Sailing Vessel Warrior

Monterey, CA

september 1, 2006

Yesterday Robin drove the trusty twice-washed (in 2003) never-polished 1991 Pontiac Grand Am (a very conservative looking vehicle that had done 115,000 miles) back to Moss Landing to sell to Camillo, operations manager of the Haute Enchilada and source of untold nos. of cappuccinos during our foggy Moss Landing sojourne. The price went like this: The Blue Book price was $1000 for excellent condition so we halved it to $500 and offered it to Camillo, who had volunteered his interest, for $400. Then a smog emissions warning light began to flash and Robin put a second crack in the windscreen carrying 12 ft lengths of stainless steel tubing so we told Camillo we could only accept $300 for this priceless artifact. Camillo seemed really happy. We are very happy to be rid of US land transport. Before leaving Moss Landing, Robin said goodbye to Ken and Doug in the harbour(we should meet up again with Doug when he sails south) and with Ray (proprietor of the Whole Enchilada) but missed Diana-of-the-rapunzel-hair!

After running around madly - again picture Robin on ridebike with deflating tire - collecting the last few items we were awaiting to arrive, we did a quick 3 hour sail over to Monterey Harbor today in preparation for our leg down the coast to San Simeon and then onto Morro Bay. The day was gorgeous with enough wind to sail comfortably at 7 knots while the seas were calm. At last goodbye Santa Cruz! We finally feel like we are beginning our adventure. Santa Cruz is a nice place if you have to live in AMERICA but we really really don't want to. Monterey marina is usually very pretty with the cleanest water we've ever seen. This time though there was a very ugly red tide which wasn't pleasant at all. The people down here will be happy to see that gone. We are to leave at 2am in the morning from Monterey so a quick snack at the Irish pub on the corner and into bed for us. Here comes another fun sail in the cold, foggy dark.

San Simeon, CA

September 2, 2006

Robin swears he did not sleep at all in preparation for our first night sail and we left early at 1.30 am. Motored in little wind for the first couple of hours out of Monterey. On the one hand we headed into pitch black and on the other hand visibility was excellent for Monterey Bay - we could easily see the lights of Santa Cruz 20 miles away and we thought we had left it behind. The fog (lack of it this time) defied our quick departure. We angled well out to sea and picked up wind about 3 miles off the coast and about half way to Point Sur. The lights of Santa Cruz (our real point of departure) dwindled below the horizon - we finally got out of that place! The major leg of 46 miles was a close to beam reach at over 5 knots in a topsy-turvy mixed swell. Got miserably cold in our thin (cloths for the south) multilayers. Robin retreated to the cabin just forward of the cockpit hatch to warm up and finally sleep a couple of hours. Michelle didn't quite get round to sleeping. The sun came up! We sailed round the Point called Piedras Blancas (with a very large rock offshore like a sphinx looking backwards) and soon enough there was Hearst Castle on the skyline overlooking San Simeon Bay. Arrived around 3 pm, our longest sail so far of 84 miles. The winds were gusting up to 20 as we dropped the mainsail and then into the San Simeon anchorage. A pretty spot and a beautiful sunset although the wind was blowing 10 knots through the anchorage from over the protecting hill. Hey you need wind to sail, you don't need it in the anchorage.

Got up the next morning to a sunrise. I know these things probably aren't exciting to many potential readers but after living in the land of fog for what seems like a lifetime, seeing the sun come up was a cause for much celebration. Robin even broke out the camera to record this historic event. We should have had a bottle of champage on board to celebrate the occasion but we were ill prepared for sun so settled for coffee instead. San Simeon is a truly beautiful anchorage. Hearst Castle on the hill was an amazing sight and we suppose we should have done the 5 tours. Michelle especially would have loved it but Robin is looking ahead to leaving the US having sampled much of what it has to offer. Eg. How can Hearst's borrowing of architectures etc from every-where-else do anything but jade us further concerning the US. The metaphors, squared and cubed, are too much already.

Morro Bay, CA

September 3, 2006

The sail over to Morro Bay the next morning from San Simeon was absolutely goregous. We chased the fog back into Morro Bay the entire way so sailed in sunshine and quite calm conditions. Headed out by motor for half an hour, caught the breeze and away... It was the first time we actually got to sit on the front of the boat while under sail and actually enjoy the boat out of the cockpit. Usually the seas have been too rough, or the fog has everything dripping with water, or it's just too bloody cold to be anywhere than huddled in the cockpit. So it was a wonderful experience. Can't wait for the liberation of sailing in Mexico and warm water.

Still Cold Enough For Foulies

We pulled into Morro Bay and the harbormaster on channel 12 directed us to dock at the yacht club. However when we get there, the club is having a regatta afternoon so we couldn't use the dock. They told us to raft up against another yacht that was there but we figured that was beyond our capabilities at this point and there were no owners aboard - I had horrific visions of scratching their pristine ducco ugh!! So we decided to just go anchor for a few hours and come back later after they were done.

Now That's a Rock!

We'd just made it on the hook when Gwen Beauregard phoned and said she was down in San Luis Obispo and could she and Tom come visit and see the boat. So they drove over, Robin went to collect them in the dinghy and we spent an enjoyable afternoon in the sun, drinking wine and relaxing. Tom mentioned that he and Gwen would like to come back tomorrow (Labor Day) and bring us a couple of cases of wine from his vineyard. Now anyone who knows us knows we'd never refuse free wine. So we will be looking forward to their company again tomorrow.

Dinghy Transport Morro Rock and the anchorage at Sunset

September 4, 2006

We up-anchored at 8pm last night after watching the catamaran anchored next to us swing in a truly bizarre fashion relative to us and then figuring we'd probably ground on the sand bank in the middle of the night at low tide. So presuming the dock at the yacht club to be available we motored on over to find it already full and we'd need to raft up to yachts again. So back down to the anchorage and after a couple of arguements over where to anchor exactly as there wasn't a lot of room, we finally got anchored for the night where we wouldn't swing into anyone and hopefully wouldn't ground ourselves on the sand spit. Woke up at 3am to check with a spare 1.5 feet of water under the boat at low tide. Perrrrrfect ~!

Arose this morning, went to find a coffee shop for breakfast and while sitting there overlooking the anchorage, we saw one of the boats that had been docked at the yacht club leave so we quickly ran back to the boat, upanchored and went and docked. I have to say the Morro Bay yacht club has some of the nicest, cleanest facilities we've seen so far. Some of the restroom and bathroom facilites at other places we've been to have not been better than a 60 year old public urinal that looks like it never gets cleaned. So walking into facilites that look like a 5 star hotel was a truly pleasant shock. (Robin notes here that it was well known to him back in the 70s that there was a long tradition amongst British women [whilst taking bus tours across Europe] for them to discuss, over tea, the cons of the public excretion facitities they sample each day - must be genetic!)

Gwen and Tom came by that afternoon and delivered 2 cases of wine with a truly amazing surprise attached. Tom had especially made our very own labels for the wine so we now have "Warrior Red" aboard the boat. Tom and Gwen, you guys are truly amazing thank you so much. We had such an awesome time with you both and hope you can fly in for many more such fun and frivolous occasions.

Warrior's Very Own Red Wine
Warrior Red

September 5, 2006

Up-The-Bloody-Mast Practice! There's stuff up there that doesn't work and anyway we have to be able to get up the mast mid-ocean don't we? Had bought rope climbing gear from a rock-climbing vendor in Santa Cruz. Our decision was to go this way so that one person could do it independently if necessary. The main alternatives are being hoisted aloft by the 2nd person using a winch, or hoisting oneself using lots of rope and a 3:1 block. Some time was spent testing each device. Robin had done just one rock climbing stint with Emma more than 10 years ago. Neither of us know the jargon. It comes down to climbing up a rope attached to the top of the mast using two devices. Pushing up is done with a short piece of rope looped about the feet and attached to the climbing rope via the device above one's head. Resting, and resetting the climbing device, is done using a rapelling? device. In addition a halyard is attached to the waist and kept tight by the 2nd person to serve as a safety rope. After initial pendulistic disorientation, and increasing increments up the mast, Robin got to the 1st spar almost halfway up the total 65 feet. The major problem was coming down. Our ropes were too thick/old to allow easy rappelling? back down.

September 6, 2006

Up-The-Bloody-Mast for real. Sorted thru' all ropes and chose the newest smallest diameter available rope as the climbing rope (have since decided to buy a proper rock climbing rope) and hoisted it to the top of the mast. Then as we were arguing (edit - Robin has this bad habit of calling discussions arguments!) about how best to proceed Manni from the yacht club happened by and leant a hand and a few tips. So Robin climbed all the way to the top of the mast. He reported being a little stressed at the top. He inspected the broken thimble where the topping lift is attached to the mast (not much wear yet on the topping lift wire) but could not fix it on the spot. Then completely forgot to bring down the defective wind indicator! Everyone else forgot to remind him as well! There is going to be at least two more next times just to repair the topping lift so plenty of future opportunities for multiple tasks. Then a bucket-full-of-tools, independently hoisted on another halyard, was too light to descend on its own accord. So back up halfway to retrieve that. Hamburgers that night at the Yacht club and Manni turned out to be one of the two volunteer barmen. Yacht clubs only operate a couple of nights a week so there were several half finished bottles of local red to be disposed of at the end. Thanks Manni!

Santa Barbara, CA

September 7, 2006

Left Morro Bay 7pm for Santa Barabara. All the books and all the locals had said the section between Point Arguello and Point Conception, especially round Conception, was one of the worst places down the coast. Winds often get up over 35 knots almost every day even when it is 20 everywhere else. Seemed like a good time to go with winds supposed to be 10-20 everywhere gusting up to 25 round Conception. All the forcasts said so in great detail. Decided to go out fully reefed so that we would not have to reef down in the dark if we got to Aruello early. Timing was supposed to place us at Arguello at dawn at 5 knots average well prepared for the winds that should blast us down the coast. Since this was our first all night sail, tidied up all the ropes in preparation. Woops! Raised the sail outside Morro Heads in the gathering dark and 10 seconds too late saw the tensioned crease down the middle of the sail and realised we had done the reef ties under the boom not over. Couldn't release the ropes quick enough and RIP! RIP! (a distressing sound) two 9" rips appeared. Out came the sticky patches which did not seem too adequate in torch light as applied to a flapping sail dampened by the fog (but when we removed them a couple of days later they were well stuck). So after wasting half an hour, got the jib up and began to sail in wind we expected to increase as we went out to sea - we intended to round the fearsome points 5-7 miles out to avoid the most treacherous gusts. Then the wind died a complete death. The prevailing conditions day after day always places the wind behind yachts going south so they all said. At times there was a little breeze directly in front of us! How could the forcasts be so wrong! The sloppy wind waves were still there just as though it had stopped blowing a short time before. So we motored, expecting wind at anytime, at least at Arguello, then at least at Conception.... We motored for 25 hours just the very thing Robin did not want to do with a motor that oozes oil. It was cold. Robin got up to 8 layers of clothing and was then warm enough to sleep on the cockpit seat for a couple of hours with the fog doing a very fine drizzle. Did not overwork the motor at 2000 revs, and this normally gave us 5 knots. But for the Arguello / Conception stretch we were well under 4 knots over the ground. We stopped a couple of times to see how much wind was in our face (our wind indicator still doesn't work) but it was only a gentle breeze. Reversed backwards to get rid of possible giant kelp wrapped aroun the rudder. Made no difference. Must have been a current. This reversed for the last couple of hours into Santa Barbara as the spped picked up to 6 knots.

September 8, 2006

So arrived 8pm Santa Barbara after the worst "sail" we've done. 105 miles motoring at just over 4 knots average. We could have sailed the last 4 hours at maybe 4 knots but by then why bother.

Michelle did much of the nighttime watch. About 3am 25 dolphins came and kept her company and stayed with us almost the entire way around Point Conception. Looking out over the sloppy glassy sea we could indeed sea "whitecaps" - these were from 100s of dolphins leaping out of the water. They were amazing to watch and at one point we walked up to the bow of the boat and watched them speed past the bow sometimes revolving upside down.

The highlight of the day though goes to the seal who came and entertained us just after we'd rounded Point Conception. He had obviously done this routine before for he had it down to a fine art. Robin cheered him on and the more Robin whooped the more he jumped, dove, turned circles, flipped his feet until finally he sat up straight in the water and nodded his head to bid farewell. Truly amazing perfomance.

It was fully dark again as we neared Santa Barbara Harbor because of the slow (against all plans) journey. It was difficult to pick up the navigation buoys (red, green and white lights) with numerous traffic lights onshore directly behind them. We were not helped by a large nearly stationary Friday night party boat with glaring party lights that completely disguised the main approach buoy. We knew where it was supposed to be by GPS. So motored cautiously round the party boat. Just got round it and off it went at speed directly across our bow. After getting our night sight back, finally spied that buoy behind us. With all the places such a boat can go, seemed unreasonable for it to be sitting where it was screwing up the ability of newcomers to find their way. We guess the coast guard has more important things to do like inspecting toilets.

Then we picked up the glimmer of a small day sailer and followed it around the tortuous bend into the harbour - obviously a local. Halfway, its lights went out - they called out later that their battery had failed. Had called the Harbor Master an hour before, so followed the directions given passed brilliant orange lights that really hurt the eyes to the specified (barely lit) reception dock. Another jerk? Of course not, that was a large vessel with a sign saying US Coast Guard!

Saturday September 9, 2006

Ate, slept and enjoyed the sun. What more could you want from a day :D

Sunday September 10, 2006

Robin finished making / installing the telescoping adjustments for the solar panels. Still has to do the electrical connections but there has been no sun (except when docked). The locals said there has been no fog here - well its back today so we must have brought it with us. Just a few hours of sun in the afternoon.

Monday September 11, 2006

Fog this morning! Bought supplies to mend tears in mainsail. Then spent the afternoon mending. Could not use sewing machine because tears were in the middle of this very heavy sail. Removed temporary sticky patches and replaced with neat new patches. Then Michelle sewed the major part of the tear with double herrinbone stitches. Tough going in the heavy fabric so Robin assisted pulling the needle through. Then square patches of the same heavy fabric over the grommet holes for the reefing rope. Michelle pushed the thread through with an awl to make temporary loops and Robin sat on the other side passing a second thread through the loops. Installed the two grommets using a metal spike that fitted into a hole in a block of wood to mimic the appropriate professional tools. Looks good and has since shown no sign of failing. Close inspection of the sail showed a similar tear (from previous owner) that needs to be refixed in a similar way, plus areas at the ends of battens that need repair soon - jobs for another day.

Tuesday September 12, 2006

Our first shopping expedition without vehicle! But Santa Barbara has a public trolley up the main street (State St.) which was convenient and we have small back packs. When looking for a bank, we stumbled over the law courts built in 1929 in medieval stone block style. Odd to do that, but interesting even so. Good view from its tower. Had trouble locating a supermarket, even with directions. SB presumably has ordinance that does not allow large advertising signs. Found the supermarket behind a parking lot that had the outward appearance of a small botanical garden. There were no signs indicating that a supermarket was anywhere nearby. Great idea. The one-up-manship of all those signs is not really necessary.

Santa Cruz Island, CA

Wednesday September 13, 2006

Did some last minute shopping at a mountaineering store - better rope to climb the mast and better sail ties at a fraction of the price for so-called marine stuff. Then off due south to Santa Cruz Island leaving at about 11 am for the 20 some miles. Supposed to be 10-20 knots wind. from the west - ie perfect conditions. What did we get? 3-5 knots from the south right on the nose. If it was 15 knots on the nose we could tack out in this great sailing vessel but 5 knots is a waste of alot of time. So we motored. Foggy of course though visibility at sea level was a few miles. Then 5 miles out the wind shifted and strengthened to coincide with the forcast. This time it was just the local onshore breeze that was temporarily frustrating. So got the whole main up and the jib up and we were off at 5 knots soon increasing to 7 knots for most of the way with the wind freshening and pushing us over 8 knots on a close to beam reach as we reached Freys Harbor right on the dot. GPS again. It was a little harbour that can only be seen when you are right on it. There were already 4 yachts anchored for and aft to stop them swinging into each other. This was our first try at deploying a stern anchor. Misjudged the first time by not starting the main anchor far enough away from the next boat behind. The method we used was to reverse back from the main anchor, drop the stern anchor, and then go forward until enough rode was deployed for the stern anchor - the common method if you have enough chain to let out up front. Not enough rode (rope) for the stern anchor and it dragged within 30 minutes. So did it all again and we were fine. Its difficult judging a few hundred feet on the blue wobbly thing. Nice anchorage - cliffs on two sides and a pebbly beach in between. Well protected from the normal Westerlies. But today, cold with the fog not far above. Nothing to keep us here when we are looking for warmth.

Million Dollar View

Thursday September 14, 2006

Fog above, no wind, calm seas, and not too cold. (The forcast had been for plenty of wind today though). Motored the 10 miles round the east end of the island to Smugglers Cove. Was pleasant enough motoring close to shore and taking in the view. Smugglers is a reaonably wide bay so only one anchor needed. We were first there so anchored in 25-30 feet with lots of rode. Four other yachts arrived during the day. In this overall gloomy weather there was nothing really to keep us here, but the forcast is for light variable winds for the next few days and we don't want to motor the 50 miles back to the Los Angeles coast. The wind picked up slightly during the evening so maybe this bodes well for tomorrow.

Marina Del Rey, CA

Friday September 15, 2006

The wind dropped during the night, then picked up again to about 15 knots around 6 am. So we are off due East to Marina Del Rey - maybe we will get some wind for a couple of hours before it drops as per the forcast, thus shortening the time we will have to motor. Had great views of the nearly continuous cliffs of Anacapa Island as we sailed close by in the morning. Anacapa is now actually three islands sparated by two very narrow passages blocked with rocks and sand. It is 4.5 miles long and no more than 0.5 miles wide and the highest peak, Vela, stands at 932 feet. You can imagine it's visible from quite a distance.

Anacapa Island at Sunrise

The wind didn't drop! We had 10-20 knots all the way behind us and averaged 6 knots with just the big mainsail up. We were able to set the jib for a while when the wind shifted around partially towards a very broad reach - its too heavy to set it fully out (flops around with the roll of the boat) but after considerable experimentation got it to set when about 50% reefed. Might as well take the extra half knot of speed. It was sunny almost all day! Crossing the main shipping channel got us a cheery wave from the bridge of a large Russian cargo ship, the Vladivostock, as it passed really close by. He came out and oggled us through his binocs and perhaps the Aussie flag was a welcome sight to him. We were on an intersecting course and expected to have to veer off, but they changed course first - that is not the usual reputation in the major shipping lanes. Guess everyone was enjoying the sun. The 50 some miles was accomplished in 9 hours and we arrived off Marina Del Rey (next door to LAX, Los Angeles International Ariport) at 4 pm. Marina Del Rey is the largest humanly constructed yacht harbor in the US. Impressive place but the continuous coming and going of marine traffic is quite daunting and much more of a challenge than San Francisco Bay. The congested entrance channel is so busy that the harbormaster has laid out traffic-separation zones and with definite areas marked for sailing only, or vessels under power etc. We located the visitors dock and the went straight into a guest dock for $25 a day - the cheapest so far.

Saturday September 16, 2006

Got out the bikes and rode through Venice and on to Santa Monica. Again sunny. Able to ride along the edge of the Venice and Santa Monica beaches the entire way. Enjoyed some good buskers in the Santa Monica Promenade and stumbled over some authentic Greek food - a yummy change. There were some very talented buskers in the mall, including two guys playing spanish guitars who kept Michelle mesmerized by the lightening finger playing for a good 30 minutes. This is probably some of the best of LA, and even better, we can simply untie and leave it behind forever.

Artwork in the Mall

On the way back from Santa Monica along the beach front we came upon a yacht who had grounded itself on the beach. It was a sad sight and took the rescue people a good half an hour to tow it off the beach. It was crazy how they had the boom swinging back and forth like an out of control whip ready to take someone's head off.

Monday September 18, 2006

Robin got up yesterday morning to face the task of finally getting the solar panels wired into the boat. It took 2 days but finally we are wired. They've since been delivering up to 14 amps in the middle of the day. Even on our dullest foggiest cloudy day they seem to be delivering at least 4 amps which is very nice. Another job crossed off the todo list. Moving right along ~!

Tuesday September 19, 2006

Today we took out the bikes again and rode in the opposite direction to Redondo Beach, a nice 11 mile bike ride along the beach front. The only sad part was there was no where to stop and partake of a cold refreshing ale until we hit Hermosa Beach which is right next door to Redondo Beach and being almost to our destination we decided to hit Hermosa on the way back. Our reason for the mission to Redondo Beach was to visit the Lattitude and Attitude people so we cruised on in and said a cheery hello to the staff, shook Bob Bitchin's hand and gave him some of our money since he seemed like a decent sort of bloke. Robin thanked him profusely for his amazing attempt at improving Michelle's attitude to the bad sailing legs. Bob has this great saying which can be seen splattered throughout his magazine and over various items of clothing which says, Attitude: The difference between Ordeal and Adventure. Robin's not totally convinced Michelle has internalised this lesson yet. We also stumbled upon Bob's boat the Lost Soul which has been going through a two year retrofit the likes of which are featured in Lats and Atts magazine each month and we have to admit she's looking pretty damn good for an old girl.

Lost Soul looking Spic n Span

Redondo Beach was interesting. It had this pier composed of many different piers all joined together in some hotch potch fashion to form a big arc out into the ocean, and then they decided to put few dozen eating establishments on top. We had originally decided to sail down to Redondo Beach but we couldn't get a dock down there for an overnight stay anywhere other than the yacht club and you had to be a member of a yacht club somewhere in order to use that facility so we decided to ride the bikes. Having got there however we saw that there was a neat place we could have anchored just inside the breakwater which would have been ideal. Ah well next time.

Robin had already broken a spoke on his back wheel on the previous ride. This time it was Michelle's turn to break one and it went with a solid ping. You just can't get good quality these days. We took off back to Hermosa Beach and found an upstairs bar right on the beachfront overlooking all the beach bodies. After taking in some liquid sustenance, we dropped in at a bike shop round the corner and told him about the spoke situation. He said the last few shipments of spokes out of China were really quite bad and showed us another wheel which had 45% of it's spokes broken. The only course of action - buy new wheels. Robin opted for buying a few dozen spokes for now. We'll see how they hold up. Then on the way back to the boat - the return 11 mile journey Michelle broke another spoke. That made riding the last few miles such fun - wobble wobble.

Isthmus Cove, Catalina Island, CA

Wednesday September 20, 2006

Mark arrived this morning on Southern Star with Molly and Kendall so we did a quick catchup and arranged to meet up in Two Harbors later in the week.

Left Marina Del Rey today for Catalina Island. Our first stop is Two Harbors, Isthmus Cove side to a mooring for a couple of days. The crossing was 30 miles. Leaving at about 11 am it was a fairly slow start of slightly under 4knots on a close reach until we passed Pt Vicente, 10 miles west of the main L.A. port, where some of the wealthiest houses overlook the Pacific Ocean from the cliffs. As we crossed the San Pedro Channel, the wind strengthened and Warrior took off doing a nice 8.5knots with full main and Jib. 3/4 of the way across the heel was getting a bit much for Michelle (read anything over 20degrees) so Robin reefed the jib in 20% and turned up closer to the wind. This put us slightly west of Isthmus Cove and so we turned downwind and ran out of wind just as we hit the cove. Robin's still gloating about the perfect execution of said crossing.

Arriving at Two Harbors, we called in on the VHF and the guy gave us our mooring ball number and we headed on over. We eyeball the mooring ball and there's no ring on top. Instead there's this funny floating wand sticking out of the water. So prudence being the better part of valor we hailed the guy on the VHF again to come give us a lesson on how to moor. It was so easy one wonders why this system isn't employed all round the world. One picks up the wand and keeps pulling on the attached rope on the bottom of it until a bowline appears which slips neatly over the bow cleat. Then you grab the second rope attached to the wand and it pulls up a stern line which runs back along the boat and ties up to a back cleat. You tighten everything up and voila done. That sure beats hanging off the side of the boat like a Russian Gymnist trying to thread a rope through a ring on a bobbing mooring ball.

Thursday September 21, 2006

Had a lazy day today. Went ashore to the wee town of Two Harbors which reminded Robin of a dusty outback Aussie town, complete with gum trees that actually looked bedraggled just like in Australia. Hardly anyone lives in this town. Maybe 30 people max apart from the boaters that come in. Robin hiked up the cliffs and took some photo's looking back over Isthmus Cove including of course the requisite picture of Warrior dominant in the foreground.

Isthmus Cove Warrior

Catalina Harbor, Catalina Island, CA

Friday September 22, 2006

Left Isthmus Cove today and motored in light contrary winds very close to shore around the top of the island to the other side. The islands are very rocky with almost no vegetation at all. Still the rock formations are quite spectacular.

Rounding the North End of Catalina Island

Cat Harbor is the second half of Two Harbors, a 10 min walk back to the little town from the opposite side of the Island.

Yes, this was borrowed off the Internet

Michelle had been monitoring the weather and noted that there could be a Santa Anna sometime overnight and once anchored the Harbor Patrol came and said it was likely to hit about 2am. We decided to let out 220 feet of chain (40 feet of water) and made sure the anchor was well set. The winds didn't arrive but better safe than sorry.

Saturday September 23, 2006

Wandered over to Two Harbors this morning to find that Mark, Molly, Kendall and grandpa had arrived on Southern Star so we spent a couple of hours yapping. We had planned on hitting the brew festival in the afternoon and of course Mark, being a stalwart Sth African, couldn't resist such an opportunity. All plans he had for continuing on to Avalon went out the window and a lazy afternoon was spent sampling the wares. We lost count after sipping a significant fraction of the list of something like 100 beers though only some 15 to 20 were actually on draft.

Sunday September 24, 2006

Had a fairly relaxing afternoon, took a shower on the boat in the sunshine and then headed over to visit the crew of Mandisa, Rick and Cindy who hail from Newport Beach. Spent a relaxing afternoon over a bottle of wine discussing well... boats of course.

No, this wasn't borrowed off the Internet

Monday September 25, 2006

Monday morning we decided to up anchor and head to Avalon, our last port of call on Catalina Island before heading back to the mainland. We wanted to get an early start so as to be in Avalon in the early afternoon and we had everything done and were ready to go by 9am. Alas just when you think you're getting comfortable with cruising something else comes along to challenge you. Michelle starts to pull up the anchor when suddenly there's this heavy grinding on the bow roller and the windlass is starting to complain about being used and abused. We motored forward a couple of times to try and free up the chain which we presumed had caught on something but there didn't seem to be any resistance. However in trying to haul anchor again it was like a 40 ton weight was on the end of the chain. Not knowing if the anchor or chain was actually caught or if we'd break something, we winched in the chain 6 inches at a time very slowly until finally we spotted this large brown mass appearing out of the 40 foot depth. We had snagged what looked like a few hundred pound anchor and our anchor chain had wrapped itself around and through it half a dozen times. We lifted it to the waterline and decided to call harbor patrol to see what they wanted done with it. He advised we rope it to our bow, which we did, then he freed our chain rode. We then began winching in our anchor chain but there was still some resistance. He advised that we then release the rope on the abandoned anchor and let it drop away. We kinda looked at him and went uh... like uh.. but believing that he knew better finally decided to just obey the powers that be as they surely know more than amateurs. So we drop the anchor and there was a significant crunch as it again loaded our chain with its weight somewhere in the murky depths.

The friendly harbor patrol chappy then advised we should get a diver to sort it out. Like a diver was going to be able to lift a few hundred pounds of anchor to unravel a chain. And imagine the cost of taking down underwater torches to cut away the metal. At this point we figured we could do better listening to our own advice. First rule of thumb.. let's not burn out the windlass. So Robin, using the snubber, hand winched what was obviously more than a few hundred pounds back to the surface again. However this time, our chain came up completely encased by a 1" anchor chain which was attached to the anchor we'd previously hauled to the surface.

Robin overheard the Harbor Patrol talking to the mooring crew on the VHF and heard them say "I don't know if we want to bother with that crap" Well gee tah guys! Anyway they finally decided to come help and sent out a crane which hoisted the anchor up and over where it could be cut with an oxy-acetylene torch. Leave it to the Aussies to find all the rubbish sitting on the bottom. Apparently the anchor and chain was off a bait pen which had broken free in a storm 2 years earlier and noone had bothered to clean up the mess.

Unravelling a Mess

So after all the excitement and providing yet more entertainment for the masses which had gathered around to watch the spectacle, we finally said thanks and bye to Cat Harbor. We had to laugh when we saw the barge crane follow us out of the Harbor and dump the anchor and chain in several hundred feet of water just beyond the entrance to the Harbor. The anchor must have been worth at least 1000 dollars, and the chain who knows... 50 dollars a foot maybe. So much for salvage.

After motoring for a while the wind picked up off shore and we ran downwind all the way to Church Rock on the very eastern end of the island. Robin had just remarked that the island seemed to him like a giant quarry the way the rocks just tumbled into the sea. So we had to laugh when just a little further along we rounded Seal Rocks to find a huge quarry on the end of the island aprox. a mile wide. The rubble is apparently transported back to the mainland. This is just around the bend from the famous Avalon Harbor so one can imagine our surprise to see it there.

Open Cut Mine

Avalon Harbor, Catalina Island, CA

Tuesday September 26, 2006

Avalon was interesting from an architectural perspective. Built on the sides of the hills it remind you of a mediterranean village. The problem was that it was very touristy, and the harbor was full of numerous power boats which ran their engines/generators constantly all night. What a noise after the quiet of Cat Harbor.

Robin decided that since owning a boat just means doing maintenance in exotic places, he may as well attack the stove since only one burner was working on top and the oven was backburning. Michelle decided that owning a boat meant being able to lay in the sun and read a book and that's exactly what she did.

Views of Avalon

Newport Beach CA

Wednesday September 27, 2006

Sailed 26miles to Newport Beach today with 10 to 15knot winds on a beam reach and completely flat seas. Saw our 4th whale in the distance blowing a huge plume of water in the air. Then 10 to 15 mins later it appeared right beside us. I guess he came to check us out.

The entrance to Newport Harbor was actually difficult to pick from a distance and we were just a mile off shore before we were actually certain the GPS wasn't mistaken. Noted that Serge on Kolea was anchored off the breakwater. We'll be visiting him on the morrow. Finally got a mooring sorted out after doing a tour of the harbor for 2 hours and fell into bed.

Thursday September 28, 2006

This morning first up we went and visited Serge on the Kolea which was an amazing dinghy ride in truly thick fog. We wondered if we'd be able to find Kolea in the murk but find it we did. After coffee and a quick catch up Serge, and his friend Dale, decided we needed to be introduced to Minney's and so we all decided to make the trek over there, and what a trek it was. First, there was a half hour dingy ride from one end of the harbor to the other, then we sublty found a place to tie up the dinghies under a building, and then hiked about 2 miles to the chandlery. Minney's has the most amazing array of used goods and we managed to lose about 2 hours walking around looking at everything and did indeed leave behind some of our hard earned cash in exchange for a few needed items.

After Minny's we made a pit stop at a fishing store for some puny fishing supplies (we're still not equipped for any decent sort of fishing), then to MMI, an electronics store and finally back to the Dinghy for the epic trek back to the boat at the other end of the harbor. We offered the guys a refreshing ale and sent them on their way. Thus is how one gets rid of a day in Newport Beach.

Friday September 29, 2006

This morning we got up and went in to pay the rent on the mooring ball and were informed of a place that would accept deliveries for us. Only problem was it was of course up the other end of the harbor. So back in the dinghy for another trip. We spent a good three hours trying to find somewhere to tie up since there are zero places where you can legitimately stop on that side of the harbor. All the dinghy tieups are for Balboa Island or the beach side of the harbor. The stupid part to that is of course all the chandleries, shops, restaurants etc are all located in the area where you can't actually tie up a dinghy. Great planning. Anyway we finally found a friendly yacht broker who allowed us to use his facilities and ran across to the Mailbox to set up delivery proceedures for a few items we need to order.

So an address for the delivery of goods having been secured, we proceeded to find a place for refreshment, naturally, and finally stumbled upon Woody's Wharf where not only was there beer on tap (Robin was ecstatic) but they allowed you to tie up your dinghy right there at the back door. Service~!

The night was spent in the company of lawyers who knew how to polish off a few martini's followed by red wine chasers, while regaling one of the matters of court and corrupt Jewish judges. The bar offered free appetizers to boot. Needless to say Woody's comes highly recommended by us.

Heading back to "Warrior" was again an epic journey down the entire 3-mile length of the Harbor in the dark, and naturally we didn't have a flashlight with us, and of course the Sheriff's department had to shine two enormous spotlights on us and roar at us for not having a light on our little boat. Fortunately we were Aussies and they gave up and let us head to bed with a warning not to do it again.

Saturday September 30, 2006

We strolled through the Pavilion area of Newport Beach this morning, then down to the beach and out to the jetty where we found Ruby's diner and decided it was as good a place as any for breakfast. Otherwise today was spent for the most part relaxing, reading books and generally have a day off.