Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dana Point to San Diego

We departed from Dana Point at 5:45 AM under clear skies and calm winds. As we headed out of the harbor we could see a large very dark cloud of smoke on the horizon. It took us about 2 hours to reach this cloud and once under it we could not see the sun and were constantly bombarded by ash and soot. Destiny’s light gray decks were soon layered with black. It took several hours for us to transit through this into something that was smoky but not quite so bad. While we were about 7 miles offshore, we picked up a passenger, a baby Warbler according to our Bird book. We think he was probably blown out to sea by the strong easterly winds and may not have made it were it not for our being there. He stayed with us for 2 to 3 hours and once the air cleared a little and we were closer to shore he was gone.

We were able to secure dock space at the very primo San Diego Yacht Club where we’ll stay until we depart for Mexico on Monday, October 29. We’ve already heard about SDYC members who lost their homes and everything in them to the devastating fires now happening in this area. We can wash the soot off the boat but their lives have been turned upside down for quite a while. Rod and Peggy Kidd will join us Friday and night and will be our welcome crew until we reach Cabo San Lucas. The four us have been talking about doing the Baja Ha-Ha rally/cruise for at least the last 5 years so it’s very exciting to know that we’ll actually be doing it. The next time your hear from us we should be somewhere in Mexico.

Catalina to Dana Point

We departed Cherry Cove on October 16 for the 12 mile trip along the beautiful Catalina coastline to Avalon. Our trolling lines were out but no luck catching anything from the sea, but we did see 3 magnificent bald eagles soaring above the steep cliffs. We understand they were reintroduced to Catalina 10 years ago and the population is now growing. Despite the town being overrun by 2,000 people off a cruise ship anchored just off the harbor, we had a delightful time in Avalon and departed the next morning for Newport Beach. Although small craft warnings were in effect when we cast off we never saw more than 20 knots of wind which died out to nothing about halfway through our trip. After motoring for an hour the wind came up again allowing us an easy sail for the last 6 miles. The harbor department in Newport has moorings available for $5.00 a night so we soon had our humble Destiny comfortably tied up while we gawked at the gorgeous multimillion dollar homes along the shoreline. The next evening we had dinner with Leslie and Dennis Power former northern California residents and Encinal YC members who, two years ago, made the move to southern California which has all of sudden made a lot of sense to us. Our friends David and Anneke Dury were visiting Newport and kindly made berthing arrangements for us. After one night on a mooring we had a much sought after slip right in the heart of Newport. We enjoyed a lovely dinner with them and the next day they joined us for the short 12 mile trip to the spectacular Dana Point Marina with little wind to push us along but made up for by good company and beautiful scenery. John’s college friend Doug McAdam and his wife Diana joined us Sunday afternoon in beautiful weather which turned ugly later that night with strong Santa Ana (offshore) winds. Large areas of southern California are now engulfed in flames and Destiny is completely covered in dirt (inside and out) but so far no ash. We plan to make the 53 mile trip to San Diego on October 23 and according to news reports the area is covered in smoke from the terrible fires. Stay tuned for the next episode and we’ll let you know how it goes.

To view larger photos and captions, click on photos.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


October 2 we motored (no wind) 20 miles from Catalina to Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club in the port of Los Angeles. We encountered a lovely facility with friendly, helpful members and a secure place to leave Destiny right in front of their club. Since our TV had died and one of our almost new toilets was not working, we rented a car and spent Wednesday taking care of those items. The next day we dropped our rental car at LAX and flew to Colorado Springs. We spent a very busy 5 days with the Dickman family and loved every minute of it. Even though we saw Brynn and Callie in early June, they both had grown and matured so much that it was hard to believe. They are non-stop activity and that does not even include their current ballet, tap dancing and ice skating lessons. Lots of fun for us be part of their lives if even for only a few days. John mentioned to Hillary that the tires on her car were not wearing evenly which combined with some other issues made to her take to the internet to find a new car. Before we departed there was a sporty red 5 speed Mazda in the driveway! After sad goodbyes at the airport we flew back to L.A. provisioned the boat, installed our new TV and headed back to Catalina. Even though it, “Never rains in southern California” it’s rained on us twice but it’s like a free wash down for the boat so we don’t care. Next week we’ll head to Avalon which is only 12 miles away for two days and then start moving to San Diego. We love retirement!

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Catalina Island

We are nearing the end of our 17 day stay at beautiful Cherry Cove and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The weather has not been as warm as we had hoped and we even experienced a very unseasonable two days of rain, but overall it’s been lovely. We hiked, swam in the clear somewhat chilly water, read our books and made new friends along the way. Gilly has enjoyed paddling all around the cove in her little red kayak. We have watched the cove fill up with boats on the weekend and then empty out during the week making us more grateful than ever for retirement. We have been “off the grid” since leaving Santa Barbara on September 12 giving us the opportunity to further test our systems. By using our diesel generator and solar panels we have produced our own electrical power which in turn has enabled us to make water and keep the fridge and freezer running. We’ve had great meals and most all the comforts of home so no real hardship for us. Several days ago the generator pooped out, but between helpful advice from Liem who installed it last January and our own trouble shooting we were able to get it running smoothly again. Tomorrow (Oct 2) we depart for San Pedro where we’ll stash Destiny for a week while we visit Scott, Hillary and the grandkids in Colorado Springs. We then plan another visit to Catalina before making our way to San Diego with several stops along the way. We will leave San Diego for Mexico on October 29 in the company of about 160 other boats as part of a race/rally called the Baha Ha-Ha.

To see larger view of the slideshow and the captions, double click on the photo.