Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ensenada for New Years

Made a quick dash for the border to enjoy New Years in Mexico.  Sailing Lightspeed we can easily make the San Diego to Ensenda voyage in daylight.  
It's a good thing as the days are short this time of year with sunset before 5PM, but wow, check out this sunset in San Diego.

Check in formalities to Mexico was a breeze in Ensenada.  Immigration, Customs and the Port Captain are all under one roof.  
We completed all formalities in less then 30 minutes.

Mexico is famous for seafood, we wasted no time tracking down the fish market to score some shrimp for a lunch feast.
1 Kilo heads off fresh shrimp $120 pesos = $3.15 usd/pound 
Saute in fresh garlic and butter, serve on fresh tortillas = Loving Mexico.  

  Speaking of love, Tempranillo is a great varietal when looking at the regional wines of Baja Mexico.  KM 101 was our first stop after landing in Ensenda.  Ovis by the glass is a true delight.

It seems we're always running into old friends or making new friends anytime we're near the docks.
Today, it was Kirk and Heidi of s/v Due West my old dock mates from Eliot Bay Marina in Seattle.
 Kirk and Dave at Ensenada Seaport Marina.
 Kirk and Heidi having fun somewhere, I stole this photo from their blog.

The very cool 'Luna' seen in Ensenada.  Apparently, the vessel is 112 years old and the new French owner will be sailing here to Europe with a cargo of Run and Coffee.

We also ran into s/v Scorpido with Eric and Robin onboard, they crossed the South Pacific in 2006 when I was sailing our old monohull La Vie and then Scorpido went on circumnavigate.  Then now commute between Seattle and Puerto Vallarta every few weeks.

More cool cruisers were Jeff and Anne on Fantasia who've done a fair bit of cruising and raised a family aboard as well.  Jeff now owns CPT autopilots a great cruiser lifestyle business.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

New Montana friends

December 29, 2014

Lynwood and Mariana were walking the docks today and looking at boats, we struck up a conversation and now have some cool new Montana friends.  I've been dreaming of off grid cabins and Lynwood has been busy building an amazing cabin in Montana.   We swapped some great stories and ended up going for a sail on Lightspeed.   

Lynwood and Mariana have a cool historical rental in Bozeman, so if you're heading to Yellowstone or the Bozeman area to ski, check it out at   

Cool photos from their remote off grid cabin at 9000' are updated hourly. Check it out here:

Friday, December 04, 2015

San Diego

December 4, 2015

We've been in San Diego for a little over a month and enjoying our new home base.

The weather is pretty much perfect and we're finding really good energy in the boating community with lots of past, present and future cruisers around. So far we've been bouncing around the various anchorages and checking things out.  It's not confirmed yet, but we have a good lead on a marina berth on Shelter Island and as a backup have our name on a list for a mooring in America's Cup Harbor... too bad the wait list is 4-6 years long!

Kathy is on the road or jetting somewhere between 1-3 weeks a month for work, when she's home it's pretty long days as well with work starting before sunrise and going past sunset.  Dave is working on a number of projects from a new business website, boat projects to cool 3D printer projects.  The primary project has yet to be unveiled, but here are a few fun 3D prints.
 Printing ball inside a ball... the perfect cat toy.

DB15 cover for Kathy's dad at HMS electronics.

Occasionally we sneak in some fun.  Today we took a 20+ mile bike ride on Coronado Island.  We were riding side by side aka: 'CHiPs' style from the 1970's TV show.

And this pretty huge Golpher Snake crossed our path nearly causing a crash,  Kathy screamed and swerved into me.  It was all pretty funny since no one got hurt, not even the snake.

The day before yesterday we took in a long sunset beach stroll, last week a ride out to the Point Loma Lighthouse.
Beach stroll near 'The Del Coronado'
 From the Del looking toward Point Loma.

 From Point Loma lighthouse looking toward Coronado
 Near point Loma

Anchoring in San Diego

Here's a quick look at where to anchor while in San Diego.

You need a permit in advance, apply online here.

Overview Map

A1- Playa Anchorage

Pros:  Close to Downwind Marine / San Diego Marine exchange and many marine related service providers.  Lots of restaurants within walking distance and shopping at Ralph's is about a 10 minute walk. Great wind protection and dead flat water.
Cons:  Advance permit required, cut off to book is Thursday midnight, and the anchorage is limited to Fri-Sun night only.
No dinghy dock access except at Police docks.  Sand beach is an easy landing, but security could be a problem after dark.
 A1 looking toward Point Loma in the early morning.
A1 landing

A5- Glorietta Bay
Pros:  Beautiful and quiet, landing at boat ramp dock, close to The Del Hotel and amazing beaches of Coronado.  Tons of dining options from $ to $$$$.  Bayshore bike path is super nice for a long ride.
Cons:  Permit required with max stay of 3 days.  Vons grocery store is a pretty long walk.

A5 after dark is just as magical.

A9- Cruisers Anchorage
Pros: Anchorage up to 90 days possible.
Cons:  Permit and special inspection required.  Rolly, noisy and located in the middle of nowhere at the edge of the San Diego airport, security at dinghy dock is definitley an issue as are an abundance of panhandlers.

Mariners Basin, Mission Bay
Pros:  Great anchorage super close to lots of fun at Pacific Beach.
Cons:  Max stay 72 hours in any 7 day period.  Sand beach is an easy landing, but security could be a problem after dark.

Mariners Basin with some storm clouds on the horizon.

Other Options:

San Diego Free Anchorage-
Pros: Free for all.
Cons:  Outside bay and a true road-stead anchorage. Full of derelict boat(er)s.  Under military runway flight path and a long rough dingy ride to anywhere.

If you want a mooring ball then it's just one call to San Diego Mooring Company who manages all moorings in San Diego Harbor, but it could be a wait.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Random pics from the last few weeks sailing down to San Diego.,

 Tif and Colt on the sup board in Marina Del Rey
It was fun to meet up with John and Tif and their super cute son Colt.

 Catching up with Tim, Anne and Jeff, who we last saw in the 2011 Ha Ha.
 Paddy, Queenie and Kathy as we head to the Baja Ha Ha kick-off party.

Labor in mexico may be cheap, but the guy in the hat is Dave, and his labor is always free.   Installing new Lewmar ocean series hatches on Lightspeed.

After the BBQ and 40% off sale at Downwind marine we hung out with the crew of S&S 40 Shawnigan at San Diego Yacht Club, then the kid heavy crew headed out to trick or treating as it was Halloween.  Shawnigan skipper: Christian, 1st mate Josie and kids Nina, Ellamae and Taj.  However, this picture is a mash up with crew and other boat kids.
Chef Joe, Val and Tina at Cucina Enoteca in Del Mar.  

Octopus that was beyond delicious.  What a treat to hang with the executive chef for an afternoon. Thanks Joe and Tina and Val.
 Kale salad
Beet salad, yumm.

We also got the chance to meet up with Kyle and Dr. Laura for dinner in Ocean beach, but sadly no photos, so I grabbed these off the net.


 Our Lehman 12 in the San Diego La Playa anchorage.
As expected the Lehman 12 makes a nice rowboat, however we'll need to add a keelson so she tracks straight.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Slow motion dolphins

Check out this video of dolphins swimming off the bow. Video captured in slow motion.

Slow motion dolphins

No more chilly weather

October 18, 2015

Cojo Anchorage
34 26.8026 N 120 26.6845 W
25' hard bottom with decent holding between kelp patches

Screen shot with GPX tracks from OpenCPN plotted on Google earth. 

Cojo anchorage was pleasant as usual, despite gusty strong winds I slept without a worry.  Anchor down I got to work drilling holes in the deck for the spinnaker hardware.  Worked til dark and then warmed up some clam chowder for dinner with toasted sourdough bread on the side.  Boat kitty Shell was happy to have the anchor down and was running wild, sprinting around the cabin, then racing up the cabin top and leaping in to the sail.  

Today I'm heading to Santa Barbara to fuel up, then hopefully to Channel Islands Harbor for the night.  Monday I hope to be in Marina Del Rey.  

Had some spirited sailing this morning with boat speeds over 12 knots. Video here 

Stop over in Morro Bay
 LightSpeed with the iconic Morro Rock
 Lightspeed with new USCG compliant boat name on bow.  We're hoping to do some charters and sail coaching aboard LightSpeed, so lots of i's to dot and t's to cross to get 100% onboard with USCG regulations.
Ever helpful Harbor Patrol took me on a fuel run.  I didn't even ask, they offered.  Thanks guys!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Dock lines are off, heading south to San Diego.

Yikes!  It's been a while since we've seen such intense lightning.  Dark clouds, heavy rain and lightning bolts on the rhumb line are pretty much my least favorite things.   I tried to sail around the melee by going well offshore, but gnarly lighting was cracking out of clear blue skies on the periphery and the hair on the back of my neck was starting to stand on end.  These crashing strikes were way to close for comfort!  The periphery of the storm seemed to have just as much lightning as the center.  Last time we were in this situation we were sailing our old catamaran 'Pacifica' and a near strike blew-out the radar and depth sounder and nearly scared something else out of the skipper.   
Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) from nearby lightning can be nearly as bad as a direct strike as electrical current flow is induced to surge through the boats' systems frying everything in an instant. 
With the skies cracking with flashes and booms, I decided to reverse plans and go toward the beach. About this time I was gathering up all the small electronic devices and hiding them in the oven. For the uninitiated, this is a sailors version of a Hail Mary.  It's a last ditch effort to hope that the galley oven will do double duty as a make shift Faraday cage,  EMP energy will in THEORY flow around the oven and with luck spare the electronic souls inside.  In the end I headed to the fridge grabbed a cold beer and sat as far away from all metal as possible, sipped my beer and tried to think positive thoughts as the lightning lit the sky and thunder rattled the boat.  I snapped this screen shot as I was nearly in the middle of the squall cell.  Then back to the couch to nurse my beer and cross my fingers. 

 LightSpeed at the 2 hour dock in Monterey, this picture snapped from the Harbor Patrol boat as we finished up a jerry jug fuel run that included a run in the harbor patrol truck to the gas station and then a labor saving ride in the patrol boat to deliver the jugs.  Very Cool. Thanks Bif!  It reminds me of the super cool harbor guy in Dutch Harbor who checked us in when we made landfall there last summer.  The harbor patrol, drove us to the bar for beers and burgers and left us with the keys to his truck to return at some unspecified time.  
 Nice size Skip Jack caught south of Monterey.
 Dolphins a plenty.  Maybe a few hundred in one school
 As you can see there is no wind, so great for Dolphin pictures and terrible for sailing.

 Smoothie, cruiser style.  And you thought your Vitamix was an expensive set up
Blending up the last of my organic garden, beets and kale were ohh so good in the natural beauty of San Simeon Bay anchorage.
 Morro Bay from the Morro Bay Yacht Club 2nd floor deck .
 New sailing dink on the left, Lightspeed in upper right.
Google Earth route.  Day 1 Ballena Bay to Half Moon Bay. Day 2 Half moon to Monterrey.  Day 3 Monterrey to San Simeon.  Day 4 San Simeon to Morro Bay.