Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monterey To Santa Barbara

8/24/11, 11:30 am: Monterey greeted us with sun and warmth when we arrived there on 8/24/11 at 11:30am. As soon as we got settled in our slip, and after a leisurely stroll down Fisherman’s Wharf, Terry and I took off for the Monterey Bay Aquarium by way of little transit busses. The aquarium is at the end of Cannery Row and was really a worthwhile stop. Although the harbormaster wryly called it “fish prison”, we were mesmerized by the exhibits, I hardly knew which way to look first. For a landlubbin’ country girl like me, it was fascinating. We spent several hours there marveling at the excellent exhibits of jelly fish, octopus, leopard sharks, sun fish, sea turtles, barracuda, tuna, and countless other species. My favorite was the seahorse exhibit.
8/25/11:  After a morning of boat chores including laundry and grocery shopping, our tiny fleet left Monterey at 3:30 pm, encountering fog soon out of the bay. We had originally planned to go directly to Santa Barbara, but early in the evening we decided instead to stop at Cojo Anchorage, which is just after you round Conception Point. I hate to sound like a broken record, but as you might guess, we had a night of stiff winds, roly seas and fog most of the trip, unsurprisingly the worst of which was right around Point Conception.

8/26/11: Cojo Anchorage, my pic above, (I also found this YouTube video) at first glance seems an unlikely place to stop with such wind and rough water, and it’s quite exposed, but we no sooner got in at about 5pm  and things calmed right down. The landscape here is very different than what we have been seeing down the coast so far-- much more arid and bare. I think it’s gorgeous—something like you’d see in eastern Oregon, less the sagebrush. In fact I saw a lone bull looking down on us from a windy bluff above our little anchorage. We were struck by how much warmer the air was immediately after rounding Point Conception. Hello southern California, we are delighted to finally meet you!
8/27/11: We were happy to wake up to beautiful, warm sunshine!! After a quick breakfast, we picked up our anchor and headed to Bechers Bay on Santa Rosa Island, part of the Channel Islands group. Conditions were perfect for a sail, so we took our time, sailing downwind and enjoying the silence of moving along with no engine. Later, we had a serious problem when our spinnaker halyard, which was clipped to our bow pulpit,  got tangled up in our headsail furling when we tried to reduce sail. Fortunately, we planned out a solution and waited for the 25 knot winds to die down a bit. Terry went on the foredeck and I was on the winch, and soon got the problem was solved. We were having such a good time and about ready to turn into Bechers Bay, when Rick (they were already anchored) got us on the VHF and told us we’d better reduce sail before rounding the point because the winds had picked up and were going “kick our butt” once we started in. There went our plans to sail to anchor! I have never seen anything like it. We rounded the point, were less than a mile from where we wanted to anchor, trying to beat against a fierce headwind of 35 knots and waves crashing over our bow and dodger. Terry even increased the rpms, but still we were only able to get up to 2.5 knots of speed over ground. The song from Gilligan’s Island kept running through my head …”the tiny ship was tossed”….At one point we could do nothing but laugh as we were getting thoroughly doused in Bechers Bay. We managed to anchor with the winds howling around us, let out 175 ft of chain, and then anxiously watched to see if it would hold. 
Santa Rosa Island has an interesting sheep and cattle ranching history. Beginning in 1901 Vail and Vickers operated a large ranch there for four generations, finally selling their holdings to the federal government in 1986,( for $30 million) with the stipulation that they be allowed to continue ranching for another 25 years. Read more here. It must have been sad to leave the island after such a long time.
Meanwhile, back at the boat, we could only gaze at the beautiful empty beach a few hundred yards away. There would be no leaving the boat this evening, but it will die down and be flat by morning—won’t it? Ha! The wind howled all night long, except for than one brief period when it when down to 5 knots, and the sudden silence woke us up. I’m such a nervous Nelly, I had to keep checking all night long to see if I could still see Endeavor’s anchor light. We were up and off the anchor early the next morning, after little sleep. Let’s get in to Santa Barbara as quickly as we can! We left Windy Lane (as we later learned it’s called), and motored in to Santa Barbara at around 2pm. Ah, Santa Barbara, we are smitten!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lovely Capitola



8/23/11: Endeavor was ahead of us a few miles, and in less fog as they neared Santa Cruz, so they could actually see it from their boat. It looked very busy and touristy, so after some discussion, we decided to go a few miles further to Capitola. It’s much smaller and more laid back. I hate to use the word cute, but that’s what it is, very very cute. The marina staff came out in a dinghy and helped us snag a mooring buoy—what a great service. Then Rick ferried us into town and we spent awhile on the beach watching James body surf. He’s never met a wave he doesn’t like, even in water that’s 56 degrees! After a meal of Mexican food and a short walk through town, we went back out to the mooring for some reading and sleep.

I’m beginning to think Harmony is a fog magnet. We come into places where the sun is shining, and then we look out, and in a few minutes it’s rolling in to cover all the scenery and bring a cold chill.  But Capitola with its charm and color warmed us in spite of the weather.  More Capitola pics here.

Seeking The Sun In Half Moon Bay



8/22/11: Harmony and Endeavor pushed away from the dock in SF at 9am to make the short hop to Half Moon Bay.  Seas and winds were very calm, and we pulled into the marina after fueling up at around 2pm. We met Dick on Journey (a CT52) who saw our HaHa flag and came over to chat a bit. He’s had the HaHa on his bucket list for many years since the beginning of the rally, and will finally be able to make the trip this year.

Half Moon Bay is beautiful! We took a bit of a walk down the highway and found a small beach near the jetty. Gina and the kids and I had a great time poking around there. James found a new weapon we dubbed kelp guns, which are small tubular parts of the kelp that are filled with water-natural water pistols! So of course, he pitched battle against us, but I was able to sneak up and return fire—so there! Sydney showed off her dance skills and pirouetted down the beach like the prima ballerina she is. 

We ate at the local restaurant/fish market, then back to the boat for some shuteye. We leave tomorrow morning at 8am to head for Santa Cruz. More pics are here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Bank Robber, A Jewel Thief, And I Was Born To Boogie

After a short hop from Angel Island, we docked at the South Beach Harbor Marina, right next to AT&T Park in San Francisco. Met Doug and Lynn MacFarland from Victoria, BC on sv Miramar, a Beneteau 40, who are also doing the HaHa. Those HaHa flags are great identifiers!

A news clipping posted near the door of the restaurant said it all: “Time Served. A bank robber was grilling the chickens, a jewel thief was filling the water glasses…” This was our introduction to the Delancey Street Restaurant, a unique and surprising eatery only a few blocks from the marina. We stumbled on it, and ventured inside because a glance at the menu showed reasonable prices and a decent selection. Once seated at our white-table clothed table we learned the amazing story behind it: “Delancey Street Restaurant is a key training school of the Delancey Street Foundation, the country's largest self-help residential organization for people who have hit bottom to completely rebuild their lives.” Without exception, all of the staff, from those in the kitchen, to those serving in the dining room and bar, have served time in prison for every kind of crime you can think of. Everyone is well-groomed, courteous, and well-trained. The food was good too! And the prices? $6.95 for a great steak sandwich and a nice salad! The residents, numbering 500, even built the building you see above, and live in apartments above the restaurant. The most important thing about it, to me at least, is that this foundation receives no government funding of any kind. And it is hugely successful! We all couldn’t say enough good things about it. Learn more by clicking here, and do visit the Delancey Street Restaurant the next time you’re in San Francisco.
Next on our agenda was Billy Elliot, a Broadway musical, winner of ten Tony awards. We learned the show was in town and decided a girls night out was in order. Leaving the menfolk to their own devices, off went Gina, Sydney and I to get tickets for the 8pm show, at the venerable old Orpheum theater on Market Street, a San Francisco Historical Landmark. The lack of available cabs and the distance to the theater were minor blips on an otherwise fun, fun evening. Old dancers, young dancers, ballet and modern, we saw it all from terrific seats, 11th row, center.The score is by Elton John, you can read about the show here and here.
Got back to the boat late, went to bed with “Born To Boogie” running through my head. Good times.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Boat Chores

Wednesday, August 17, 2011: Terry was talking to the crew of this big 116’ yacht (mv Sin or Swim) while we were at the Schoonmaker Point Marina, and they had just come up from San Diego. In the salon was a big ol’ granite table. It was so rough, the table came off and slammed to the floor and broke! That’s precisely why I don’t have a granite table in our salon-ha!

We motored over to Alameda to the Grand Marina, where Rick and Gina had saved us a slip across the dock from them. Internet! Terry and I walked the 1.6 miles to the West Marine to trade in our failed fresh water pump, and also buy an extra one, and to a grocery store to stock up a bit.  Endeavor had us over for drinks and we learned how to play “Fill or Bust”, a dice game. Lots of laughter, James beat the socks off of us. He’s dang quick with his math for the score keeping. Terry and Sydney traded verbal barbs back and forth. She really likes to try to get his goat. It’s a mutual thing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011: We are waking up later each day! So we pulled away from the dock in Alameda headed to San Raphael to get our watermaker fixed. When we got out in the bay, we put up our main, then practiced reefing. It made me a nervous wreck because we have never done it before. It was a bit of a rodeo, and wasn’t pretty, but we got the job done. The winds in this bay are amazing! And so many sailboats that are actually sailing! Then we put out just a bit of the staysail and with the one reef in the main we had a nice sail under the San Rafael Bridge on our way to San Rafael. Docked at the little yacht club there for free, then Terry took a cab to the Spectra factory while I did our laundry for the first time. I used that plunger thingy I got online. It worked fine, and now I have laundry hanging on my cute little rubber clothes lines I bought, where you don’t have to use clothes pins. We, motored over to Ayala Cove on Angel Island and met Endeavor, where we moored stern and bow. It’s nice to be away from the dock and at anchor. The whole island is a state park, and is where the immigrants (particularly the Chinese) were held until given permission to enter the country. Kind of like an Ellis Island of the west coast. Dinner, the rest of the movie “Dear Frankie”, and bed.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In Which NOAA Lies, A Whale Is Seen, And The GG Bridge Is Not

Eureka, CA to San Francisco
Monday, August 15, 2011: Harmony left the dock in Eureka (public marina) at about 8:30 am, under blue skies (Yay!), no wind, and crossed the bar with no problem, it was like a millpond—glassy. Our AME customer Randy Peterson piloting m/v Hank crossed just in front of us on his way to SF as well. Beautiful sunlit balmy morning! Lunch was chips, cookies, crackers and cheese—too lazy to fix anything else. We laid around in the cockpit reading and soaking up the rays. Terry spotted a whale very close and I managed to get some good pics!.
We tried sailing (headsail, poled out on starboard side) for awhile. The winds had increased enough, but then shifted, which put our pole on the wrong side of the boat. Brought in the sail.
Between 2-3pm winds built to about 20 knots and we changed from shorts to jeans and sweatshirts. No more sunbathing today! By 3:45pm, light fog had moved in, “goodbye blue skies, we hardly knew ye”. Wind increased to 28 knots gusting to 35, seas building likewise for a rolling ride. NOAA weather service had predicted 10-15 knot winds. That’s the second time they have lied to us. No, I’m not bitter, I’m not, really.
When my turn came we had clear skies, lots of stars and our friendly waning moon-beautiful! By midnight we were socked in the fog, winds were still high, and seas were very rough. It was not a pleasant night. I was so sleepy. I had one of those brain spam things where the same song keeps playing over and over in your head. Then I made a boo-boo on the chartplotter, messing around with it because I was bored. I accidentally erased our route and alarms were going off everywhere! Had to wake Terry up to fix everything. Note to Furuno: The chartplotter needs one of those ‘undo’ buttons like they have on MS Word. I really like that button.  As for me, I may get fired from further overnight watch duty—a girl can always dream right? Actually, I mostly really enjoy night watch, and I will learn how to fix my plotter errors and run the thing properly.
While on watch the Coast Guard out of Eureka was issuing a pan-pan for a vessel that had yelled “help!’ over the radio, but the CG was never able to hear more or figure out where the boat was. They eventually called off the pan-pan until further notice. Sure hope it worked out ok.
Because of my little fiasco, I let Terry sleep longer before I called him up for his turn at 4:30am. I went below and slept like a rock.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011: Woke up to fog, but there was less wind and things had calmed down a lot. We were slowed down a bit last night, looks like we won’t get in to SF till between 5 and 6pm. Breakfast was scrambled eggs with onions, bacon, cheese, sour cream, salsa and cilantro, Lunch was left-over spaghetti. Still foggy at lunch time.
Went under the Golden Gate Bridge (at least we’re pretty sure it was the GG bridge) at 5pm in thick fog, had a spot o’ Ron Zacapa Rum (thanks again Craig and Kelly) to celebrate! Docked at Schoonmaker Marina, their office was closed, so we just took an empty slip. All we can think about is dinner and bed. Went to the the restaurant at the head of the dock to have dinner, but at $20-25 per plate, we changed our minds. Had Costco hamburgers onboard and tried to watch a movie (Dear Frankie), but fell asleep halfway through. Went to bed and slept like a rock. (I need some new sleep adjectives, any input will be appreciated.
All pics for our cruise from Anacortes to San Francisco are viewable by clicking here. (by Diane)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Rollicking Ride, Pinochle, And Some Great Furuno Customer Service

Harmony and Endeavor left Ilwaco  together on Monday morning (8/8/11) and crossed the bar with no problem. Endeavor was going straight through to San Francisco, while we were planning a stop in Eureka. Winds gradually picked up, but the weather was mild, and the day and night passed uneventfully, except for the ongoing issue with the radar and fresh water leak. Winds picked up steadily all day Tuesday (8/9/11) until they were a steady 25 knots when I came on watch at 8pm. By the time I went off watch at midnight, winds were steady at 30, gusting to 35. We were doing 10 knots sliding down the building seas. Woohoo, what a ride! The moonlight on the waves was beautiful, and except for the cold, I thoroughly enjoyed my watch. We crossed the bar into Eureka at around noon on Wednesday (8/10/11). Our old friends Enno and Wendy Duden from Grants Pass, OR drove down to spend a couple of days with us on the boat. What fun we had laughing about the good old days! They chauffeured us around town to do errands, and we played pinochle on Friday (8/12/11). Wendy and I let the guys win 2-1. We hated to see them go, but are hoping they might visit us in Mexico.
Jon Closson, our Furuno rep, has been providing fabulous support during our radar issue. By Friday (8/12/11) morning at 9:30 am there was a brand new radar antenna waiting for us at the marina office. Terry and Enno installed it in nothing flat, and the difference was amazing. Check that issue off the list. We will leave Eureka tomorrow (8/15/11) and expect to take a couple of full days to get to San Francisco. (by Diane)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Ration of Rum And A Plugged Fuel Line

Terry indulged in his little drink at 8pm just before he went down below to get some shut-eye  on Friday, August 5th, as we made our way down the Washington coast. The rum is Ron Zacapa, a bon voyage gift from Craig and Kelly Beedle—the best!. We had left Neah Bay at 8:30 am , and made our left  turn around Cape Flattery in foggy conditions. We had light winds on our stern all the way down the WA coast, and quite a bit of fog. Well, it IS Fogust in these parts after all! I took the first watch from 8pm to midnight. My watch was uneventful except for radar problems. There are SO many fishing boats out there at night and for some reason our radar would pick them up then lose them. Terry came on watch at midnight, and that’s when the real fun began. I was sort of in and out of sleep down below, amid the clatter of stuff in the galley as we rolled on the waves, when at about 2am, our engine just died--- no cough, no sputter, just sudden silence. That woke me up! We put up the staysail to steady our bobbing around and Terry went to work. He found a plugged fuel line which he was able to clear fairly easily, and we were off again.  We crossed the Columbia River bar at about 8:15 this morning (8/6), and are now all comfy in our slip in Ilwaco, WA ---with free internet! We plan to catch up on sleep and hot showers today. Tomorrow our boat buddies Rick Phillips and family arrive here, and then we make our plans for the next leg. (by Diane)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Untethered At Last!

We did it!!! Yesterday at 12:20 with our great friends Joe and Cindy Barnes and Art & Ray Schuwyler to send us off, we untied the dock lines and headed out to Hunter Bay to decompress and start our voyage to Mexico. Seems to be the best weather we have seen thus far. Just perfect for the starting day. It was quite fitting to be sent off by Joe and Cindy as 7 years ago we did the same for them. They did a four year journey form the Pacific Northwest to Mexico, South Pacific and on to New Zealand. As we sit here in Hunter Bay soaking up the sun and sipping on are Kamikaze's thinking about all of our friends such as Lawn Boy,
Bruce, Mia, Fritz, Bryan, all the good guy's at Furuno such as Jon, Steve, Bart Eric and Matt, the folks at North Harbor Diesel, Ian & Joy, Andy, Steve and Ben at Coastal Marine Marketing, Clay and those of you that I have forgotten. We sincerely appreciate all of your help and friendship.
(by Terry)