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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sailing to San Diego Part V

"Before my eyes closed I noticed how beautiful it was sleeping under the stars out at sea! And then I fell alseep for a short while. All went dark in my mind and then I woke up about 15 minutes later to adjust the tiller slightly as the sails were making noise and the boat was slightly off course."

Many hours earlier however, I had been on a mission to sail into Mission Bay by evening time. But the wind had almost died and the current was against me. Besides this I didn't have an engine so that put me at the complete mercy of the wind.

Here's what happened: I was constantly watching the wind when after discovering the red harbor beacon, the wind decided to blow so slightly that I could barely feel its effects on the sails. Yet it was still there as the windex still held its true position. But the current now I believe was stronger than the wind and I sailed around for the whole hour realizing in time I was getting nowhere really fast!

 But I had been so excited that I had made my goal of getting to San Diego today and I was determined to get in that harbor so I kept hoping against hope that I was surely making at LEAST a little headway.

I tried staying awake for hours in my
quest. I remember nodding off many times. I would wake up trying to spy the red harbor beacon again and sometimes lose its excact position again and having to fight for five minutes or more to reclaim its position. By 2 am, my body was becoming quite cold - even with two jackets on. My body temperature was dropping as it does late at night and also I was exhausted.

 So I jumped down into the cabin and then into the V-birth to grab my sleeping bag and blanket and dragged it up into the cockpit. Also I  grabbed the smaller blue rectangular seat cushion as it was so perfect for me to lie on tonight. Then placing them out on the cockpit seat, I got in.

 Looking all around me I took notice of every boat out at sea. There was still a couple boats on the horizon shining their bright fishing spot lights out into the dark ocean night. But they were far away so they didn't bother me. It was then while thinking all about this that I decided it would be best to turn on my upper shroud deck light just for added safety besides my running lights, so other boats were sure to see me.

After doing this I hastly got back into the warmth of my brown sleeping bag and then pulled my daughters 'Sleeping Beauty' blanket up over my shoulders. Before my eyes closed I noticed how beautiful it was sleeping under the stars out at sea! 

And then I fell alseep for a short while. All went dark in my mind and then I woke up about 15 minutes later to adjust the tiller slightly as the sails were making noise and the boat was slightly off course. I took a look around me another time, then I went back to sleep. Thoughts of some boat crashing into me sometimes worried me. But the lonely sea was still just as lonely when I sat up in the sleepinbag and looked around.

And then I went back to sleep again. After a while and the boat and I had really not gone anywhere, so I hove to. I backed the jib sail on the opposite side and this made the boat go back and forth but not really forward. But as the wind was so slight it took a while for the boat to do anything!

This routine of waking up every fifteen minutes went on for at least a couple hours untill the sheer exhaustion had left me, but I was still tired.

And then suddenly the wind just died out completely. I could tell because the boat rocked and swayed in the three foot swells without the pressure of the mainsail or jib keeping the 'nose' of the boat tilted slightly into the waves and moving forward. Without the winds pressure, the waves just rocked me around any which way they liked!

And the waves were not tiny. There was a big swell running tonight and the waves were typically about three foot high - but not dangerous. So I got up out of the brown sleeping bag and hooked the boom up to the back stay. Now that it couldn't jump around from side to side with the boats motion and whack me in the head, I jumped up to the deck and took down the main sail so that it wouldn't flap around making noise and such. Then I went back to sleep. I continued to watch every fifteen minutes or so but I was very tired and only cast a seconds look for ships and then fell asleep again.

 So this time I must have slept longer for when I awoke I notced that the boat and I had drifted into the kelp bed.

So I carefully put on my lifejacket and got a flashlight and an oar and put them and the large ropes into the dinghy. I then attached the two ropes together and attached the new larger rope securely to the boat by way of the back cleat. Then un-attaching the line that held the dinghy to the boat I pushed the dinghy and myself away from the boat out over the big three foot swells. Even in the kelp the waves were substantial.

The dinghy just rode them 'matter of fact' like but it was more of a serious matter for me because about a month ago I had tipped the dinghy upside down and had to swim back to my sailboat. But getting back to the big swells - the previous reasons though, for tipping the dinghy, were nonexistent tonight so in that I was glad and when I got out to where the dinghy finally stretched the rope taught and was at a place to tow the sailboat, I paddled harder trying to manually pull the boat out of the kelp.

It was kind of hard and at first all I managed to do was row in circles! With the weight of the sailboat pulling hard against any forward motion, I was getting frustrated. At last though, I figured out that if I paddled at a steady pace first on one side and then the other, the sailboat began to move.
I got the boat a certain distance with great struggle and effort. After half an hour I was truly worn out and had only pulled the sailboat half way out of the kelp. I gave up at that point and knew that I was going to either have to try again later or wait till the wind came out for more power. So I returned to my sailboat.

 As I pulled myself in with the connector rope, the distant lights off of Mission Bay and Point Loma helped illuminate the dark night sky and the dark black ocean. Each wave was illuminated on its hump as it rolled inward toward shore.

When I got back, I wanted to go to sleep but I was partly fascinated by the boats slow movement with the tide and partly worried to see exactly how far and at what speed I was traveling through the kelp bed. At first it appeared as though I was not moving at all. But after a few minutes I saw that this was not true and that I was indeed moving very slowly.

I realized that the kelp was kind of good and bad. It kept you in but it also kind-of held you still so you wouldn't drift much. So I was kind of thankful. I must have sat there watching my slow movement through the kelp for at least half an hour. By that time I knew that I would have some time to rest, but at some point the boat would get too close to the shore.

I attempted an experiment and threw out a bucket on a rope as far as I could toss it. I wanted to see if the pressure on the bucket caused any further reduction of drift. But I couldn't see any real difference so I brought it in. Then I decided to sleep in the V-birth on my bed instead of out in the cockpit as I was extremely tired by this point having been awake now for an hour and a half at least. Also I was not in danger of hitting anyone or vise-versus inside the kelp bed.

 Come visit my blog next week to see what adventure I had next getting into San Diego and then heading back up to Los Angeles once more!

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sailing to San Diego Part IV: Sunset Sailing Past La Jolla

"...Darkness had almost taken over the sky and yet the wind was as sure as ever. In fact with all the attention I gave the boat and with the good steady wind, I felt like I was cruising along at six knots! I could feel the wind in my face and I felt the exhilaration of speeding along with waves breaking white on either side of the boat."  This was the highlight of sailing and passing La Jolla in the evening. But before I had reached San Diego and was only half way down, this is the situation I faced:

I had let the boat sail herself most of the night. Having tied down the tiller I just kept up a real basic watch in the light winds. I finally had fallen asleep around four am and woke up two hours later wondering where I was!

The day started with cerial and evaporated milk which I mixed with water. The milk tin I opened with my big pocket knife that I kept on board. Then I had a banana. That really helped. Some hot chocolate would have been nice, but lacking the ability to heat water put an end to that idea.

 I looked at my map to get a sense of where I was. Using my pencil and fingers, I estimated using the average speed I had traveled throughout the night and the map. My Dead Reckoning position placed me somewhere near Oceanside.

     Off to the left horizon I could see large skyscrapers. I couldn't help but wonder if I hadn't already passed San Diego and was now heading to Mexico! But if that was the case I sure had traveled fast in the night after all. There was quite a difference between Oceanside and San Diego. I suddenly became very confused and fearful thoughts of going into Mexican waters came to mind. The thought of passing San Diego and having to turn around and go back was also a big decision. Suppose I was wrong and went back and it turned out to NOT be San Diego. That would be a waste of two to four hours at the least.
While I was thinking these things I made sure the empty horizon was still empty and then stepped down into the cockpit and grabbed my cell phone out of my shell and attempted to text my wife Janette. I wasn't sure If I was too far out at sea to send a text but after all on the sailing race to Ensenana I had managed to get a few messages through. The texts did go through and these were what they said:

Albion: Goodmorning darling!

Janette: Where r u now?  R u safe?
J: We r @ moms.  Where r u sailing to?

A: Well, I believe I'm near San Diego as I heard them come on Channel 16. I think I see La Jolla Mt. I'm a little unsure yet as I cannot get an exact fix yet.

J: Hi.  Miss u.  Mom just made banana/blueberry bread.  Can u smell it?
J: What else do u see?  How long have u been awake?

A: Yum yum! I'm hungry 4 that! Does Capistrano or Oceanside have large buildings?

J: Oceanside does
J: I love u.

A: Mmm.  I am ready to eat the bread.  I love u 2

A: Just spotted the 2 domes. What r they called? San Onefre?
A: On map there is a dome near La Jolla 2. But two? And one @ San Onefre is not on side of Mountain? San Diego it is?

J: Yes.  U have spotted Dolly Parton.  U r North of Oceanside and Camp Penelton.  B safe.  Love u."

      Seeing San Onefre confirmed my whereabouts. It made me realize that I still had quite a ways to go to San Diego. I was unsure if I could make it by the days end, but I was sure going to try.
    All during the night I couldn't keep my eyes off the bottom of the mast to see how my lower starboard shroud - I had jury rigged - was doing. I had shined my flashlight up on the mast step to see how it was fairing. Now this morning with the morning breeze, I noticed how the mast continued to lean ever so slightly. It was threatening, by small degrees, to break free of the mast step and callapse. That would mean disaster and I knew I would most likely have to call for assistance by the Coast Guard if that happened. That was one of my fears that I tended to not want to think about. So I very carefully kept my eye on the pressure the wind was putting on the mast instead of worrying. And every time the pressure increased significantly and the mast would lean even harder, I turned the tiller slightly to turn the boat on a less stressful tack. I kept this up also during most of the day. But often I laid down to rest a little as I got tired; but only when the wind and tack remained constant and as the boat didn't need my assistance so much.  After a while past San Onofre I could see these big round white bubble like formations on the land a couple miles away which were on the map showing that I was soon approaching Oceanside. I was excited to be in that area. But no matter how hard I looked out at the shoreline even with the binoculars, I couldn't make out anything that looked like the harbor for Oceanside.

    Around 3 or 4 pm I finally came to the tall stack tower off of Carlsbad. Time was going by and much progress would need to be done before the afternoon turned to evening and the winds settled down to a calm or reversed direction after dark. Each evening it seemed almost to be a roll of the dice whether the wind continued after 7pm or a calm would settle on the sea and I would then face an evening rolling around in the windless calms. But this evening would not be a windless evening. 

It started out a little slow and for a whole hour it seemed I was sailing but not gaining any distance as the large stack tower still persisted to stay in generally the SAME spot as 1/2 an hour ago. I couldn't seem to figure out what was going on! For one moment it seemed very obvious that I had passed it and then about 10 minutes later I realized that in fact I had NOT passed it! How could this be so? I was thinking hard as to the reasons for this and could only figure out one reason at the time. Perhaps it was because I was I was subtly heading in a diagnal direction slightly out to sea and as I was going  two steps forward - so to speak - it was only actually one step seaward and one step past the stack tower. In hindsight it also could have been 1/2 step seaward, 1/2 step passed the stack and one step backword with an undercurrent of some kind. But I would think the current is southerly so the current should have been one more step in my favor. But passing the stack seemed like three steps back and one forward! But finally I managed to clear it as the sun was intending to set. I knew I did not have much time. It was at this time I noticed that the wind had picked up slightly. And to help the boat along even more, I pulled on the jib line to tighten the sail - when the wind lightened momentarily. I was furiously passionate in my longing to get to San Diego this evening and anchor before 10 or 11 pm. I didn't know if I could do it, but I was going to give it 100% of my attention and effort to make it happen. And as the sun slowly made its glorious departure - every moment of its beauty was etched in my mind along with the memory of the total concentration I gave to the tiller, the sails and the boat as it sped along over the dark blue waves.

As I held on to the jib line, I could feel the power of the sails pulling on the boat through each wave. The waves would come against the boat either pushing against it or pushing it gently forward. Though there was a general pattern to the waves, there also was an intimacy with each one as each contacted the boat slightly differently. As evening gave way to night and darkness crept firstly over the sky, and then over the water and then into my cockpit, I took every last inch of light the sky could produce to create productive energy within myself to make the journey faster. Surprising, to be sure, was the fact that darkness had almost taken over the sky and yet the wind was as sure as ever. In fact with all the attention I gave the boat and with the good steady wind, I felt like I was cruising along at six knots! I could feel the wind in my face and I felt the exhilaration of speeding along with waves breaking white on either side of the boat. But when my averages were done later on my map, if I did do six knots it was not consistent. Three or four knots showed up as the average. Still I made great time. I measured each section of land in my minds eye seeing how long it took me to reach each. Each section of say, one or two miles, could be seen quite easily at sea with the land creating its own notch of measurement by a section of trees that stood out, or a cliff, or a piece of land jutting out into the ocean. And as I counted off 5-7 miles down the coast, I could see as far as the huge land mass of La Jolla that stuck out by at least a mile into my ocean world. After that darkness seemed to loom. And when I would arrive there my distance to land would shorten by that same distance nearing me to the shore.

And in the time it took me to make 10 miles that day - I made it in half the time that evening. Across the water - now in the twilight - was the darkness of La Jolla Shores with all its trees. To me it was a long stretch of mysterious black seen three miles away on the restless ocean. I was drawn to its loneliness because it looked how I felt: alone, hidden from most of mankind, dreamlike.
And so I passed off each mile finally arriving a mile off the looming land mass of La Jolla. All was dark except the red port, the green starboard light and the white stern lights on my boat. The ocean was a hidden world of waves that I felt but could only see faintly. Sillouttes of their form rose up out of the blackness. Their shadows could be seen in the faint lights from shore. Lights such as street lights or red and green traffic lights were like stars far away. Yet the warmth of human kind could be felt from them.

    From La Jolla I thought it would be only a skip and a jump to the harbor of Mission Bay, San Diego. But it took me a whole hour to just clear its protruding land mass.  From there I then sailed another hour down the long stretch to the opening harbor entrance - which I finally found with my binoculars. There were so many red street lights that competed for my attention that it was so hard to make out the red harbor light that blinked three or four flashes before pausing. I finally found it and was exctatic with joy. However, it should be noted that from 10 pm to 11 the wind had been waning and I knew it would end soon. I was only hoping I could get in the harbor safely first. But all my work to beat the dying wind was in vain. For before I knew it, I was becalmed only a mile from the harbor and now would have to be out at sea all night waiting for favorable winds! Come check out Part V and read what happened after passing La Jolla, the adventure that befell me that night and how I finally made it to San Diego!

Skipper Albie

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sailing to San Diego Part III. Passing Avalon by Night

That evening as I rowed my dinghy over the teal green sea I enjoyed looking down, down into its clear mysterious depths. I slowly arrived back at my boat. As I climbed up over the four foot sides of the boat, and then proceeded to set my things down in the cockpit, I looked out to sea just in time to see a glorious sunset. I looked up at my pirate flag and saw the wind blowing it steadily and so having had lots of rest during the day, I decided that with the wind being strong and myself feeling well, I would venture out tonight for San Diego. As I got some food from a tin ready to eat, my mind was still racing in thought. The night would be upon me soon and so I would have to act fast so as to at least be able to clear the harbor with some wind.

As I ate more of the delicious canned peaches, I then began to think hard upon the best method of raising anchor and realized that having no engine, I would have to raise one anchor, then raise the jib sail, raise the main anchor and then the main sail very quickly all in very strict order and with as much preciseness as possible, for a big mistake could end up getting me in trouble at the least and end up washing my boat on the rocks at worst!

    So that is what I did and when my hands started undoing the halyard line (rope) that raised the large mainsail, I began to feel very stressed and couldn't seem to do it skillfuly as I usually do. But I managed nevertheless, and pulled hard on the mainsail. It stopped half way up and I about had a heart attack (you know how I felt). I suddenly noticed that one rope line was still holding the sail leashed up to its resting place on the boom and I jumped down into the cockpit with urgency and unleashed it quickly. I then looked out at the water and noticed the jib sail was pulling the boat in the right direction and then ran back up on deck pulling the mainsail up as soon as was humanly possible. With it up, I soon felt the boat make it's way steadily out and head upwind in the channel between the other boats. I felt mostly relieved. Now if only the wind would hold to get out safetly! It did, but sometimes with a little difficulty tacking; and in half an hour I was sailing away from the dying sunset, away from the little island a mile from shore, and dangerously between another island and the rocky Catalina shore. I say 'dangerous' as I was afraid the island would block the wind and the tide would wash me up on the rocks. I had little choice in the decision as this was the best, safest and fastest route (at least it could be argued). But the wind did not get blocked and instead seemed to funnel right around it getting me out and away safely to sea.


 In fact the wind had really picked up out here a mile from shore and I was really 'clipping along at a fast pace (at least 6 knots I recorded in my log). The waves this evening were about four foot running with speed up to my boat. The waves would appear like they wanted to crash aboard but then just as you thought they might hit, the stern of the boat would lift up and they would pass under pushing the boat with great speed through the water. What with the wind and the waves pushing so hard the boat was really going fast! I had to really hold on to the tiller and watch as the waves came from behind and make sure that they didn't do any mischief. The wind too, as it was just waiting for me to mess up so it could jibe the boom really hard to the other side. But I was wide awake and watching. About a mile away, I could see the dark shore of Catalina passing by with each wave. Tonight the moon shone a brilliant yellow and made the water sparkle. It was such an amazing night. I had imagined it so much differently - mostly many fearful thoughts of being stuck out at sea on a dark night without much wind and having a long way ahead of me going all the way to San Diego. But thankfully my fears were not validated. Only the strong wind gave me any concern as it was giving me trouble. But as soon as I let out the main sail all the way, it settled into a manageable position and sped me quickly on toward Avalon - ten miles away.

I was quite surprised when I suddenly noticed some very bright lights far away on the island (now about 5 miles off) and began to wonder what area that could possibly be. I then realized that the island had a large cliff on the southerly end and that it appeared very familiar. Familiar like the end of Catalina island: Avalon itself.
"No!" I said to myself. There's no way I've arrived here so soon! It was at least ten miles down the coast and I had only been sailing for a couple hours. Well I had been going quiet fast - at least 5 knots an hour to get here so soon. I couldn't believe it. But there it was in a perfect silloutte. There Avalon lie for sure - wrapped in mystery from sea. I wondered how I had at first not realized it was Avalon, because everything about it now gave it away. Even a boat passing mine did as well. For where do you suppose they were heading for after having just come across the channel - Avalon.

I can't quite express the feeling of being alone out amidst the dark ocean waves at night passing the sillouette of Catalina many miles to the West; the lights of Avalon shining warm and cheerily to me as if waving "hello!" My boat pressed on with the wind driving it and as if waving back "Goodbuy! We're on our way alone to San Diego. Say a prayer for our safety!"

An hour or so later away from Catalina - it now being a smaller black sillouette on the horizon, the wind suddenly and completely died. It was now around 11:00 pm. "Oh no!" I groaned to myself with a touch of fear. Fearful because I was somewhat near the shipping lanes. Fearful also of a passing ship on the way to Avalon not seeing me -though I turned on my navigation lights anytime a boat or ship was in sight. So some of my fear was groundless. But still the unknown fears and thoughts of being out at sea without wind had finally begun to unfold. The sails flopped lifeless. Without the pressure in the sails the boat lost its speed and angle beating through the waves. Now the waves had complete riegn over the boat and it bounced to this side and then that making the sails and the boom swing dangerously from side to side nearly hitting me in the head! Besides this the noise from the sails cracking, the boat rocking and the boom swinging was truly a nightmare! Sometimes the boat would rock so violently that the angles of sight were dramatically different than moments before. One moment I would be viewing the sea and waves, the next the sky and moon. At first I felt overwhelmed and wondered what to do first. The only thing that I could think of was to take the main sail down to stop that awful cracking sound and then set the boom in its hanger so it wouldl stay still.
With the rocking it made it a bit like playing dodge ball or some other interesting sport that kept you on your toes. One wrong move and I would bump into something, bruising my shin or elbow or knee.  With difficulty I brought the mainsail down and then with it done realized that the main halyard had swung around the mast and got messed up and tangled somehow just like on the night arriving at Two Harbors. But this time there was no land to fix the messed up rope. So I fiddled with it for fifteen minutes just hoping to figure out how it got so tangled. Finally I got the long 'man overboard pole' and 'fished' it out from the mess it was in up the mast. When that was done, I tried to relax but it was still emotionally draining and all I could think was 'how long was this going to continue?'

    At some point the boat caught a newborn wind at a perfect angle and actually stayed on course without my help. And so I  actually got to rest for two hours without interruption which really helped me out tremendously. I almost felt like I had rested all night. But the key word here is 'almost' as I was still tired but I felt comparably very much better. I awoke to the beauty of the morning just before sunrise. A large fog bank stood more in toward land. It was 6:30 am and I was thankful I wasn't caught in that.

-Skipper Albie

PS: Come back soon to see what happens next after passing Avalon. Thanks for your comments! :-)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sailing to San Diego Part Two: A Day at Catalina

 After a difficult time sailing to Catalina the day before, I was looking forward to fixing the broken rigging and resting up. I had no desire to sail further to San Diego today and besides there were things I needed to complete before I left. 

My day started early at 5:30 am. I awoke, got myself ready and then set the jib sail and texted Janette as I awoke to the most glorious sunrise:

Albie: "Oh my gosh! Most beautiful sunrise I've seen since Philippines! can see distant mountains toward San Diego wrapped in golden light shooting 2 heaven!"

Albie: "Goodmorning darling! By the time u get this I'm already had a good sleep and am rowing or sailing 2 shore 2 get my shroud fixed. I love u. Talk 2 u when awake."

   I undid the mooring lines (similar to an anchor) connected to my boat and floated clear. Raising the jib sail halyard, the boat now had power to go to Two Harbors. I stood up on top of the deck near the mast overlooking the peaceful sea. Passing by the island and the other boats, I could see the gentle wind blowing softly on the ocean and into the jib sail at the bow. It was so beautiful to watch the sail fill slowly with wind and see how it pulled softly on the boat taking it where you would like to go. The morning was so peaceful and the deep blue and green sea so lovely to sail upon. The cliffs and coves of the island passed on by. It was such a refreshing moment that I inhaled and remembered why I loved sailing so much!

 At Two Harbors there would be a place to fix my shroud and also retrieve my mainsail halyard (rope). The night before it had got stuck in the rigging and got all mixed up. Unfortunately I had made a bad mistake in trying to undo it - accidentally letting go of it and the rope had gone up to the top of the mast! It is truly amazing, now I think about it, how many problems I had the day before! Also how the next two two nights sailing to San Diego would bring more painful moments to really learn how to deal with these situations at sea. For instance, when the wind would stop blowing and the windless waves would rock the boat, it would make the boom swing out of control across the deck and the mainsail halyard rope would often get snagged on the upper mast light. It's hard to understand even for me being on land reading this in my comfy chair but these painful gut wrenching moments would have to happen a couple times before I would learn the 'secret' trick to un-snagging my twisted halyard and how to keep it from getting mixed up like that.

So after sailing peacefully by under a light breeze, the harbor patrol man named John came roaring by in his patrol boat and knowing I had had problems with my mast the night before, saved me a lot of time and gave me a tow into the dock where I could retrieve my halyard and attempt to fix my shroud. He also set me up with a man who was good at repairs to help me. With his help I was able to finally get my halyard rope down. To do this I had to attach my oars to my long 'man overboard pole' and rig a hook attached to the top of it to snag the line. Swaying back and forth on my feet with my eyes and head strained upwards at the top of the 30 foot mast (holding a very long - wildly swaying pole and aiming for a small knot hole to snag onto) was almost insane to even think I could succeed! But with my friend holding me steady so I wouldn't fall into the water, I finally achieved it and we shouted with joy when we pulled it down on deck!
       Once this was done, the kind gentleman left and this whole proceedure gave me an idea of using an extra strong bungie cord hook attached to a rope in which I would hook into the place on the spreaders and tie down the attached rope to the deck in order to procure a make-shift shroud. The spreader arms (which look like a cross on the mast) are only half way or so up the mast - so I accomplished finishing the whole job in only half an hour! This being done, I tightened my new make-shift shroud and believed it would work quite well! In reality it did get me to San Diego but as I would later find out, the metal bungie hook was not really strong enough. The metal needed to be stainless steel in order to take the heavy pressure of the mast and sails pulling on it. But this I would find out later sailing in San Diego harbor.

I then got another tow from the Harbor Master to an area I could anchor. While anchoring near the sandy beach on one side and near these beautiful protruding rocks on the other, I noticed a lady sitting on her boat anchored near me curiously watching us set the anchors. After two anchors were set, I promptly went below into the v-birth and fell asleep for a couple hours.
    I awoke to the sounds of children and parents swimming in the beautiful aqua green sea just offshore. I decided I needed a try at that too and promptly got into my swimming things. The lady from the other boat was still watching everything going on and all I was doing now as I jumped over the side of the boat. Truly the water was as glorious as it had looked! The water was refreshing from the hot summer sun and beautiful to swim in! I swam all the way around my boat and then got out. As I was changing out of my wet things, there seemed to be no escaping the ladies eagle eyes, so I went below and shut half of the hatch door so the beautiful cool breeze could still come through, but not those gazing eyes! After changing, I ate some tinned fruit. I had had such an unrestful night I then realized I was still tired. So I opened the forward hatch to get some cool sea air while I rested and fell asleep again.

    I awoke the second time hearing the lady outside yelling: 'Columbia!' I awoke realizing that she was calling out the the model of my boat. I then looked out the forward hatch and realized my boats' anchor had slowly drifted during the afternoon. I climbed out the hatch and began to hesitate a little in fear what I should do to remedy the problem. I promptly began to pull the boats main anchor line and the boat moved away from her boat. The lady in the meantime had called the Harbor Master on her cell phone or portable VHS and this didn't help much as when they came out it seemed like I had everything under control. But that did not stop the lady and the Harbor Master from getting in a nice argument over it all. She seemed to have a chip on her shoulder about them for some reason and the Harbor Master could feel it and didn't appreciate her grumpy and whiny attitude. She blamed the whole incident on the fact that they had said to call if there were any problems. The Harbor Master came back at her for being unappreciated of their help and there necessity to take care of important business and leave that which could be handled by mariners on their own - to themselves. I however, tried to distract the argument from going any further and suggested to them that I lengthen my back anchor and also attach my third anchor 10 feet from the end to hold it down since I did not have any chain on that line. He thought this a good idea and also suggested that I row out and drop this extended anchor much further away this time and I did so, while his boat revved up his four engines and steered through the green ocean and held my boat at bay so that it did not drift toward the ladies boat in the meantime. This, it seemed, worked really well and as I look back on it, became a standard procedure with my anchoring and I am very grateful to that negative circumstance for teaching me this lesson. Due to this I was never to have an anchor problem during the three more times on this trip that I would anchor.

     So after this incident was over, I stayed on the boat for a good while longer just to make sure the anchor was holding. When I saw that it was, I put my cell phone in a plastic watertight bag and got into my dinghy and rowed to shore. Once there I pulled the dinghy up on the shore and taking the paddle with me for a walking stick, took a pleasant walk up through the campsites over the hills near the beach. The walk was very pleasant and the trek over to 'Cat Harbor' was beautiful. Over there the dreamy blue mountains on the far side of the bay meat the sea - truly lovely! After all the hiking, I arrived at Two Harbors and then called Janette. I needed to get her insight on my new plan I had just come up with. You see, I had begun to entertain the possibility of leaving Catalina this very evening and sailing to San Diego at night. Before my walk, I had pretty much convinced myself to stay the night at anchor. But sitting around doing nothing is hard for me - especially when I feel refreshed and ready to go. And also Janette was leaving for San Diego tonight too. I wanted to be there with her and didn't want to waste a moment. So I discussed these thoughts with her. Ultimately the decision rested with me so while I was at the dock I got the weather, coastal wind and wave report to help me. This report seemed to support my belief that there would be plenty of wind and so I felt encouraged further to leave this evening.

Later when getting back to the boat it would take all my skill and strength to get the anchors in fast enough before I drifted too close to another boat, the sails up and sail the boat upwind and downwind, in and out of all the other boats - without an engine and get out to sea fast enough before the wind had a chance to die down for the evening.

This night sailing to San Diego was to be one of the most adventurous sailing moments for me - one I would not forget! Join me next time in Part III to hear the rest.

-Skipper Albie

My new Mast!

My new Mast!
Because the mast is now 29 feet, I found a Catalina 27 sail that fits it real well. CLICK on PIC to go to page all about different masts on the boat!.

Sailed to Catalina

Sailed to Catalina
A view of Cat Harbor looking out at the Pacific. CLICK ON PIC TO GO TO ALBIE'S PIRATE PAGE!

After Sailing - bonfire on the beach!

After Sailing - bonfire on the beach!
Wow! It was so hot! You could cook your hotdog two feet away from the fire!

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Welcome to Sailing with Albie!

I made this blog because I wanted to share my adventures at sea with all of you! Some of you may be wishing they had their own boat or just want to 'get away' even if just at home on the web. So each week I decided to write down my feelings while out at sea and share them with you. If you enjoy them, please feel free to come back here weekly and see what's new. Also please share the blog with your friends and with those who you know like sailing!