May 25, 2010

San Diego and Points North

This year's Sea of Cortez season wound down  after Bay Fest for us "commuter cruisers." who come down to escape the cold winter weather and then head north to avoid the summer heat of Baja.  Last year, I left Sea Story in La paz and  then drove the van back down in November.  This year, Sea Story is going north, and the van stayed in La paz.  Of course, that meant traveling at five knots instead of fifty, but who's in a hurry?
Actually, one of the reasons I brought the boat back to the U.S. was to allow the Tradewinds Sailing Club to offer another coastal sailing trip from San Diego to San Francisco on Sea Story.   The details are included in the latest Tradewinds newsletter, reprinted below:

California Coastal Cruise!

This is a two-part trip up California’s coastline with Tradewinds Instructor Jerry Rouillard on Sea Story, a Pearson 39 outfitted for offshore cruising. It’s the perfect trip for those who want an affordable, offshore cruising ex-perience in a manageable time frame. The first section of the trip is from San Diego to Santa Barbara via Catalina Island. The second section is from Santa Barbara to San Francisco. Each section will be booked separately for just that leg of the trip. Crew slots will be limited to three individuals, or two individuals and one couple who can share the same cabin. Prices include provisions. As with any sea voyage the dates are the best we can plan in advance. If you would like to sign up please plan a day or two on either end as “just-in-case” days

Leg One: San Diego to Santa Barbara – June 5th to June 9th.

Crewmembers for this leg will meet on June 5th and set sail that afternoon for Catalina with a possible interim, overnight anchorage at Santa Cruz Island. After an overnight stay at Catalina it will be an easy hop up to Santa Barbara. With no weather delays, crewmembers will be replaced by those on the second leg of the trip. Cost: $595.00

Leg Two: Santa Barbara to San Francisco – June 9th to June 13th.

The crew will board the afternoon of the 9th of June and set sail. The itinerary will include one overnight stopover at Monterey, Morro Bay or the anchorage at San Simeon. Anticipated arrival in Santa Francisco will be June 13th. Cost: $595.00

Please Note:

Due to the nature of this trip, we’d only like you to sign up if you can be flexible by two days either at the beginning or the end of your leg. If weather conditions dictate, we may adjust the departure time by two days in either direction.

At last check with Brandy at Tradewinds, this trip is sold out, but we are planning a return to San Diego in July, so give her a call if you're interested in that trip. It's always been a great offshore experience, particularly for those who are thinking of taking off on their own boat some day.   

Another Bash Up Baja

The trip north along Baja's west coast is ruefully referred to as the "Baja Bash," not because it's a big party, but because bashing headlong into wind and wave out of the northwest is pretty much the story for the entire 800 miles up the coast from Cabo San Lucas.  This year was no exception, so it took our hardy crew - Jerry, Dennis, Connie and Mary Lee   -a full two weeks to mostly motor-sail Sea Story up to her present berth here in San Diego's West Harbor Island Marina. Of course, it really wasn't all that bad.  That two weeks included one full week anchored in Turtle Bay waiting out high winds with a dozen other "bashers" who were working their way north with us. And, cruisers being mostly social animals, we had a big party to break up the week.

This was the party at "La Palapa," the  Turtle Bay beachfront restaurant operated by the very hospitable Carlos and Mercedes who are pictured in the top row right in front of the open door to the kitchen.  Great party with our own music, singing and lots of new friends waiting out a week of strong winds on the baja outside.

Given it's location, roughly halfway up the Baja peninsula, and it's good all-around protection, Turtle Bay is a good place to hang out during a big blow.  It is pretty well off the main road, and offers only limited services (no banks or ATMs), but it does have fuel, food and beer.  The local folks are quite friendly to cruisers, and you do grow kind of attached to the place after a few days anchored in the protection of the surrounding desert hills.   Still, after a week, it was easy to rouse the crew out of their warm berths before sunrise to raise anchor and head out on Friday, the 14th of May.  We arrived in San Diego and a whole different culture three days later.

Our crew on deck at sunset in Turtle Bay. This photo was shot by our neighbor, Dr. Lou Freeman from Fresno.  We traded off hosting dinner on our boats, and he shared some amazing photos of blue footed boobies riding his lifelines in the Sea of Cortez.

Our Turtle Bay neighbor, Dr. Lou Freeman who was single-handing up the Baja coast on his 50' Swan.  Lou has done two Single-Handed Transpac races from San Francisco to Hawaii, so a solo "Bash" is really no big deal for him. 

These blue-footed boobies were Lou's companions for 36 hours in the Sea of Cortez.  He was able to approach close enough to touch each one of them during their stay.  His only complaint;they made one hell of a mess on his deck!