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Friday, August 20, 2010

8/19 Southern California Arrival

After leaving SF very early to catch an outgoing tide on Tuesday we have been steadily sailing due south. Winds have been a little light in the early mornings but building to a wonderful 12 to 20 for essentially the whole trip. We rounded Point Conception in a 30knot wind in the wee hours this morning, day 12, the last big land mark before Santa Barbara Channel. We are hoping for a berth in Santa Barbara Harbor but will have to see when we arrive.

We had planned on doing a little more harbor hopping once we left SF but Josh has work waiting for his UCSB Controls Engineering Doctorate Program that he is anxious to get back to. He had been hoping to do some work on the way but anything more than light reading is difficult on a long passage. So we decided to beat feat to SB where he will jump ship to get back to his work. Ryan will also be leaving us to take a train to see his sister soon after we arrive. So soon we be back to a crew of two. We will miss their company but it will also be nice to have our boat back.

Though the entire crew remained focused and intent on the trip I believe the “boys” are getting a bit bored. The excitement wore off some time ago and now it is just a slow slog with nothing but homework or a plane ride home to reward them when they finally step ashore. It makes me remember my first long passage. For Bill and I the passage itself was the focus and at the end we knew we had a week or so of vacation time in Hawaii waiting when we finally arrived. Now I know they are a little bored because the big excitement of today was the ensuing hilarity when Ryan’s life jacket spontaneously inflated. We had been kidding him during the stormy weather off Cape Blanco that if he got much wetter from the boarding sea water it was going to go off. This morning it is perfectly calm, we are motoring under brilliant blue skies, then wammo! Instant May West. Josh is getting it rearmed as I write this but the giggles I suspect are not over.

Ryan by the way has been a lot of laughs for the whole crew. He has a very active REM sleep dream life. Perhaps it’s intensified by the odd watch hours interrupting his sleep but he has regaled us with his fun house dreams escapades nearly every day. He has some doozies. If your looking for a crewman to help you laugh away the hours Ryan is your man.

Passage making is hard work. It is long and tiring and often rather cumbersome with the sail changing, log entries and constantly working the time in your mind for off watch next watch. “Now how much sleep will I get if I fall asleep right away?” The beginning of the trip is all anticipation then the middle gets broken up with weather or fish on or wildlife and the like. For this passage after leaving Washington waters we have seen very little wild life. Bill and I were spoiled with 5years in BC and then AK waters. There is such an abundance of marine life there that it becomes a big part of every day. Since WA we have seen only a couple of whales off in the distance and had dolphins nearby a handful of times. They are not even coming to play! The two tuna caught were definitely highlights though.

For me I know that if there was not the big payoff of having a new country to investigate and new friends to make at landfall the crossings would be tedious and excruciatingly long at best.

Cruising is sort of the next step in I think in the boating world. First there is buying the boat and spending weekends and vacations aboard. Hours filled with lots of packing and unpacking and a feel sort of like camping out. Then if you decide to sell out and move aboard it gets different. People ask you why in the world you would want to live somewhere where you had to walk a ½ mile from your car to your boat or load your laundry into a dock cart every week and schlep it off to a laundry mat? All those regular day to day things get just one or two degrees harder.

For instance grocery shopping takes a whole evening. First you shop then you load it in your car then you load it in a dock cart then you unload onto the boat deck then you hand everything below. Then you try and find someplace to put everything then you return the cart and make a trip to the dumpster to unload all the unnecessary packaging into the recycle.

Then if you decide to cruise to foreign ports you get to first make the crossing. Then possibly clear through customs with its requisite allotted time. Some foreign countries take a day whole day to clear. Then you must unload all the dirty laundry for a chance to get laundry done and inventory your groceries to see what you need to try and find. Then you unpack the bikes and ask someone for directions to the nearest grocery. Plus you get the added excitement of trying all this in a language you don’t speak fluently and with money you don’t yet have a real handle on. Then once done with customs, clearing, laundry and food you can take some time to look around and try and be a visitor. Oh, I forgot. After customs and before anything else you get to begin making repairs on whatever broke while you were underway. Find a boat store or a hardware store or maybe just a handy man on the island who if your lucky has a cousin who knows a guy. Well you get the picture.

This stop in sunny southern California will be easy though. I already have a freezer full of frozen meals and only need to replenish some vegetable and fruit. Hopefully we will spend some time relaxing and visiting with our daughter in law Dianna and getting caught up on emails and sleep. From here we will likely go to Ventura looking for a sail loft and then some time for just Bill and I at the Channel Islands. One passage down……..Next big stop Mexico.

PS This afternoon while walking to East Beach after a lovely dinner ashore for the whole crew I saw a pigeon nest complete with a baby Pigeon! I had always wondered about their existence but have never actually seen a baby one. He was terribly cute as he peered out at me from his nest high in the rafter of the covered boardwalk. Just good to know they do actually exist. Like the man who empties the phone booth of quarters or the people who fill the ATM's with moola! Santa Barbara, the home of baby pigeons.

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