Saturday, September 29, 2018

LA Harbor Shenanigans

** I just noticed I forgot to talk about our Catalina trip....  It's coming, right now, we are going to get some groceries..... 

The long-anticipated reunion with this little girl was while we were in LA.  Though we did get a preview dinner/visit with her in Marina del Rey when Rick came to visit.   It was wonderful to spend the day with her.  Rick arranged a swim playdate with her BFF, Roger - so we got to meet him and his family.  We also got included in Rick's Bro's night which is a weekly dinner with his best buddies who all love Clewie.  They meet for a Bike ride in the hills followed by a BBQ at Rick's place.  Every Thursday night, you can imagine Clewie attending the BBQ with the Bro's - and they put on some good meat eats.  We also buried Tack's ashes on the property so he can keep on eye on his sissy.

Underwater swimming here:

Clewie and Roger playing here:

Also while in LA, we spent some good quality time with Len and Carol and Greg's Aunt Dorothy.  It was just great - we got some projects and errands done, Len got to sharpen all of our knives with his professional sharpening tool, and we got stocked up on limes from their garden.  Oh, and we got to also pick up all the packages we've been having sent to his house for the past month.

We also spent 3 days at the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club......  these guys are super friendly.  A member walked out to greet us as we pulled up - then introduced us around at the club a little later. where we got to meet a few people also sailing to Mexico.  Then we got invited for a sail (which was really a motor with the jib up) around Alamitos Bay with some beers for the sunset.  Good Times!

We learned the tricks of getting around, so there were trips to West Marine, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Ralphs - all by dinghy.  Sweet - we didn't even need to get a key to leave the yacht club since everything was in dinghy distance with a dinghy dock.

I also took this time to plan out our stays in San Diego... so we have our anchoring/docking reservations all set up through when we drop into Manana-land.

After our 3 days in Alamitos Bay, we returned to San Pedro to stay a the guest dock at Cabrillo Beach Marina.  They have been super cool to us.  Although we only get 2 days reciprocal with them, there is a nice easy anchorage in San Pedro that we can use and visit Len and Carol and even see our boat at anchor from their house.  The view from the hot tub on the deck is pretty sweet as well.  So some salty sailors got some pampering here.  But there is one problem with the anchorage which is a dinghy dock - there doesn't seem to be one and local businesses we contacted weren't too warm to the idea of us using their space (beach included).  Thank you CBYC, because they set us up with a key card to the marina so we can leave our dinghy and come and go to the boat out in the anchorage.  It's a small thing - but very much appreciated to the cruising sailor.

I'm reminded again about the yacht club community - it's great having a welcome place to pull into when away from your home port.  I'm not sure this will be super useful in other parts of the world, but in the US, it's good.

We finally left the orbit of LA Harbor and are now at Newport Beach.  We'll be here a few days before heading to Dana Point - then to San Diego with everyone else getting ready for Mexico while we determine when we'll roll the dice on whether hurricainne season has ended for 2018.

I'll leave you with some favorite photos from the past couple of weeks and prior as I forgot to get photos off of our cameras for previous blog posts.

Pura Vida anchored at Santa Rosa Island:

Think it's windy here?  The trees say YES!!!!

Cool looking shoreline on the beach at Santa Rosa:

Pura Vida in the Bay by herself: recovering from the passage from Half Moon Bay.

Irving Johnson (or Exy Johnson) on one of the mornings headed to San Pedro.

Crew training aboard on the bow:

Lighthouse just before entering LA Harbor:

A Dolphin fly by:

And finally - Clewie and Roger:

Friday, September 21, 2018

Channel Islands

We stayed nicely hunkered down for 2 nights while the winds blew 30 - 35kts through the anchorage at Santa Rosa.  They would die down overnight only to start building in the afternoon.  We had a nice hike ashore, but after 2 days, we had had enough and decided to start heading to Santa Cruz Island.

After about 3 more days tooling around the island, we met some nice folks also heading down to Mexico who I'm sure we'll see more of down the way.  We checked in with Greg's dad who was interested in a Catalina trip with us and we arranged for 3 nights of reciprocal at the Pacific Mariners YC in Marina del Rey - so we decided to start making our way further south.

About 30 minutes after pulling out of yellow bluff anchorage, the high water alarm went off....Glad for the test that we can hear it clearly in the cockpit.  Also, glad we quickly saw a stream of water which led us to learn that a hose had popped off of our hot water heater and we pumped about half of our port freshwater tank into the bilge. But it was a few serious minutes on Pura Vida while we located the source.  Whew - YAY, for already heading into a dock to refill tanks.  And Greg (and I) was glad to learn when the high water alarm goes off, a focused calm comes over me, not an internal freakout.

After that bit of drama, the wind slowly filled into the best spinnaker ride we can remember.   Flatwater, broad reach, 15 kts - OMG, so good.  As we headed into Paradise Cove for a night at anchor for us to learn another valuable lesson.  If we think we might need the flopper stopper, we should put it up before going to bed.  Getting up around midnight to set it up while fighting seasickness is just not preferred.

By now we are at a Friday and we head to Marina Del Rey to squeeze into their guest dock.

We don't look out of place at all..... HAHA

The club was super friendly and welcoming, all volunteer run.  Reminded me of BYC in a lot of ways.

Marina del Rey - lives up to the reputation....There was a powerboat on the dock behind us who decided to have a party on Saturday.  There were maybe 4 guys and about 20 girls all in bikinis - and high volume dance music going.  I did think of that song "I'm on a Boat", in a contradictions sort of way as I was walking up the ramp with my dirty laundry while young girls were dancing down the ramp holding liters of vodka over their heads.

They ended up joining forces with another sailboat and did a lap around the marina and out the breakwater a bit.  Above is a photo we snapped of them coming back into the marina.  we were on another boat chore - dingying to West Marine.

Fortunately, the music didn't go on into the night and we were able to have a nice dinner and spend some time with Rick and Clewie....

I was so happy to hold this little girl again.  And also happy she didn't bark and me, was well adjusted to life with Rick, but still happy to see us and the boat. It was a fabulous reunion.  I'm looking forward to the next one.

So after the weekend of refilling our tanks, We headed to another night to visit the King Harbor Yacht club, then anchor at San Pedro and pick up Greg's dad.

Here's a photo as we left Pura Vida for her first night at anchor by herself while we slept at Len and Carol's.

Today we're finished up our second night at Catalina and heading back to LA today. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

A whale of a day

Recap of last night..... both tired, ready for the rolicking to stop, me still getting used to overnight passages again and Greg just plain tired from being the superman sailor I'm glad he is at times like this.  A sliver of a moon not due to start rising until the 5am hour, we creep into our chosen anchorage on Santa Rosa Island using radar overlay on our charts and me on the bow with a strong flashlight.

3am, finally we are able to relax.  But our bodies are still amped up from the adrenaline of the past couple of days.  It's been quite the ride and just what we were looking for to get us to Southern California.

Backing up to Half Moon Bay, we had been waiting for wind to start blowing, topped up fuel and water, when finally Thursday morning our departure window opened up.

While motorsailing out some distance from shore, Greg commented, "bring on the whales" in anticipation of seeing these beautiful beasts.  By noon we were with full sail sailing wing and wing down the coast, stretching our distance from shore.  Off in the distance, a spout - followed by another, to be followed over the next few hours with breaching, tail flukes, back shots surrounding our little home from every side.  Our best was a half breech of an adult humpback whale a mere 4 boat lengths away.

As the day grew on, the wind picked up (nothing over 25kts) and seas got a little messy - in the new formation of waves kinda way.  We settled in for our first significant night passage since cruising 11 years ago.

It was rough, but I know will get easier.  During the afternoon the speedo stayed around 7 to 9 knots. The second time we hit 11+ knots peaks, we knew it was time to make those sails smaller. We spent most of the night zooming along at 7 kts with a single reefed main. As the next day started, we would pole out the genoa when the wind eased to keep us in the 6-8 kts boat speed range.

The next day brought more mature seas with the same reliable wind speed, and my mind relaxed as we headed south with favorable wind forecasts.  Though my mind was relaxing, we were super tired from the lack of good sleep, but pressed on to avoid higher winds forecasted over the coming days.  Pt Sur was behind us, and Pt Conception was to come.

Toward the end of the day, we had our first visitor, a booby bird - I didn't even know they lived this far north.

He tried out a couple of perch spots, finally "landing" with the paddleboard.  He preened and recovered all night even staying with us as we raised the main, lowered the main at the anchorage (Very loud banging) and got ourselves anchored and settled with full spreader lights and walking just past him back and forth.

He was almost like having a little pet for a few hours - we loved the company, even came with some poop cleaning duties today.

So the night crept on with us feeling like our now 6-7 kts was very very slow....  but eventually, we did finally cross the shipping channel at Santa Barbara, the night crept on.  It's amazing how slowly a boat can seem to move at times.

Greg had researched Bechers Bay on Santa Rosa, which was wide open, we have 4G radar which we can overlay our chart, so we felt confident in entering this first time to us Bay.  As I mentioned earlier, it was pitch dark, no outline of land, no lights besides our running lights and stars in the sky, and we sleepily continued on pumped up on adrenaline.

As we entered the Bay, I spotted on the bow with a bright flashlight looking for Kelp.  We measured depth to determine how far in to go, finally, we reached our target depth and dropped the anchor.  No drama, everything went smooth and our little booby friend just sat there with us, watching.  Probably ready and happy to be settling down.  These birds are so trusting.

Then that was it, we collapsed with thoughts of imagining the beautiful scene we would wake to.

Today, we'll do some hiking, and start exploring the channel islands for a couple weeks.  We got super lucky with some surprising internet, but no guarantees for that at other anchorages.  We're looking forward to getting our fishing game started - wish us luck....

Melissa and Greg

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Waiting for wind

Our first real day of our new life.  I woke, we both did a few hours of work - then boat projects.  Still doesn't feel real, but I remember from 11 years ago when we took off that it took about 2-3 months before I got used to the cruising life.

We had a great trip down.  We were waved off of the dock by Jackie, Kim,Lisa and Dean and in our rush and readiness to get going, we promptly forgot to give a last hug goodbye to Greg's Mom Jackie....  But for the record, we did hug them right when they arrived for our sendoff, about 15 minutes earlier.

San Francisco saw us off with a nice one tack close reach to about Alcatraz, then we motorsailed out the Gate in the Southerlyish lightish winds till just before the first channel marker where we made our BIG LEFT, rolled out the genoa and turned off the engine.

NICE...  not cold, but overcast.... and lumpy seas (that part wasn't so nice...)

After a few hours, the wind started lightning up, and the seas continued to be messy (from heavier winds further out).  So, we rolled in the genoa and motored the rest of the way to Half Moon Bay.

We anchored on our own with Lisa And Chuck rafted up.  With all the hub bub, we weren't up for dealing with multiple anchored boats.

SO the next couple of days we spent with good friends palling around Half Moon Bay, hiking, exploring and hanging out enjoying each other's company.

Yesterday, the rest of the BYC cruisers headed back to San Francisco and Kim our sister came down for a Goodbye recap.  We scored another Black Cod (sablefish) for dinner.  We had one the previous night with our friend Bunnie aboard - which if you haven't had one..... OMG highly recommend you do yourself a favor and google about this yummy fish.... melt-in-your-mouth-like-butter.....

We've been watching the weather and things are looking very light out there at the moment.  So - our plan now is to leave Thursday afternoon for a wee hour arrival Fri night/Sat morning at the Channel Islands.  Neither of us is interested in bobbing around in light wind, or spending money motoring in calm.