Goodbye USA!!!

At 11AM,  the starting gun for the 2010 Baja Haha fires to start the rally for the fleet of 196 boats to head to Mexico!

We'll be offline until at least November 5th, but very possibly even a day or two after that - however we will send position reports via satphone every day or so, which automatically get published to our yotreps (you know about the Location tab above, right!?!?!

Let me say that again (since many readers of our blog aren't aware) - the Location tab above has a map updated via our position reports. And if you are one of the many family and friends who get our email updates, you'll continue to get those as well!

So CLICK HERE to get to our Location page whenever you are curious about where we are, and we'll blog again from Mexico once we have internet! It's going to be a GREAT TRIP!

Scott's sister and family came by Saturday which was really nice and we had a nice dinner out, our last Chinese food for a few months!

Here's some pictures of the crew and Jane'O all ready to go:

Note the lack of remaining waterline, and that's after we repainted it higher! Yep, we are loaded!!


San Diego Video

Some video coming into San Diego, including cool military fly-bys and boat-bys. We really enjoy this aspect of San Diego!

San Diego

Well here we are! Our final port of call in the USA, San Diego! Monday the fleet of 196 Baja Haha boats heads to Mexico! Check out various San Diego news stations (online for those not in San Diego) for pictures and video - there will be media coverage as we parade the San Diego waterfront!

The trip from Mission Bay isn't very far - just a few hours, but of course things are never that simple, right? As we are leaving Mission  Bay, dodging crab/lobster pots and HUGE patches of kelp and seaweed, it starts to rain. That's about when the overheat alarm on one of the engines goes off, due to a shredded water-pump/alternator belt. That's the good thing about having two engines, at least we were able to keep going and get safely into clear water, before Scott climbed down into the engine room to replace the belt (fortunately an easy job).

Following us out of Mission Bay, and through the pots and kelp was another catamaran, French-flagged. I hope they weren't following us assuming we knew the best path! But we both made it through.

Point Loma also has massive kelp fields and pots - requiring going 2-3 miles offshore to avoid most of it.

We are now safely tucked away in a marina on Harbor Island. We didn't expect to be able to find a slip, especially with our wide beam, but we lucked out - calling at just the right time after another boat had cancelled their reservation.

We really enjoyed coming into San Diego with all the cool military boats, helicopters, and planes that we saw (and heard!) constantly the whole way up the channel. We've got some video to put together of this, so look for another blog post soon!

Point Loma

San Diego
We saw Profligate near the fuel dock. Profligate, the green and white catamaran, is the "mother ship" of the Baja Haha, owned by the publishers of Latitude 38:


Profligate, behind the power boat (+1 artistic)
Here's a toy every boat owner needs, but Chris already told Scott and Jacob that they can't have one:

Flying Dingy?


Mission Bay

We spent a couple of nights anchored in Mission Bay at Mariner's Cove. What a pleasant anchorage! Very calm and quiet (except for the planes from San Diego airport). It rained all day Tuesday, so we didn't do much other than school and various inside things.

Mission Bay - Mariner's Cove
They were dredging the entrance to Mission Bay, this beast of a machine had to move out of the way every time a boat went in or out. We wondered if they are able to get any work done, constantly moving out of the way of boats, then back in so they could continue dredging. You could hear mud and rocks flowing through the long pipes extending to shore.


On our way to San Diego tomorrow

Tomorrow we will head to Mission Bay for a couple of days, then make the final trek into San Diego - our last port of call until Mexico!

We've had a great stay at Oceanside Yacht Club, who have been just wonderful - nice, accommodating, and friendly. While here we've met several Haha boats - Enchantress, Double Dharma, Hotel California, Liberty, So Inclined, and Sirocco. I think that's everyone...


Fridges and things in Oceanside

We arrived in Oceanside on Tuesday afternoon, after a mellow motoring from Catalina - not a speck of wind, and seas were flat. The new fridge was delivered right to the marina gate, thanks to Defender, and Scott spent Wednesday installing it, so once again we have full refrigeration.

We plan to be here for a few more days, if we can find room. The Yacht Club has a limit on how long we can use the guest dock, so we may move over to a municipal dock for the last bit of our stay, if they have room for us. Oceanside Yacht Club has been great and we really appreciate how well they support cruisers! We have a rental car and plan to do as much of our final big provisioning as we can, while we've got a dock and car to make things easy. Once we get to San Diego we will most likely have to anchor, and it's much harder getting groceries and stuff aboard via dingy. Also hope to meet up with various family in the general San Diego area since we've got wheels.

We have also met a couple more Baja Haha boats here on the guest dock with us - Enchantress and Double Dharma - and there's at least three or four other Haha boats in the marina whom we haven't yet met. Once again, everyone we've met from a Haha boat have been really nice, friendly, and helpful folks.

That about covers things for now, here's a few more pictures of Catalina Island to share...

Cat Harbor on the opposite side of The Isthmus

Cool submarine

Fog rolling across the island

Nice, even line of masts

Neat ship Tole Mour came into Two Harbors


Catalina Island is just fabulous!

We are having a fantastic, relaxing time at Two Harbors on Catalina Island. The weather has been warm, if windy and foggy at times.

We met Jack, another former crew member from Jane'O (he was even wearing a Jane'O hat!). And today ran into Nick, the broker again. It's a small world, but appreciate all the people from the boat's life that we keep running into and meeting!

We also saw Karina C once again, and chatted with them a bit. They are the only other Baja Haha boat we've seen here on this side of the isthmus (there's one in Cat Harbor). Sounds like there have been quite a few more Haha boats going through Avalon, but we'll be skipping that as our new fridge is being shipped to Oceanside this week.

With the weekend over, and maybe 1/10th as many boats now, it's very quiet compared to Friday and Saturday!

Not really any stories to tell, we've just been relaxing and having a great time. With the fridge turned into an icebox, we just have to buy ice every couple of days, but it's really not a big deal at all.

Here's a few more pictures:


Off to Catalina Island

We had a busy, but good visit to Redondo Beach and today we are headed for Catalina Island.

While in Redondo Beach we met up with a number of people, which was really great.

Since Jane'O spent many years in Redondo Beach, many people here know her.

We met up with Peter and Pam, who sailed on Jane'O with the previous owner. Really great people, and we again ran into Peter and a buddy by coincidence for dinner last night, so got to spend some more time as well. Peter enjoyed a tour of the boat, seeing the new things, remembering the old things (and the things he fixed and installed), and relived some old memories. We got to see a bunch of pictures of Jane'O and crew in Mexico, which was just awesome.

We also spoke on the phone with Jane - the "Jane" in Jane'O, who had the boat two owners ago, which was a lot of fun. We hope to meet up with her the next time we are in town.

As if that wasn't enough, while Peter was here Scott got to talk to Emma, who's family spent lots of time on Jane'O. Emma and family are just about to complete circumnavigating the world on Blue Sky!

And to top off the evening, we got to spend a couple of hours with our friend John, who Scott worked with about a decade ago, and who happens to live "relatively" (the LA definition) close by.

So it's been a great visit to Redondo Beach with a busy social calendar. Today we head to Catalina Island, and from what we understand we can expect to run into more people who know Jane'O well! She had a mooring on The Isthmus, and spent much time there...

We don't know when the next update will be, but if no wifi in Catalina, then please catch up with us again next week!


A wet and rainy day in Redondo Beach

Today it's a wet and rainy day in Redondo Beach, where we are tied to the King Harbor Yacht Club guest dock.

The yacht club has been really great, and some of the members know Jane'O, as we bought her in Redondo Beach, and she was berthed here for many years. In fact we've spoken to her namesake and former owner, who we hope to meet during our visit - and we are having lunch with Peter, who sailed on her with another former owner, Dave. Yesterday we spent some time with Nick, the broker who sold her to us. It's kind of fun being in Jane'O territory and meeting people who know her!

We've met Jay and Anita on Karina C, Baja Haha participants also staying at the yacht club. The trend continues - every Haha boat and crew we've met on our journey South have been nice and wonderful people!

We learned that Jane'O has spent many a weekend at Catalina, so I'm sure she knows the way there when we depart for Two Harbors in the next day or two...


We have a stowaway!

While cruising across Santa Monica Bay, about 10 nautical miles out from Redondo Beach, Jacob noticed we had a stowaway aboard!

Stowaway! Hidden underneath the dingy
This fat little guy had taken refuge underneath the dingy, coming along for the ride. We don't know how long he had been there - maybe just a few minutes, maybe for hours. He slept for about 45 minutes on this line, and then spent the rest of the run into Redondo Beach catching and eating flies, much to our amusement. He wasn't the least bit scared or concerned about us, as he flew around - landing on our feet, shoulders, even standing on the wheel for a few seconds. At times he would fly off the side of the boat and return with a fly in his mouth. Once he flew behind us and struggled for 30 seconds or so trying to catch back up to us, with us laughing at the poor little guy flying as hard as he could to catch up.

Once we made the turn around the breakwater into the harbor, he took off and flew directly to shore. Thanks for all the laughs, little buddy!

From our bird chart, we think he's a California Gnatcatcher. If so, the name suits him well, as he caught and ate at least a dozen flies during his time aboard. No wonder he was so fat!

Look close, he's sitting next to Chris

Passage by Anacapa Island

Early Monday morning the swell in Prisoner's Harbor had gotten pretty nasty. The forecast called for Northwest wind and swells, with a gale warning for the outer islands. This was not the anchorage to be in for such weather, being fully exposed to the North. We decided to pull anchor and head towards Anacapa to find better shelter. It seems this was a good decision, as we later heard over the VHF that a boat anchored next to us had dragged into the rocks on the beach. We understand they were towed back to Ventura and hauled at the boatyard we just left a few days earlier. At least we know that's a good place to have the boat fixed! We sincerely hope that all turned out OK for them and damage, if any, was not extensive or serious.

Based on the weather, we decided to transit the South side of Anacapa Island. The cruising guide we have shows several anchorages along the Southern coast of Anacapa - but we quickly discovered them to be anchorages only in the broadest definition! Maybe in fair weather, but not with what was coming - so we made the decision to continue on to Redondo Beach.

Along with the weather, our refrigerator had also stopped working. The fridge is pretty old, with parts no longer readily available, so the sooner we could get to Redondo Beach, the sooner we could arrange to get a new fridge. Too bad it hadn't died during the two weeks we were hauled in Ventura, but that's just not the way it worked, unfortunately! There's more to the fridge story, along with a ridiculous experience in trying to get one from West Marine - but that's a rant deserving it's own blog post...

We were really bummed in the change of weather, as we weren't yet done with the Channel Islands! We'll visit Catalina soon, but that's a whole different experience than the more distant islands.

Rugged and beautiful

Between East and Middle Anacapa

The famous Anacapa arch

Goodbye Channel Islands!


Santa Cruz Island

Wow! That's all we can say. The Channel Islands are simply amazing.

Jane'O at Prisoner's Harbor on Santa Cruz Island
We are at Prisoner's Harbor on Santa Cruz Island, along with about a half-dozen other boats. Not a super protected anchorage, but we are secure in 15' of water, though East of the pier. A bit rolly on the beam at times, but a great place to be!

We spent some time walking around on the island, the first real dirt we've seen since Half Moon Bay. These islands are rugged, dry, and dusty. Not far from civilization, yet desolate and lonely. The Chumash Indians used to canoe all the way to shore - about 25 statute miles across open, unprotected seas. In the 1800's, there were several ranches on the island, and they would signal passing ships with a candle from a small building up on one of the peaks (the building is still standing). It must have been quite a life, living out in these remote islands, far from supplies and people.

Most of Santa Cruz Island is owned by the Nature Conservancy, which requires a permit to set foot across their property. The fences and NO TRESPASSING signs are rather at odds with the nature they are trying to protect. Unfortunately this private property also includes the information/interpretive center housed in the old ship signaling building! The only way to get the permit is well in advance in Santa Barbara...


Back in the water and cruising to Santa Cruz Island

Jane'O on her way back to the water

After almost two week on the hard at Ventura Harbor Boatyard, we finally are back in the water and on our way to the Channel Islands. Our plan is to go to Prisoner's Harbor on Santa Cruz Island for a couple of days, and then maybe to Anacapa for another day or two.

Ventura Harbor Boatyard had a bunch of guys working late to get our boat done Thursday evening so we would be first to splash on Friday morning.

Installing rudders:

Once we we checked all the shafts and sea cocks that were replaced for leaks, we fueled up, paid our big boatyard bill, and headed out of Ventura towards the islands!

Ventura Harbor Boatyard was great and we recommend them without any hesitation. Everyone was great and easy to work with. VHBY has no problem with you doing whatever amount of work you want, which is really great. They understand that as cruisers, the boat is our home, and really went out of their way to make sure all was well, that we had power, access to bathrooms and showers, etc. If you are near Ventura and need boat work, or can make this a stop along the way, this is the place to go!
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