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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Mexico!!!

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Ensenada, to be more exact. We had an easy overnight trip down from San Diego; less swell than predicted, and little wind, as predicted. We got to sail (without benefit of diesel) a whole hour! I have mentioned that Slappey and his crew choose benign weather windows, haven’t I? Once settled into the marina by the enormous flag, called Baja Naval, we cleaned up the boat and headed over to the Port Captain’s office, with Immigration and Customs all in the same building. John assures me that it went smoothly, comparatively speaking. I say it went quickly, about an hour, but not exactly smoothly. We can now stay in Mexico for 180 days, and Slappey can stay for 10 years. The best part was, we didn’t have to push a red or green button to see if a visit to the boat from Customs was necessary; it was close to lunch and the Customs man must have been hungry. He just waved us on, “You’re green, go.” It’s also possible we’re just too old to look like trouble. I suppose that should be comforting (but it’s not, really.)

We are keeping busy with finding opportunities to provision; we’ll need about 2 weeks worth of food on the boat to keep us till Cabo San Lucas. What to buy, where to put it, what to cook? This, along with general exploring, is keeping me away from internet solitaire!

Ensenada is interesting, and vibrant. I would stop short of calling it charming, but perhaps if we got out a bit, the wineries in the valley would be pretty. The people do seem very polite and helpful, which makes up for the dearth of charm.

Here are a few shots from San Diego:

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last sunset in the US

last sunset in the US

first sunset in Mexico

first sunset in Mexico

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Sunny in San Diego…

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……most of the time, that is. This stop marks the end of our California travels. We pulled into town just as the huge block of cruisers with the Baja Ha Ha pulled out, so the cruising community seems kind of empty here. There are others around, gearing up for Mexico just as we are, but this place is big, and spread out. We haven’t met many of them yet. I hope we do run into others as we head down the Coast to Ensenada and beyond.

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day, and also happened to be our 5-month anniversary of cruising.  What have we learned?

1.It gets easier (but doesn’t exactly qualify as the easiest way to travel.) Warm temperatures, blue skies, and sun help a lot.

pretty scene in Santa Barbara

pretty scene in Santa Barbara

2.John can fix almost anything. That said, remarkably little has needed attention. We had to put in a galvanic isolator, a brush on our shaft, and change out an old bilge pump to keep our prop zincs from disappearing at an alarming rate. The watermaker, yet to be used, needed servicing and a new valve. We put new, beefier oaklocks and oars on the Porta-Slappey (dinghy) We replaced a piece of one lifeline gate that was broken in a fit of pique while trying for that Avalon mooring ball. We do have some sea water coming in around our rudder post when we motor, but nothing the bilge pump can’t handle. That is the sum total of it on this leg thus far. Not bad.

3.There is a lot of down time in this life. Who knew I could like Robert B. Parker books?  I’ve also played countless games of internet solitaire. When not taking half a day to provision, or playing tourist, or doing laundry, there is not much else to do. This should change when we get into Mexico, I would guess.

4. Pistol Shrimp! Google them, and prepare to be amazed. They have surrounded the boat since Los angeles, and can sound like either a loud, crackling fire, popcorn, or a malicious child on the dock with an endless supply of bubble wrap.

Here are some photos from the rest of our California journey. Next stop: Ensenada, and the West coast of the Baja Peninsula.

and more of Santa Barbara

and more of Santa Barbara

scene from inside the beautiful Santa Barbara Courthouse

scene from inside the beautiful Santa Barbara Courthouse

another Courthouse shot

another Courthouse shot

many shades of blue in Santa Barbara

many shades of blue in Santa Barbara

Outside the Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara

Outside the Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara

view from the excellent Getty Center, Los Angeles

view from the excellent Getty Center, Los Angeles

and another view of the Getty Center

and another view of the Getty Center

and yet another view; you can tell we particularly liked the Getty Center

and yet another view; you can tell we particularly liked the Getty Center

the theater formerly known as Grauman's Chinese...now with some completely forgettable corporate-sponsor name

the theater formerly known as Grauman’s Chinese…now with some completely forgettable corporate-sponsor name

Yes, even he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (plus, no one else in Hollywood that day would have known who he was!)

Yes, even he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (plus, no one else in Hollywood that day would have known who he was!)

Gorgeous sunset over Marina del Rey, Los Angeles

Gorgeous sunset over Marina del Rey, Los Angeles

Pretty Avalon Harbor, Catalina Island

Pretty Avalon Harbor, Catalina Island

the chimes over the harbor come from this clock on the hillside

the chimes over the harbor come from this clock on the hillside

view from the ridge top over Avalon

view from the ridge top over Avalon

surprise sightling of little Catalina Island fox

surprise sighting of little Catalina Island fox

harbor view from the ridge top

harbor view from the ridge top

Slappey II,  on his mooring ball in the middle

Slappey II, on his mooring ball in the middle

We had a nice little hike through town to the Wrigley Memorial, and the Botanical Gardens

We had a nice little hike through town to the Wrigley Memorial, and the Botanical Gardens

Mary, with hat

Mary, with hat

the Wrigley Memorial, yes, he of chewing gum fame once owned Catalina Island

the Wrigley Memorial, yes, he of chewing gum fame once owned Catalina Island

John, looking yonder...

John, looking yonder…

Pretty tile work abounds

Pretty tile work abounds

Mary walks the winding Casino Way

Mary walks the winding Casino Way

The Casino, where no actual gambling ever took place; only ballroom dancing and cinema, so we're told.

The Casino, where no actual gambling ever took place; only ballroom dancing and cinema, so we’re told.

most common form of transport here on the island

most common form of transport here on the island

view from the boat of the cliff surrounding Dana Point, our next stop

view from the boat of the cliff surrounding Dana Point, our next stop

Richard Henry Dana; I never read the book, and John didn't think much of it, but Dana Pt. itself is very nice

Richard Henry Dana; I never read the book, and John didn’t think much of it, but Dana Pt. itself is very nice

Attractive development rings Dana Pt. Harbor

Attractive development rings Dana Pt. Harbor

Oceanside: not particularly attractive, with loud and brash sea lion neighbors

Oceanside: not particularly attractive, with loud and brash sea lion neighbors