Santa Ana Wind Gusts Hold Us Back, Flying High Over Catalina & Baja Ha-Ha Rally…#18

As we prepared to leave the Bahia Marina in Oxnard CA and head out to anchor at Santa Cruz Island which is part of the Channel Islands, we had a balancing act to perform.

“Our performance was one of skill, maneuvering, humor and sweat”

The audience was the folks on land and the “liveaboards” at the marina. The reason for our performance was because of the type of dock we were at. We had a slip rather than a side tie and we needed to use our crane to hoist up our dinghy to the top deck. If you don’t understand the difference; a slip has two dock arms one on each side of the boat and a side tie only has dock on one side of the boat. Being that we were in a slip we had to back out of our slip and hover in the middle of the canal to be able to lift the dinghy up. We had looked for a side tie spot to move our boat to for a few hours, without luck. To complicate matters we had our new dinghy and have never lifted it before. (blog #17)

There were so many unknowns with this balancing act… will the lifting bracket fit good in the new dinghy and be level as we lift her, will the dinghy fit into the cradle on the boat, will we be able to get it done with just 2 of us and not risk our big boat? Yes, we are crazy, but yes, we did it. Lots of adjusting to get it lifted correctly and a bit of juggling to get her down in the cradle, so we could secure her. Sorry no pics, our hands were a little busy, but I’m sure the audience got a few.

After our acrobatics, we headed just a short way to Santa Cruz Island and found a quiet anchorage and settled in for the night on the north side. We giggled a bit about our daily activities as we sat on the top deck and took in the view, we wondered what others thought, as they watched us.

Our plan was to explore the islands, but the winds kicked up a bit and we decided to wait another day. The next day the winds didn’t settle down as expected, they started to get stronger and we had no cell service or internet to be able to get a detailed weather forecast. We only had XM weather and  VHF radio weather, which limited our view. Throughout the day things on the boat were starting to rattle and bang in the winds and one of our top canvas bimini covers was getting caught in the wind and we had to take it down because it was starting to rip. That was no easy tasks getting it down in the wind. We spent part of the day making sure everything was tied down good. I thought it was kinda fun watching and listening to the wind…. Dan probably wouldn’t have used the word “fun”. We had been told that the Santa Ana winds were something to watch out for. Which we now understand why. We had sustained winds of 20-30 miles per hour and gusts that topped 50+ even with us tucked in behind the mountain top and in a cove. Glad we weren’t out in the open. We were actually doing pretty good for as strong as the winds were. We had two other boats with us in the cove.

One chose to leave in the heavy winds. The other waited until about 3 pm when the winds settled down a bit. He called us as he was leaving and said that he was moving because the winds were changing directions. We had also talked about moving to the other side of the island and quickly left just after the second boat did. When we arrived “Ocean Echo”, the boat that chatted with us was also in that cove on the other side of the island. We were lucky that the winds had settled down by the next morning and we were very thankful as I’m sure other boaters were too. This pic was taken as “Ocean Echo” was leaving and the sun was coming up that calm morning.


With the calm weather we decided we were getting out while we could and aimed for Avalon on Catalina Island. The sun was out, the weather was beautiful, and I was at the helm! Up top, of course!!img_4088 We had a beautiful cruise down the coast and as we approached Catalina Island I kept thinking that it looked very similar to the Channel Islands we just left behind. Brown, bare and plain. It surely doesn’t compare to the San Juan Islands in WA! My expectation was that Avalon (coastal resort town) would be a bigger more expensive Roche Harbor, but it certainly isn’t as pretty from 1 mile away. I was hoping it would get better. As we got close to the marina a harbor patrol boat came and escorted us to our mooring ball. It was nothing like we have seen before. It had a front bow loop and a back stern loop to keep you facing in the correct direction. (to fit more boats in). avalon mooring picThis was our only choice for anchoring in Avalon. Most mooring balls will not hold the weight of our boat. But they actually have mooring balls that hold boats that are 100 feet and larger.

Avalon didn’t disappoint us. It was a much bigger and more built up town than Roche Harbor. There was so much to do. I highly recommend it if you haven’t been before.

Angela Flying

You don’t even need a boat. You can take a ferry from LA location over to the island, they have many B & B’s, hotels etc. I would love to go back. Lots of good restaurants, tours of the island, rent golf carts and parasailing which was a lot of fun!

We took off early Friday morning, as soon as we had light of day and headed to San Diego. We had a full days run and didn’t want to arrive at Fiddler’s Cove Marina in the dark. This Marina is on Coronado Island and is a Naval base outstation for those that are active or retired military. The welcoming was over the top, they helped catch lines and were very happy we were on their guest dock for 10 days. Folks kept telling us, we were making the marina look nicer. We had a great stay.

We had the opportunity to go the Navy/Notre Dame football game while we were in San Diego. Navy lost, but it was tons of fun. We also went to the Annapolis alumni tailgate party before the game and had a great time talking to lots of people Dan went to school with and lots of new folks.

Our son Chase joined us again with some friends for a long weekend. It is always nice to have guests! They stayed busy while we were counting down our last days in the US. We were preparing for our departure to Mexico with the Baja Ha-Ha Sailing rally. Doing last minute provisioning and Dan was taking advantage of some of the classes that the rally was offering.   The last day before departing, our good friends Ron and Ashley joined us. They are both captains and own the Zephyr which is a research vessel. Our trip south with Baja Ha-Ha’s was a 2 week vacation for them and we were very grateful for their help on our trip to Mexico. Before we left San Diego the Baja HaHa Rally had a costume Party with all the travelers. We picked Vikings as our theme…

I think we pulled it off well and looked pretty “viking like”  The next photos were the last two we took in the United States before leaving San Diego Bay. 

“Okay… are you asking, why did we join a sailing rally?”

Yes, we aren’t a sailboat, but a few motorboats join the rally. We had lots to learn from others that have done this before, lots of events, classes, beach parties, and learning along the way as we gained new connection. So yes, we joined a sailing rally.

Look for our next Blog “Baja Ha-Ha, A Mexican Adventure…#19”

Hope you are living Your Dream…. or at least planning for it!



4 thoughts on “Santa Ana Wind Gusts Hold Us Back, Flying High Over Catalina & Baja Ha-Ha Rally…#18”

  1. Thank you again, so much, for your awesome blog & letting us “ride along” with your great adventures. Looks like so much fun & so many exciting & fun things going on. Thumbs up to joining a sailing club — learn from whomever you can, & so grateful you & Dan have them to guide you on this journey. Continued prayers for you all to have smooth seas & no wind. (Sorry sailing club members, “no wind” has been drilled into my brain. 😉

    1. Just reread with Rand & he pointed out the “Living your Dream” statement. That was our theme for his Commodore’s year — a good one to continue on with. LOL

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