I departed Avalon at 6am on Saturday 27 October with clear skies and stars overhead. A light breeze from the west wafted me towards Oceanside over smooth seas. Soon after the sun rose thick fog descended and I sailed the rest of the day blanketed in fog, sometimes thick, sometimes thin. I arrived in Oceanside at 3:30pm and tied up to my guest slip in front of the Jolly Roger restaurant where I left the boat for a week and flew home fr a quick visit.
I returned to Oceanside on Saturday 3 November and departed early Sunday morning for San Diego. I spent 4 beautiful days there completing my entry paperwork for Mexico, provisioning, and enjoying all that San Diego has to offer.
I sailed out of San Diego Bay on the afternoon of Thursday 8 November for Ensenada, my first port in Mexico. It was a gorgeous afternoon and evening, with just a sliver of the waxing crescent moon after sunset and setting not long after the sun.
The stars in the moonless sky were magnificent. I spent the evening sailing South with Mars directly ahead of me. I sailed slowly with light winds from the WNW pushing me towards Ensenada over flat seas. Then at 4am the Santa Anna winds that were fanning fires further north in California hit me suddenly and ferociously. I put a double reef in the mainsail and furled the jib, but still had the rail buried. At sunrise I was 4 miles from the entrance to Marina Coral and not making much forward progress against the fierce wind. I lowered the mainsail and motored towards the entrance at full throttle. It took 3 hours to cover the 4 miles, and as I entered the marina my outboard made a loud rattling noise and quit. I coasted into the dock and tied up. The wind died completely an hour later.
I’ll be in Ensenada for a few days as I figure out how to get a new outboard in Mexico. It will probably involve a trip north to San Diego. There are worse places to break down. Marina Coral is the most luxurious Marina I’ve stayed in on this trip with pools, spas, gym, excellent restaurant, and feudal service. Ensenada has been upgraded since I was here last, with a wine trail, afternoon jazz concerts, and upscale restaurants.
I had a wonderful time visiting Santa Barbara, one of my favorite towns. The weather was perfect as usual, the harbor is just at the end of State St. next to Stearn’s Wharf, a great central location for exploring. I had excellent Mexican food at Carlito’s, breakfast at the first and last Sambo’s, and great seafood at Brophy Bros. I hiked up to Elings Park and wandered around town.
On Tuesday, 23 October I sailed the 28 miles to Channel Islands Harbor in about 5 hours, arriving around 3pm. Two other boats I met in Morro Bay arrived shortly after me,
Wednesday, 24 October I departed at 6am for Two Harbors on Catalina Island, 56 miles distant, with the setting harvest moon lighting my way. The morning was calm so I motored until 10am, then sailed. It was a gorgeous day with dolphins playing around the boat all afternoon. Zoom in on the photo below to just in front of the boat and there is a dolphin jumping completely out of the water.
I arrived in Two Harbors a bit before 6pm, just as the sun was setting. Two Harbors is on the isthmus, the narrow part of the hourglass between the north and south parts of Catalina. It is a short walk across the isthmus, so I saw the sunset over the ocean and the sunrise over the water the next morning. I hiked around Two Harbors Thursday morning, then sailed to Avalon in the afternoon. I spent Friday hiking in the hills and kayaking in the Bay. I’ve never been to Catalina before. I’ve had an outstanding time.
20 October 2018. I departed Morro Bay in the dark at 6am. I motored for an hour until I felt a bit of breeze, the hoisted the sails. It was an exhilarating day of sailing. With a brisk breeze and gentle swell both from the NW we surfed South at 10 – 12 kph for most of the day. It was a lively ride, but one of the best days of sailing I’ve ever had. In a small ultralight boat you feel very connected to the sea and wind, feeling the motion of every wave and any slight variation in the wind. I flew down the coast past Point Arguello and rounding Point Conception turned East as day became night. The wind and waves died away and soon we were gliding along on a warm gentle offshore breeze.
21 October 2018. What a beautiful night. The waxing gibbous moon casts a shimmering light on the smooth water, and meteors occasionally shoot across the sky. At 7am the wind dies completely. I furl the sails, start the outboard, and motor into Santa Barbara at 9am in time for breakfast. I spent the morning and afternoon walking in Santa Barbara, then after being awake for 38 hours I slept like I haven’t slept in a long time.
Today was magical. Sailing along the Big Sur coast in warm sunshine, a light breeze wafting us along, the ocean swells gently raising and lowering the boat. Louie Armstrong singing La Vie en Rose. Blue skies with a few clouds on the horizon and a chiaroscuro haze along the shore, giving the land a dreamlike quality. Pelicans fly by in single file, skimming over the sea. Pelicans have a comical aspect on land, but at sea they are elegant birds, beautiful in flight.
Google recently notified me that according to my Google Maps timeline I’ve visited 28 countries and 837 cities in the past 5 years. I don’t remember them all, but I do know this is a day I will remember for it’s beauty and serenity. We live in a world of ugliness, hate, brutishness, pain, suffering, and deceit. It is also a world of sublime beauty, divine love, unexpected kindnesses, peace, joy, and honesty. Please enjoy the beauty, love, kindness, peace, joy, and honesty of this day.
I sailed out of Alameda on Thursday, 11 October 2018. Spent a couple of days in San Francisco, then sailed for Monterey, arriving 15 October after a one night stay in Half Moon Bay and an overnight sail. Will depart 17 October for Morro Bay. First days and night of sailing have been beautiful and peaceful. Here are a few photos.