Monday, November 29, 2010

Plaza in Ensenada
It was an early morning rising at 3:00 a.m. for a scheduled 4:00 a.m. departure for the trip from San Diego to Ensendada which would allow for arrival before dark.  The morning greeted us with winds gusting to 25 knots on our beam, not good conditions for Odessa or Ponderosa to leave the dock.  The two boats maintained communication every 15 minutes while we watched for a lull in the wind and an opportunity to leave until, finally, at 6:00 a.m. the wind dropped to 8 knots and we were on our way. 

Once we were out of the protection of the bay, the seas were higher than any Michael or I had encountered and the wind 25 knots.  My biggest concern was getting seasick and, thankfully, we were both fine.  It was a fun roller coaster ride, as the wind held.  Due to the sea conditions, we were unable to use either auto pilot, requiring us to hand steer the entire trip, arriving safely in Ensenada around 5:00 p.m. just as the sun dropped over the horizon.

As Sherry and I were discussing which marina we might like to go to we were welcomed with lots of suggestions from other boaters listening in to our radio transmission.  It was our luck to have "Crazy Notion" talk us in to our slips at the marina where we promptly crashed to rest for clearing customs the next morning.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Knots - Dana Point to Mission Bay, CA

Tomorrow marks two weeks since we left Ventura.  Fifteen minutes ago we motored past a small pod of whales three miles off San Clemente.  Had we been distracted by other tasks we would have missed seeing them.

The sun is in my eyes - we are headed, more or less, due east, avoiding the military base.  My biggest fear was getting seasick.  This is my second day without taking seasick medicine, but the seas are relatively flat with minimal swells.  There are lots of things I could be doing – cooking organizing below, polishing stainless, sanding teak.  However, I am content to sit in the cockpit looking out – hoping to see some sign of life other than the occasional sea gull, listening to the chatter on the VHF radio.

Earlier, Michael taught me how to tie a bowline knot.  I have learned and forgotten many times.  Now that I have untied my knots to shore life, it seems important that this time I learn the knot and not forget it.  Michael asks me what are the three things I should know about knots – I tell him (1) easy to tie, (2) easy to untie and (I pause to think) (3) does what it’s supposed to.

Forty nautical miles from Dana Point to Mission Bay – forty long, boring miles – not unlike the car trips my family took in the fifties through New Mexico and Arizona, unending desert with an occasional roadside stop.  Only, there are no roadside stops here, but a step below deck and we have all the conveniences of home.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Newport Beach, CA

Lots of people fishing on the pier, Newport Beach, CA
Steve and Lulu Yoder on Siemper Sabado, their Westsail 28, Avalon


The Balboa Island Ferry
Yesterday's crossing from Avalon to Newport Beach was uneventful -we were able to sail the last two hours of the four hour crossing.  It's always so peacful when we are able to turn off the engine.

The wind has made things interesting today causing us to take extra precautions and double up on our mooring lines.  We received word that the waves were crashing over the breakwater at Avalon where we were yesterday - good timing.  I was reluctant to leave as I really wanted to stay the weekend for the Jazz Dance Festival in the Casino building.  Our new friends, Steve and Lulu Yoder were scheduled to depart this morning from Avalon.  We hope they were able to make their departure safely.

Our limited adventures today consisted of visiting the famous Minny's second hand marine store and re-provisioning at Trader Joe's.  Sound glamorous doesn't it?

Plans are to depart for Dana Point tomorrow (or on to Oceanside depending on how we feel in the morning).

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dolphins Playing at the Bow

Photos from Catalina

Historic Casino Building with Ballroom and Movie Theatre

Interior of the Theatre

Happy Hour on Odessa

Bob and Sherry on their Valiant 47, Ponderosa

Wrigley Memorial

Catalina Island

Bison Buffalo - Catalina Harbor, North End of Island
It is hard to believe we have been away from the dock for only a week – already I find myself losing track of the days.  The biggest inconvenience, so far, is not having regular internet access, which may actually improve once we are in Mexico.

We spent two nights in Catalina Harbor on the north end of the island – the second night I was up watching the anchor as we had to move from where we were the night before because the anchor was not holding.  When I remembered we had been told that raccoons are a problem and that they can swim to your boat, I went down below.  What’s worse – an anchor not staying anchored or an encounter with an uninvited raccoon in the middle of the night? 

Wednesday we motored around the island to Avalon.  On our way down the back side of the island we were joined by many dolphins around our boat.  At one point there were six dolphins all swimming under the bow of the boat, most of the time there were three or four dolphins swimming and jumping at the bow.  This all went on for about 45 minutes.  There are not any marinas or slips on Catalina Island, so we are tied to a mooring buoy.  We are happy just to be hanging out after so much rushing around to get away from the dock and have found time to stow some things and fix some things.

We have been studying our cruising guides – Charlie’s and Pacific Mexico and I found a Baja fishing book at the Avalon Friends of the Library sale on Saturday.  Gosh, there is sure a lot of information to know.  I am beginning to understand why no one is bored when cruising.

Some interesting facts about Catalina Island – In 1915 (or some say 1919) William Wrigley, Jr. purchased the Island and personally developed it into a one of a kind resort.  From 1921 to 1951, the Island was the spring training site for the Chicago Cubs (which Wrigley also owned).

It is thought that bison were brought to the Island in 1924 for filming of The Vanishing American, Zane Grey’s classic novel.  It doesn’t look like any of the scenes from the Island appear in the film, but the buffalo still roam freely.

The movie theatre in the Casino building was the first theatre built for talking movies.

Key things we have seen on the Island are the Wrigley Memorial and The Casino where we saw a movie and enjoyed a pre-movie concert performed on an historical pipe organ.

Wednesday, November 10, we plan to depart for Newport Beach.