May 4, 2005

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April 8 through May 4, 2005

Hello Friends and Family,

We're back in Ensenada today (May 4) after spending a month in California.  We're glad the boatshow is over.  We had a great time with our Hylas family, but it was stressful having hundreds of people walking all over our new home!  The majority of folks were very polite and respectful, but there were enough of the other variety to make us wish we hadn't agreed to do the boatshow.  No matter how many signs we posted in the boat asking people not to open the lockers, they did anyway.  Why everyone wanted to look inside all my cabinets is a mystery to me.  In fact, in order to open the cabinets, they actually had to move the sign asking them not to!

After the boatshow ended, we spent a couple of days at KKMI Boatyard in Richmond to get a couple of things fixed.  Our Sea Recovery Watermaker needed the pressure valve adjusted, and the teak door in our main saloon needed to have the corner sanded down and refinished.  We also had one little chip in our gelcoat that we had them repair.  Herman and Claudine from Bijou and David and Kevin from Anila also went to KKMI after the show.  Herman is a great chef and he prepared a fantastic dinner for all of us using the boatyard's outdoor grill.  We had New York steaks, tuna steaks, shrimp, shish-ka-bobs and all the trimmings.  Herman, Claudine and Kevin have all agreed to crew with us next fall in the Baja Ha-Ha race from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas.  We can't wait!

In my last letter, I told you about the up-hill ride we had going to Oakland for the boatshow.  We knew it wouldn't be good sailing because the wind is typically on the bow going north.  So we were really looking forward to going south on the sail back down to Ensenada.  We departed San Francisco Bay heading for Monterey Bay on Wednesday evening about 5 p.m.  We wanted to go under the Golden Gate Bridge at slack tide.  The wind was very light and it wasn't until 8:30 p.m. that we were finally able to shut down the motor and sail.  We had about 15 knots of wind on the beam.  I went to sleep as soon as it got dark, and Mike just enjoyed being at the helm and single-handing the boat.  Again, with that big grin on his face.  Unfortunately, after just a few hours the wind died down to 2 knots, and he had to turn the motor on.  I relieved Mike at 1:30 a.m. so he could get some sleep.  It was really cold outside, so I monitored our progress from the nav station using the autopilot, radar screen and chartplotter.  I poked my head outside every 10 minutes or so to check the horizon.  You can't trust the radar screen 100%, so you still need to actually look where you're going occasionally.  Many fishing boats don't have radar reflectors and are low profile, so they don't always show up on the radar screen.  I lasted as long as I could, but had to wake Mike up at 4:30 a.m. when I got tired.  We arrived at Monterey Harbor at 9:45 a.m.  We called the harbormaster on the radio and got a slip for the night.  I impressed Mike with my ability to pull the boat in stern-to on my first try.  He had already tried 3 times and was ready to give up and go bow in.  I got to carry my excellent docking reputation around for a few days until my Channel Islands fiasco (later in the story).  We had a beautiful day in Monterey Bay.  After breakfast and showers, we walked along Cannery Row to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and spent several fascinating hours there.  Then we had a delicious dinner at an oceanfront restaurant and marveled at our fortunate life.  We went back to the boat and turned in early. 

We departed at 5 a.m. in order to make it to Morro Bay for the Friday evening cocktail party at the yacht club that Mike's friend Ray invited us to attend.  We were hoping for a little more wind this day, and still anticipating the great sailing everyone promised that we would have.  Uh-oh.  What are all those dark clouds around us?  Why is the sea all choppy and confused?  We were in for the worst leg of our travels so far.  We took 30 knots of wind on and off the bow, rain, large swells and wind waves.  There was so much water coming over the bow, I thought we were a submarine.  I stayed below and watched the water wash over the companionway glass in huge waves.  Mike was tethered in the cockpit, bundled up in his fleece jacket, foul weather gear, life jacket, rubber boots, knit cap, hood, gloves, and neck gator.  All you could see were his eyes.  Why does he want to be out there?  Things were getting tossed around down below, so I was trying to secure what I could.  And, darn it, the forward hatch is leaking water.  All the bedding in the forward cabin will have to be washed again.  This went on all day.....and all night.  Our 12-hour journey took 25 hours!  We finally arrived in Morro Bay at 6 a.m. Saturday morning.  Ray made arrangements for us to stay at the Yacht Club dock, and came down to take us out for breakfast.  We returned to the boat to get a little sleep and then enjoyed the evening with Ray and Susie.  They took us out to their favorite Mexican restaurant, gave us a tour of the area and then back to their house (with an incredible view of the ocean) for a nightcap.  The next morning we met some of their yacht club friends for breakfast and gave them a tour of our boat.  What a great time we had in Morro Bay with Ray and Susie!  Morro Bay is a beautiful little town.

We left Morro Bay about 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.  The sun was shining, the sea was flat, the wind was on the beam at about 10 knots, the music was playing, and we were making about 7 knots SOG (speed over ground).  Yeah!  THIS is what it's all about!  It was beautiful.  A little bit more wind would have been even better, but we were really enjoying this.  We got to sail for several hours before the wind died down, and we had to start the motor.  Mike was able to sail again during the evening.  He was kicking back in the cockpit, stretched out with his feet up, gazing at the full moon, full sails with about 10-15 knots of wind and loving life.  Then, at about 1 a.m. as he rounded Pt. Conception, he got blasted with 35 knots of wind in an instant.  We heeled over and it threw me out of bed.  The autopilot gave up and Mike was frantically getting the sails doused and get control of the boat.  Mike grabbed the wheel and turned into the wind to furl the sails.  Lines were flogging and sails were flapping!  He had everything under control in a matter of minutes but it scared the bejeezers out of us.  Man, what a surprise that was!  I went back to sleep and got up to relieve Mike from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m.  I don't have the stamina that Mike has when we are underway.  Something about sailing puts me to sleep.  I'm so glad that Mike doesn't mind.  He just thinks it's great that we're doing this, and that I'm on board with him.  Since he does so much of the navigating, I take care of all the food.  I prepare sandwiches and snacks before we depart, so it's easy to grab.  And I use the microwave to quickly prepare hot meals and drinks.  I wonder if my gourmet cooking days are over.  I'm really getting into these simple ready-made items.

We arrived in Channel Islands Harbor at about noon on Sunday.  We got a slip at the Channel Islands public dock for 7 days.  The first thing we did was to wash and wipe down the boat.  It takes at least an hour of scrubbing and drying and polishing to finish.  And we just love doing that.  We wonder how long it will take us to get tired of doing that.  For now, it's enjoyable to both of us.  Even if we're tired, we get a charge out of cleaning the deck and hull.  She looks so beautiful when we're done.  And we constantly get compliments on how pretty she is.

We enjoyed spending time with Kimberly, Lance and the kids during the week.  We stayed at their house a couple of nights and got to go to Blake and Garrett's baseball games.  We all went down to the harbor to test drive kayaks Friday afternoon.  We decided to buy an Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL.  We think it will be great exercise for us, and fun for exploring when we go to remote places.  It is large enough for 2 adults and a child, so it will be great to use when the kids come out to visit us.  Sean, Keni and Kailyn spent the night on the boat with us Saturday night.  It was great to see them.  Sean only has 3 weeks left at the academy.  Graduation is May 16, and we'll be driving up for that.  Kailyn is growing so fast, and she's a little doll.  It was fun to watch Paige and Kailyn interact.  We had the whole family on the boat for a picture and then we all went out to dinner Saturday night.

Bill and Monica drove up to visit us on Sunday afternoon.  We drank mimosas and celebrated Bill's success.  His book just hit the N.Y. Times Best Seller List.  Filming of the movie may begin this summer.  Bill gave us an autographed copy of the book and we can't wait to read it.

On Monday, we checked out of our slip at Channel Islands Harbor and went over to pick up our new kayak.  Oh, yes.  This is where I've got to tell the story of how I lost my reputation as an excellent docker.  I should have known it wasn't going to be an easy maneuver because the wind was blowing down the channel at almost 15 knots.  I couldn't even back the boat out of the slip without the wind grabbing the bow and turning me in the wrong direction.  It's such an awful feeling when the boat is going the opposite way that you are trying to steer.  It made me so nervous that I gave the helm back to Mike to get us turned around.  Then, we had to pull up to the dock to check out at the Harbormaster's Office.  Once again, I was at the helm, and as I pulled into the slip, Mike tossed the bowline to the guy on the dock, but the stern was already swinging away from the dock and into another boat that was docked on the other side of the slip.  I couldn't get it over because of the wind and the current, and Mike had to run to the back of the boat to fend us off of the other boat.  We finally told the dock guy to let go of the line because we had to back out and try again.  But I couldn't get us out.  The wind was pushing us harder into the other boat and as Mike worked to push us off and out, we were hugging the corner and were now working our way backwards into the pullpit of another boat.  I was throwing the gear into forward, then reverse, then forward, and turning the helm to port and starboard and doing everything I could to maneuver us off of that boat.  Then, the anchor on the bow of the other boat was sticking over our deck between our stanchions and Mike was freaking out.  He was trying with all his might to muscle us off of that boat before it tore off our stanchions.  He had his feet on either side of the anchor and was pushing with his legs.  I was so afraid that he was going to get his leg crushed between the anchor and the stanchion, but he was determined to save his stainless steel.  Oh my gosh, I can't believe we got out of that situation without damage.  I was a wreck.  Experience.  We need lots more experience. 

We got underway at 2 p.m. for an overnight sail to San Diego.  Once again, we did more motoring than sailing.  However, we were able to sail for several hours and we really enjoyed it.  It was quite dark at night without a moon and after we passed Catalina Island, the sky got cloudy, so we didn't even have the stars.  Got to San Diego at 1 p.m.  We were assigned a slip that looked incredibly tight, and I just didn't have the confidence to even try it.  Mike pulled us in beautifully and we were relieved to have a couple of guys on the dock that we could toss our lines to.  That sure makes life easier.  We met up with Bill and Linda from Creola and enjoyed dockside cocktails.   Then we all went out to dinner at AJ's Restaurant.  It was fun to get caught up with them, and they will be coming to Ensenada this Friday for the La Vendimia Yacht Club launch party.  We are all founding members of the new yacht club.

We left San Diego at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning (May 4) and headed to Ensenada.  It was easy motoring, with light winds directly on the bow and flat seas.  But I got my sleepy thing again anyway.  I slept all day and Mike listened to music in the cockpit.  We got to Cruiseport Marina at 6 p.m.  Thanks to our good friend, Dave from Bella, for helping with our dock lines.  It feels good to be back.  I made a big salad with tuna and then Mike went to bed early.  I'm not very tired after sleeping all day.  Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, so it should be a fun day around here.  I'm looking forward to getting things back in order and all cleaned up.

See the pictures from this trip in the Oakland to Ensenada Photo Album.

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