Thursday, October 30, 2014

active Dana Point marina

The charm of Dana Point marina is that you see plenty of people  enjoying the water in some form, be it on a paddle board, a kayak, or dinghy. It seems that a great part of power and sailboats have a smaller watercraft attached to their boat, or in their slip.

While Tod worked on the set up of our flexible solar panel "wings", Tessa and I explored the marina. She did get to enjoy paddle boarding with her new friend Max, who kindly played with her and showed her the "ropes".  I think we are gonna be in the market for a board....

designed by Tod to rotate and follow the sun,
we will have a wing on port and starboard side
athletics in the cockpit before bedtime

Tomorrow we are heading to our last stop in the US, San Diego, where we plan to stay for a several days before we will sail into Mexican waters.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Crane park in San Pedro and kite's up!

When we entered San Pedro, a major port of  Los Angeles, Tessa got all excited to see cranes. It reminded her of the port of Oakland, where she sometimes would go with Tod. Crane park, she dubbed it, and she loved it.

San Pedro Light house

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halloween kids party and self regulation

Yesterday we arrived at King Harbor, in the town of Redondo Beach. Uneventful 10 hr passage, at some points, the ocean was just flat, like a lake. The Pacific ocean comes in many flavors.

flat ocean near Malibu, 1800 ft under the keel
Several large pods of common dolphins came to greet us, they do really come swim to our boat from a 1/2 mile away. Always hard to capture them on camera to share, but they are captured in our memories.

King Harbor Yacht Club invited us to their Kids Halloween party, and lucky for us, Tessa still fitted in her aap (monkey) costume of last year. Ok, we did cut the feet off. Party time was scheduled from 5-9, we were there promptly at 5. After some cookie decorations/cookie eating, art and bracelet making, she just walked over to Bliss. Tod and I looked at each other, asked if she wanted to go home, and that was the end of the party, 540 PM! Not much napping today, so she just called it a day. During bath she asked "What's the party's name?"

So, now it's margarita time for us, Tod made a great one last nite:-)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

In manicured Channel Island Harbor

wide, clean, and quiet 
We have been staying in Channel Island Harbor the last few days, close to city of Oxnard (about 1.5 hr North of LA). Tod and I independently came up with one word to describe this huge marina: manicured. It's super clean, just one place where you don't mind that your 2.5 yr old touches the garbage cans, and then put her fingers in her mouth. The beach is wide, and I mean wide. We just have to cross the street to arrive in a residential area to see the beginning of the beach. Then you still walk 300 meters/yards in sand to just get to the ocean. And you pretty much have

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Magic of the SSB radio

I realize that many people may not find this interesting (as I was informed by one of my boatmates), but I was so pleased by this that I wanted to share it anyway!  A couple nights ago I tried for the first time to receive a weather fax chart over the radio, and it worked!  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Help with Comments

We realize a few people who have wanted to post comments have been confused.  We really enjoy getting comments, so here's some help to make it as easy as possible!

Below the comment text box, there is a selection box for "Comment as:".   This is where you have to specify how you want to be identified... you have several options.

You might see the first choice listed as "Google account".  If you use Google for GMail or other things, you might want to select this option  (and if you keep your computer logged into Google, you might even see your name listed here, like mine is in the picture below).

However, you do not need to have a Google account to post a comment!  You can select one of the other options.  If you don't recognize any of those next few things, then don't even consider what they mean!  What you want to select is either "Name/URL" or "Anonymous".  With "Name/URL", it will ask you to enter your name (which you can do as just first name if you wish), and a URL ... and the URL field can be left blank (it's only useful to fill in if you have a website that you would like to have linked to your name).   And "Anonymous" is obvious!  If in doubt, Anonymous is OK to use, but your name won't appear on top of the comment, so please include your name in the comment text so we know who is writing!

You may be prompted to enter some numbers or letters to prove that you're not a spamming robot.  Generally this is a photo of a house address numbers, and some of them are really difficult to see. If necessary, there is a button to request another image to look at.

Please let us know by email if you continue to have some problems posting comments!

If you don't use Google (or one of the other popular softwares listed), please select "Name/URL" when posting your comment.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Play-doh and confused seas!

Sounds like an unusual combination? Well maybe, but it all happened yesterday on our less than ideal passage....

Starting with the good of this overnight passage:
  • Tessa is by far the best crew we will ever have. I wish she was old enough to stand watch,  help cooking etc!  Seriously, this amazing  and eloquent 2 yr old is not at all effected by large

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Beautiful day on Pacific

We are currently sailing very pleasantly on a nice broad reach, with jib only, in about 15kts.  Blue skies, short sleeves, 4-6ft swell (on the side, so a bit more rolly than would be our preference). It's so nice to have the engine off!  Tessa and Jolanda below sleeping.

Some more pics from Morro Bay

There was a little tiny park close by. Tessa loved the big boat she could climb up on. She played a bit with a lizard on a rock, and she was fascinated by a dead bumblebee which she carried all around the place for half an hour.

Friday, October 17, 2014

in Morro Bay

Sunrise at Morro Bay 

Arrived at Morro Bay this morning at 830AM, 23 hours after we left Monterrey.  Passage went quite well, there was still some significant swell in the morning, so we decided to go further offshore. Tessa was all fine and dandy, got to sleep her full 12 hours nite sleep, while Tod and I got a few hours here and there. Greeted by dolphins this morning on our way in was a wonderful treat, as well as the many stars you get to see during your night watch!

Just a few pictures of our last days in Monterrey. We had a great visit with Amy and Peter who drove down from Berkeley.  We took the bus to Carmel on Wednesday, just for the fun of riding a bus with her.

Some much needed R & R tonite, so we can do another overniter tomorrow to go to Santa Barbara. We love this little town, but the weather window to go is now.

Morro Rock, view from Bliss
Visiting Carmel by bus was a joy for her

swell at Carmel beach
Playing with peter and papa on the beach

Sunday, October 12, 2014

waiting for weather

We are still hanging out in Monterey, waiting for a comfortable weather window on the ocean. Here in town, the weather is lovely... today is gonna be about 81 degrees and sunny. But out on the ocean there are serious swells today (like 9-12 feet), and then tomorrow the swell is still significant but also there is supposed to be a 10-20kt wind from the south (which would be on our nose). So, a strong swell from behind and wind from the front might make for an uncomfortable ride. In general, Jolanda and I might have no problem in doing this, but with Tessa we want to make it as calm and comfortable as possible.  So, for now, we are gonna hang here in Monterey, and enjoy the beach; and the great playground close by; and the McDonald's close by (Tessa calls it "Old McDonald" or the "Big M") where we get yummies in the afternoon!

Off course, projects never end, still working on installing our solar panels. Tessa is happy to help and learn!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

enjoying Monterey

On Tuesday morning we left foggy Moss Landing, got fuel, and pretty much did not see much land due to fog till closer into Monterey (we did see a whale). The Monterey Pensinsula Yacht Club will be our host till Friday.  Due to significant ocean swell expected for the weekend, we have decided to stay put here through the weekend.  With a great playground and beach next door, Trader Joe's within walking distance for provisioning, and just a nice town, what else can we ask for?

opa, do you see all my sunglasses?

Bliss at the guest dock of MPYC

bobbing around at anchor

the lovely beach as our  new backyard

any transportation device captures her attention

Sunday, October 5, 2014

our backyard

Thanks everyone for your comments, we enjoy reading them when we have accessible wifi! Tod is hooking up our Rogue Wave wifi antenna right now, et voila this post is a result!

A view form our temporary "backyard": at the guest dock of Elkhorn Yacht Club in Moss landing, next to Elkhorn Slough, a marine and bird sanctuary. We had fun kayaking with us three this morning, watching sea otters, seals, sea lions and pelicans.

Sounds appealing right? And it is! But instead of 1 hour of driving by car from Half Moon Bay, we sailors take the tough way of traveling: it took us about 10 hours from raising the anchor at Pillar point, to tying our dock lines  here. Yes, you read that correctly, 60 nautical miles (or about 66 miles), took us that much time. It was motoring all the way along the gorgeous California Coast,Tessa was a fair amount down below with Tod, playing, eating and sleeping, and was excited to go to a new place (this little one just loves exploring). And I was soooo happy with the bimini (sun cover for our cockpit) that Tod designed and made a while ago, safely and happily protected from the sun while being on watch.

So are we sailors a bit crazy to endure some discomfort to get to great places, stay there with our own boat /home and have these backyards?  Sure we are, but as long as we all three enjoy this in safety (and Tessa's well being is our most important guide), we go for it.

In the next day (s?), we will head over to Monterrey, just 2 hours sail from here, where a visit to the aquarium is on our list.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Out the Gate

We left the Corinthian Yacht Club about 8am under perfectly clear skies and a warm breeze from the east... amazing morning weather for the Bay!

Our friends Mika & Karl on Baloo accompanied us out of the Gate -- thanks Mika & Karl!!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

what an amazing day!

Sailing in the Bay can be at it's best in October, we had a wonderful sail over to Tiburon, 12-14 knots of wind, perfect blue skies and sunny. And even though Bliss is quite top heavy with all our gear, she sailed nicely as always. It was the right decision to stay one more day in the Bay and enjoy the scenery. But mostly, it allowed us to leave a bit later and have friends stop by to say goodbye and to send us off (thank you all, much appreciated, for the send offs during the last weeks).  Dear Petra and Alice waved goodbye with flags from ashore and Tessa took it all in. Our happy child was extra happy today with seeing several friends, and getting to spend all day with both mama and papa (and the ice cream didn't hurt neither, nor the fact that she saw several ferries up and close).

One last time going by the BYC
And a special treat for us today: we got to nap too, no projects to tackle (although Tod is working with his headlamp outside right now, perfecting Tessa's car seat arrangement).

near Angel Island
Earlier start tomorrow than today, and our friends Mika and Karl will accompany us on their boat out of the gate.

Bliss at the dock of Corinthian Yacht Club

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Time to go!

photo we used for out boat card,
thanks Petra for taking the pic!
After what seems like a year of preparation, we are finally about ready to go out the Gate and turn left! 

We officially needed to leave today (end of the month) from our slip, but we are still here until the morning. Our plan had been to pull out very early in the morning, but Jolanda wasn't feeling too well today. So instead it seems we will just head out in the morning somewhere else in the Bay to hang out for a quite day ... maybe the Corinthian Yacht club in Tiburon. Then we will probably leave early on Thursday to start our trek southward.

End of projects? Projects never end!

I imagine that many non-boaters don't quite understand why it seems like we have been working on boat projects for so long.  Like ... what could we possibly need to do to prepare the boat?  Just a few years ago we did a two month trip to southern California, so what more should be necessary?

The way that boat maintenance projects seem
 to come (one of my favorite comics,
from Omni magazine, June 1979)
Well, I thought it would be illustrative to list the projects that we have accomplished in the past few months to prep for the trip.  This is all from my memory, so I'm surely missing some.  Most of these were done by me, except for a few that we outsourced to professionals.  Some of these projects were major upgrades and were quite involved, taking a week or so to do; others were simple & quick ...well, actually, almost no project is ever simple, as there seems to always be some complication in even the seemingly simplest project!

Folks say that all cruisers have a list of projects to do before departure, which cannot possibly all be accomplished before departure. The only choice is to either leave with some projects not done, or never leave!  Of course we were no exception -- the biggest undone project was the installation of solar panels.  We have them on board, and I will likely install them within the next few weeks, somewhere along the CA coast.

And, naturally maintenance projects never end -- just today I had to do a quick adjustment of our transmission lever linkage.  We were taking the boat over to the pump-out station.  When we were backing the boat out of our slip, it refused to go into forward gear!  Our momentum almost took us into the boats behind us, but luckily the forward gear clicked in just in time.

Cruising Prep Projects (in no particular order):