Places We Go – Southern California

Voyaging, with friends at the end of each cruise, makes for much fun and little time to stop and think, much less write. Among all the socializing we always had a list of “must do’s” for each in port. It became apparent, with our long in-ports that we could not wait until a certain port to do some things. We had to do what we could, where we could, so that we would have less to do at the end. So, we managed to do everything we remembered to do – if we wrote it down it got done – so much for anything we forgot to write down! Once we rounded Point Conception life got very hectic.

Point Conception – though not flat, the seas were nothing to get excited about. We have been by here when it was totally flat. And that is how we like it to be when we go by! The area ashore is battered by the winds and salt spray to the point where only hardy ground cover survives.

Here is a closer look at the lighthouse. Isn’t that light awesome? Sailors count on the light for safe navigation. We felt a huge sense of relief as we passed, as it marks (at least in our minds) the delineation of North and South California, knowing that nice cruising was just around “the corner” – and it was!

As noted in the last blog, we went on to Oxnard and Mandalay Bay.

What a beautiful sunset from the dock in Mandalay Bay.

After a week of very busy final business and provisioning we headed to Long Beach. We always know when we’re getting close to Los Angeles when we see the yellow glow at the skyline. We also know we will be breathing all that “yellow air”!

But, really, you can hardly tell when you get inside. And it is hard to complain in Long Beach. I always know I am in Southern California when I see palm trees and sunsets like these!

Just beautiful! This was across the way from our slip. The palms have swayed to a lot of sea breezes.

And as if a beautiful setting wasn’t enough, we had a handful of friends on the dock within a short time of our arrival. We ended up tying onto the same end-tie that we tied to in 2006 on our way to Mexico. First fellow we met was Larry, on M/V BANDWAGON, and there he was upon our arrival this time! We have become friends and voyaged with each other and it was fun to surprise him. One call later and there were five of us sitting on his boat, doing what we always do! Snacking, sipping, laughing, and catching up on all the news. We stayed in Long Beach three nights and two days, and had events every night and every day. Somehow, among all the festivities, Bruce managed to change the lube oil in both main engines and I did laundry, cleaned house, and did the absolutely final provisioning.

On Monday, a one day ride got us to Oceanside Yacht Club for one night. It was a beautiful short ride. After all the long overnights it is a relief to do day trips in sun and calm waters. We had a great reception on the dock. The people there are welcoming and fun to chat with. We thank them for their great hospitality!

And early Tuesday morning it was off to an even shorter ride of about 40 miles to San Diego. Point Loma Lighthouse marks the entrance to San Diego Bay. And what a beauty she is. How many lighthouses have palm trees on the west coast of the USA? Nice!

Our arrival in San Diego is the end – and the beginning. We ended our long voyage of the west coast of the United States of America, starting in Port Angeles, WA, on September 3, and ending in San Diego on November 16, 2010. Though our voyage was only 165 actual hours, due to weather it took us 68 days. We traveled 1305 nautical miles. Do the math. We averaged 7.89 knots an hour.

Not wanting to lose the momentum of the great weather and voyaging of the last few days, we started a new set of statistics. Today, Wednesday, November 17, we got underway at first light. (A cautionary note to boaters – there are crab/lobster traps scattered outside the San Diego Harbor. If you are coming or going out of San Diego we would recommend doing it in daylight, if possible.)

Yes! Finally, our plans of Mexico for the winter are within sight. In fact, as I write this we have already entered Mexican waters. We will arrive Ensenada late this afternoon, go through customs and immigration in the morning, refuel, and get underway for more southerly voyaging Friday morning.

There is a long swell out of the northwest and a light wind of about 12 knots. The pilot house door is open; we are wearing sunglasses, and have traded our jeans for shorts. Paradise, here we come! Another reason – Why We Go!

Note – We cleared customs/immigration with no problems (! no problema). We head out a first light in the morning for Turtle Bay. It will be an overnight and we hope to make Turtle Bay before southerly winds arrive. It is possible we will be there for a few days, maybe less. Standby for details on our day in Ensenada and our trip to Turtle Bay (Bahia Tortugas). There is a group of cruisers all leaving tomorrow, so we will be in good company.

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