Adios San Diego


San Diego was comfortable.  Although the port authority is quite strict, regulating every boat’s anchoring activity, it was easy enough to get the various permits required for both the cruiser’s anchorage (A9) and the La Playa anchorage (closer to yacht services at Shelter Island).

First, some of the not so-fun-stuff:

Saying goodbye to Jocelyn.  Joss became a much beloved member of our crew and we were sad to see her go… It takes a very special person to join a family of 4 on a small sailboat for almost a month.  Joss, you are one of a kind and we love you!!!  Hopefully she’ll be able to join us again at some other point along the way…

Air pollution.  The A9 is close to the huge airport…  Major fumes were aggravating for us all but especially Liam and his environmentally induced asthma. We thought we’d be free of that after leaving the inner Harbour in Victoria… ahem.

The exchange rate.  Ouch. The Canadian dollar has been quite weak lately… this makes everything 30% more expensive.

The zoo.  Our hearts felt heavy after witnessing so many large, majestic wild animals in captivity… From the perspective of the animals, how is their experience any different from imprisonment?  I can’t see the difference…  Anyhoo…. Apparently it is impolite to frown upon the San Diego zoo too much.

On a happier note, some of the fun stuff included:

Legoland.  One thing about southern California is wow! (as Pete’s friend Wes pointed out) they really know theme parks!  Legoland was excellent and surprisingly not over the top!  Lots of fun there!!



Liam with a huge Lego guy
Liam with a huge Lego guy


Sunroad marina and visiting with Gramma Reen.  We stayed here while my mum (Gramma Reen) was visiting for 10 days.  Our new friends on s/v Mei Cheng were super fun and also the swimming pool and hot tub were definitely enjoyed!

Meeting and hanging out in the anchorages with our new friends on s/v Banyan.

Liam would say San Diego Games and Comics.  And meeting his new friend Scott, who seems to like Magic the Gathering as much as he does.

The playground and fountains at the county administration building.

Trader Joe’s.  Wow!!

Receiving mail and packages at Downwind marine.

Neli receiving a birthday present from her friend Jade
Neli receiving a birthday present from her friend Jade

On craigslist we got a small sailing dinghy, a Naples Sabot.  Super fun!!  It lives aft of the mast and forward of the dodger when we’re underway…  On deck there are now: a tandem kayak with 2 paddles, RIB dinghy, and sailing dinghy…  I think it will be hard to put any other craft up there..  although I should never say never 😉  [tried to post a photo but after 25 mins of trying I’m giving up]

Next stop: Mexico!




We said farewell to many beloved friends in BC in early September.  We knew that the window was closing for sailing from the BC coast…  Typically the book end for the season is September 15…  We left Sept 17.



In Esquimalt we did the last of our provisioning (thanks Holly!!) And picked up Jocelyn there.  We were then a crew of five.  Next we set off for Port Renfrew.  The plan was to sit there to wait for a favourable weather window to carry on to San Diego.  As it happened, we waited there for 2 days.  Warren came up with an awesome grocery delivery and lent us his computer!!


We left Port Renfrew Sept 21st bound for San Diego.

Pete is a certified HAM in more ways than you can imagine, including with Industry Canada.  With the help of Warren’s computer and mono cord, Pete was able to pull in weather fax info everyday.


The crew morale at this point was quite good.  Seasickness was only moderate…  Kids were getting a bit of gravol (called Dramamine in the US) and Jocelyn and Pete were taking Meclazine, of which I got 200 tablets in the States in late August since it can’t be purchased in Canada anymore (?).


Up until this point Pete has tried everything else for seasickness,; Sea bands, garlic, ginger, Gravol, scopolomine…  Nothing seemed to ever be effective..  Until Meclazine!!  This was a blessing beyond measure.  For both Joss and Pete, the side effects seem to be dry mouth, ear pressure, slight mind fog, but compared to seasickness, much *much* better.


Near Newport, Oregon we learned that the weather was forecast to come up big and strong from the south…  We dicided to wait it out in Newport.


Checking into Newport was straight forward.  While approaching, Neli thought we were going to get to meet the President, since she thought that was who would be the official greeting us, who we were busy preparing for…  Turned out it was Officer Hanna who came.  Happily, he allowed us to keep all of our food stores and provisions which was a good thing since the only grocery store in walking distance was a truck stop like place that sold mostly beef jerky, soft drinks, cigarettes and lotto tickets.

The weather was favourable by September 23 so we set off again.  We knew we wanted to give Cape Mendocino lots of room, since the wind seems to get accelerated there…  We chose to stay 150 nm offshore at that point.  As it was, we still had gale force wind from the north around the latitude of Cape Blanco and Cape Mendocino.  The tow generator was excellent, as was all the equipment actually.  The only issue was that the staysail window blew out since there was such back and forth force on it with rolling in some of the waves with gusts up to 40 knots.

Pete, Joss and I set up a night watch system of 3 hours on, 6 hours off, with Joss taking the first shift til midnight, then Pete when he’d pull in faxes at 01:00 followed by my watch 03:00 to 06:00 and Joss would come on again.  Throughout the day Pete and Joss would get naps as required.  I didn’t seem to nap much although my memory is foggy on that now….

What did the kids do?  Lots of audio books helped.  And movies…  And seeing dolphins :). We had a halfway party when Neli and I made carrot cake muffins with icing and everything, but most people were too seasick at that point to enjoy them…  A few days later though once things calmed down a bit we had a nice evening meal out in the cockpit and got to savor it all a bit.





On October 4 we arrived at San Diego :). We had only used half of our fresh water (~150 L since our capacity is 300L) and we still had about 100L of diesel fuel.  At the police docks which is right beside the customs and immigration docks, we tied up and breathed a big sigh of relief.  We had made it!!!  We did it :).




The Work

So Pete decided he wanted to join the offshore part of the trip.  This meant we’d all be together and this meant changing the crew plans a bit…  Jocelyn was amazingly accommodating, shifting her plans a bit to join us from Victoria to San Diego.  She and Matt even helped us with some work during the haul out at Van Isle marina early September.

The main jobs that needed to be completed before we went offshore were changing the bellows on our dripless seal on our propeller shaft, and putting a barrier coating on our propeller to stop so much growth from attaching there (slowing us down).  These jobs required RTT to be out of the water since the entire prop shaft would need to be removed.  The third job, not completely necessary but definitely useful, was replacing the Wema meter gauge in the holding tank.  This can only be done when the CV joint on the prop shaft is removed.  This would definitely be the time to do this job.  And of course replacing the 2 zincs.

Initially we felt daunted by trying to do all this ourselves…  The costs associated with hiring them out though were prohibitive…  So expensive!!!  So we decided to learn.  The guys at PYI in Washington state were amazing, talking us through various aspects of the job with the bellows.  I was able to talk on the phone, send photos in email and generally feel completely confident that they knew what I was desctibing.  So impressed with their customer service.

We opted for the product Propspeed on the propeller and lower aluminum pieces under the waterline.  It was super simple when just following along like following a recipe.  Not necessary to be done by professionals at all!  Don’t believe the hype!  Some planning and set up were important, that’s all.

We managed to do it all in 3 days.  Not too bad for a couple of hacks :). And thankfully no leaks when we launched.

It was empowering to have completed these jobs as a team.  We saved some money too, which is obviously welcome.  It felt good to get to know our boat more intimately too.  Important confidence booster :).  If you’re thinking of hiring out jobs on your boat, I hope you’ll consider trying to do it yourself next time.  I think you’ll be glad you did.