Monday, November 10, 2014

San Diego

We sadly left Newport Beach and headed for San Diego. This was to be the jump off point for the Baja Ha-ha (silly name, I know). This is a rally that leaves San Diego and races to Cabo San Lucas. We had signed up for the "ha-ah" and were planning on participating. But the more we thought about it, the less we liked the idea. There were several draw backs as far as we were concerned:

  • 170 boats were registered. All of the boats were scheduled to leave San Diego in a parade around noon and head off shore toward Cabo. You would get about 6 hours before dark and then you would have 170 boats sailing around you in the dark - does not sound like fun to me! Furthermore, the sad thing is that we figure at least 50% of people operating boats are really not qualified to do so. So 170 boats off shore, at night, with 50% of them being somewhat less than capable... I think not.
  • The rally was in 3 legs. The first leg was 3 days and nights. The second leg was 2 days and nights. And the third leg was about 30 hours. Jan and I figured we "could" do it on our own, but we would be exhausted by the time it was over. Don't forget, this is suppose to be "fun". The other thing is Jan and I have decided that we prefer to not sail at night if possible. We have seen a lot of stuff floating in the water and all of that stuff is still out there at night - you just can't see it. I know, I know, a lot of people do multi-day passages, but Jan and I prefer to sail during the day if possible. As a note - one of our friends did do the ha-ha and ran over a crab pot buoy at night wrapping the line around their prop shaft. They were lucky enough to be able to cut it off without going in the water and get back underway. But then had to dive the boat the next day and get the rest of the line off the shaft.
  • The ha-ha races down the Baja peninsula missing a lot of fun spots and we didn't want to go blowing by any of them.
Long story short - we decided not to do the ha-ha so had to say goodbye to the friends we had made on the way down from Washington.

We had a great sail from Newport Beach to San Diego. We had about 20 knots of wind from the stern. We had our genoa polled out and enjoyed a wonderful downhill ride. Here is a picture of Abby Normal (the name came from the movie Young Frankenstein - if you haven't seen it, you should check it out). Brad and Gay say the name is fitting of both them and their boat :-).

Abby Normal under spinaker
 You will notice Abby Normal trying to keep up with Rapture, as usual :-) Abby Normal left with the ha-ha and we are going to miss them very much.

I have been bit by the fishing bug! I have caught several tuna and a mackerel while in Mexico. The tuna are not only great eating fish, but they are more fun to catch than any fish I have ever caught! When you get a good sized tuna on the line, you know you are hooked up. I was coming up the companionway when the fish in the picture hit. The rod bent almost in half immediately and the reel was singing loud spooling line off at a high rate. It took me over 20 minutes to land this guy. I have been doing some research and am going to be heading to the spot where they are catching 80lb tuna soon. Holy moly! I can only imagine.

Mike with a tuna
Favorite tuna rigs
The birds down here are amazing. Of course we love the pelicans, but the heron and egret are really cool as well. They either stand at the edge of the water of on a dock and wait for small fish to come by. Then they stab their long beaks in the water with lightning speed and come out with a fish for lunch.


We spent a little over a month in San Diego. Our original plan was to spend a month there going through all of the boat systems after the trip down from Washington and before we left for Mexico. We did all of the maintenance but then stayed another week after deciding not to leave with the ha-ha. While in San Diego they had a halloween party that we attended. It can be a bit difficult to put a costume together while living on a boat, but here is what we did. One thing to note - this is and will be the ONLY time Jan is allowed to put mascara on me!



Mike and Jan taken by Richard from Sarita
We really had a great time at the party!!!

While in San Diego we came to a realization which lead to 2 purchases - transportation away from our boat is a really big deal! It was a long way to get to any services/stores from where our boat was moored (Harbor Island West Marina). If you took the dinghy across the bay you were in walking distance to one grocery store and a few marine stores. But walking anywhere from the marina was just not feasible. I did walk around the harbor 1 day shortly after we got there. I calculated it was a 15 mile walk in the hot sun - really not something I want to do every day.

So we got our dinghy that we rarely used in Washington out and quickly realized it had a very big short coming - a soft flexible bottom. In Washington it was not a problem because we rarely used it. If we wanted to leave the boat at anchor we would use our kayak. But going across the bay to get groceries was not really practical with the kayak. And the soft bottom of the dinghy was quite obviously not going to last very long being drug up on gravel beaches in Mexico. So we bought a RIB (rigid bottom inflatable boat). It has an aluminum bottom and inflatable sides. The upside is that it will last a long time. The downside is that we cannot roll it up and store it down below - it has to be carried on our foredeck. Oh well, the life of a cruiser.

The other thing we realized is that even with a good dinghy we would still have to travel some long distances for certain things from time to time. So we purchased folding bicycles. We are really happy with our bikes!!! They make long distances a breeze. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of the new dinghy or bikes right now, but I will have them for the next blog entry.

The purchase of the new dinghy and bikes delayed our departure from San Diego a week beyond when we wanted to leave, but they were really important items to get before we left the US. Now we are off to Mexico - first stop, Encenada!

Jan and I really had a very hard time in San Diego. We have talked a lot about it and are not exactly sure why. This trip has been one huge boost to our faith and we have grown much closer to our Lord. But we came under attack from the moment we arrived in San Diego. We are not sure if it is because Satan has a strong foothold in San Diego or if we came under direct attack because of our recent growth. But one thing we are absolutely sure about is we are glad we are no longer in San Diego! Neither of us have any desire to go back there anytime soon.


  1. I am glad you two are getting to do what you are doing. Many people don't get that chance and knowing the road you have traveled to get there makes it that much more special. Praise be to our Lord.

    1. Hey Scott - thank you so much for your kind words! If it wasn't for the grace of our Lord, we wouldn't be doing any of this!!!

  2. Sorry to hear that you guys didn't care for San Diego, or much of the West Coast for that matter. We spent about 9 months there on Cambria before coming up here and loved it -- or course it helps that we're complete heathens. ;) But we're glad you got to meet Richard, Jude and Katya aboard Sarita -- they're an amazing family and we surely miss them up here! Speaking of "missing", you're both well-missed here in Kingston!

    1. Hey Stephanie - we REALLY miss Kingston and you and David as well! When the first of November rolled around we thought about you guys going back "home". As for not liking the West Coast - I really hope my writing didn't come off that bad. We really didn't like San Francisco and had a horrible time in San Diego. But we really LOVED Newport Beach, Catalina, Morro Bay, and others. And we are really liking Ensenada.

      We did spend a bit of time with Richard and Jude and really like them. We buddy boated to Ensenada with them but will be parting ways next week. We plan to stay in Ensenada for at least a month and then cruise central and northern Baja for this winter. We want to go back to southern California next spring so we can have our grandkids come visit. Sarita is leaving next week for La Paz and beyond.

      And as for being heathens.. not to worry - it's not too late :-)