If you found this blog via a link from a cruising site ~ we did cruise Mexico on our Ocean 49 cat for a season. See the first text box on the right for links to our preparations, trip down Baja, life in Mexico, cruising and trip back up to SoCal. Unfortunately we are back to the grind in the USA...
So this is what I do not miss about being back in SoCal. Watching weather.Constantly. A gazillion times a day. Every few hours. All day. Is it going to come hit us in La Paz? Do we need to prepare? How strong are the winds? Oh crap, is it going to turn into a hurricane? Aaaaaagghhhhh. Oh wait, no worries, I am in Alta California! Wwwhoohoooooo! I guess.
I have beautiful new socks! Beautiful new hand knit socks! Beautiful new hand knit socks by Jomamma from Texas! I have dvd! Not so sure if it's beautiful, but I am guessing exciting! Exciting dvd of the Sydney to Hobart Race and New Year's Fireworks sent to me from Alaskan Dave Down Under!
The socks are on, but the dvd is waiting for another evening. Maybe tomorrow. We have to start it earlier than 9 pm... Old people will understand this.
They also printed a letter and photo of the boat. When the publisher asked me for info on our internet device, I thought he just wanted info. Info as in info to include within an article in the works. I didn't realize he was going to print the info I emailed him in a letter format. I would have written it better...
Yep, we have been in Channel Islands Harbor for a week now! Thought we would come in for our two free nights. Arrange a permanent slip. Wash the boat. Do laundry. Fill the water tanks. Provision. Say hi to a few people. Say bye to the same few people. Head back out to the islands.
Didn't quite happen that way.
Happened more like this way: Call for slip. Told no liveaboards. Call for other slip. Told they will check and call us back. We wait. We wait. And wait some more. Call on another slip. Told they have one and fall over when they tell us price. Wait. Get phone call with other slip options. Couldn't fall over when we were told these even higher prices, because we haven't gotten up from the first fall over yet. Call for still another slip. Would need shoehorn to get us into what they have. Used shoehorn karma up already getting into Koehler Kraft. Leave message at other place. Wait. Leave message at yacht club. Wait. No one calls back. More phone calls. Washed boat. More waiting. Did laundry. Wait. Pay for a few more nights. Get job offer before my 3 month stint at ex job. What? Job offer? That's a good one in this economy! Wait for the owners to discuss me. They discuss. They call me. They say ok I can work before, during and after my 3 months stint at ex-job. I pay for a month slip. Here we are. Get paperwork from both adjoining cities and harbors for Jim to re-start his business. Start insurance paperwork for Jim. Which entailed me going in to my old office and typing the app and emailing. Scared soon to be co-workers into thinking girl who took over my desk already out on maternity leave. Nope, she just went to the bathroom. Figure out a slip. Slip needs to be altered. Call friend who builds docks. Has to wait for head dude to return from Africa to bid and ok slip alteration. Wait. Run into friends all over the place. Job started today.
Another question to keep me up at night... I have always been told we have four Southern California Islands off our Coast with another four further South. We have San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Anacapa. Remember these four belong to us.... Further South "they" have Santa Barbara, Santa Catalina, San Clemente and San Nicholas. So far I have been to six of the eight that I knew about. But wait... What are these other islands? Are there more? Are there more that I have been to? At San Miguel, there is an outlying island, "Prince Island"!What is this "Prince Island" thing? Why is it not included in the list of Southern California Channel Islands? And what about it's little buddy, "Castle Rock"? Wouldn't you think the Prince would have his Castle be on an island? What is "Castle Rock" missing to make it only be a rock, when it's slightly larger neighbor gets to be an island?
Hey, Santa Cruz has a little buddy too. "Gull Island"!And Santa Barbara Island has a second island as well!There are small rocks and big rocks. March Rock. Judith Rock. Nifty Rock. Nifty? Who came up with that one? Frog Rock. Hen Rock. Bee Rock. Hare Rock. Hey, I am starting to see an animal pattern here... Clover Rock. Gull Rock. I don't even like seagulls and they get a rock and an island! Middle Rock. Can Rock.
And three extra islands. Does a rock need a scrub brush to become an island? A harem of harbor seals? Does it have to be a particular size? What? When exactly does a rock become an island?
Whhooohooo! Back to OUR islands ~ the four off the Coast of Ventura!From left to right, San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Anacapa.
We had a smooth easy motor up from Santa Barbara Island with loads and loads of wildlife. Lots of dolphins cruising by.Some leaping and jumping. Lots of sea lions 20 miles from nowhere. Birds diving. More dolphins. More sea lions. Two southbound ships.
We headed to the Southeast anchorage at Santa Rosa and dropped the hook.
All good. All lovely. All beautiful. Jim went fishing. Then the wind came up right into the anchorage. Uh oh. Not so good. Not so lovely. Still beautiful, but we headed down the backside of Santa Cruz for a better protected anchorage.
Another favorite. All good. All lovely. All beautiful. Dinner, sleep. Next day here comes the wind from a different direction, but yes, right into the anchorage. Uh oh. Not so good. Not so lovely. So we headed further down the backside of Santa Cruz considering either Albert's or Yellowbanks.
One boat in Albert's, let's keep going. VHF call: "Meerkat, Meerkat, the is Phoenix" Us to ourselves: Who the hell is Phoenix? Us to VHF caller: "Phoenix, this is Meerkat, go to 69" We both go to channel 69 and then: Phoenix: "Jimmy Donnell, Jimmy Donnell, this is Mike Stanosek!" Oh yea! Mikey! A long time friend from Ventura! So then we knew who the hell Phoenix was... So he was the boat in Albert's so we went in and anchored. All good. All lovely. All beautiful. Time for happy hour, so we had Mike and his two buddies, Matt and Derrick over.We made Matt take the picture... But I did take a picture of Matt's shirt!Catching up, stories, hugs, beer, wine, popcorn, cheese and crackers. And a Jim promise to take them fishing in the am.
So the four boys took the two dinghies the next morning in search of halibut. Yea ~ I had some time to myself on my boat! And they came back with this!A 38" halibut!! Back to the blood everywhere thing...
Phoenix headed in to Ventura and we headed further down island to Yellowbanks for our last night before heading in to Channel Islands Harbor for a few days. Time to do laundry. Wash the boat. See family. Borrow my Dad's car from my Mom. Hit the grocery store. See friends. Find a permanent slip. Oh yeah... find a permanent slip. Now the headaches start...
Oh for some peace and quiet... So next it was off to the remote Santa Barbara Island out in the middle of nowhere.A first for me!I had been close to it, but never close enough to really see it, smell it or hear it.
Well you can't hear the island, but it does have a huge population of permanent residents...
Only one other boat at anchor! Peace! Quiet! Not quite... A complete and utter cacophony of barking of sea lions. Oh, so much better than YMCA. Any day.
And really weird sea lions... They were mountain lions climbing sea lions.
It was pretty amazing to watch them haul their tons of blubber up these hills.
Again, who needs TV when you have nature?
And halibut! Jim caught two keepers.
Yea! It looks like we can afford to eat after all!
Back to boat to filet and wash the blood off of everything, including us. Excellent fresh fish dinner. Calm night. Two other sailboats came in ~ one another catamaran.
So too much yelling of "starboard" ran us out of Newport. Actually we used up our 15 guest days there, but that just sounds so boring... Back to Catalina Island, where we anchored at Buttonshell Beach. Where we had the pleasure of anchoring off of band camp a campground. Ok, there is something intrinsically wrong about being at anchor off a small beach with a campground and hearing the Village People's "YMCA" blasting over the loud speakers. YMCA? And no, this was not a YMCA campground. Whatever happened to the old sit around the campfire campground favorites, such as "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt"? Or how about "Old Mother Leary"? Both of these songs had the singers screaming at the end. In the Old Mother song, the screaming words were "fire, fire, fire"! Talk about tormenting the people at anchor... And in the morning? The worst of the worst. If anything can be worse than YMCA... The Cowsills (eek, I have just dated myself my older much older sister, Elizabeth as it was her album ~ yes album, before CD's, before cassettes, even before 8-tracks) singing their horrific "I love the flower girl" song. Come on everyone, sing along! I saw her sitting in the rain, raindrops falling on her. She didn´t seem to care. She sat there and smiled at me. And I knew (I knew, I knew, I knew, I knew) she could make me happy (happy, happy). Flowers in her hair, Flowers everywhere. I love the flower girl.
There, now it's in all the old people's heads. Just as it was in mine. For. Days. Have. Fun.
For some God only knows reason the nightly "beer can" races are held inside, yes inside, the harbor at Newport Beach. Only in Newport. Nowhere else that I have seen. Well, maybe in San Diego, but they let ex-America's Cup boats fly through there on a daily basis, so that doesn't count.
So remember the mass quantities of moorings? How about the 4 year olds in Sabots? And the kayakers. Electric rental boats. Stand up paddle boards. Swimmers. Yes, swimmers. Let's not forget the ferries. Ferries with cars on top. Three ferries crossing in front of racing boats. Racing boats with limited visibility and skippers and crew screaming "starboard!"
Patches and dents on the moored boats on the inside line...
Well, quite the exciting week in Newport... Uh, let's see. I actually got up early enough to see the sunrise one morning!Mainly because we had to move the car early due to the street sweeper... We spent the entire day on Monday driving in a giant circle. From Newport up the Coast to the Oxnard / Ventura area, but due to time contraints bypassed everyone and just went to the family ranch in Somis to get Jim's vacuum pump out of our storage. YEA - the refrigeration is going to be fixed! Then from Somis to Castaic to the home of the wonderful Carter family ~ bro-in-law John, Caitlin who had just had her braces taken off that morning (eek, I didn't get a photo of her beautiful smile...) and Evann who played the cello for us. They are kind enough to allow us to park our two vehicle there while we hop around the harbors and anchorages of SoCal. And were even more kind enough to drive us back to Newport Beach! Thanks again awesome bro-in-law! So we bought them dinner.
Uh, what else? Refer got fixed!! Been spending a lot of time with Alan and Susan (Jim fixed their refer too and installed a new head)... Susan is happy! They brought JR one of several grandchildren over for a visit.Nice, well-behaved kid. He can come by anytime.
Uh, what else? Eating, reading, laundry, watching boats go by. Today Susan will give Jim a haircut and take me to the grocery store. Then it is off to Catalina Island tomorrow!
Wow ~ Talk about a three day party! First a great margarita and Mexican food fest at my cousin Julianne's house on Friday night. With only one casualty...
The screen door. It had been open all afternoon and evening. I had been in and out this door several times. Someone closed it. I walked into it. But! I didn't bend it this bad. Cousin Nancy did the same thing a little later, but at 40 mph...
Party ~ Day Two! The wedding of Delaina and Stavros! Beautiful, fun, love-filled (and tear-filled) day. We were missing several people... And placecards were set out for them. A really lovely thing to do. My Uncle John ~ the bride's grandfather who has been gone many years.
My sweet sister, who passed away on January 3, 2006 of breast cancer.My dear old Dad ~ Uncle Bob to Delaina, who passed away March 12, 2006.And my cousin Carolyn and her husband Dean's son, who was 32 years when he passed away this last April of esophageal cancer.Now you get why it was tear-filled?
And wine by OneHope Winery with 50% of their profits going to various causes ~ the chardonnay for the fight against breast cancer (thank you Delaina & Stav!) and the cabernet for the fight against autism.
Jim and Nathan ~ bride's brother ~ my "little" cousin.
My cousins, Nancy and Carolyn.
Carolyn was showing off her flower. Being silly. Being goofy. Being Carolyn.
The gorgeous bride, Delaina!With her handsome guy, Stavros (my new cousin!)...
The lovely MOB (mother of the bride), cousin Julianne with her new son-in-law.And Nathan trying to look bad, so I would look good.I knew I liked that kid...
Then brunch on Sunday, once again in the party backyard of Julianne's house. Broken screen and all...
So back to Newport Beach. Nice, calm, easy trip with no whales to dodge. Just a few boats. Sally, the lady in the Newport Harbor Patrol office is so incredibly nice! She let us call in to get our mooring assignment instead of doing the "dodge the 4 year olds in sabots to park at their dock" thing. Ok, now the fun part... Trying to tie lines to the mooring cans with only two of us on the boat. Hmmmm.... how are we going to do this? Ok, Jim can get in the dinghy and I will drive the big boat. Eek. Here comes a little wind. Oh good it went away. Amazingly enough I did it and didn't hit either can and now that we know how to do it, did an even better job than the last time! So I was kind of proud of us and me, I was proud of me, so we each had a Tecate to celebrate. Then brushed our teeth before we dinghied over to check in and pay Sally.
Now "Meerkat" sits on the mooring and we are in a hotel room in Carlsbad for the weekend! Whhooohoooo! That means a king sized bed, toilet I can put toilet paper down, I don't have to worry about filling the holding tank, TV, a bathtub and unlimited fresh water!!! Amazing what house people take for granted and we get all excited about...
Yesterday was lunch with my cousins, Carolyn and Bergie. Lsst night was the pre-wedding party for Delaina and Stavros at Julianne's. Sssooooo much fun and awesome to see my cousins. Til I walked thru the screen door... Bent the crap out of it. Then my cousin Nancy did it again later and totalled it. Who the hell keeps closing the screen door?
This afternoon is the wedding!! Yipee, yahoo and all those fun and exciting words.
We cruised Mexico's West Coast for 3 years on our prior boat, "Thistle" a Columbia 50. Went back to California in 2000 and bought the "new boat" in 2004. We then spent a year and a half cruising in Mexico. We just did the "Baja Bash" ~ sailed up the outside of Baja and returned to SoCal! We are We are now back to work for awhile...
A thought we say to ourselves everyday:
"You'll only regret the things you didn't do".
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~ Mark Twain
"Life is either a daring adventure or Nothing." ~ Helen Keller
"A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for." ~ John A. Shedd
"Make it happen." ~ Alan Burg of the sailing vessel Toshal
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the places and moments that take our breath away." ~ Anonymous
“Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.” ~ Rabbi Hyman Schachtel
"Make 'someday' today." ~ From inside a Dove candy wrapper