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Thursday, October 29, 2009

San Diego

We’ve been in San Diego for five days now, sampling some of the Yacht Clubs on Shelter Island. We’ve been running errands – not too many- while trying to still have some fun, or at least purchase the tools to have fun with later. Our most exciting recent investment was an AirLine hookah, an engine/compressor gizmo that allows us to both dive up to 60 feet with no tanks. We’re planning to stop in a lot of spots in Baja and try it out :D.

Shelter Island in San Diego is perfectly located right next to tons of marine stores and services, which makes working on last minute projects pretty easy and convenient. A lot of stuff is getting done on the boat, but we’re starting to lose that eternal vacation feeling we started getting in Newport, so we’ll escape to Coronado for the weekend. Then it’s off to Mexico and Baja California sometimes next week! We’re planning to split the passage in day trips and stay in anchorages down the way, after checking in in Ensenada. And we’ll be getting a Mexico cell phone data card, so the blogs will keep on coming.

Oh, we’ve weathered a ‘winter storm’ while at dock here. We had some wind, nothing like we haven’t seen in the PNW, and the sky *gasp* covered in clouds for a day. All the locals were complaining about how cold it got: 20 degrees C. That’s about 68 for you Fahrenheit addicts. Pretty close to Seattle summer, if you ask me :)

We’ll write again before we take off to Mexico. Cheerios and Hasta la Vista!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The surf is always up in Newport Beach

We arrived in Newport Beach at the beginning of the week and instantly fell in love with the place. Newport Harbor is a former lagoon that was opened to the sea, dredged and developed into one of the most charming small boat harbors we have ever seen. Picture perfect houses line the waterfront of Corona del Mar, Balboa Peninsula, Newport Beach, Balboa Island and Lido Island, each sporting beautiful docks with cute electric boats and their bigger sisters. There are also several well organized anchorages in the Harbor, marinas and thankfully numerous yacht clubs. We enjoyed the hospitality of Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club and Newport Harbor Yacht Club.

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The Girl from Ipanema, Newport Harbor version:

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The dingy ride to the public pier closest to the Beach took a good 30 minutes, but you can’t beat Rush Hour traffic at sunset in Newport Beach:

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That’s our friends Erin and Brian, who convinced us to rent some surfboards with them and give them a try on the beautiful beach in Newport. And so we became hooked… and proceeded to buy our own boards the next day from this totally awesome shop, Russell Surfboards. We rode them at sunset the same day.

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The week just flew by, and it finally felt like a vacation. Can’t wait for even warmer places! Despite the fact that we were totally enchanted with Newport it was time to head South. We’re currently anchored in Mission Bay, just a couple of miles away from San Diego, after a windless motor trip.

Here are some more pictures from Newport:

Wish we could afford that….

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Sunset over the anchorage:

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Petter trying out my board…

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Green Flash

Today I saw my first Green Flash. Green Flashes are an optical phenomenon caused by the refraction of light during sunset and they appear, as the name suggests, as a green light right after the sun’s disk has disappeared over the horizon. They usually appear over a flat, unobstructed horizon, like the ocean, which is why they are highly sought after by sailors and cruisers. If you see enough sunsets at sea, you’re bound to see the elusive green flash once or twice...

It was the perfect compliment to a great day of sailing from Marina del Rey to Newport Beach, where we are securely tied up at Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. We’ll spend at least a couple of days here exploring the harbor and enjoying the sun.

Cheerios!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Marina del Rey, California

We’ve been staying at Marina del Rey for 5 days now – this place is huge! Imagine a small city on the water, surrounded by more city blocks on the surrounding land and in between the peers. It’s the largest man-made small craft yacht harbor in the world, berthing more than 5000 yachts. It’s probably at least four times larger than Lake Union, our former home, and it has its own traffic lanes in the water, divided by a central ‘sailing only’ waterway.

We’ve stayed at a couple of Yacht Clubs while at the marina– Pacific Mariners YC and California YC. The friendliness of the people here is humbling. There were always friendly hands helping us on and off the dock, we got rides to the grocery store, and were invited for cocktails and dinner aboard our newly found friends boats. We’ve been having a wonderful time!

We also went to check out Venice Beach, with its famous Muscle Beach and Boardwalk and the Santa Monica Pier. We have a couple of theories about Muscle Beach, and currently the most popular one is ‘You must be this big to enter’. We only saw super buff people working out, and we’re wondering if they don’t allow normal people like us to enter.

Well, the sun is out, so I’m off for a dip in the pool :) Cheerios!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

King Harbor, Redondo Beach

It’s been a couple of rainy days as a big storm system is blowing through. It made for a pretty rolley anchorage for a couple of hours last night in Avalon Harbor. You know it’s Southern California though when despite the rain and drizzle, it’s still a balmy 20 degrees C.

Today we did the crossing from Catalina Island to Redondo Beach on the ‘mainland’. We saw some huge swells, but no wind, so it was motoring all the way. Oh well. The pelicans kept us company, but we didn’t see any of the other usual sea life.

We’re docked at King Harbor Yacht Club, right behind the breakwater. The high surf, leftover from the storm, is crashing over from time to time with a thunder-like sound. It’s a pretty cool spectacle, and we have front row seats.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Santa Cruz and Santa Catalina Islands

We left Morro Bay after a couple of days at anchor and arrived at Santa Cruz Island on Saturday morning. We spent the day at Fry’s anchorage, then decided to head further South to Catalina Island. So far the Channel Islands have been rugged and desert-like, although the waters are teaming with sea life! In Santa Cruz we were basically anchored on top of a huge school of fish, and on the passage from Santa Cruz to Catalina we saw tons of dolphins. The waters here are bioluminescent, and the dolphins swimming off the bow at night are like a private fireworks display, their torpedo-like contours lit up by microorganisms in the water. It’s one of the coolest things we’re ever seen!

We decided to give civilization a try on the Islands and we are currently on a mooring in Avalon Harbor, one of the busiest tourist and boating destinations in Southern Cali. The season is winding down, and it’s actually pretty quiet. Tomorrow we’ll explore the town and hopefully get some diving gear :D

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Monterey to Morro Bay

We started our trip from Monterey a couple of days ago with a short trip to Pebble Beach and spent the night anchored in Stillwater cove, right next to the golf course. It was fun to come in from the Sea, after having been there just the day before by car. We enjoyed a spectacular sunset and an almost as spectacular steak :)

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At anchor in Stillwater Cove, overlooking the Pacific Ocean:IMG_0388

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Monterey was a lot of fun, but it was time to get South. We spent almost a week there, enjoyed our time visiting the city and surroundings, and attended a friend’s beautiful wedding in Menlo Park. Congratulations Sonya and Erik!

After Pebble Beach we headed towards Morro Bay. We decided to get away from the lee of the land and headed away to sea to be able to get some wind and sailing in. We sailed most of the way, with the moon and stars shining over our path. We arrived in Morro Bay right after sunrise, with dolphins playing in our wake.

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And sunrise :)

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The famous Morro Rock:IMG_0459

Thursday, October 1, 2009

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Finding Nemo

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We spent the whole day at the Monterey Aquarium today. They have some amazing exhibitions, including a young great white shark and a huge kelp forest.

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