Thursday, October 30, 2008

Turtle Bay - Hooray!

We made it safely last night about 7pm after approximately 50 hours of motor/sailing. We got to fly our new spinnaker - which was beautiful - the first day and had a very nice sail.

After that, we pretty much motored. Got to do some fishing along the way. Doug caught 2 El Dorado, a yellow fin tuna, and a bonita. He has proven to be a great provider, plus having a ball. Thanks to Tim and Karen for providing the fishing gear - it works!

It has been wonderful to have Crit along with us. She is a expert sailor, plus a lot of fun. It sure made the overnighters easier - we actually got to get some sleep along the way.

We are goofing off today, potluck party tomorrow, and off to Bahia Santa Maria on Friday. Our next post will be from Cabo around November 7. Hope for fair winds!

Latitude 38 (rally sponsors) posts comments and pictures of the Baja Ha-Ha Rally if you are interested:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A party weekend...

And we are making the most of it!

Today was the Baja Ha-Ha Halloween party and it was pretty wild. Our Moondance "butt" costumes were a big hit. We mooned lots of folks and in return were pinched, rubbed, squeezed, and I think the Shark actually bit my butt - how fun!

Last night we enjoyed a great food (scallops, ceviche, and more) and drinks (wine, beer, and pomegranate martinis) on the big boat. It was a beautiful 1966 Stevens yacht that had been totally renovated - the main cabin was probably as big as our boat and decorated in class style!

The Catalina folks were very nice to include us in the party and were wonderful hosts - Thank You!

Tomorrow we leave at 9am for Mexico. We have a few last minute tasks, but we are anxious to get going. Last thing we heard, the winds will be perfect for sailing away - yeah!

Next time you hear from us will probably be from Turtle Bay, Mexico. Wish us luck!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Made it to San Diego

We left Avalon around 5am and got in to San Diego around 4pm. No wind to sail, but it was a nice, relaxing trip. Doug had two poles in the water and didn't even get a bite. He was even using his lucky lures. Oh well - maybe on the way to Mexico.

As soon as we docked the boat, we wandered around looking for a nice cold beer. On the way, we stopped to visit our friends Jess and Shanna (ex-Gate 11'ers) at the Farallone Yachts. We had good timing - they were heading the same way and took us out for Swordfish tacos - very tasty!

We have a fun-filled weekend planned here in San Diego. Besides all of the last minute provisioning, we have been invited to a party this afternoon on a 72' yacht! I can't wait to see it, plus the rumors are that there will be wonderful food and drink served. We are going get dressed up for this one - our good shorts!

Tomorrow, Doug has to go to a skippers meeting for the Baja Ha-Ha. Then the Baja Ha-Ha rally throws a big Halloween party - costumes required. It will give us a chance to meet all of the other crazies heading south.

I will be sure to post pictures of both events before we leave!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Land Ahoy!

We left Oxnard at ~4am on Wednesday - way too early! Did I ever tell you what one of my worst fears is? Fog - that's it - don't like it a bit. Unfortunately, leaving Oxnard, we went through 4 hours of very thick fog. Good thing that the shipping traffic was light and that our instrumentation worked.

After the fog cleared, it turned out to be a very beautiful day. We motored to Catalina Island working on projects and doing some fishing (no luck) along on the way.

We arrived at Avalon Harbor around 4pm and were starting the check in procedures when we were pleasantly surprise to receive a call from "Pau Hana" our boat buddies from Alameda (Ben and Crit). They helped us get settled in, poured great drinks, and served a wonderful dinner. How fun!

We slept like rocks. This is our first time to be anchored at sea. We didn't worry about projects or timelines - just resting - yeah! We spent a fun day of working on the boat and touring Avalon. Well, our touring consisted mostly of bar hopping, pool, and foos ball, but we call that touring. So nice to have friends like Ben and Crit to hang with and help us with our boat projects! They might even have solved our alternator project - hope so!

We are leaving at 3am tomorrow morning for San Diego. That's okay. We are finally starting to enjoy this relaxing/retirement thing, appreciate the scenery, and make time for fun things. We will sleep along the way and have the weekend to goof off and party. Monday - Baha Haha from San Diego to Cabo!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What a ride!

We finally made it out of Santa Cruz and are now in Oxnard after ~50 hours of motor sailing - whew! We adjusted our route because of small craft warnings around the Channel Islands. We figured we didn't need to experience that - especially at night!

Highlights (or interesting notes) from the trip:
  • Watching the wildlife go by - even saw a whale tail and it didn't involve a thong!
  • Living and sleeping (very little) in the cockpit wearing all of our winter clothes - not the romance cruise.
  • Hitting something??? at 5am (of course) that made our engine groan, we lost speed and our shaft packing came lose. We think it was a fish trap. We had a diver check it out and the prop is fine - a zync just needed tightening.
  • Surviving Point Conception - surfing through the channel with a reefed main with winds gusting up to 35 knots. Wish we would have gone through the experience during the day. Lesson learned!
  • Alternator crapped out during the Point Conception pass - of course.
  • Dodging huge ships and oil platforms - those things look pretty creepy at night - right out of Star Wars movie. Fortunately, all of our electronics worked just fine so we were able to serpentine through it all.
Yesterday, we spent the day catching up on much needed sleep. Did you know that you can actually fall asleep on your feet? I tested it out. Good thing Doug was there to catch me!

Doug is going to spend the day working on the alternator and other boat issues. I am doing provisioning, cleaning, and laundry. Better get busy!

Early tomorrow (3am) we are leaving for Avalon. Really excited to check out the Channel Islands. From there, on to San Diego. Should be there on Friday.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Plan B...

Well, we made it out of the Santa Cruz harbor, but had to come right back! Our alternator belt shredded. We tied back up and Doug was able to replace it quickly (good thing we have spares)! But, we are still having a small issue with charging our systems. Doug has narrowed it down to loose wire - nothing major - we will just keep an eye on it.

So, we rafted up to another boat and spent the night. Doug thought we needed some cheering up, so we watched "Captain Ron". Always good for a laugh!

We are heading out today (for sure) for Catalina at 3pm. Doug is out riding his bike around Santa Cruz right now hunting for some spare parts. Very cute!

We will post again once we are connected in Catalina - probably Tuesday.

We are doing just fine, just miss everyone! Call our cell phones if you need to track us down.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Whales, dolphins, seals and otters - oh my!

Our first two days of sailing south have gone very well and we have enjoyed seeing all of the wild life. Our trip from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz was pretty rolly polly and there wasn't any wind for sailing. We kept ourselves busy swatting flies, swabbing the decks, and learning more about our navigation system - everything is working. Doug did a great job!

Santa Cruz is a pretty little harbor and we were very comfortable and met some nice people (even two from Alameda). We were rafted up against another sailboat and the gentleman was very nice to let us crawl all over his boat!

We are leaving Santa Cruz this afternoon and will sail for ~65 hours until we reach Avalon on Catalina Island. This will be quite the adventure for us - our first solo overnighters. So, we will be incommunicado until Monday - unless you want to call our cell phones. It is amazing that they work out on the ocean!

Our Santa Cruz dive bar: Brady's Yacht Club. Check it out if you are in the area.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Left our hearts in San Francisco?

Well. No, but we left behind some life long friends that we are really going to miss! This wonderful group spent their free time helping us get Moondance ready to sail (safely), plus made sure that we had nourishment to live (lots of good food and drink). Trust me, there were some real adventures and tough hurdles, but with the help of the Gate 11'ers, we made it!

We left Alameda today with a wonderful send off - brought tears to my eyes. We have been so focused on getting projects completed, I didn't realize until today how much I am going to miss them all. The good news - we will always be connected and hope to see them in distant lands sometime in the future.

We are in Half Moon Bay tonight (Pillar Point). We sailed the long way around. We had a beautiful trip underneath the Golden Gate Bridge (popped our Champagne as we passed) that turned into a perfect sail (until the very end). Couldn't ask for much more for the first day in our new adventure. Judy and Michael sailed beside us through the bridge to photograph the big event - what wonderful friends!

Tomorrow - if the weather holds - Santa Cruz.

We will post pictures of our departure soon - promise! We are so excited that our Next Life finally has begun!

PS: If you are ever in Half Moon Bay, you have to try out the Harbor Bar (dive local bar). Great seafood, plus order the "Grace Margarita". No sweet and sour and one will do you just fine - trust me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

We are still here!

But, we are blaming this delay on the weather - hah! Outside the gate, the winds are howling and the waves are rolling. We are using our extra time to finish up our projects. Doug is definitely getting his exercise!

Passage Weather is a pretty cool weather site. Ito uses colors to identify wind, waves, visibility, etc. Also, the flags point the direction of the wind and each line on the flag is 10 knots of wind. Glad we are safe and tucked into our slip!

If the weather forecast holds, we are leaving Tuesday for sure!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bikes on a boat?

You betcha! We purchased folding bikes for island shopping and bar hopping - in lieu of having a car during our sailing adventures. The bike boxes set on our deck for over a month. Michael, our wonderful next boat neighbor, volunteered to put them together for us. Good thing - they might not have ever got out of their boxes! We are going to have a lot of fun with these bikes!

A family affair!

David and Lynette (Doug's brother and Sister-in-Law) came out to visit us before we head South. It was wonderful to have them, plus they helped us on the boat projects! David spent all day working with Doug installing deck hardware; Lynette sanded and helped me find cubby organizers at Ikea - a very interesting shopping adventure. It was great to have family around!

PS: Lynette - the refrigerator organizers worked perfectly!