Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Quesnel, BC

After Olympia Pete and I visited Pat and Betty, from SV Ile Flottante, at their home in Shelton. They treated us to a wonderful dinner followed up with their favorite dessert, Ile Flottante. Then it was off to Mill Creek to spend 2 days with my brother Andy and his wife Linda. Brother Matt, brother-in-law Walt, and Walt's sister Susie joined us for an early Christmas dinner. The next day I watched the Seahawks for the first time this season. They were courteous enough to win. Our whirlwind tour of the Puget Sound region then took us to Enumclaw to visit my close friend James, his wife Becky, and their daughters Jennifer and Katie. We got to attend Katie's chorale concert at Enumclaw High School. Top notch performance, you would never guess it was high school. Pete and I were both very impressed.

About a week later Becky, Jennifer, Katie, and a close family friend were involved in a serious car accident. After a day of skiing at Crystal Mountain their car was struck by a very large falling tree. They will all be OK, but Becky and Jennifer sustained some very serious injuries. Pete and I wish all involved a complete recovery. It will take serious time and work - hang in there James, they will need quite a lot of your help and patience.

Pete and I had already travelled on to British Columbia to spend Christmas with Pete's family. We spent a night in Midway with his sister Monica and her husband Steve. They put on another early Christmas dinner for us with their son, his wife, and their 3 children. A couple of days later the rest of Pete's siblings, Don, Liz, Rosemary and her daughter and foster sons, and others joined us in Quesnel where we hosted another early Chistmas dinner. Pete's daughter Melanie, husband Mark and 3 children joined us later in the day. Pete and I had prepared a skating rink by shoveling the snow off part of the nearby creek (yes Virginia, creeks freeze quite solidly in central BC), some of Pete's grandchildren went skating there after dinner.

It should be noted that all this occurred before Christmas even got around to happening. The big day saw us at Melanie and Mark's house opening gifts with their 9, 6, and 4 year old children (YEAH!!! as the 6 year old said with alarming frequency). Before dinner I represented the Empire in a game of Star Wars Battleship. The 6 year old used the force against me and the dark side lost. Melanie put on a feast of turkey, stuffing, and various less important victuals. What a great Christmas. We also worked in time to visit Pete's great friends Kim and Debbie where we enjoyed a great turkey soup. Tomorrow we will go to Prince George to see Pete's son Tim, wife Leah and their children. Then it will be time to board an evening flight and begin the journey back to SV Cygnus in Ensanada Mexico. (Remember Cygnus? This is a blog about Cygnus.) Our next post may include some sailing.

Monday, 28 December 2015

New tracklog - all the way to Ensanada

Here is the latest track log from the voyage of SV Cygnus. This shows the boat all the way to Mexico! :)

Click here to download.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Ensanada Mexico and Olympia, WA

After the Thansgiving weekend I sailed a bit further south to Dana Point. This is one of the few places where you are allowed to anchor out for free behind the breakwater. Not having to pay for protection from the ocean swell is one of my favorite things so I stayed 4 nights here. This is also the closest harbor to Doretta's home, so we were able to get together twice more. She drove me to San Juan Capistrano where we toured the Spanish era mission. We also had a great lunch at a small mexican restaurant. The next day Doretta joined me for a day sail on the ocean. We motored north into a light breeze for a while, then raised sail for a liesurely run back to the harbor. The wind freshened in the afternoon so we turned toward Hawaii and went more than a tenth of a percent of the way there before thinking better of it and turning back to Dana Point.

My attention then turned toward Mexico and a nefarious plot to visit family and friends back in the Puget Sound region. I made runs to Oceanside and Mission Bay, then set out for Ensanada. Mission  Bay to Ensanada is further than I like to go in a day (about 70 nautical miles) so I spent the night on the ocean. The wind freshed in the evening and the sailing was great. The wind freshened some more and the sailing got so great that I could have overshot Ensanada by 20 miles before sunrise. It became necessary to reduce sail to slow the boat. (There are those who say Westsails perform so poorly one should avoid what they call a "Wet snail". On this night my Westsail performed so well it had to be intentionally slowed!.) The next morning, after a little sleep on the choppy water, I tied the boat at Baja Naval in Ensanada. The marina manager, Jose, helped me with my paperwork and directed me to the government offices for aduana, migracion, and the port captain. A couple hours later Cygnus and I were cleared into Mexico. If you visit Mexico do not miss the street tacos. Alas, I spent just 2 days there before it was time to leave for a while.

I left Cygnus in the care of Baja Naval and boarded a bus for Tijuana. After a "short" wait at the San Ysidro border crossing I was back in the USA. I flew to Seattle where Pete met me at Seatac airport. On Thursday I surprised the staff at the Geology Division (where I worked until June) by crashing their Christmas pot luck lunch. We had a great lunch and white elephant gift exchange. Beth Norman was a great sport about getting stuck with the silly Elmer Fudd style red hat emblazed with "CANADA" that I brought for the exchange. We all caught up with stories about their, and my, adventures. Beers after work with some of the gang (Daniel, Ashley, Corina, Tim, and too many others to name), completed a wonderful day.

Next up is some time with Pat, Betty, James, and my brothers. Then Pete and I plan to have Christmas in Quesnel with his family.

The altar in the chapel at San Juan Capistrano

Me at San Juan Capistrano

The mission at San Juan Capistrano
Doretta at San Juan Capistrano

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Los Angeles

Sorry, my posts are a little late in coming. I will attempt to get the blog back to real time soon. This post is about a day trip I took from Long Beach to Los Angeles the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

I went to see the Getty art museum. This took quite a lot of public transportation to get from Long Beach and back. The first light rail line ran through Compton and Watts. Later, the bus routes took me through Beverly Hills and Bel Air. Quite a day of contrasts. Every light post in Beverly Hills was decorated for Christmas with a colorful banner reading "Joy to the Hills". I noticed this at the famous intersection of Wilshire Blvd and Rodeo Dr. I always thought it went "Joy to the world". Apparently if you live in Beverly Hills the joy of the rest of the world is irrelevant. Hmmm.

The Getty was well worth the trouble. This is the best art museum I have ever seen. It is set on a hill top overlooking Santa Monica Bay and downtown Los Angeles. The views and architecture are stunning. The art collection is even better. I have pictures of a few samples below.
The main entrance to the Getty

A Van Gogh

A Monet

A statue of Mercury

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Long Beach, CA

After Oxnard I went to Paradise Cove in Malibu. This offered surprisingly good protection from a westerly blowing up to about 25 MPH. The wind was still at it the next day as I proceeded to San Pedro Bay. I had 8 to 10 foot seas at about 7 seconds. This is really steep! So I had a rowdy ride for a few hours.

San Pedro Bay is the location of both the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The breakwater is like 6 miles long. Really incredible. I anchored in the lee of an artificial island that conceals an oil pumping station. There are oil rigs, a refinery, anchorage for tankers and cargo ships, 170 cargo terminals, and marinas for maybe 6,000 boats, all inside the breakwater.

For Thanksgiving I kayaked ashore and bussed to Laguna Niguel to meet an old friend from DNR, Doretta Collins. She made a great holiday dinner and put me up for the night. The next day she showed me around nearby Dana Point and drove me back to Long Beach. Thanks Doretta!

Doretta at an overlook of DanaPoint

Replica of Richard Henry Dana's brig Pilgrim

Oxnard, CA

Business at home has forced Pete to return to Quesel. I saw him off at LAX and returned to Santa Barabara. This never gets any easier for either of us. The good news is we plan to get together again for Christmas. We will meet in Seattle to visit my family and friends, then proceed to Quesnel for Christmas with Pete's kids, grandkids, and siblings. I have arranged moorage at Ensanada to keep Cygnus safe during this time.

After leaving Santa Barbara I spent 5 days at Santa Cruz Island. The weather was incredible, I got in a lot of suntanning and a little swimming (in November!!!). A Santa Anna wind came up during this time, but I found a snug hole at Coches Prietas Cove to wait it out. Finally, I returned to civilazation at Channel Islands Marina in Oxnard.

Coches Prietas Cove looking north

Coches Prietas Cove looking northwest
Coches Prietas Cove looking southeast