We stayed 3 days in Santa Barbara, one day longer than we originally planned. This was a good thing because we did get much done. Once I converted to tool time to tighten the alternator belt, I could see the sea water pump belt also needed tightening. This was more of a problem. The engine mechanic that did the major work before we left installed a new water pump and rebuilt the old one as a spare. He made a metal backing plate with two threaded holes to use instead of nuts. The plate took up more space than a nut and subsequently blocked the pumps ability to be slid to take up some play in it's slot. Dillman had recommended getting a smaller belt, but this would be a problem because the pump's location would be blocked by the fiberglass engine well. After searching though all of my fastener containers, I located my two remaining 5/16 nuts and replaced the backing plate with them. This worked great, the belt tightened with the remaining play in the slot.
While still in tool time, we decided to figure out what the new noises were we were hearing while pumping the head. The system we have for a holding tank has two Y-valves used for switching between into tank, through hull, and hand pump out the 6 gallon tank. The lower one was sticking half way so I decided to remove it from the system to take it apart. This got more involved because the hoses were difficult to remove. I ended up taking both valves out. I subsequently asked Marsha, If I ever do this again without thoroughly flushing the system with clean water, KICK ME! It really was a mess. It tuned out there were broken parts in both valves. I knew I had one spare valve somewhere buried in the shed, but immediately though I would need another spare someday and walked up to the Chandlery on the breakwater. The Chandlery turned out to be a tremendous place. Their prices were competitive with West Marine and they had tons of inventory as well as many interesting items I had never seen in stock at West. They had two replacement valves on the shelf so I was spared the agony of having to go fishing in the shed. With new valves, the system went back together quickly. I took both of the old valves apart and could see between them I had enough good parts to put one back together. I through the good parts in one box and the rest away.
By now it was clearly time for a shower. Afterwards, we went to the breakwater to have a great lunch at Brophy's restaurant. The restaurant had been highly recommended by the 3 guys on Untouchable (whom had pulled in several hours after we did). We got a good seat on the patio and were able to watch the pier where dive boats were coming and unloading hundreds of pounds of Sea Urchins in trucks, bound for planes to Japan. Uni. After lunch, we went back to the Chandlery and after browsing for a while, we decided we could get much of the supplies list we had planned on stocking up on in San Diego done here, now, this very minute. By the time we carted the goods back to the boat, it was already past the cocktail hour. We had burned up the entire day servicing the boat and didn't have time to tour. This made the decision to stay another day the only right thing to do. With a big late lunch under our belts, we spent the balmy evening in the cockpit absorbing the evening sights, sounds, and smells of the area and wine by the REI camping candle light.
Early the next morning, during a run to the breakwater for a bag of ice, I ran across a dive shop and went in for a browse. They had many good deals on used gear in good condition and I started remembering the diver we chatted with in Morro bay. We told him about our SNUBA rig after he asked us if we needed our bottom checked. He said it would still be a good idea to have a tank on board. I went back to the boat to get my dive certification card so I could stock up. This is when I discovered it had been in my brief case that was stolen from Marsha's van along with her stereo last September. By then Marsha was ready to tour, so we found her card and headed for shore. We were on our way to town, but stopped in at UnderWaterSports to take a closer look. I ended up picking out two matching 3000 psi tanks, a BCD, a regulator, a depth and air gage, and a compass. I told the owner, Kevin Franks I would be back after our shopping trip to pay and pick up the gear.
Next, on to the State Street thing. This is Santa Barbara's main drag. There are many artsey shops and restaurants along the red brick sidewalks. We hit several stores finding things on our list to buy before leaving the country, then ended at Von's grocery store. Marsha didn't think the cart full of groceries would fit in the 25 cent shuttle so we took a taxi back to the marina. After paying for the dive gear, Kevin asked me if there was anything else I needed. I said a phone line to update my web page would be great. He enthusiastically said sure, bring up your computer, I'll set you up in my office upstairs. Cool.
As it turned out, Kevin was quite the entrepreneur. He owns several of the business on the Breakwater, and is in the process of buying Brophy's. He was in the process of setting up web pages for a couple of the business so we discussed the internet for a while, the he got back to his business and I got on line. Good guy, great store, great breakwater. So, Sunday and Monday turned out to be very productive. The dive gear all stowed well in the compartment designed for it underneath the clothes hamper in the head.
Tuesday morning, I ran into Matt of Esperanza and let him know we've been seeing his boat in every port since Santa Cruz. Later, Marsha and I went over to Esperanza for a tour and to meet his family. He in turn came over for a tour of SPIRIT. The tours took place while a pea soup fog bank was passing through the marina. Our plan was to leave around 10:00 if it lifted. It did, so we were out of the harbor by 10:15 bound for the Channel Island harbor, a 30 mile day sail further south east.
The breeze was warm and light and the sea conditions flat. We were sailing on a beam reach with full sail at 2 - 3 knots. I though about digging out the light air sails from the back of the shed, but we planned to do that in San Diego so I refrained. Instead, I dug out the fishing gear. I used an orange, green and yellow squid lure to troll. The water was starting to get much clearer than it is further north. I could see the lure as I paid out the line. There were many birds around us feeding, so I thought there might be fish around. It wasn't long before my reel made the noise of a strike that gets your adrenaline pumping and soon I hauled in the first fish I've caught from SPIRIT. He was about 16 long and I had visions of fillet's for dinner. Marsha was concerned about what it was so I kept him alive in one of the coolers. Soon I had two more in the boat so I paused to get Marsha's fish books that were buried deep in the shed. We first thought they were Pacific Bonito which were reported in Bar Goodson's Fishes of the Pacific Coast to be fair eating, so I threw two back and kept the largest. After brushing up on my filleting skills learned from Jim the fish killer while chartering Periwinkle in Mexico 8 years ago, we read further and learned it was instead a Frigate Mackerel, Edibility: Poor. Well, it was good experience, maybe Cindy will like the fillets. Hoping to be past that school later, I ended pulling in and throwing back a couple more before giving up.
We weren't making the mileage we needed to make port before dark, so by 1:00 we turned on the engine and motorsailed the rest of the way. We got checked in, bought 40 gallons of diesel fuel, and were tied up to our designated dock for the night just after the sun set. If felt funny experiencing a day sail after the overnighters. In many ways, it reminded me of a day on San Francisco Bay, except it was much warmer, the water was much clearer, and fish!
The following is a shot of some of the oil platforms we had to dodge.
We don't plan to stay long here, just long enough to rest and plan our departure time bound for Catalina Island.
Well, we ended up going to Marina Del Rey, in Santa Monica Bay instead. We were planning on a further day sail to King's harbor instead but we didn't get underway until 8:30. We didn't want to enter a harbor after dark if we could avoid it so by the time we made it to Point Dume, we determined we should set the next way point for Marina Del Rey. We made it in, tied up to the transient dock in Basin H and checked in by 5:00. We made about 45 miles motor sailing in fog that changed to about 3 miles visibility by the end. Calm seas for most of it, though some choppy water before Point Dume. Cool, light air. Before making Point Dume, we were traveling just inside a missile range which kept us close to shore. The California ChartGuide said they fire missiles into it intermittently during the day, and the course to follow for the least amount of damage to your boat is 9 miles offshore. We heard three missiles go overhead through the fog and wanted to get past that zone as quickly as possible. An otherwise uneventful day. The boat's working well.
Channel Island Harbor was surpassingly quiet for how many boats are there. It was overcast and became very foggy by the end of the day. It was a great place to catch up on the laundry, there was a large coin laundry about a 10 minute dinghy ride away, in a relatively new food mart. We ran into Steve and Lynn from MAGEWAVE, Marsha and Lynn had a chance to visit in the Cafe next to the laundry while I worked on little projects that had been piling up. I did discover that two of the sheaves in the traveler are broken. I searched the local Chandlerys for parts with no luck. They can wait until San Diego.
Patty Amick visited us for dinner. We had stopped at Steve and Patty's house for Thanksgiving dinner during our driving tour of most of the harbors from Monterey to San Diego 8 years ago, in preparation for this trip. It was a coincidence that they were planning to charter a Moorings 432 in the Virgin Islands at the same time we were going to charter one with Jim and Joanne Callan and Lewis and Barbara Knapp in the Sea of Cortez the following April. We stayed at a Hotel in the Channel Island Harbor that evening. I called to invite them for dinner while we were here this time. Steve was in Detroit attending the AutoFact conference, so he missed a good stir fry. Steve is now running Asia Pacific sales for 3-D systems. Patty has continued with her art work and it sounds like she is about to go professional. Arron and Brent are now grown and about to leave the house. It was great to catch up after so long.
Our current thinking is to skip Catalina and after reprovisioning a few groceries and ice today, do an overnighter directly to San Diego about 105 miles from here, then stay a few days to shop our brains out, sign up for out of the country medical insurance, catch up with our mail being forwarded to Downwind Marine, and complete the paperwork necessary for cruisers going to Mexico. I also want to change jibs to put up the 130% lighter air Genoa, and find a replacement keyboard for this Mac. We will most likely be staying at the marina in Shelter Island Harbor.
From there, our plan is to follow the same course to Cabo San Lucas as we would have been on for the BA HAHA rally, making two stops in Turtle Bay and Magdelana Bay. This will entail three multiple day legs. My current estimate has us arriving in Cabo by the end of the month. With a couple day lay over in Cabo, we should be able to make it to La Paz by the time the Callans and Knapps show up with a couple of days to spare, in time for the Left Handed Sagittarius Wives birthday party.
There are many boats named after television themes. This is an image of McHale's PT73. We also saw a trimaran named Captain Kaos with a picture of Dom Deloise in a mask painted on it's side.
Today we begin a more aggressive itinerary, casting off for San Diego. We now feel we are mentally prepared to spend more than one night on the water. The time estimates are based on a average of making 5 knots. The following are our destinations:
Marina Del Rey to San Diego, 105 miles. We plan to arrive on Monday the 18th at daybreak. We have many chores here, but the list has been reduced because of provisioning done in Santa Barbara and Santa Monica. We still have a short list of marine supplies, but waiting time for stuff that West needs to order has been reduced because West in Santa Monica ordered them for us to pick up in San Diego. Our mail should be waiting at Downwind Marine. We plan to make one last provisioning run to Price Club. We need to find a 2'x8'x3/4 piece of plywood and 12' of 1x1 wood to make a boarding platform for Cindy. We need to do paperwork like get visa's and fishing licenses for Mexico, etc. We need to sign up for our out of the country medical insurance. I need to swap out the jib for the big guy and get the light air sails ready to deploy. There is also a short list of things to do to Spirit to comply with the fixes recommended in the insurance survey. I have all of those parts and hope to get some of it done while sailing to San Diego. Oh yes, laundry. I expect to be leaving San Diego on Saturday the 23rd.
San Diego to Turtle Bay, 330 miles. This will be a rest and refueling stop. I expect to be leaving Turtle Bay on November 29th.
Turtle Bay to Santa Maria Bay, 220 miles. This will be a rest stop. I expect to be leaving Santa Maria Bay on December 2nd.
Santa Maria Bay to Cabo San Lucas, 180 miles. This will be a rest, check into Mexico, refuel, laundry, and reprovision stop. I expect to be leaving Cabo San Lucas on December 6th.
Cabo San Lucas to La Paz, 153 miles. This is our destination to meet friends and chill out. I expect to arrive sometime on December 7th, but I don't know when we will be leaving. We expect to be meeting up with some other friends in Mazatlan around Feburary 7th or so...
On the todo list underway, I need to reread my PADI SCUBA manual, the fishing guide to the Sea of Cortez and Baha, and we plan to spend about two hours a day studying Spanish.
We are still on track and making good progress on the preparations for leaving the country in San Diego. Yesterday we organized the week's project, made most of the phone calls, and did the initial marine shopping which gave us time to wait for items that need to be delivered from warehouses. Today we rent a car through Friday. The plan is to do the Price Club in the morning before having lunch with Craig Levin. We sailed with Craig on his vessel Decoy 8 years ago on our coastal exploration driving tour. This afternoon is start tackling the paperwork. We need to obtain visas, tourist cards, and fishing licenses for Mexico. Tomorrow, we plan to drive to Tijuana, Mexico so I can convert my US No-Code Technician Ham radio license to a Mexican General license. Other errands before we leave, more marine supply plus pick up the will call items, a hardware store list, and groceries we couldn't get at Price Club. I hope the boat still floats on Saturday.
The following are images of the sun setting behind Catalina Island and Point Loma, marking San Diego Bay appearing as the sun was coming up some 13 hours later.
Contnued on November 23rd:
This was an extremely busy week. I now expect to be leaving on Monday. The schedule above has been updated accordingly. The boat is still floating, in spite of everything we have bought in stores and hauled back here with the rented car. A storm has passed through, now the weather is improving so I think we will be in good shape to leave with everything we think we could possibly want provisioned, good weather, and a full moon.