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.

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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.

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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!

Cheers!

 

Girls In-Charge when Storm hits & Our Dinghy’s Final Resting Spot…#17

Excitement is normal when we cruise in the ocean and change locations. Leaving San Francisco on a Thursday morning, a day or two later than we wanted because of the weather. Which reminded us who’s boss…Mother nature! We were excited to have Clark Nelson with us on our trip, just another set of hands is always good, but the best part is we enjoy being with Clark, he is just a joy to travel with and always jumps in to help on anything! Thanks Clark, YOU’RE THE BEST!!

Our plan was to have two stops along the way, North end of Monterey Bay and Morro Bay with our final location Oxnard, Bahia Marina in the Channel Islands. Our first stop was Santa Cruz on the north end of Monterey Bay. We arrived about 4pm with no issues and anchored in the bay. We had dinner and got ready for our early rise the next morning.

We headed out early the next morning for Morro Bay. As we headed down the coast across the miles of Monterey Bay south, the weather was a bit rougher than expected. A decision was made to anchor in the south end of Monterey bay and try again in the morning.

Next morning was much calmer and we headed down to Morro Bay Yacht Club. We had a nice side tie on the guest dock for 1 night. The boys, Dan and Clark, had fun visiting with the club members that helped us tie up. 

We again headed out in the dark of the morning to give us enough time to arrive at Oxnard, Channel Islands Harbor with daylight. We arrived at Bahia Marina Sunday late afternoon with a great slip big enough for our boat.

 

As Dan and I looked forward to the upcoming weeks we both had different feelings and anticipation.  Dan was going back to Portland to meet up with friends to go hunting, and I was going to have some alone time on the boat. This Girl was NOT spending two weeks alone…. THAT’s for sure. So thank goodness for girlfriends, I might have gone nuts with too much time alone. This was the first time that I was going to stay on the boat by myself and “in charge” of everything for 2 weeks. I’m sure Dan was a bit nervous, but so was I. I needed to paying attention to all the critical boat stuff to make sure my guests and I live comfortably, but also so I don’t ruin something and have a big mess for Dan to clean up when he returns. I needed to pay attention to things like; not running out of water, making sure that the power stays on and our holding tanks don’t overfill. Along with any unexpected items. Which there always is , when living on a boat.

Welcoming Committee

Dan, Clark and I spent a few days visiting with the folks on the 3 live-a-boards that were next to us, learning about the marina, town and the daily dock visitors, the Sea lions. Then early one morning the guys headed to Portland and left me ALONE!

I had a few days before the first group of girls joined me for a long weekend. Molly, Emily & Kylie joined me on Friday night. We had a great day on Saturday in Santa Barbara at a couple wineries. We packed snacks and had a great time with each other and with the town and wineries.

We spent time on the beach and got some great sunset pictures, fun dinners on the boat, played cards, rode bicycles, kayaks, paddle board and lots of laughter! We even found the Sunday Farmers Market and got some fresh fruits and veggies. It was a long time since I had girl time, so it was really nice!

Girls had to leave on Mid-day Monday, I was then alone again, with a storm coming. I had to work on doing some more securing of our lines and closing everything down, all the hatches and portholes and tighten down the canvas so I didn’t have water where it doesn’t belong. When I got up the next morning I was surprised. That was no storm…. They really haven’t lived through a storm until they have lived through one one in the Pacific NW.  Everything looked good except I did have one injury that that needed attention. One of the lines we had as a spring line was rubbing and wearing and it could have caused an issue, so I needed to change the line and direction and stop the wearing and possible breakage. Which I did with no issue. TaDa!

A few days later my sister Julie joined me. She really didn’t know what to expect about life on a boat or what we would be doing. I think I blew her mind with how beautiful it is, so much down time and fun activities.

We visited nearby cities; Malibu, Santa Barbara & Ventura, we had fun dinners out and on the boat, beach time with beautiful sunsets and I took her on her first the wave-runner ride in through the canals and out towards the ocean. We had a great time and we definitely ate way too much ice cream, but it was sure fun!

But the most important activity is Julie cut and colored my hair for me. It looks so much better! Nice of Julie to spend some of her vacation working… but on a special client, her Sis!

After Julie left I had some more alone time before Dan came back. I was really happy to have him back but sure enjoyed my girl time!!!! THANK YOU LADIES, I appreciated your time with me! Hope you had as much fun as I did.

Dan and I planned our next move. I had stayed in Oxnard for 2+ weeks and was really ready to see something new. Our plan was to anchor out at Santa Cruz Island for a couple days and then head to Catalina & San Diego, our final destination before Mexico. BUT first we had to take care of our dinghy.

If you’ve kept up on our blogs, you know we had issues with our dinghy getting a hole (Blog #6, 7 & 8). Dan did a great job fixing it…. BUT it didn’t hold. We finally had to call the insurance company and put in a claim. The adjuster came and assessed it and said we did a good job with our fix. When the claim was processed the dinghy was totaled. So our final resting place for our old dinghy was to recycle her as a trade-in and get a new one. We were able to get one that is a little bit smaller and lighter in weight. The other one was too heavy and actually putting some stress on the ceiling of our boat when we used the crane. So we made more lemonade with our lemons with our new dinghy! We are happy!

If you have noticed, I haven’t written a blog in a few weeks. I took time off while I was with the Girls. I also had some time with no service too. Will try and keep up on my weekly routine.

Next up….. “Channel Island – Santa Cruz, Catalina and San Diego Mexico prep”

Cheers from Angelique

Private Island Resort, Public Docks & “Repel Boarders @ 4 am”….#16

Leaving the Vallejo docks was a happy day. We had stayed for over a week and were ready for a change of view. We were headed inland to meet up with our son Chase and his buddy Cole. We found an easy spot to dock at Antioch Public Marina for the kids to take BART from SFO and join us. It is always fun to welcome new guests. Getting ready, meal planning, food bought, beds made & boat clean! We’re ready! Kids found us easily and we headed to our destination of Tinsley Island, an out station of the St Francis Yacht Club, a private island for members and guests only.

It was like a resort with swimming pool, VB courts, horse shoes, BBQ pits equipped with real mesquite, covered tables, fire pit, light house, and private docks! There was lots of nice friendly help and during the week pretty quiet. Had the swimming pool all to ourselves, cooked great meals, used the jet ski/wave runner, SUP and lots of down time. We had a great stay and enjoyed our time with the kids. While Dan and I hiked up to the top of the lighthouse while Chase and Cole were swimming. I just snapped a pic of the pool and didn’t know Cole was attempting a back flip. After the pic was taken Dan yelled that Cole just did a back flip. I looked at the pic to see if i captured it. Well…. with it blown up you can see the accidental capture of his back flip. Too cool.

After our 3 days at the resort, we headed back to Antioch public dock and let the kids go hang with friends in the city (San Francisco & Berkeley) as we did a couple projects and enjoyed our new location. The Smith Landing Restaurant had nice happy hour & dinners and near our dock. They told us that the restaurant had only been open for a couple weeks. John and Karen Enloe came to visit us for a couple hours while they were commuting home from a visit with other family members. It was nice to see them and had a great late lunch at the restaurant. The kids came and went all weekend long.

Early Sunday morning around 4 am I heard a noise on our back deck. (I always hear noise, I wake Dan up and it is nothing) so here I go again…..Dan is waken up by his crazy wife who hears a noise, thank goodness he humors me. We sit quietly and listen and nothing…. we tuck ourselves back into bed when a loud creaking happens above our heads. When someone walks on the back enclosed deck it is a unique noise. We both hop out of bed, Dan grabs his high intensity flashlight and heads up to see what is happening.

Our back deck has zippered canvas and a flip door gate about thigh high. Someone would have to unzip and climb over to gain access to our “Sapphire Deck”

He finds a female type person sitting in a chair on our sapphire deck. He loudly told her to “LEAVE OUR BOAT NOW” she doesn’t move and starts to tell her story to Dan… “I love boats and use to be in the coast guard….blah blah blah..” she continues. He repeats himself loudly. “LEAVE OUR BOAT NOW”  and many more times. She still continues to sit and seems to thinks she can explain herself and we will let her stay on. Finally she leaves the boat, meeting up with her bicycle she left beside the boat. By this time Chase and I are on the phone with 911 asking for police. As she moves to the dock, she continues to explain herself to Dan, which he just keeps the flashlight on her, thinking she will talk long enough for the police to arrive. Of course she leaves just before they arrive. We tell the whole story to the police and then head to bed in hopes the police will find her. It takes us a while to fall asleep due to the adrenaline charge we all had.

We all got up a bit late after the event from that night and sat chatting about what just happened. I looked up and saw a similar shaped female person heading down the dock towards our boat. Dan stepped out to check to see who it was. When she started talking I knew it was the same person. The voice stuck in my head. She said “I want to apologize for last night and I brought you a peace offering of a banana”. YES, she had one WHOLE banana for us. I guess we were rude because we didn’t accept her offering of this wonderful gift. She asked if she could come on board our boat. Now Dan is angry and told her “please leave you scared my family and you need to leave now”, which again Dan had to ask multiple times. Because she had to explain herself, you know….  She finally went up the ramp to the sidewalk area, Dan quickly called the Marina and explained what had happened that night and now she was back. We couldn’t believe she came back, she really didn’t think she had done anything wrong, I guess. The Marina called the Police this time, but she left again before they arrived. But this time we had pictures. Our back deck camera took one while she was sitting and we took them when she came back to explain herself. We turned them over to the Police. We have since made an adjustment to the zipper, so that it can’t be unzipped, and we are planning on putting in different lighting system. Adding a bit more security is a must. Luckily she wasn’t dangerous. She was probably just high on something and seemed to be taken with the beauty of our boat.

We did enjoy our time on the Antioch dock. Folks would go the the restaurant and then swing by to see our yacht. We would chat with them as they would ask lots of questions.

On Monday afternoon Clark Nelson joined us for our trip south. Tuesday morning we left Antioch Marina and headed back to Sausalito for an easy leave from the bay.  We had such a great time in the Bay Area. AND lots of stories to tell too. ha ha ha

Heading towards the bridge
Golden Gate in our rear view

Stay Safe and Cheers from the Angelique on Day 92 of our Trip!

Teaser … Upcoming article – The Dinghy Saga Continues & Our Trip South