_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Off again... on again (the project)- San Diego (Ginger)

Monday morning found us leaving the cruiser's anchorage with great views of downtown to head to the boat yard for a written estimate of work - yes, the mast step. We spent Monday at the dock and they came up with a proposal that sounds good to us so we're at the Shelter Island boat yard for the next week or so. They plan to start working on the mast Thursday, pull it Friday and haul the boat on Monday. They have to haul the boat to do fiberglass work on deck here in California! We were on call yesterday for the boat yard so today we spent "free Tuesday" getting to the Air and Space museum. We took no less than 3 busses to get to Balboa Park. The museum was a good visit for a couple of hours but we couldn't face the bus ride home so we just walked the 6 miles. Tomorrow will be boat work day (or visit the Maritime Museum) since we're at a dock for a while with power and water. We've checked in with our niece and nephews here in San Diego and look forward to seeing them while we're here.


Friday, September 22, 2006

A-9 Cruiser Anchorage, San Diego, Friday, September 22, 2006 3:34PM (Ginger)

We're on the move again. We went about 3 miles today from the police dock to the anchorage. It's good to be away from the dock and out on the hook. We're a little farther from the marine supply stores but we're closer to downtown and Peter can gaze at the Maritime Museum ships any time he wants from our deck. It's overcast and 70 degrees F today but we hear from the locals we should be back to sun and a comfortable 80 degrees tomorrow. No complaints from us.

The police dock was a very busy place. We had some great neighbors and really enjoyed our time there. There were several boats recently unloaded from the Dockwise transport ship in Ensenada. Carl brought his restored classic wooden meter sloop from Australia as his fiancee is from San Diego and he's moving here to get married. We enjoyed a couple of meals with Carl and heard about all the places we should visit on the east coast of Australia. Gregg and Jean were bringing their boat back from New Zealand and Gregg spent 2+ days helping us with all kinds of computer and radio things. He's more tenacious than I am when it comes to trouble shooting! It was great to hear about their travels and they had some hints for Mexico and beyond. Our other neighbors on the dock were mostly locals who were either kicked out of their marinas for the weekend mega yacht show or locals who are getting boat projects done before the dock gets monopolized by cruisers in October and November. We've seen some boats registered in Washington but most of the people actually live here in California. It seems it's very expensive to register a boat in California.

We unbent the sails in anticipation of the possible boat yard trip, had several visit by various boatyard guys for our mast step, brought a load of groceries home on the pixies, washed the decks, changed and recycled the oil, got the anchor windlass rewired to a terminal block, installed a new ignition switch, got a new gas tank for the dinghy (no more leaks or rust - plastic is great!)filled the water tanks, took some showers - hot for the men mostly cold for the women, how unusual to get the inferior bathroom for a change. We ended the week with an unacceptable quote for the mast step job so that is off for now.

Here's an excerpt from an email Peter wrote: "We've settled into the San Diego routine - doing boat work, getting supplies, and enjoying the local attractions." I made him add this :"Of course, local attractions for us means the Super West Marine, Downwind Marine, the coffee shop, the good bakery, and the maritime museum" because local attractions to him is nothing a tourist would visit. He did leave out our visit to Home Depot I guess that wasn't a scenic trip even to him.

We're planning to spend the weekend getting settled in the anchorage and organizing.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Long Beach to San Diego, Sunday 9/17/2006 8:00PM (Ginger)

We’ve had a week of travel and exploration on our way from Long Beach to San Diego. We sailed off the anchor at Long Beach and only started the engine to anchor in Dana Point Monday evening. We got up at sunrise while we were there as the baby swallows were on our lifelines and they perked up every time their parents came by with breakfast. The Mission at San Juan Capistrano is only 4 miles from Dana Point so we weren’t surprised to see swallows! We took the pixies ashore and explored Dana Point by bike on Tuesday. Got groceries and got some air for our tires as we rode down the PCH in town. The beach south of the marina is a big surfer beach and there were about 30 people out there at 7AM catching some small waves. Wednesday morning was time to leave…but Marcy had different plans. There were a couple of wiring issues that needed our attention. After a couple of hours we were under way and it was OK to get a later start because by then the wind had come up and we were able to sail south on a close reach. There was a lot of radio traffic heading down the coast but the most exciting call was a “man overboard” call from a warship heading out of San Diego. From what we could tell they were traveling at 16 knots when the guy fell off the port side. A civilian dive/fishing boat quickly called in to say they had a diver in the water and the race was on. The coast guard, police and all the civilian boats in the area were looking for him and the private boat found him. For the next couple of hours there were still calls from the commander asking for the status etc. The radio is our CNN news and it made for entertaining radio traffic all day. We made great time and arrived in Mission Bay at 5:30. Our neighbors from Dana Point arrived shortly after we anchored and Jay joined us for dinner. Turns out they had the exact same wiring issue that morning trying to leave Dana Point. It must have been all that salt in the air from the waves spraying over the jetty. Thursday Red Dogfish gave us a workout as we kayaked around the marina and to the beach for a walk along the boardwalk at Mission Beach. Thursday was our arrival at San Diego. We had to clear Loma Point by about a mile because of a huge healthy kelp bed. It was great to see so much kelp so close to the city. We hung back while an aircraft carrier entered the bay ahead of us and then we headed straight for the Police dock. There was room at the dock and as advertised it’s $10.50/night for the first 5 nights so we stayed at the dock. Then we set off on foot exploring. We found a restaurant for lunch (not cheap, but very good) and headed back to the boat. It’s over a mile to get off Shelter Island so the walks here are long. It got close to dinnertime and we thought we’d go to a bar for appetizers but the bars were busy so we ended up walking in to a sushi place. All that walking we were ready for bed early. The next morning we wanted to check out the cruisers anchorage so we got the pixies out and biked over to see the anchorage and of course the tall ship the Star of India. While we were out the police called me back (impressive – even on a Saturday!) to do the inspection on our boat so we will be allowed to anchor in the bay. We passed the inspection and the officer was really helpful with local San Diego information too. Another ride off the island, we found Downwind Marine and even had 2 pieces of mail (Thanks Fran!) Headed over to the grocery store so we could stop eating at expensive restaurants and early to bed. We did finally meet someone who knew of an internet place it was on our list but food and getting some clean clothes were high priorities!

Sunday morning was laundry morning. We loaded up the laundry and rode to the Laundromat. Checked out the internet place, but no computer with us on this trip. We’re planning to head out to the anchorage soon and there are some dock jobs that have to be done before we go! Had to locate a store for oil and one of our dock neighbors offered to drive us to Shucks California style. They drove the oil back for us and we rode the bikes through strip mall land in search of a cable to lock up the dinghy. Finally after a long visit to Home Depot Peter emerged with a perfect dinghy cable and we headed back to the boat for lunch. It’s actually hot here now and we spent the afternoon working on boat projects and moving things like installing fans up “the list.” We’ve both been exhausted and it’s got to be a combination of weather, exploring new cities and all the exercise we’re not quite used to now. It’s nice to be in San Diego and have a plan forming for where the boat will be for the next month.

Tomorrow morning we’re going to talk with a friend of Uncle Buck’s about our mast step project.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Long Beach, Sunday 9/10, 33 degrees 45 min N, 118 degrees 09 min W. (Ginger)

Wednesday we decided that we would leave our Cat Bay anchorage Thursday morning and head over to Isthmus Cove for a snorkel on the lee side of the island. Really this was just moving the boat closer to the action as we would be in front of Two Harbors instead of having to walk 5 minutes across the isthmus to get there. So, we got the boat ready for ocean travel, stowed gear below, got the dinghy deflated, folded, stowed and ready for the trip. One last “tall ship moment” presented itself Wednesday night as the Tole Mour arrived and anchored right next to us. By now it is no surprise that this is of great interest to someone aboard Marcy! So we spent the evening in the cockpit, sipping port and watching as the crew took the guests up the rigging to do sail handling drill to furl the lower topsail. It was easy to tell the crew from the guests as the crew confidently climbed the rigging and positioned themselves aloft. As the guests started climbing and getting directed out the yards it was a long process to get everyone situated. They dropped the sail and then collected and gasketed it in place. It looked like fun to be up in the rigging.

Thursday morning as I was doing yoga on the foredeck several passengers from Tole Mour went for an early morning swim with much splashing and screaming. That was the first morning we’d seen anyone else up that early, it was nice to have some early morning company in the bay for a change. We hauled the anchor at 7:30 and left just after the tall ship they headed south we headed north. It was a cold foggy morning and it felt good to be on the move again. It had been over a week since we’d been on the ocean and it took about 1 minute to get into the swell and start to feel that familiar “why did I eat a whole cup of cereal” feeling. We motor sailed into the wind and swell to the north end of the island and happily rounded the point and sailed back down wind. We arrived at Ismthus Cove at 11:30 and anchored in the southeast corner of the bay. There were already a couple of boats close to shore so we were anchored in 80 feet of water just outside the mooring field. After lunch and a short nap we contemplated pumping up the dinghy or kayak to go snorkel. We were in a really windy spot and it didn’t appear that the wind was going to stop any time soon, after a brief discussion, we decided it wasn’t going to be a snorkel day so we hauled the anchor and headed to Long Beach at 3:30 PM. We decided the rough night ahead at Isthumus Cove was worse than the possibility of entering the breakwater at the port of Los Angeles after dark. We sailed across on a broad reach and made good time until we got to within 2 miles of the breakwater. The sun was setting the low clouds had been around all day and were promising to block out the moonlight so we started the motor and cruised into the bay. The cranes along the port were beautiful in the low sunlight and the approach turned out to be straightforward and easy. We only encountered one big ship underway on the whole trip, right at the breakwater entrance. We entered the bay and went straight to our anchorage behind Island White.

Island White is an “island” named after an astronaut. The island is actually an oil-pumping complex, which has noise abatement cement walls around the perimeter. They shine lights on the walls at night and they also turn on a waterfall for 2 hours every night 8P – 10P. It’s really unusual, kind of a Disney experience!

Speaking of Disneyland - so close, but yet so far. I’ll try to make it brief and not bore you with all the details. A friend offered to sign us in to Disneyland as she works there! Yay! (OK, one of us was happy, one was dubious but definitely willing to go along. It is an experience and he should go there once!) We made a date with her to meet at the sign at 9:30 Monday morning. I spent a number of hours researching all the possible options and scenarios. Currently the boat is anchored 40 minutes from any dock by our small outboard AND, much as I’m trying to be easy going these days, the guy at the local West Marine told me this was only a weekend anchorage. Leaving the boat anchored all day and into the evening after the weekend made me uneasy even though I was unable to find anything in print on line about any weekday limitations. There are no dinghy docks here just restaurant docks with 2 hour time limits so I would have worried about both boats while we were gone not to mention a long trip back to the boat in the dark. Let’s get a slip! The local marina is full until 7:30 Monday morning when their office opens and they might be able to get us in. Only 2 hours to get a slip at the marina and get to Disney 45 minutes away. No rental cars within walking distance of the marina, the local cab company not sure if her driver could find a specific dock if called to pick us up, we could take the bus but the first bus we need leaves a mile from the marina at 7:35AM and there’s a transfer after a few miles so the whole thing hinges on getting that first bus. It would have been fun if it had worked out but all the complicated arrangements were starting to make me as stressed as talking to check cashing companies at work! This trip isn’t supposed to be about stress for a tourist stop so we’re passing on the Disney experience and hopefully we’ll get to see Heidi in San Diego later.

Besides the Disney research we’ve been to the tourist area of Long Beach on Friday, Alamitos Bay and Seal Beach on Saturday and just hanging out at the boat working on a few projects today. Peter finished removing a bulkhead today and sawed off all the bolt ends that have been threatening his forehead in the galley. This morning was quiet and beautiful and we spent a great morning on deck reading the paper we picked up yesterday and doing computer stuff. Occasionally, on deck we pick up the free wifi that the city provides in a “free zone” so we have enjoyed that. It’s really a luxury to have internet access without putting the computer in the dinghy and heading ashore. It was a good stop and we’re looking forward to Dana Point tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Catalina Bay, Catalina Island (still) Monday 9/4 7:00PM (Ginger)

The last week has been busy. We've been hiking twice. One hike was really a scramble straight up the hill complete with desert crevasse hazards, loose gravel and vertical sections that made me wish for glacier ice in case an emergency arrest was needed. The other hike was about 9 miles round trip on dusty roads to the top of the high peak at the north end of the island. Aside from black widow spiders and scorpions the only thing of concern here are the rattlesnakes. We didn't see any of those but lots of lizards; some so fast they're hard to spot before they're gone. Snakes make me glad I have my sturdy hiking boots on the trip. Friday afternoon we took the dinghy close to shore and snorkeled for a while. There are lots of fish and it's great to be in water this warm. Otherwise we've been swimming around the boat every day. We've been in town twice. Our first visit was Wednesday when things were relatively quiet. It was nice to sit on the snack bar patio and relax. Our second visit to town was Saturday afternoon when things were really getting busy. I've never seen a dinghy dock that full. There was a loud band, lots of people with their dogs (a great addition to the scene) and it was very busy. We were able to stand about an hour of that and retreated to the boat for dinner. Taking pictures of the anchorage this weekend doesn't really tell the story of how many boats were in the bay. There were huge rafts of powerboats, the group near us appeared to lose their stern anchor purchase and swung into the channel. We thought they were dragging but as the wind died they bounced back to their previous spot. Their 8-year-old son kept buzzing the anchorage in their huge fast dinghy with no adult supervision ever apparent so they were really on our radar! There was a boat near us with an entire floating playground tethered to their stern. They had an inflatable slide, a large dinghy tow toy "Big Momma", and a huge inflatable trampoline. As the wind came up every afternoon we were glad to be on our boat keeping an eye on things.

After our trip ashore Saturday we decided the town would be much quieter Monday afternoon as people return home. So, we celebrated Sunday of Labor Day weekend by working on boat stuff. Peter tightened the rigging; a project helped greatly by the stiff afternoon wind, and rewired the turnbuckles. He also made several loaves of bread and several hours of water. Our Village Marine water maker has been doing a great job and those solar panels are keeping us nicely charged! I cleaned the floors, worked on my bead log of our trip and cooked. Incidentally, I also did the laundry when we were in Oxnard, I'm doing more of the traditional "pink" jobs because there are plenty of "blue" jobs I can't do.
Peter finished the book "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and I've started it. Now I know why I don't eat land meat. It's a great book; it explains problems with agriculture in our country among other things.
We did watch a movie the other night but it's been even more entertaining to sit in the cockpit, sip wine, eat chocolate, watch the sunset and all the dinghy traffic back and forth. We had some neighbors for the last two nights here from North Bend, WA who are taking the boat back to Long Beach today and flying home tomorrow morning. The idea of heading back to work makes me appreciate this place even more! We've heard the Thursday night potlucks are going strong on K-dock and wish we could have a K-dock BBQ here!
It's strange to be here still when everyone has returned from summer vacation to their regular life. School is starting soon and everyone is back at work. I'm still getting used to the fact that my job is getting us places and seeing new things for now.
As I write this our neighbors are yelling that a dinghy has gotten loose. Peter has taken off to get the boat before it blows past ours. At this job, for a few minutes work, sometimes, you get a cold beer! They were happy to get their dinghy back..


Monday, September 04, 2006

Catalina Bay on Labor Day (Peter)

We’re hanging out in Catalina Bay for a few days, soaking up sunshine, people and boat watching and doing some hiking. It is good to get off the boat for a few hours every day. The walking muscles have been relatively unused so we’ve been a little stiff and sore at times, but it feels good. We arrived in early in the evening, and shortly after we were all settled, we were pleased to see the Exy Johnson, sister ship to the Irving, arrive and anchor next to us.

exy johnson cat bay

We really enjoy seeing square-riggers, and they are certainly active in the Channel Islands. The next morning we headed into the town of Two Harbors and checked out all the sights. The system of bow and stern mooring to buoys can certainly pack a lot of boats into a small area!

Isthmus cove 2

That afternoon we scrambled up one of the hills flanking the entrance to the bay. Part of the way up we could see Marcy, flying the flag at the stern, anchored just ahead of and to starboard of the Exy.

exy and marcy cat bay

As we climbed higher, the fog shrouded the view of the harbor, but we could see more square-riggers anchored in nearby Isthmus Cove. One of them turned out to be the Irving, who we had last seen a few days ago in the Northern Channel Islands.

fog shrouded cat bay

irv and 3 master isthmus cove 2

When we got back to Marcy, the Exy was hoisting anchor. We followed her out to sea in the dinghy, enjoying the show as she raised sails.

exy johnson cat island

exy johnson raising sails cat bay 2

exy on her way

Our scramble up the hill on the first day left us wanting more, so we decided to climb the closest tall (1800 ft) hill, Siver Peak the next morning. Having had a recent learning experience that reminded us northerners about the power of afternoon sun at these latitudes, we left early in the morning. And we brought plenty of water! The local “trails” would be called roads where we come from.

silver peak hike cat isl 5

silver peak hike cat isl 9

All in all, we have found a lot to like on Catalina Island. We wondered if it might be too crowded for us, but that isn’t really a problem. It is easy to head out on a hike if solitude is wanted. We never saw another single other person once we got out on the trail!

In the anchorage, it was great entertainment to watch all the various anchoring styles. It is usually windy in the afternoon, and it got as crowded as you would expect on a Labor Day weekend, so some of the maneuvering was painful to watch. Some of the big motor yachts sport anchors that look about the same size as our little 20 lb stern anchor. Not surprisingly, the boat pictured below anchored and re-anchored for the entire afternoon before holding!

weenie anchor

weenie anchor 2

Some tried to use the kelp beds to try to hold better, but that often didn’t work.

kelp anchor

On board Marcy, we are starting to do some serious study of Mexican guidebooks and charts. We are excited to move south. Which is exactly where we plan to go after a stay somewhere on the mainland, hopefully San Diego, to work on Marcy and wait out the end of the hurricane season.