It has begun. On January 23rd, we cast off our bowlines and set out on what is sure to be our biggest test yet.
For better or worse, we called the refit done and decided we couldn’t wait any longer. We had to get off the dock. So, after running around like crazy headless chickens trying to collect any and all parts, pieces and bits of food we might need, we left for a shakedown cruise around San Diego Harbor.
First stop was the fuel dock where we filled up every possible tank on the boat. We got diesel for Silent Sun, gas for the genny (which we’ve renamed Wanda the Honda) and the dinghy (which we’ve renamed The Jam since its leaky as shit and we always have to pump it up), and finally propane for our grill and stove.
We then pushed out of the Harbor and past Point Loma into the Pacific Ocean. We kept our heading southwest, to get well clear of the kelp forest that lines the coast here. The forest is thick and lined with crab pots (like my love [ed. sorry. Futurama refence had to be made] which keeps things interesting, and there were Sea Lions playing all around the fringes and right next to the boat. As we came to the edge of the kelp and turned our nose to the north a frenzy of activity erupted off our port side. A big pod of Dolphin had created a baitball of Sardines (?), and were furiously ripping into it while seabirds of all kinds were diving from above. Eager to get a piece of the action, Gulls and Pelicans came streaming in from every direction real low to the water and right by the boat (they must be paying attention to the Navy pilots that are all over this place). It only lasted a second, but it was a trip for sure.
Never fear quarrels, but seek hazardous adventures.
That wasn’t to be our biggest encounter though. Pushing north along the coast towards our first anchorage, Mission Bay, we saw 6 humbacks in 3 different groups, including a mother and her calf which came up about a 100 meters from our port bow. It only lasted a second, so we didn’t get any shots, but we felt like we were being blessed with good omens for our coming adventure. Odin, Neptune, Waterboy or whoever were sending us their envoys.
We came into MissionBay and dropped our hook for the night. Mission Bay is right next to OB (Ocean Beach), which has been one of our favorite parts of SD. Kind of like OB, the Mission Bay anchorage basically feels like a homeless camp. Fair enough. We fit right in. But seriously, I think we saw a homeless guy paddle out to a dilapidated, forgotten sailboat and crawl inside. Good for him. But imagine the next time you see a homeless guy that he goes home to his “yacht” at night.
We had a nice night and on Friday morning headed back south to our next anchorage at Glorietta Bay. Unfortunately, the weather right now isn’t giving us much opportunity to sail. It’s been dead calm all day. Oh well. Frankly, its nice to get in some long motors to get in tune with the engine and all its sounds and vibrations. Also, we’ve been working out the autopilot, which is freakin awesome. It steers way better than me and is mounted at seat level in the cockpit. That means I can lean on the dodger and send the autopilot a few degrees this way and that with my toes.
The other crazy thing about this area is the shear amount of military traffic. We were pretty much chased out the harbor by an aircraft carrier on Thursday and had to dodge warship and submarine operations all day Friday. The securite’s come non-stop so you really have to be on it with the VHF. We watched a group of old guys light-wind-sail their small boat right into the path of a 200 foot Coast Guard cutter steaming out of the Harbor. That radio exchange was a little exasperated.
Glorietta Bay is a fine little anchorage. It’s set up along a golf course across from a boat ramp and marina. There was some sort of Quinciera or something going on last night so we had a pretty good party going on. The music was good and I felt like we were getting acoustically ready for living in Mexico. Unlike our flat calm days, it blew like hell from 2AM on. That meant that I was up checking our anchor alarm (love it), tides and doing some triangulation on deck in my underwear. I eventually let out some extra chain to be careful, but I know its going to be a few weeks before we get really comfortable with anchoring in this boat. We added some windage with the netting and the windgen doesn’t help either. I think the rule of thumb for now is just to find really uncrowded spots and let out tons of chain until we trust the anchor and our techniques.
So what next? We are going to leave for Ensenada either tomorrow night or Monday morning. Its an 80 mile journey from door to door and the wind isn’t exactly helping us, so we might leave at night to take advantage of the gusty evenings and arrive at a decent hour in the Cruiseport. From there we will go through the check-in process for ourselves, the boat and Salty Balls. After that, we can’t say for sure exactly. Our plan is to make as many stops down the coast as we can. Puerto Santo Tomas, Bahia Colnet, Isla San Martin, Bahia San Quintin, Bahia San Carlos, Bahia Playa Maria, Cabo Norte on Cedros Island, Turtle Bay, Punta Abreojos, Bahia San Juanico, Bahia Santa Maria and Mag bay are all on our list as potential stops between here and Cabo. Whether we hit all of them will depend largely on the weather, how much time we can bear to take and of course, the anchorages themselves. If it doesn’t look good, we head back out and heave to or sail through the night. Such is the life. It could take us a month.
Alright, I’ve got about a billion things to do before we leave so I gotta go. I doubt we will be able to post much, but I will be working on a backlog of posts that we will get going the next time we can. From then on, it will be a steady stream hopefully. Wish us luck. Keep us in your thoughts. You will all be in ours. Peace out.