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.
We’ve been watching the weather up in Portland, with mixed feelings: Yes, it’s nice to be here, where it’s sunny and warm almost every day, but it feels a little odd seeing holiday decorations going up everywhere while the sky is a cloudless blue and the air temperature is hovering around 70. It seems unnatural to us Portlanders!
We’ve also been able to connect with cousins Guy and Katie Webster, who live not too far away in Pasadena. We spent last Saturday with them, doing the tourist thing and entirely enjoying it. We began with a walk around the grounds of the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park on Mount Hollywood. The observatory overlooks the city of LA, and you get a good view of the famous “Hollywood” sign on the approach to the park.
The landscape design around the art deco-style observatory building is nicely done and includes several pieces of interactive art that illustrate the positions and movement of celestial bodies in our solar system. Although the observatory isn’t used that much for research any longer, the observatory’s educational programs, views, and especially its planetarium, attract school groups and tourists.
Later in the day, Guy and Katie took us to the Getty Center, which is located high on a hill above LA and offered another expansive view of the city.
The Getty Center is a large campus that includes a couple of institutes and the Getty Trust’s offices, as well as several buildings that comprise the museum of art. It’s well known for its architecture, gardens, and view.
We walked through the gardens as evening fell, to see them before it was too dark. The sky was clear, the colors glorious shades of blue, violet, rose, and gold, and the view spectacular. Watching the city lights come on as darkness fell was memorable. The art inside was pretty good, too.
The Pacific Mariner’s YC membership has been very welcoming and we’ve made new acquaintances with whom we hope to stay in touch. Members have been loaning us their cars, or driving us around to stores for hardware and groceries and supplies. Very generous folks. We’ve been working on boat projects – we’re always working on boat projects – but also doing a fair amount of socializing, so it hasn’t been all work and no play. We’ve enjoyed some great dinners, and many good conversations.
Speaking of projects, one big decision we recently made is to add a 12 volt water maker to Velic. This makes fresh water from salt water, using reverse osmosis desalination. We’ve been thinking about this for at least a year but couldn’t decide whether we really needed the extra equipment and complication or not. We have three water tanks that, combined, hold approximately 120 gallons, which seemed like plenty. Good water makers are expensive, both in dollars and energy to run it. But the newer units are very efficient, use less power per gallon than earlier models did, are reliable, and reasonably simple to operate and maintain. The final deciding factor for us was the weather forecast for next year in the South Pacific, which calls for drier weather and probable drought conditions in many places as a result of the prolonged El Niño effect. If we can make fresh water ourselves, enough to keep our tanks topped up, then we won’t be asking for precious water from local villages on small islands. Moreover, the thinking changes from filtering and filling tanks just before departure on a long voyage to making water at sea and arriving with full tanks. A mental flip-flop for Randy.
We are now preparing for departure on Monday, November 29, heading for Catalina Island.