Tuesday, October 21, 2014

We're in San Diego!

Holy warships Batman, we're in San Diego!  After brief stops in Oceanside and Mission Bay, we have arrived in San Diego.  Entering San Diego Bay was quite fun dodging the kelp beds, lobster pots, and oh yeah the MASSIVE Navy ships.  Katelyn loved watching the ships coming out as we were coming in.  We have since bought her a Navy ship identification card. I won't be surprised if she is on one of them someday...

We plan to stay in San Diego for a few days.  Thanks to some good friends, we are on a mooring ball in America's Cup Harbor.  Jake has some boat projects (replacing steering cables, fluid/filter changes, etc).  We need a last minute shopping expedition to West Marine.  My parents will also be in town for a visit.  Our tentative date for departure will be the first week of November.

It feels nice to stay in place for a couple of weeks.  We'll keep you posted...

Ohana's new temporary home in America's Cup Harbor.

A very focused Captain.

Navy ship coming home!

Anchored in Mission Bay.

We're sailing! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oxnard - Marina Del Rey - Newport

We have been enjoying ourselves as we harbor hop down the California coast.  From Santa Barbara we headed to Oxnard.  I was looking forward to this trip, Oxnard is a town that I've always wanted to visit.  We docked at the amazing Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club.  They had beautiful facilities, docks, and a pool.  We met a great family and crew on Schooner Martha (schoonermartha.org).  Martha is a 68 foot schooner built in the early 1900's.  She  has been lovingly restored by the foundation and has been hosting sailing training out of the Port Townsend area.   They are now on a journey down to the Sea of Cortez after sailing through the Channel Islands and California Coast.  We enjoyed a yummy pancake breakfast aboard, thanks to 11 year old Mary, and the girls had a blast swimming together.  We hope to run into them again south of the boarder.

Pizza delivery via kayak.

We were not disappointed by Oxnard.  They had everything a cruiser could need within walking distance - laundry facilities, Ralph's, Rite Aid, West Marine, banks, Dollar Store, and Taco Bell.  The waterfront area reminded me of something you would see in Florida.  There were several waterfront homes with their own docks connected to channels that lead into the main marina area.  In the evenings there would be several small electric pontoon style boats going through the channels as the couples onboard sipped their wine and watched the setting sun.  Not a bad lifestyle.

After two nights in Oxnard it was time to move on to Marina Del Rey, about 40 nm south.  We pulled into Marina Del Rey just as the sun was setting.  We could tell as we dodged the sailing dinghies and rowing club, while listening to the sirens in the distance, that this was not the relaxing scene we were used to.  We stayed overnight and had a nice visit with Jake's parents who drove up from Irvine.

The next day we took off for Newport.  We met up with Jake's parents and planned to stay a few days to visit with them before we headed off to foreign lands.  It was great to be able to explore the area by car rather than foot.  We found a great store called Minney's in Costa Mesa that carries used sailing equipment.  We went there three times in two days (Curt & Susan thank you for your patience) and got a great deal on a used head sail.

The highlight of Newport was looking at all of the gorgeous waterfront houses.  We strolled through Balboa Island and I couldn't help but peer through the windows.  All of the houses had their own unique style and unique price tag (anywhere from $2-11 million in case you were wondering).  No thank you.

Overall, Newport reminded me of the typical OC image portrayed on reality TV.  There were plenty of clients to keep the cosmetic surgeons' wallets fat.  The yacht club hosted events during our stay were even 9 year old boys wore suits and little girls wore white gloves and elegant dresses.  Every night on the water, there was a floating party on one of the numerous gigantic party boats.  There was constant loud music and flashing lights.  It was pretty much like Vegas on water. After five nights, it was time to move on...

If I lived in a house...it would look something like this.

Fun with Grammie!

My kind of church.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Port San Luis to Santa Barbara

We left Port San Luis at 7pm on Friday (10/3).  We planned an overnight run that would bring us around Point Conception at dawn.  We would then tuck into the Cojo Anchorage to get rest for the night and continue on to Santa Barbara.  Our timing and weather window around Point Conception was perfect.  We rounded the Point just as the sun was coming up.  The seas were nice and calm and there was very little wind.  We had no trouble staying awake due to our vigilance avoiding the offshore oil rig platforms and cargo ships.  We had the most amazing sunrise with dolphins jumping in our wake.  I was disappointed to see oil slicks and globs of tar in the water from the oil rigs. 

Sunrise rounding Point Conception

We dropped anchor at the Cojo Anchorage at 7am.  We were not impressed by the anchorage.  It didn’t offer much protection from the swell and there were large breaking waves on shore.  We were too exhausted to care much and took a nice long nap.

The next day we headed off to Santa Barbara.  We tried our best to sail in the SE wind – the direction we needed to go.  We ended up on a tack that brought us 12 miles offshore and into the shipping lanes.  Then the wind died all together.  Back to motoring.  As the day went on, the temps continued to rise.  Pretty soon we were shedding clothes.  We are officially in SoCal!  The water turned a beautiful turquoise blue as well.  We arrived in Santa Barbara with a gorgeous sunset behind us and rafted up to our friends on S/V Imagine at the SBYC dock. 

The highlight of Santa Barbara was the Endless Summer CafĂ©.  We went two nights in a row to have their “killer nachos.”  The best nachos ever!  We also ran into the Miller family and the girls were able to hang out and have ice cream with Sophia.  Santa Barbara is a very picturesque town.  The marina is surrounded by beautiful beaches and rolling hills with huge houses.

Sun setting as we pulled into Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Marina

Santa Barbara Marina

Morro Bay to Port San Luis

We left Morro Bay Thursday (10/2) with our new friends on S/V Imagine and S/V Mi Vieja close behind.  We had a nice five hour cruise over to Port San Luis.  I had a lapse in judgment and failed to give Hannah her Dramamine thinking that it was going to be a short trip - bad idea.  Poor thing got sick twice in the cockpit.  She cheered up later though and felt better sitting out on deck and watching for whales.  We saw quite a few.  They were spouting, breaching, surfacing all over the place! 

Whale tail!

Pod of sea lions feasting on a school of fish.

Sailor girls

We arrived at Port San Luis around 3pm and dropped the hook in a nearly deserted anchorage off Avila Beach.  We hopped in the dinghy ready to explore the waterfront and have dinner.  We planned on beaching the dinghy until Jake saw the breaking waves on the beach.  We didn’t feel like capsizing the dinghy in the surf so we went to plan B.  There is a giant wharf that extends out into the anchorage.  The wharf is about 40 ft off the water.  We saw some dinghies tied up to the wharf so we headed that way.  As we neared, we saw that it was a very interesting set up.  There is no actual dock to tie up to.  Instead, one secures their dinghy with the stern tied to a 40 ft ladder and the bow tied to a line of floating mooring buoys.  Once tied up, one must pull the dinghy back over to the ladder to disembark and head up, up, up the 40 ft ladder.  This of course is not a problem for physically fit adults without a fear of heights.  It was pretty interesting with the kids, however.   Katelyn thought the whole thing was quite amusing and conquered the ladder as if this is something we do every day.  Hannah on the other hand, made it up the ladder ok.  Once up though, she swore she was not going back down.  This could be a problem.   She did of course make it back down with mom hovering over her ready to grab her if needed.  In the end, I was probably more afraid of the situation than she was.  My only comfort was knowing that at least if one of us fell, it would be into the water, not on concrete.  The girls earned a bravery patch on their life vest for that one.  The next day, we took the free water taxi to land.  Hannah made it very clear, she was NOT doing that ladder again.

Dinghy dock??

The next day we ran into a Canadian couple that we met earlier in Half Moon Bay.  I honestly don’t even remember their names - I refer to them as the “crazy Canadians.”   I’m pretty sure they would
not be offended by this.  They told us that they had been in Port San Luis for 5 days now.  They had somehow hooked up with an organization that teaches disabled veterans how to surf and were having a great time.  They mentioned that they had “acquired” a van and offered to take us into town as we were running low on some basic necessities (toilet paper and beer).  We said sure and hopped in the back of this full size “chester” van with no windows and surf boards piled inside.  This was a fine opportunity to teach the girls a very important life lesson – never get into a van with no windows and strange Canadians, unless of course your parents are with you. 

The Avila Beach area of Port San Luis was very well done.  There isn’t a lot to it, just a few beachy shops, restaurants and hotels, but it is very clean and has a nice beach ambiance.  The beach itself was also nice with some breaking waves perfect for beginning surfers and boogie boarders.  We heard there is a free shuttle that runs back and forth from Avila Beach to Pismo Beach on the weekends.  Unfortunately, we had to leave on Friday. 

Avila Beach waterfront shops and restaurants. 

Avila Beach

Avila Beach

Sunset leaving Port San Luis

Sunset leaving Port San Luis