Morro Bay to San Diego

June-July 2006

Anchored at Fry's Harbor, Santa Cruz Island

June 20th we depart Morro Bay to round the dreaded Point Conception, location of greatly intensified winds and large swells coming from different directions, and continue south intending to anchor out for ten days anchored in the Channel Islands. As usual, our plans change. Although we wait a couple days for a good weather window to open up and allow us to visit San Miguel Island, a place you can only stay at when the winds are calm, they do what they usually do in that area and blow like hell. This is why hardly anyone gets to San Miguel. We tire of waiting and head to the more accessible Santa Cruz Island. Fry's Anchorage is a bit rolly; if you have to hold the handrails to move around the cabin while you're at anchor, that's too much motion! We get a couple good dinghy rides in and check out what we thought was Painted Cave but turns out wasn't. We thought it was cool, though. Just as we're thinking about going ashore for a good hike on terra firma, a ranger patrol boat pops in the harbor to remind everyone that the Nature Conservancy is shooting feral pigs from helicopters all around the island, so no one is allowed to go ashore. Knowing we might be mistaken for pigs on the basis of our consumption level of chocolate chip cookies, we stay aboard the rolling boat.

It's off to Santa Barbara on June 25th for a day of sightseeing amongst the red-tiled roofs and a night at a marina with flushing toilets--yee ha! At a local music store, we stock up on strange instruments we hope to to learn to play when we have lots of time on our hands in Mexico or the South Pacific. Neighboring yachties may pay us to stop!

The 26th we leave for an overnight sail (mostly motor, actually) to Santa Catalina Island. Just after sunset Vandenberg Air Force Base test fires a missile, providing quite a show as its contrail rises above us. We arrive at Catalina the next morning and encounter the mob scene this island is known for, even though it's not yet 4th of July weekend. We get our heart rates up hiking above Isthmus Cove where we're paying for a mooring ball because there's no room to anchor. Much entertainment is provided by incoming boats trying to pick up their mooring lines, but after watching one group make eight attempts before getting their mooring, only to be moved by the harbor patrol because they were at the wrong one, we decided to move on. The fun of watching amateur boating activity is somewhat decreased when people come too close to your boat that is also the only home you have...ah, the advantages of a charter boat. Thrash it and return it!

Then on to Alamitos Bay Marina in Long Beach for the 4th of July weekend. We get to indulge our social bug and see lots of relatives of both Paul's and Erin's. Our end-tie at Gangway number 13 turns out to be lucky indeed, offering a great view of all the boating activity in the bay, from kayaks to highly decorated 4th-of-July dinghies. An innocent dinghy ride turns unexpectedly into warfare when we are bombarded with water balloons fired from bazooka-like devices or nailed with firehose-strength water pistols on boats vastly exceeding the 5 m.p.h. speed limit. Our attempt at pulling a half-submerged balloon out of the water and throwing it on our attackers backfires when it disintegrates before ever leaving the dinghy; we only succeed in dousing ourselves! That evening we get to see the fireworks at the Queen Mary.

July 5th we leave Long Beach for another beautiful sail along the coast, during which we spot a large pod of dophins, a three-foot sunfish (a mula mula), and a pair of blue whales (frighteningly humongous) within a hundred feet of the boat. After one night at anchor at Dana Point, we make it to San Diego on the 7th. We moor at the Police Dock where it's cheap, but stays are limited to ten days. The police look at us funny sometimes--we think this has something to do with feral pigs on Santa Cruz Island. We're currently waiting to see whether we end up at anchor right near downtown (and the airport--blech) or blow some cash on a marina. The weather is fantastic. Imagine being able to safely assume every single day will be beautiful! We have turned on fans in the cabin for the first time since leaving Seattle. The down comforter is packed away, and we're down to one sheet. Such bliss!

We'll be busy-busy for a while in San Diego altering our new sails, doing sewing projects (the sailcover we just sewed in April doesn't fit over our new mainsail), installing new rigging wire, and doing other fun-filled stuff to completely finish the boat's refit and get ready for the Baja Ha-Ha November 1st. That's the date a group of boats heads south to Cabo San Lucas. From there we'll go up into the Sea of Cortez, stopping at Mazatlan from Christmas through Paul's favorite holiday, Carnival (better known in the U.S. as Mardi Gras) on February 28th.

On our way south, steadily rising temperatures lead to some odd wardrobe choices such as down slippers and shorts

We disturb a seal in what we thought was Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island

Great blue herons in palm trees? And we thought they only hung out in fir trees

We finally get to make use of our "car" without freezing to death... we can check out all the pelicans and their guano at close range

Paul chatting with Ben in Santa Barbara

...and taking break at a fountain

Can you guess what day this is in Long Beach, California?

Space is always an issue, so we spend a lot of time vacuum sealing stuff. Closing the lid without letting the bag move can be difficult.

We knew someone might come to inspect the boat in San Diego Bay, but we didn't expect it to be such a big deal!
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