Friday, October 31, 2008

Four Hour Motor to Long Beach

It was flat and calm today on the crossing from Avalon. We crossed paths with the tall ship Tole Mour three or four times on it's trip from Two Harbors to Long Beach. The ship was taking it's time as it was gently motor sailing while escorting some whales.

Near the end of the trip we dodged some freighters entering the Port of Los Angeles. Tied up at about 3:30 at the Shoreline Yacht Club guest dock about a quarter mile from the Queen Mary. The Carnival Paradise was in port near the Queen. They are a shaped a bit differently, but have a similar size.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The better part of Avalon

OK, here we have a slight disagreement about Avalon....there are a few nice things such as row-your-own-boat-over-Netflix fix for movie nights (three in a row at the local bookstore annex rental place). Young at Heart was really nice, last night not-so-good I already forgot the name and tonight Jak's pick Leatherheads.
And when you get a little bit of the beaten harbor track in town, it's pretty cute with lush mountains, palm trees and lots of Spanish spoken on the streets and of course the golf cars everywhere. The weather is surely changing with yesterday an interesting feeling of sunny skies but fog all around and now it's nearly time to close the hatches during daytime because of the blow.
Tomorrow to the Shoreline Yacht Club for the weekend, more later.

Finally, Some Wind

Southern California has had Santa Ana wind conditions for a couple weeks. Very little of this wind has made it 25 miles out here to Catalina. This means it has been 80 to 85F and flat seas. Today we have an east wind at 17 to 20+ miles an hour, creating some small white caps in the harbor.

It is a bit harder to row the dinghy, but still doable.

Hopefully, the wind will hold for our trip to Long Beach tomorrow. We have not sailed in over 6 knots since we headed to Santa Barbara. A local did tell me they had 10 foot waves in the harbor a couple weeks ago. One has to be careful for what one wishes for.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Avalon Services or Not

Nothing good to report here for cruisers. We found the showers and they were only $2.00 for 5 minutes. When I heard the price, I thought, "This is gonna be nice". It was only nice for a professional mycologist.

Next stop was the weekly farmer's market. This consisted of four tables. Bananas were 2 for $1, oranges $1 apiece. Other items required vastly greater sums of money.

We did see the Tuna Club. This is supposed to be the birthplace of sport fishing. It is private and was closed, so we did not see much. If you remember Ranger from back in Santa Barbara, it used to bring the rich boys over here to hunt the tuna.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Searching for Old Salts (you know who you are)

Our friend Sandra pointed out the following ad on Craigslist: Pays $2100

SAILING GRANDFATHER / Male / All Ethnicities / 60-72
MUST BE SAILOR - please note experience.
beginning is ok, but must have experience , comfortable on a sailboat , shots will be on boat. We are really looking for someone with real experience. Classic Day Sailor boat.

For the Grandfathers: 65ish, outdoorsy, well worn type,
vibrant and kind

If he has real grandson / granddaughter with work permit between 9-11 years old, please bring in.
Wardrobe: sailor gear

We will split the fee with you. For a small extra charge we can provide a "grandchild" and foulies. You are responsible for your own "sailing experience".

Cruise Ship Tuesday

It is Tuesday and the Carnival Paradise has arrived. It has disgorged big groups of large people, many of which are Russian tourists. Yesterday there were very few people and today it looks like Fisherman's Wharf. The Coast Guard is patrolling the harbor on their RIBs with 30 caliber machine guns. It is MARSEC Orange.

We were attempting to get some propane when we encountered the following sign on the way to the Southern California Edison Plant. This means a cruiser must get a cab for the mile there and back and or no propane. Beware.

Fortunately, the on-board bakery has not used the entire second tank yet. I hear there will be fresh bread tomorrow.

Monday, October 27, 2008


From Catalina Pictures

We have just arrived in Avalon after a nice reach down from Two Harbors. There are some pictures of Catalina in the album above.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

FCC Approves AIS Class B Transponders

Various sources including Latitude 38 are saying the the FCC has approved AIS Class B Transponders. These have been mandatory in the EU and other nations such as Turkey for a while. Our administration in action... Now, I don't have to flip our Swedish True Heading unit off every time I smell a Coastie.

Update on the West End

Catalina Island has been largely deserted for the season. Boat occupancy hovers between 1 and 10 percent.

There are a surprising number of kids at the summer camps. It is unclear if this is some sort of super school field trip or if year-round school has been implemented in the LA area. These may be the kids who get their "summer" vacation in the fall.

The weather has been great at about 80F and a light breeze coming up in the afternoon.

We have been on the moorings in Isthmus Cove . Follow this link to see a recent web cam picture of Maitreya. This picture will go out of date probably by Monday 10/27/08. To find the boat, look for the square crane on the pier. Next, look straight up through a blank area of water and you will see Maitreya. She has two dark sail bags on the bow.

We have also been to Emerald Bay where we rowed our Fatty Knees dinghy to Howland and Johnson Landings which are owned by the Boy Scouts and yacht clubs.

We were moored right behind Indian Rocks in Emerald Bay (see below). We did a little bit of snorkeling where we saw some Garibaldi among the kelp.

Corine has been making muffins every morning and we have been sharing the dinner duties. All very relaxing.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hanging in Catalina

We have been at the west end of Catalina Island all week. This includes Isthmus Cove, Howland Landing, Johnson Landing, and Emerald Bay. We will post more with pictures when we get a better connection.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Heading off to Catalina Island

Good morning everyone, we're ready to leave the California Coast this morning to go snorkeling and explore Catalina Island after all the crowds are gone. It would be nice to raise the sails again after a couple of lazy days watching movies and provisioning for the trip at Whole Foods.
Hermosa Beach was surely cuter than Redondo Beach, lots of great beach houses right on the beach and beach volleyball all around.
We'll be heading back to the mainland for Halloween weekend to catch up with Cara in the LA area and will then find a good spot to be hanging out for Election Day.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


If you are stuck in an urban area would like to watch a DVD, try Redbox. It is kind of Netflix meets Coke machine. Not too many foreign flicks, but the ones they have only cost a buck. You can usually find the machines in markets and other places that carry half and half for the sacrificial beverage.

Wasting Away in Poweritaville

Redondo Beach, as Matt asked "Isn't that an armpit?", is dominated by the AES Power Plant. Painting whales on the 20 foot walls doesn't help that much.

This is known as the South Bay area of Los Angeles. It sits on the Santa Monica Bay south of Santa Monica and north of San Pedro. I was born here in beautiful Torrance.

This area has been the setting for such movies as The Falcon and the Snowman, The Big Lebowski and To Live and Die in LA.

No worries though, I have taken up Dudeism. " F*ck it man, you can't worry about that sh*t."

The wind has shifted and we are looking forward to Catalina Island.

In the mean time, I have a hankering for a Caucasian.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

World Wide Tide Calculator

Where is that tide book? You don't care anymore if you have WXTide32 and a working PC (only). It is free and small. Perfect for visiting foreign countries where tide information may not be readily published.

Some of this functionality is available in higher end chart plotting software and mid-range chartplotters.

Hermosa Beach Art

A lazy Saturday walking up the Strand in Hermosa Beach. Beach/Pop art abounds.

Even in the southland, change is in the air.

I've heard of the 3 F club....

You don't have to 'run for the border', if you have the right disguise.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Latts and Atts

The sailors out there may be familiar with Latitudes and Attitudes magazine. We visited their headquarters today Redondo Beach. The world empire seems to be run from a small vacation style condo. Shipping is carried out in the kitchen area.

The women in charge were really friendly. Laid back was the style. Buddy, pictured below, was overseeing all activities. Drop in some time.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Point Mugu Dolphins

We had several pods of dolphins swim with us off of Point Mugu today. We motor sailed between Ventura and Redondo Beach/King Harbor and are now at the King Harbor Yacht Club. As is clear from the photos, we could use a faster camera. Most of the pictures were taken from the bowsprit. There is an album here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

From the food department

Last night we had a great pot-luck BBQ dinner at the Ventura Yacht Club with wonderful people and lovely socializing. The weekly dinner was started 18 years ago by one of the live-aboards and now attracts many people from the club; it was fun talking boats and even past work (Ventura is about 20 miles from Thousand Oaks). Great recommendations about the Channel Islands (did you know you can just let your boat drift outside the Painted Cave while you row in :-) OK we won't try that....Folks try to convince us to go to the Sea of Cortez before crossing the Pacific so we'll see what the weather does when we get more south around Nov 1, the "official" end of the hurricane season in Mexico.
Back to the Galley: I've been trying to match the great muffins from the Aptos Bakery sold in Santa Cruz and I think one of the secrets is using molasses instead of brown sugar. This morning, on every-other-day-turn-over-the-eggs-day, I tried a combination of molasses and honey and the results comes pretty close. The eggs are now 39 days old, the remaining 12 are doing totally fine and I only had two cracked prematurely when I probably shut the carton wrongly in Santa Barbara. They leaked a little egg white that stayed perfectly tucked into their little yellow space in the carton. So far so good, and maybe about time to hunt down a new supply. Not a whole lot of fresh produce around here but there was a sign of a Farmers Market this morning next to the Derby in Ventura so maybe I'll go there. The most important is starting with good quality produce (Lisa sister's tomatoes or the remainder of them are still going strong together with the fabulous lemons from Sandra's sister and of course there is Berkeley Bowl) and particularly on the citrus department we're very well equipped. I just finished Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz (thanks Paul!) describing Cook's travels and although he did everything he could to try to prevent scurvy, we won't have to worry about it :-). With the debate tonight we'll probably have Cheese fondue with french baguette since there is nice bakery in the Harbor Village close by (although I haven't seen it open yet, we'll see.....not enough hours to let the no-kneading bread rise for the required 18 hours. Melanie, thanks again for the recipe, even in our little great oven it works perfectly!).
We just got a folding bike out so Jak is biking over to the other side of the marina to talk to the guys at the boat yard to see if they can fix the swinging wire problem. Even though we're tucked in pretty good at the guest dock the surge here in Ventura is pretty heavy and the wires are banging all day. If they can help us, we may stay a little longer otherwise we're taking off tomorrow morning early for about a 50 mile (or 10 hours if we're lucky) sail down to Marina del Rey or King Harbor.

Surfer Tool for Coastal Cruisers

Wetsand's SwellWatch is a neat Google Maps application that shows swell and wind information world wide. Think of it as an interactive grib file on steroids.

Downtown Ventura

Downtown Ventura is sleepy regardless of a recent sprucing up. It is dominated by six or seven thrift shops and the Mission San Buenaventura.

The mission is small and has a nice garden. English navigator George Vancouver called the gardens the finest he had seen. Most of the gardens are now gone and the grounds are not as grand as other missions such Santa Barbara or San Juan Capistrano.

The mission was founded in 1749 and has a long history reflected in a one room museum. The most interesting items in the museum were the unique wooden bells (seen below) and a handwritten letter from Thomas Jefferson dated 1803.

As in most missions I have seen, Father Junipero Serra is held up as a near saint and saviour of the heathen natives. Alternative views depict him as an enslaver and destroyer of cultures.

We found one cool store, Wetsand, that is a combination, web site, art gallery and surf shop. Here is an example of surfboard as art:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sailing Large and Small

This guy had a really cool boat. It was like a large kayak with a lot of sail area. Probably better not to capsize, but he could handle the whole thing by himself including the crane to hoist it in.

On the other end of the spectrum is Dennis Connor's latest ride. Kelpie is 82 feet long and 80 years old. Sweet.

Drill baby, drill

Yesterday we sailed through some platforms of the Dos Cuadras Offshore Oil Field. These are the rigs involved in the infamous 1969 spill. That spill turned public opinion against offshore drilling in California and later in other states.

Below we have an aerial view of the well blow out.

There is a good photo history here.

They are still drilling here bordering a National Marine Sanctuary and Channel Islands National Park.

Santa Barbara Piccys

Check the web album here.

More on the Sea Lion Pup

We talked to the harbormaster when we were leaving Santa Barbara. He told us the young pup went to a non-profit marine mammal rescue group. They would fix him up and then give him a ride to one of the channel islands.

His case was not uncommon. The moms get tired of feeding the adolescents, so they kick them out on their own. Some of the pups thrive, while others get sick and look for a place to take it easy. Without human help in these cases they fade away or become easy targets for sharks.

Monday, October 13, 2008

San Buenaventura

We made it on a fairly windless trip to Ventura Yacht Club. This is a short 23 miles across the channel from Santa Barbara threading through the oil platforms.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Maitreya's website is up

It is in beta as they say, so everything is not working yet. Take a look here.

Word of the Day - Vicarious

Webster's says:


\vī-ˈker-ē-əs, və-\
Latin vicarius, from vicis change, alternation, stead — more at week

1 a
: serving instead of someone or something else b: that has been delegated vicarious authority>
: performed or suffered by one person as a substitute for another or to the benefit or advantage of another
: experienced or realized through imaginative or sympathetic participation in the experience of another
: occurring in an unexpected or abnormal part of the body instead of the usual one <vicarious menstruation manifested by bleeding from the nose>
vi·car·i·ous·ly adverb
vi·car·i·ous·ness noun

I am not speaking of you, dear reader, only of myself. Lectronic Latitude has an article about a young man with dreams similar to my own. He has recently traded his yacht for a slow boat to China. Ronnie's website is here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Uni Capital

There are a lot of fishing boats here in Santa Barbara. You see guys unloading small west coast lobsters. Crab pots are around, but I have not seen any crab. I talked to a couple fishermen and as could be expected, things are generally in decline. The skipper of Spaniard, a 1926 boat converted for Swordfishing, turned out to be a dentist Monday through Friday.

There is money being made here. It is Uni (Sea Urchin for Sushi) that can fetch 3 figures per pound in Japan. Uni is an acquired taste and East Asia is buying it as fast as they can.

The urchins are gathered by hand by divers around the Channel Islands. They dive off of small ~20 foot fiberglass boats that look like half sized lobster rigs.

Large basket nets are dumped into plastic bins here on Navy Pier and trucked away to local restaurants and the airport.

Uni is also a delicacy in Greece. There is more background here. You can order some here.

Laying Low

Gale to the north hurricane to the south. Ok, so that is a thousand or more miles between them, but a shift cold ruin your whole day. They are expecting 35 to 40 knot gusts today in the Santa Barbara Channel. Talk of 20 foot waves off the point. We will probably be here until Monday and then putter down the coast.

Sick Little Guy

This young seal was sunning on our dock, laying on the docklines. He really did not want to go into the water even when you got a foot or two away. The harbor patrol came and took him in for a check up.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lazy Repairs and So Cal Weather

I am lying around Santa Barbara and fixing small stuff. The largest repair, which I have been avoiding, is the internal mast slap of our new electrical wires. I could have sworn that the rigger said he pulled those wires through a conduit. Instead, we have a 55 foot pendulum of wires that can swing the six or eight inches at the mast base with a 2 or 3 degree roll of the boat. That roll is multiplied by the mast length and may be turned into several inches at the top. Anyway I need to try and lasso the wires to one side of the inside of the mast before we go crazy.

While NOT working on this, we are enjoying 85 degree weather. Corine went to the Farmer's Market on State Street yesterday. She replenished some of our fresh stuff.

This weekend, the Santa Barbara Seafood and Harbor Festival is happening. The tall ship Spirit of Dana Point (ex Pilgrim of Newport) has arrived. She is looking a little worn. Check out that Dolphin Striker below. Ouch!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Reflections on the first 500 miles Blue Water Cruising

I'm waiting for the cheese scones to bake and water to boil for Peet's coffee so a good time to reflect on the ocean time so far. To make a long story short, I loved it! Maitreya loves to sail and she's great. The first night out we decided to have our watch schedules at 3 hours as we had to hand steer; it was also pretty good in keeping awake. My night watches are 11 pm - 2am and 5- 8 am. Nice to see the sun come up when its clear out. With the night vision being good after some time in the dark it surely looks like the sun is fully up at 6.30 am when the sky becomes a little lighter so I actually turned down the running lights when the sun actually rose about 6.45. Anyway, won't turn off the lights that early but actually after we left Santa Cruz we didn't see any ships for the first 3 days. Very, very peaceful and when we got closer to Point Conception when the seas surely got confused and the autopilot couldn't keep up, we turned on the AIS to see what the ships are doing. Great investment the AIS, as we can see all boats with call sign, speed and heading and we can get on the VHF if needed. One cruise ship lit like a Christmas tree got pretty close but overall very safe out there. When I was off watch the whales and another night dolphins came out so Jak called me back up. It's very special to fall asleep knowing these wonderful creatures are playing right below you.
Galley wise: the eggs are great, now 5 weeks old and turning them every 2 days keeps them happy. The only food that took a beating from the rock and rolling were some too tightly packed Roma tomatoes, which became mush and o yeah, I'll skip any broccoli or iceberg salad that has been on ice as even as I think it's dry moisture gets soaked in and after a week non refrigerated it smells when I opened the bag. Today Farmer's market at Santa Barbara so some fresh salad for dinner when we can listen to the debate on the radio.
Take care everyone, to be continued.....

Monday, October 6, 2008

Animals for Sandra

Our friend Sandra wanted to see some animal pictures. We did not catch any whales or dolphins on the pixels.

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