Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day 547 The installation continues.

The installation of the SSB (single sideband radio) continued with me being down inside the bilges and storage compartments in Zephyrs stern.  Everything had to come out so I could run the wires in a relatively direct manner as far as I could get them.  We also had to install the copper "tape" that acts as a ground and enhances the signal the radio puts out.  As I said before, I have no idea how it works, I just know(because I read it in a book so it must be true;-))that I have to put down as much of the stuff as possible and hook the end of the "tape"to the side of the antenna tuner.  The other end of the "tape" was attached to the grounding connection that attaches to the propeller shaft as the main ground for the boat.  I guess we will find out if we did it right once we get to turn on the radio.  The more copper you have, the farther the signal will reach(it's that book stuff again).  Dragging all that stuff out really trashed the inside of the boat so we had to get as much done in the stern compartment so we could get it put away before the end of the day.  Poor Zephyr looked like a bomb had gone off.   We found lots of stuff and reorganized much of what we found.  Many items headed for the trash.  

Our nice down filled comforter that we had washed while in Port Townsend and stowed in one of those vacuum seal bags is now covered in light green mold.  The vacuum is still good, but the green has taken over.  It's not like we will be using it South of the border any way but we had hoped it would still be in good condition.  Oh well.  

I managed to run the wires as far as the work bench area before the Sun went down and we got most of the mess put away.  Some things that had been stowed in cardboard boxes(oil filters mainly)had to be unboxed and stowed in plastic bags.  Cardboard is never supposed to be allowed onboard a boat as it normally brings with it cockroach eggs which bring cockroaches eventually(amazing how that works).  That's how they get into your houses also.  So while the filters aren't stowed quite so nicely and orderly, they won't be a breeding ground for the bugs once we get farther South and it gets warmer.

Today, we will finish the running of the wires and make the electrical connections and, with luck, finish the job.  We should be able to listen in and talk to people all over the world by late this afternoon.  Keep your fingers crossed.

It has now been a year and a half since we moved on board Zephyr and a lot of water has passed under her keel since then.  It has been some of the toughest and some of the most enjoyable months of our lives.   The learning curve that we have had to endure has been horrendous as we were about as green as you can get as to what to expect when we moved on board.  Yes, we have been sailing since the early 80"s but the systems are much easier on a 26 foot boat than they are on a 46 foot boat.  Reading manuals took over our lives and a book with a plot was unthinkable for quite some time.  We attended classes and worked with professionals(or at least watched them) as work was done.  We tackled many of the jobs ourselves.  The stove installation and the new refrigeration system to name two of the biggest.  We've committed to a big adventure and that takes time and patience.  I will admit that there have been many times over the past 18 months that I was at my wits end and could have just as easily thrown in the towel.  There were some days while we were in Port Townsend that I just had to leave the boat or sit there crying.  Frustration of all the delays was terrible.  BUT, we are now well in tune with Zephyr and if something goes bump in the night or you hear a faint click, we know what it is.  Many boaters, when they buy a used boat(or even a new boat), spend years at a marina or in a boat yard getting themselves and their boats ready for what we have done in 18 months--with the last 6 months actively moving(and still fixing).  Heck, we are now on our fourth transmission.  We've gutted or changes out just about every system on the boat.  From the electrical to the heads(toilets) to the water system and its pumps, the refrigeration system and stove, we have ripped it out and replaced it.   Along the way, tears were shed and words were said as the frustration ebbed and flowed with the job, but we just kept on going.  "In for a penny, in for a pound".  We were committed and still are.  BUT--boy it has been a tough yet very educational 18 months.  We're no longer the green newbies we were.  We now know Zephyrs(and are still learning)systems much better than we ever have and with every passing day(and installation or replacement)we grow and learn more.  For those of you that read this blog(with all my rants and raves) and dream of doing what we have done(live the dream?) please keep in mind what I have said above.  The work that needs to be done(on old boats as well as new boats-they aren't perfect either) before you ever leave the dock, marina or boat yard can be long and can take a toll on not only yourself and your spouse(physically and mentally) it also takes a toll on relationships(and bank accounts).  If you go as a couple, be prepared for "give and take" in the relationship.  No one is right all the time, so listen to your "significant other".  It's amazing how often she(or he)has better ideas that make the jobs easier.  For you men--don't be so "macho" that you won't listen.  And for you women, have patience with your man.  He is just trying to do as best he can to get what should have been a 10 minute job(now at 10 hours)done with out killing himself or dislocating his back or rupturing his spleen.  We have learned that this is a "give and take" learning experience.  It has made us stronger as a couple.  Yes, we have fought and argued and yet here we are.  Still heading South with dreams of warmer climates(sorry Colorado) and far off shores.  If you can get past the preparation for leaving with all it entails, you can do anything.  Just be prepared, the work never stops on your boat, the scenery around you as you work on her does.  

OK, now it back to the installation.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 545 & 546 Somethings started and more road trips.

As I said in my last post, we were off to pick up the cables for our new short wave radio that we have been trying to get installed since Monday.  We keep getting interrupted by not having things we need to get the job done.  So it's back in the car and off for more errands and to pick up parts.  

I finally got the GAM antenna on the back stay(pictures once we are done).  It's nothing more than two pieces of wire that go up each side of the backstay joined at the bottom that goes to your radio antenna tuner.  At $495.00(we found ours cheaper), it isn't cheap but the inventor must make a bunch of bucks off it as it's not much more than a piece of plastic that holds the wires with a tube between them that slides over the backstay.  Most boats with an SSB(Single Sideband radio-or short wave radio)have their antennas built into their backstay with insulators keeping it separate.  One piece of the backstay bolts to your deck.  Up about 10 feet, they install an insulator with another piece of wire that leads to another insulator and another piece of wire that goes to the top of your mast.  You end up with three pieces of wire to make your backstay.  We chose to go with one solid piece of wire instead of three.  There is a lot of stress on that wire when you are out sailing.

We found the copper tape(a strip of copper that is 3" wide and 7 feet long)that another boater had given us way back at Shearwater,BC.  We don't think it is long enough to do the job of a grounding strap for the radio so we were off on the road again picking up more.  Now we have a strip that is 2" by 25 feet to use for the installation.  It attaches to the antenna tuner and then is unwound down in the bilge(stuff can be put on top of it) and laid out flat.  I plan on attaching it to the main grounding strap that goes through the propeller to get the biggest ground I can.  I don't understand how it works, I just know that it has to be installed.  Of course as I was screwing on the last piece of of the GAM antenna--a plastic clamp that goes at the bottom of the antenna, I snapped it right in half.  The company is sending me a new one.

One of the best places for marine supplies in San Diego is Downwind Marine.  We've been looking at their website for a while and found that they were having a seminar last night on diesel engines.  So after we got back from getting the copper strap, I took off for San Diego.  We've been trying to get more affordable insurance for Zephyr and the agent that it trying to get a bid asked for copies of the invoices from all the work done and since his office was on the way, I stopped off and he made copies.  I killed two birds in one trip.

The seminar started at 1930 and went till 2130.  It covered lots of topics--some I already knew and some I didn't so all in all the 2+ hour drive South was worth it.  I didn't get home till almost midnight.

Now it's time to get back to work and get the radio installed.

Sorry to hear about all the snow that is falling back home in Denver.  We were in shorts yesterday.  Finally we were warmer than the folks back home.  It's gotten really old having to wear three layers of clothes all the time while we were up North over the past 18 months.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Days 541 thru 544 Here there and everywhere!

The engine room.  I've already removed the top elbow of the exhaust system.  Now down to the messy stuff.
With most of the exhaust system out.  Almost down to the transmission.

Down to the transmission.  It's ready for removal.

The wheels in the up position.  They simply swing down and lock in the down position for when we are ready to go ashore.

The last four days have been on the run.  Unlike most towns we have stopped in, there is no real mass transit system in Los Angeles, or certainly the Wilmington area.  It is for the most part industrial except the industrial is shipping and trains.  All coming and going at all hours of the day and night.  Oh, by the way, we are located at 33 46.373N  118 14.869W to answer a question in the comments section.  We had stripped all the electronics off the deck so fast after arriving here that I didn't get a chance to record it.  Sorry.  Anyway, if we hadn't rented a car, we would have been stuck in the middle of no where with no way to get out of here.  It's almost a mile just to the marina office.  It's over at their primary marina.

As I said in my last post, George and Celeste from Nereid arrived and boy was Celeste sick.  She caught some bug while they were in Redondo Beach and she is still in bad shape even today, 5 days later.  She finally went to a doctor yesterday afternoon.  We're staying well away from her, yet I now have a sore throat and a stopped up nose so maybe she passed it along.  Time will tell.

The last four days have been spent primarily in the car.  Over to Minney's to try and sell the anchors.  The "boss" was out(on vacation) and the worker bees offered me $120 for all three.  I don't think so.  That isn't even close.  The "boss" was due back yesterday so we took another trip(45 minutes each way) and we ended up at $165 for the three.  We took some in trade for a new chart book of Mexico down to Panama.  They are copies of the "official" charts but keep in mind that much of the charting for them was done over a hundred years ago when you go to some of the remotest parts of the Sea of Cortez.  The eyes are your best chart--plus all the electronics and cruisers guides you can find.  We have three cruisers guides to help us along.

George came along with us on Saturday as he had to pick up a part at West Marine in San Pedro and wanted to look at all the used sails at Minney's.  Unfortunately, he had no success with the sails but did get the part he needed from West Marine.

Early on Saturday, the wheels I ordered from showed up.  The man that owns the company was coming down to look at a boat and brought them.  Saved us freight.  These bolt on to the stern of the dingy so as you approach the shore to beach it, you swing these wheels down into the water and once the boat gets close to shore(keep in mind that there will be waves trying to swamp the dingy as you come in)you hop out and grab the bow of the dingy and roll her through the last parts of the surf and onto dry sand.  We know several couples that have swamped their boats while attempting to get their dingys ashore.  These came highly recommended from other boaters.  Check out the website.   I started the installation on Sunday but needed to make teak pads for the brackets that hold it to the stern and that set me back a ways.  Luckily, Chuck, a "neighbor" is working on his boat and cut the teak pads I needed.  I had to epoxy two together to make them thick enough so I pulled out some clamps and got the pieces joined.  Any how, to make a long story short, I found the bolt that came with it were too short so I had to get some new ones.  Of course, the ones I pick up were too short and the hardware store closed just after I was there so I had to wait till the next morning(Monday) to get the right bolts and get the job done.  Now all we have to do is wait till Mexico when we will have a beach where we can beach her.

We're still trying to find out the measurements of the shank of a 70 pound Delta anchor from Lewmar.   I want to make sure it will fit over the bow rollers as the front of the boat.  I called Lewmar and even they couldn't tell me.  Go figure.  I can't be the only person that would need that information.  The nice folks at West Marine are having one brought to their store on Wednesday so I can measure it.  They carry them in their warehouse but not out in their stores(yeah, I don't understand how you can expect to sell one if you don't show it to clients either).

We tried to start the installation of our ICOM 802 single side band radio on Monday but ran into more glitches and had to run more errands.  We were short a few pieces of cable to get the job done.  While we were out running the errands, we stopped at a few places to get replacement alternators.  We have two on board(they don't match)that make the amps to charge the batteries as we motor.  If one should blow(as happened North of Ketchican) you need to have a replacement if at all possible.  I also wanted to lay in a replacement starter in case it should go also.  I know the ages of the alternators(one rebuilt last year and the second rebuilt in Ketchican) but have no clue as the age of the starter.  Not something you want to be with out once you leave the good old USA.  Even though I took pictures, both places we went to said to rip them out and bring them in and they could get us replacements.  I don't think so!!  Ripping out these things(let alone getting them back in) would take hours and I just need them for replacements.  I contacted American Diesel(the guys that designed and built Ford Lehman engines) and ordered the starter from them.  As for the alternators, I took some better pictures and will try again when we are near the dealer.

We ordered in a new book to get information on what to do with fish(plus what the heck they are)once we catch them.  These aren't like lake fishing, these guys(and gals) can get up there in size and we have no idea what to do once we caught them or even how to catch them.  We found a book, "The Cruisers Handbook of Fishing" by Scott and Wendy Bannerot and had it shipped in from Amazon.  It arrived yesterday.  It has pictures of what the fish look like and how to filet them with out making a mess and making fish mongers around the world cry when we are doing it.  If you are planning on setting out and have no clue as to what to do(like us), get a copy.

Yesterday, we took off for Maritime Communications in Marina del Rey to get the cables we need to install the ICOM 802.  I'd called around and they were the only place that had the cables and were willing to fabricate the connections for us.  A good professional soldering job will save a lot of headaches down the road.  We also needed a "control" cable that goes between the antenna tuner and the transceiver(the guts of the radio).  I though we had ordered one in when we ordered the radio but I guess not.  I'd ordered two 40 foot long cables(yeah, I know, the boat is only 45 feet long), one the lead cable and second the controller cable and wanted to make sure I didn't end up short during the installation.  I've done that too many times when we were rewiring Zephyr.  When we got there, they had one all ready to go but wanted to know if we had brought the end fittings that came with the radio.  They were out of them.  Nope, they were still at the boat.  Back in the car and back to Zephyr to get them.  At 45 to 50 minutes each way, it made for a long trip, plus we were getting into "rush" hour traffic.  We dropped them off(of course the tech that was to do the job had gone home already) and will have to go back and get them today.  It's like I said at the beginning, it's a good thing we rented a car.  We'll be extending the rental for probably another week at the rate we are getting things done.  George rented a car yesterday at they had errands of their own to get done as well as take Celeste to the doctors office.

One story I neglected to tell you about was about a boat(Sunny Side Up) at Catalina Island.  On our last full day there last week, the winds were to change direction and come from the North instead of the South so all the boats in Isthmus Cove were to disconnect from their moorings and reverse themselves.  Since everyone is moored(lines to both the bow and stern)you have to drop both lines and start all over again.  Now the process is sort of straight forward.  The mooring is set up with  a BIG floating ball that is hooked to a smaller floating ball with a tall stick sticking out out the top so you can grab it as you come in.  Attached to that stick is a thin line that leads to a thicker line with an "eye" spliced in to it.  That "eye" attaches to your bow cleat.  There is a second thin line(attached to the original "eye" splice) that leads to a second "eye" spliced line that you hook to your stern cleat.  Simple huh?  It's not that bad as long as the wind keeps you pointed at the main mooring buoy.  Now, you have to reverse the process.  You grab the stick and pull up on the line and hook it to your stern and then take the second line to the bow.  Not only are you working backward, but the wind is trying to blow you off course as it hadn't changed yet.  Poor Sunny Side Up, made the mistake of going between the big mooring ball and the float on a stick and sucked the line(chain and all)right up onto their prop shaft.  Jay and Terri(off Cadenza) and the two of us had gone over in our dingys to see if we could help but got their just a bit too late.  We both saw it coming but couldn't get them to stop in time.  The Tom, the skipper, got into his swimming trunks and jumped in the water(burr) to try and get it untangled.  It was wrapped tight and wasn't going anywhere.  They had to call for a diver to come out.  At $175 per hour(it was after 1700 and on overtime) it became an expensive accident.  The diver had to disconnect the main buoy and cut the line off the prop as it had fused itself(friction from the revolving prop shaft).  The diver was still working on it as the sun went down.  They ended up having to go back the next day to replace the line and reposition the buoy.  It's amazing what can go wrong and how fast it can happen.  We'd called for help from the Harbor Master when we attempted to reposition ourselves as had Jay and Terri.

Well, thats about it for now.  We're off to pick up the single sideband radio cables.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 539 & 540 Errands and the tranny.

We decided to rent a car for a week to run errands and get some jobs done.  We took off for Minney's, a store full of used marine stuff.  From used sails to hardware-some new and some used, they have just about everything a boater could use.  It's THE place to stop at when you come to the LA area.  We must be getting closer to being ready to go as we found very little that we needed or wanted.  We did find a new storm anchor(bigger than out regular anchor), but I pulled out our computer and got on the internet and found that their price was actually more than at West Marine.  No savings there.

Off for a quick lunch at El Pollo Loco.  They used to be in Albuquerque years ago but had closed all their stores years ago there.  It was like going back in time.  Then off to Costco for more supplies for down south.  Once done there, we headed for West Marine.  We'd printed out lots of maps to make the trip easier and we got lost a lot less than usual.

Today, the men showed up with our transmission.  Yep, that's right.  Out on Wednesday and in on Friday.  Now that's great service.  They showed up about 0930 and had it all set by just after 1100.  The bad thing is that they couldn't find anything wrong with it.  They put it on the test bench and ran it all night.  Towels were put all around it and not one drop of transmission oil dropped out of it.  They ripped it apart anyway as they had seen all the fluid under and around it in the engine room and they knew that something was wrong and replacing the seal would solve the problem.  They got called away on a "emergency" call to another mans boat they worked on several weeks ago.  While they were gone, I put all the exhaust pipes, water lines, and muffler back in.  By the time they returned, we were ready to go.  

On Wednesday, when they first showed up, they were surprised at how the cooling system was set up.  The raw water cools the engine oil and then cools the transmission oil.  That means that the water that is used to cool the transmission is already quite hot and it isn't going to cool one of the hottest things in the engine room.  They decide to reroute the hoses so that it will cool the transmission first and then the engine oil.  That is how it is now done on just about every engine.  Out came the old hoses and in went the new ones and we were done.  Now the transmission will get cooled first and the engine oil last.  This will keep the transmission nice and cool even in the warm waters of down south.

We started the engine and they did some adjusting of the gear shift lever and the water in the exhaust was checked and we were done, at least with the transmission.  Now we had to address the leaking oil line that lead to the new oil cooler I installed on Tuesday.   They checked the oil line and found that it had developed a small leak where the rubber line went into the metal adapter that screwed into the cooler.  There was no way to attach it to the cooler with out it leaking.  They took it off and are making a new one over the weekend and will be back on Monday to install it.  At that point, we will be up and running and back in business.  I'll be running the engine for a while at the dock making sure nothing leaks.  I'll be having it in gear so we've got to make sure that the dock lines are good and tight.  

Early in the afternoon, we'd gotten a call from George and Celeste that they were headed for our marina.  At $15.00 a night, it was a deal that couldn't be beat and since they had been anchored at Redondo they could now have a nice slip at a great price, plus they would be just two slips over from us.  I checked with the marina and they were thrilled that was had passed on their name to our friends and that they had a new tenant for their marina.  George and Celeste expected to be at the marina late in the afternoon. 
During the installation of the transmission, I was discussing with Tracy the desire to get a bigger anchor for Zephyr.  One that will keep us safe during bad storms.  Fred--one of the repairmen--piped up with the comment "I've got three big anchors at my house that you can have if you want".  Well, OK, some one offers you three big anchors and I'm not about to say no to an offer like that.  Heck, even if I can't use them, maybe I can make a swap with Minney's--three for one or at least a good discount.  We took off for Fred's house later in the afternoon and picked up all three--another CQR, a big Danforth high tensile steel, and a Danforth knockoff that was made in Korea.  A nice collection.

On the way back to Zephyr, we stopped at the local Albertson's for some groceries but we made it back just in time to help George and Celeste into their new slip.  Celeste has come down with a bug of some sort so they needed some help getting tied up.  Once they were in, we headed back to Zephyr for a nice quiet evening.

We have more projects for Saturday.  

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Picture of Catalina Island after the rally and entering LA

Isthmus Harbor after the rally.  Every one has headed out.
One of the biggest trees on Catalina Island.
The road to the cove on the south side of the isthmus.
The cove on the south side of the isthmus.
Cacti along the road and covering the hills.  It's a dry island.
The dingy docks being removed and moored just off shore.  They aren't needed now that the season has ended.
Fourth of July Cove on the east side of Isthmus Cove.
Approaching the coast with LA in the hills.
The entrance to LA harbor.
The freighter passing us just after we entered the harbor.  With two tug boats along her side, she took up most of the channel.
One of the cranes along the waterway.
One of the container ships getting loaded along the docks.
As we approached the bridge.
One of the container ships along the channel.
Under the bridge.  It's a long way up there(thank God).

More to comes as the journey continues.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 537 & 538 What now?!?

We got up Tuesday morning planning to be underway about 0800.  As is my normal routine, I go into the engine room and check all the fluids--engine oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, and hydraulic steering fluid.  All was fine until I pulled the dip stick for the engine oil.  It was grey in color.  about the color of modeling clay instead of light brown.  Tracy's father, Wayne, had told me many years ago that that is the sure indicator of water in the oil!!!  Something had gone wrong--again!!

I called the mechanic that is going to inspect the transmission and he asked if we could tell if it was sea water or fresh water.  If it was sea water, it would normally indicate that the raw water oil cooler had developed a leak.  Marine engines cool the oil that runs through the engine by running it through a small cylinder that has sea water passing through it.  Each is kept separate by the oil running inside small copper tubes and the water runs around the outside of the tubes.  As long as the water keeps flowing, the engine stays cool.  It would seem that one of the copper tubes that the oil runs in has ruptured and allowed salt water to get into the engine.  With the engine running, it would allow some of the oil to escape into the exhaust.   Wit hit stopped, the direction of flow would reverse and water would mix with the oil.  It would explain why I saw oil from time to time in the exhaust behind Zephyr.  The mechanics are checking it and will let me know wether it is bad tomorrow.

When we first tried to fix the transmission problem, it had been suggested that one of the likely causes was a faulty transmission cooler.  It's the same as the main engine oil cooler.  While taking to Jay off Moon Dancer in Newport, he told me the average life span was about 2000 engine hours before they break.  I ordered in two--one for the transmission and one to replace the oil cooler as I had no idea how old it could be.  Lucky that I ordered two as now it appeared I would need it.

I pulled out the pumper that sucks out the old oil and started pumping.   Out it came--lots of water and then lots of grey oil, all quite slowly as the oil was cold.  Off with the filter--more grey oil and then I disconnected the water lines to the oil cooler and then the oil lines--more grey oil.  On with the new cooler and in with more oil--eight more quarts.  On with the engine and quick checks of the pressure and the exhaust to make sure we were not pumping oil out the stern.  All was well-- the pressure came up fine and no oil came out the stern exhaust.  We let the engine run for a ten to fifteen minutes and shut her down.  A pull of the dip stick showed it still grey but not quite as grey.  Out with the oil a second time and in with new--eight more quarts.  A quick start up and all appeared alright.  Pressure was normal and again, no oil slick behind Zephyr.  We stopped the engine a few minutes later and pulled the dip stick.  It appeared just about normal so off we went for Los Angeles.

We motored off until we were out in some wind and hoisted the sails and took off in the wind.  What a nice change to be actually sailing.  The winds were in the mid-teens and we were moving along in 6.5 to the 7 knot range.  Faster than being under motor and with a much smoother ride than under power.  We made it past the shipping lanes(about 15 miles) and the wind slowly died.  It dropped down to 5 to 6 knots and our speed dropped like a stone.  Down came the sails and on came the engine.  It worked fine though one of the oil lines leaked at the new oil cooler no matter what I did.  I'll be replacing it(the oil line) once we get into shore.  Even though it leaked, it wasn't bad enough to cause any problems.  We still had lots of oil.

We passed the entrance to the harbor and made our way up the inner channel.  From behind us came a big freighter bearing down on our stern.  We pulled over and allowed it to pass us by.  Over the past day, I had made numerous calls to marinas all around LA looking for a place to stay while the transmission was getting fixed.  The mechanic had found me a spot at Colonial Marina at $60.00 per night.  If this repair was going to take a bit of time, that can add up to lots of money.  The last time it got repaired, it took two weeks.   I had a list of the marinas and called and called and called.  Most turned us down flat as few marinas have space for a 46 foot boat.  I finally tried a marina that wasn't on the list as even having guest slips and they had space for us and at only $15.00 A NIGHT!!! That's the cheapest we have found so far and in LA.  It was so hard to believe,  I called back to verify the location and the price.  Yup--$15.00 a night.  They normally rent by the month but would let us have the space for as long as we wanted it for just a percentage of the normal rent.  What a find!!!.  We motored up the channel and pulled into the slip slick as a whistle.  We were in for the night--or as long as we needed it.  

Our new neighbor(Chuck) came out to welcome us in.  We asked about the marina and the neighborhood.  His reply--"Well, you are in Wilmington!  You don't go out in the night in Wilmington."  OK, now it was getting scary.  Don't go out at night?  What had we gotten our selves into?  No wonder it was only $15.00.  Apparently, Wilmington has a bad reputation and it's not safe to travel the streets after sundown.  While there had not been any problems in the marina, we spent the evening pulling in all the electronics and any thing else that might look interesting to someone passing by.  Our life raft is now sitting in the cockpit.  We settled in for the night--snug in our "castle".

Today, Chuck gave me a lift to the marina office while we waited for the mechanic to show up and take a look at the transmission.  He was to call Great Lakes Power with what he saw and they would give the go ahead.    Two mechanics showed up and the decision was quick--it had to come out.  They took off for lunch while I called Great Lakes Power and left my contact a message and then took out the exhaust system and several hoses to make the job easier when they returned to take it out.  Fred, one of the mechanics showed up about 1330 and started the job.  He was just about finished by 1530.  Fred called to get help to get the transmission out of the engine room.  Tom, the owner of the company showed up about 30 minutes later and between the three of us, out she came.  During the haul out, I got some information about what SEA Marine had billed Great Lakes Power for the removal and installation of the repaired transmission back in March.  Apparently, they hit them for 27 hours of labor!!!  I'd taken out the exhaust system in about a hour and the transmission took about four-tops even waiting for Tom!  To put it back in will be probably a bit more but not the 20 hour difference it will be between the two jobs.  It's like I have said before, they are nothing but a bunch of crooks!  When SEA Marine took ours out and put it back in in March, they were on the boat maybe a total of eight to ten hours.  No where near the 27 they hit Great Lakes Power for.  Fred and Tom loaded it up and off it went to the shop.  They are going to run it tonight and repair it tomorrow and put it back in on Friday!!

We've reserved an Enterprise car for tomorrow and will be off running errands all over LA.  Another mini economics stimulus package. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 536 Photos of Catalina Island

Here are some pictures of Isthmus Cove on the north side of side of Catalina Island.  We'll be staying here for one last day and taking off for Los Angeles tomorrow to get the transmission inspected and worked on.  I've gone through two quarts of fluid in the last month.  Adding it to the reservoir and having it leak out onto the pads under it.  Not a good thing.

The shoreline as we approached Marina del Rey.  Apartments as far as the eye can see.
Blue in her normal position.  Sitting on her throne with her leg out to stabilize herself as we roll from side to side as we motored to Catalina Island.
Isthmus Cove on the North side of Catalina Island.  This is the West side of the wharf where they moor the larger boats.  The smaller ones go on the East side of the wharf.
The west beach in the cove.  Lots of kayak's coming and going all through the day.  When the tide comes in, it advances all the way to the rock wall on the left side of the picture.
The east side of the wharf at Isthmus Cove.  The smaller boats end up here so they can squeeze in more boats.
The beach on the east side of the wharf.  Sand and rocks and darn few people this late in the season.  There were lots of Boy Scouts camped on the hillsides inland.  They take the ferry back and forth regularly.
The dock and wharf in the cove.  There is a crane to get the heavy equipment they bring in off the ships that bring in supplies for the towns people.
The dingy dock.  There can be hundreds of dingys tied up here during the Summer.  You leave out a long length of line off the bow and the boats just keep tying up any where they can.  During the Summer season, they run a "taxi" service out to the boats(not free) to make it easier getting ashore.
When we went ashore, it was like going back to our time in the British Virgin Islands or Guadeloupe Island in the French West Indies.  The only difference was we saw lots of soldiers with AK 47's over their shoulders on Guadeloupe Island on the island.  They had just had a revolution the week before we got there.  Who should pull up just out side the cove-- a ship from the US Navy.  He pulled in Sunday morning and left late in the afternoon.  Not a clue what they were doing out there but no one came ashore. 

It's cloudy right now but the Sun should be out by lunch time.  

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 534 & 535 Catalina Island

We left Marina del Rey on Friday morning for Catalina Island and the "Latitudes and Attitudes" Cruisers Weekend.  "Latitudes and Attitudes" is a sailing magazine that has recently changed their name to "Seafaring Magazine".  I guess they are trying to get a better readership.  It sounds better than "Latitudes and Attitudes".  Anyhow, they have these "Cruiser's Weekend" blasts all over the US with this one being close to our route so we decided to stop in along with some new friends--Jay and Terri on board Cadenza.  We'd met them when we pulled into Oxnard last Monday and quickly became friends.

We left Marina del Rey about 1000 after getting our fuel tanks filled again.  Another 131 gallons at $3.20/gallon for a quick $400+ dollars.  Try that with your car some time.  We think we are doing well getting just over 6 knots to the gallon or about 1 gallon per hour.  For our size boat, that really good mileage.

We'd traveled about 46 miles from Oxnard to Marina del Rey on Thursday and now had a final 33 miles to make it to Catalina Island.  As we left Marina del Rey, there was little wind and that that there was was coming from the South(of course) exactly where we needed to go--gee what a surprise.  There were several boats that headed out the same time we did and we monitored their conversations on our VHF radio.  Most were headed to the same place we were for the same party.  

We snacked as we went and the wind slowly built--still from the South until we were just a few miles from Catalina and then they shifted just enough that we could have raised the sails.  By then, it was too late to raise them and so we just motored in.  

Once you enter the harbor, you call the Harbor Master and get assigned a buoy to tie up to.  The harbor is so busy(over 200 buoys) that you have to tie up using a bow and stern line so that no boats swing while in the harbor.  They have it down to a fine science.  You motor in and grab a big rod that sticks out of a small float in the water.  That stick has a line attached that you pull up on and attach it to a cleat on the bow of your boat.  A second line is attached to the stick and it leads to the stern anchor.  You follow the line down the side of your deck to the stern of your boat and pull up the stern line from the stern anchor that was set a long time ago by the island folks and attach that line to a stern cleat and your all set.  Being our first time in the harbor, the Harbor Patrol lead us straight to our assigned buoys and gave us lessons on how to set the lines.   Once in(33 26.664N  118 29.833W), along with at least a 100 other boats, we were set.  Our friends--Jay and Terri were a few rows ahead of us in the harbor.  We are in row "F" while they are in row "D".  

Once settled in, we lowered Puff into the water and hooked on Dragon and took off for shore to pay for our buoy--$37.00 a night for a spot in the water.  We wandered around and had a great lunch at the local watering hole.  Bacon cheeseburgers with fries.  A treat for us.  We walked along the shore and on the sandy beach, had drinks with Jay and Terri and later went back to Zephyr late in the afternoon.

Throughout the evening and into the night, boats  kept arriving.  As I was getting ready for bed--2300, a boat pulled in and hooked up to the buoy right beside us.  More came in throughout the night.  A zoo in the harbor.  Those that got off off work in the afternoon, left LA about 1800 and got in 3 to 4 hours later.

Today dawned with a thick layer of dew on everything.  I had to dry off the dingy or we would have been soaked once we got on board for the trip to shore.  There was supposed to be a "swap meet"early this morning but no one showed up so we just sat and  walked around until the folks from "Latitudes" showed up and we helped them get their booth all set up.

"Classes" started about 0900 and ran through the day.  Finally, we could attend a seminar where no one was trying to sell us something.  That's the problem when you go the other "shows".  The speakers are hawking their products.  We had "classes" on "Outfitting your boat for Cruising", "Cruising on a Smaller Boat and a Smaller Budget", "Anchoring", and "Fishing from a sailboat".  All the kinds of topics that we needed to attend.  Each lasted about 45 minutes and were great because they were "taught" by actual cruisers that had "walked the walk" and had the right to"talk the talk".  We took lots of notes on what they had to say.

We stopped for lunch--the same cheese burger and fries again and headed back for more classes in the afternoon.  At 1615 there was to be a get together at the bar for those "cruisers" that were heading south for Mexico.  Tracy and I showed up as did one of the "teachers" from the "class".   The three of us sat and chatted and had a beer and eventually another couple joined us.  That was it for those heading south from this group of boaters.  During one of the classes, the question was posed to the attendees as to how many of us were heading south and only about 6 hands went up.  Apparently last year over 30 hands went up.  I guess that is a sign of the economy.  Any how, we had a great time swapping stories and getting more valuable information about what to expect as we head south.  It was a one on one class.

We headed back to Zephyr as dinner was to be a shore with a "bring your own meat and a veggie to share" and "Latitudes" will provide the beer and wine.  The resort had two big grills set up and could have used a third as people crowded around trying to get their dinners cooked.  A good 100 people showed up for the festivities.  They were having a raffle during the evening  and we had already bought some tickets.  Here's how it went.  You could by them for $1.00 per ticket or for $10.00s you could have as many tickets as stretched from the tip of your finger to your armpit.  The third way was for $20.00, you got as many tickets as stretched from the tip of your fingers to the out stretched tip of your opposite hand.  Now you could use your length or find someone taller that had a longer stretch which is what we did.  We found a guy that was a few inches taller than myself and used his reach to get a few more tickets for our $20.00.  We ended up with 40 tickets for our $20.00.  As the dinner progressed(live band playing) the raffle ticket numbers were called out.  We won a nice rigging knife to add to our collection of the three we already have(some good and some bad).  Our friends--Jay and Terri--won the "grand prize" of a nice deep sea fishing rod and reel.  It was great that we both won a prize.

As the party was winding down, we wandered back to Puff and made our way back to Zephyr for the remainder of the evening.  As we had used a good bit of amps during the day, I fired up the generator to get some back in the batteries.  You can't run your generators between 2200 and 0700.  It keeps the anchorage somewhat quiet.  So that gave us about 75 minutes of run time to get what we could from the generator.  We shut her off promptly at 2200 and that was just about the end of the day for the two of us.

Tomorrow-Sunday, most of the cruisers will be leaving and we have decided to stay at least one more day as we don't need to be in LA for the transmission work till next week and I still need to call the shop and see when they want us to come in.  Plus, we need to find a decent marina to berth in during the work.  I expect we will be renting a car while there to get to some of the marine stores around LA.  We'll let you know how that goes early next week.

More to come!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day 533 Off to Marina del Rey.

We took off from Oxnard about 0945 and headed out for Marina Del Rey so we can make the easy crossing for Catalina Island on Friday for a "cruiser rally" over the week end.  We tried to get diesel but the dock was all full so we just waited for Marina Del Rey to top up the tanks.

It was an relatively uneventful trip of 46 miles getting us in about 1730 hours and into the city docks at only $1.00/ foot/night.  Not bad really.  We have a new set of "boating buddies"--Jay and Terri off Cadenza.  They took off about 45 minutes before us from Oxnard and radioed us once they got into Marina Del Rey to let us know the lay of the water so to speak.  We are both off for the week end at Catalina Island.  George and Celeste off Nereid probably won't make is as they had a few more things to get done in Oxnard and couldn't leave on Thursday like we did and it's a LONG journey to try and make in one day  from there to Catalina Island.

The rain finally stopped Thursday morning and the Sun came out finally to play.  Now there is just a bunch of smog and lots of garbage floating in the water.  We started seeing lots of it in the water once we passed Point Dume just North of Marina del Rey.  The weekend is supposed to be great.

I did get a call on Thursday morning from Great Lakes Power that they will honor the warranty on our transmission and are making arrangements with a company in LA to get it fixed once we go back there next week.  Don't know how long it is going to take but just knowing they will get it fixed for us is great news. 

I'll be posting pictures of the week end later as internet permits.

More to come.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 532 Off on errands

The day dawned with rain.  While it wasn't the pouring that we are used to in Colorado, it soaked you to the bone quite fast unless you were dressed for it.  

We took off with Celeste and George from Nereid on a day or at least afternoon of errands as they rented a car from Enterprise.  This was the first time Enterprise has let us down.  They were to pick us up at 1100 but didn't show up till after 1330 after repeated phone calls to the office.  Being here for such a short time meant every hour they were late cost us some time on the road getting errands done.  While they upgraded us to a bigger car(woo!), we still lost time on the road.  We ate lunch at one of the dock side restaurants while waiting for our pickup.  Nice sandwiches.

I bought some new pants as the ones I have been wearing are now way too big.  I've lost over 8 inches off my waste.  The cruising life has been good for me.  Home Depot for some wood for George and Staples for an ink cartridge for our computer printer.  We may not use it much, but it does require more ink from time to time.

We hit several more places before nightfall and then returned to zephyr for a nice quiet dinner.  George and Celeste will be out running more errands today while we are off for Marina Del Rey down in the LA area.  We had planned to go straight to Catalina Island for a cruising get together but we have to return our security card to the marina office and they don't open till 0900.  With a $25.00 deposit, I'm not about to leave that behind for a card I'll never use again.  We'll be getting more diesel fuel before we go also as we last got it in Fort Bragg many weeks ago and the tanks are down to half full.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures.  Stay tuned for more as I expect to have internet service for a while, even at Catalina Island.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More pictures

Here are some more pictures from the past two weeks at Santa Cruz Islands.
Looking West along the bay at Smuggler's Cove.  The biggest "cove" I've ever been in.
The back up stern anchor and chain we use off the stern.  It's the same size as our bow anchor so we know we aren't going anywhere.
The Northeast end of Smuggler's Cove.  That's a Coast Guard buoy in the foreground.
A grove of olive trees on the shoreline of Smuggler's Cove.  There are picnic tables a shore for folks that have the guts to take their dingys in. 
The Lady Frances on the rocks.  She ran aground early on Monday, August 5.  We guessed that her anchor dragged when the winds changed during the night.
Vessel Assist pulled her off the rocks and out into the "cove" where she sank.  They had managed to rip off her stern while getting her off the rocks.  Not a successful "assist".
The Lady Frances with air bags attached to get her off stern off the bottom.
Dragged past our bow and over to get more bags attached before being dragged back to Ventura.
Oh so sad to see.
There's a lot of boat under the water.
The South side of Santa Cruz Island.
Farther along the SOuth shoreline of Santa Cruz Island.
Looking along the South shore of Santa Cruz into the military testing ground we had to pass through.
Coches Prietos Cove.  One of the "favorite" places by locals.  A great beach but too rocky for our tastes.  Lots of swells and wind heading into the cove.  We passed on anchoring there.
Albert's Anchorage.  This was just around the corner from Coches Prietos Cove.  Much calmer but it does get darker there earlier since there is a big rock on the West side of the anchorage. That's fine, it's calmer in there.
The cliffs at Albert's Anchorage on the south side of Santa Cruz Island.
Jammed in at Pelican Bay with the Santa Barbara Yacht Club folks.  We ended up with 22 boats in the bay for two night.  Side by side and anchor to anchor.
The sides of the bay at Pelican.  It looks almost like the sides of a rusted out piece of metal. 
The North side of Anacapa Island on the way to Oxnard, CA.
The East end of Anacapa Island.  They get winds of over 70 mph regularly.  That's one reason there is just about nothing growing on the island.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 529, 530 & 531 On the move again.

Sunday dawned cloudy again with all the boats in Pelican Bay up and getting ready to leave to head home.  Boat after boat took their dingys over and picked up their stern anchors and then pulled forward and pulled up their bow anchor and took off for Santa Barbara.  We decided to go back to Smuggler's Cove for one last night before heading to Oxnard and the Channel Island Marina since the weather was beginning to change and lots of rain was in the forecast.

We took Puff over slowly pulling in the stern rode until we were over the stern anchor and slowly pulled it up until it broke loose from the sand.  Weighting in at over 60 pounds(plus 22 feet of chain), there was no easy way to get it up and into the dingy.   I held on to the end of the chain where the nylon line joins the chain and Tracy slowly pulled us back toward Zephyrs bow where I dropped it again.  Since we have a windlass, there was no reason to bust a gut getting it up.  Let the windlass do the job.

We climbed back on board and pulled Puff back on board and then used the windlass to retrieve the stern anchor.  Started up the motor and pulled up the bow anchor and we were set to take off.  There were only about 6 boats left in Pelican Bay by time we were ready to go.  The other 16 boats had already left.

As expected, the winds were fickle and anything but steady.  We hoisted the main and rolled out the Genoa.  The winds then either died or changed direction to be coming out of the east--the direction we were heading.  In came the Genoa and we left the main sail up to try and catch any wind that might help us.  Of course, the engine was started and we slowly made our way around the north east end of the island and back to Smuggler's Cove again.

Down went the anchor and we snugged it into the sand bottom and we were set for the night.  There were only about 4 to 5 other boats any where near the anchorage and the wind was coming from the Southwest at about 6 knots.

Monday dawned cloudy again.  There was a big storm in the forecast for Monday night through Wednesday with lots of rain and wind.  We'd heard about a marina(Channel Islands Marina)in Oxnard that was offering a deal--three days and two nights free--so we headed over to check it out.  Of course, the winds shifted to be out of the Northeast--again in the direction we needed to head for(gee what a surprise).  So we motored over and into the marina.  We called as we made our way over and verified the deal just to make sure there were no surprises.  Yup, free marina for two days!!  

As we pulled in, a gentleman from another sailboat came over and took in the bowline to help us get into the slip.  That's the way it is in the boating world.  There is normally someone out there that is ready to help get your boat into the slip.  It's rare we haven't gotten some form of help getting tied up to the dock.  Jay is off a Harden 50 a few slips down from us.   He's been in the marina for quite a while and clued us into what was where and where to go for a good meal.  We met his wife(Terri) a few minutes later.  They have a home in Malibu but spend every other week or ten days on their boat and had just gotten back from Santa Cruz as we had.

This area had just gone through a massive renewal and regeneration with the marina under going a nice face lift.  It's one of the nicest marinas we have been in so far.  The monthly fee for a slip for our boat would be more than the mortgage on our house so the prices reflect the face lift.  And that fee doesn't include electricity!!  We're talking close to $12,000 a year to keep your boat here!!!  YOW!!!  There are lots of empty slips all over the place since the place costs so much and many of the people that kept their boats here left during the remodel.  

The marina folks wanted copies of our insurance and documentation for their records so they would have our information when we returned.  I didn't have it with me so I promised to return with it later.  Once back on Zephyr, we checked our emails and found one from BoatUS notifying us that our boat insurance was to expire on October 12th--and it was October 12!!  Oh oh, our insurance had lapsed.  BoatUS had sent us a reminder email while we were out at Santa Cruz Island.  That is one of the problems when you are out of touch with "civilization".  Things get missed and forgotten.  I called BoatUS and got it renewed first thing Tuesday morning and printed copies of it for the marina folks.  I asked them for a quote for coverage down in Mexico.  They would look into it and get back with us--hopefully today.

We got settled in Monday afternoon with a great lunch at the Lookout Restaurant a ways down the marina.  We'd been told by another boater that they have "Happy Hour"(2pm to 7pm)specials where all their appetizers are half price.  We took a long tour of the marina and stores along the dock and got checked in at the marina office just waiting for 2pm to take advantage of the meal deal.  It was great and we had a nice long lunch as we overlooked the marinas along the waterway.  Once in the marina, you can launch your dingy and use it to get to lots of the local stores.  They have docks right beside their stores for all the boaters that come in that have no cars.

Tuesday, Jay(off the Hardin 50)came over and offered to take us to the local grocery store for any supplies we might need.  We were going to do the laundry and made plans to head out with him once we were done.  It sprinkled off and on through out the day.  Sometimes heavy and sometimes just a mist.  Jay picked us up about 1130 and we headed off for Vons(California version of Safeway)for more food and supplies.   Jay and Terri wanted to pick our brains for information as their long range plans were to do the same thing we are doing once they retire.  We made plans to have lunch again at the Lookout Restaurant.  They picked us up and off we went.  Again, a great lunch swapping stories about what we have done and where we have been.  They've had their boat for 18 years and have replaced or rebuilt just about everything on her.  

While we were there, Celeste off Nereid called.  We've been "buddy boating" with them(sort of) for the past month or so.  They were back at the marina having just returned from Santa Cruz Island themselves.  They had been going back and forth from Oxnard to Santa Cruz for the past few weeks getting things fixed as things broke.  First, it was their prop shaft.  A diver had checked it out while diving beside their boat and found that it loose.  Next, their main house batteries were beginning to fail so George had them replaced.  They had gone back to Santa Cruz on Sunday and spent two nights there before returning to Oxnard to wait out the storm with the big winds it was supposed to have along with it.  We made plans to get together later in the afternoon.  About 1700, they came over and we talked into the evening.  I showed them the video of boat sinking at Smugglers from the week before that we had watched.  I still have a lot of editing to do before I stand a chance of posting it here.  They are renting a car Wednesday and we will be heading out with them to do some more shopping.  I've now lost 55 pounds and need new pants.

Tomorrow, off for Redondo Beach and them Catalina Island.  The journey continues.  

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day 527 & 528 Anything but alone.

Friday dawned with cloudy overcast skies but the other boats in Pelican Bay took off leaving us alone in the anchorage. About 1000, a power boat came in and dropped their anchor over near the cliff wall on the South side of the bay. The skipper launched his big dingy and took a tour of the anchorage and came over to visit for a while. As we chatted, he told me that more boats were on their way from Santa Barbara as the local yacht club was having a rendezvous at Pelicans Bay that weekend. Oh Boy!!! Lots more boats were on their way. Seeing the first sailboat on the horizon, we grabbed our second anchor and made plans to set it behind Zephyr so that she would hold her place in the water and not swing around causing panic in the anchorage. We were just about set to deploy it when the first sailboat showed up and motored past scoping out the place for a good place to drop their anchor. They looked over and were a bit concerned that we had no second anchor out and made it quite plain that they REALLY wanted us to get it out. It would upset their weekend if we didn't.

Scott(nice guy), the owner of the first boat that had come in, told us that at least 6 or more boats would be coming in by late in the afternoon and more on Saturday. Heck, we thought the anchorage was crowded when there were just three boats in here. Scott came over and volunteered to take our stern anchor out and drop it in a good place so that we wouldn't drift and swing. The second boat that came in were obviously happy that we would put out another anchor. Scott said he would come back in help us get the anchor up on Sunday when we plan to leave. As I said, a nice guy. In talking to other boaters here, the first boat sets the tone of the anchorage and since we were first(yea us!), it all depended on us. As long as we would set a second anchor, all would work well for the rest of the boats. One man told me that sometimes, the first boat won't and just goes below and doesn't come up on deck and drifts all over the bay. That can really affect how the rest of the boats can anchor in the anchorage.

Throughout the day, the boats just kept on coming. We sat back and watched as they would come gliding through the bay looking for the best spot to drop and then maneuver themselves into the proper angle and let loose their anchor. Many dropped their stern anchor and motored forward to the spot where they would drop the bow anchor and then dropped it and pulled backwards to set it. As long as you have lots of line off the stern, it works quite well. By 1700, we had 12 boats in the anchorage with more scheduled to arrive on Saturday. Some that showed up didn't belong to the yacht club but chose to anchor here anyway as it is one of the most popular places in the islands. Dingys zipped all over the anchorage as one boat would get settled and go help the next one in to set his anchor of get tied off in a good spot. Big dingys and small dingys. They were everywhere for the afternoon. The evening ended with dingys jumping from one boat to the next socializing and drinking. A good time was being had all over the place. They settled in by 2000 and the place became quiet.

Saturday dawned cloudy and overcast again. It felt strange having no Sun at sun up. By 0900, more boats started to arrive with sailboats and power streaming into the anchorage. Some left as it got crowded since they weren't part of the yacht club, but as they left, others arrived. We finally ended up with 22 boats in the bay.

One sailor stood out as the trouble maker of the group. His boat was right in the middle of the bay and he just "knew" that a power boat had over ridden his stern anchor line and were "sawing" through his line. Other members of the yacht club descended on his boat in their dingys and hemmed and hawed about the line. The boat behind him had come in while he was out kayaking with his wife or he would have kicked up a snit earlier when the other boat showed up. The men pulled it up, checked his anchor. Nope--the other boater wasn't anywhere near his line. The men in the dingys took the stern line and moved it a few feet farther over and dropped it so it could be reset. He yelped about the power boat for the next couple of hours. He wanted him to move so there was no way his anchor would be in harms way. At that time, there were already close to 20 boats in the bay and space was getting quite limited and it was only about 1300 when this was taking place.

We launched Puff(dingy) and put on Dragon(outboard motor) and took off for Prisoner's Harbor to see how many boats were in there. About 7 in total. During the week that we were gone, the National Park Service pulled up the small dingy dock beside the wharf so there was no way to get ashore other than to pull your boat up on the rocky "beach". That's where we had spent last Friday and Saturday night in the big winds. The winds during this Thursday, Friday and Saturday night were just about calm. It was like being back at the marina. A bit unnerving to be just sitting still while at anchor.

The last three days have all dawned cloudy but the Sun pokes his face out just about lunch time so the afternoon if quite delightful. This afternoon(Sunday) we are off for Oxnard for a few days. There is a storm coming in on Monday and we want to be tucked in safe and sound plus we have laundry to do. The priorities of life rear their ugly head again.

Day 525 & 526 Onward

Day 525--Wednesday dawned with some clouds, the first we have seen in a while. We upped the anchor and took off for Coches Prietos farther along the South coast of Santa Cruz Island. It is reputed to be one of the most protected anchorages anywhere on the island. It was about 10 miles farther along the coast. As we left Smuggler's Cove, we put up the sails and took off heading around the point. The winds were piping up to about 15 knots so we were doing a good 5.5 to 6 knots.

As the morning passed, we came upon a military zone known as the "Acoustic Range Facility" along the South side of the island. I don't have a clue what it actually is but we called the Coast Guard to make sure it was all right to be there. Their comment was "Can you go around it?". It's a huge area of the ocean folks. Now why they put a military test range any where near a National Park is beyond us. I radioed them back that we would be through it soon if that was all right. They advised me to call them back once we were through the "range". Half an hour later, the winds died so on came the engine and off we went. I don't think the military would have wanted us sticking around there till the winds carried us west of the range. About an hour later, we were through and I advised them that we were on our way. They wished us a happy voyage and that was the end of that.

On we went until we got to Coches Prietos. A nice little cove with a beautiful sandy beach. Since we still haven't received our Conservation Pass, we couldn't go shore. No big deal as we thought the cove was just a bit too small for Zephyr and a bit exposed to the westerly winds. Just to the East was Albert's Anchorage. It was protected by a high huge outcropping from the shore that protected it better than Coches Prietos. We found it a much safer place to drop our anchors. In we went, the only boat in the anchorage(33 58.193N 119 41.915W). Finally, a place to ourselves. That lasted almost two hours before a second smaller boat with some snorkelers came in and dropped their anchor and made themselves at home. RATS!! A few hours later, a "crabber" in a very small boat(one man) came in and dropped his anchor so now there were three of us. We'd seen at least two other boats go into Coches Prietos so we knew that they were full as it is a small anchorage like ours.

As the evening passed, the winds died and changed direction so that instead of blowing from the South to keep us snugged into the cove, it was blowing off the shore keeping us a bit farther out in the water. Once the winds finally died, the swells took over and we began to rock from side to side for several hours. It finally stopped about the time the Sun came up. With it rocking so bad, Tracy got up and spend some of the night in the cockpit to avoid getting sea sick. Her meds had long since worn off.

When morning came, I started the generator to replace some of the amps we had used during the previous night. About an hour later, we stopped the generator and raised the anchor and took off heading west along the shoreline for a place to spend the night. We had no idea where but we took off. Now of course, Mother Nature would have none of this so she kicked up winds in the mid 20 knot range, but of course from the direction we need to go. The engine stayed on and off we went. The swells increased and poor Zephyr was getting thrown all over the place. Waves were crashing on deck as we went and running up clear to and onto the dodger at the front of the cockpit. If we hadn't had dodger, we would have been soaked.

A few hours later, we rounded the West point of Santa Cruz Island and were back on the North side again. Back were we got out butts kicked a few days before by big winds and waves. We were back and so were they at least for an hour or so. Then, thank heaven, they calmed down a bit and it became an easier ride. We were still surfing the swells, up one side and down the next, but they were smaller swells.

We'd hoped to be able to stop at "Painted Cave" but the chop was just to big and the place where we might have anchored is only safe if there is no big winds or swells in the forecast. Not today! On we went till be returned to Pelican Bay just west of Prisoner's Harbor where we had anchored several times before. We'd taken Puff the dingy over and looked at Pelican but didn't anchor there as there were already three boats there that time. This time, there was only one sailboat at anchor so in we went. As we approached Pelican, we could see into Prisoner's Harbor around the corner and could see at least 4 boats already there. We motored in and dropped the anchor to the east of the sailboat that was already there giving them plenty of room. Our anchor went down and we set her deep and safe(34 02.017N 119 42.118W).

About an hour later, the "crabber" that had been in Albert's Anchorage motored in and dropped his anchor behind us. It was already 1700 and he was done for the night. About 1800, a big dive boat pulled in and dropped his anchor along with about 15 divers so they could explore the bay. At 1830, a small sailboats came in and completed the bay for the night. It's now 1955 and the dive boat is still here allowing the divers to have a night dive in the water. I expect they will be leaving later this evening.

That's about it for today. Tomorrow, I think we will spend the day here as it's Friday and finding another anchorage gets tougher on the weekends and this place is quite pretty. I'll post our pictures once we get back to civilization and we have internet again. We lost it shortly after leaving Santa Barbara last Friday afternoon. With luck, we will be over in Oxnard in a few days.

Day 523 continued and 524 The wind finally passes.

After we arrived in Smuggler's Cove on Sunday morning, the winds continued to build until they were in the 40+ knot range. Throughout the afternoon they just kept on coming. At least the swell action was much less being in the lee of the island. The wind howled for the rest of the day.

About 1630, we decided to set a second anchor even though the first was doing just fine. With no idea what the weather was to become other than windy, we felt it better to err on the side of caution. I went forward to drop it overboard as Tracy motored forward to the left of the primary anchor. Over it went and down to the bottom. The wind grabbed hold of us and pushed us back quickly. I set the anchor line and waited for it to set. Suddenly, there was a loud explosion in front of me right at the stem fitting on the point of the bow. The line and snubber that held the primary anchor had broken!!! The wind had created such a force that there was too much strain on the line and even though I had installed a rubber snubber(a long piece of rubber that the line wraps around that acts like a spring)the line snapped. The anchor was set so well that it didn't come out. It made the line break instead!! We quickly pulled out a back up snubber and attached it to the chain. I wanted the strain off the stem fitting(where the chain passes through on the way to the bottom) on the bow. I didn't want it breaking off of Zephyr's bow. Once that was done, I made sure the second anchor was secured and we settled back for a windy night but with less swell action. It was an easier night at anchorage than Saturday night in Prisoner's Anchorage.

The winds died during the night and settled into an easy 14 to 16 knot wind. A piece of cake after the 40+ knots we had been in. It had gotten so windy during Sunday afternoon, that I had stopped the DuoGens propeller from spinning. It was having a stroke trying to keep up with the winds. Better to stop it than break it.

Monday was a pleasant day with lots of sunshine and gentle winds. I pulled up the second anchor and after the line had dried, I marked it with a Magic Marker at 30 feet intervals like the anchor chain is. There's 21 feet of chain and 200 feet of line. The same overall length as the primary anchor chain.

We met with a neighbor boat--Jeff and Fiona--and had a nice chat. They've sailed down from BC and are working their way south the Mexico like us. His wind generator had blown during the big winds of Saturday night. Apparently, the wind was clocked at 71 knots at Anacapa Island(it's just east of Santa Cruz Island). They said they had clocked the wind in Smugglers at over 55 knots. Boats all over the anchorage had been dragging their anchors through the night. Theirs, luckily, had stayed planted in the sandy bottom. We'd watched Jeff scope out the shoreline in his dingy looking for a place to safely pull it ashore. He rowed back to his boat(stopping for a chat) and picked up his girl friend and in they went. They were smart to put on their life jackets as they made their final approach to the shore, the waves caught them and into the water they went. The dingy stayed up right but took on water from the wave. Being an inflatable, it didn't matter getting water in it as it wasn't about to sink. Once the two got ashore, Jeff over turned it and got the water out and pulled it up safely on shore. Off, the two of them went to explore on shore. Wet, but all right. Now getting back out was another matter. The swells had built while they were exploring and it would prove to be much harder getting off the shore than getting on to shore. They tried it several times and finally settled with Jeff at the oars and Fiona swimming out behind the dingy and he helping her on board once they were out safely past the breakers. They stopped by on the way back to their boat. They both have a broad sailing background having already sailed to Hawaii and back. A very nice couple. They saw another Liberty 458 a few days ago heading south.

We read and worked on our tans, quickly becoming slight burns, through the rest of the afternoon and settled in for a nice dinner and some DVD watching.

This morning(Tuesday)about 0700, we heard a helicopter buzzing the anchorage figuring they were taking more pictures of the boats in the anchorage. Little realizing what they were actually here for. Over night, a fishing boat--commercial--dragged his anchor and was ashore pinned to the rocks. We're not sure when he washed up, but as we came out on deck about 0800, he was clearly in distress. The waves just kept on bashing him higher and higher onto the rocks. Low tide was quite a while ago and high tide isn't until after 1100 so he has a few hours to wait. If he doesn't get off the rocks then, he will never recover. Numerous fishing boats and dingys have made their way over to see if they can help but we have seen no activity on board by anyone on the boat. No one on shore either so we're not sure what is going on. No chatter on the radio on either channel 16 nor the Coast Guard channel of 22A. All we know is that this boat is in big trouble if it doesn't get off the rocks soon. He may have a hole in his hull with all the bashing he is taking. He just keeps rocking on the rocks with every swell that breaks on the shore. Vessel Assist showed up about 1000 to try and get him off the rocks. A swimmer went over to the boat from Vessel Assist and tied several lines to the boat at the bow and amidships. They were getting set to pull him off the rocks.

About 1100, Vessel Assist finally pulled the Lady Francis off the rocks after several attempts. The way she was wedged into the rocks, as she was pulled by the bow line, she swung around and hit another set of rock just to her port all with a resounding crash we could hear from Zephyr. The lines were checked and Vessel Assist waited for a big swell and pulled again. Slowly the Lady Francis swung around and broke free of the rock and was towed away from the shore. Unfortunately, about 200 yards later she sank. The holes in her hull were just to great. There was just to much water inside and she went down by the stern in about 10 feet of water. Her bow is still bouncing in the swells. Just as Vessel Assist got her loose, the Coast Guard showed up. Too late to be of assistance. We saw a cloth over the bow that was to stop the water from coming on board that way, but I guess there was just to much already below that there was no hope of floating her to freedom. Now will come the salvage boats to haul her on board and take her back to the mainland. It was a sorry sight to see. In time, I think there is a chance that you will see a boat in jeopardy but we never thought we would see it so soon. Currently, Vessel Assist and a small Coast Guard boat are standing by waiting.

A second Vessel Assist showed up after a while and brought air bags to put around the boat and try and get her raised so she could be towed over to Ventura. In went the divers and the bags got inflated and her stern rose off the bottom. Once loose, she was towed around Zephyr's bow until the Vessel Assist boats could tie up to the Coast Guard buoy a bit farther off the coast. Now the diver took 4 more bags into the water and attached them farther on the stern and up she came until it was safe to be towed across the channel. There was no way to pump the water out of the boat as the stern was gone. It had broken off when Vessel Assist had pulled her away from the shore and she had pivoted and slammed back onto the rocks. If they had simply pulled her backwards off the rocks, the stern would have still been attached and she might have stood a chance of being pumped out. Now there was no stern and no chance. She was a total loss.

It took till almost 1900 before they were ready to leave. One of the Coast Guardsmen joined the Vessel Assist crew for the long trip back to Ventura. They were told to maintain a radio check in schedule with the Coast Guard station in Los Angeles every 30 minutes. As they checked in, they were doing 2.2 knots across the channel. With it being about 15 miles, they had a long night ahead of them.

It's sad to see a boat come to its end in such a needless way. A well set anchor would have saved that boat.