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Friday, December 24, 2010

12/ 24 Christmas in Puerto Vallarta

Hello Everyone!
We arrived yesterday in Banderas Bay. We are currently staying in La Cruz but will make forays into the "big city" of PV. La Cruz is a "suburb" of PV and only about a 30min bus ride from old town. Yesterday we got settled in and had a walk around town but today we will venture out and see the sights. Most of the Banderas Bay area will be shutting down by early afternoon for the Christmas holiday and wont open back up until Monday! It will be interesting to be here as everything slowly shuts down around us. We hope to catch one of the local Christmas Eve dinners in La cruz and then plan on attending a 9pm mass in a tiny little church about 3 blocks from the marina area.
Our passage here was simple and easy. Our friend Mark came along as crew and so everyone arrived rested and relaxed. The wind could have been better for the passage but we had enough air to use our Yankee poled out and out bright orange and red drifter. We made a consistent and respectable 4knots in about 6knots of apparent wind. And hey, light winds sure beat a gale force blow any day.
The highlight of the passage was the presence of hundreds of sea turtles. We can only imagine the numbers involved. Just within our line of sight we saw hundreds and they were easy to spot as far as the eye could see. They showed little interest in us as they lolled about in the morning sun. When they could feel the pressure of the water increase as our boat neared they would roll and push away disappearing into the depths.
The cruiser community her in La Cruz looks to be pretty active. Last night we attended a showing of The Santa Claus at the amphitheater on the breakwater. There were 40 or 50 cruisers there and someone arranged to sell popcorn and cocoa! Next week it is Captain and Commander....and we will definitly remember to bring our cushion for the cement bleacher seats!
Merry Christmas to you all. Kat and Bill

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cabo to Mazatlan

We have been in Mazatlan for nearly a month and it has been a lovely break. The passage from Cabo took about 35hours. We arrived tired but we're getting better at managing the watches so that amazingly a 30+hour crossing feels simple and easy. Friends form back home -Shari and Mark on Mi Casa leant us the use of their Mazatlan condo and we followed that up with a week at my sister Teresa's Pueblo Bonito time share. After seven and a half months on the go being land bound for a bit was a treat. Shari came down without Mark on the 4th so above and beyond the generosity they offered us it was a great time getting to know Shari better. We even managed a night out on the town seeing a great impersonation show - "Johnny Cash" in Mazatlan! Mark will join her in a few more days and being a long time sailor now turned to the dark side (powerboating) it looks like he is going to come along for the trip south to Puerto Vallarta. Their lovely place at Costa Valleros is right at the top of our dock at Marina Mazatlan so Bill could keep an easy eye on his baby.

My sisters place at Pueblo Bonito is pure luxury. Hot tub, two pools, swim up bar, flamingoes in the gardens and Koi in the ponds. Her family has been coming here for many many years now and having been here twice before myself it feels like welcoming and homey to me. Mazatlan is unique in its welcome to visitors. It always amazes me how many pople come back year after year after year. There is a large group of cruisers here who all seem to have known each other for years and also tons of condo owners who count this as their home. We have been enjoying the sights but mostly just relaxing and catching our breath after so many days underway.

We were fortunate to catch some of the Bicentenial Independence Day parade. It was interesting for a couple of points. First trying to get there by bus was a lesson in Mexican organization. They closed the road for the parade and so our bus was taking a detoure route. We got off the bus assuming that the parade must be close. Instead interestingly the actual parade grounds were several miles away across closed road. Not sure what all the businesses that sit along the closed off road must think having their traffic stopped dead for hours for no apparent reason but thats the way things are done. The parade was mostly marching groups from local schools. Some wore uniforms, some were in period costumes, some played instruments or caried banners but many just walked along behind a truck blaring music. There were acrobats and sweating kids carrying heavy instruments. Also occasionally there would be a truck jammed full of as much stereo equipment and people as was humanly possible. Many of the marching groups consisted soley of school age girls wearing short skirts and amazingly high heels. I cannont for the life of me imagine walking for miles in the blazing heat in 6inch stilleto heels!! But they were a big favorites with the crowd.

We also spent a day at the Juarez Sunday Market with Karen and Stewart from S/V Fantasia. The huge market is block after block of stalls selling everything and anythig one could possible want. From mexican BBQ's (a car wheel mounted on a stand with a grill atop) to bras and panties. There was a large indoor meat market, fresh fish and shrimps in hug buckets along one avenue and tables straining under the weight of fresh mexican pastries. We stopped at one stand to buy fresh fruit and after working with our meager spanish to determine the price per kilo we watched as the fellow weighed my choice and gave me a price. But at close look the scale didn't even work. He did a sort of slight of hand over the vicinity of the scale and then told me the price. My price was four times as much as the local woman ahead of me had just paid so there was more haggling to be done before I walked away with my tangerines. We ended the day on Fantasia with mariscos in sweet chili sauce, home made cole slaw and chips with the biggest bowl of guacamole I had ever seen!

It has been fun watching Christmas bloom around us in Mazatlan as the shops and hotels slowely put out their annual decorations. Having grown up in Seattle though there is something odd in seeing christmas trees, lights and jolly fat Santa's when its 80degrees out and all around you everyone is wearing shorts and sun dresses. There were evergreen trees at the Mega store before Thanksgiving. They were already turning yellow and I coudlnt help but wonder when they must have to be cut in order to make it to Mazatlan by Turkey Day?

We are having some canvas work done for us while we are here so will leave for Puerto Vallarta when that job is done. It is due to be finished on thursday but we will have to wait and see on that. We lerned here the true meaning of manana. Any spanish/english dictionary will tell you that manana means tomorrow. But in truth manana just means "not today." All a part of slowling down into this new cruising lifestyle. Will write after we make it to PV. Love kat

Sunday, November 14, 2010

11/13 Turtle Bay to Cabo

We left Turtle Bay late morning 11/10 reroute to Mag Bay. The sailing was great when we took off, perfect in fact. 15knot winds and bright blue skies. The next day we had a little celebration of Bills 54th birthday. I tried my hand at a home made lemon cake and even gave a try at Happy Birthday in Spanish! It was my first ever try at a cake from scratch (who bakes from scratch when a box mix is so easy???) and unfortunately either because of a lack of a hand mixer or from the constant pitch and roll of the boat in the sloppy seas it turned out barely edible, thick as a brick. Bill was a good sport but we had to pretty much choke down the pieces but the candle I had squirreled away was a nice touch and I guess it IS the thought that counts. Hey he could have been at work!

The passage was pretty uneventful save for a couple of things. First as we left Turtle Bay and motored into the sunshine and lovely winds we unfurled our headsail to discover some damage we hadn’t noticed in the darkness. The ordeal on our last passage with the whisker pole had evidently torn apart a 3 to 4 foot section of the UV protection edge that runs along the leach of the sail. I kicked myself for not thinking ahead enough to unfurl the darn thing and check for damage. In retrospect it would have been amazing to not have any damage. The good news is that the sail cloth is in fine shape and I have Sunbrella on board so the repair should be simple once we get to Cabo. The other thing is we are starting to see some different kinds of sea life. Bill spotted out first sea turtle in the wee hours as we motored into Santa Maria Cove and we both spotted one today. Also we have been catching different kinds of fish and one morning I found a 5inch squid, dried stiff as a board on the forward deck. Poor guy likely was trying to out run a big predator by flinging himself out of the water. Oh well. We haven’t seen any flying fish yet though.

As my watch was ending and the sun was just beginning to open up a new day I checked our AIS and saw that once again we had caught up with Panta Rhei. We thought they were going to Mag Bay but they were definitely headed into Santa Maria Cove about 7nm ahead of us. I went below for some sleep and Bill took over watch. He talked with Panta Rhei briefly but they too were beat so the plan was for some sleep before we talked and shared stories of the passage. After a short nap the boat needed a good cleaning and we needed to make water as we were down to our last tank.

We were invited over to Panta Rhei for hot taco salad and a movie. It was a wonderful evening as always and Karen threw together a great and easy main dish salad but I was still so tired from the crossings there was no time for a movie, we were to leave at dawn for the last leg to Cabo. The Ham radio weather fax calls for no winds so it will likely be a 155nm power boat trip in. Hopefully the winds will stay down because Cabo Falso is notorious in the late afternoon. Smack on for our arrival.

The multi day crossings are wearing me out. They are not long enough to “hit the wall” but just long enough to absolutely wipe me out. We have talked about it though and now have some plans for combating the sleep deprivation. The sailing itself is not the problem it is simply the lack of continuous sleep. The next morning after a better nights sleep started off with a bang. A tuna on board within an hour, four loves of bread in the making, another sea turtle sighting, dolphins everywhere and a blue whale!

As I write this we are only about two hours out of Cabo and we just landed a 4ft Dorado, one of the best eating fish in the Pacific. They are stunning in their amazingly beautiful coloring. The coloring has an oddness to it though. Once the fish is caught the bright florescent blues and greens quickly fades the moment the fish dies. One minute they are alive and brilliant the next it is like pulling gauze over your eyes as they fade to a dull green. The beautiful fish marks the end of a 900+ mile, three back to back multi day crossings that changed the world around us. 56hrs Ensenada to Turtle Bay, 46hrs for Turtle Bay to Santa Maria Cove and 29+hrs from SMC to Cabo.

In those 900+nm the stark difference between the states and Mexico came alive slowly around us. Creeping in at a about 5nm/hr. We are finally seeing whales again. The annual migration of Humpbacks, Blues and Grays gets into full swing about mid December. There are big dolphins that love to come out at dusk to play around the boat. They take great flying leaps landing with loud belly slaps all around us. Their acrobatics seem to be egged on by our cheering and clapping. Last night they were barreling out of the water all around us. Some had parasite fish attached which amazingly stayed “stuck” even as the sleek bodies hit the water hard again and again. Most were jumping and splashing alongside the boat following as they went but a few were actually coming back towards the bow of the boat flipping right in front of the bow with a slapping bang. Last night too we saw our first flying fish skittering across the tips of the waves.

Yesterday we caught a keeper Bonita coming out of Santa Maria Cove along with half a dozen Wahoo’s too small to keep. There are rays too now flying up out of the water like wet bats. They fly out and land in a way that you can’t help but laugh at, small 2 to 3 foot across with flashing shiny white underbellies. Then yesterday we passed a sea turtle who was just lazily paddling along in the morning sun.

The air smells different here. A scent of sweet tied up in a new warm dryness. It is warm here even in November. Just now still wearing coats during night watch but this mornings 6am watch was done in flip flops, a t-shirt and a coat thrown on but not zipped.

The language change now gives us an opportunity at every stop to practice our conversational Spanish. We get to learn new words and continue teaching our tongues and mind a brand new twist.

There is realization too that now there is no turning back. We couldn’t even if we wanted to. There is no way to get Island Bound back up the coast and to Seattle through the Novembers North Pacific. If for some strange reason something was to change our minds for us now it would require a wait of many months before a return could be made.

I remember thinking on day 15 on our way to Alaska, Oh my God! What have I done? How can I possibly tell my family and all our friends that is was all a mistake? How can I possibly explain that at day 15 I discovered I couldn’t possibly do this thing? Where is my dog? What will I do without my mom close by? How can I live without a cell phone, a car and a place in Seattle? Looking back on it now I cant hardly believe those were my thoughts.

Instead, the miles have given us a reassurance and a comfort in our decision and in our preparations. We love it here in Mexico. We can’t wait to plunge in more. Cabo will be a short stop, way too touristy but good for a Costco stop and we need fresh fruit and veggies. And a chance to share some of that 4ft Mahi Mahi with Panta Rhei and whoever else we find in the anchorage.

As I write this, ready to update the blog we have anchored, taken a refreshing swim off the boat and Bill is snoring loudly in the aft cabin. I can hear the sounds of people having fun on the beach and feel the wakes of all the passing jet skis, pangas and parasail boats. Drifting over the air I can hear a man over a loud speaker egging vacationers, counting down the seconds until the next shot of tequila. Cabo is a happening place. I can’t wait to find an AA meeting and get a much deserved good nights sleep.


11/6 San Diego to Ensenada

With Larry and Karen on S/v Panta Rhei right behind us we left San Diego just as the sun was setting on Thursday evening for the 65nm passage to Ensenada. It had been in the nineties for several days and so for the first time ever we were sailing in shorts and flip flops after the sun went down. We decided on the overnight passage because we needed to arrive by noon on Friday in order to clear into Mexico before the Capitan de Puerto office closed for the weekend. We had no winds but the seas were calm as we celebrated crossing the border with a chilled bottle of Williams and Sonoma Blood Orange Sparkling Cider I had hidden away for the occasion. It was an easy passage and simple a simple watch schedule let us both get some sleep so we didn’t arrive exhausted.

Panta Rhei passed us early on (they are a bigger faster boat!) but we made such good time that we had to slow down to a crawl in order to arrive after day light. The sunrise over the dry hills along the coast was a lovely welcome to Mexico. Marina Corral quickly assigned us a slip and we were soon surrounded by the local E-dock ex-pat population. We were quickly filled in on lots of local info then set about finding transportation into town for all the clearances we needed.

For our first foreign language clearance we opted to accept Marina Corrals offer to take us all in hand for the Mexican shuffle. Four boats worth of gringos loaded up into the hotel van and headed into town. We had been told that if we paid to have someone walk us through the process we would be in and out in no time. Wrong. Turns out that having someone “help” in this case may have been the wrong choice since it turned out this was one of our guys’ first attempts and it was an exceptionally busy day at the offices. Plus doing four boats at once was maybe a bit more than we had all bargained for.

In several of the main ports of Mexico they now have all the separate offices in one building, the Centro Integral de Servicios, which is a big improvement from having to go from one end of town to another. We needed to complete our official International Entrance which includes face to face meetings and paper work for clear Immigration and Agriculture, get our 180 day visa, have our The Port Captain, Immigration and Customs. Then a Crew List must be presented in Spanish, copied and verified to keep for our eventual Zarpe (departure.) We also needed to obtain out Temporary Import Permit with an ANEXO 1. The TIP/ANEXO is a ten year permit required if we ever needed or wanted to leave the boat for any reason in Mexico (maybe to fly home during hurricane season?) and the TIP also required us to have a list of all the systems on out boat and their serial numbers.

The theory behind the TIP (which I compiled ahead of time) is that it is supposed to make it possible to receive any needed parts or replacements via the USA without having to pay an importation tax. In theory. We have heard it is almost impossible to actually receive anything from out of the country while in Mexico…..but of course impossible not to try to grease the wheels now instead of later.

The idea of having everything in one building seems like it would be more efficient but remember this is Mexico. It took us four hours to complete! And we still had to finish things off at the Marina offices when we were finally made it back to the hotel. It is the picture of inefficiency to go through this process yet there is no alternative, and again this is the new and improved version! It became clear early on that we would be much better off to just settle in and enjoy the experience.

There would be no hurrying the process. Each window is a separate entity: Customs, TIP, Visa’s etc and after each one you then needed to go to the bank window to pay some nebulous amount and then go back to the earlier window and show your receipt to finish the process, then on to the next window, then the bank, then the window again, etc, etc, etc. Before we left San Diego I made 12 copies of everything I thought we might need. There was one boat less prepared that got part way through the process (two trips out for copies already) only to find out the store across the street and down the block that makes copies had closed for the weekend at 2:00 pm! We just settled in dreaming about lunch and a nap and enjoyed the interesting conversations with other cruisers on their way south. Why fight it?

It is wonderful though to finally be in Mexico. We spent one lovely afternoon and evening enjoying the hotels offerings. The pool had been calling my name those long hours in lines so Bill and I along with the crew from Panta Rhei ended the day with a lovely meal in the hotel restaurant followed by a swim in the pool and a soak in the Jacuzzi. In spite of the middle of the night watch naps we were sound asleep by 8.

We planned to leave the next morning but first we enjoyed a lavish buffet at the hotel. Just $8 got a choice of pancakes, omelets, half dozen hot dishes, fresh fruit bar, pastries, toast and croissants, granola, yoghurt, bacon, ham or sausages, juice, tea and a desert bar. I had a pile of fresh papaya and pineapple with toast and it was delicious. After breakfast I accepted an offer from Lola (in another Peterson 44) for a ride into town to pick up milk, eggs and fruit. BTW, the books said eggs, meats , vegetables or fruits were taboo with the Department of Agriculture but that did not prove correct. No one got anything confiscated and my preparations just opened the door for a visit with Lola on “Patience” as she drove me to the “supermercado.” After provisions we just needed to fill a diesel tank and get 5 gallons of gas for the outboard and we were off.


We left Ensenada on our own with the plan in mind to do a long passage south. As I write this it has been 46 hours and we have covered some 220 nm. I am exhausted and ready to stop. Two days is only enough time to exhaust us both but not enough time to really have set up a good rhythm. You’re still spending too much time lying in bed thinking “if I fall asleep right now I can get 3 3/4hours of sleep before my next watch.”

I do though really like night watches. There is a wonderful sense to them, all alone with the sky and the sea. Any sea life is yours like a private little encounter. I plug into my IPod turned on low enough to hear the sounds around me and lose myself in the music and the stars. What did we do before IPODS? We were given a gift, ¾ of a terabyte of wonderfully eclectic music. (To make sense of that one folder alone is 36,000 albums!) I spend my watch hours listening to country music and old rock-n-roll and watching the world slowly slip by.

The first night was lovely. No moon but the stars and Milky Way were bright in the sky. Some stars are so bright they leave a trail across the water like moon light.

That first night we had an odd experience that reminded us that we are a.) in a foreign country and b.) out of range of quick help. For the most part Mexico is a safe country to travel in. Even with all the media coverage of border trouble if you look at the numbers available the USA has a much higher rate of violence than Mexico (or almost any other country in the world for that matter.) Still we were traveling alone on a dark coast with little population and even in our old boat we would definitely be perceived as “haves” compared to many “have nots” in this world.

We could see off in the distance a boat of some kind with very bright lights. As we drew closer the lights seemed brighter and brighter. So bright in fact that our precious night vision was shot and it was impossible to “read” any of his navigation lights which made it difficult to determine which way he was headed or determine how fast he was really moving. As we drew closer he seemed to turn and come right for us, lights blaring and ruining our precious night vision. He was moving much faster than we were and each time we made a course correction he seemed to change right into our path. He made no attempt to contact us on the VHF and then suddenly he curved in around behind us and continued to come towards us then just as abruptly veered off and away. By then I was in the companionway with radio in hand and Bill had started the engine to give us as much maneuvering ability as possible along with full sails.

We are still stumped as to what actually occurred. We were worried that we had somehow wandered into his set of nets or some fishing gear but the lights on the deck didn’t indicate that he was a long liner or trawling big nets. And usually the fishermen are quick to call on the radio if you stumble into their territory. We knew we were out of radio range of San Diego USCG or our friends back in Ensenada. We didn’t feel in danger at all really…but his movement felt somehow like a threat. The realization came, if there is trouble for us now as we journey along we are for all intents and purposes on our own. We could of course get off a transmission but we are a long way from anywhere the cavalry is going to come rushing in. Just part of the package I guess.

Our plan btw is to try always to keep an open mind as we move through the world. We have heard sad stories of cruisers being terrified when a small boat appears full of men who are perceived as threatening only to discover that in fact they are just local fishermen wanting to barter some fresh lobster or trying to see if the cruisers have a current weather report or some fresh water to share. We don’t carry arms and would not consider doing so but we do believe in a show of force early on to discourage random acts of opportunity. We will use non violent forms of protests up to and until it becomes apparent that it would be better to give them exactly what they want and offer it with a cold coca cola, a plate full of cookies and the best smile we can muster!

Nothing on the boat is worth getting shot over. Nothing. If we always take the time to keep our gear out of sight and out of easy access then not being an easy target should be enough to stop any thefts based on ease and opportunity. So if our dinghy is always on the davits and or locked to the quay and the outboard has a good stout lock then hopefully the would-be thieves will look for an easier target. So our plan of good prior planning and a first offense show of force and resistance -shouting and turning on our bright deck lights in the middle of the night if we hear noises, not allowing anyone the opportunity to board the boat, verbal resistance- should warn off most people. Then too if bright lights and shouts and locks aren’t going to stop them then we have more to worry about than loosing some replaceable equipment.

Our second night came with equipment failure. The forecasted 10mph winds freshened in early evening into 15 to 20. During the afternoon we had been using our carbon fiber spinnaker pole to pole out our head sail and we were moving briskly along wing-on-wing. (The main sail to one wide the poled out Yankee to the other.) As the breeze continued to freshen Bill suddenly said “we need to bring the pole in.” I slipped downstairs to grab a coat and there was a big “BANG.” The line that runs up the inside of the pole and supports the pole in the correct position had failed.

Suddenly we were crashing along in pitch blackness with the pole banging and clanging around the forestay and our big Yankee was forward of the stay flapping precariously around as we surfed down the fronts of the big rolling waves. We already had our life jackets on but we both needed to grab our safety tethers before we could begin to try and sort out what to do.

Bill clipped in and moved forward to see what was what and I ran below to flip on the spreader lights. We had to shout back and forth to be heard in the building winds now blowing 20-25mph. After lowering the pole into its locked position we tried to bring in the banging Yankee. With Bill on the furling line I tried to handle the two wildly flapping sheets as we strained to bring in the sail. Oh #@$%^!! I looked forward in dumb disbelief. In the blink of an eye instead of furling neatly and cleanly the bottom half of the Yankee furled into a mess of lines while the top half remained all bunched up still whipping wildly in the wind. OK, now what?

We regrouped for a moment and then tried to unfurl the sail again in order to get the mess fixed. No go! The furler wasn’t budging. Not because of any problem with the furler but because the sheets were such a tangled mess and there was still so much tension from the still flapping top half. Again and again we tried. Nothing seemed to be working, it just wasn’t budging.

Bill moved forward again and began working the drum on the furler by hand. As he worked I alternately released and winched in the sheets and the furling line. At the same time I was busy looking at the chart, scoping out possibilities in case we had to try and run for a lee. Was there any place to run? Could we find any relief before the sail shredded and all the beating tore the head stay down around our ears? There was an island about 10miles away……and we had just rounded a point…..maybe we could get there? Finally we began to make some headway. Slowly inch by inch the rats nest untangled and we were able to re-furl the sail and get all the lines in order. My adrenalin was still surging and my heart hadn’t slowed much but clearly things were being righted. I holler up to Bill “always something exciting in this world of ours!”

So, in the end all is well….the first night I got a total of 5 hours of sleep and last night I got 3 ½. We were hoping to make Mag Bay but have decided to run for Turtle Bay and take a break. A good nights sleep tonight…recoup tomorrow and then off south again.

Oh, almost forgot, yesterday while Bill was working on his tan we hooked not one but two beautiful fish!!! First on was a 15lb Yellow Fin tuna. We dropped the tuna rig back into the water to get it out of the way as we bled and filleted our dinner. Buy the time we had most of the mess cleaned up we had the second fish on, a 20lb Bonito. Catching a big fish like that is a bit of work and makes a big mess. Plus we only have so much room in the fridge and our tummies so the second fish went back in the water. Can’t wait to tell folks on the radio we caught fish!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------After deciding to make a run for Bahia de Tortuga (Turtle bay) we needed to lay on some speed in order to make it to the anchorage by sun down. Better to enter an unknown anchorage with some daylight left. Also finally got a hold of Panta Rhei on the VHF and it turns out there are also headed into Bahia de Tortuga and only about 7nm ahead of us. So we turned on the engine and motor sailed in. I am not sure we have ever pushed the new engine quite that hard for so long before. We had 3 ½ hours to get there and we were surfing down the wave fronts at 8knots.

As we neared land we saw two wonderful sights. The first was a school of feeding dolphins. The dolphins as usual were rather frenetic in their feeding. Dozens and dozens all around us intent on nothing but dinner. There were scores of pelicans diving in to the fray and amidst it all there was a school of tuna. The tuna were running with the dolphins, or perhaps running from them too? But there frenzy included jumping out of the water ahead and amidst the running dolphins. They come up out of the water like salmon jumping up a stream, flinging themselves sideways out of the water and flashing silver and blue in the sun.

Then a little farther in the boat was surrounded by dolphins on the bow wake. I moved to the bow and the just kept coming and coming. There were easily three dozen in the wake with many dropping off and others joining in a silver grey river of speed. They somehow manage to ooze and turn and roll as one. Never hitting each other that I can tell and in a constant state of movement. They were very aware of me as I stood grinning over them. Some species more than others likes to roll and look at people. It was a wonderful way to end a 56hour passage.

We entered Bahia de Tortuga as the sun was setting, got the anchor down and made a quick VHF call to Panta Rhei. After a quick meal we were dead asleep by 7pm.

Bahia de Tortuga is a small Baja town, approximately 1000 people and getting slowly smaller after the collapse of their fish processing plant and the first real test of our ability to communicate. The town of Ensenada afterall is so close to the border and such a tourist town it was easy to find someone to “habla in espanol.”

We took our dingy in tandem with Panta Rhei and found a spot at the only dock (a relief, brief though it will be from experiencing our first surf landing.) We immediately met Jesus who was willing to let us tie up on his one open cleat for just 20 pesos and Pedro who wanted to help us with whatever we might need.

We had an easy if badly pronounced conversation and then headed into town with Pedro in the lead. Panta Rhei needed gas for their outboard so we headed into town to find the Pemex. Pedro carrying the gas can was well ahead of us with Larry and we soon arrived. When the tank was filled Pedro was ready for his cut and wanted 20pesos for his trouble. Larry balked not feeling he had struck any deal tp begin with. In the end he decided his 20pesos saved him from a search through the dusty streets for the Pemex station and taught him a valuable lesson. Always settle the deal before you head off across town. No help, no taxi ride, no tie up at a dock until both parties have agreed upon a price.

The people of Mexico are not thieves but we who have so much must understand that there is a give and take and a process that can in fact be much of the interaction between us and our temporary home….almost a sport really….. and if applied with finess can be ahighlight of our exchanges here and part of the process of making new friends as we move along. I believe that they have a right and a real need to make a deal with us…we just need to do our best to make it a friendly exchange.

After getting the tank back to the dingy’s we were free to explore the town. Everyone was friendly as the little dusty town spread out around us. We even managed to find the light bulbs Bill and I needed. We had neglected to pack any replacement bulbs for our navigation lights before we left. They are small non-indexed bulbs that we would usually get at a boat store. We found them in an auto parts store and had a lovely conversation with the manager. The conversation turned out to work remarkably well with the four of us on one side and the manager on the other. Between the four of us we sort of filled in the blanks for each other until we understood the basics. Between that, my Spanish-English pocket dictionary and a pad of paper and pen for a drawing of “non-indexed” we walked away with six replacement bulbs for fifty cents each and had learned that Edwardo had gone away alone to school in Sinoloa(SP) and had completed the sixth grade. No chance for secondary school and yet he was here as the top man at the store. Then when asked he gave us directions to the best lunch in town complete with a view of “la playa.”

We met three other boats worth of cruisers while walking around town and managed to buy eggs, drinking water, oranges and fresh tortillas before heading back to the boat to try and repair our broken pole so we can take off again tomorrow. All around a wonderfully successful first outing for the crews of Island Bound and Panta Rhei.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

10/30 Final preparations in San Diego

We are in San Diego and wow is it a beautiful city. I had forgotten how large the bay is in San Diego. There are loads of marinas and mooring fields here and a huge military presence. As we were motoring in I was suddenly feeling rather patriotic with all the helicopters flying overhead, the military transports filled with uniformed men headed offshore and all the radio traffic between copters, aircraft carrier and boats.

All the radio traffic gave us the great bonus of unexpectedly hooking us up with Larry and Karen on Panta Rhei. As we motored south from Dana Point we heard the military announcing that they were doing live fire operations offshore. We figured we had better double check the coordinates before we blundered in unannounced. So we called in on VHF 16. As we signed off happy to know we weren't about to be shot out of the water by friendly fire we were totally surprised to hear a reply back....."Island Bound, Island Bound, Island Bound this is Panta Rhei. Come in."

Karen and Larry lived down F-dock from us at Shilshole and left just ten days ahead of us for SE Alaska. We ran into them just once in SE, unexpectedly in the little town of Elfin Cove and we had been wondering when we would find them again. Turns out that they were en route to San Diego the same day we were making our passage there and had picked up our VHF transmission. Their friends Kirk and Debbie on Kela were in San Diego and had already made arrangements for them to stay at Marina Cortez with them. We called and were given a d-dock slip just a few boats down. Plus they got a great deal of only $25/night which was passed on to us as well. When we arrived I had to give them a hard time. After all, we were just 30minutes behind them but they had a ten day head start!!

They had another friend, Ron an ex commodore of the Puget Sound Cruisers Club who was in town on business so we all loaded into his rental car and went to dinner in down town San Diego to a great seafood place right next to The Midway. After dinner we all went to Kirk and Debbie's boat and talked till nearly one am. Kirk and Debbie did a circumnavigation with their kids a few years ago and so the night was filled with laughter and lots of sharing. Were going out again tonight and I have been looking forward to it all day. Kept my spirits up despite a day of 5 loads of laundry and hours of boat cleaning. Trying to get everything ready for our departure.

In addition to dinners out our time in SD is filled with some pretty big to do lists. This will be our last place to "easily" get parts and supplies. We won't be doing a huge provisioning stop here because there are quite a few rules governing importation of fruits, vegetable and meats into Mexico. Plus there is a big shiny Costco in Ensenada!! But instead we are trying to anticipate things we will need for a handful of projects. Which means the bikes have come out and we have been all over the San Diego area looking for goodies. On the list is: bigger dingy wheels (to make beach landings easier) a fix for the leaky dinghy drain, clearing papers from the Mexican Consulate, Mexican fishing licences, a new lap top, printer cartridges, electrical connectors, make a gasket material, peanut butter, a stop at the local Kinko's to make 12 copies each of a pile of documents and Fed Ex to pick up a delivery of parts and pieces to make magnetic mosquito curtains! We also need a new bilge switch pump, some Imodium, starboard sheets to finish our aft deck seats and laundry detergent. Quite the eclectic mix.

In addition we are trying to talk with some local companies to help us either fix or replace our radar which has decided it is only going to work every other time we need it and a Ham radio/electronics specialists because we are still having trouble with our SSB. Lots to do but we are not in any rush so we will just plug through and then go.

We are definitely beginning to get excited about being so close to Mexico. We are a mere 65miles away from clearing Customs. Somehow entering Mexico seems a bigger deal than going into BC. We have been pouring over the guide books and doing a lot of day dreaming. We are so close. Habla en espanol? Si, hablo en espanol muy poco.

San Diego was another big shift in the weather and in the "feel" of being this far south. Suddenly it is warm, mid 80's, and much dryer. I saw my first gecko yesterday and am packing away another round of cool weather clothes and searching for the shorts and tank tops I stashed some where.

We will be here at least until Monday but will likely stay another day or two as we finish making our way through the lists. We will write as soon as we have an Internet connection in Mexico. Until then enjoy that lovely cool fall weather you are having and I will think of you while I work on my lists and my tan.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

10/15 Newport Beach etc.

Greetings to everyone from Avalon, again.

I haven’t written lately because there hasn’t been much to share. We are back in Avalon after nearly two weeks in Newport Beach. We came back to Avalon because they have an off season special:buy two nights of moorage, get five nights free! As full time cruisers we are always looking for a way to save a few bucks. Avalon is a sweet town and we enjoy it but its small and we have spent a lot of time here. By now there isn't much to really get excited about. The weather has been shifting into fall and most of the tourists and virtually all of the boaters have moved on. Essentially we are treading water waiting for Hurricane season to be over and for the 2010 Baha Ha Ha to get underway. The Baha Ha Ha is tremendously popular. There are some 200 boats signed up for 2010 and they all take off from San Diego on the 24th. They make just two stops between San Diego and Cabo and we hope to stay out of their path.

We arrived in Newport Beach under grey skies and rain. In fact they set a rain record while we were there, 0.33” in 24hours, the most since 1916 or some such. Heck, they don’t know rain. After 49 years in Seattle and the summer in SE Alaska this is NOT rain. Try Ketchikans’ more than 230” in one year!!! In any event it seemed to chase all the Newport/LA folks inside and our first two days here felt like a ghost town. Its all rather odd because Newport is a huge port. There are more than 2000 mooring balls here and another 2000 moored boats.

Newport Beach was an interesting stay. In the entire 12days we were in Newport Beach we hardly had any interactions with other boaters at all! We didn’t meet any other cruisers, were not invited anywhere or given any suggestions about places to visit or things to do. As we walked the streets and neighborhoods almost no one even spoke to us. The whole time we were there we had exactly one 30second hello one evening with a single fellow in his dingy as he was arriving and we were leaving the public dock and one conversation with a local who happened to be at the pump-out dock when we came alongside. The highlight was a visit from Chris and Liz for dinner Thursday and another trip to West Marine.

The whole Newport Beach harbors waterway is lined with homes. Most in the multi million dollar range. It is home to “The OC” and to Balboa Island. It is all very touristy and the homes are gorgeous. This time of year many are vacant. Once the sun came out again the people came popping out of their holes like gophers and it began to feel a little less surreal. It is beautiful…..and motoring around in our dingy it has been fun peering into the massive homes. Being on a mooring ball means all of our touring has started in the dingy. There are public docks scattered about to use and we have taken full advantage of them. Unfortunatly Newport is pretty divided into the have and the have-nots and the haves’ have decided that the have-nots will also have no public docks on their side of town. So seriously there are only public docks around the inner peninsula, part way to the north and a couple around Balboa Island. There are none on the east side at all. On our first foray out we also realized that every dingy is locked tight at the public dock. So before we could venture further we had to work out a lock system -no problem we needed to do that anyway but it just lent a feeling of unwelcome to the place.

It really is beautiful here with all the gorgeous homes packed in to every inch of every little island and waterway. Once the sun came out the harbor began to fill with boaters; kayakers, crew boats, paddle boats, dragon boat teams and old Avalon speed boats. Also everywhere in the harbor are the California classic the Duffy boat. These little guys are to southern California what gondolas are to Venis. They are short, wide, flat boats powered by electricity. Lots of cute names like “Watts up” and “Ohm Sweet Ohm.”

Once the sun came out and the weekend rolled around the big boats came out to play. The harbor became choked with huge yachts filled with the beautiful people of Orange County and captains in fancy hats. All the big private yachts, party boats, fishing boats, tiny little vintage Avalon’s and Duffy’s and high speed cigarette boats all parading around in the waterways carful to stay below 5knots!

The rest of our time at Newport Beach was filled with reading and movies, taco Tuesdays and walking the neighborhoods of Balboa Island. The mooring balls at Newport Beach are only $5/night and their Taco Tuesdays came around on Fridays too so our stay there was good for the budget right up until we found our way to Minnie’s -Cosa Mesa’s version of Seattle Second Wave. We managed to spend a couple of hundred dollars there in only three bags! My great find was a pair of 10x -30x50 binoculars. I have been hinting that a pair of high power binocs would make a great birthday present. Actually I have also been begging for an old fashioned pirate spy glass too. The old style brass monocle -small and compact enough to take with us when we do dingy recon! (I am going to keep looking for one of those!) I unearthed the binoculars in the bottom of a bin at Minnie’s with a price tag of only $49! It didn’t take much to talk Bill into the splurge. In addition we got some deck paint so hopefully one of our next projects will be getting the deck and cockpit painted.

So, we are hunkered down and drying off in Avalon. We will spend a week here then head on south with probable stops at Dana Point, Mission Bay and San Diego then after the 1st we will try and clear customs in Ensenada! Look out Mexico here we come.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

9/30 A rescue at sea

Cherry Cove, Catalina Island

This morning we left Avalon on Catalina Island headed north towards the Isthmus. The plan was to go to one of the outer coves for a few days and maybe hook up with Liz and Chris who had plans to hop over to Catalina from San Pedro to grab another taste of this lovely late fall weather. We did not plan on coming to the Isthmus because this weekend is Buccaneer Days which is a huge annual three day festival that we had already been “warned” about. Though we are two whole days early for the party all the boats within sight are flying their pirate colors and coves are already filling with cannon fire and the sound of “aaaaargghhhhh.”

We were about an hour out of Avalon and the wind had flaked out and our sail had turned into a motor trip. We had just finished our daily “instruciones en espanol” when we saw a jet ski in the water off our port bow. We slowed and moved in closer but couldn’t see anyone with the ski. As we got closer we were both keeping one eye on the ski and scanning the waves for a rider. When we about 30 feet away we saw movement and then could see a man hanging on to the seat just his head above water. The ski itself was on its side and seemed to be pretty low in the water.

Everything then started happening in fast forward. We stopped the boat and began working to bring our rescuee aboard IB. He kept saying he was fine as we got a line on the ski and tethered it to our boat. But by the time we got him to the boat it was obvious that he was in worse shape than he thought. Together we managed to drag him safely aboard.

He had come alone, by jet ski from Dana Point on his way to Buccaneer Days. He did have friends who were coming along behind on a sailboat and he was planning on meeting up with them in Cherry Cove but they wern't in visual or radio contact once he jetted out of Dana Point. His name was Eric, an ex marine and after running out of fuel he had been in the water for more than two hours. All that time He had been struggling with the ski and the tide trying to get closer to shore but instead was being pushed farther and farther offshore and down island. He had seen lots of boats but no one had seen his waving arms or heard his shouting voice or the flash of his signal mirror.

He was actually pretty well prepared when he left Dana Point. He had worked out how much gas he needed, carried a brand new water proof VHF, a chem light, flares and the signal mirror along with a camel pack of water. Unfortunately the radio didn’t work within minutes of leaving, the double flare was a dud and since the chemical light is useless in daylight he had wisely decided to save it to signal after dark if he was still needed rescue. Apparently his calculations for fuel didn’t include the increased consumption in the mid channel heavy seas and he ran out of gas about 5 miles from Cherry Cove.

Bill actually had seen the flash but thought it was from fishermen somewhere close in to shore and paid it little mind. Eric told us he had considered letting the ski go in his attempt make it in but when he saw a blue shark nearby he decided to stick with the ski. After the shark he was beginning to consider tying himself to the ski since “at least someone would probably eventually find the ski.” Had the wind not died on us we would have been on another tack entirely and considering we were nearly on top of him when we spotted the ski it is a lucky thing that we found him at all

By now the once non existent winds had begun to build. I began a series of calls to the USCG to report our find in case his friends were looking for him (they weren’t.) He insisted he was fine but as we worked to secure the Jet Ski for a tow he was pretty shaky. I gave him a banana, a Cliff Bar and then some hot chocolate and we got him out of half of his wet suit and into a warm dry coat to try and stop the shaking while we continued to try and get the Jet Ski secured for the tow in. The Ski was taking on more and more water and we were hoping to not have to leave it behind as a hazard to navigation.

We tried several things to bring the ski in. If we towed it too far behind its nose dug in deep so we tried tying it close in off our outboard lift mount. Keeping the nose up helped us a bit but then we decide to try and get some fuel in so we could start it up and hopefully use the bilge switch to pump out the water that was bogging it down. That required mixing up some 100:1 fuel and then lowering our dingy in the rising wind and sea. There was no way the fueling could be a one man job in the waves so both Eric and Bill had to get into the dingy. They got the gas in and the ski sputtered and tried to catch but the ski has no neutral so Eric ended up back in the water hoping to be able to ride it in a few circles in order to get the water out. At which point the ski died completely and Eric was no adrift in the chop -again. I quickly untied the dink and Bill went after him as I yelled at Eric that if we had to rescue him twice in one day the price was definitely going to go up!

Eventually we got everyone was back aboard but the seas had continued to build so it seemed better now to tow our dink rather than trying to raise it on the davits again. So in the end though Eric kept insisting we just cut her loose we kept the ski tied close , the dink on a long painter and slowly motored in. . By the time we hooked up with the Harbor Patrol boat in Isthmus the ski was laying about 75% underwater .

Erics friends caught up with us just as we entered isthmus cove and we began following them to their mooring in Cherry Cove. At the mouth of Cherry cove the Harbor Patrol took hold of the Jet Ski and Eric transferred to their boat and we were able to cinch in our dink and with our new found proficiency with the So. Ca. mooring system we settled like pros onto a mooring.

Erics' grateful friends invited us over for Gumbo so we boarded La Dulce Vita for a pirate party. It was only Thursday afternoon but already the pirate paraphernalia was coming out in force and it was ummm, interesting to be sucked into the mayhem. The party was in full swing as the bowls were filled with Teresa’s stellar Louisiana Gumbo and the volume slowly increased and the booze flowed around us. We begged off about 6pm as their crew debated a trip out of the cove and around the cliffs to the "big" party at the Isthmus but it was good to know Eric was safe and sound with friends.

~hugs~ kat

9/28 Bottle nose dolphin encounter.

As we motored from Isthmus Cove to Avalon I experienced an up close and personal visit with a bottle nose dolphin. The bottle nose is the large grey dolphin of “Flipper” fame and are the ones used by the navy for the top secret “navy stuff” as well as what you would see used for “therapy” and “dolphin encounters” at water parks around the world. There were other types of dolphins nearby, the shier darker variety as usual stayed off in the periphery. Every hopeful though I worked my way forward and was surprised when a big grey body jetted towards our bow.

I stood leaning down over the bow, grinning and amazed as he paused below me. He was very large compared to other dolphins we have had visit and he really seemed focused on me. He stayed there below our bow pulpit rolling and turning to look up at me. He wasn’t playing in the wake but more just sort of resting there in the stream and looking into my eyes. Four or five times he dove deep away from the boat and I thought he was gone but then he would return, roll his belly to me and again look straight into my eyes. If I moved to port he would shift and roll to port keeping his eyes locked on mine. If I stepped to starboard he followed with a roll and a tail flip. I could hear his clicking and whistling as I talked to him and told him how beautiful he was.

I suddenly realized I was missing a great photo opportunity but had a strong feeling that if I stepped away from the bow he would loose interest and be gone. After about five minutes I called to Bill to try and bring me a camera. As I waited for Bill to go below I was cursing myself for not bringing the camera on deck that morning like usual. Then as soon as I stepped back to grab the camera my new friend was gone. He spun off and dropped away, disappearing into the blue. No photo op, a dolphin encounter just for me and my memories. I can’t wait till it happens again!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

9/28 Santa Anna Winds.

We are back at Catalina Island after a detour back to Marina Del Rey and our trip to the boat yard. M.D.R. is just North of LAX and though the noise of the city blots out the sound of the jets I had a big job cleaning up the fine layer of black dust that had settled all over the deck and then been tracked inside as we did our speed job. We spent some time relaxing and enjoying the warm weather with Josh and Diana who came down for a day. I even got my Hollywood “fix” by squeezing in two movies.

We love Catalina. It is a very nice sail from the mainland and is like escaping to a foreign country after LA. We spent one day at the Isthmus again and are now in Avalon.
We arrived on the hottest day of the year and after the sail over we just did a quick walk through town for some cold drinks and a loaf of bread. We found a small slice of shade near the beach and sat down to watch a handful of families playing in the sand and the surf. I could walk into the small waves to cool down at will and it was a good place to watch the world go by. The weather across the bay (18nm) in LA hit an all time record of 113 yesterday. It was cooler here but still hot enough to break a sweat sitting still.

After an evening AA meeting for me we headed to bed pretty early with every hatch and port wide open to catch any hint of breeze. Bill had mentioned that there was a possibility for Santa Anna winds but as we turned off the last light there was barely a whisper. Then, in the wee hours of the morning we woke to the sounds of wind. Strong winds. A Santa Anna was whistling across our bay.

Santa Anna winds are sometimes called Devil Winds. They usually come in spring but mostly late fall. They can be cold winds but they are most often accompanied by the highest temperatures of the year. Their winds often reach hurricane force and the biggest threat of all is to the legendary fires of southern California. Several years ago virtually the entire town of Avalon was evacuated (by boat) when the winds came and the fires marched through the hills. The fires stopped just short of town and burned only a handful of homes. By comparison the current Santa Anna is a mere baby.

It was instantly enough to have Bill and I up and alert at 415am. I stumbled on deck in the dark and stared for a moment at the sky. Yesterdays clear blue sky was now a muddy rolling grey. I hurried to fasten down the bimini enclosure what we had opened up to cool down and did a quick pass to make sure everything was battened down. We were in good shape. Bill went forward to check our line to the mooring ball and gave us a quick release knot. Then we fuddled about getting the dinghy motor hoisted and on its bracket on the stern rail before raising the dingy onto the davits. We both sat up for a bit listening and planning. If things got bad we were all ready for a quick escape.

Over the years boaters have learned that when the Santa Anna blows it sometimes becomes necessary to leave Catalina Island. NOW. There are plenty of stories told of entire anchorages thrown into chaos in the night. Catalina has no all weather anchorages. There is one pretty good spot at Catalina Harbor on the opposite side, about half way up island. But the mainland is closer and there simply is not enough room in Catalina Harbor for even a ¼ of the boats that fill the many tiny anchorages that dot the island. So, we were ready if not excited for a possible exit.

For now the winds have died somewhat and the skies are a bit more blue. We are watchful and ready and the whole anchorage feels a little bit “tight.” It is relatively cool but it promises to turn hot as the day grows. LA has too much concrete for this kind of weather and our first taste of a Santa Anna was mild so we will stay. For now.


P.S.We made our escape from Washington early and I have been waiting patiently for "the pack" to appear. It's now official this years cruisers have finally caught up. When we came back from town we saw a boat we know, another Peterson, Bravo with Adam and Cindy from E-dock at Shilshole. We made plans for dinner and it will be great to catch up with them, hear about their trip down and talk about the comming south bound exodus. Yea!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

9/24 Out of the yard in 48 hours

We got to the yard at Marina Del Rey on Wednesday at three and will splash this afternoon, Friday, at three. Pretty quick for the job we faced. We had planned on being in the yard for about a week. The job was to be done in stages with lots of time for curing and drying between coats of various products and a whole list of auxillary jobs to do between stages. One glitch though - inspite of numerous calls to ascertain the cost to haul the boat and keep it on the hard we seem to have made a critcal error in communication.

When Bill called he asked what it would cost per day. The answer was "$223 for three days. Then when you pay for three you get day four and five free." at home we pay $60/day. Calls to Ventura said it would be $80/ $223 devided by three is $75/day. Marina Del Ray offered bathrooms and showers and we could live on the boat while there and do our own work. Great! Except they meant $223/day for three days. Not $223 for three days. We figured out the problem on the first day but we had already had the boat hauled at a round trip cost of $600. So it became a matter of time, crucial, expensive time.

The problem we had was a salt water leak, slow seepage around our rudder post where it enters the boat under the bed in the aft cabin. In order to pull the rudder off we needed to first pull the boat out of the water then remove the folding prop, pull the prop shaft then remove the rudder. Once the rudder was gone we could remove and replace the coupling that was basically a metal plate and a compression nut that should have been bedded in sealant where it sat on the shelf below our bed.

The sealent was almost non exhistant and what was left was all crumbly. Numerous people from the Peterson Owners Group had explained their process and it sounded difficult and involved. Then we got a great email from a friend and fellow Peterson owner, Bob on Escape Velocity who kindly took the time to describe what he had encountered. It was all much easier than we had anticipated so we were still on the fast track.

We rebedded everything and gave it some time to dry then started the epoxy phase. Two rounds of epoxy starting Thrusday morning got us on schedule for the lasst of the sanding at 10pm followed by the first coat of bottom paint. Bill went out at 2am armed with a flash light for another coat and then another at 8 this morning. This morning we tested the caulk for dryness and decided to wait till 3pm for the relaunch so in the mean time we put on two more coats of paint.

All this means we postponed a few jobs we had hoped to do but saved ourselves a bundle of money. Once we splash we are going about 150feet across the canal to the city guest dock. Hopefully we will get to take an evening and go have a meal and see a movie, for now we are just killing time in the 85 degree heat waiting for paint and caulk to dry.

Monday, September 20, 2010


We are back in Twin Harbors today poised to begin working back towards Marina Del Ray after saying goodbye to our new friends Liz and Chris. We met them in Avalon and then followed them up island to Emerald Bay. Emerald Bay was simply beautiful and the waters nearly glowed with the deep jewel green color of its name. The big fairly shallow bay had good diving, snorkeling and kayaking all amidst the gorgeous emerald waters that surround the rocks and reefs.

Our new foursome spent a breakfast and three dinners together and I swear we would have kept talking till the sun came up if we weren't all old enough to know better. They are new -as of May- to the live aboard life and also have thoughts about possibly heading out cruising so we had lots to talk about. We even managed to have some lively discussions regarding politics and religion yet still left each others company smiling. You just cant say that about everyone you meet! Meeting them was a wonderful gift. We exchanged emails and numbers and I have a feeling that we will be seeing more of them somewhere, someday. I only have two regrets, one that they will not be headed to Mexico this season and two that I lost so horribly at Hearts! Next time we will have to teach them to play cribbage to give me a chance to redeem myself.

. We spent three nights at Avalon, Santa Catalina Island. It is a perfect little island town. It is light years away from LA yet close enough to be able to make their living being a tourist attraction. These days they are visited by giant cruise ships a couple of times a week, daily express boats from all over southern California and of course the thousands of recreational boats that fill their hundreds of mooring buoys and anchorages. Weekends are full of festivals of every type and kind, fishing derby weekends, wine tastings, micro-beer festivals and gala events. The express boats are filled with the throngs escaping LA for romantic weekends along with the adventurer’s armed with camping gear, kayaks, dive gear and the like. In high season it is often simply impossible to find an empty mooring buoy. Thankfully we arrived after Labor Day so easily claimed a buoy and once the cruise ship departed the first afternoon found the little town to be laid back yet bustling.

Avalon has a very nice "feel" to it. It looks very Mediterranean as you approach from the water with narrow roads winding up into the hills. The town proper is filled with cute little shops and winding lanes, wide sidewalks with lots of brickwork and narrow alleys leading to more places to discover. There are a limited number of cars allowed on Santa Catalina so Avalon is a great walking town. For those who don't have cars the winding streets of Avalon are filled with golf carts. There are lots of the "normal" variety but we saw lots of custom jobs. One cart had been customized to look like a classic old car and another cart had been decked out like a tiny little tow truck.

The social side of boating is well served in Avalon. In addition to Liz and Chris we also ran into a couple we had met at the Ventura Yacht Club as well as a couple we had been berthed beside in SB. I can see why the yacht clubs love to come over by the droves.

We did get a chance to dive in Avalon’s marine park. It was a much better dive than the last one though it took us three tries to get there with working equipment. I seem at last to be finding a bit more finesse in my technique. At least I am finding myself less like a hyperventilating beach ball being forced below the surface and a bit more like Kat Cousteau.

We were even lucky enough in our dive to come upon two of the infamous California black sea bass. These are creatures that are roughly the size of Mini Coopers. They came coolly swimming into our personal space and gave us the once over before slowly swimming out of sight. We both did a double take wondering first what they were and then considering weather or not they might be hungry. One had a raggedy white crescent mark on one side that looked suspiciously like a shark bite. We learned later though from the guy at the dive place that the locals thought the same but after getting some video footage they suspect he had a run in with a boat propeller and not a great white.

Soon now we will head back to Marina Del Ray where we have found a yard to do the unexpected work we need to do on our rudder post. Maybe unexpected is not the right word when living and traveling on a 34 year old boat. There is always something. This just wasn’t on any of our to do lists nor do we have parts and pieces of the project already strapped to the cabin house and squirreled away under our bunk. We head back north because it was important to find a place that could get us in, would allow us to do our own work and that will allow us to live aboard while we do it. Marina Del Ray fit the bill.

The crux of the problem is that we have salt water seeping into the locker directly under our bed. The water seems to be seeping in through and or along the tube that runs through our rudder and attaches the rudder to the boat. Right now it looks like a one week job which in boat days likely means two. It involves cutting the old one out (somehow) and then finding a replacement and then doing fiberglass work and epoxy work to fit the new tube around the post and into the old rudder. Ugggg I hate fiberglass work! So a few more days of R&R and then off to work we go.

Love, kat

Monday, September 13, 2010

9/12 Marina Del Ray to Catalina Island

Today we arrived at Two Harbors, Catalina Island. On our way here we saw our first Blue whales as we passed over Redondo canyon where the depths dropped right out from under us and completely off of our sounder. They make our resident San Juan Orcas look like harbor porpoises. Huge, beamy and the exact color of the sea. In the same area we also noticed some strange schools of fish there. Not sure what they were but they were in small schools right on the surface, their dorsals fining the surface as they seemed to stay in place. They looked like a school of fining fish heads.

Catalina is beautiful but it is very different from anywhere we have ever cruised before. This island like Santa Cruz is covered with desert plants, cactus like prickly pear and huge palm trees. Unlike Santa Cruz island though Catalina has lots of people. Twin Harbors is the smaller of the two towns on Catalina. Twin Harbors has two restaurants and a general store, a main dock that gets regular boats from the mainland, a dive shop, kayak and mountain bike rentals, cabins for rent, and lots and lots of people. There are miles of roads and trails to walk and evidently –buffalo.

When we got here we called the Harbor Patrol as suggested in the book and they came out and walked us through the mooring technique. The buoy you are assigned to has a pendant attached which looks like a crab pot flag without the flag. So with Bill driving I grabbed the pendant and quickly grabbed for the attached line. This line is attached by a heavy line to the buoy which is attached to a block of concrete on the cove floor. That line is then cleated down as you throw the pendant back into the water. From the cleated line another line runs aft- the sand line. You grab hold of the sand line and then walk aft until you reach another loop which again you attach to an aft cleat. We are now securely positioned between two hunks of concrete and one floating buoy in a neat little row in the middle of a mooring field that holds over 270 other mooring buoys all their own neat little rows. It’s a bit like being in a trailer park. We made immediate contact with our closest neighbors then later met a couple from the UK and then on our evening walk we ran into Pat and Rick who we met at Ventura Yacht Club.

We spent the last day and a half as the only guest on the guest dock at Marina Del Rey. It was warm and sunny as we sailed in but the sun soon set and the next day we woke to find that we’d brought the gray cloudy skies right along with us from Ventura and Santa Cruz.

As soon as we’d shut everything off and began to settled in for the evening I began to hear an odd noise through the hull. At first I thought it was a ticking and clicking coming from the cooling engine but it soon became apparent that it was a noise coming thru the hull. We have heard stories from other cruisers about shrimp making noises that you can hear but we had never experienced it. I tried looking in the water, even laid down on the dock to peer as deep as I could but could not see anything at all in the water. The noise was a very distinct snap, crackle and pop sound that continued the whole time we were there. Going to sleep at night it sounded like we were curled up in a bowl of Rice Crispies cereal.

On our first morning we grabbed out bikes and headed out early for Venice Beach, the Fremont of Southern California. We arrived pretty early and the beach front was still mostly asleep. People were slowly beginning to set up booths and display their goodies along the walkway but mostly it was filled with the throngs of So Cal out for their daily fix of the good life. Lots of walkers, joggers, beach bikes, surfers and roller bladders’ filled the paths and all the Venice rec courts were full of handball players and hoopsters. We were so early and it was so gray and cool that most of the families and even the beach bums were still asleep. It was a great ride though and I bet we put on a good ten miles.

Southern California is a haven to bums. It must be the mostly benign weather. They seem to fill every park in every beach town and most are pretty up front about their agenda. We have seen lots of signs asking for money to get drunk or buy dope and even heard a fellow at Venice singing a lively tune of “Jingle bells, jingle bells help me get drunk!” Way off key but honest and forward.

Bill had memories of Venice beach from the 70’s as a rather wild and crazy place that was infamous for their “freaks” on parade along the beach front. Sort of an anything goes and let’s show it off kind of place. They still play to their legend with a beach walk “freak show” for the price of a ticket but it felt petty much like every other large beach front town. I suspect if it had been a hot summer day things would have been a bit livelier. There were a larger number of people obviously living on the edge of society (mostly still sleeping or sitting in small quiet groups) but mostly it was just shops selling t-shirts and bikinis with a few food stands sprinkled along. Even the wafting smell of pot wasn’t any more prevalent at Venice Beach than any other stop we have made in Ca.

Some how we have managed to make it all the way from Neah Bay to Catalina without buying a single t-shirt. Maybe I am not doing my part in holding up our countries economy.

Ventura 9/10

This morning we headed out for points south. Our next destination is Catalina Island but we will make at least one stop on our way as Catalina is nearly 70nm sw. Our stay in Ventura was very pleasant thanks in no small part to the warm welcome we received at the Ventura Yacht Club. They welcome yacht club members from outside yacht clubs through a reciprocal program which means as members of the Washington Yacht Club our moorage there was free! The only other available marina here in Ventura is $66/night. We stayed 5 nights so it was a big savings for us.

They were friendly and helpful from the moment we tied up to their guest dock. We were invited to a live aboard potluck one night where amazingly we ran onto a cruiser we had met this past summer in Elfin Cove AK. Then I met Bonni Duncan who generously offered to drive me across town to have our propane tanks filled AND chauffer me anywhere else I needed to go. We made the circuit including the grocery store, Target and the U-haul store for propane and chatted happily along the way. She was a great help and definitely went way above and beyond the call of duty.

Wednesday we were invited to come join the fun at their Wet Wednesday race night. We happened upon the last of the summer series so in addition to the great meal of cheese enchiladas, pork Colorado and rice and beans we got to share in the festivities of trophy night and the final series’ good natured rivalry and team one-upmanship. I have to say too that I was especially impressed with the apparent friendships we witnessed there that included at least four generations all laughing and talking and having a great time.

Getting a ride to the propane store turned out to be more than a convenience. First because it was 6 or 7 miles away and second because when we got there the attendant was unable to fill our brand new horizontal 20# tanks. He said he had had a problem filling horizontal tanks the only other time he had them. He ended up sending me down the road after a dozen tries. The next place had the same problem but eventually managed to get 6 ½ gallons into the tanks. Add a call to the manufacturer onto our list of things to figure out before we get too much farther south.

While in Ventura we also finally fixed our ongoing battery problem. Part of the reluctance to make the big fix was the dollar amount required to completely replace the battery bank. We pulled out a bank of batteries in April that had come with the boat. We made the decision to replace them thinking we were being proactive by taking care of a potential problem before we left. We gave away the old batteries and installed $800 dollars worth of new Northstar AGM’s. The new bank should have given us about 600 amp hours of banked juice. By the time we were in Glacier Bay we were lucky to get 100ahs. So after less than 6months of use we rode our bikes 7 miles into Ventura and began shopping for batteries.

We also took the step to hire an electrician to come aboard so we could be sure there wasn’t any inherent problem with our system that would cause the same problem farther along. The electrician checked out all of Bills work and gave us the green light. The new batteries were shot. Boat electrical systems are rather intricate and ours in no exception. We have one system aboard that is 110 just like your home but it only does duty if we plug in at a dock which we rarely do thanks to our solar panels. The rest of the power aboard is 12volt. We generate that through four solar panels and an extra large alternator on our engine that generates power while we are underway. In addition we have an inverter that converts our 12volts into 110 to use for running a drill or the Dremmel or for charging things that plug in like the lap top or the cell phone. We also have a small Kubota diesel engine that can be run to generate 12volt energy -it uses a pitance of fuel compared to running our main engine- and also runs our water maker so we can use it to top off the battery bank. Oh and we also have a separate battery just for starting the engine. It doesn’t run anything else just starts the engine. So, all of those different components are tied together so we can get the power we need to run the fridge, the stereo, the lights, the engine, the watermaker, and all of our navigational equipment like our radar and our chart plotter.

After months of worrying we decided to go for the gusto and replaced them (again) with $1400 dollars worth of top of the line Life Line AGMS. So far it looks like the problem is gone. But on their way out the old batteries left a legacy. The batteries themselves weigh about #80 and we had four to remove and three new ones to install. In the process Bill managed to drop one on the index finger of his left hand. The weight actually caused the finger to burst at the seams. He will definitely loose the nail but it looks like the finger isn’t broken.

Now we are sailing under a bright blue sky headed towards Marina Del Ray. The plan for the immediate future is to work our way through a list of things we need to do before we hit Mexico. We need to obtain our Mexican radio license and work on as much of the entrance paperwork as we can prior to our arrival. Hopefully that will simplify check in when the time comes.

For now though the marine park near Avalon is calling to us to do some more diving. So, will write soon and maybe will even have some underwater photos to share. Till then enjoy the fall. Love Kat

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

9/6 Nothing prepared me for the goodbyes

Today we sailed away from lovely Santa Barbara and the very last ties we had to our old life. Honestly, the goodbyes have been the hardest part of this huge life shift and much more difficult for me than I would have ever guessed. We filled our time there with our son and daughter-in-law who live in SB. We also made up for the promised Alaska visit with my mom, the visit that never happened because we simply weren’t settled enough to have any company the first few months we were off the dock. These were the last of a long list of good byes. .

Bill and I spent five years getting ready for this trip. I read every book I could find and talked to everyone who I could get to talk to me and still I was unprepared for the saying goodbye part. There are lots of books and classes and clubs to help you learn the skills you need for a long cruise. We learned how to sail and virtually rebuilt the boat. I learned how to provision and to cook a decent meal in a small galley. I practiced how to flesh out a meal with homemade cheese, yogurt, breads and tortillas. We learned and practiced our navigation, tore out the old engine and equipped the boat with all the needed emergency gear. But there is little available to prepare you for leaving the people you love by choice and with purpose. It was and is a strange and some how disturbing thing to be at once so excited about a journey and so torn with the good byes. Prepare all you want, leaving is hard

My mom and I had an interesting conversation as we walked back to the Santa Barbara Harbor with groceries before we headed to the islands. As we walked along with our paper towels and fruit and cereal we talked about good goodbyes, about being OK with goodbyes. She said that she felt that “now” we could be OK with maybe not seeing each other again, if life were to bring us that. She felt secure and satisfied with our goodbyes. I am not sure I believe that.

I am 49 years old and my Mom is 75. My big sister lives in Montana (a recent huge shift for her as well) and both my nieces live in Seattle. My father passed away when I was 9 and my big brother died of cancer when I was in my 20’s so my immediate family is small. In my mind I always think of us as being small but fierce. We made and make the conscious choice to remain close, intent on giving ourselves the gift of family and friendship. I am so lucky to have had a life that has been filled with grandparents, aunts and uncles, events and get-togethers, holiday meals, trips and phone calls. But how can you stock up on love?

I can’t pack it away in a locker no matter how well I use the space. Another goodbye just gives me an excuse for another kiss and a hug. Now, I don’t seem to be able to stop the uncalled thoughts, moments of wanting to share something with mom or my sister, Barbara or my AA sponsor. It might be a problem or a worry or just a moments longing to tell someone the great joke I just heard. How do you release the weight of some amazing sight that you just can’t wait to share?

Can you be “done” with a goodbye? When I said goodbye to Boo and handed him off to his new home with my niece it was 5am on the way to the airport and somehow the good bye didn’t feel “done.” It turned out it wasn’t. Circumstances unfolded and I got Boo back for a week and a half. In that time we both seemed to somehow manage to finish what hadn’t been done. When I had to let him go again I was more than OK with it and it felt right. Later when I was able to see him for a brief visit when we returned to Seattle on our way south he just simply wasn’t my dog any more. He was happy and settled in his new life. It was hard on my heart but absolutely right for him. But I don’t seem to be able to do that with people.

We have had so many goodbyes; family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, other cruisers, even the staff at our favorite coffee shop. With my family especially there have been a lot of good byes. The most goodbyes of all were definitely with my mom including the official going away party which she hosted and arranged.

Then there were several family dinners in the weeks leading up to our Alaska departure and a goodbye meeting with my big sister. She came to visit from Montana so we met at my moms, a talk that was mostly between my sis and me. We needed to go over the business side of my leaving. She came prepared with her list and got to ask all the questions she had about my preparedness and all the what if’s.

What if something happened to Bill? Was I able to handle things in a foreign country? Can I get our boat to the next port? Did I have my own credit cards and cash? We went over all the emergency information: contacts, EPIRB numbers, Ham call signs, emails, documentation numbers and boat specs -all the particulars in case of an emergency. All the information we hope will never have to be used (but which already came in handy when Mom got worried and called the USCG while we were in Alaska.)

That goodbye also had to include a discussion about lots of family stuff. My big sis wanted to be sure that we were all on the same page on the hardest matters in life. As a family we have already had to face and work though too many end of life questions. We have had numerous family discussions about choices and chances and the end of a life. Sis needed to know what I felt about the possible choices for my mom. Did I want and need to have them keep her if they could - if it meant I could fly back from God knows where to say good bye? Or should they follow the already discussed plan A of no heroic measures in the face of a certain future? Then with tears for us both she got the chance to remind me that she loves me no matter where I end up in the world and that she is always there for me. That goodbye had a lot of the tears that come with the goodbyes of just not knowing when you will actually see each other again. It’s not a forever goodbye but it’s an uncertain goodbye made heavy with all the unknown questions and their impossible answers.

The morning we left for Alaska there was a goodbye breakfast. Me, Bill, Mom and my great friend Barbara around a little table with lots of hugs, pictures and quick hurried conversations -I was so filled with energy and excitement. It made the moments flash by in a rush. Time to go! After breakfast there was the actual goodbye at the dock –unplanned and crowded with neighbors and friends. So many showed that morning that the tears stunned me into grabbing for “things” to do and pushed me into a flurry of untying lines and moment filling busywork.

In August we stopped back in Seattle after our trip north for still more goodbyes. A brief stay that was filled with visits with Barbara (who managed to break her back while I was gone) quickly arranged family meals, a pet and a hug with Boo, a dock party and lots more tears and hugs all wrapped up in a long list of must do boat projects.

After the short pause in Seattle Mom and Sis drove all the way out to Neah Bay for what amounted to a very short visit. They drove with our crew Josh and Ryan for 6 plus hours loaded into moms van and little trailer all filled with dogs and groceries, sea bags and last minute purchases. They didn’t arrive in Neah Bay until after 7pm so all I got with them was a hurried unloading and dinner. We did squeeze in an hour of girl talk back at the trailer while Bill got our crew settled for the night. In the morning early, they met me at the dock as we let go the lines. Again, pictures, hugs and tears and a quiet prayer with mom.

Now, as Santa Barbara becomes a memory there is nothing ahead except the promise of visits to come. Is it possible to be done? Mom, Terri, Katie and Jess, Boo, Barbara, Uncle’s and Aunts, AA friends, the coworkers left still going at the 9 to 5 and special neighbors all fill my mind. There wasn’t a single bad good bye. But I guess until we begin to fill our lives with new friends and new places there will be a hole. There is little doubt we will make wonderful new friend with the cruisers we will meet along the way. Someday I will mourn the end of my time with them too. They will fill my life but they will not take the place of the ones I am missing today.

That talk, coming home from the grocery with mom she said that she felt like “this” goodbye was enough, that if something happened and we never get a chance to see each other again we will have had this. Just in case…..if we never see each other again this last good bye. For me, I have decided that no mater how many times I say good bye it will never be enough. Someday, someone will look back and see “the one” that was the last time we said I love you. But with no magic crystal ball it is impossible to be finished. They could all visit in every country and we would hug and kiss and talk till we are hoarse but there will never be enough time. And right now every goodbye for me brings the longing for more time….all the time in the world.

Cruising is wonderful! I am certain and sure about our decision to be here but it doesn’t’ make the goodbyes any easier or feel any more complete. But I do know I am loved…….forever and wherever and I remind myself to trust in that love and to trust in the healing of time that comes with every new transition in my life.

Love, kat

9/3 Visit with mom

Time sure flies. When mom got here Monday it seemed like six days was a wealth of time. This morning we are already on our way back to Santa Barbara in order for her to catch her flight back to Seattle tomorrow.

The weather when she arrived was typical SB afternoon; fog blown out to the channel, soft blue sky and just enough warmth to get you reaching for your tank top and shorts. The trip across to Santa Cruz the next day was lovely too, just warm enough and lovely 10knot winds. We sailed through blue sky and occasional dolphins all the way to Pelican Bay.

We spent two nights in Pelican. It is a good anchorage, relatively easy to tuck in behind the point so as to minimize the western swell. We put out a stern anchor and it helped keep the swell clean on our nose. The weather when we arrived was warm enough to break out the hammock but the fog crept in and most of the rest of our trip was foggy and cool.

Mom and I kept busy visiting. We talked and talked and talked some more then took a break to read but soon found something else that needed talking about. When we ran out of things to talk about (yea right!) we went exploring in the kayaks. We managed to make it into the yaks right from the boat though I know we had Bill worried that mom was going to end up sputtering in the cold bay. She is surprisingly nimble for a senior citizen!

Santa Cruz Island is wonderful to explore and beautiful in its unfamiliar southern California-ness (and such a striking difference from our summer in Alaska and BC.) The steep cliffs make perfect homes for so many of the sea birds and the rocks and sea held many more species. We saw numerous types of gulls and herons, oyster catchers, raptors, bald eagles, grebes, cormorants and of course the California brown pelican. The surrounding sandy beaches and draws are filled with and luscious succulents and a host of trees, creepers and climbers that we couldn’t identify. We saw prickly pear and cactus, trees that looked like magnolias and others that looked like willows.

Just west of Pelican Bay lay an arched tunnel amid the rocky cliffs. It was open enough to easily kayak through and I had been hopping to get a chance to investigate since I had seen it and mom was willing to go along for the tour. So, we headed out of the bay and around the point the kayaks easily skimming over the thick kelp beds. We saw acres of sea anemones, urchins, and piles of star fish that cling to the rocks just along the rushing tide line.

We were soon joined by harbor seals that seemed curious enough to follow along as we passed through their homes. One baby harbor seal got ruffled when I closed in to take a photo. He wriggled himself back into the sea then let out a raspberry of breath as he slipped below the surface. Or at least I thought it was a raspberry blown in disgust at having his sunning session interrupted. Then as I paddled on though I first saw and then smelled his response to being interrupted, seal pooh is truly nasty stuff!

Once back at the boat we had to reverse our boarding acrobatics to get out of the kayaks and back aboard IB. It takes an interesting ability to first roll to ones knees then hang on to the fender step as you pull yourself to a standing position. While doing that you have to be sure to keep the kayak steady underneath you or your legs go one way and the yak goes another leaving you either in the water or dangling on the side of the boat while your kayak escapes. We both managed to get back on board with no dunking and no hoisting required. (There is much to be said for moms’ active life and her many years of regular dog walks.)

The next morning we took another kayak trip while the bay was still and shrouded in fog. After two days of smooth seas the water in the cove was extremely clear. We could see lots of colorful fishes and could see the seal pups as they swam by. The second trip we talked less and listened more and it was fascinating to hear the water as it roared into and out of the cracks in the cliffs. A whooshing roaring rolling noise that sounds almost alive.

After our kayak trip we loaded up and headed west to the anchorage at Cueva Valdez in order to stage for an early trip to Painted Cave the next morning. The hope was to leave IB at a temporary anchorage in the calm of the next morning while we explored the cave by dingy. Instead we spent the night rolling in a fog filled bay while the weather deteriorated until we had to cross the cave expedition out of the picture.

A word or two about open road stead anchorages: We who are from the Pacific Northwest are terribly spoiled. There are so many anchorages available to us that it is nearly always possible to find a place to tuck in out of any weather. Other than the storms we have been through the only time we have ever spent in a rocking anchorage in Washington was when we anchored near a ferry route. With the ferries you rock and roll for a minute or two on a regular schedule then return to the calm until the next scheduled run. As are all the anchorages on Santa Cruz, Cueva Valdez was wide open to the west, little more than a small bight to hide behind. As the wind increased the west swell did too. By full on evening we were rocking pretty hard. By dark we were galloping along. Sleep came in bits and spurts until the next big wave hit. Over time we swung more and more to our side until we were in fairly constant motion side too and constantly tugging and pulling on our anchor chain.

We were all in bed sleeping fitfully when I heard mom call Bills name. She had awoken to the noise of the anchor chain banging in some pretty violent swells. Looking out the window she could see nothing but cliff and bright lights! As we slept fishing boats had pulled in right next to us. They had all their deck lights on and the false brightness lit up the fog and the gloom and seemed to make the sound of the heavy surf magnify against the rocks and the caves in Cueva Valdez. It looked and sounded as though we were about to be swept into the rocks.

My mom loves the boat and is quite a sailor. But she is not familiar with the sounds and the feel of a reeling ship in rising weather. She had been sound asleep and was momentarily disoriented and the response was true fear. Frightened and still half asleep she called out in worry.

In a matter of moments Bill and I were up on deck. Looking back we probably should have put out the stern anchor when we arrived, but right now sure seemed like a good time to see if we could decrease the pounding. By now it was pitch dark and there was a 3 to 4 foot swell rolling into the anchorage. I rushed to get our trusty storm anchor ready while Bill tried to climb into the bucking dink. I was glad it was him and not me because it really took some timing and finesse to climb in under those circumstances. Once in the dink he moved hand over hand around to the opposite side of the boat where I handed him the anchor already shackled to 300feet of heavy rode.

Being careful to keep the rode out of the now running dingy engine he angled his way off the stern towards the beach to drop our priceless Fortress over the side into about 15 feet of water. Then as he worked through the rolling surf back towards the boat I pulled in the excess line careful to try and keep the line out of the little outboards propeller. Getting back aboard IB was just as hard, wind blowing, swell rolling, the pitch darkness encircling the bright glow thrown by our spreader lights.

With a bit of good timing Bill was soon aboard and pulling the excess rode tight to point our bow straight into the swell. The stern anchor gave us a much better ride but still we bucked and rolled for several more hours. Mom and I tried to sleep but Bill was wide awake and kept watch until finally in the wee hours the seas stilled and we all got some much needed deeper sleep.

By morning the swell had again increased and at 730 with a sleepy crew we decided Painted Cave was not in the cards for today. It would be too difficult to get three people into and out of the dingy for the trip and the kayaks were a certain no go. So we sleepily took advantage of the relative mild swell to reverse the process and bring in the now deployed stern anchor, raise the Rocna and head back to Santa Barbara in the fog.

I was busy writing this and day dreaming about getting some laundry done while close to the laundry mat, the luxury of a possible dinner out and how much I was going to enjoy my sleep tonight when mom suggested dinner on her at Brophey Brothers Seafood! Thanks mom, it will be a great end to a lovely visit!

xoxo Kat