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Unauthorized Guide to Sailing in Mexico


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Entries in catalina (5)


picking up crew in Catalina, and the Two Harbors Harbor Patrol

We have a crew member coming in on the Catalina Express ferry from the mainland, and she'll be arriving tomorrow around mid morning. The problem is the forecast is (again) showing 30 knots and the idea of doing a touch and go anywhere in Avalon is less than desirable. Partially because of the conditions, and partially because of the less-than-extremely-wonderful harbor folks.

So instead, the Harbor Patrol up here in Two Harbors said "Why don't you just put her on the bus up to here?" Well sure enough, it's a great plan. We moved moorings tonight, getting tucked a little closer into the lee, again on advice of the Two Harbors Harbor Patrol. 

Our friend right now is the only booked passenger on the bus, and although we'll be leaving a few hours later than if we picked her up directly in Avalon, the scaredy-cat sailor in me would rather leave a few hours later and not have to deal with four feet of choppy garbage in Avalon and God knows what kind of reception from Avalon's finest. 

And with that, I'd like to give a very warm and loving endorsement to the Two Harbors Harbor Patrol. They have been simply wonderful in all aspects. Helpful in picking up moorings, helpful with advice, friendly, and all around a great resource for boaters. I don't know all their names, but Steve and Bruce in particular were terrific. Thanks so much guys!


last day on Catalina, then heading back to San Diego

It's currently around two in the morning, where you can get tripped up between saying "today" and "tomorrow". Regardless, it's Saturday, and it's our last day here on Catalina Island. In total we'll have spent about five days tied up and about five days underway, with a bit of crossover between the two.

Our weather forecast has yet another Small Craft Advisory on it. As most sailors know it's not really the wind that's the issue: it's the waves. Every storm starts up fairly nice actually. Very little swell, and just a nice fresh breeze. But then the waves start to build, and when the wind dies down (if it does so quickly, which is common), you're left with the prevailing wind from a different direction than the swells that still exist and rock you around like a rag doll.

On the plus side, wind is better than no wind, and it will be coming out of the north and north west which is exactly where we're coming away from. I imagine we'll be able to zip right home on a broad reach, similar to the way we got up here, riding a south wester.

Two Harbors has been fun, and we have our list of things to do in order to further making our boat a home. The electrical needs seem met, heater runs great, our new fridge is cold and easy on the batteries, and the composting head has been very nice (more on that later).

The two glaring issues to fix at this point are showering and a wind vane self steering system. We know we've needed both, but this trip really put both into prospective. Hand steering in 30 knot winds for a 100 miles is no fun. Actually it's a lot of fun, but it gets old, fast.


another night in avalon

We've been in Avalon for a few days with our friend who just left on the ferry back to the mainland. I went diving yesterday and today, renting some gear from Scuba Luv which I highly recommend to any SCUBA folks headed to Avalon. 

My second dive was utility in nature: a quick brushing off the bottom of our boat for any nasty growth, and a changing of the shaft zinc. I had two fairly irritating run ins with the Avalon Harbor Patrol. The first was when I was on the surface in my dive gear with a screw driver and a zinc in my hand, and the guy in the patrol boat says "What are your intentions?"

I showed him the zinc in one hand and the screw driver in another, and he said "Okay then, just next time let us know so we know you're not trying to bomb the harbor or anything."

Not to question Avalon's finest in keeping their bay safe, but the run in is emblematic of what Avalon is: a tourist destination that keeps itself well policed and buttoned up. No one should be mad when they run into a place's defining characteristic, if that place was their intentional destination.

Tomorrow we'll probably stay in Avalon another night, and I'd like to get up to Emerald Bay after that, weather and schedules permitting. It will be nice to change the scenery a bit and encounter a bit more laid back and less officialdom riddled part of Santa Catalina Island.


force 7 to avalon, santa catalina island

We just got into Avalon, riding a low pressure system up. We hit the prevailing north westerlies a few miles off of Santa Catalina island and raised the iron jib, but for a good fourteen hours or so we had beautiful 20-35 knot winds out of the south west.

Below are some videos of various quality (no promises!), and we put up some of the pictures from day one. Our friend Mele went with us on this trip. Wonderful to have her onboard!






said goodbye to my friends Ryan and Alex today

This morning, along with the rest of the Baja Haha fleet, my friend Ryan and his wife Alex left San Diego bound for Mexico (and finally, France) onboard their Mariner 40 Shalimar. It was great to see them embarking on something so challenging and rewarding, not to mention something that they've worked very hard on. Other sailors might be able to understand this but to my land lubbing readers, it takes a lot of work to get a boat around the world. 

Ryan and I have sailed together on several occasions on four different boats. In fact, the first real time I spent with Charlotte was with Ryan as the three of us headed to Catalina for a few days onboard his dad's Lancer. 

Beyond sailing, I worked with Ryan back in 2001 and continued to work with him until a few days ago. When I was in my band I played in his garage at a party, and we were eachother's best men in our respective weddings.

So it was with a heavy heart that I tossed his bowline onto his deck and watched them sail away.

Ryan's mother who was on the dock as well this morning ribbed me a few times, saying this was "all my fault" since I dragged Ryan into sailing in the first place. 

I remember zipping around in my old Ericson with Ryan and he'd half-jokingly say that we just needed to swing by Vons to pick up some groceries and we could head down to Tahiti that night. 

I know I'm rambling, but it's hard to get all those emotions lined up properly. Happy to see him go, sad to see him go, excited to see him go, and a tinge worried about their safety (as any friend would be). 

Fairwinds my good friend, and I'll see you soon. 

Ryan and Alex have a blog, although it's primarily in French.