the fact that it was raining. In fact, DC whined all afternoon, as if telling Jim to turn the rain off! I have no shortage of quilting projects so I decided to work on an appliqué wallhanging that I began in Morro Bay. Made good progress and will continue it tomorrow. Jim broiled the $13 steak; he marinated it in a lemon pepper sauce that the store gave him and it was delicious! I've got to say we are eating well in Crescent City! A look at the weather forecast indicates we may be able to make a break from here to Brookings, OR on Sunday; we will play it by ear as there is another storm coming in on this one's tails.
Aug. 19, 2008: We both slept well last night, thanks to a 1/2 sleeping pill that helped shut our minds down. There was a little bit of blue sky in the morning, which we took as an omen that maybe this would be a good time to go grocery shopping. As we were getting off the boat, we said hello to our dock neighbor and told him we were off to Safeway while the sun was out. He (Jim) offered us the use of his truck, a very generous offer given that he doesn't know us. So we made use of having wheels and bought kitty litter, cases of canned cat food, etc. We got to the check out and the bill came to $150! What on earth did we buy that cost that much money? In reviewing the cash register receipt, we'd spent $30 in cat supplies, another $20 for coffee, tea and hot chocolate and Jim had picked up a steak at the meat counter that came to $13 (it had better be good!). So it all adds up! Much of what we bought today are occasional purchases; hopefully the next shopping expedition won't be such a shock to the system. From the grocery store, we went to the gas station. Talk about another shock to the system! Jim put $20 in the truck and the gas gauge hardly budged. There isn't much to Crescent City but we did find the cinema and there are lots of restaurants. However, we won't have a reason to eat out, given all the food we bought today! I received an email from my quilting mentor, Mari, who told me of a quilting retreat on Orcas at the end of Oct. We should be somewhere on Orcas by then; haven't secured a slip yet, but at any rate, I have the retreat to look forward to. I'll consider it my "reward" for bringing the boat back up the coast! And speaking of quilting, I dug my machine out and spent quality time with my turtle project. Might as well make good use of unlimited electricity!
Aug. 18, 2008: As we progressed north towards Crescent City, Mother Nature decided to welcome us to the Pacific Northwest and periodically scattered rain on us, as well as provided a lightning show. Watching the rain clouds on radar is fascinating! Watching the lightning strike straight down from the heavens is not! We arrived at the outer entrance of Crescent City at 0345 -- so much for arriving in daylight -- and tried to pick the navigation lights out from the city lights. This is one harbor where you don't want to be off course because there are several large rocks outside the harbor breakwater. Jim shined a bright light on the buoys while looking through the binoculars to make sure we were lined up correctly. Charlie's Charts indicates that transients should take a slip on H dock if arriving after hours. When we got to the marina, there was no H dock, nor were there G, F or E docks! In fact, there was a sunken boat where the transient extension dock used to be! We scratched our heads, wondering what to do. In the end, we tied up to the Work Dock, where we were greeted by the security guard, who gave us his blessing to stay there for the night. We were in bed and asleep by 0415! At 0930 we checked in with the office and were assigned a new slip on C dock. The clerk told us we might want to check C dock out before moving the boat. After breakfast at the Chart Room restaurant, we walked through the marina to C dock. We remembered the clerk assigning us slip C-27, but when we checked things out, there was no slip finger! So we returned to the office and was told that we were assigned to C-30. We moved the boat and settled in to our new "home". In November 2006 the harbor was hit by a tsunami that destroyed half of the marina docks (thus no E, F, G or H docks). No one who works here has anything good to say about FEMA. The docks that are still here are in extremely poor condition. Crescent City is predominantly a working marina, meaning that the majority of berths are assigned to fishing boats. The cruising community tends to stay in Brookings, Oregon, about 20 miles north. But we'd been to Brookings before and in trying to stay with visiting as many new ports as possible, we decided to come to Crescent City. We're told that the downtown is about a mile away and we'll find just about everything we need (but no quilt shop). It sprinkled on and off during the day, which was just fine with us. Hot cocoa and naps were key for the day! Another weather system is due to arrive tomorrow, so we will be here until the weekend at the earliest. Jim pulled our little electric heater out of storage and the heat felt very good!
Infamous Cape Mendocino
Aug. 17, 2008: Due to a favorable current, we arrived Fort Bragg several hours earlier than expected. In 2003 we entered the harbor in the dark but we didn't want to do it again. Given that the seas were still benign, Jim set a course for Shelter Cove. By the time we got to Shelter Cove, the sea conditions were still with us so we figured there was no time like the present to round the Cape. The current was still pushing us north, as were the wind and seas. Eureka, here we come! A gray whale put on a spectacular show for us, spy hopping and fin and tail slapping off Cape Mendocino. It could really displace some water when it splashed back into the ocean after spy hopping. We were probably a few hundred yards from it as we passed north. We were also visited by a pod of fast moving Dall's porpoises. They zipped back and forth, their bodies coming totally out of the water. I've never seen anything move as quickly as they did! The Dall's porpoise is black and white and reminds me of a baby Orca (but smaller). Well, given the way this passage was going, when we got off Eureka's entrance, we took stock of ourselves and the conditions. Neither of us had been able to get any deep sleep while off watch and we were both exhausted, but we just didn't feel like we could pass up the sea conditions, so we continued north, to Crescent City. Jim had calculated that we would arrive at 0800 on 8/18, but he hadn't taken a favorable current into consideration.
Bodega Bay Fishing Fleet
Aug. 16, 2008: We each took a sleeping pill last night and the cats were quiet this morning, allowing us to sleep in. True to my words of wisdom "do not pass up a laundromat", I did one load this morning, washing the sweats that we've been living in. Jim laid out a passage schedule to Eureka, based on today's weather forecast. If all stays status quo, we may just be able to round Cape Mendocino in south winds...and that would be a very good thing! We believe we have finally gotten above the darn weather system that has plagued us for the past +2 weeks. I feel like I am being robbed of the summer season. Seattle is experiencing a heat wave and we are wearing jeans, shoes and fleece jackets. Even Jerry's fur is noticeably thicker! It is cold, gray and foggy -- I have to keep reminding myself that it is summer on the CA coast. Neither of us have had shorts on since we left the Channel Islands. On the plus side, though, we will be fully adjusted to the autumn weather in the Pacific Northwest! We left Bodega Bay at 1600 and were greeted by south winds and seas, which made for a very pleasant passage. We rounded Point Arena with a muy favorable current and 0 kts. of wind. Just perfect!
Aug. 15, 2008: Up and out in the fog (literally and figuratively!) at 0600. I hate climbing out of bed in the cold and dark to get underway, but we usually are rewarded with bearable sea swells for at least a few hours! Today was the best sea day we've had since rounding Point Conception over 2 weeks ago, and that's not to imply that the seas were calm, because they weren't! Jim contacted San Francisco's Vessel Traffic Center as we approached the southern traffic lane to let them know we would be crawling at a snail's pace for the next couple of hours. They were extremely professional and helpful, letting us know there was no reported inbound or outbound traffic. However, they requested that we check in periodically and when we did, it was usually for a fog report. They knew exactly where we were because when we called in the second time, they told us there was a boat in our area. We thanked them and told them that the boat had just passed by our stern. The trip was uneventful until we were a few miles south of Point Reyes, when we started rockin' and rollin. Lunch was delayed because the eggs kept rolling around the counter! At this point we had the choice to continue north to Fort Bragg or head to Bodega Bay. Jim even half-heartedly suggested running 48 hours, which would have put us at the CA/OR border before the next weather system arrives (I must admit the thought was very tempting!). The seas would have been much better had we continued north, but for some reason, we were both exhausted. And although one side of our brain told us to "make hay while the sun shines", the other half was screaming for sleep in Bodega Bay. The thought of sleep won out! Our course turned 20 degrees to starboard once we past Point Reyes, but the seas were such that we didn't dare turn the boat, so we continued on our northwest course until the swells started smoothing out. Then we had the swells on our beam, which always gets me singing "Weebils wobble but they don't fall down"! We crossed the Bodega Bay entrance at 1600 and were tied up in a slip by 1610. My first impression of Bodega Bay is that the surrounding terrain is very similar to San Simeon, with its tan rolling hills dotted with the green of trees, but is a lot more populated. The marina rate for a transient vessel is quite reasonable (priced somewhere between Morro Bay and Monterey), and we will get the much-needed rest we need tonight. Our bodies are physically fatigued; this pounding that we are doing on a semi-regular basis is beginning to take its toll on us. Additionally, I am emotionally drained from the constant pressure of having to mentally prepare myself to be underway. However, I will celebrate the fact that we are north of San Francisco, technically in northern California, and more than half way from San Diego to Seattle.
Aug. 14, 2008: Proof positive that DC was on the counter last night -- one of the eggs was broken and there was egg yolk around the sink. Bad cat! Jim spent the morning on the internet while I finished reading Jodi Picoult's "Harvesting the Heart". After lunch Jim repaired our little travel alarm clock and then while the superglue was setting up, he diagnosed the water pump's problem. It was leaking around an O-ring seal, so he lubricated it and we'll keep our fingers crossed. While he was doing that, I hard boiled 8 of the eggs and stowed the remaining eggs. The latest weather update looks like we might be good to go tomorrow, so with that thought in mind, we went ashore, returned a book to Encanto, tossed our trash and decided to have fish and chips at a local restaurant. When we returned at 1830, I made the meatloaf that we were supposed to have for dinner. Once it cooled, I portioned it out for future dinners. Jim layed out the course -- 61 miles to Bodega Bay, but if the weather is what is forecasted, we may just keep on truckin' north. As Dory in Finding Nemo says, "just keep swimmin, swimmin, swimmin!"
Aug. 13, 2008: We spent a quiet day on the boat, resting and reading. The fog burned off by noon and I took advantage of the sun and put a couple items out on deck to dry/air. Even with the sun out, it was a chilly 65 degree day, but the sun warmed the boat's interior. The anchorage at Half Moon Bay is protected by an outer breakwater so it is very calm. There are a handful of boats at anchor but as far as I can tell, ours is the only occupied boat. The town of Half Moon Bay is actually 4 miles away from the anchorage. One of these days we'll make our way to shore and research just how we can get ourselves to town and the grocery store. The Encantoids called in the afternoon and invited us to dinner on their boat. At 1730 we dinghied over to the marina and caught our first look at Encanto in her new party dress, as Judy likes to call it. Encanto looked wonderful with her gray hull and lime green boot stripe. Inside, Judy had painted the floor boards a vivid purple, which worked beautifully with the maple wood interior. John was busy making dinner when we arrived: spaghetti, meatballs, salad and garlic bread. It was delicious and we easily fell back into our comfort zone with our good friends. When it was time to leave, Jim carefully put the flat of eggs that they had given us into the dinghy, along with our mail and packages that Jim had had shipped to their apartment. We said good-bye, not knowing if we'll see them again before we leave.
Aug. 12, 2008: Up and underway by 0530. NOAA weather won the award for having the truest weather forecast. The seas were still pretty wild but thankfully not bad enough for the Victory at Sea song to be sung! The wind stayed around 10 kts. except when we were rounding Point Año Nuevo. The last 2 hours were a bit more uncomfortable as the route took us on an eastward coarse in towards Half Moon Bay and we took the swells on the beam, rolling the boat side to side. I find it quite unnerving to listen to the glassware and bottles clink together as we roll, but (knock on wood) nothing has broken yet. Wildlife seen today included numerous birds and sea lions, three dolphins, one shark, one sunfish and a partridge in a pear tree (okay, we didn't see a partridge)! I talked to John (Encanto) in the evening. Encanto is in a slip here and he'd been on the boat until 1620 -- we arrived at 1630. Oh darn! The next weather window for our continuing north appears to be this Friday and/or Sat. so our hope is that our mail packet will arrive before then (the Encantoids will deliver it to us). After dinner we put on a movie and enjoyed the Blues Brothers 2000.
Aug. 11, 2008: We put our walking shoes on after breakfast and took off for the Monterey Aquarium, about 1.8 miles from the marina. The Aquarium is wonderful -- lots of fish to look at, sharks, octopus, penguins, a touching area (starfish, bat rays), sea horses, moray eels (you don't touch them!), sea otters, etc. We spent several hours enjoying ourselves and finally called it quits when the place started crawling with crying children. We were very grateful to Ann for the loan of her member's pass; otherwise, it would have cost us $50 to get in (and we would not have gone)! From there we walked another mile to one of the quilt shops in Pacific Grove. With Jim's encouragement, I bought a couple of patterns and material to make some fun placemats and napkins out of a wine-themed fabric; after all, we're in wine country! We had lunch at a deli and then caught a bus back to Monterey. I think we walked about 4 miles today -- my aching feet! I did a load of laundry when we returned. We thought we had a weather window to Half Moon Bay tomorrow, but as the day went by, the weather reports were contradicting one another so we don't know where we'll end up -- hopefully Half Moon Bay but possibly Santa Cruz (where I was told there's another fabulous quilt shop)! Sometimes I wonder if we're ever going to make it home. We readied the boat for an early morning departure and we'll hope for the best.
Aug. 10, 2008: Happy birthday, Jim. You are now well and truly "in" your 50s!! We got a call from Judy at 0800 asking if we could meet the group for breakfast at a local restaurant at 0815 -- no problema! We were just lounging in bed watching the Food Channel! Nine of us met at Stacks for a delicious and filling breakfast before heading in different directions. After checking out of the hotel, Ann, Gaby, Jim & I went on a shopping expedition. We stopped at Target, Marshalls, KMart and Costco before we returned to the apartment for lunch. It was a good shopping trip for us; Jim found the slippers he was looking for and I bought 2 pairs of jeans on sale (at $7.50 a pair!!). I also bought a box of Cheez-its (which I stowed away for our next hair-raising passage), Jim bought a paper back (as if there's a shortage of books on board) and we bought a bag of pistachios. We left Menlo Park in late afternoon and thankfully the awful traffic was going in the opposite direction from us so we had an uneventful ride back. We have decided to spend one more day here in Monterey. To that end, Ann loaned us her Monterey Aquarium pass and told me that there are a couple of nice fabric stores within 1 mile of the Aquarium. The weather forecast is for "iffy" weather for the next several days so I guess we aren't going any place fast! It's really nice to be tied up to a dock when we're stuck in port, but there's just too much temptation for spending money on things we really shouldn't buy.
Aug. 9, 2008: My reward for not screaming too loudly rounding Point Conception was a chocolate milkshake. My reward for not screaming too loudly coming around Point Sur was a jelly donut! We walked up Alvarado Street to Red's Donut Shop. It's been in the same location since 1950 and is still owned by the same family...and they only do donuts. Unfortunately, though, they were out of jelly donuts -- oh no!! Well, I "settled" for a lemon filled, which was very good and Jim had to "settle" for a cinnamon roll as they were out of apple fritters. No complaints from either of us, but we may go back Monday morning before we head out to see if we can get our first choice! While out, I discovered that the marina has a washer and dryer. I will definitely take advantage of them before we leave. The weather can no longer be counted on to dry anything that I might wash by hand (too much fog). At 1330 Ann, Judy's friend, picked us up and we headed north to Menlo Park. Gosh, but it was great to see Judy and the girls! I think I would have walked right past Sami if I'd passed her on the sidewalk! We helped Judy with the food preparations as we waited for John & Royce to arrive; they had moved the boat from San Francisco south to Half Moon Bay that morning. A large crowd began gathering at 1800 to celebrate John's safe return and Gaby's 15th birthday. As always, Judy outdid herself with the food! At 2130 Royce, Jim and I began fading so Ann drove us to the Mermaid Inn, where Judy had reserved rooms for us. Jim and I had a room with a king-sized bed -- it felt so strange to sleep in such a big bed (helllooo over there!!). We watched a little TV before we crashed!
Aug. 8, 2008: Also known as 08/08/08! And a very happy birthday to Gaby (Encanto), age 15! After breakfast, we moved into a slip in the Monterey Marina, if for no other reason than Mañana needed a bath!! Upon entering the marina, we passed by what was supposed to be a passenger loading dock for a fishing charter boat, but had been taken over by lots of noisy sea lions. Thank heavens our slip is halfway down the causeway or we'd never be able to stand the noise! We paid a visit to the Harbormaster and had a nice chat with him and an office worker about the Sea of Cortez. Then we headed out and about, stopping for a bagel and coffee before we continued on to Trader Joe's. I'm still looking for a bottle of the Maddalena wine that I had in Morro Bay. You'd think I'd be able to find the Monterey wine in Monterey, but no luck yet (and I even checked with a wine specialty shop, too)! The fog had burned off and the sun was out by the time we returned at noon, but it was still cool out. I dug the hose out of the lazarette and Jim gave the boat a thorough hose down -- this feels much better! We talked to Judy's friend, Anne. She told us that John and crew passed under the Golden Gate Bridge at 1330 -- welcome home, guys!! We had a very nice dinner at the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club, finally returning to the boat at 2030. I had thought it would be nice to watch a movie, seeing as we have ample electricity, but we were too tired! It's tough to grow old!
Aug. 6-7, 2008: Today was a day...a very LONG day! It began as planned with us leaving San Simeon at 0200. About an hour out, the bashing began and we questioned whether or not we had made a good decision. We were in 15 kt. of wind. If we were doing this in the middle of the night when normally winds and seas are calm, heaven only knows what it would be like in 12 hours. Jim turned the boat around after 2.5 hours and we returned to San Simeon, arriving at 0700. Jim caught a few hours sleep when the anchor was down. At 1000, he polled for an updated weather forecast. According to the forecast, the day was predicted to be 5-10 kts. today, 5-15 tonight and then going up to 25 kts. beginning Thurs. through Sunday (that's as far out as the forecast goes). It appeared that today was our weather window -- maybe we'd made a mistake in returning to San Simeon. So we hemmed and hawed, trying to decide whether we should stay or go. The forecast indicated that winds were calm up in Monterey. So for better or for worse, we decided to go...again! We left San Simeon at 1100. And again, one hour out, we were bashing into 15 kts. of wind but the seas were flatter. Five hours out of San Simeon and the 5-10 kts. wind forecast was in actuality 20-25 kts. and we were doing some serious bashing! Either someone royally screwed up the forecast, or the weather system came in early! This section of coast is extremely desolate and is riddled with Points. As we have known all along, Points are not our friend! The winds and seas go nuts when they hit a Point. The land jutting out from the coast causes the winds to increase and the seas to become very choppy and confused. And, unfortunately, the sloppiness can begin several hours away from a Point (depends on how large the Point is). We passed the following Points: Piedras Blancas, Sierra Nevada, Breaker, Ragged, San Martin, Lopez, Gamboa, Partington, Pfeiffer, Cooper, Sur, Hurricane, Kasler, Soberanes, Yankee, Pinnacle, Sunset, Cypress, Joe, Pinos and finally, Lovers! Whew! We never considered turning around as the boat was doing fine and we were in no danger. However, we became pros at taking deep breaths and collecting our stomachs when we had a 2 or 3 second calm between waves! At one point Jim discovered that one of the straps that secured the dinghy to the boat had broken and the dinghy was swinging away. He put his life jacket on, went on deck and secured the dinghy with one of our lines. The outboard motor's gas tank had been jostled out of the dinghy and was sitting on the swim step, so he tossed that back into the dinghy. We tried to keep our spirits up with humor. Many times Mañana would stuff the entire bow through a wave and a wall of white water would fly towards us, completely covering the windows. I would shout "Oh Sh*t!" and Jim would begin singing the theme song from "Victory at Sea"! (Remember the WW2 news reels that opened with a shot of a destroyer plowing her way through heavy seas, causing spray to fly everywhere? That's what we looked like!) Anyway, our antics would bring on a case of the giggles, which would release some of the tension and give us mental strength to continue on. We kept hoping that the seas/winds would die down a bit after passing a major Point, but they didn't until we were about 12 miles away from Monterey. At 0230 we crept into Monterey Bay, trying to locate the anchorage. Thank heavens there was no fog! At 0245 the anchor was down and we toasted each other, and Mañana, with a shot of tequila. Then we climbed into bed for some serious sleep. We are definitely overdue for some calm seas. I'm just not sure how to go about collecting them! We spent a quiet day at anchor, occasionally resting and occasionally doing boat chores. We talked to Judy (Encanto) and it sounds like John and crew will be coming under the Golden Gate Bridge some time tomorrow afternoon. A "Welcome Home" party is being planned. We will attempt to get a slip in the Monterey Marina for the weekend as Judy's friend lives nearby and has offered to bring us with her to the festivities. Additionally, Judy stated that Encanto's birthday present to Jim will be a night at the Mermaid Inn (oh boy! I hope the room has a bath tub!), which is within walking distance to their apartment. That way we can spend 2 days visiting. Kewl!! And the greatest thing is that the weather is not conducive to us wanting to go anywhere anyway, so if we have to be stuck somewhere, it's wonderful that we can be stuck with good friends! :)
Lovely San Simeon
Aug. 5, 2008: Finally! There was a jail break from Morro Bay this morning as at least 5 boats left the harbor by 0700. The winds had calmed down enough and the seas had started to do the same. Unfortunately we still had to deal with fog. We had lumpy seas on our way to San Simeon, depending on what course we were on. By the time we arrived San Simeon, the sun was breaking through the fog and we had a wonderful view of the area, complete with the Hearst Castle high up on the top of one of the hills. I half-heartedly suggested that we try hitch hiking our way up the hill side so we could check out the castle grounds. That suggestion was received with a "what are you, nuts?" look! Once we were anchored, we were entertained by frolicking sea lions and pelicans diving all around us. Eventually 2 more power boats joined us. It took the last boat at least 5 tries to get their anchor to set. They were out of Morro Bay and I thought to myself that they could be home and in their slip in the time it took them to get their anchor down! (I'm a bit cranky today.) Jim checked the weather and it looks good for us to continue on to Monterey tomorrow. Unfortunately Monterey is 80 miles away and we have to go around Point Sur to get there. So Jim's brilliant thinking is that we leave at 0200 and hopefully that will get us up to Point Sur before the afternoon winds pick up. We anticipate a 14 hour passage...yuk! Needless to say, it was another early-to-bed night.
The Captain and Admiral
Aug. 4, 2008: The dock was full and rather than raft off someone, we decided to stay put. After lunch we dinghied to the dock and then walked uptown. The dinghy is in dire need of a pump, but our pump broke last year and we've not been able to find one with the correct fitting. Guess we'll have to live with a saggy dinghy! The laundromat was the first stop, so I stayed there and did a load of laundry while Jim continued on to Albertsons. We returned to the yacht club a couple hours later, but decided not to turn in our yacht club key just yet. At 1800 we dinghied back to shore and had dinner at the Chinese buffet across the street from the yacht club. Then we took nice hot showers...plenty of pressure and hot water! Most of the people we have talked to are planning to leave tomorrow -- sounds like it will be mass exodus with a couple boats headed north but most headed south. We said good-bye to our new friends on Samantha and Shawnee and returned to the boat. We readied the boat for an early morning departure and hit the sack early.
Aug. 3, 2008: Today was a beautifully sunny day, but with a cold wind so we stayed inside and relaxed. Sea lions swam around us, barking, and intimidating DC. Pelicans and gulls flew around us, occasionally diving (crashing?) into the water next to us, and once, one flew into our antenna! Dock space opened up briefly in the late afternoon, but we decided to spend another night on the mooring ball. Hopefully we'll be able to get back to the dock tomorrow so I can do last-minute chores.
No Caption Necessary!
Aug. 2, 2008: We didn't have to be off the dock until 0900, but it was slack tide at 0700 and we were all up and about. So Samantha, Shawnee and Mañana each took a mooring buoy. Samantha was first off the dock; Scott graciously offered to help everyone with getting the dock line through the buoy loop. Once settled in our new location, I went to work cleaning the interior, as we had invited everyone over for happy hour this evening and I had ignored the deep cleaning while the sewing machine was out. Shortly after lunch Burch rowed over and asked if we'd like to join them on an errands run. We needed to fill one of our propane tanks and needed a few items from the store, so we enthusiastically accepted their offer. We were back on board the boat by 1600 with all chores accomplished and some extra goodies to serve as appies. Seven of us crammed into the main salon; the wind was too chilly to sit out on deck. Burch had previously teased us about our interior looking like a ball room -- I suppose that it does resemble one if you live on a sailboat! Stories were shared and the pros and cons of anchorages were discussed. The party finally broke up at 2030 when Burch realized that the tide was flooding and it was going to be an uphill row back to their boat (surprisingly, none of the 3 dinghies had motors). DC and Jerry seemed to enjoy the company, as did Jim and I. The weather still looks good for leaving here on Tuesday. We like Morro Bay, but it's going to take us a little while to get our sea legs back underneath us. Sitting in a harbor for a week wrecks the momentum!
The Looks of Morro Rock
Aug. 1, 2008: We woke to blue skies this morning...finally! Summer in Morro Bay! The thought of the best biscuits and gravy on earth (according to Jim at the yacht club) was calling to my Jim, so we walked up to The Deli on Main St. for breakfast, only to arrive and find the restaurant was closed! Jim decided to sit on the bench outside the restaurant for a while and sure enough, the owner came out shortly thereafter and told us she wasn't going to open for breakfast today. When we told her we were there for the best biscuits and gravy on earth, she conceded and invited us in...as long as we didn't want anything else! And sure enough, this was THE BEST biscuits and gravy that we've had! Yum, double yum!! After breakfast we walked back to the boat, poking into stores. I continued quilting my turtle wall hanging and Jim started trouble shooting the navigation computer. The sun was out all day and DC visited s/v Samantha, which is rafted off us. They are cat people, but they weren't on board when DC decided to jump ship. Shortly after 1700 we headed on up to the club house for Friday's Happy Hour. I have really taken a liking to the pinot grigio wine, Maddalena, which is a Monterey wine. Hopefully we'll be able to stop someplace and buy a couple of bottles. Scott (s/v Samantha) and Jan and Burch (s/v Shawnee) joined us...they are headed south and were anxious to hear of our experiences. Unfortunately we are going to have to move off the dock for the weekend as the yacht club has two days of sailboat races planned. We haven't figured out whether we'll anchor out or whether we'll grab a mooring buoy. The weather forecast is currently forecasting that we'll be able to leave Morro Bay on Tues. Jim's been following Encanto's travels very closely. John and crew are currently about 800 miles away from San Francisco. At this point, we aren't sure who will arrive San Francisco area first...us or them!
July 31, 2008: We're still here, the sun came out, Jim played on the internet and I started quilting my turtle wall hanging. And that's all she wrote!
Morro Bay Waterfront
July 30, 2008: Jim paid for another 2 nights here. A sailboat came in today, docking by Braille (as Jim calls it) as it bounced off s/v Samantha, which is next to us, then off s/v Sea Dancer and finally off a third boat. The story going around the club was that the skipper had been underway for 36 hours, was headed north and had to turn around because of the large seas. Invariably it always seems that you make your biggest docking boo-boos when there is a crowd watching! But the large seas are exactly why we don't want to leave just yet! I spent the day sewing -- quilt therapy is so much cheaper than talking to a shrink! It stayed foggy and cool all day. We are living in our long jeans and/or sweats -- brr! This is summer?? I think this is good preparation for fall in the Northwest! At 1715 we headed to the club house, got ourselves a drink and then found seats for dinner. The yacht club hosts a hamburg/hotdog BBQ every Weds. pm. For $5.00 you get a burger (you have to cook it yourself on their grille), all the fixings, salads, chili and chips. The chili tasted exceptionally good, given that it was so raw outside. We've yet to break our electric heater out, so instead, we've been climbing into bed, and under our 2 quilts, early.
July 29, 2008: We walked to The Coffee Pot for breakfast; it was cool,
foggy and misty. After breakfast, our first purchase of the day was a couple
of fleece jackets -- we're freezing! From there we made our way to Albertson's.
We are having fun shopping, buying foods that we haven't eaten in a year, but
this type of shopping hits the wallet hard. Still, the pastrami sandwich was
delicious! I changed the bed sheets and did two loads of laundry as soon as
the groceries were put away. A cruiser's motto -- never pass up a washing machine!!
We went our separate ways in the afternoon. I visited a bead shop while Jim
looked for a hardware store. Morro Bay is a lovely town, albeit a tourist destination.
There are loads of shops to poke in, no shortage of hotels or restaurants, and
the streets are well laid out with flower boxes and lovely landscaping everywhere.
When I returned, I noticed a sailboat had rafted off of us. I don't like having
a stranger's boat tied to us, since it means people walking back and forth across
our aft deck, but it is part of the deal if you want to stay at the yacht club.
I took advantage of having plenty of electricity, dug my sewing machine out
and made us a new pair of pillow cases -- they came out really nice! I will
probably leave the machine out for several days and try to get a little quilting
done. Just call it cruising therapy! Jim returned with two paper bags in hand.
One was from the hardware store and the other contained two milkshakes, one
of which was chocolate -- YUM!!! Jim heard someone yell that the bar was open,
so we headed on up to the club house. Yes, we have turned into a couple of lushes!
We had a couple of drinks in the bar and got to know the couple behind us, Jan
& Burch, a bit better. They are headed south and were happy to pick our
brain. We ended up on their boat for an hour or so after happy hour ended, chatting
away until it was way past dinner time. It looks like we will probably be here
for several more days as the weather is predicted to be 20+ kts of wind out
of the west. Neither of us is anxious to head out into that.
Tied to the Yacht Club Dock
July 28, 2008: We awoke to a foggy day; we've been so spoiled these past 5 years, almost always waking up to sunny skies! We got underway for Morro Bay at 0845 -- we'd bypassed this town on the way south back in 2003 but had heard nothing but good about it over the years, so Jim had made it a "must see" on our way north. And, indeed, it is a neat spot! The passage was basically benign, except when we rounded Point Buchon and things got a bit rolly. But after that, we had a pleasant trip. Morro Bay is a bar entrance but it was a non-event. Jim had already spoken to the Port Captain of the Morro Bay Yacht Club and had received permission to dock at the yacht club. The office was closed when we arrived so we decided to grab a bite to eat. There were so many stores between the yacht club and the restaurant! I'm sure my eyes were WIDE open as I looked in the store windows and oohed and aahed at all the pretty items! The joke on Mañana is that Jim owes me a chocolate milkshake for being a "good" girl for not screaming (too) loudly as we rounded Point Conception! Unfortunately the restaurant didn't serve milkshakes, but we both enjoyed a delicious plate of fish & chips! After lunch we returned to the yacht club, met with the Port Captain, paid our slip fee (this is not a free reciprocal yacht club), and received our pass key. Then we headed off in the direction of The Cotton Ball, Morro Bay's quilt shop. Their selection wasn't the greatest nor their prices the cheapest, but we found material that we liked and I will make another pair of pillow cases...can't have too many of them! A new boat was docked in front of us when we returned to the yacht club. In chatting with them, we learned where we can get me a chocolate milkshake -- yippee! We will probably spend 3 nights here; we like the town, the yacht club is very friendly and has a nice facility with showers, laundry and book exchange. Plus they have a hamburg/hotdog social on Weds. night. We've been on the go daily for the past 6 days, so it's time to rest and play before we continue north. We had another early night; the overnighte passages are hard to recoup from!
Fishing Boat in the Fog
July 27, 2008: Neither of us could fall back asleep so at 0030 we decided we might as well get going; it was calm in the anchorage which we took to be a good sign. Jim heard a loud exhale as he was securing the flopper stopper. He looked down at the swim step at our friendly sea lion, who had, at some point in the last hour, decided to take up residence on the swim step! I flashed the flashlight on him (her?) but it didn't faze the sea lion. So how do you remove a 400-500 lb. sea lion from your boat? You spray it with fresh water! Jim hosed the step down good with plenty of water and then went forward to raise the anchor. The next challenge quickly became evident! Apparently little mermaids had taken great delight in wrapping about 40' of our anchor chain with a long, thin, cellophane-like kelp. It took Jim 25 min. to remove/slice the kelp away from the chain -- we did not want this stuff to dry in the anchor chain locker. Finally we were ready to go! We rounded Point Conception in virtually calm seas -- yippee! Ten miles north was Point Arguello, another very iffy point. We rounded that one in relatively calm seas -- yippee again! Unfortunately, shortly after rounding Point Arguello, all hell broke loose. We had large nasty, nasty sea swells hitting us just forward of the beam, rolling Manana side to side, sometimes at a 30 degree angle. Not fun at all! After 4 hours of that, the seas settled down to just nasty, which was a whole lot better than the nasty, nasty!! The seas improved as we got closer to Port San Luis, but then the fog kicked in. Gee, this was turning out to be a fun passage! Finally, at 0930, we dropped the hook in San Luis Obispo. The fog was beginning to lift and the anchorage was calm...ahhh! In keeping with a day of crazy wild life, a pelican flew by to check us out. It thought it would land on our bow railing, but as soon as it did, it realized the railing did not provide good footing. In an attempt to take off and fly, it got itself out of balance and ended up falling backwards off the rail, into the water! The noise startled DC, who ran outside. We all then watched this same pelican do some sort of dance, moving its shoulder blades up and down while its head went back and forth. Very strange -- don't know whether it was trying to get its neck back in alignment or whether this was a "welcome to the neighborhood" dance! Jim and I each had our own agendas as we had not stood our traditional watch schedule; Jim's was to eat and mine was to sleep! By mid-afternoon, we were in sync with each other, the sun was out and all was right with the world. And we'd cheated death once again!
July 26, 2008: Happy birthday dear elder sister! There's no cell phone coverage out here in the islands so birthday wishes were sent via email. We had a relatively restful night, but neither of us was comfortable mentally. This is a small anchorage and quite suitable for daylight anchoring. However, when the sun went away, it felt like the rock walls were closing in. Additionally, the wind changed direction in the middle of the night, so we took turns climbing out of bed to do an anchor watch. In the morning Jim requested that we move on to someplace less confining. We realized that the weather reports we've been receiving have been for 30 miles offshore. Jim requested a report for the close-to-shore buoys and it appears we have a weather window for now! So instead of continuing on to Santa Cruz and San Miguel Islands, we headed for the Cojo anchorage, which is on the south side of Point Conception. The passage was quite pleasant, made more so because we had a favorable current for the entire trip and virtually no wind. We came upon the research ship that was in the slip in front of us at Marina de LaPaz (R/V Pacific Storm) and remembered that they were doing research tests on whales; their bright orange dinghy was in the water ahead of us so Jim went up to the flybridge for a better view of what was going on (we were in 8' swells). Also in the area was an island tour boat, so we knew something special was taking place -- and what we got to see was a blue whale!! They aren't very common and they are very big (the largest animal that has ever lived on earth)!! We watched as it was feeding, diving and spouting. Then it went deep and we got a look of this huge animal's very small tail fins! Absolutely amazing!! Wrap around swells from the Point caused the seas to deteriorate about 2 hours out from the anchorage, but they began improving the closer we got to land. We dropped our anchor, had supper, straightened and secured the boat and tried to mentally psyche ourselves up for tomorrow's 0300 rounding of the Point. At 2330 we were awakened by a sound that we could not identify. It was so loud that we both sat upright in bed wondering what it was. Jim climbed out of bed, grabbed a flashlight and went outside for a look. A friendly sea lion was swimming next to the boat and followed Jim as he walked around. Jim checked the swimstep to make sure that it was still empty (sea lions like to haul themselves out of the water), which it was. He determined that the noise we heard was the sea lion.
July 25, 2008: It was foggy all around us, with the exception that Smuggler's Cove was in bright sunlight. Our guidebook says that this specific anchorage has the most number of sunny days of anyplace in the Channel Islands and that the Chumash Indian name for this spot meant "hole in the sky". Jim checked the weather forecast but we still aren't seeing any let up of the winds and seas around Point Conception through next Weds. This is truly a lesson in patience for me! After a leisurely breakfast, we got under way for Coches Prietos, on the south side of Santa Cruz. This is a tiny anchorage, but a very pretty spot. There was one sailboat at anchor when we arrived. We squeezed ourselves in and then deployed the stern anchor. On the way over here, Jim ran us through a kelp bed (he was busy reading about the anchorage). It wasn't until he was out in the dinghy that he could see that he had snagged quite a bit of kelp around the prop. So guess who had to go dive the prop? This area belongs to the Nature Conservancy and a permit is required to go ashore. So all I can do is look at the inviting beach!
July 24, 2008: My suspicions were correct in that it was not a good sleeping night! We rocked and rolled until the wee hours of the morning; I think I finally fell into deep sleep around 0400. After breakfast we lowered the dinghy and checked out the shoreline immediately adjacent to the anchorage. Hundreds of gulls, cormorants, pelicans and other birds we could not identify sat on the rocks watching and screaching at us. One of our guidebooks recommended that we check out Frenchy's Cave, which we did. The cave is large enough that we easily dinghied into it. We could see hundreds of purple sea urchins in the shallow water of the cave's entrance. Once inside, fresh water dripped down; it is said that this was a source of water for the Chumash Indians, who lived here 10,000 years ago. We got underway shortly after returning to the boat. Neither of us was anxious to spend another rolly night on Anacapa Island, so we moved over to Smuggler's Cove on Santa Cruz Island, and anchored in front of the olive and eucalyptus groves. In fact, the air smells of eucalyptus! Many boats joined us in this large anchorage but there was still plenty of room. For dinner, Jim grilled a steak on the BBQ and I made a nice spinach salad. Then we settled down for a very pleasant night.
Arch Rock/Anacapa Island
July 23, 2008: We were up and out of the marina by 0600. I let Jim take the helm as we left the port of Long Beach behind us. He counted 84 AIS targets within the port alone (large boats over a certain tonnage that travel in international waters must have an AIS transmitter). At one point he had to blast the danger horn signal to a fishing boat not once, but twice! Yeah, it sure is good to be in the "safer" waters of the US! We had a very pleasant passage to Frenchy's Cove on Anacapa Island, which is the eastern most of the northern Channel Islands, about 11 miles west of Ventura, CA. The island consists of about 1 square mile of land and is one of CA's state parks. Anacapa Island is also a major breeding area for the brown pelican. Mother Nature gave us a favorable current for most of the trip, allowing us to anchor an hour earlier than we had originally anticipated. There were 3 sailboats and one small power boat at anchor when we arrived; somehow we thought we'd have the anchorage to ourselves. One of the sailboats that was behind us upped anchor and then did laps around us while he cut away a huge kelp ball off his anchor. He reanchored briefly elsewhere and then came back to where he started. Unfortunately the anchorage was very lumpy. We were bow into the wind but the sea swells were such that occasionally we hobby horsed into them (think of a kid on a rocking horse rocking back and forth). We set one flopper stopper (the second one is currently out of commission...again) but me thinks it will not be a good sleeping night! As a side note, Raymond "Frenchy" LaDreau lived on the island from 1925 to 1956. He was a colorful character who enjoyed the comings and goings of rum-runners in the early years and yachtsmen in later years, when he became the unofficial watchman for the island.
July 22, 2008: Jim did something to his knee yesterday so he was limping around the boat this morning. After breakfast I left him on board the boat and I walked across the street to the Whole Foods store. The prices were high, but nothing shocked me too badly. I bought a bunch of fresh veggies and some kitty grass for the boyz. When I returned I made a large batch of guacamole for today's BBQ with our friends. Andy picked us up around 1300. Jim had received an email from our insurance adjuster apologizing that she had forgotten to include an additional form that needed notarization. We weren't pleased with that email since we thought we had taken care of all the necessary paperwork (and notaries) last Thursday. But Andy took us to a store that had a notary and that was taken care of. Hopefully we won't receive another email next week! Sue had graciously offered the use of her shower and washing machine and we gratefully took her up on her offer. I did one load of laundry and Jim and I each took a shower. Then she prepared ribs and chicken on the grill and corn and green beans -- yum! Trevor performed a couple songs that he has composed on the piano; he is such a multi-talented boy (age 10)! Then he spent the afternoon in their pool. It was a little too chilly for me and Jim, but Sue braved the cool water. Andy returned us to the boat at 1900, stopping briefly at Trader Joe's. Jim programmed our route for tomorrow's passage -- it will be a long day. There is a quilt show at the Long Beach convention center. Jim was willing to stay here for a few more days so that I could attend, which was absolutely sweet of him. But I hate being underway and I find it's too easy for me to get comfortable in a marina setting. We've started the momentum going again, and I wanted to keep it going. I'm sure there will be quilt shows up north.
July 21, 2008: We were up and out of Dana Point at 0700 and had another nice passage north (again with a favorable current) to Long Beach. Saw a few dolphins -- not much in the wild life category today. The winds began kicking up early so the last hour of our trip was a bit sloppy. I counted 7 oil tankers sitting out in the harbor waiting for whatever it is they wait for! We pulled into the Los Alamitos basin of Long Beach's marinas at noon. We have an end tie slip, which is very nice, but no electricity or water. However, the price is right (free) so one can't complain! We registered with the Seal Beach Yacht club and then went to lunch at the Schooner or Later restaurant -- great food but Jim's beer was $5.50! Andy, Sue and Trevor arrived in mid-afternoon and we had a great visit with them. Trevor was a bit disappointed that we weren't going to take the boat out, but he had a good time trying to get DC to like him! DC was so tolerant with Trevor and so tired after they left! I made a pot of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and we called it an early night. We had chatted briefly with our dock neighbor, who is a liveaboard, and he mentioned that he locks his boat up every night because this is not a secured dock. We'll have to see if we can find the key -- I don't remember the last time we locked the boat!
July 20, 2008: We were up and out of LaPlaya at 0700, bound for Dana Point. We had a very smooth passage and saw lots of dolphins and one fin that may have been a shark...for sure it was not a whale or dolphin. Our goal was to arrive at Dana Point after 1800, but we had a favorable current (when we didn't particularly want one) and we arrived at 1645. Dana Point on a Sunday afternoon is a zoo. The channel is narrow and had lots of human-powered vessels in it. One guy was in a sailing kayak running back and forth across the middle of the channel. I have yet to figure out why small boats, or fishermen, insist on sitting smack dab in the middle of a busy channel! When we rounded the corner, we nearly ran over kids in a blow-up dinghy that couldn't figure out how to row the thing. Families in kayaks, couples in dinghies, singles paddling surf boards passed us -- yikes! The anchorage at Dana Point is very small and it is normally filled with day use boats. We squeezed Mañana into a small opening, with lots of weary eyes looking at us. We figured we'd move once boats began leaving and there was more space for us. At 1830 a couple of boats left and we moved up just enough so that our boat sat entirely within the anchoring buoys. It was another quiet and peaceful night. Ahhhh....
A Cat and his Man
July 19, 2008: We had an extremely peaceful night as there were only 6 boats in the anchorage; however, lots of boats entered the anchorage during the day, including one larger power boat named "Poverty Sucks". Geesh! Yeah, that's gotta be right up there in the 10 most popular boat names -- NOT! We tied the dinghy up at the San Diego Yacht Club and met Rick for breakfast at the Point Break Cafe. Great food and great conversation! In all the years we lived in the San Diego area, we'd never eaten here. Too bad, as it is a repeat restaurant! As we were saying good-bye to Rick, a lady came running up to us and gave me a big hug -- it was our friends, Connie and Bud, whom we'd met last fall in Ensenada. You just never know who you'll run into! So we had a quick sidewalk visit with them before we all continued on our way. Once back on board, Jim started working on boat projects: made new bungees for the flopper stopper rails, installed the new lock on the outboard motor, repaired the choke linkage, replaced the burned out anchor light bulb and replaced the broken wiper arm. While he did all those little projects, I was going round in circles on the boat polishing and buffing the stainless rails, swimstep, transome steps and davit. It sure felt good to kick back today, even though we had projects. We were definitely in emotional overload from the past week in Chula Vista! Jim started checking out the weather forecasting websites. One shows high winds in northern California. Don't know whether the winds are headed south or whether they will peeter out, but I guess we'd better start paying attention!
July 18, 2008: There was a communication breakdown with our friend Rick, so we never got together for breakfast, which was a bummer! We were sitting on the boat wondering if we should go out for breakfast or eat on board when there was a knock on the hull and yet another friend, Jim, stopped by to say hi. Unbelieveably they were just down the dock from us but we were so tired last night that we never noticed their 55' motor yacht (we were VERY tired)! Anyway, we headed off to breakfast with Jim and Diane and then had a short visit on their boat. We still had plenty to do -- we collected our mail from Roger's, said good-bye to Brian & Terri, said good-bye to the Padre and then turned in the marina keys. At 1225 we said good-bye to Chula Vista and headed to LaPlaya. Shortly after we went under the Coronado bridge we came across a Sabot sailboat race. There were close to 200 tiny Sabots -- what an impressive sight!! Thank heavens they were on the other side of the channel from us! We anchored in LaPlaya anchorage, next to a DeFever out of Long Beach. We'd already talked to Oasis via VHF so we dropped the dinghy and motored over to Southwestern Yacht Club, where we had lunch and dinner with them and some of their friends. We finally returned to our boat at 2100, and discovered that the anchor light was not lit...hopefully it's just the bulb. I talked to Rick and we'll try to hook up again tomorrow morning.
July 17, 2008: Another extremely crazy day! We picked up the keys to Ron's Jeep at 0900 and were on the road shortly thereafter. First stop: the bank. Then on to Trader Joe's in San Diego for several cases of two buck Chuck. From there we went next door to Vons for a bit of provisioning. Four hundred dollars (!) later the Jeep was filled to capacity and we headed back to Chula Vista. We stopped for lunch, went to the shipping office, to the gas station (ouch!) and to Napa before returning to the boat at 1230. Once again, the boat looked like a bomb had exploded as we tried to figure out where to put things! I took off at 1330 for a hair cut, then to Albertsons (we forgot to buy onions) and finally to a store to buy sweat pants. After I got back, I grabbed the dirty laundry and did 3 loads, plus washed the rug in the main salon. While I was off the boat, Jim was busy doing last-minute boat maintenance, portioning and vacuum bagging the meats and stowing the cases of wine. By 1730 the boat chores were done -- whew! We met Ron at the top of the ramp at 1845 and we went to his fiancee's house for dinner in LaMesa. Jackie made delicious appetizers and a pot roast dinner. After dinner we sat out on her back patio listening to the crickets and talking. I know we could have continued chatting but it was late; we didn't leave there until 2300. What a busy, but wonderful, day!
July 16, 2008: My friend Melody showed up unexpectedly this morning. She had traipsed between the two marinas trying to find someone who knew where we were! I was very disappointed to learn that the guild meeting was last Weds. Jim teased me that I should have remembered that the guild meets on the 2nd Weds. of the month and not the 3rd! Duh! I was only the president for 2 years!! I left Jim on board to do boat chores and Melody dropped me off at the trolley station. I had lunch at the airport with several friends. It was great to see everyone and many people asked if I was ready to come back to work (NOT!). Meanwhile Jim stayed on board and repaired the gear box weep, changed the engine oil, and (hopefully) repaired the leaking refrigerator pump! Other friends, Steve and John, were on the boat when I returned in the late afternoon. Steve drove Jim to West Marine to pick up the oil, which was much appreciated because it's probably a 3/4 mile walk each way. Later we had dinner at the Galley with John and Ron and then visited the yacht club. We feel like such social creatures! It's actually a very nice feeling knowing we have so many friends who want to get together with us before we head out. Unfortunately there is no wi-fi internet coverage in this marina. We think it's ironic that every marina in Mexico that we stayed in had wi-fi availability but the first one we get to in the States does not.
July 15, 2008: How to get our chores done when we have no cell phone, internet or transportation was the challenge of the day. Luckily the marina office had a phone we could use, so that helped to nail down exactly where we had to go. We stopped into West Marine with a list a mile long. They had everything in stock except the 5 gal. drum of oil. From there we walked to the trolley station and Jim headed off to San Diego to get a cell phone chip while I hopped on a bus to Quilters' Choice (I had my priorities straight!). We met back on the boat 6 hours later, with our respective chores accomplished. Woo hoo! We now have a cell phone! We made a quick trip to Roger's to collect our mail and pay for another 6 months on our mail box. While we were out, we ran into friends who tried to convince Jim that he needs to stay here another year or so and start up Starfish Marine again. Even the marina manager was telling us we could come back any time we wanted! Ah, it's nice to be loved. Ron joined us for dinner on the boat; we so enjoy his company and we spent several hours laughing and swapping tales. He offered us the use of his Jeep on Thursday -- bless you, Padre!! Jim and I fell into bed at 2200.
July 14, 2008: Back to the USA! John was an absolute sweetie and climbed out of bed at zero dark thirty to help us cast off our lines at 0600. Normally there is no wind that early in the morning, but not today! The wind was blowing 10 kts as we left the breakwater but overall, we had a good passage until we got up to Point Loma, where we encountered wrap around swells forcing us to periodically use the windshield wipers. A large motor yacht hogged the entire Customs dock; we debated whether or not to tie up to the Customs buoy but in the end, just drifted in the channel for about 30 min. By the time we had docked, the Customs officers had disappeared and didn't return until over an hour later. They talked to us for maybe 10 minutes, very courteous and professional. They never came on the boat but they did take away a partial head of cabbage (a real threat to US security! We ate our last apple as we approached San Diego because we knew they would take it away from us, even though it was a Washington State apple!) Once the officers gave us the green light to go, Jim contacted the Chula Vista Yacht Club and we were given a thumbs up for a reciprocal slip. Two hours later, at 1730, we were tied up. It had been a long day. It didn't take us long to make ourselves presentable and head over to the Galley Restaurant. It should have only been a 10 min. walk but it took us almost 30 min. because we kept running into friends! No sooner had we ordered our black & blue burgers (burgers heaped with bleu cheese) when we saw our friends on Sea Pilgrim headed up the dock (Brian worked for Jim for over a year). They, too, are returning to Seattle, scheduled to leave Chula Vista on the 20th. After dinner, we followed them into the marina and visited briefly with Lance (StarPlath). It was well after 2100 by the time we left Lance and all the lights were out on Ron's boat, so we headed back to the California Yacht Marina (where we are), running into yet another friend! We didn't climb into bed until 2200, completely exhausted! We've received emails from many friends who have told us they are glad we are back in "safe" waters. It's funny, but we don't feel safe here at all! US waters are filled with weekend yahoos who haven't a clue how to drive their boat, not to mention the power-hungry officials whose job should be to keep an eye on the weekend yahoos, but like to harrass everyone. Those traversing Mexican waters (cruisers) have had plenty of time and experience to figure out how to run their boats and the panga drivers, while they drive extremely fast, are highly skilled.
July 13, 2008: We must finally be rested because we were both awake at 0615! Jim made a big breakfast of chorizo and eggs. The remaining eggs were hard boiled. Additionally, I pulled chicken, steak and tuna out of the freezer. The tuna was for tonight's potluck dinner; the others were cooked so that Customs won't make us throw them away tomorrow. I finished scraping the varnish off the starboard rails -- it wasn't difficult but was back breaking because of the height of the rails. I spent a little time in the afternoon stowing my shells. I don't know if Customs will hassle us over them (they didn't in 2004) but I didn't want to take any chances. At 1830 we walked over to A dock for a farewell potluck dinner with our Chula Vista friends. As always, great food and plenty of it! We finally said adios at 2100. Although we've done it over and over again, saying good-bye is not an easy process. The Chula Vista crowd is headed south and we are headed north so chances are we won't see each other again for a long time. :(
July 12, 2008: We went to the office bright and early, requesting transportation to Ensenada so we could clear out of the country. The workers speak some English, and we speak some Spanish, but there was still confusion and we were told to talk to Francisco later in the morning. We walked back to the office a couple hours later. Francisco told us that it was not necessary for us to clear out in Ensenada as the paperwork given to us when we were in Barra de Navidad would suffice. We certainly hope he's right! I started scraping the failing varnish off the lower rails. At this point no varnish looks much better! Around 1300 we joined Kent, Heidi, John & Liz for a trip to the Club House, which is affiliated with the marina but is a couple miles away -- certainly not very convenient for cruisers with no wheels. The Club House is actually very nice. It houses a restaurant, bar, billiards room, sauna, and pool. The restaurant was closed but we were able to get ice cream. I had Oreo cookie ice cream; Jim had elote (corn) ice cream. It was actually served in a corn husk, and tasted like ice cold corn! From there we went to the cantina where the 4 of them had lunch. We sat outside on the patio, overlooking the beach and ocean; a lovely, relaxing spot. After dinner we walked over to A dock and joined the group for a drink on deck. There is always a lot of teasing and laughing with these friends, who we met in Chula Vista years ago.
July 11, 2008: Not knowing what to expect at the fuel dock, we climbed out of bed early and were underway by 0700. There was no one around so we docked the boat and Jim went in search of information regarding fuel and hours. The station opened 15 minutes later and we were able to fill our tanks (270 gallons at ~ $2.53/gal). Jim squeezed in every drop he could! We learned that the station was not dispensing more than 500 gallons to any boat. Then we headed north to Puerto Salina. We paid for 3 nights at a cost roughly 1/3 of what we had paid in Ensenada. We met up with John & Liz outside the office; they were on their way to the cantina for lunch, so we joined them. We'd already eaten but we sat at the bar with them, had sodas, chatted and watched a movie ("What Lies Beneath"). When it was time for us to pay our tab, we were given our total in US dollars. Jim requested the amount be converted to pesos and the girl laughed and told him that this is a US bar! Well...we've been in Mexico for almost a year and we only had pesos in our wallets! The marina and surrounding development is still under construction. The pool and hot tub will be finished some time in the future and condos/hotel are being built. In fact, we had to walk through construction to get to the marina office! We aren't in Kansas anymore, Toto! The marina is new and pretty nice, although the channels aren't very wide; there are still lots of empty slips. But the marina has a free shuttle to Ensenada, which is about 25 miles away. Without that, you'd be in the middle of nowhere. We went over to Outta Here for appies. John had purchased a few "toys" which Jim was anxious to see.
July 10, 2008: I think I should have taken a sleeping pill last night. I awoke sometime during what would have been my 0100-0400 on-watch shift. In my mind, the boat was moving as if we were underway. I clearly saw the nav chart and 2 blips on the radar. And my mind started screaming "wake up! you're on watch, there are boats nearby and you can't fall asleep!" And low and behold, I woke myself out of the sleep until I became conscience enough to realize that we weren't underway, the boat wasn't moving, the nav computer and radar weren't turned on... Jim decided to leave the gearbox fix until we get to San Diego. It will be easier to get parts there, if necessary. I realized that doing laundry is cheaper down here than it will be in Chula Vista, so I did another load in the afternoon. Unfortunately, my timing was terrible and I was the last of 4 people doing laundry in a facility with only 2 washers and dryers, so it took 3 hours before I was back to the boat. While I was at the laundromat, Jim headed back to the Santo Tomas winery for a few more bottles of a favorite wine. At 1730 we went to La Vendimia with Rick & Lynne (LaVita). It was nice to see Katrina again but most of the folks there are the ones who live on land. Still, we are suckers for 2 for 1 drinks and free pasta and we enjoyed ourselves. We had an early night as we expect to have an early morning. Let us pray for a tank full of diesel!
July 9, 2008: Amazingly both cats were quiet and allowed us to sleep in until well past 0830. Wow! Did that feel good! This marina is quite pricey so we're thinking that we might want to leave Friday rather than Saturday. To that end, I headed off to the Santo Tomas winery and grocery store with my backpack and Jim headed down into the engine room to fix the engine's oil leak. We returned to the boat around the same time; Jim had gone out and bought a new oil pressure alarm sender. After lunch I went off to the laundromat and Jim worked in the engine room. I returned a couple hours later, just as Jim was climbing out of the engine room, covered with oil. He had spent quality time removing the oily bilge blankets and cleaning as much of the oil out of the bilge as possible. He looked at me and said, "Kiss me, honey!" And I looked at him and said, "I took you in sickness and in health, not in oil and grease!" :-) At 1700 we went over to Oasis for happy hour, after which we walked downtown for pizza. Kyle and Ryan have taken a shine especially to Jim and it's so cute to see Jim walking down the sidewalk with a child holding on to each hand. Rich had bought the kids some poppers; when you throw them onto the ground, they go "smack". So we all took turns throwing them onto the walkway at the marina. Sometimes we threw them at the same time and other times we applauded as the boys threw them. Jim and I have really enjoyed having a grandparent "fix" with these two wonderful boys, and we've had a great time getting to know their parents. It's funny...we traveled about 700 miles with them, but we only got together once when we were in Turtle Bay. All other communication was done via the VHF. Such is the life of a cruiser!
July 8, 2008: Charlie's Charts indicates that Ensenada is 75 miles away, so we figured it would take us 13 hours to get there and we based our departure on this number. But "75" wasn't setting right with Jim, so he got our log out and confirmed that Ensenada is 60 miles away. So that lower mileage, plus an on-again/off-again favorable current put us into Ensenada 11 hours later at 0700. It took us 11 days and 857 miles to do "the Bash", and don't you know we arrived 2 hours before the marina office opened! We talked to Oasis to see what they wanted to do for 2 hours -- anchoring in the harbor is no longer an option. We decided to poke our nose into the marina to see if there was space where we could temporarily tie up, and thankfully, there was an open end tie. So we tied up and then took Oasis's lines and snugged her up behind us. At 0900 Jim, Rich and I went to the office for our slip assignments. The office was moving so much in Jim's mind that he thought he was going to get sea sick...or would that be land sick?! We took lines for one another as we relocated into our temporary new home. Jim and I ran into several people that we'd met last Fall, and invited LaVita and Gold Eagle in for coffee as we talked about the trip. After lunch we hit the sack for a couple of hours, trying to rejuvenate ourselves as much as we could. Today is definitely a write-off day when it comes to chores! At 1630 we went over to Oasis; they had invited us to share their last bottle of Whidbey Island port wine. After that, we walked to Mahi Mahi for a nice dinner. Their boys, ages 5 and 7, have done unbelieveably well, given that they have been off the boat for a total of 2 hours in the past 12 days, but needless to say, they had excess energy (which we wish we had a small percentage of!). Jim and I took a sleeping pill when we returned to the boat, and hoped that we'd sleep for the next week!
July 7, 2008: We "slept in" this morning. Because of today's relatively short distance, we didn't have to get underway until 0700. The engine is still leaking oil although Jim can find no evidence of where it is leaking from. This will have to be investigated more fully when we are in Ensenada. We had a pleasant passage up to Bahia Colnett -- the water was glassy smooth although we had to contend with the sea swells that have been with us throughout our miles north, and it was gray and chilly. We arrived Bahia Colnett in time for lunch. It was quite rolly despite the fact that we deployed one of our flopper stoppers. It's hard to really rest when the boat is in constant motion. We napped and relaxed in the afternoon as best we could. At 2000 we upped anchor and headed north to Ensenada with Oasis.
July 6, 2008: The wind actually continued until well past midnight and we had wrap around swells, giving us a rolly night. The alarm clock was set for 0345; we climbed out of bed, dressed, and we checked in with Brendan and Oasis at 0400. The wind was finally down but everyone decided to wait until daybreak before we left. So Jim and I undressed and climbed back in bed for another 1 1/2 hours -- we'll take whatever sleep we can get! At 0545 we climbed out of bed and dressed, again, and were ready to roll at 0600. I called DC inside just before Jim started the engine and he came running inside with a small bird in his mouth. I've tried to impress upon him that it's not nice to eat the natives, but, hey, he's a cat! Jim rescued the bird from DC's mouth and it hid behind one of our fenders for the duration of our passage. Today's destination was San Quintin, about 30 miles away. We had 10 kts. of wind but the seas weren't bad, and about 8 miles south of San Quintin, Brendan called and said they had decided to push on to Isla San Martin, another 10 miles north. Then about 3 miles south of Isla San Martin, Brendan called again and said they were going to push on north. After talking it over, we decided to anchor in Isla San Martin with Oasis for the night. It's all about timing. We know we want to arrive Ensenada during the morning hours, which means we need to run overnight. We could have pushed on to Bahia Colnett, but that would have put us in at 1830 tonight. We knew we would not have the energy to take off for another 12 hour cruise after only 2 hours of rest. So here we are! DC was itching to get out on deck; I think he could smell the bird. Jim gently picked the bird up and let it loose; Jim thinks it suffered a wing injury but hopefully it will recover. Shortly after we dropped the anchor, a pelican landed right next to the boat, most curious as to who we were and what we were doing in its neighborhood. It swam under the swim step and started pecking at the exhaust. Then it swam to the other side of the boat and looked like it was trying to drink the water exiting the boat from our refrigeration system...very strange! This was just too much bird for DC to be interested in!
Isla San Jeronimo in the Fog
July 5, 2008: The overnight passage was a very calm one. Both sailboats had a sail up; Oasis blew by us. By daylight we were picking our way through thick fog, with the radar guiding us. About 8 miles out of San Carlos Brendan hailed us, saying that they were going to continue on to Isla San Jeronimo. As we had never been there, we told them we'd follow. Again, we rode through thick fog, sometimes with only 100 yds. visibility. We must have looked like Mother Duck and her ducklings, 3 boats all lined up one behind the other! The fog lifted just as we arrived at the island. The island, itself, is tiny, not much more than an overgrown rock, but there is a "village" on it. The village looks like it has seen better days. From our vantage point, the island is dotted with white dots -- sea gulls. And with the sea gulls comes flies, as in LOTS of them! They drove us crazy! The plan was to leave at 2100, but the wind hadn't let up, so we said we'd re-evaluate things at 2300. The wind was still up; the unanimous decision was to spend the night and look at things in the morning.
At Anchor in Isla Cedros
July 4, 2008: Once again the alarm clock got us out of bed at 0345 and we were underway by 0400. I'm lucky because Jim's normal watch begins at 0400. All I have to do is work the helm and once the anchor is up and secured, I can climb back into bed until 0700! We were in and out of thick fog for most of the passage; all eyes were on watch when we were in a fog bank. We crossed over into the state of Baja California and at that time, also crossed into the Pacific timezone. Oasis reached today's destination, the north anchorage on Isla Cedros, first. Brendan joined us several hours later. There is a shelf that runs close to the island; it is very deep and then shoals up right before you hit the shore. Being so close to land is a bit unnerving. We wouldn't want to spend a night here, but the plan is for us to get underway at 2100 and make our last overnight run. There is a section about 15 miles north of here where the winds are the worst so we figured we'd wait out the afternoon winds and travel at night. This is not a quiet anchorage -- colonies of sea lions line the beaches for at least 1/2 mile in each direction and the sea lions bark nonstop. Several swam by the boat and checked us out. After lunch we took a nap. These long passages are wrecking havoc with me getting my beauty rest! Late in the afternoon a panga stopped by to chat. They were very curious about the 3 boats -- this is not a popular anchorage for cruisers. Jim offered the fishermen a cold beer and then they headed over to Brendan. The three boats left the anchorage together, bound for San Carlos (Baja California).
July 3, 2008: Other than the fact that the day started at 0345 and it was 58 degrees (we're still in Mexico?), we had a good passage. Brendan left a couple hours before us and was able to tell us the sea conditions. They encountered 15 kts of wind, so we changed course hoping to avoid the winds. Either the winds died down or our course change worked because we encountered no winds and the sea swells weren't uncomfortable. We arrived Turtle Bay just before 1300. At 1500 we put the dinghy in the water and headed to shore with Oasis; their 2 young boys needed to run around. We tied the dinghies to the same rickety pier that has been here for years. It doesn't get any better -- only worse! We walked through town and did a little shopping as we went. I found my head and body swaying as if it was still on the water! The town is prospering, but only the one paved road was evident (they were paving that 4 years ago). This is a very friendly village; the locals like the gringo cruisers who stop in. We decided to eat dinner at a small palapa overlooking the pier. There was only one item on the menu tonight; thankfully it was one that all of us liked (tacos carne asada). We watched the local teens dive off the pier into the water near the dinghies and we laughed imagining that our dinghies would be full of water. When we finally got to the pier, we discovered that the dinghies had actually been moved to another location on the pier away from the kids, and yes, they were very wet! Jim and Rich compared weather forecasts and it sounds like we have a good weather window for continuing north through July 6. I suppose that is good news, but I was really looking forward to spending a day on a boat that doesn't move! So the plan is to get underway again tomorrow morning at 0400 and continue the trek north.
July 1-2, 2008: I am so tired I can hardly see straight. We have averaged just under 17 hours per day since we left LaPaz on Friday. This has not been a fun 2 days; the winds have been up and we've had that horrible swell from the west. I told Jim that if our 2004 Baja Bash had been like this, I never would have returned to Mexico for another season. We left Bahia Santa Maria at 0900 on July 1 and encountered the washing machine seas almost immediately. The plan was for us to go to Turtle Bay, but our navigation software estimated that we would arrive at 0200. We knew it was not advisable to enterTurtle Bay after dark because of all the lobster pots around the entrance so we made the decision to stop in Bahia Asuncion, an anchorage we've been to several times. Oasis agreed with our decision and said they would follow us. The afternoon winds didn't let up until 0200 on July 2. Sleep was difficult because the boat was being jarred around from the wind waves. The swell never let up. July 2 saw higher winds with the seas still confused. We were all (Oasis and Mañana) were very happy that Bahia Asuncion awaited us. I think the guys on Brendan, the other sailboat we are in contact with, wished they could stop here as well, but they are on a delivery cruise schedule. DC was very happy to be able to go outside, but the temperature is only 64(!) degrees, so the doors aren't staying open for his convenience! We had dinner and then did boat chores. Jim discovered a loose fitting that was allowing oil to be blown into the bilge. The engine was down 3 quarts. Thankfully he was able to tighten the fitting. Brendan hailed us asking how the anchorage was. When Jim told them it was extremely comfortable, they decided to pull in for the night, too. Lights were out at 2000 -- the plan is to get underway at 0400 for Turtle Bay, 53 miles north. Then, hopefully, we'll be able to rest for a couple of days.
Oasis Under Sail
June 30, 2008: It was 68 degrees in the cabin this morning, and although it was chilly, it was also invigorating. At 0900 we got underway for Bahia Santa Maria. Today's weather was forecasted to be a repeat of yesterday, so we wanted to make time and get to the anchorage before the winds started. We pulled in just before 1300. Although it was only a 25 mile run, it shaved 4 hours off the next leg of the passage. Friends on Oasis hailed us and invited us over after lunch. Jim printed out the latest virtual buoy weather forecast and we headed over. Rich and Debbie have two different sources for weather so we compared notes. All sources agreed that tomorrow will be windy north of Abreojos, but things will settle down on Weds. So we agreed to leave here tomorrow morning, with Turtle Bay as the destination. It will take us around 40 hours (ugh...). There are several anchorages south of Turtle Bay that we can tuck into in case the winds don't do what the weathermen say. We returned to Mañana and took a nap -- long overnight passages really wipe us out. I made guacamole for our 1700 happy hour. We might as well enjoy it now...we probably won't be able to afford the avocados when we return to the States (I paid $1.10 for 3 avocados here; when we left Chula Vista, the price was $1.50 per avocado)!
Still More Goofy Cat Photos
June 27-29, 2008: Jaye and Irwin (Winsome) made it back to LaPaz in time to say good-bye to us. Jaye brought over packaged dry fixings for her famous pad thai dinner as well as several beautiful scallop shells that I started collecting when we were together in San Juanico. We were ready to depart at noon, but the office told us that another boat had already requested fuel, so we were put into the queue. We took on 420 gallons of diesel at $2.60/gal. -- about half price what we will pay in the States. At 1500 we left the fuel dock with no particular destination in mind. My thought was to stop in one of LaPaz's local anchorages but the conditions were so good that Jim suggested we "jump into the deep end of the pool" and run overnight to Cabo. After much hemming and hawing, that's what we did. We had a comfortable run south through the Cerralvo Channel and didn't meet up with any ferries or freighters along the way (and that's definitely a good thing)! Dozens of sportfishers greeted us as we approached the southern tip of the Baja on Saturday morning. Given the number of dolphins and the number of fishing boats, I'd venture a guess that there were a lot of fish in the area. Jim would have loved to put a line in the water but our freezer was already packed. The original thought was that we'd hang in Cabo and wait for a weather window, but both the winds and seas were out of the south. Given that Cabo is at the southern end of the Baja, well, that is NOT the place you want to hang when the weather is out of the south! So we continued around and north. I was a bit concerned because we hadn't been able to hear the weatherman and our virtual buoy weather print out was indicating strong winds picking up on Sunday afternoon. We had 5' swells from the south, a 1-2' swell from the west and 10 kt. winds from the NW -- talk about feeling like we were in a washing machine! And as soon as we rounded the tip, the temperature dropped almost 25 degrees, sending us scurrying to close doors and windows and grabbing long sleeved shirts from the hanging locker! We had a scratchy copy on Don during the Southbound net Sat. night and he predicted 20-25 kt winds for the Mag Bay area beginning Sunday afternoon. With that prediction, we increased the RPMs a little, shaving 3 hours off our trip. The seas weren't bad Sat. evening and into Sun. morning, but by noon, the winds had picked up to 15 kts. Jim and I made the decision to pull into Belcher Cove rather than continue on another 20 miles as the seas were starting to get sloppy. We dropped anchor 48 hours and 302 miles after we left LaPaz, tired but very pleased with our progress. Within minutes, the winds started gusting to 25 kts. Our decision to run 2 consecutive nights shaved 4 days off our trip (otherwise, we would have spent 3 or 4 days just getting to Cabo). The cats did well and were more excited about their end-of-passage treat than the ability to go out on deck! We had an early dinner, checked into the Southbound net and then checked ourselves into bed at 1930.
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