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?


  1. Hi Craig. If it's freezing where you are, you wouldn't want to be in Toronto right now! It's -10C here (feels like -20C when the wind blows) and it snowed today. But in 6 days I'll be in the tropics. :)

    1. I'll be in the tropics sometime soon too, but not as soon as you. Enjoy your trip!

  2. Hi Craig,
    Sounds like ship-shape describes your boat. I hope you tie some pictures to post when she's in such lovely condition. A stand-up paddle board. Cool! Happy decision making. xo Mum

    1. I'm looking forward to digging the SUP out once I get into warmer waters and full time cruising mode, rather than the transit-the-coast mode that I'm in now :-)

  3. Since your mother is anonymous I guess I will be too. Ski Hill where I volunteer as Ski patrol in Detroit area was open Nov 13 for 4 days, 2nd earliest ever on freak Alberta Clipper storm. The have been making snow all weekend and will open again Nov 25 which is again a very early opening. So, cold is here. Wish I was there at your next stop, somewhere warmer!

    Glad to hear your are setting a relaxing pace, sounds quite nice, staying 6 weeks in one place. That is my image or sailing off into the sunset. Nice to hear you will be heading further south to more tropical temperatures. We are all jealous.

    your cousin Dean.

    1. Good to hear from you Dean - the early ski season sounds good, have fun! As I get further south it should get more and more relaxing - especially once I arrive in the Sea of Cortez. At that point I'll have nowhere else to go until mid march, just hang out and enjoy the place. Looking forward to it!