Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Arrived San Diego!

We've made all the way down the US west coast!

From Catalina Island, we had a long uneventful (calm) motor to Dana Point, where we spent the eve at anchor behind the breakwaters -- a very quiet night. Next day, we had a short motor over to Oceanside (where the Oceanside Yacht Club was very accommodating). Next day, we (mostly) sailed to Mission Bay, San Diego.

Mariner's Basin, Mission Bay
(Mission Bay's Mariner's Basin was a little tight, but a pretty anchorage; stay away from East shore as it is very shallow -- no permit required, max. stay 72 hours.   Back in the mid-80s, David lived one block from Mission Bay -- in Pacific Beach -- so this was an interesting return.)

Finally, on Tuesday (October 29th), we motored around Point Loma into San Diego harbour -- the end of some 1300 miles of travel down the USA west coast.

San Diego harbor itself is full of services for boaters. That's a positive. Unfortunately, the harbor authorities are not very "cruiser" friendly. Anchorages are few, require permits, and extremely limited (the "cruiser" anchorage allows only 20 boats and is full; other anchorages are either weekend only and/or limited to 72 hours). We are at the municipal "police docks": $1/ft/night with no security (docks are open 24 hours to the public) and limited, not-so-clean facilities (the men's has one toilet and one shower, and hasn't been cleaned for days), and the docks are a long way from shopping etc (with no bus service).  Arrangements are made by a computerized "kiosk" in English only -- no human greets (or helps) you. (Imagine how fun it would be to arrive in Ensenada, and have a Spanish-only computer be your check-in/moorage mechanism.)

[Nearby yacht clubs are closer to the bus, and have secure facilities, but unlike anywhere else in California, they quoted us market rates ($1.50/ft) and would not provide us "reciprocal" moorage  (typically 1-2 free nights and much-reduced cost for subsequent nights). But, perhaps we should have splurged and paid the extra $22/night?]

Nevertheless, we are relieved to have arrived in San Diego. With our rental car, we can shop, visit and sightsee. And relax.

Cruising boats at Police Docks: SV Confidence, SV Green Panther; SV Jugette

Friday, 25 October 2013

Catalina hiking

On our day off on Catalina, we went for a walk from Isthmus Cove over to Cat harbour (an easy 20-30 minute walk) on the other side of the island. Looking up, we thought we should go up to get a better view. Typical of us, we went all the way to the top.  (Good trail but steep up from Cat Harbour, but there actually was a gentle road to follow on the way down to Isthmus Cove).

Great views.

Looking down at Cat Harbour

At the top

Sweaty at the top -- Isthmus Cove in background

Ithmus between Cat Hbr and Isthmus Cove

Pelagia is down there

Hike route

We decided to skip Avalon. Although this weekend they were nowhere near full, we found the mooring buoys to be too packed-in (too close to other boats -- and no privacy) and we did not want to deal with them again in Avalon.

Also, the costs were, frankly, way too steep: $44/night for the buoy with a 9am checkout time, $3/person/trip for a water taxi (we used our dinghy), $2 for a 3-minute shower, etc, etc. (It would cost us about $20 to taxi ashore for a shower! Luckily we have a good shower on Pelagia.)

The walks on Catalina are good, the views great, and the water super clear with lots of fish. Worth a quick visit. But a "premier" cruising spot it is not.  Makes us realize we are soooo lucky in British Columbia!

Marina Del Rey to (Santa) Catalina Island

Had a easy 40-mile motor (including about 1 hour sailing) from Oxnard to Marina Del Rey. Calm, sunny and no problems.

Stayed at the municipal docks ($1/ft) where we had dinner with friends from SV Marova. Also, we were entertained by the sea lions on a dock nearby -- one of them Michelle named "Tom Jones" due to his very strong voice and masculine appearance.

Tom Jones and his entourage

Tom belts out a mean "Delilah"

Took a day off at Marina Del Rey, and went for a bike ride along the beaches from Venice Beach to Santa Monica. Venice Beach was quite the sight -- likely very toned down compared to a summer weekend -- quite the scene with some "interesting" characters. 

Pelagia & Marova at Marina Del Rey municipal docks

Had a wonderful sail from Marina Del Rey all the way over to Isthmus cove on Catalina Island (30 miles). Cove is quite pretty but the rows and rows of mooring buoys are quite something to see. Must be REALLY crowded in the summer! And the cost? $44/night for a 40-ft boat -- yikes!

On a mooring buoy, Isthmus Cove, Catalina

Monday, 21 October 2013

Relaxing days in Santa Barbara

Spent 5 nights/4 days mostly relaxing in Santa Barbara. Some bike riding, some socializing (with Al and Sandy on "Marova" and Dave and Betty-Ann on "Confidence" -- both B.C. boats), a little touring, and some boat work (replaced both fuel filters, plus gave Pelagia a good cleaning).

Weather was sunny and quite warm. Marina excellent. (Even though Marina police carry guns and Tasers, and put dye tablets in the head....)

We are currently in Channel Islands Harbour, Oxnard, after a 28-mile motor.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Motoring to Southern California

Pt. Conception lighthouse

We have finally made it to Southern California, having rounded Pt. Conception. Surprisingly, it actually did become warmer.

Anchored the night in Cojo anchorage -- totally exposed to any weather from the south, but good for prevailing northwesterlies. Two beached/wrecked sailboats on the shore attest to its dangers in storms. But this night, it was a calm (albeit rolly) anchorage.

Cojo anchorage

Next day, a very warm, calm, windless motor to Santa Barbara. Some continuing issues with fuel contamination (making the motoring more tense than it should be).

Just before Santa Barbara, off of Goleta (where UCSB is located) we motored through several miles of oily water -- very smelly layer of oil 1-2 mm thick  -- supposedly "natural" oil seepage. (Hmmm, are they sure all those oil platforms have no role in this?)

Currently at the dock in Santa Barbara -- a VERY nice, clean and organized marina. They even put a dye tablet in our toilet so that we don't pollute the waters (Right, then what about all that oil polluting the waters?). Still, all the Harbor Patrol carry guns and Tazers, so we'll abide with their rules.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Monterrey to Morro Bay to Port San Luis

Overnight  "sail"  Monterrey to Morro Bay.  Started off 1pm in 20-25 kn winds on the nose,  causing us to single then double reef the mainsail.  Then settled down so that we eventually had all sails up. Just as it was getting dark,  off Pt.  Sur,  the winds died and it was then a long motor to Morro Bay.  Arrived approx. 1pm the next day in Morro Bay. 

Incredibly,  we are again having significant fuel contamination problems (even after "polishing" the fuel in Alameda!)...  have to stay on top of the Racor filter! 

Leaving Morro Bay -- WITH wind!

Morro Bay was a nice stop...  we could have stayed longer.  VERY helpful Harbour Patrol. Public dock facilities, however, were sorely lacking (especially bathrooms)!  But we wanted to get moving.  So we sailed (yes, sailed) the approx.  25 miles to Port San Luis,  where we are now anchored.  Harbour Patrol organized and helpful but the transient mooring buoys were placed in the worst place and far from shoreside amenities.  (Thanks for being welcoming....)  So we have anchored off Avila Beach. 

Pelagia (2nd from right) anchored off Avila Beach

Anchored with us were: SV Falcon VII, SV Cetus, and solo/engineless sailor SV Loon.

We stayed 2 nights at Avila -- we could have stayed more as we liked it.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Monterrey Aquarium: Jellyfish

The Monterrey Aquarium has some great exhibits. Hard to choose the best. But the jellyfish were very photogenic.

Moon Jellies (like the millions in Roscoe Inlet...)

Sea Nettles (very stingy)

Egg-yolk jellyfish

We are glad we went to the Monterrey Aquarium. However, the $35/person entrance fee is pretty steep (Vancouver Aquarium is $25/person, with significant discounts available). One wonders how lower-income folks could afford $35/person.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Arrival in Monterrey

Santa Cruz to Monterrey is about 22 nautical miles -- we had a great sail for about half of these, sailing almost into Monterrey.

Pelagia sailed fast (>7 kn at times) and the steering worked well (no issues with weather helm, etc).

Along the way, we saw many (!) whales: humpback and one other kind. On arrival in Monterrey we were greeted by the cacophonous sea lions, as well as sea otters.

Humpback sounding

Smaller whales

Monterrey welcome committee

In stark contrast to Santa Cruz, Monterrey Harbour was well-organized. No concerns coming in. Better priced than Santa Cruz; clean facilities, and free wifi. (SC Harbour could learn much from Monterrey.)

Decided to take a berth at the dock (moorings were also available). 

Also at Santa Barbara: SV Marova; SV Confidence; SV Falcon VII; SV Loon

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbour: Chaos rules

We had a long but smooth trip to Santa Cruz -- no wind so a long hot motor. Flat seas, so comfortable.

Santa Cruz boardwalk/fairground

Arrival at the narrow entrance to the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbour was something we've never experienced before -- absolute mayhem. One has to have been there to understand, but we'll try to describe. (We were much too busy trying to avoid collisions to be able to take photos when we entered!)

SC harbour entrance (at a quiet time -- Sunday am)

SC harbour entrance (at a quiet time -- Sunday am)

Saturday afternoon. Crowded. Harbour entrance is very narrow -- perhaps -2 boat lengths wide with shallows on either side. Now, add 10-15 stand-up paddle boarders and kayakers lingering around the entrance and up the narrow channel, then add sail boats sailing (SAILING!) into and out of the channel, plus add powerboats coming in & out at speed. Finally, add sailboats tacking back and forth within the narrow channel.

Looking out SC harbour (Sunday morning; relatively quiet)

SC harbour (Sunday morning; relatively quiet)

It was mayhem. Nobody observing rules-of-the-road (many likely had no idea of these). Accidents waiting to happen. The SC Harbor Authority should control things better; eventually someone will be seriously hurt.

We didn't like it. We wouldn't recommend it.

We stayed only1 night (at $1.25/ft, not cheap -- and the facilities were dirty) and got out the next day and headed for Monterrey.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Adios San Francisco!

We finally made it out of San Francisco.

On our way out...

We're out of the Bay!

Motored out under the Golden Gate Bridge under sunny skies. Pulled out the sails and had a great 30-mile sail. Winds were 15-20kn NW with ~8-10 ft seas. 

Currently on the dock at Pillar Point Harbour (Half Moon Bay). Winds are down but seas still bit big, so we will wait 'till tomorrow to try for Santa Cruz (or Monterrey).

In the meantime,  Half Moon Bay has a beautiful beach with a long bike path. 

Half Moon Bay (view North towards Pillar Point)

Half Moon Bay (view South)

Update: we highly recommend a stop at Pillar Point Harbour: excellent harbour/marina and nice walking/biking.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Waiting on the weather... waiting on the Federal (USA) gov...

Pretty crazy,eh?!

This is what we get when we go to our usual NOAA weather site...

(With extra searching, one can find the forecasts. Not sure though if they are as frequent.)

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Waiting on weather...

We are currently in Sausalito, waiting on weather for heading South. The storms up North off of Vancouver Island and the Gulf of Alaska have resulted in "hazardous seas" off  the Central/Northern California coast.

Having been in the midst of  "hazardous seas" on the way down to SF -- which were quite unpleasant -- we will opt out this time and wait for (hopefully) calmer conditions.