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January 2002 

  January 30th 
  January 26th 
  January 20th 
  January 6th 

Logs & Stories -  January 2002

January 30th - In Oceanside

(Email from Jackson via Internet Cafe)

Recent update by THE KID (also known as Jackson Dean the tall, skinny, nine-year-old kid who got whacked by a rope while sailing to Sausalito).

The Weather

Oceanside, a peaceful, quiet place with roads like a huge labyrinth leading to hills that go on forever. At Oceanside, it is always cloudy. Yep, clouds, clouds, clouds, nothing but clouds. Some like big, fluffy beds that belong in paintings, others like small puffs of dark volcanic gas. It rains, too. And the last time it rained was in Oxnard! But in daytime it is sunny and rainy at the same time.

Even though the sky is always gloomy, it doesn't mean we haven't had a good time here. There's a stream at the beach and some second cousins live around here. Last night there was a frost. Dad says that last night he heard big thumps from the bumping of ice sheets. And when Naomi said that there was still some ice outside I went outside to take a look. And there was ice, still on the deck and dock! To bad the ice has melted already. And we didn't take any pictures of it either. But at least is a lot warmer already. Dad says that it is too cold. I think it is snowing in Eureka right now, even though dad says that there won't snow there, even if there was a frost here. And today there is a clear sky for the first time here in Oceanside.

The Muldoons

Some nice friendly second cousins with a pool that live by a steep slope. They have lots of toys, too. At their house, we had a great time playing, throwing the football at each other, playing with balloons and watching TV. They also say we can test our snorkeling gear at their pool. Altogether they're pretty nice people. At the river, I fell in the water and Naomi followed me. After a while Devin (the older sister of the two second cousins) and Conor (her little brother) followed by the banks of the stream. The farthest I went in the stream was to the edge of the deep spot (the part of the river where the pipes went out of the bridge and the sand sloped down so the water could come in). There was a strong current, too. The reason I got really wet is because when I was walking through the current, I fell down on my butt. After we went home, Naomi and I got redressed and opened the Christmas presents that Marty (the dad of Devin and Conor) brought from our grandparents on my Mom's side. I got a glow-in the-dark T-shirt, a book that teaches science by asking you questions and having you write down the answers. I also got a pad for writing your name in hieroglyphics.

The Stream

The stream, a friendly, quiet thing like a bunch of moving ponds. Even though most of the stream is cold, some of it is warm. Yep, that's right, warm. But only the deep puddles that aren't connected to the stream that are by the pipes. Although we have only gone to the stream twice (the first time we went to the stream was when I, grandma and Naomi first parked in Oceanside) we already know it is very fun, even if you fall down (except that you have to take a shower after you're done playing). Today, the stream's water level went way up (that's what mom says at least). Mom also says that we can't play in the stream today because it rained really hard last night (although I didn't notice it at all) and the sewers overflowed and human waste got into the stream.

Well, so far, so good here in Oceanside.


January 26th – Between Long Beach & Oceanside, CA

(Email from Bill via Internet Cafe)

Bill here, after a two-month hiatus from writing.

The watermaker went in two days ago. A deeply symbolic day. It was the last major piece of hardware I had to install. I guess we're cruising now. Almost, at least.

As I write, we're motoring in a calm about an hour from Oceanside. We're testing the watermaker to see if it actually works. It appears to. This is good.

Our current plan is to spend a few days in Oceanside provisioning and packing, and making occasional forays into San Diego for parts and visits. And then we'll be off to the place where we haven't a clue what they're saying.

Here's the synopsis of our two-month So Cal experience so far:

  • Arrived Cojo Anchorage, immediately east of Point Conception on November 18. A wonderful, beautiful anchorage, a glimpse of what we expect Baja to look like.
  • Spent the next week in Santa Barbara, relaxing, touristing, surfing and playing the beach. Basked in the accomplishment of having made it to the endless summer of Southern California. Debating about whether to overhaul/rebuild the mast in California or Mexico. Called ahead to San Diego, got reports of $60/day boatyards for hauling the mast. Terror strikes. Briefly saw Kim Phillips, an old friend from Seattle.
  • Moved on to Ventura, then quickly to Oxnard where we found inexpensive moorage ($16/night) and a yard to work on the mast for only $5/day. Spent 35 days in the Channel Islands Harbor. A wonderful experience in every respect. The yard's owners, the Jarvis family, were terrific and everybody at the yard was extremely friendly and helpful. I had the privilege of working alongside a master rigger, Frosty Melton, for several days and learned a great deal from him. Both Mom and Brian Bocksch came to visit toward the end of our stay, Mom for two months and Brian for a week. Pretty much a full month of work, with only one surfing trip during the whole period (albeit to Silver Strand Beach, among the best surfing spots in California.
  • On New Year's Day we moved on to Marina del Rey, a huge place with 6000 boats. Psychologically, this is where Southern California starts - Los Angeles is separated from Oxnard by the Santa Monica mountains, with the stretch from LA to San Diego being far more densely populated than the region north from Oxnard to Santa Barbara. Spent ten days there touristing and getting things. Went to the La Brea tar pits, Griffith Observatory, and the Getty Museum. We actually went to the Observatory two nights, the first night to see a show in the planetarium, the second to view Saturn through the telescope on the last night before Griffith was to be closed for a three-year face lift. Our visit to the Getty was mixed - a breathtaking place with tremendous art, but a man fell from a seventy-story balcony onto a courtyard of marble. He lived. Back at the marina, the harbormaster said it best: "Just like LA. Beautiful and tragic at the same time." At the marina we met two great people. John, aboard a new-to-him Cheoy Lee on his way to Ventura, had spent a great deal of time in Central America and was able to inspire us and give us lots of advice. Steve Stock, a former Space Needle restaurant manager, turned navigator for Ted Turner, turned South Pacific cruiser, turned southern Oregon rural native, was busy rigging his Hobie 33 in preparation for a cruise to the Sea of Cortez, and gave us advice about both Mexico and the South Pacific.
  • Two weeks ago we moved on to Long Beach, where we've been busy with final installations - grill, watermaker, parts purchases (charts, spares, spares, spares), and the mechanics of going to Mexico (shots, money, visas…). Met more wonderful people, Captain Dave Epstein, and Duncan Harrison and Wendy Siegel, aboard the Cal-40 Willow Wind. Duncan and Wendy have been incredibly helpful in teaching us Ham and weather prediction tidbits, and advising us about Mexico. We were also visited by friends we'd met in Seattle, Tamara and Greg Dawson and one-year-old Spencer.

Busy, busy, busy. Amazingly so. Two months gone by in the blink of an eye. Back in Oxnard I made the decision to finish the various installations and purchases while in California because of language and availability issues. Seems like a reasonable thing to do, but it's interesting to note that this year's Baja Haha participants will be preparing to head to French Polynesia about the time we arrive in Puerto Vallarta.

I regret that we haven't cruised the Channel Islands at all. When we were in Oxnard we debated a trip to Santa Cruz Island, but decided to skip it because the anchorages all appeared unprotected, we'd been experiencing strong (25 knot) winds from at least three directions, and the locals suggested a December visit might be a little risky. Looks like we'll skip Catalina, too. We've got a little time pressure to get Mom on a plane by March 1, and Puerto Vallarta is still about a thousand miles away. It seems odd that we're about as far from Seattle as we are from P.V.

Culturally, Southern California is not as different as I'd imagined. People here seem much like those in Seattle. I'd remembered greater distinctions when we came through on Sorceress thirty years ago. I suspect the media deluge coming out of Los Angeles (movies, television…) has played a role in modifying the way the rest of the world interacts, driving a loss of regional identity for places like the Northwest.

We expect to cross the border within a week, sail down the Baja Peninsula making stops at Turtle Bay, Mag Bay and Cabo San Lucas, then make the final transit to Puerto Vallarta on the Mexican mainland. After that, we're not sure. Sea of Cortez? South to Zihuatanejo? Who knows? Our current best guess is that we'll stay in Mexico until May, then move southward to Costa Rica for hurricane season.

January 20th – Long Beach, California

(Email from Bill & Karryn via Internet Cafe)

We are tied to the dock in Alamitos Harbor in Long Beach. There are two Long Beach county marinas; the other one is right downtown, just east of the Queen Mary. The marina we are in is pretty quiet, and we've met some very nice people here.

We are pushing very hard to get everything done on our list before leaving the country. Bill is in the midst of installing the watermaker, I am taking care of paperwork details and we are both making lists of the provisions (both food and otherwise) that we want to have before we cross the border. We've got some new things to learn about, like running the watermaker, studying for our ham licenses and reading weatherfaxes, so we're back to the steep part of the learning curve.

At the end of this week we will move to Oceanside, where we will finish up most of our work. I have a cousin in Carlsbad (the next town over) that I haven't seen for over twenty years, and we'll visit him and his family, as well as pick up mail and packages that they graciously agreed to receive for us. (The kids will finally get their last Christmas presents!) We may stop in San Diego for a couple of days, but I think we will mostly be just waiting there for good weather to travel south.

We are planning on leaving the country the first week of February. Yvonne needs to be back in San Diego no later than March 1st so she can return to Bellingham. All of us want to stop in Bahia Magdalena to look for whales and to visit Russ and Jeanette – oops, that's Jeanette and Carlito (Russ' Mexican alter ego) in Nuevo Vallarta. Weather will determine how much of this we are able to do.

I am hoping to send updates more frequently once we are out of the country. Right now the task list is long and time is short, so writing tends to fall to the bottom of the list. It's amazing how busy we are. We still work seven days a week, and the to-do list always seems to get tasks added to it faster than we can cross them off. Cruising really is just traveling to other places to work on your boat!

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January 6th - In San Diego -- but only by car!

(Email from Bill & Karryn via Internet Cafe)

We left Channel Islands Harbor on New Year's Day. The mast had gone up the Friday before, and we spent the weekend putting everything back together, pressing Brian Bocksch into service on Sunday. It rained Sunday and Monday morning, and another front was scheduled to bring more rain Wednesday night and Thursday, so we hustled to get going. After five weeks (!) in Oxnard, it was both great to be on the move again and sad to leave a place we had really enjoyed.

It was an uneventful motor to Marina del Rey; the wind was nearly nonexistent, just enough to keep the apparent breeze to 3 knots or less. We enjoyed the sunshine on the way, and the scenery of the Santa Monica mountains was very pretty.

We're at the transient dock at Chace Park in Marina del Rey. The park is really pretty -- nice landscaping, the kids can play within sight of the boat, and lots of people come to walk their dogs or just themselves. It's like a little enclave in the urban jungle of L.A. We went to the Griffith observatory last night, and got to experience rush hour in the big city. The observatory was really cool, and we might go there again tonight.

However, we're actually in San Diego, but by car. We dropped Brian off at the airport this morning, and we're going to take a quick look around so we're better prepared for being here. Then we have to brave the L.A. freeways, but this time without Brian to do the driving!

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