Friday, October 15, 2010

Killer Dana

Finally decided to give up the $5 a day moorings in Newport to head south.

newportselsIMG_5061  Here’s the federally protected seals doing their best to sink the sacrificial sailboat in Newport Bay on my way out. It is illegal to even harass them to get them off your boat. They aren’t as common as the protected seagull, but close.


Here’s my friend Di hoping I’ll pick her up at the public dock on Balboa Island inside Newport. Ken is in the background  hauling down my box of new zincs. I think this is the dock where the Minnow left from in Gilligan’s Island. 

Headed off to Dana Point in light winds and haze. Chris is still in Ethiopia doing midwifery training evaluations and checking out Anacondas – so far they have all been flat on the road. Its been a long time since I did any serious single handing.

Got a nice, but short, end tie at the Dana Point Yacht Club for the night. I met up with my old friends Billy and Christy Stewart. Billy and I went to high school together. We shared houses together in the early days of moving to San Clemente. They took me up to Cannons Restaurant on the cliff over Dana Point. Billy's a rockstar in the surfboard world. They’ve had a surfboard shop in San Clemente for 30 years and build some of the best boards with the best art work around. Billy’s passion even back in early high school was art and surfing. I tried to explain to him while we were sitting in his hill top house overlooking the Pacific ocean that if he had just paid a little more attention in school and gone to college he could have made something of himself.


Bill and Christy with Dana harbor down below from Cannons.





Me pointing to the end tie that Jeorgia is on. I’m (re)reading Two years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana now.  It was written in the 1830’s and is the true story of a Harvard drop out who gets a job as a seamen on the Boston  ship Pilgrim  headed to the West Coast. Great narrative of what life was really like on those old tall ships. I’m currently at the part in the book where they are standing at the top of the cliffs in Dana Point at about the same place as Cannon’s restaurant. They have purchased hides from the mission in Capistrano and are throwing them over the cliff to the beach below for the long boat crews to pick up and take out to their ship.

Reminiscing with Bill and Chris was fun.  Everyone had lots of adventures to replay. When you haven’t seen someone for so long, you inevitably end up discussing those that aren’t here today. Maybe a little morose but it reminds you that life is short and you better enjoy the time you have. I don’t know how many times in my younger days I’ve said ‘You only go around once in life, burn yourself out before you’re 30”.


hoversbenIMG_5082I left Dana Point the next morning for Mission Bay. Saben was headed there too. We passed along the San Clemente coast, then past the San Onofre nuke plant and into the marine base, Camp Pendleton. Things were active there. Here is a Marine Hovercraft passing us at 40kts.


Then inside near the beach was an aircraft carrier, otherwise known on the VHF radio as Warship #8. Here (s)he is heading out behind us at 25kts. You see why they paint them grey.

balloonIMG_5087 One thing that pisses me off about Southern California is the number of party balloons you see out at sea. Every passage we’ve made since we rounded Pt Conception we’ve seen at least one, sometimes 3 or 4. They ought to put the soda bottle and beer bottle return fee on these too. Or at least make them out of something that digests in birds guts.


We kept getting visited by these finches. They seem like awfully small birds to be dropping in 5 miles offshore. I think they were chowing down on the moths that were also out their – yea, who knows why the moths were out their. Clearly not to get away from the finches.


It was getting boring out there, so I put on some Lyle Lovett loud on the cockpit speakers. As soon as I did the dolphins came by to play.

The mystery masked man was smart
He got himself a Tonto
'Cause Tonto did the dirty work for free
But Tonto he was smarter
And one day said kemo sabe
Kiss my ass I bought a boat
I'm going out to sea

Lyle Lovette – If I had a boat

Some how I can relate to this.

(if this blog entry makes no sense in places it is because Chris isn’t here to edit it before I post. Just throw in any extra words you think it needs)


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hanging in Catalina

We headed over  to Avalon from Cat Harbor for a few days on the moorings. If you don't mind the crowds, its a pretty fun place. I dove on the hull and replaced the zincs.

avalonIMG_5043 And bought some  expensive diesel from the surgy fuel dock.  Chris and I sailed to Avalon back in our young and crazy days. We had a memorable night at a dive bar in Avalon 30 years ago. We had to head back for a beer and to see if the Marlin Club was ruined and gone upscale. We weren’t disappointed.

avalonmarlin1IMG_5044 avalonmarlin2IMG_5055

It is still a classy place – the signs enforce a certain level of decorum.





We headed off to the anchorage in White Cove 3 or 4 miles up the coast from Avalon.


The water still isn’t that warm,but the color was inviting. We slipped into the wetsuits and did some skin diving off the rocky point among the kelp. Lots of Garibaldi's like this busily eating off the bottom.


We sailed over with our asym spinnaker to Newport to hang with the rich and famous of Southern Cal while swinging on a $5 a day mooring next to Balboa Island. Can’t beat the prices here for transient boats.  We visited Chris’ sister and family in Cote for a day and then Chris was off to the airport for a long flight to Ethiopia. I’ll meet her back in San Diego in a few weeks – after she fixes Africa or at least writes a good report on it.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Santa Barbara and fuel redux

We spent two nights at the Santa Barbara Yacht Club guest dock in SB Harbor. The harbor setup is great for cruisers. 90 cents a foot per night at the guest slips, less at SBYC. Make sure your seacocks are closed when you show up as the Harbor Patrol just might drop a dye tab in. There's an electric trolley that stops near the harbor and takes you into town for 25 cents a ride. Even with the trolley available, Chris managed to get us on a death march to the old Santa Barbara Mission. It is the 10th mission along the mission trail in California. Founded by the Franciscan Friars in 1786.

The gates to Heaven are well protected

The Saben's celebrating their 19th anniversary at Happy Hour in the Fish Enterprise. Notice the clean shirt Steve put on for the occasion. Flowers too from the SB farmers market (runs on Tuesdays, 4-7 on State St-- is a nice farmers market).

We needed to get going from SB as Chris is off to Ethiopia for a 2 week job on Oct 8th. We stopped for the night at Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island (Channel Islands). We originally went into Little Scorpion as the guide books say it is better. We weren't impressed with the anchorage -- rocks, kelp and surge. We must be spoiled coming from the PNW where there are thousands of protected anchorages every where. The places they call anchorages in the Channel Is wouldn't even get a second glance as an anchorage up north. If the shore indents 14 feet or more they call is something Anchorage here. If it goes along for more than 100 feet, the it is named something Bay. The pieces of land inbetween are named something Point. None of the Channel Is anchoarges we've been at feel verify secure and the guide books spend most of their text describing what winds and conditions you can't use the anchorages in.

Anacapa Island sunrise as we were leaving Santa Cruz or Catalina.

We did a bit of a detour going from Santa Cruz Is to Catalina Is. I wanted to stop by and check out Santa Barbra Is. It is really remote and I remember trying to sail there in my 26ft Pearson 30 years ago when I lived in Southern Cal. We didn't make it that time as we got beat back by the afternoon winds. Probably a good thing as the anchorage in Santa Barbara Is is not too secure looking- surprise!

Now comes the 'fuel redux'. It has been basically a motorboat tip from Sana Barbara till Catalina - light light winds. We were about 4 miles outside of Catalana Harbor at the Isthmus when the engine died. I checked the fuel and their wasn't any. we had enough wind to push us along at 1 knot and maybe 45 minutes of day light left.  I got that look from Chris that said she was going to let me off the hook till we got in, then let me know what kind of an ass I was. We loaded the engine on the dink, side tied it to the boat and started pushing our way into Cat Harbor. About an hour and half later we wove our way through the moorings shining the dive light on each and picked up our assigned  mooring in the dark.  Adventure over.

The quintessential Catalina greeter

It turned out to be Buccaneer's Weekend at the Isthmus. Something akin to a drunken brawl and talk-like-a-pirate day.

Square riggers and Pirate flags....Aaaarrrgghhh!

We're off around the island to Avalon next... where Chris and I firstsailed together 30 years ago. For old times sake.  Paul