Saturday, November 30, 2013

San Diego

Luckness arrived in San Diego on Thursday as planned and is docked at the guest dock in Shelter Island.  I reserved a slip at the dock online before leaving Bonita Cove and paid for three nights ($40/night.)  I walked around a little on Thursday, Friday I started working my way through my shopping list, picking up little odds and ends that I wanted to get while they were handy.  Today I pretty much finished off the list - there were a few items that I wasn't able to get due to some of the stores being closed over the Thanksgiving weekend and I don't want to hang around until Monday to get them - nothing was safety related, just convenience items at this point.

Tomorrow morning, Sunday, I leave for Ensenada - Mexico!

Ensenada is only 77nm away and the checkout time at the marina where I am is 11am.  If I average 3 knots I can travel 77nm in 26 hours.  If I go 4 knots I can get there in 19 hours.  I can't really arrive before the marina's in Ensenada open (there is no anchorage there.)  So I'll be happy with a little wind, enough to keep me moving between 3 and 4 knots, but not much faster or I'll arrive way too early.

My stop in San Diego was just a quick visit, Ensenada will be the same.  I'll check into Mexico in Ensenada and then take off either the next day or Wednesday.  By Wednesday the forecast is for the high temperature in San Diego to be 59 degrees.  Thursday's forecast is 57.  Its clearly time to be much further south!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

In Millers Bay/Mariners Bay/Bonita Cove

In my last post I left my route from Oxnard to San Diego up in the air, waiting to see what I felt like doing once I got out on the water.  In the end, I sailed through the night and arrived where I am now, at anchor in Bonita Cove.  This place seems to have three names, if you know the area you should recognize one of them.

The sail here was actually mostly a long motor.  There was some nice wind out of Oxnard and I was able to sail for around three hours right away.  That was sweet.  Then the wind died and the motor came on and stayed on all night until some more wind arrived in the morning.  That wind lasted for a few hours at which point it fell off and I motored the remaining 15nm into the bay where I am now.

Bonita Cove is an awesome little anchorage, 6nm north of San Diego.  Its fairly rare to be able to anchor out without any hassle, permits or fees this far into California.  I arrived here on Monday and will leave here tomorrow.  I have a spot at the public dock at Shelter Island reserved for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  I leave Sunday for Mexico!

I have a few things to buy in San Diego, not a lot, but odds and ends that I generally know where to pick up.  I'll buy some courtesy flags for my visits to islands in the South Pacific later next year.  I can buy an external GPS receiver for my AIS unit, as well as some parts for my SSB radio, and this and that.  Nothing critical, but good things to pick up easily rather than having to scrounge for them later.

I haven't planned my trip down the coast in Mexico in any detail.  The last time down the coast I did the trip in one leg, going from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas in one passage.  I may do that again, or stop along the way several times, or once.  I'll decide along the way.

I'm looking forward to getting into the Sea of Cortez.  I'm hoping to arrive in the area with a supply of provisions so that I don't need to head into La Paz right away to buy more food.  It would be nice to be able to head immediately into the islands and hang out at anchor in the beautiful blue warm waters again.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Preparing to leave Oxnard!

When I was in Oxnard in 2011 I pulled in for a short visit and ended up staying much longer than I had anticipated.  This time I planned ahead of time to stay for around four weeks, knowing that I could make a good dent in my boat project list.  Well, as of tomorrow, I will have been here for six weeks.  Its been a good stay but its time to move on.  Its freezing here!  The daytime temperature has been getting up into the low 60's, but not the 70's anymore.  Down in La Paz right now the days are routinely in the low 80's.  Sunshine, warm days, cool evenings and warm water - that's where I'm heading.

I'm around 80% certain that I'll be leaving tomorrow, Sunday, the 24th.  There are a few things I want to pick up in San Diego, so I'll stop there before crossing the border and checking into Mexico in Ensenada.  The checkin process needs to happen on a week day and the stores in San Diego will be closed for Thanksgiving on thursday and possibly friday, so I have a little scheduling to do.

If I do in fact leave here tomorrow I have a number of plans on where I'll go.  I could head back to Smugglers anchorage as there is a hike I would like to do there.  When I was last there the government was shutdown and the island was closed.  It was actually surprising that everybody at anchor respected the 'do not land' edict broadcast via VHF that the island was closed.  Since nobody else was landing their dinghy's onshore I felt like I shouldn't either.  So anyway, there is a hike I missed there, so that is one possibility.  Second possibility is Anacapa Island.  Its an easy distance away slightly more toward my destination.  Third possibility would be to head to Santa Barbara Island, 42nm away in a good direction.  This would breakup the journey nicely, putting Catalina island an easy daysail away.  If I choose any of those three options, then I could mosey along to Catalina eventually staying at an anchorage or two.  I was in Avalon for a few weeks on my last trip and they have a good deal on moorage right now - pay for two days and get five for free, so staying there would be cheap.  Once on Catalina getting to San Diego is something like 80nm away which means its an overnight sail.  The only way to avoid an overnight sail would be to coastal hop, and I don't want to do that.  The last option would be to just leave Oxnard and head directly to San Diego, 144nm away.  I've been going back and forth on the options for a few days now.

So, with those two topics out of the way (when do I leave? Maybe tomorrow!  Where are you going? I'm not sure, Mexico eventually!) I can talk about boat projects for a bit.

I've been busy here.  Although, by 'busy' I don't mean I've been working 8 or 10 hour days.  I try to get a solid 4 or 5 hours of work in a day.  I am retired after all.

I mentioned that I was going to rebuild my Monitor wind vane in my previous post.  That project actually went very well.  I managed to take the whole thing apart, clean it all up and install all new bearings and other sacrificial parts without losing anything.  I did take the Monitor off the stern of the boat and brought it into my cabin to work on it.  I don't know how I would have done this with it mounted, probably very poorly and with many trips back to Scanmar's site ordering new parts.  Now the Monitor is de-mystified a little more.  Its a nice piece of machinery.

I finished teak oiling the entire interior of the cabin, this took a few days, believe me.  The boat's topsides have been waxed, the non-skid was waxed with a non-skid wax (which isn't slippery), I've waxed the hull.  The exterior varnish has been done again.  The stove is fixed again (a rivet had fallen out and required my tapping a bolt in to fix it.)

I cleaned up my batteries, and this might be interesting for boat-project geeks out there.  I had found acid had pooled on top and was dripping from my AGM 'sealed' batteries down into a dry food storage area (all food was bagged, no damage) and into the bilge.  This freaked me out a little when I saw it - leaking batteries!?  That can't be good.  All of the batteries had traces of acid near their lids, so the problem wasn't with only one of them.  I phoned Odyssey, the maker of the batteries.  It turns out to be somewhere between 'ok' and 'normal'.  All AGM batteries can vent gas slightly for a variety of reasons, but it seems to increase as they age.  I knew this, and pictured a little vapor coming out and then silently disappearing never to be seen again.  It turns out that when the gaseous acid in the vapor interacts with moisture in the air it recombines and forms liquid acid.  So what looked like a leak was in fact just acid recombining from the acidic venting vapor.  If a teaspoon of gaseous acid is vented this way, four teaspoons of liquid acid are formed.  Presumably the liquid acid I found was four times weaker than the actual acid in the battery.  Cathy, the Odyssey tech-rep I spoke with, pointed out where the vents were on these batteries, which lo and behold was exactly where the acid was forming.  So problem solved.  I cleaned them off with a dilute baking soda/warm water combination until they were clean.  I've also taped little soda filled rag squares over the vent hoping that the rag/soda will absorb the gas in the future.  So if any of you notice acid dripping off of your AGM's, there may not be any reason to panic.  There might be, but maybe not too.

I did a little painting in my bilge, I've changed the engine oil, I bought an inflatable stand up paddle board.  I worked on LuckNews, my RSS reader and software hobby, and have released two new versions of it to the Apple App store since being here.

The dinghy is stowed, the water tanks are full, as is the fridge.  The fridge contains a pecan pie, a ham, bunches of kale, fresh veggies, 6 pounds of cheese (I'm still eating through the cheese I bought in Seattle...) along with all sorts of other goodies.

All systems are a go.

Maybe I'll leave tomorrow?