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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

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