Sunday, August 29, 2010

Santa Barbara to Marina del Rey

Fog, lots of fog. That is the story of the Southern California coast. We left Santa Barbara in very thick fog. We had poor visibility all the way down to our next port, Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard (or as we heard two fishermen call it over the VHF Fognard). I guess we can say we our honing our radar skills.
The Channel Islands Harbor had lots of transient moorage available. We have noticed a lack of activity each place we have gone. I guess the economy is effecting everyone.

On Friday we leave Oxnard in guess what? Pea-soup fog! On our way to Marina del Rey.

We arrive mid afternoon. We are lucky again to have little traffic as we enter the marina and find our slip easily. We spend the rest of the day cleaning and then going to a nice shopping center near here for provisions and dinner. We had hoped for a movie theater but it did not have one so we returned to the boat for a movie night.
My sister Dolores (DeeDee) her husband Bill and son Charlie along with my cousin Margie and here husband John came to see us on Saturday. We had a great visit and they appreciated seeing the boat.
I have posted pictures of them and one looking at the fog we have encountered.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Port San Luis/Avila Beach to Santa Barbara

We left early in the morning to head for Port San Luis. I believe that we will be close to my nephew Greg and his wife Angela so I call to leave a message for them.
We arrive early in the after noon and find a good anchorage. We decide to take the dingy to shore to see the sites. Things are different along the coast, goodbye to the nice harbor dingy docks, here you are expected to tie a long line from your dingy to a wharf ladder and then climb upthe ladder. I am not talking a foot or two these wharfs are quite high. But we are willing to try. we get all tied up and I start up the ladder, then I make a mistake and look down. I decide that it is too much and climb back down telling Mel that perhaps I will be braver tomorrow. Luckily we see a platform for loading and unloading on the other side of the wharf. There is no sign telling us we cannot tie up so we do and take the nice reasonable stairs up to the wharf.
Avila Beach is very nice with an all new beach front (thanks to Union 76 and an oil clean-up) and a nice long beach. We have a margarita and try to cool off as it is an unusually hot day for the beach.
On the way back to our boat we notice another Oregon boat on the hook. They are from Newport so we stop to talk. They are also on there way to Mexico and are going to do the Baja-Ha-Ha ralley in October. We note their name in our log and hope to see them in Mexico.
The next day we meet up with Greg and Angela for cocktails on the boat and dinner at the "New" Custom House restaurant, (see picture of them on our boat). They are the first of my family to see the boat.

The next day we leave early as we have a good weather window for Point Conception, this is known as the "Cape Horn of the West Coast" the winds and waves can be quite bad in this area. We pass around it with little wind and low seas, it is all about timing.
We also pass by Vandenberg Air Force Base. Boy, talk about being in the middle of no where, I guess that is by design.
Our engine prop starts to make a very strange vibration so we lower the RPM's and head to our anchorage. We are very concerned and after we set the anchor, Mel gets on the scuba mask and looks under the boat at the prop but sees nothing on it. We decide that there is nothing we can do so we have dinner and a movie (2 episodes of X-Files).
Luckily the next day we have no vibrations and the engine works just fine.
We motor in the fog all the way to Santa Barbara where the dolphins greet us and "dance" around our boat. They always leave when I get the camera out, darn.
Tomorrow we continue on south and will be in Marina Del Rey for the weekend and will see family there.
The pictures posted here are of me at the helm on a very windy with somewhat high seas. Point Conception, and its lighthouse. Greg, Angela, and me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

We countinue South

We sadly said good-by to Santa Cruz in the early morning fog (typical) and headed across the bay towards Monterey. We were entertained by several whales, and had to slow up several times to watch as they slowly meandered by. Several times we saw their flukes slowly sink into the bay. We are also surprised by the many birds that seem to make their home on the water, many with their babies squawking behind them.

We decide to head for a mid way anchorage, Point Lopez. A couple we met in S.C. said they anchored there. We want to make it to San Simeon on Saturday. She mentioned that is was a "rolley anchorage" and boy ever was she right. This is the only time that I got sea sick on this trip. I was ok until after dinner then I told Mel I had to go to bed or get sick. Bed did the trick and I was soon asleep with my dinner still in my tummy.

We have been going too fast to troll as we have had to motor most of the time. We hope for more wind as we head south.

Today we made it to San Simeon bay. It is very pretty with the lovely brown rolling hills in the back ground and the impressive Hearst Castle perched on the top the the hills. We were going to go on a tour to see it but they sold out (we tried to book on line prior to leaving the boat).

We decided to go for a dingy ride (dingy being the small inflatable boat we have on the back of the sail boat). As there is not a dingy dock here you are required to make a beach landing. We were excited to try our first one as we know we will have to master this in Mexico.

We sized up the beach, motoring from one end to the other to pick the most favorable (and least populated) spot to make our entrance. Mel and I discussed our plan, Mel would gun the motor at the precise moment I would be ready to jump out of the dingy and pull us effortlessly onto the beach, all with out getting my shorts wet.

We approached the shore behind the breakers (all of 2 ft) and waited for our moment. Mel waited for one wave and then gunned the engine, he saw another approach, but it was too late, he felt we could ride in it in, but noooooo, over we went, inflatable life jackets inflated, we are tossed out of the boat, and scramble to shore with our dingy upside down.
We get it righted, check that camera, wallet, etc are dry and secure (we are soaked). Of course the engine would not start, so we now have to row back to the boat.

Luckily we provided enough entertainment that a nice man decided we could use some help. He offered to push us out past the breakers and send us on our way. He also was able to get our engine started again.

After we got all the sand off of us and the dingy cleaned up Mel and I enjoyed an adult beverage on the boat. I sure hope we do better next time.

Here are some pictures: John, Cindy and us at Aldos at the harbor (note Mazu in the background), Twin Lakes Beach, and misc. pictures along the way. Sorry no whale pictures, too busy watching them. I have also noted that if you click on a picture you will see a larger image of it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Santa Cruz

Well I did it! We sailed our boat into the Santa Cruz Harbor....

As most of you know Santa Cruz is where I was born and raised. It was a very special moment for me. To see my home town from sea was a perspective I have never seen.

Twin Lakes beach is all grown up, with beach volley, restaurants, and boats. The harbor looks the same. We had lunch today with cousin John and Cindy at Aldo's overlooking the harbor. Last night we had drinks with Chris Cole at the Crows Nest and listened to music.
Today I walked to Days Market on Seabright Ave. and down to a place that I live right above the train trestle and Boardwalk.

It all brings back memories. Like I cannot believe that I would walk from that house all the way to the end of Ocean Ave. for work at 5a.m. in the morning. Wishing for a TOGOs avocado and jack cheese sub sandwich, hanging out at the downtown mall and Cooper House. And the summer that Nancy and I spent at Twin Lakes beach, and riding our 10 speed bikes all over town.

We think we have solved our gremlin in the electronics as we have someone working on the boat as I write this.

Tomorrow we depart. We will cross the bay and anchor somewhere in Monterey and contiue our trip south. Watch for my SPOT emails that will tell you where we are.

Here are some pictures of West Cliff Dr., the light house, wharf and boardwalk, and our boat in the harbor looking out to the bay

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Newport Oregon to San Francisco

We departed Newport at 6:30 on Sunday Aug. 8th. We soon had favorable winds and sailed mostly southerly. We stayed about 20 t0 30 miles off shore. Today we are sailing with a full main and Genoa winds are 15-18 knots and we are going about 6.5 knots, with calm seas. In the evening we tuck in a reef and switch to our jib.

Over the next two days we have favorable winds and were able to go up to 10-12 knots for a while but the average seems to be 6-7 knots.

We have had a few problems, one is when Roy and I tried to furl the jib and it would not budge. It was all hands on deck and we figured out the problem. It was the spinnaker halyard. We left it on the whisker pole earlier that day, it was getting wrapped around the jib and "putting on the brake" of the furler. All in all a very minor problem. We are also noticing an issue with our goose neck fitting (the part that connect the boom to the mast). The screws are working their way out, not a good thing. We keep and eye on it and will repair in S.F.

Roy and I were treated to a wonderful dolphin show when a pod of dolphins played at the bow of our boat. We also saw whales 2- 3 times. Poor Mel and Steve did not get the show.

It is funny that it is getting colder as we move south?? We did not expect that. Morning and evening watches are cold and foggy. Thank goodness for radar.

We arrive at the Golden Gate Bridge at about 1p.m. on Wednesday the 11th. We celebrate with champagne.

We will spend several days here visiting family and getting repairs done on the boat, and other chores like laundry and shopping.

Sadly we say good-by to Roy and Steve today. A better crew we could not have had. Thank you Roy and Steve.

Well friends and family, this is the end of the first leg of our journey. From here to San Diego it will be just Mel and I gunk-holeing down the California Coast. Our next stop will be my home town, Santa Cruz.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Seattle to Newport Oregon

We left Seattle 7:30 p.m. on August 3rd. We wanted to make the tides. Mel and I have a crew along with us, Roy and Steve. They will accompany us all the way to San Fransisco.

Our trip to Newport was uneventful as we had no wind and the wind we did get was right on our nose. The good news was that the sea's were flat, you could have water skied behind the boat.

We settled into 4 hour watches. That seems to work well as you can get a good bit of sleep when your watch ends.

Cooking was easier underway than I thought it would be, but again, we had pretty calm seas. I had on mishap with the pressure cooker, I had only used it once before so I was sure I could cook rice in it. I followed the direction, but soon I could smell something burning, I guess I did not put in enough water, what a mess, and I had to start over, (I did it the regular way, in a pot)

We arrived in Newport at 1:30 a.m. and had to negotiate the bar in the dark and fog. We had Roy and Steve at the mast spotting the buoy's and Mel was at the helm with the chart plotter, all very exciting.

Thank you to all our friends and family who came to Newport to see the boat and wish us Bon-Voyage !

We leave Newport at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday the 8th, for a straight run to S.F.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

We cut the docklines!

Dear Friends and Family,

we have done it! We left Seattle at 7p.m on August 3rd for the first leg of our journey.

We are sailing with 2 crew members, Roy and Steve. We will make our first stop in Newport Oregon. We will then head to San Francisco. Mel got me a SPOT gps locator, so I will send out a signal along the way to let you know where we are.

Here is a picture of Mel and I as we are leaving our slip in Seattle.

I will post more as I have cell service.