Blog November 2016 -Diana
Well, it’s November already and we have had quite a journey so far. We are sitting on the boat at anchor in San Diego Bay and are taking in all of the beauty we are surrounded by, Sarah is appreciating the palm trees, I love to look at the lights of the cityscape at night, Jake is appreciating the sunshine in November, and Darius is enjoying the hunt for WiFi…like hunting for wabbits only different. We have had an opportunity to spend a lot of time together and for the most part that has been a wonderful thing. It is one of the many things that we have to be thankful for this thanksgiving season.
I have had an opportunity to shop for groceries in more than a few seaside ports along the way, finding some good bargains, some interesting new fruits and veggies, and I have taken many long walks hauling groceries in my wheeled cart which is a bit bulky for some of the streets with lots of traffic but no sidewalks which has been the case in many California towns.
In Eureka, we walked several times in our 5 weeks to Grocery Outlet which was a dinghy ride and then a mile walk or to target which was a 1.5-2 mile walk over a highway overpass bridge and then through a residential part of town. We were also blessed with rides for shopping trips on a few occasions by friends we were so luck to get to know.
In Bodega bay we walked around the head of the bay to a tiny little organic market which challenged our food budget with milk that cost $8.55 per gallon and had and interesting selection of “natural food items” but not so much in the way of staples. As we took a shortcut through a campground, Jake smelled the campfires and was stricken with a strong need to build our own campfire for smores roasting. So, we dropped off our groceries, found Darius and went off toward an equestrian trailhead park to find a firepit and build a fire. We played in the sand all afternoon and the kids found a bag of change…an afternoon of blessings of all sorts. We were also able to go explore the UC Davis Marine Research Lab and learn a lot about creatures being cared for off the California Coast, including the white abalone and at the conclusion of our tour, our kind tourguide asked about the kid’s homeschooling and our adventures and then blessed us with a ride back to the boat.
At Half Moon Bay we took a family walk…mostly because I accidentally heard Darius say “we walk, that’s what we do” to someone that he met on the dock. So, we walked…to Safeway…that google maps said was 3.7 miles away. It was a beautiful walk along an embarcadero that bordered the high bank surf beaches where Mavericks takes place and meandered through equestrian trails and camp grounds and beachfront streets. We did our shopping and decided to take a more direct route home, which lead us along a dark unlit highway with sidewalks that come and go without warning, which makes pulling the cart of groceries quite a feat. We had a few days to just sit on the beach and watch the kids fly kites and play in the water. Our first opportunity for Mai Tais on the beach…or bottled wine coolers because the travel better. If I had to pick a place to spend more time along the California Coast, Half Moon Bay would be the place. It was beautiful, the showers were long, hot, and free, and the weather was nice. Somehow, my fitbit says I walked 10.2 miles (Don’t tell Darius…He thought 3.7 mile was too far to walk and tried to talk the kids into hitchhiking, but he succumbed to their safer, more reasonable requests to just keep walking).
Our next port of call was Monterey, where we were blessed with wonderful weather, some opportunities for learning and exploring, and we met a great new friend and traveling buddy. We took a day to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. While we were walking along the boardwalk to the aquarium, a city worker who was repairing a street sign, asked me if we were headed to the aquarium and when I said yes, he blessed us with three free tickets. Wow, thanks so much, what a blessing! We learned a lot that day, about fish, sharks that travel the same trip we are making, whale migration, and so much more! While we were in Monterey we also had a day to spend going through the museums and learning about the Native Californians, the Spanish explorers, the missions, the US Military actions that claimed the west coast for the US and the history of the fur traders and shipping along the west coast.
We took a long walk to provision in Monterey at Safeway. I knew it was quite a distance but I was not prepared to walk up the 18% grade…Which when he looked up at it, Jake said “Mom I think we can make it if we use our hands and our feet to clim it”. It was ominous but we were able to make it up the hill and back down again with a cartfull of groceries and no melons rolling down the hill racing us to the bottom or any other tragedies we predicted, thanks to Jake and Sarah pulling on the cart to keep it from running me over…teamwork!
Next stop was in Morro Bay. We enjoyed paddle boarders, kayakers, and dinghy drivers every morning and evening who stopped to chat on their way by. We took a couple of trips to Albertsons, for groceries and parts to repair Darius’ glasses, which was a nice mile or so walk, only slightly uphill, from our anchorage. We met many very interesting people, walked to town to buy the most delicious cinnamon rolls one morning and spent a few days enjoying that we had finally found summer weather with the kids swimming and kayaking and surfers all over the place because the surf was high while we were there.
Santa Barbara was our next port and that leg was a little rough as we managed to break many parts of out lovely little ship, from overheating the motor to breaking another part of the boom attachment component as well as the masthead pulley from which we fly our spinnaker. We had some fog, some rough weather, rougher water and many obstacles (oil platforms) to navigate around under sail, with no main due to the broken boom and the heavy weather (35+ knots of wind). We rounded point conception and then within five miles or so, in the darkness, we had no wind an no forward propulsion, but we did have a buddy boat. So, Darius commandeered the Iko Iko, put the captain down for a nap and towed our boat into the harbor entrance at Santa Barbara, where the kind gentlemen from the harbor patrol hip tied to tow us into a slip.
We took this opportunity to make our repairs, walk to 7-11 (because my crew works better fueled by slurpees) and to play on the beach. We restocked our supplies at an interesting little Mexican market that had a really nice meat selection and a meat cutter who’s English was limited. I requested 10 chicken breasts and I believe he packaged 10 lbs of chicken breasts. So, that week, we enjoyed really good chicken in four or five different preparations. We also had a chance to try a variety of Mexican pan (sweet breakfast breads). Adventures in cooking and shopping!
Next, we headed out on a leg to Newport Bay…Wow, what a place. It looks like a something between a Hollywood movie set and a Mediterranean seaport. It was so busy and cool and filled with people having fun on the water. We took a trip by dinghy and then an hour walk to a boaters used parts supermarket to try to find some more permanent part to fix our boom issue. We shopped until the store was closed, bought nothing, and decided that we could easily spend another day or two looking over their wares. But, moorage was expensive and the people in the mooring office were not friendly, so, off we go again, but not before the kids evaluated the beach a let us know that the sand was too chunky and not right for a sandy beach.
We made it into Mission Bay and registered with the port feeling like we had arrived at our first real destination point and were welcomed into port by the lifeguard office and told we could stay for free for 72 hours at which time we could secure a permanent slip, move on, or have the boat impounded. A little different welcome than we had envisioned. So, we went ashore, had lunch with Darius’ uncle JR, and then raced back to the boat because Penny and Rod Gunn rented a boat and came out to visit us. A much warmer welcome from our friends and family than the port authorities! We had fun talking and visiting and playing at the beach.
Jake and I decided to take a trip to the grocery store, Ralph’s this time, bu dinghying up to the head of the bay and then taking a half mile or so walk. We set off at about 3:00pm and made our way to the waters edge only to find that the tide was low, very muddy kind of low and the only dock belonged to a resort, but we decided to tie up and take the risk. We did our shopping, helped onto the right path by the Mexican resort gardener who helped us get through the gated part of the hotel storage yard and onto the main street. Jake was pressuring me all through the store about how long it was taking and then finally we were finished and on our way back, back through the yard and side gate of the resort, through the Hawaiian luau at the patio bar and out onto the dock to meet face to face with a locked gate between us and our dinghy as evening is approaching and daylight is dwindling. I had to go back through the maze and into the hotel lobby to ask them to open the dock gate. He was kind, but not negligent in his obligation to his duty of letting me know that it was private and the public was not welcome to tie up there. I apologized and he calloed a security person to let us through. When I got back through the maze to Jake and my cart of groceries, I was met by a security guard letting Jake and then myself know that the dock was private and not for public tie up. I apologized again and assured him that we would never tie to the dock again and he finally saw fit to open the gate. So, by now, it is truly dark and Jake is not happy about dinghying back up the entire length of the bay without proper lighting even though the bay has a five mile per hour speed limit and the water and weather were nice. We settled on using my phone flashlight as a stern light and he was much happier.
After three days, we headed out again for San Diego Bay. We were welcomed by the San Diego Harbor Police for a vessel inspection and we were invited to stay in the harbor at anchor for free for up to 90 days. So, here we are in sunny San Diego, not a calm as mission bay but we traded that for the amazing lights of the cityscape from the bay and an opportunity to rest and be thankful for where we have been, what we have been able to see and learn and the people we have met along the way. Oh what an adventure!