September 2006     

9-1-06:

The day before we left was jammed packed with packing, shopping, packing.  Squeezed in, of course was a last trip to dog park with Miriam so that Matey could have a romp with her friends.   She had a fantastic time playing with her gang of pals.

  

9-3-06 (Sunday)
Half Moon Bay

WOW! It really feels like we are on our way. We had a wonderful sail out of Berkeley, across the Bay and most of the way down to Half Moon Bay. It was super crowded here - and we 'ran into' 3 other Ericson boats that we've met through the years at various raft-ups. In addition, our yacht club friends were here and a couple of new HaHa boats.

Today was super social, in fact if most of our days are this social, I don't think I can handle it. It started off with a romp on the beach with Matey and Julian of s/v Molly. Then we had friends stopping by the boat most of the morning, then we went to the club raft-up to talk to Lars about his route through Mexico and get some tips from him. Then back to boat where more friends came by to look at the boat. We barely had time to get lunch in before it was time to go to the beach for club games (and of course another romp on the beach) :-)

Greg and I first played frisbee golf where you try to hit poles with a frisbee and the lower number wins. I ended up winning out of the women so we got another bottle of wine to add to our 'cellar' (the bilge) (Greg wanted me to mention here that he tied for second among the men [but that did nothing to get us another bottle of wine])

Then Greg and I entered the blind man dinghy race - Greg rowed with a bag over his head, while I directed him out to a bouy, around it, then back to the beach. Our winning time was 1:17 seconds. So we got to add another bottle and a can of Almond Roca to our stash of treats.

  Bye Bye Berkeley - Thank You Jackie, Robert and Betty for coming to see us off - I had my little alligator tears welling up...

Matey-Girl heading out the Gate to take the big LEFT!!! 

  Here we are passing under the Gate.

And in Half Moon Bay - we certainly aren't alone.

  Here's my first time dealing with the dinghy and new wheels by myself.  Let's just say it wasn't a complete success.  I ended up getting the wheels dug into the sand.  Greg had to come out to give me another shove to get off the beach - of course Matey them jumped in for the unplanned ride.

9-8-06 (Pt San Luis)

OK, yesterday was probably a low day for me (at least I hope it was).  We left San Simeon in zero wind conditions about 9am and maybe 3 miles outside of the green marker, the engine sputtered and died (you seasoned sailors know where this is going...).  This happened outside of Half Moon Bay also and we just had a little electric pump installed before we left, so Greg quickly went down to bleed the engine and tighten a few fittings (assuming it was because of an air leak in our system).

The engine purred to life, all was good...for about 10 minutes...then it died again.  Repeat...about 10 times.  Also remember the no-wind condition.  I've seen swimming pools with more ripples than the ocean had yesterday.

When the wind 'filled in' to about 2-4 kts, up went the spinnaker.  Now I whine a fair about about the spinnaker (it can be scary when it's really blowing), but I can say, I was so happy to have that sail aboard.  

So, we crept our way along to Pt San Luis.  We finally got here around 10pm.  OH, I forgot to mention about the engine, it seems we get anywhere from 10 - 25 minutes of run time before the air overtakes the system.  Since Greg had tightened anything and everything possible to tighten, we figure we are now in the needing parts category. Probably either a gasket for the mechanical lift pump or new sealing washers on the secondary fuel filter. So, as we are coming into this very dark anchorage (which for some reason, the other boats don't feel it necessary to put on anchor lights), we sailed as long as we could, then turned on the engine for our timed 'sprint' to get the anchor down and set before it sputtered off.  

Needless to say we made it - now our adventure today is to find an internet connection and fix the engine air leak.

And for those of you who have been tracking Hurricane John..  I know he's gone now, but his swell is due to hit our anchorage today.  Not that big of a deal, just should be uncomfortable since where we are isn't protected from the direction it's coming from. With the help of a stern anchor we should be able to keep the bow pointed towards the swells.

9-5-06 
San Simeon

The weather report was good yesterday along the coast, so we decided to make a run out to either Santa Cruz, Monterey or San Simeon depending on how the wind held up. We ended up going all the way to San Simeon because the wind held up great. We were moving along under full main at about 5-5 to 7 kts. That worked for us. we've been anxious to get past Pt Sur and further South since it feels like North of Pt Sur is our normal cruising ground.

The sail was great, a bit rolly - but we had lots of sun yesterday. Though the night was cold, we got our anchor down around 8am. After naps, walked along the beach while Matey romped. For those concerned about her, she seems to be in her groove - spending a large portion of her time out in the cockpit scanning the horizon or taking a nap. If she's not there, she's snoozing in her zen den. And yes, her digestive system seems to be adjusted also (i know you fellow doggie moms would be curious about that).

Tomorrow our plan is to head over to Hearst Castle for a tour or 2. Wish us luck on the beach landing - we did fine today, but this is the place a couple of years ago that we flipped our dinghy (though we've come to learn that's pretty common here).

I almost forgot the wildlife -- yesterday afternoon we saw a few humpback whales jumping and spouting as we sailed up to them. The were a bit shy when we got close, but it was awesome to see them frolicking as we approached. Over the evening Greg was visited by a dolphin for a short period, but on my watch- they decided it was playtime. In a 3 hour watch, I had 5 'play sessions'. But since it was so dark from cloud cover and there was very little phosphorescence, I could only see them when they were right beside me and I was looking in their direction, so wasn't as amazing as we expect they will be further down South.

We'll probably leave here on Thursday heading for Pt San Luis.

Melissa 

  Walking to Hearst Castle.

  Oh to take a dip in this pool...

  Or this one.

  How about having your own tap?

  Here are some rarely seen Barbury Sheep (I might be off on the spelling, my access to dictionary.com doesn't work here in the anchorage)

  Running across HWY 1  (don't worry, mom, there wasn't much traffic)

  Beautiful moon, we didn't meet the people on this boat, but I sure wish I could give them this photo.  This should be the moon we get on the Ha-Ha (John and Scott).

  We made some wildlife friends, these starfish didn't want to let go of our chain (don't worry, they are safely back on the bottom of San Simeon Bay)

  Matey supervising the anchor raising (or is she trying to convince Greg to put the dinghy back in the water for one more beach romp? - I'll let you decide)

 

9-9-06
35.02.735N
120.45.857W
Wind about 6Kts
Boat speed about 4.5Kts

The spinnaker is back up today and who ever thought I would be heading to Pt Conception with the spinnaker up hoping for more wind?

It's not that bad right now, we are moving along - but a little slowly. The forecast is for the wind to pick up, and it probably will later this afternoon. After all it's only 11am.

Yesterday we had a nice day relaxing, went out to a yummy breakfast, then took Matey to the beach to play. There was a farmers market where we picked up some fresh bread after listening a little to the band that was playing.

A little bit ago, we passed a sea lion catching a fish. Matey sprang to life (from napping on the aft cockpit) and ran to the bow to get a closer look. She seems to be adjusting so well to this. Before we raised the anchor, we told her to go to the bathroom because we didn't know for sure how rolly it would be. She immediately ran to her toilet, did her business, then came back for her chicken treat. She seems so spunky at sea - I think she just knows dolphins are around...

  Lil' Bit hanging out with the working boats in Pt San Luis

  What a climb!!! Luckily there was a ramp to drop Matey and I off on.

   Of course there was time to play on the beach - the police even turned the other cheek to let Matey romp during no dog hours - I think it was because she's so cute!!!


9-9-06
Cojo Anchorage, Officially in Southern California
7:54 pm

Well we had a great ride here and got in just before sun set. We were actually flying the spinnaker past Pt Arguello. We were moving at about 6-7 kts - it was beautiful... Boy it's nice not to have to do an overnight. I'm adjusting to our little rolly anchorage (there are 4 other boats and 2 big oil transport ships also here) while Greg cooks up some tortellini and salad. 

So, we have some news---we had a shoe overboard incident this afternoon. Matey thinks it's a great tradeoff to loose one of her shoes while enjoying a fabulous dolphin show!!! It was a pod of the black and white guys. They were about 6 feet long and having a great time playing in our bow wake. Luckily we brought back up shoes for Matey so she won't be shoeless for long.

Another thing I've noticed down here is that the sea lions are much more playful. They frolic in packs along the coast, then when we sail by they do these spy hops to look at us. I imagine them saying, "Hey, look over there at that sailboat!!" Sometimes you can see them following us to play in our stern wake. Matey, of course, loves all of it. We actually had to take to tethering her into the cockpit. 

   OH, Southern CA sailing.  After showers, we just happily relaxed while Matey kept a look out.


9-11-06
Santa Barbara

OH, I am a happy girl!! We got in last night - now, let me explain what our arrivals in port have been like. Usually we are ghosting into the anchorage under full sail nursing whatever wind we have left - Sometimes even under full main and spinnaker. When we get close we get all our anchor gear ready, lazyjacks (to catch the main when we lower it), and have all lines cleared. Then after arriving in the anchorage and having our spot picked out, we lower the sails and start the engine (and the stopwatch). It then becomes this choreographed dance Greg and I do to get our anchor set in the quickest/easiest time before our 'engine timer' stops. So far it has been so smooth, I think we should be charging tickets - but ohhh the drama this little dance flirts with if we don't get everything complete in time... 

This morning, we coordinated with a mechanic (who was at the boat an hour and a half after we called) and the harbor patrol for an escort (we figured the embarrassment of having an escort was lower than the embarrassment of hitting a docked boat or running on the shoal). Quickly we were tied up at the dock (with our engine dying, I might add). 

By this afternoon, it was all fixed - less than an hour and the mechanic (Steve Vukas - highly recommended) diagnosed the problem, bought parts (new fuel hose), and fixed our leak. Greg ran the engine at 2300 rpm for 40 minutes - that's twice as long as the longest we were able to get the engine to run over the last 4 days. 

Even though I vowed to Greg I wanted to relax at the next spot we got to - I am now ready to head for more exploring. So tomorrow morning we are off to Santa Cruz Island for 3 days before we need to be in LA. Then it's off to Catalina Island. 

As an update on Matey - she is quite the little crew member, we are thinking of putting her on the watch list. As we were sailing along into Santa Barbara, it's sunny, warm and a beautiful spinnaker run. Greg and I are sitting back having a beer and reading - Matey comes flying up from below and dashes to the bow staring straight ahead. As Greg and I look ahead to see what has her interest, we notice a buoy just off our bow. Scary how she knew, it wasn't one with a bell or whistle - just a floating plastic ball. She's one great sea dog.

  Who needs agility class when everyday is an obstacle course!

  We didn't get a picture of our first try leaving Santa Barbara - but this is take 2...

  take 3...

take 4...  And this one worked :-)

  And we're off for Ventura, happy to be on our way again.


9-13-06
Ventura, CA

Well, the last couple of days have been centered around the engine. It took us 4 (FOUR) tries to get out of the marina without the engine crapping out on us. Each one of course followed by tons of work from Greg and a visit from our new best friend, Steve ( the bestest mechanic dude in Santa Barbara). But finally this morning we went out on a test motor and made it for over 30 minutes. After returning to the dock around 2pm, we felt ready to get outta Dodge even though we had already paid for the night in Santa Barbara. The decision was easier when we called Ventura Yacht Club and found out they had space for us at no charge (thanks to our reciprocal privileges through BYC).

Although we were a little disappointed that all the time needed to take care of the engine killed our opportunity to visit the Northern Channel Islands, there will be many more islands to come down the road.

The trip to Ventura was happily uneventful - about 2/3 sailing and 1/3 motoring. The club here is nice - though would be better if there was some event to make people be here (we kinda have the property to ourselves). Tomorrow the plan is to head to Kings Harbor in Redondo Beach - we hear they have races tomorrow night so we are looking forward to the club festivities.

  What a foggy start to the day.  Can you see where the horizon is?

   Just to show you how lazy we've become.  That's Greg raising the main with our lazyjacks still up.

9-14-06
About 2.5 hours out of Redondo Beach

We left Ventura about 9am this morning. The downside of today is we've been motoring most of it. But there is a good side... In fact, Matey might be so overloaded with excitement from today we worry about her having a little heart attack. First off started with a HUGE pod of dolphins swimming to us - so Greg and Matey went up to the bow (Matey now can be tethered there to keep her on the boat). I turned off the burgers and grabbed the camera. The show was rudely interrupted by our first catch - seaweed - but Matey thought that was just great, boy was she in for some good news.

A little bit later, the fishing line went off with a bonita on it... Unfortunately it was a little on the small side, but in a few minutes we had a bigger guy. Then as Greg was throwing in the line again after taking off our first catch, another took the bait. As we got this one in, another pod of dolphins stop by to play off the bow.

Matey still hasn't settled down, she's jumping around the cockpit scanning the horizon in all directions. She's having a great time, and has had the 'puppy face' on all afternoon.

  Here come the dolphins.

  

  The show was stopped because of the first catch of the trip...

  Luckily the catches improved!


9-15-06
off Palos Verdes Pt, heading to LA Harbor

Well we are off again from Redondo Beach (had to rush out for a second as Matey was barking at the sea lions hanging out on the buoy off that point).

Greg just turned off the engine to put up the cruising spinnaker (a great little addition to our sail arsenal since it is huge and has a sock for easy taking down, it's much appreciated in the lighter winds south of Pt Conception).