San Diego to Santa Barbara via Catalina
When cruising, it seems that we rapidly make new friends in new harbors. Unfortunately that means you eventually have to say good bye. Pete and Diane from San Diego welcomed us in grand style. They gave us the grand tour and made us feel right at home. Several pleasant evenings were spent talking around their saloon table while sharing a meal. They are preparing their Cal 39 for a cruise of Mexico. Pete let me ramble on with the memories of our trip fresh in my mind. For instance we outfitted Sosiego with a water maker that has remained, “pickled”, for most of the trip. Sosiego carries 80 gallons of water and we always seemed to have enough. The money would be better spent on actual cruising.
The overnight passage to Avalon was uneventful except for having to motor. The buoy system on Catalina is unique and as always it was stressful getting the bow and stern secured. Sosiego is like an iceberg with more hull under the water than above, and when a current is running, maneuvering in close quarters is always exciting. Once secure we caught up on some missed sleep before launching the dingy for a shore trip. Avalon is like a small tourist town and with our stern to the beach we had no end to the entertainment, not unlike Cabo San Lucas. We made are way to the beach bar and sampled the local drink known as Buffalo milk. A very tasty dangerous mix of Vodka, Kalua, cream de banana, half and half and ice topped with nutmeg, whip cream and a shot of crème de Cacoa.
To keep the ball rolling we moved on to Two Harbors. They have the same mooring system which gave us no less difficulty. Two Harbors is more remote but does have a nice restaurant and small very expensive market. We were told the cost was due to transportation costs. We found this very hard to believe as the ferry landed twice a day. For example, I looked at a six pack of beer and it was priced 4.00. The 4 dollars was per bottle not for the six pack. We had a lot of fun snorkeling and examining the local fish. The high light was discovering a ray on the sea floor under the shadow of Sosiego with a five foot wing span, absolutely beautiful. We also had a lot of fun playing with Bali SUP as well as the inflatable kayak. Next port of call was Oxnard.
We motored across the Chanel maneuvering through the marine layer and avoiding the crab pots. As we approached the shallow entrance to Channel Island Harbor the swell increased significantly. Luckily, there was only a slight break at the entrance and we rolled in on the swell behind a local sailor. There is a lot of shoaling at the entrance so care must be taken. We were given a slip at the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club for two nights. When I was getting Sosiego ready for this voyage I wanted to be able to empty the holding tank at sea. Although I tested my system with fresh sea water a weeks worth of use at the island proved too much for it. The problem is the combination of sea water and urea salts that combine to encrust all the tubing and pumps in crust. One of the two three way valves fell victim and I was unable do empty the head completely. The lesson here is to keep it simple and after the multiple times I have rebuilt heads, the system I am now in favor of is a cedar bucket or a composting head. Neither one requires holes in the bottom of my boat and will never suffer from this crust. Of course the cedar bucket is vetoed because I want to remain married. The quick fix I made in Oxnard got the pump working but made it impossible to pump out as you will soon learn in our trials at Santa Barbara.
The passage to Santa Barbara started with a very light breeze and ended with a romping sail into port. I had almost forgotten how much fun sailing is and was able to collect a little GoPro footage of the fun. We planned to hang out in Santa Barbara for a weather window for the rounding of Point Conception, “Cape Horn of the West”. We think Santa Barbara knows how to do 4th of July right. The marina was alive with all members and walks of life to the point I worried about whether the docks would hold up. Every one of age had a drink in their hand and the tenders buzzed around like flies. One small yellow dingy towed even a smaller one with a cooler. Those without tenders either rented paddle boards or Kayaks. The fire works are just off the beach and the show was amazing, including a 15 minute encore. We watched spellbound from the cockpit with sundowners in hand. The next day found us at the pump out with the bottomless tank. I couldn’t figure it out. The harbor patrol drop a die tab in your toilet to make sure you are not pumping overboard in the marina. Well, the pump out just kept going and it looked like clear water. Running below I discovered that I had only half corrected the problem in Oxnard and that we where actually empting the harbor of sea water. We then decided to stay a few more days for Debbie’s birthday and yet again fix the head. Remember, the secret to a working head is lots of vinegar. The acid in the vinegar dissolves the salts.