Monday, October 3, 2011

Farewell Avalon, On To San Diego

shelter island
09/12/11 – 10/3/11:  Newport Beach was an easy little hop from Avalon. We spent two nights on the hook there soaking up the ambience, but were anxious to get on to San Diego. They had plenty of room for us at the Police Dock on Shelter Island here in San Diego, and only a short dinghy ride to all the marine related services you could ever need. We’ve had a marine layer most mornings, but clear skies and nice breezes in the afternoon. The local merchants have been very helpful in making sure we get everything we need, and the special Ha Ha pricing is much appreciated! Groceries, Trader Joe’s and Target are a short cab ride away—I’m on first name basis with the cabbies, who get me to church on Sunday’s right on time. We’ve ordered some take out online and had it delivered right to Harmony—life is good! Our cockpit is the perfect vantage point from which to watch the mega yachts (both motor and sail) come in to the hotel slips. We especially enjoyed watching the expert crew aboard 172 ft. Erica XII take off the headsail-quite the operation. One of the nicest aspects of cruising is that a little boat like Harmony can share the same quiet anchorage in a deserted cove or a busy downtown metropolitan marina, with the sleek and luxurious super yachts of the rich and sometimes famous. I’m hearing Robin Leach in my head right about now.

The Police Dock limits transient boaters to a 15-day stay in a 40 day period, so we arranged to dock Harmony on Coronado Island in Fiddler’s Cove, a marina and RV park owned by the Navy for the use of military personnel and their guests. The price is right, and we have a great view of downtown San Diego across the bay.  We were invited to spend some time shore side by Navy Lieutenant Commander John Duden, son of our old friends Enno and Wendy Duden. We’ve know John since he was a 5-year-old rough and tumble tow-headed boy, and now he flies helicopters in the Navy, has served tours in Iran and Iraq, and owns a beautiful home in the hills east of Chula Vista. In exchange for a few home-cooked meals (he’s a bachelor), John’s given Terry and I the run of the house, the pool, the hot tub, the high-def TV's all over the place and the pool table right off the kitchen. He’s been a most generous host. No one told me cruising would be like this! We’ve discovered the world has been spinning quite nicely without us, the politicians are still carping at each other, the economy is still in the tank, and the Seattle Seahawks are losing, as usual. Nice to know we haven’t missed anything. A few days after we moved into his house, and I had pretty much exhausted my home-cooking repertoire, John called in the reserves, (his parents in Grants Pass), and they jumped in their car and drove the 13 hours down I-5 to join us for hours of reminiscing about the old days, and  fantastic meals cooked by Wendy.  The tall tales and good-natured banter never stop. As the saying goes, the first liar doesn’t stand a chance!