Thursday, October 28, 2004


The last week has been a time to make some miles and partake in a couple of fun activities. We're in L.A. now at the Alamitos Yacht Club. The claim to fame here is that it's only a 30 minute drive to Disneyland. To recap, last Thursday we left Ventura for the Channel Islands. We did a 45 mile trip to Santa Barbara Island to anchor for the night. The Island is impossible to land on, as it reaches straight up out of the water 100 feet or so. We did a little sight seeing by boat though and saw lots of seals and sea lions. The water was crystal clear and we could spy the anchor down 40 feet. We gae a little cheer for our progress towards tropical climes. Friday we arrived at Santa Catalina Island to participate in the Latitudes & Attitudes magazine Cruiser Rendezvous. There were about 100 people there, mostly California boats on their way to Mexico. The speakers talked about cruising in general, women cruising, and Mexican destinations. We didn't meet any other boats with kids, which was our main objective. Sunday, Pete got up at 3 a.m. and headed us towards the mainland. We arrived in Alamitos around mid day and did some reconnaissance to find groceries and a rental car place. Monday we spend a 10 hour whirlwind day at The Happiest Place on Earth. Pete is the only one who had been there before, so the kids and I had a truly magical experience. Ellie had saved her money for a princess costume, so ever since she has been Cinderella. She met the "real" Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Little Mermaid. Carter and Pete enjoyed the Autopia and Star Wars. Kellie was impressed by all, and really enjoyed the Snow White live musical. Carter bought a Light Saber with his birthday money, so now we have all we need for Halloween. Our near future plans include a couple more days here, some grocery shopping and hopefully some friends will show up. The kids want to spend Halloween with other kids so Wyndeavor (Kelly & Mike) are trying to catch up with us. Then it's off to San Diego. Kellie's mom is hoping to spend a weekend with us there and then we're planning the 900 mile trip to La Paz, MX.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Oct. 19, 2004 - Ventura, CA

(Oct. 19, 2004 - a bit out of order since we haven't been able to get net access for awhile) There's some really snotty weather headed this way so we hightailed it out of the Santa Barbara anchorage early this morning and sailed over to Ventura (with the wind on the nose, as usual). It hadn't rained in the Santa Barbara - Los Angeles area since April... until we got here. We've had a couple of rainy days with some pretty heavy showers, but the stuff that's on it's way sounds pretty unreal - the VHF weather broadcasts are saying several inches an hour are possible, up to 6 or so inches total with severe flooding expected... good thing we're already afloat! Some new friends on "Icarian" that we've been keeping in touch with over the SSB radio have been staying at the Ventura Yacht Club guest dock and gave it high praises (i.e. free showers, laundry, friendly folks, free docking with no real time limits, etc.). If we have to wait out a storm, we'd much rather do it at a dock where we can get off the boat occasionally. Unfortunately, it puts a damper on our plans to cruise thru the Channel Islands, although we're still going to try to make it to Santa Catalina for the Latts and Atts cruisers party on Saturday. The current weather forcast is for the rain to keep up thru Wednesday, then the winds to lighten up (arrg!) to around 0-10kn for a couple days, which means we're probably going to be motoring again... A bunch of other boats that we'd met up with are holed up in Morrow Bay on the north side of Pt. Conception, and are probably not going to be quite as comfortable as we are. The Yacht Club is having a potluck dinner tonight and they've invited us and Icarain to join in! We've been made to feel very welcome here, and it's too bad we'll only be staying until the weather turns favorable.

On our way to Alamitos harbor. Motoring again...

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Trying post via text msg from my cel ph. In Cat hrbr on Santa Catalina Is. Heading towards Disneyland tomorrow.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Morrow Bay to Santa Barbara (around Pt. Conception) - Oct. 15th

We're on our way around the much feared Point Conception... motoring with flat seas and about a 5kn headwind - not too exciting, but I guess that's a good thing. We're on our way to Santa Barbara (if we can find anchorage), then Ventura or Redondo Beach (again, if we can find anchorage). The plan is to try to make it to Disneyland from there, then head out to Santa Catalina Island for the Lattitudes and Attitudes (magazine) cruisers party, then to San Diego. It's 6:30am on Oct. 16. I've been on watch since 2am. There's no moon and high overcast (no stars), but fortunately NO FOG (hurrah!). Visibility is at least 10 miles or more. A bunch of ships have been coming out the Santa Barbara channel then turning to go either north, south or west... it's unnerving to have just figured out which way that behemoth is going at 20 kn or so, then have it change course nearby. Sometimes there were up to 4 at a time to keep track of. There are also a bunch of oil derricks around - lit up like small cities that look like something out of Star Wars, but when they're far away they still look like a ship much nearer. At least it kept me entertained, and I didn't even think of nodding off. Thank goodness for radar - we're using it quite frequently to confirm direction and speed of various things that are bigger than us. It also came in REALLY handy for the last couple weeks when we were mired in fog. Now that we're around Pt. Conception the fog should be nearly gone. The water temperature increased from 54F to 62F in the last 90 miles (and it'll keep getting warmer!). There sure hasn't been much wind. We had one good blow since leaving San Francisco, but unfortunately we were anchored at the time and it was trying to blow us onto the beach in Monterey (35kn N wind and 12ft swells makes things uncomfortable). The anchor held well, and we got a space in the marina just as it was getting dark. Praise God! There is currently a small (non-aquatic) bird sleeping on the seat cushion beside the salon table, and a very large dragonfly asleep hanging on a wire near the nav station... it's like a floating zoo! They showed up last night just as it was getting dark - I guess they got disoriented in the fog and decided we looked like a better option than a water landing. The bird flitted around for about half an hour trying out various perches, including the top of both Kellie and Ellies heads! Thankfully the camera was handy! It then went below and promply fell asleep on the settee. The dragonfly crashed around in the cockpit for awhile, and was hard to not step on (we'd run out of fuel in one tank and stalled the engine - I had to bleed the injectors, so had my mind on things other than not trodding on large insects. We're considering trying to pick up a crewmember for the San Diego to Cabo (or La Paz) leg. Kel has been aprehensie about having the energy to sail and teach when we're making passages. This, and the last one (overnighters) have gone well, so maybe she'll get into the groove. It's been a big adjustment for her, and she's not having much fun. I'm really hoping that it'll improve with the weather... it was getting both of us down to be cold and damp all the time. Yesterday afternoon was a good morale boost - big whale tales and birds and dolphins and sea otters and a dragonfly to top it all off... the kids both agreed that it was the best day yet!

Friday, October 15, 2004

San Simeon to Morrow Bay

We're suffering from lack of wind... The forcast for the next week is for light S and SE winds, which is (as usual) on the nose. We waited for the fog to lighten up a bit, then sailed off the anchor light wind for a beam reach for awhile. Unfortunately our ETA in Morrow Bay was running around 9 to 11pm so we had to fire up the motor again. We've got to keep moving on because we're anxious for warmer weather and water, so we've been motoring much more than we'd like.   The sea life in Monterey bay and surrounding areas is fantastic. Nearly every patch of kelp has an otter snacking. Every wharf, rock or bouy has seals or sea lions piled on it. Diving here would be fantastic, but the water is only 54F, therefore I'm not too interested in getting wet on purpose!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Leaving Monterey

It's time we're moving on again. We've been to the aquarium a couple times, played on the beach, went to Seasides' 50th birthday party, walked about 20 miles around town and now we're ready to go see somewhere new. Next stop is probably San Simeon, then Morrow Bay, then wherever we can find a place to anchor near LA.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Monterey, CA

We traveled from Santa Cruz over to Monterey (about 20 mi) Wednesday . We sailed off the anchor as the fog appeared to be lifting and the wind starting up (~2pm), but the fog came back and the wind kept faltering... I think we deployed and stowed sails 4 times, and visibility was about 20-30 yards. We motored for a bit, then about half way across it suddenly got sunny, the wind filled in, and we put the sails back up and tooled along at 6-7kn the rest of the way. We passed very near two groups of feeding whales (grey?), which was incredible! They appeared to be bubble-netting, and we got quite a few nice showing of tails in the air. The kids didn't get sick, and we all had a good time. Our chart said there was an anchorage inside the breakwater and we were looking forward to some calm and a short dinghy row with a protected landing. When we got here and peeked inside, we were amazed to see it absolutely jam-packed with boats on mooring balls, so were outside the breakwater exposed to N swell, but with a west wind which put us beam-to-the-seas and rolling badly. I finally set a stern anchor from the dingy (in the dark) and pulled our stern around so we were taking the swells on the bow - much better, and definitly worth the effort. We've seen quite a few sea otters - they're cute and entertaining! There's now one about 20 yards away doing barrel rolls!
We've been rather cold and damp for over a week, and are really looking forward to warmer weather and water, and getting out of the persistant fog. The next planned passage is about 90 miles, and will be our first overnighter since the trip to San Francisco, but it should get us out of the fog, so I'm looking forward to it..
We're finally keeping pace with our power usage now that I've got all 4 solar panels mounted. We're down about 35AH in the morning, and back up to full in the evening... let see, that's about 3% discharge, which means the batteries will nearly last forever... The wind generator seems to be a bit of a detriment, as it casts a shadow on the arch-mounted panels, and we don't often have enough wind to make it put out. I'm sure there will be times when it's the primary producer, so I'll keep it around. The solar panels actually seem to produce more power when it's slightly foggy - the diffused light doesn't cause shadows (from the backstay, radar antenna, MOB pole, wind generator, boom, topping lift, SSB antenna... lot's of stuff in the air on our boat!). We were getting 15A for awhile yesterday and you couldn't see more than 30 yards (and I got sunburned, too).
We'll wander around Monterey for a couple of days, probably go the aquarium. We need showers, and it'd be nice to do some laundry. I've been hand washing the things that are necessary, but the laundry bags are slowly filling, and the laundry I've washed hasn't dried in three days due to the fog and dampness. . We're down to about 75 gallons of fresh water... still more than many boats carry, but it's nice to have enough that we don't have to worry about it. I'd also like to find a hardware store to get some foam insulation for the divider in the fridge/freezer... I found we had a dozen egg-popcicles yesterday (eggs do funny things when they're frozen solid!)... at least we know the refrigeration system has plenty of cooling capacity!
The propane tank ran out last night - one 20lb tank lasted about 2 months... good thing we have 2 of them!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

We're on the move again!

We finally pulled our anchor out of the muck in Richardson Bay Thursday. We sailed back under the Golden Gate, and south to Half Moon Bay, about 20 miles south of San Francisco... of course the wind was right on the nose (as usual!), and we sailed more that 40 miles over ground. Both kids were seasick and filled their little beach buckets a couple of time, but it didn't seem to dampen their spirits too much. It's odd, forcast was for NW winds, all the reports from stations around us had NW winds, and our little bit-o-the-sea was blowing ESE at 15-25kn. Ah well, we're getting really good at pinching (sailing as upwind as possible). There's a great beachcoaming beach here in Half Moon - lots of snail shells and nice sand. We're headed towards town today to visit some pumpkin farms, then spend some more time at the beach. -P