Marina del Rey

We’re tied up below the Pacific Mariners’ Yacht Club inside the huge Marina del Rey harbor. And I do mean huge. The harbor has eight large basins, five really big ones along one side and three slightly smaller ones opposite. Each of the larger basins probably holds nearly as many boats than could be found in all the marinas in Portland, combined. But we’re snug inside, where there’s no current and good shelter from the wind. Continue reading

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Sailing Monterey to Oxnard

We left Monterey on Tuesday, November 17 in the early afternoon headed for Oxnard. This was a significant coastal passage for a couple of reasons. First, as mentioned in the prior post, the weather is changing and windows of good weather are fewer and shorter. Second, this passage takes the boat around ‘the corner’ of Point Arguello and Point Conception. These pair of points are only 14 nautical miles (about 16 statute miles) apart, but they define the beginning of southern California. Point Conception has a reputation for gale-force winds and high, steep waves. It is also the beginning of the Santa Barbara channel. So getting around Point Conception and into southern California marked another big step in the trip. In fact, as we sailed down the Santa Barbara channel Randy began to feel that the “delivery” phase was ending and the “cruising” phase was beginning. But I get ahead of the story.

One of the interesting facets of this trip for a sailor is that in November the coastal currents between Monterey and Point Arguello often swirl and reverse from their usual southerly direction. This means that when heading south, we might run into northerly currents. The way to tell if current is helping the boat along, or hindering progress, is to compare boat speed through the water against boat speed over the ground (over the sea floor). This is done by comparing a knotmeter that measures boat speed through the water with the GPS that reports boat speed over the surface of the earth. Well…we installed new instruments on Velic in May and in the tumult of getting off the dock the new knotmeter was not properly calibrated. Sure, it reported numbers – but we couldn’t be certain they were believable numbers. So, because of the seasonal current phenomena referenced above, I really wanted to properly calibrate the knotmeter. The last chance to do this was in the sheltered waters of  Monterey Bay as we head out. Continue reading

Itchy Feet

It finally feels like autumn in Monterey. The evenings are cool and the days still sunny but not too warm. We’ve been nearly three weeks here, since Monday October 19, and we both are getting itchy feet. It’s time to move on.

We elected to stay in Monterey this long so that we could easily travel back to San Francisco. We want to apply for long-stay visas for French Polynesia and we needed to do that in person at the French Consulate in San Francisco. And that appointment was set for 10:00 am Thursday, November 5. Sailors with US passports can visit French Polynesia for up to three months on just their passport, simply by showing up. However, French Polynesia is a large and beautiful place, consisting of five distinct island groups covering more than 1,200 square miles. With a long-stay visa in our passports, we could stay as long as one year. The application process seemed successful: They took our application forms and fees. It will be one to two months before we learn whether or not our application is approved and visas will be issued.

A side benefit of staying in Monterey and driving to San Francisco was another opportunity to visit with family. Randy’s father, Max, was able to come down from Portland and visit with us and his brother’s family (Randy’s uncle). Continue reading

Experience Monterey!

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Monterey is famous for so many things. The Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row and the sardine fishery, John Steinbeck, the Monterey Jazz Festival. And now the resurgence of Monterey Bay itself bringing back whales, dolphins, seal lions, seals, otters, and all sorts of birds and fish.

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Iconic Monterey sardine boat based on the traditional Felucca of the eastern Mediterranean

Like many famous places many attractions sprout up which are only peripherally related to the sources of fame. The old Fisherman’s Wharf is now the center of attention. I began looking for canned sardines. Continue reading