Leg 1 of HaHa – San Diego to Bahia Tortuga

November 1 – We deployed sails today for a little bit but not much wind so had to revert back to motoring with the engine on. Getting tired of its roar but also thankful for it!  The good thing was we caught up to other sailboats and it seems we will arrive tomorrow morning in time for some Tortuga Bay fun:  baseball game, picnic and hanging out meeting others.  Kids worked on school work diligently in last hours of sunshine while Kevin was at the helm.


Halloween Tricks and Treats

October 31 – Happy Halloween! Trick-or-Treat.  We departed San Diego today under cloud cover.  Trick from the windlass – it was actually full of oil but slowly leaking little drips here and there. That’s ok, apparently. Treat: the brownies Camille made the night before, beautiful sunset, dolphins that swam off our bow, and made good progress south today. Trick: cold day with little wind. Treats: Lots of candy on board for the trick-or-treating in Turtle Bay. Now let’s hope we catch up to the fleet and don’t miss this little adventure (trick-or-treating via dinghy around to all the boats anchored in the bay).


Baja-Haha Prep and Let Down Departure

October 29 – The Baja-HaHa mayhem was upon us. The amount of junk to stow seemed endless and the task insurmountable. The skipper’s meeting was long. The BBQ and costume party in the West Marine parking lot was fun but lots of lines to stand in for tickets, bands, food and the swag bag. Stayed up late trying to finish up last minute things. Not a good recipe for early departure the next day, for the biggest trip of our lives.  Discovering leaky oil into the bilge proved to be a showstopper that delayed our start with the rest of the fleet.

October 30 – Tired as all on the big departure day, emotionally sad to see our friends depart for the start line while we remained at the marina to figure out our game plan. Oil for the windlass? or bow thruster (likely culprits of leaky oil)? Ruled out bow thruster. Windlass leaking oil! Not good for anchoring in Turtle Bay for 3 nights or Santa Maria bay for 2 nights on the trip. This was the day we had been planning and waiting for since, since over a year. Finally, we decided to head up to the north bay area to be close to the marine service shops and supplies where Dave and Kevin would try to take apart the windlass, check it’s oil and put it back together. One night at the Police Guest Dock made us super thankful for our lovely Chula Vista marina digs.

San Diego Cruise and Hugs Goodbye

October 28 – Mom and Amy came down from L.A. to see our floating home. Perfect afternoon outing on the boat with stunning sunset views of San Diego bay and the Coronado bridge. We had to go up north in the bay to fuel up and pump out in preparation for departure.  The hardest part was saying goodbye to my mom.  We all will miss her so much!  The girls cried when she left but I told them to be strong and we’ll see her again sooner than later.  Inside I was very sad too and shed tears in bed that night.  I love my momma!

Trip to L.A.

October 23-25 – Trotting up to L.A. was tiring for the driving due to horrendous traffic, however, it was an absolutely delightful visit, mostly because we spent quality time with my mom (grandma Cathy) but also for the visits to Universal Studios, Hollywood Boulevard and staying at the haunted Queen Mary steamship in Long Beach. I also thoroughly enjoyed remeeting Amy Locker (my mom’s longtime friend from years’ past). We all hung out together for a day and had a blast. She has the cutest little house and a true wine cellar. I still can taste the fabulous French toast we had for breakfast at a little café near her house. Then we zoomed into downtown to see the Human Body exhibit and 3D Imax theater.



Visiting Family

October 14 – We visited family and friends before departing San Diego which was soulful for us. We went to Temecula to spend time with my sister Shary and her family. Our girls love to spend time together with their cousins (Lily and Hannah). We watched Hannah’s soccer match and ate dinner together. Then later they came to visit us at the boat and see our home for the next year. Camille would’ve liked to kidnap Lily and Hannah to take with us on the big trip!

San Diego Sightseeing

October 12 – We took some time to sightsee in San Diego by taking the girls to the zoo, visiting downtown and going over to Coronado.


Seattle September Visit and Saying Good-Bye

September 11 – Flew the Alaska albatross home to Seattle. Ah, was good to be home, except wait, our house was totally under construction so we couldn’t actually stay there. The sun was bright and shiny when we arrived, albeit cooler than San Diego. Lucy dog was happy to see us when we pulled in to the hood. Staying at the Lord’s and dog sitting Lucy was just what we needed!

September 15 – Birthday season was upon us! Happy Birthday to my love of my life who turned the big five oh! Hard to believe. Dinner at the Rasmussen’s was so much fun!

September 16 – Mini golf for Kyra’s birthday proved to be a hit! Crisp in the morning, but by 11am at Willow’s Run Putt Putt, it was sunny and warm.

September 20 – What an amazing opening performance by Columbia Choirs at the Mariners game! Love their singing: The Star Spangled Banner.

September 22 – Having 5-7 girls over for a teen birthday party was quite an experience! MOD pizza all around. Loved seeing my sister, Ang, and having dinner together.

September 25 – The big surgery day. Tonsils be gone with you – from Camille’s throat! Went smoothly just not the post pharmacy pick up of drugs. We sure have a pharma system that can make things complicated. For Hydrocodone had to have prescription in hand, no electronic business. Not many pharmacies had liquid pain meds so went all over the place. Finally found one but they explained that the doc had prescribed something no longer made and needed another hand-written script! Ugh!

September 29 – When Kyra’s actual birthday day came, she asked to eat at El Gaucho – yummy choice! We gorged ourselves because, besides the dinner, it was my first time getting dessert too. Bananas foster flambé tableside. I always wanted to do that and now had enough people to justify it. Rich beyond words but so worth is!

October 6 – Not sure how I squeezed so much stuff into the day. Annual doctor checkups then Camille went to Imagine Dragons with Maya (Jeff and Jocelyn took them, while Juli returned the pair – thank you so much). Sushi spread with Bill, Liz and Anne was awesome, and wine with the ladies was even better.  Probably drank too much but had to get my fill.

October 9 – So good to be “home” on the boat in San Diego to sleep in my own bed. Flying today from Seattle back to San Diego. Happy to find warmth, leave the cold behind. Sad to leave friends and family, but oh so thankful to them all for their generosity, support and love as we embark on this year long sailing adventure.

San Diego Arrival

September 10th – Early morning we rounded Point Loma heading into San Diego bay. Sun intensity was low in the early morning, but increasingly warmed our backs as we chugged South to Chula Vista Marina. Driving past all the navy ships confirmed for me that our country’s naval force is massive.  The huge, hulking ships were impressive in size and capabilities.  Don’t mess with the US Navy!  They’re like whole cities in and of themselves.

Happy arrival, happy crew!!  The early-bird, chatty, live-aboards wanted to get all our info as we were docking, coming in. Thank goodness for one nice guy who hopped off, came round and helped with lines instead of trying to ask us a gazillion questions as we landed, with no reverse!  Darn engine.

The cleaning and stowing began.  Not used to the heat, we sweated and panted our way through the day of chores.  By evening, when all settled down and was quiet in the marina, kids in bed, we heard as strange crackling on our boat.  Thought our fiberglass hull was cracking apart.  Dave and I spent 20 minutes listening in several nooks and crannies on the boat.  Then he had a brilliant idea:  get off the boat and check around other boats.  Listening carefully near the hull of a neighboring boat, we realized we weren’t the only ones.  After a quick search online, we discovered the noises were simply the friendly shrimp with their electric barbs zapping in the water.  Phew!

Passage Making Part 2

California Cruising Crew

September 5th – I must admit that passage making isn’t my favorite, but passages give me time to reflect and settle my mind and body because I don’t feel much like doing anything too involved. Even if I did, my body tells me to stop and focus on the task – seafaring. I guess it’s my body’s way of telling me to become one with the boat, her movement, her needs and quirks as we move through the water, whether calm or raucous. Never before have I experienced rhythm like you do on a boat. Rhythm in so many ways: rocking, routines, meals, chores, space, sleep, movement on deck, through the cabin or hanging on while on the potty, changing watches, writing in the log book, checking gauges, fuel tanks, battery levels, etc. I can feel the boat and I feel my body. All senses are heightened. I cannot really explain it properly in words. It’s just a different mode or pace that I shift into without intent, it just happens.
The monotony of passage making is arduous but there are rewards. It’s like the ocean or sea knows this, so it sends emissaries with gifts:

  1. The blue whales that swam next to us and surfaced 10 feet from our boat then swam right under the bow to join each other ahead of us was so incredible. I was in awe squealing with delight alongside my kids. We were under sail and plodding along when suddenly, there they were! It’s like they came over to say “hi” and check us out. These creatures are so big and graceful. We saw more of these whales but never as close again.
  2. The dolphins were another gift. I cannot recall which day or time we first saw them, but they came frequently. They would zoom in, race to the bow of the boat and leap playfully in and out of the wake of the bow. We could hear them chittering too. Sometimes there were so many it seemed like a soup of dolphins, other times, only a few came. One night, in the sparkling moonlight on the water we saw them coming, leaping through the glittering moonlit water. I tried to capture it on video or photo, but it wasn’t going to happen. This will just have to be a memory of perfection I hold in my mind.
  3. Another night, when the moon wasn’t up, I looked over the side of the boat to catch a glimpse of a strange, glowing object coming straight for our hull at high speed. First thing that came to mind was a missile. I listened and watched. Nothing impacted. Then the sound of leaping and chittering at the bow. More dolphins came and the same thing: they resembled glowing missiles coming across the water headed straight for us because they were covered in phosphorescence. I was simply happy to see dolphins, but glowing dolphins?!!
  4. The sea giveth. I awoke one morning to an excited crew busily pulling in a big fish and cleaning it. Seth had ordered a hand-line with a squid lure for our trip. He put it out trailing behind us and after a day or so, low and behold we caught a fish. I tasty one too! The cleaning of it made quite a mess but I was super stoked to eat fresh fish!

September 8th – Monterrey Bay came into view and we tied up just after sunset. The entrance was fine, but landing at an end-tie with a thigh-high barricade was awkward at best. Turns out this barrier is to keep sea lions from climbing onto the dock and lounging about. Huh, that was a new one to us. We quickly tied up and scurried up to shore, made our way to a Mexican restaurant and gorged ourselves.

The first time our feet were on solid ground for a week. My sea legs were fighting hard to stay intact. My land legs wanted to take over. I had the boat rocks pretty hard. Good thing we took off early the next morning, so my body wouldn’t get too used to land or marina flat water.

The fuel dock was busy with fishing boats fueling up right at the 8 a.m. open so we had to wait a bit, but we slipped in between some and got the stink eye from one waiting for us. I smiled and waved to them as we pulled away, but the 3 or 4 men onboard just stared and scowled at me without averting their eyes as I steered/captained the boat while Dave handled lines. Screw you too, you crusty old men who must not think a woman belongs at the helm! That or they were pissed they had to wait 5 extra minutes longer than usual for us (sailing vessel) to fuel. Oh well! Off we went, Seth waved good-bye and zoomed off north to San Francisco. Sad to see him go, but was so thankful for his support and help from Seattle to Monterrey. Loved having him onboard for our first family passage out on the big ocean.