Sunday, October 31, 2010


We arrived San Diego this morning about 6am, two hours before the marina office opened to assign a slip, so we wondered around outside for awhile before coming in....with the Navy.

They approached the Bay announcing that all boats were required to maintain 500 feet of separation from them, but since we were already in the fairly narrow entrance channel they informed us to stay to the right and they would pass us on our port side.  No problem.  I bet that somewhere on board there was an 18 year old with M16 aimed at us just in case we turned belligerent.

It's nice to be here .  San Diego is the last US port we will be in for some time, and is the last port on the leg from San Francisco.  Next stop will be Ensenada, Mexico to check in.

Brad from Walnut Grove gave us a call today to let us know that a letter Judy wrote to the Bay and Delta Yachtsman Magazine had been published,  along with Brad's picture of Grace approaching the Walnut Grove bridge.  It was a nice reminder of the the great time we had there.

We're off to bed now, having gotten very limited sleep in the last couple days.  Will relate our Catalina Island experience tomorrow.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Well, finally underway again.  But not for long. 

Early yesterday morning,  just at sunrise, we pulled in the lines with Mikes help and headed out with a warm easterly breeze at our backs.  Two clues should have warned us that the breeze was not the benign zephyr we thought it was: 1. It was from the east.  2.  It was warm.  Folks down here would have known a Santa Ana wind was kicking up.

Ventura Harbor Sunrise

Santa Anas originate in the Great Basin, a giant bowl lying between the Sierra  Nevada and Rocky Mountain ranges.  When high pressure systems cover the area, the bowl becomes filled with dense air which spills out through mountain passes and rushes down the valleys, sometimes with hurricane force, toward the southern California coast.

This us not from yesterday,
but shows Santa Ana winds over
offshore waters near LA

By the time we were a couple miles offshore the wind was up to about 15 knots.  Time to sail, except I needed a nap, having woke at 2:30 that morning.  Down below I went, thinking after my nap we could pull the sails up.  Judy woke we two hours later.  The US Navy was on the VHF telling us we were entering a live fire area and to get the heck away, plus the "benign zephyr" was now blowing 25 to 30 knots with gusts up to 35.  And it would soon be right on our nose as we followed the easterly turn in the coastline toward Marina Del Ray.

No point in fighting our way through the wind, only to be shot by the Navy, so we called it a day and headed into the Channel Islands Marina, our home last week.

We are probably going to leave later this afternoon for Newport.  It's about 80 miles, so we will do an overnighter, planning on arriving in the morning.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


We just can't stay out of that Ventura breakfast place with the interesting menu.  They serve "Pot" with the breakfast specials.

 Monday morning we had breakfast with our friends Mike and Nita, also members and past commodores, of our cruising club.  They arrived Sunday night, rejoining their boat "Odessa".  It has been waiting patiently since Mike left it here almost three months ago.

Naturally, after breakfast, it was more boat projects.  I am getting tired of them.  We need to do some sailing.

The one fun thing today was replacing our domestic water pump.  Exciting huh.  But this new one is so quiet we can barely hear it, plus I was able to remove the large accumulator from under the sink, freeing up enough space that I can move the watermaker filters to a better location.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Well, I got these all mixed up.  Go down a couple of posts for the start.

USS Constitution

British Admirality Model
Older Then The Actual Ship

19th Century Clipper Ship


They also had an astonishing collection of ships models.  According to a docent, one of the best in the World.  I believe him.

Korean Turtle Boat

Mayflower in forefront and Drake's Golden Hind behind

18th Century Warship
Bowsprit Detail
Another Bowsprit
600 Man Hours To Complete


Next to Venture harbor is a 90's style shopping village composed of small buildings of various sizes and colors that once were filled with trendy shops and restaurants. Now it's a crumbling mess with faded paint, siding falling off, doorways boarded over and roofs needing immediate repair. I don't know what possessed us to wander into this decrepit place, but I'm glad we did because we hit a mother lode

The Ventura County Maritime Museum.

On the outside it is not fairing much better then its surroundings, but inside it is a fantasy come true.  On it's walls are masterworks of maritime art dating from the 17th century.  Hanging, right there, in the open,  touchable.  And they allowed me to take pictures (no flashes!).  Oops, they told me after I took several pictures with flash.  I guess the bright light is not good for these old guys.

Tzar Peter landing in Holland


I have to continue this on another post. I have apparently run out of room. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

OK...About our near disaster in Anacapa

Anacapa Isle Marina is oriented in such a way that any sea breeze comes right down the fairways.  When the wind is up docking is done with it on the beam. 

When we arrived the other day we had 20 to 25 knots of wind.  On the beam.  We figured that we would have one shot at getting into our slip, if we missed we would be blown down the fairway.  Just to be sure we got it right we called the marina on the cell and asked if our assigned slip was on the north or south side of the dock.  They replied we would be "facing south", only we didn't hear the "facing" part because of bad reception.  We heard our slip was on the "south".

So in we came, we saw "A" dock, turned in on the south side and started down the fairway headed for slip 44 which was supposed to be well down the dock close to shore.  It took only a moment to realize: 1. The numbers were odd, not even.  2. The slips were only about 25 feet long.  Crap.

We were quickly running out of room to maneuver, so I jammed the bow of Grace into one of the slips and used the finger pier as a pivot to start turning around.  As the stern swung about, the bow came off the pier, and because we had no maneuvering speed, the wind started blowing the it back in the opposite direction.  We were being blown sideways by the 20 knot wind down the fairway, closer and closer to the rocks.  Ever so slowly I was able to bring the bow through the wind, heading in the right direction, and got us moving forward just feet away from the rocks. 

That's when we noticed that there was more then one A dock. 

The fun wasn't quite over.  Coming down to slip 44 we started our turn a bit late, got blown past 44 and ended up in 42.....almost.  We just barely got our bow into the slip as we were blowing by. It smacked into the finger pier and we started rotating around again, just like on the other side, but this time not on purpose.  The rocks were just feet away, so foregoing finesse we jammed the throttle forward and drove Grace in, scraping along the pier the whole way.  Good enough.  Get the lines out.  Have a drink.  Apologize to each other for what was said.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shilshole Bay Marina Boaters.......

Eat yer hearts out.  

Anacapa Marina Boater's Lounge

Anacapa Marina Boater's Hot Tub
There is a sauna too.  A BYOB bar in the lounge with a nice TV (with cable). 

One thing they don't have are quarter machines in the showers.  The marina manager at Ventura Isle Marina was stunned that you Shilshole guys have to pay to keep clean.  It's free down here.

Nice landscaping too.

There is one thing that could be improved.

How many A docks do they need?

If you're a newbie here it can be hard to find slip A44.  It took us a couple tries.  But that's another near disaster story I'm not so good at relating.  Maybe tomorrow.

One other thing I would like to say, the marina staff  and especially Lucy, are fantastic.  I get the feeling they really like their customers, and they show it.  When we asked where the nearest grocery store was they immediately offered us a ride over and back.  We took them up on the offer, and had them pick us up after we were done shopping. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thunder and Lightening in Anacapa Marina

This is the first time we've been in a storm like this.  Living under a sixty foot lightening rod does not make watching lightening a fun thing.  Want it to move on, except it looks like it isn't going anywhere quick.

We have moved our navagation computer and hard drives containing all our movies into the oven for protection should we get hit.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Breakfast with Puget Sound Cruising Club
Ventura Branch
Before Brownian motion scattered us, the Ventura contingent of our club managed to get together this morning for breakfast.  Panta Rhei and Ponderosa are headed for the Channel Islands.  Judy and I headed back to boat projects.

The resturant had an offering that could only appear on a menu in California.

Read the top item

Our day to move on is coming, maybe tomorrow.  We will leave when I have reached a point where I am no longer dependant upon having a marine chandlery a short five minute walk away.  I think that day will be tomorrow.  I don't know if we will head over to Santa Cruz Island and the Painted Cave or down the coast seven miles to a marina with a heated pool and hot tub.  It has a reciprocal arrangement with our marina, so we have already paid for it. Close call.

We'll make one more stop here at Ventura, to meet Mike and Nita next Monday.  We'll pick up the computer they have kindly made room for in their stuffed rental car, have dinner with them, and then go somewhere south.  Don't know where exactly.  The Admiral hasn't told me yet.

Had the dingy hanging out overnight to dry.  It was pretty well drained this morning, so I began sealing up the leaks that were allowing water into the cavity between the inner and outer hull of the hard bottom.  Will finish tomorrow morning, then school's out.  Under way again!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


We've been here a little over a week now, with our noses to the grindstone.  Our days start about 7am, end about 9pm with nothing in between but boat projects.  We're getting a lot accomplished, but its been boring.  Especially boring since we are here alone, without friends to get together with at the end of the day.

Well let the good times roll.  Last night we got a double dose of very welcome company.  Larry and Karen on Panta Rhei and Bob and Sherry on Ponderosa both arrived at Venture this afternoon.  We had a nice dinner and a very good conversation about our experiences coming down from Seattle.

Panta Rhei left Seattle at the very end of the weather window. They pushed through some nasty weather, worried that it could soon get worse as the Pacific high, with it's northerly winds and waves disappeared, replaced by fall storms from the south.  Along the way they had to cope with some very serious and difficult mechanical breakdowns at sea while suffering from seasickness.

Weather and breakdowns are just part of the adventure.  The real 800 pound gorilla that all us older cruisers fear is loosing our health.  Like most folks my age I have medical issues, and after years of planning and work and the investment of our children's inheritance my biggest worry is having to quit because they worsen or something new kicks in.  This is what Bob and Sherry are dealing with now.  Bob is just out of the hospital, having suffered some serious complications to existing heart problems due to dehydration.  Thankfully they were close to excellent medical care in Santa Barbara, and after a couple nights in the hospital he was released with everything back under control.  He looked great last night.

Larry is coming over this morning to take a look at my watermaker installation.  He is an electronics engineer from Boeing, who has a drawer full of patents.  It's a little like having Ken Griffy come over to toss a ball around.

The installation is about done, but my subconscious woke me early this morning to let me know that I had created a problem by placing the watermaker membrane above the high pressure pump.  Remember I was bragging about installing it so I could drain the oil, well now I don't know if I can get to the plug.  Haven't looked yet.  Don't want to ruin my day before it begins.

I don't have any recent photos, but would like to share a couple I really like.

Judy at Carmel
Japanese Tea Garden
San Francisco

Tea Garden

Pebble Beach

 On my 1st day in heaven I want to join the crowd and shoot a round of golf at heaven's  Pebble Beach.

Friday, October 15, 2010


It's 11am and all I've done is drink coffee and surf the net.  Guess it's a day off.

Got the membrane for our watermaker installed yesterday. That was a hurdle. Now all that is left is connecting some hoses

There is a pressure guage on the thing that we will not be able to see, unless we remove some setee cushions and an access door.  I talked with a Village Marine tech and he felt the only time we would need to watch it is if we are anchored near a river.  The reduced salinity would allow the membrane to pass higher quantities of water increasing the system pressure.

Checked in on Mike and Nita's (friends from Seattle) boat this morning.  It is two slips away from us.  It's seems odd to see a boat we know so well down here in Ventura.



Thursday, October 14, 2010


I'm gonna break one of the rules I sometimes observe, and offer unsolicited advice.  On project management.

Quit early.  As my wife and indefatibable mentor has kindly pointed out to me several times: "The job's not finished until the mess is cleaned up."  So don't work up to the point where you lose your enthusiasm.  Clean up lies ahead.  Somebody is watching.

A case in point.  This is the clean up I faced yesterday.  Happy hour was looming and I was starting to tire, so I dropped the hose fitting I was working on into my parts box and got started finishing up.

The now completed job made for a happy Happy Hour.

Later we got out for a little evening walk around the marina.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Here at the Grace blog we have two editorial policies. # 1. Only publish what is fit and proper.  #2. Don't make policy you'll forget by the next morning.

So more shots of my butt. Sorry, Policy #1 forbids it. Eight sizes ago maybe it was fit, but not now.  That era has come and gone.

Ergo, some boring pictures of water maker installation, the object of my attention for the last two days.

Monday Judy and I figured out where all the pieces of this water maker were going to go.  In a very cramped boat space is premium, and making space took a long time.  Having this figured out, it was then time to make a shopping list and go fill it.  A quick walk to our local (300 yards away) marine store and I got almost everything on the list.  Back home I was able to do some actual work before happy hour.

Got the high pressure pump in.  Should have been a 10 minute job, but I wanted it mounted up high enough so I could drain oil out of the thing, and also isolated from the floor by a vibration matt.  Took a couple hours.

Today, I brought power down to the pump from a breaker near the log desk and plumbed sea water to the first filter.  Good enough.  Should have more thrilling progress to report tomorrow.


Monday, October 11, 2010





Saturday, October 9, 2010


We left Monterey Wednesday, thinking we would be stopping along the way.  There were three possible places we could go depending on weather and our state of fatigue: San Simeon, Morro Bay or San Luis.  Things were going well, the weather was very good and we were rested, so we decided to forget the in between stops and do a double overnighter and push on for Ventura via Point Conception. 

Point Conception, referred to in the Coast Pilot, as "Cape Horn of California" and the Santa Barbara Channel can have fierce winds and seas,  but were a piece of cake for us, with flat seas and virtually no wind.

 The biggest problem was staying awake while picking our way among the surprising number of oil drilling platforms scattered through the Channel. 
There could be no excuse for hitting one of those brightly lit behemoths.  We arrived at Ventura an hour and a half before the marina offices opened, so we found ourselves floating outside the marina fighting off  going comatose while waiting for our slip assignment.

I'm well into my projects, having finished rerouting our head discharge lines.  One minor pleasure of owning a used boat is bitching about how previous owners did things.  Our previous owner plumbed the head without a direct discharge overboard, all head discharges went into the holding tank, and were then either pumped overboard by a sewage pump, or vacuumed out at a pump out station.  If the sewage pump were to break down, we would have no way to get ride of sewage while at sea.  Judy would not like life without a toilet, so I routed things.  Cursing out the previous owner the whole time.

This leaves me with only two gotta do projects: 1. Install water maker.  2. Patch leaky dingy. 

Then time to move on....maybe Catalina Island. 

Longer term we would like to be in Puerto Vallarta early in December to meet our friends Jerry and Randi, and maybe Randy and Donna.



Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Why do people travel?

Judy and I have been getting ready for this trip for about ten years now, and in that time I don't think I've spent more then 10 minutes wondering why. Now that it's happening I spend an occasional minute or two on the subject.

We've been on the move for over two months, and while our pace is glacial, we are in a new place every couple of days.  Don't know anybody, don't know where the grocery store, liquor store, laundry or good restaurants are.  Don't know the buses or the bars, and I've found myself kind of missing family, friends and home.

So except in cases of necessity why do it?

I don't know.  Got a hypothesis that might be true for me:

It's Genetic

I've got a full dose of the old hunter/gatherer nomad genes and love giving in to them, kind of like a retriever does while chasing a stupid stick.  It doesn't have to make sense. 

I do know that we're having fun, but I for one am, looking forward to settling in somewhere for a month or so to finish projects and just get into a bit of a routine.  And find a good bar.