Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rico... status report

I haven't figured out how to tell you about all the crazy that has unfolded during the last two days. When I do sort it out, you'll be the first to know. I promise

I'll leave you with this though,

I'm going to Kentucky!

Sam out.

It is more important who you're with

It's not the places and things we grew up with that hold our memories...
It's the close friends and loved ones who made them with us that do.

Don't go back to the places from your childhood to find yourself,
instead go find the people holding all the little pieces of you.


We did a couple nights in Glorietta Bay, anchored just off the golf course... I'm not going to lie, it makes me a little nervous actually, especially if those people golf anything like I do.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Arms of steel

Note to self... never arm wrestle with a sail maker or a bosun.

I was redoing a the splicing of an eye into our new main halyard today, because yesterdays didn't work... and I'm stubborn like that. My hands and forearms are worn right out.

One ping, one ping only

"Let me get this straight you're sailing down the coast and you want to go look at boats while you're here?"

Yep we sure do!

Took a gander through the maritime museum here. It's fairly comprehensive, not only can you walk around and touch *everything* ...well except you can't climb the rigging... which to tell you the truth I really really wanted to. They also have museum type displays that tell you all kinds of interesting things!

The main attraction is the Star of India, the oldest iron hull vessel of its kind still capable of sailing. She's very impressive, and the video footage they have of her restored maiden voyage is awe inspiring. It took many hours, and many skills, some so old that they called guys out of retirement to come do. She looked magestic in among all the hundreds of thousands of sailboats dotting the bay that turned out for the event. Half a million people were there to witness it!

I also got to tour a Soviet Submarine, and it was the one used in the movie Red October (I think)! They sure have a lot of pipes and wires and knobs and levers everywhere. There was more room than I thought there would be, but I imagine once you put more than one person inside you'd feel cramped pretty quickly. My favorite part was the torpedo tubes... yep I fit *grins*

They have a special hatch that if the sub gets stuck you can let it loose from the inside and it will float up to the surface with a rope attached so rescuers can find the sub. In an emergency there's a hatch they can use where the guy gets in, they lock it, flood it and then he can climb up the ladder and out the outter hatch and slowly up the rope to the surface... if you're really desperate a torpedo tube can also be used. Of course both of those only work if the sub isn't too deep.

Right, so super awesome by day... tactical error by night. I should've worn pants, it is quite cool in the morning and the evening here now... and for some reason the sun seems to set more quickly than it does up north. I haven't figured that one out yet *shrugs*

Our other tacticle error though was trying to do anything on Thanksgiving. You Americans take thanksgiving wayyyy more seriously than we do, the streets were deserted, the place was like a ghost town... you didn't even have to play frogger to jay walk. So getting a cab was a bit of a challenge, we ended up sharing it with some lady who was late to get to her plane... I gather she tried to scoop us on it, but the taxi driver said no because Dad had waved him down. Thank you so much Mr taxi driver.

Oh and another thing, we've been having trouble with is American money lol... see with all our colored bills in Canada it's easy to tell how much you have (or don't have), well that and the smallest bill we have is a $5. With all the American bills being green though, you have to look at the numbers... so even though you have a mitfull and it *looks* like you have lots, it seems to always end up being $20 in $1 bills.


I know that generally crying really doesn't help your cause... but it just occurred to me that it does if you have soap in your eye.

Its a zoo!

The last couple days have been crazy and consisted of running around, sightseeing and trying to do it all while spending as little money as possible... which is difficult to say the least when you aren't familiar with how a place is laid out, and when everything you need isn't anywhere near where you're staying. I don't think we've quite got the hang of it, but we've gotta be getting there!

We went back to the zoo, and it's huge! Look Mom they have the hedges from Babar!

It's crazy how many different animals they had from all over the world. We were quickly lost wandering through the pathways from one exhibit to the next... ooooh Dad check out this one! I thought the lions were great, the male lion had just finished drinking and went over and started licking his mates face, it was so similar to the behaviour of a house cat it was weird to see such a big ferocious kitty being all affectionate. Of course you can tell they're well fed as they have very little interest in the meatscicles just outside the fence although I'm sure they've thought about... in fact I betcha that's what he's thinking here ;o) But instead they're flaked out in the sunshine... I think lions really do have solar cell tummies.

I was absolutely mesmerized by a dancing elephant. She was hanging out near a little coffe shop that was playing music, standing there swaying to the beat like it was the most natural thing in the world. It was incredibly cool *smiles* I think I could've hung out and just watched her all day.

I'm pretty sure this is a kingfisher of some kind.

And this is an American wood duck.

There were lots of really cool birds, but they were hard to get good pictures of. Beatiful colours though, and they all bounced and moved around so quickly. Hehe I think they have an even worse attention span than I do and seem to change their minds even in mid flight... ooooh shiny! It was also super cool to see some of the really BIG birds up close, like Condors... it made my stomach jump when one glided down from his perch and blocked out the sun for a minute. I mean they look big sitting there waiting for dead stuff, but when they unfold their 8 -10 foot wing span... there's part of you that doesn't want to find out if they can carry you away!

We also checked out the Pandas and the Koalas. They were super cute! They've got a baby panda... 'Nuff said ;o)

Oooh I loved the polar bears too, this guy was sleeping but he looked just like a dog... his feet would twitch occasionally like he was running and every once in awhile he'd move his head a little.

Oh and that scale you see in the background? I weigh as much as a 3 month old cub *s*

It wasn't nearly a long enough day to do and see everything, but it was very cool. It sure makes you wonder though... for all these animals we do know about, and those that are endangered... How many more are there that we know nothing about?

There was this one animal a Takin from China it looks like this

Its fairly large and yet it was only recently discovered because it's very, very shy. Dude. The thing is huge, if we didn't know anything about that... then I know we've got a lot of learning to do still.

I think that despite the bad things that people think about zoos, the more we can learn about the world we live in before we completely mess it is invaluable. I also think that the potential for educating the number of people that go through the zoo is a good thing. Even if it only makes them pause and think a little bit more about the world around them and the impact they have on it, well it's a step in the right direction.

After looking at all these beautiful animals, and then finding out that some of them are endangered. It makes you want to help out, even if it is something that 30 seconds ago you didn't even know it existed.

"Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little." ~Edmund Burke

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Some days you're Brain, and other days you're Pinky

I once heard about a lab rat test that was being conducted to determine the ratio of reward to no reward which would cause in this case a lab rat to stop trying. For instance, a lab rat will learn rather quickly at the ratio of 1:1, every time they push a lever they get a treat. As you increase the number of lever pushes to times you actually get a treat there is some point where the lab rat decides he'd be better off planning world domination.

So far the study makes sense, it pretty much confirms what we'd like to think we already knew... But the interesting question that came out of it, was at what point will they keep pushing even *after* they've stopped getting rewards completely.

Well for the 1:1, they basically try it a few more times... effectively shrug and then carry on with whatever catches their fancy. But the lab rats that were pushing the lever and increased number of times for even one single treat, will continue pushing the lever long past when they should have given up and moved on.

I'm having a lab rat day. I've been refreshing my email, and sometimes it comes up and sometimes it times out... but I keep trying.S

No actually

When you end almost every sentence with "Do you know what I mean?"... It's fine when you don't notice, but once you do it's enough to drive you crazy!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


You're never going to believe what just happened to me. Actually I can't believe what just happened to me today... (okay last night but still - we just got internet) Actually I can't believe I'm admitting to this happening to me, sheesh there goes my reputation.

*insert napolean dynamite voice*
I'm such an idiot. I just stabbed myself in the leg trying to get one of those stupid plastic packages open. It hurts real bad!

The worst of it (other than the hole in my jammies) is that I had just finished ignoring that little voice in my head, the one saying "pssst careful you're going to hurt yourself". It's not like I cut myself badly, but it was leaking a little... had to put a bandaid on. Guess it's a good thing I personally inspected and replenished the first aid kit before we left.

I'm guessing this is what butterfly bandages would be awesome for... too bad we don't have any of those...

Oh yeah, and sorry for the extra grey hair Dad.


*phew* now that we're at the end of the day I almost don't know where to start... I've been trying really hard not to just write about what we did in a day, but rather tell you the interesting highlights. I just find its so easy to fall into a running commentary, where you say that you had lunch... I mean I hope you had lunch, but unless someone exploded an egg in the microwave, what do you expect me to think about it... um congratulations on eating lunch? This one turned into a bit of an epic, I'll try and trim it down a little when I'm not so exhasteraded... promise.

We got my little brother to set us up with a rental car again, but then the closer rental place didn't have a car available, and the other place didn't have enough people to come pick us up... Enter new best friend Perce *s* we met him down on the dock checking out boats and he offered to give us a ride which was super wicked AND he drives a 4 wheel drive van... which in it's previous life it was an ambulance! It even still has the siren panel and everything! I asked, but he said he was slowly disabling them... I translated that to mean "No touchie". *grins* I hope that's the closest I ever get to riding in an ambulance *s*

We got our rental car, and set off in the direction of the camera fix-it place... with a tiny little paper map with half the street names on it from the rental place and Dad's laptop GPS combo. We went on ramps, off ramps, under, crossed over and around so many highway/freeways whatever they're called here it would have taken all of my combined luck and navigation skills to get us there with what I had to work with...

The new hotness has occasionally been displaying an 'Err' message so I wanted to get her checked out at an approved dealership blah blah blah. Got there, they took a look at her, checked the errors and said it was something to do with the aperature. Then they did a software reset and proclaimed it good to go... but to bring it back if it happens again. I'm hearing echos of "Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

Next stop Ham Radio Outlet... Oh right I forgot to mention, criticle low laptop battery warning which I know I've mentioned in a previous post here when we were trying to find my Uncles cabin. Deja vu all over again. Soooo back over, under, around the freeways in a slightly different direction... We were down to an 'In one kilometer turn left' and I knew we should be getting close, and I hadn't heard an update... so I clicked the 'tell me again' button... clicked it again... Nothin'! Flying by the seat of our pants, with an ish of a direction and street name *grins* we took the scenic route through a back parking lot, around onto a street and spotted it on the way by *before* we drove past it! Yeah us!

Ran into John the guy who helped Bob check out our rig which was pretty cool, he was picking up a few things from 'The toy store' himself *grins* Picked up some more reference material, and a couple connectors so we can use the J-pole antenna I made *proud smile* I'm such a nerd. Got directions to a Sears so we could get an inverter to run the laptop and not be lost, besides we needed an emergency backup one anyways...

Next it was over to Office Depot, where I talked Dad out of buying a printer... Yes I know it will be useful *when* we need it, but the rest of the time it'll take up space we don't have. Yes I know I take up a lot of space, I always have. No I will not get rid of some of my stuff so we have room for a printer. We also got business cards done up so people don't have to try and read my itty bitty writing on a napkin to follow the daily shenanagins ;-)

< insert picture of business cards >

So you would think that was enough adventure for one day, well no, not for us... we headed for the zoo... We were almost there and somehow ended up in an infinite GPS loop. "In 150 meters turn right"... wash, rinse, repeat. To make matters more complicated I could see where we needed to go on the GPS map so I was ignoring what the super calm voice was saying, but Dad wasn't... *and* he could also see 'Zoo' signs.

After the second loop around, he said with some frustration "I feel like I'm getting three different directions!" Are you ready for this? I didn't say "Well just listen to me cause I'm giving you the right ones." *tongue out* In a voice that was almost as calm as the GPS chick told him to ignore the GPS and just turn right on Robinson... no not this one, this isn't Robinson... now don't turn right here or we'll have to do it all over again, just go straight, yeah there now we should be good again. *proud smile* Emergency averted!

You can't even see where the entrance is from the parking lot... luckily a nice lady pointed us in the right direction, and told us that you need an entire day to really do the Zoo. We made an executive decision to come back tomorrow as it was closing in 2 hours. I was relieved, otherwise we would have been rushed... and that would have stressed me out.

So um yeah, I think I'm allowed to be exhausterated... I think Dad is too, he's having a 20 min nap (that he started an hour ago) before dinner ;o) I'm super stoked for the zoo tomorrow though! I hear they have cute fuzzy pandas *smiles*

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Don't worry, be happy

I don't mean to make people worry, but its nice to be worried about all the same. I'd like to share an excerpt from one of the emails I received that made me smile and feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
ps, Could you please not fall off the boat, almost fall off the boat, look like you are going to fall off the boat or think about falling off the boat? 

I promise, I will try my best not to fall off the boat, or do any of those other things... cross my heart.

Apologies, despite the serious nature of the above excerpt I couldn't resist being a smart-donkey ;-)

HR response: Thank you for your concern regarding the person we are responsible for. Your input has been processed and forwarded to the official safety committee. The safety committee takes issues regarding our person very seriously and will review your concerns, deliberate and then make any recomendations it feels necessary to improve the safe conduct of said person. Rest assured we will do everything in our power to ensure that these issues are rectified in a timely manner. If you have any further questions or comments regarding said person, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

Thank you again for taking the time to bring this to our attention, your concern is appreciated.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Where are you?

I would like to take this moment to answer the most popular question...

We are currently in San Diego, at least for a couple more days. I really want to go see the zoo! I also need to get my camera checked out... it's being temperamental, although I can't really blame it, these aren't exactly it's ideal operating conditions ;)

Bandaid removal 201

Forget the old wives tales that say "Pull it off quickly, it will hurt less..." and instead just get some diesel on it, your bandaid will remove itself in 0.2 seconds and it doesn't even sting!

Oh right, and finger update: It hasn't turned green or fallen off yet, so I'm taking that to be a good sign... Even if it doesn't hurt at all, which it really should *shrugs* but I'm okay with that!


Even if you are only running in to the store for a minute you cannot leave your church here. *giggles* These spaces are reserved for motor vehicles only.

As the sun sets

Even the scruffy crab docks become gilded for a few moments as the sun goes down.

Ped Xing...

They have these all over the place, but it made me giggle when I saw it at the airport because you could cut the tension in the air with a knife. It reminded me of just being on campus during final exams, you can feel the stress in the air, people rushing everywhere with too many things to do and not enough time... never enough time.

Right. Back to why *I* thought it was funny... Wellllll if you read the X as it should be read, rather than its common transfiguration of 'Cross' then it would be pronounced 'Zing'. Hehe so now it's Pedestrian... Zing! As in you can cross here, but make it quick or you'll get run over!


I always find it cool when someone manages to make concrete bendy looking. Usually it has that rugged primitive cave man feel to it, but every once in awhile someone scrubs it behind the ears with soap, dresses it in a tuxedo and teaches it how to clink and drink champagne without breaking the glass. I tip my hat to the creator of this masterpiece.


I just thought these were super cute, like the nautical version of something half a step up from torches in wall scones.

They start out little

This may be just a baby MUTANT NINJA KELP 'O DEATH... but do not be fooled by it's cuteness. I'm telling you, those are little flaming horns!

Mystery solved...

Breaking news, this just in... For the first time ever, I have actually finished an *entire* tube of chapstick.

I always thought the little twisty bit at the bottom actually created chapstick out of air rather than move it up the tube because no matter how much I used I always lost it before it ran out.

*holds hands up* I know, I know no need to thank me, you can rest easy now that you know this...

Thank you!

Bob Vincent (N6E2V) and his buddy John (WKQI) came down and checked out our radio set up, they were super awesome and helped us go through the whole system, get the GPS working, checked our Winlink setup as well as making sure the radio and antenna tuner were working properly. Thanks so much guys!

Ooooh and if you are a nerdy HAM, and you ever get the chance you should check out the "Communications Center" at the San Diego Yatch club, it is swank! They have done a beautiful job on the inside, all the cable runs are hidden, and they even have a test/workbench area set aside.

It was pretty cool too having never met someone who wasn't related to me with the same last name, and as Bob said... I can't not help someone with the last name Vincent!

The reason it was only showing us in Eureka was because the GPS coordinates weren't updating, *hides* I totally should have figured that one out... I almost feel like I should turn in my nerd badge over that. Since the GPS wasn't updating it was just using the last set of coordinates it had available... Dad realized in a flash of brilliance last night, the the reason its working now is that the GPS gets its power from the Marine VHF radio... so for it to work... the Marine VHF has to be turned on... *DOH!*

Sunday, November 21, 2010


It just ocurred to me... why on earth do they make kleenex white?!? I bet they spend extra to get it that pristine clean looking. Now think about this for just a second, how often do you actually want to see what comes out of your nose... Hmmmm?


I ran 3000 yards this morning!

3000 yards x 3 feet/yard = 9000 feet

9000 feet x 2 (there and back) = 18000 feet

18000 feet/3.2 (feet/meter) = 5625 meters

5625 meters / 1000 (meters/km) = 5.625 kms

Darn I liked Dad's first answer of 11km better, even the modified 8km was alright... but 5.625? I must be darn near the slowest runner evar... I'm not even going to tell you how long it took me. I think I'm going to start keeping track of how far it *felt* like I ran instead, that is much more gratifying.

So uh, anyone want to redo my math and come up with an answer that says I ran more than a measly 5.625 kms? Please?

Its a beautiful life

Passed a cute guy on the way out of McDonalds... TeeJay according to his name tag, yes Sam can read.

TeeJay – "Hi I like your... you have a nice face!" waving in a circular motion at his own face

Me – I couldn't suppress a grin, and even thinking quickly the best I came up with was "Thanks!"

TeeJay – "Have a nice night, and have a nice life even if I don't see you again"

How cool is that?!? Have a nice life... even if I don't see you again... it whispered in and out of my thoughts, leaving traces of warm fuzzy feelings for the rest of the afternoon. A perfect stranger, who in his openness made my night.

While I totally agree that if you don't have something nice to say you should keep it to yourself... I think that if you *do* have something nice to say, you should put it out there... it makes the world a better place.

I'd like to remember that, and pass it on. I'm glad he didn't listen to his mother, regarding talking to strangers.

Friday, November 19, 2010

In my best Southern drawl

You are never gonna believe what ah done this morning...

Ah was stepping off the boat, using the darn ladder fer once... and ah slipped. How I did not fall into the water between the boat and tha dock ah surely do not know... but I stopped with mah left knee hooked around the lifeline and mah right hand on the dock in a half handstand... t'all would've been fine 'cept I was holdin' the back forestay when I fell, *mutters* scraped darn near an entire two layers of skin right off the inside of my middle finger.

S'okay though, don't you worry I have the situation under control, patched 'er all up with some of that there polysporin and water resistant tape. I know fingers aren't like fine wine, but I'm letting it breath... that's what the white gunk is.

Even if it's a journey

If you can't be happy where you are, then what makes you think you will be happy when you get somewhere else?

When I grow up

I want a friend to be there for you when you find out that your parents aren't the people you thought they were. When you discover that who you are, is not directly dependent on who they are. When you learn that you get to choose who you're going to be, regardless of your childhood and how you were raised.

I want you to have a friend who can help you see, just how beautiful you are. Who knows enough of your past that they can see how far you've come. A friend you trust enough to tell you the truth, even when you don't want to hear it... whether it be about your thoughts, or how your jeans fit.

I want a friend for you, who is willing to drop their life when yours is in shambles. Someone who knows where your line is, and can stand on the edge of it just to drive you crazy. Someone who will follow you where no one else can, and light your way or if need be carry you out.

I want more than anything in the world to be that friend for you. But if I'm not, I hope that they find you when you need them to.

I want to be the phrase that resonates deep within your soul. A spoken echo of a lifetime ago...

All you need is love

Kids don't come with instruction manuals, its up to you to do the best you can and to love them... With these two things they can learn everything else they need along the way.

People will weave in and out of their life, adding knots and twists and turns along the way... Those knots will hold them together when they feel like everything else is falling apart and spinning out of control. The things that felt like the end of the world at the time, will still be there when you look back but you will be able to see the pattern of colours forever making up the beautiful tapestry of your past.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Nyarr I'm off to give Dad a hand moving the boat, then I will be swabbing decks this afternoon!


Note to self – jumping on in the middle of the boat is not such a good idea... I've been racking my brains for the last two days trying to remember how and where I got the gigantic bruise on the back of my leg... then it dawned on me.

I'd stepped on the rounded outside portion of the boat, thrown my left leg up and over the lifeline, and promptly slipped... effectively I caught myself on my left leg in a classic gymnast maneuver used to get up on top of a bar, clambered on board and promptly forgot about it.

Downtown rally car

Riding in the back seat of a cab that wasn't speeding, he was qualifying!

Where I'm sure many people would have been praying, I was grinning like an idiot cause it reminded me distinctly of someone else I know. (Pssst if you ever get bored of health care you should be a taxi driver! *ahem*)

I'm not sure if it just seemed fast because I haven't really been in a car for two months, or if he really was rally car racing through downtown San Diego. I had a blast! *grins*


Met a cool couple aboard Sweet Destiny first thing this morning, went out and caught lines from them, they're down from San Fransisco also heading to Mexico!

Met another guy on the dock briefly, his wife got her finger caught in the chain winch and broke it early on in their trip. Seems that no matter who you talk to in the cruising community, it's generally 'been interesting' and the full tale is a long one... so we are not alone.

Transmission was fine this morning so now we're thinking it just needs the seals (o-rings) replaced *fingers crossed* I met a wicked guy Jim from Seattle aboard You Got AB Kidding heh love that boat name.

Nothink like a leetil exzitement...

... to really get you going in the afternoon.

Our new best friend Ben from Oceanside pre-warned us about the kelp on the approach to San Diego, and while he made it very clear that we had to watch out for it and be *very* careful.

He failed to mention that it was MUTANT NINJA DEATH KELP.

This stuff was ridiculous, the bulbs were the size of both my hands shaped around a ball and you couldn't see it until you were almost upon it. I'm pretty sure it eats boats for breakfast, sea otters for dessert, chews with its mouth open, and never calls its mother on Mothers Day.

On the approach, the boat was feeling weird, I was rather concerned that we had some MUTANT NINJA DEATH KELP around the prop... we tried to reverse to see if we could shake it off... no go, so Dad dove it, it was clean *aroo?*.

Then the transmission resigned from active duty and refused to shift. Tensions were running a little high with the MUTANT NINJA DEATH KELP lurking, and Dad yelled at me. For the first time in my life I merely asked him what he would like me to do, I didn't yell back, or take it personally... although for the record I was ticked off too. I'd just like to say that this is a moment of personal growth for me, that I am really proud of myself and wanted to share it with you.

I raised the sails while Dad checked engine/transmission stuff and discovered that the transmission oil was very low, we topped it up and ghosted our way into San Diego. Then the biggest freaking ship came barreling out of the channel, luckily the wind had left us just outside of its warpath... I took a few moments to thank whatever Gods may be, as well as my entire stable of lucky horses eating four leaf clovers that we weren't close to being underfoot.

After the tranny had some time to cool down, and it's oil replenished... and we'd changed our pants after the huge ship from Singapor went by. I started 'er up and after some back and forth shifting, finger crossing and muttered coaxes verging on threats finally got it to drop into forward. We picked our way carefully up the chanell through the falling darkness, did a loop by the yacht club... and when we didn't see any easily accessible end ties, we looped back to the Harbour Police dock.

It was like poetry in motion, Dad put the bumpers and dock lines out while I pirouetted in the channel. I told him that since I wasn't sure if it would shift out of forward again, my plan was to just turn it off when we got close and coast in. We traded off, and I prepared myself to jump off the bow when we got close to the dock with the forward line... Dad cut the engine... and we coasted.

Are you sure you're ready for this??!?

Everything went perfectly. I jumped, nudged the bow out the tinyest bit, and walked her forward. At the same time Dad looped the stern line around the dock cleat while standing *on the boat*!!! Together we tightened them up, slowed the boat to a stop and cleated her off.

By this point I had already decided that we were staying here, so I started making dinner. Dad did some running around trying to get ahold of the Harbour Police using their after hours number. They sent someone down, who gave us the okay to overnight here and sort it out in the morning.

*blinks* We're here. We've arrived. We'v made it to San Diego.


Saw a whole herd of dolphins, they came right past the boat! I'd show you the video clip I got if I could figure out how to upload it, but it would have to come with a strong warning that side effects of viewing may include sea-sickness, nausea, irritability, listlessness and lack of motivation.

I'm the luckiest girl in the entire world!

Prince Charming

Dad just made me muffins with raisins in them. That made me smile.



Erf. Didn't really want to get up today, really didn't want to leave Oceanside. Heading out into the impending fog definitely put a damper on my sunny disposition.

Slept, that didn't help either. I was just plain *merf*

Oops my bad

Heh took this picture back in Newport and forgot about it... couldn't see what it said until we got closer! Guess we're not supposed to be here huh?

Actually they have the channel divided up so that you can sail in and out in your very own lane, and everyone else who is motoring is supposed to use a different lane. But it was funny because we were motoring our sailboat... Hehe

Monday, November 15, 2010

Captain Davey and Rocket

Whew, Dad and I just got a virtual guided tour down the coast of Mexico, up the inside bit and back down the other side. It came with 35 years of personal insight, recommendations and must sees, and was a huge help sorting through the options. I'm totally stoked to see the arches, and get my dive ticket as well as the promise of new wild life and places to explore, even if I'm still a little apprehensive about learning Spanish.

Thank you so much to everyone who touched our lives during our brief stay in Oceanside, this is definitely somewhere I would come back to in a heart beat. I've definitely made some great memories, that you are all very much a part of.

P.S. If I ever get 'lost'... this is probably the first place you should look ;) I'm just sayin'


The interface, where the ocean meets the shore. It is a blank piece of paper awaiting inspiration with bated breath...

Sparkling with anticipation the first rays of sunlight caress the ever restless waves as they roll in. Reveling in their playful eternal dance with the sand and stones of the beach. A dance as old as the ocean itself.

I leave only footprints, but what my soul takes from the solitude is immeasurable, patching holes I was never aware existed.

Making me whole again.

The patches become a quilt painstakingly made with love. Each piece a though, a moment, becomes a treasured memory. Together they tell the story of my life. Reinforcing each other, and in some places overlapping. The pieces themselves are not warm, but together they hold the heat from a fire deep within.

Day of little racing

Omg so freaking cool!

We went out to be race crew, it was all very exciting... it was their turkey day race, handicap times were in, everyone had checked in with the race committee boat... we were all waiting with bated breath for the wind to pick up, or pick a direction... and then the red and white "Cat in the Hat" flag went up signalling a delay of race.

The committee boat anchored, drifted and dragged and re-anchored... we broke out the refreshments and motored around soaking in the sun and pleasant company exchanging sailor jokes and tales of ordeals we'd survived. I'm told "you haven't lived, unless you've had a whale poop beside your boat!". I had never really thought about it, that whales poop... but I'm fairly confident that I can die a happy woman without *ever* experiencing that, thank you very much.

Relatively quickly the puff-cards (teasing breases that make you *think* the wind is picking up) gave way to a light breeze, flags were exchanged, the courtesey horn interrupted beers and sunbathing, motors were shut down and without further ado the race started!

It was relatively relaxed, there was some difference of opinion... but on a boat it doesn't matter so much. The Captain gets the final word, and whether he's right or wrong really doesn't matter, what he says goes. We tacked, we trimmed and we tweaked. There was an ever running educational commentary of what we were looking for and trying to do. New words and phrases were added to my ever expanding sailing vocabulary, in short it was awesome!

Most of the boats we were racing were smaller and lighter, making much better headway in the light breeze. There was one other boat, Serenity who for most of the race was tantalizingly within reach... a mere thought ahead of us. As we approached the 4th race marker we snuck in on a better line and passed her!

We abandoned the rest of the race to the sun sinking in the sky and the cooling breeze, one member of the crew had to be back onshore and with the delayed start we had run out of time. We congratulated ourselves, broke out the champagne and laughed heartily when it looked like another boat was following our board.

We all met up at the Yacht Club for a couple drinks, Ben my new best friend from the night we arrived was gracious enough to cook and share some Bratwurst with us, as the usual cook your own burger was short on supplies after the Commadors Ball. It was great, a very relaxed atmosphere, everyone was friendly... it was so comfortable it felt like I'd been coming here for years. We watched a beautiful sunset with our other two new best friends Boo and Scully.

The fun did not stop there, we joined Boo and Scully out at the Baja a restaurant nearby. I had so much fun, I laughed until my cheeks hurt and then laughed some more they're a wonderful couple! *smiles* Dad and I shared a Baja Bucket... which consists of shrimp, chicken, mini-steak things, and some kind of lobster that doesn't have pinchers, you get a thing of warmed up pita shells, and a side of bean and rice with your own whole little thing of melty butter! Ooooh and they have a chips and salsa bar! Like instead of a salad bar, way better than a salad bar *grins* The whole evening was fantastic!

I also had. The. Best. Rum Colada I've ever had in my *entire* life and got Boo started on trying to tie a knot in the cherry stem with her tongue. Muahaha I have many skills ;o)

Doing the fireman

Good morning what? The radio fixer guy is gonna be here in 5 minutes... *squints one eye open* You gotta be kidding me!

This guy Don came by this morning to give us a hand and get the radio up and running. Bit of a rousting, we were both just waking up when we got the call. So we did the fireman... dove out of bed and into clothes, and pretended like we were ready ;o)

But really he's the one giving us a hand, so whatever fit in to his day was okay with me, he seems to have gotten things working too which is awesomesauce!

First impressions

Oceanside Yacht Club – coolest yacht club evar! Met Steve and Ben, and chit chatted all night, had a couple beers named Fat Tire, made me think of biking not bad, not bad at all!

They have a beautiful view and I had a lovely pork chop with onions and apple dinner... and the chefs legendary biscuits they were yummy! Course I had a brain freeze and told him I liked his buns *blushes* Great crew here, wouldn't mind staying a couple days :)


They are surfing in November... I love California

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Oceanside Rocks!

I had full intentions of hunting down a surf board rental shop and go surfing today...
Ended up that the guy I talked to had two crew members call in sick on race day.

Dave: There aren't really any surf rental shops nearby you could walk to, but hey do you sail?

Me: Yeah a little...

Dave: You know the what the front halyard is, and port and starboard?

Me: For the most part yeah, there are some things I'm still getting down but yes I know those.

Dave: Would you rather come be race crew than go surfing?

Me: Maybe... Yes I would *excited*

Dave: That would be great! I had two crew members call in sick this morning, and it's a little tough handling our 42' boat with less people.

Me: Want me to see if my Dad's available too then?

Dave: Aw man that would be awesome! K, meet me up top I'm late for the skippers meeting!

We've abandoned our laundry to the dryer, and we're gonna go be race crew! *happy dance* This is soooooo cool! *smiles*

Friday, November 12, 2010

I haven't even finished my tea yet

Overheard muttering from the vicinity of the engine hole... "Aww shoot I'm stuck"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wait a minute...

*oofta* we've been in and out of so many places in the last week or so they're all starting to run together. Each one has a different way that they do things, but generally you leave a deposit of some kind for the washroom swipy card.

We were in the Channel Island Yacht Club, where I met another awesome crazy guy named Ed! They wanted a cheque which they would rip up once they got the key back. Dad asked if he could leave his first born... Uhh thanks Dad. I'm standing right here. Jeepers!

The other night in Marina del Ray we had a *super* laid back girl check us in, she was awesome. First our address didn't fit the spaces for it, and then what's the abbreviation for Canada? Nope it can't be CA that's California. BC didn't exist in the drop down lol... Next she needed Dad's height and weight from his drivers license *chuckles* what is this measurement system on your drivers license? I don't know what to do with this... so Dad converted it for her. That led to a discussion about measurement systems and the pros and cons. Finally they wanted a $100 deposit for the key, which *could* take up to 45 days to process and mail back to you. We told her we had no idea where we were going to be in 45 days...

Who you gonna call?

Dad wandered off to hunt and gather something for dinner and he hasn't come back yet... I'm wondering if I should be concerned... Nah he'll ask for directions if he gets *really* lost ;)

Oh wait there he is! He found some kind of chicken fajita (read: fah-jai-tah) mix *interesting* Guess he ended up walking all over trying to find a decent grocery store.

Ooooh and he got orange juice to go with the rum *happy dance* Nyarrr! Take that scurvy.

I think I just got volutold to cook dinner, and I'm okay with that *s*

Blustery day

Whooeeee! It's a little windy here, but nonetheless I've run the beach... checked out the surfers *smiles*, showered and now it's time to go in search of some laundry type facilities.

Oooh my belly just reminded me breakfast might be a good idea too.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Oooh shiny...

Watching the airport behind Marina del Rey from the water was beautiful.

It was an ever changing glowing constellation of planes making their final descent. Each twinkling in varying brightnesses depending how close they were, their common destination binding them together with gossamer.

+10 pts Me!

I picked out the red AND the green buoy from the myriad of background city lights, that marked the entrance to Marina Del Rey. Ooohhh yeah!

+10 pts Dad!

I was reading Bowditch, the navigational rules and methods bible... okay I was starting to, I'd made it as far as the table of contents. Dad stuck his head up to see how things were going and spotted dorsal fins! *happy dance* They were just off our starboard bow!

I ran around taking pictures like a crime scene investigator, then they changed direction... Dad tacked so I could get a better shot and I did! *grins*

I now understand why there are so many avid flower photographers though, you have a beautiful subject... that doesn't move!

The number of scrapes, bruises and things I've earned running around the boat trying to keep up with the marine wildlife would be prohibitive to those less stubborn.

Um... after a little Googling, I'm not really sure what these guys are... they're not very big, smaller than a killer whale, and larger than a porpoise or dolphin. We saw them in the Bay of Santa Monica.

Edit 11.12.2010: Thanks to everyone who has helped in trying to solve the identity of these creatures, we have two possible solutions right now... Pilot Whales, or Risso's Dolphins. I'm leaning towards Risso's Dolphins at the moment, mostly because I haven't found any Pilot Whale images that have that light graduating to dark coloring.

In a previous lifetime

I think I was born into the wrong century. I mean don't get me wrong, I love the amenities and conveniences of modern life just as much as the next person... and being a techno-geek puts me in the front row of a special nerd class implying that I could not physically survive without my gadgets. But I'm an anomaly, I enjoy roughin' it... as much as I enjoy hot showers and coffee in the morning.

It has always appealed to me when something out of the ordinary happens in every day life. Those situations, that most people politely describe as 'interesting' are what make my day, and sometimes my week. It isn't danger I thrive on, so much as the chance to use my creativity to solve a problem rather than giving up... and calling someone else for help.

Sure often times it takes awhile... I've gotten wet and cold, and from time to time very very muddy in the process. But when you look back at the things you've done, and the moments you remember... how often do you say "Remember that day when everything went perfectly?" Hah! It's always the roadtrip where you got lost and found something cool you didn't even know you should look for. Or the flat tire you changed in a snowstorm after giving some new best friend a ride home... Or the time you got pulled over so the police could inform you 'its slippery out'... Uh I got that, thanks.

But really, I realize that I have a unique point of view, and generally unexpected and unplanned events make me smile as long as nobody is getting hurt. I've been late for work because I made the choice to spend that little bit extra time with loved ones, and then leave at 5am for the 2 hour drive only to literally blow a tire wide open on the side of the highway and have to limp in on my spare.

I just don't think there's any good reason to stress out about things you can't change, or don't have any control over.. I don't know what's going to happen... that's what keeps things from getting boring! So really, the best you can hope for is to deal with whatever happens as best you can when it comes. For the most part, stressing out about it doesn't have any impact on the situation... it doesn't get you through an avalanche slide faster, or get your car unstuck, or anything else for that matter.

So plan things out, take what you need... then throw in the extras that you *might* need 'just in case' the interesting crops up. It's not so much trouble when you're moderately prepared, and half of that is your attitude. Take a deep breath, evaluate your options and be creative... its amazing what you come up with, and there is nothing that can top the feeling of getting yourself in *and* out of trouble.

Especially since you get to save a little bit of that feeling, dust it off and try it on for size, every time you tell the tale about your interesting day. ;o)

Bird is the word

Furthering my endeavors into bird nerdery, here are some action pictures! I particularly enjoy watching the Brown Pelicans eating... or I should say dive bombing. They're such slow graceful fliers, and then all of a sudden they tuck into a live dart shape and *PSHKEW*!

Oh yeah! The other cool thing about them, is that they go in and come up facing the opposite way you *think* that they should be facing... it's weird, especially for how big they are! It's like they do a twist-roll snowboard trick combo under water, and then pull out the fish for the encore.

These guys are Surf Scoters... I don't know anything cool about them yet... well other than they have a black circle on their bottom beak, but just you wait until I have access to Google again, I'm sure there's something *s*

Google found this site that says: "Accidental exchanges of young among Surf Scoter broods are frequent on crowded lakes. Because the mother provides no parental care other than guarding the chicks, evolutionary selection to prevent such mixups may not be very strong. "


Hooo boy, I biffed 'er t'day... there was this pod of porpoises coming TOWARDS the boat for once, I was so super excited! But whist attempting to relocate for a better shooting angle, well lets just say the waves were conspiring against me, and the deck wasn't where I left it... I was hanging on with the hand that wasn't entrusted with holding-and-protecting-the-camera-like-a-firstborn but the rotational angle was all wrong... so I let it go and tried to levitate to where I wanted to be.

I ended up executing a stumbling sprawled multi-point landing with my skinny knees and elbows poking out everywhere, the new hotness remained held in the air above all else. It cost me a little skin off my left knee and ankle... but it's okay, they weren't dripping just leaking a little, so not too bad all considered.

I think the worst of it was though, that Dad had a cardiac cause I wasn't hanging on... and the damn porpoises disappeared *immediately* after I fell. I figured the sting on my leg was bad enough, so I didn't try explaining that by *my* personal grasp of physics I would've been worse off if I'd hung on.

He does worry about me though, he's certainly had lots of practice.

Storm Bay

Met a very cool couple from Australia, they passed on some words of wisdom about cruising:

"Don't make a plan, and stick to it!"

They've been cruising for 8 years, I bow down before their infinite wisdom.

While excursioning through Santa Barbara

I have a friend who was a florist in a previous lifetime... hold that thought for a second, I just noticed this... why isn't it spelled flowerist I mean after all they're working with flowers? Anyways, back again. They have entire flocks of these birds of paradise! I guess I had just assumed that because they were so flamboyant they'd be strutting their stuff all by themselves. I'm almost certain that she already knew this however ;o)

I'm not exactly sure what this is, but if I had to guess it's got something to do with palm tree reproduction. It's succulentish (looking not tasting) and reminded me of the sacred tree in Avatar *s*

Dad on a mission (he doesn't think he walks fast). I really liked the shapley curves they put into the ceiling of a sidewalk underpass. It made it grand and pretty, rather than the usual cold dark and creepy.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Where are we again?

Hmmm seems we have broken Winlink and it is no longer updating, I have no further speculations to add as to the reason at this time.

So on that note, we are in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara is literally buzzing with a hum of activity. There's a constant flow of people in and out along the waterfront and small restaurants and cafes. It is surprising for how small of an area it actually occupies, how much seems to be going on.

I have some more pictures from Port San Luis, I promise but I haven't had a chance to go through them yet... there are some gooders though of Brown Pelicans dive bombing into the water for fishies!

We're all about safety first

I can't help but wonder as I sit here typing up the last few days worth of exploits, what exactly I would do if the Captain managed to electrocute himself.

See the thing is, he's currently wedged sideways under the nav area... and after having insisted that no, we don't need to disconnect the battery he'll just be careful... my thoughts and typings have been sporadically interupted by his startled yelps each time he accidently shorts something. The words 'You okay?' initially tinged with concern, have become so routine I'm no longer certain I'm actually listening to the response.

It has occurred to me that since I can't reach the power source to unplg it so to speak, my best bet would be to drag him out by the ankles... without actually touching him. Even with my new found muscles I'm not entirely sure that this is feasible... especially considering how much trouble he has getting himself in and out of that space.

I do hope you understand, that despite my musings I honestly hope I never have to find out. For serious.

You have got to be kidding me

We were given incorrect directions to the slip here, leading to the fairly spectacular accomplishment of an Austin Powers turning of a 35 foot sailboat in a small space.

We had innocent bystanding onlookers, who cheered us on and complimented Dad on his back and forthing skills, and there a nice couple I chatted with from the bow in between fending off a pile Dad couldn't see, holding my breath, and thinking skinny.

We made it, but that was enough excitement for me for today. I'm tuckered.

This is your Captain speaking...

He just asked if it would be a 'breach of freedom of the press' if he asked me to leave the Coast Guard out of my posting. I responded with a resolute 'yes'... espeically since I'd just finished typing it up. Apologies Dad, I had to post this after you said it too... it totally made me giggle.

The Captain would like for it to be officially noted that the problem with the engine was, and I quote "Another friggin' broken wire." He would also like it to be duly noted that he fixed the problem in short order this morning after tracking it down. Which he did, it was fairly impressive actually! We also needed bits and pieces from the Marine store up the way.

I'd like to think that was a compliment

Once again we were in contact with the US Coast Guard 41373, who was wondering which side of us they were coming up on? and if we could see their little blue blinking light. We squinted and I muttered... "One of the reasons that hyperlinks started out with the default colour of blue on the internet is because you have less blue receptors in your eyeballs, effectively allowing you to see the links, but not distract from what you're reading." ... "Marimba 2 to US Coast Guard 373, No sir, we cannot see your little blinking blue light." ...but we can give you our gps position again... Eventually we turned on and lit up everything we had, and they were able to spot us. It worked quite nicely with all the sail we had up catching the light.

I'm pretty sure we got a crew in training, their boat didn't dance, and it took awhile to get everything sorted out, but they did a great job of rescuing our sorry butts from the shipping lane. Of course everything is compared to the crew from Humbolt Bay who towed us in over the bar when it was closed to small craft, in thick fog and a swell that was so heavy we couldn't see them at times.

After it was all said and done, the Coast Guard collected the requisite pieces of information and remarked how nice it was that we seemed ready for them and remained calm throughout the ordeal. I didn't tell him that I was too exhausted and Dad was too fed up to panic... although we did tell him we'd done it once before, with the Coast Guard on our way in to Eureka.

It was kind of nice to have my lack of emergency response recognized and appreciated enough to be commented on though. *little proud smile*

The rocket booster orange lining

They say that night is dark so you can imagine your fears with less distraction. While I agree with that, I'd also say that fog adds a tangible medium out of which to build your fears. Luckily the fog cleared off to the edges leaving us in a clear patch of lapping glassy water, with a beautiful spread of stars. It was incredible just how quiet it was.

We listened as the marine vhf crackled to life, and a nice sounding male voice from the Venderburg airforce base calmly informed us that "Danger zones 2, 3, 4 and 5 were closed off." Hmmm wonder what that's about...

A while later I watched apprehensively as a bright light appeared on the horizon, port side. "Uh Dad?" I was thinking furiously, I really hope that isn't a freighter... it would *really* ruin my night to get run over. Then as it lifted, "Helicopter with a search light?"... the Coast Guard didn't send the helicopter out... did they? Goodness I hope not.

As it continued to climb through some cloud cover Dad supplied "Flare?" we admired how slowly it was climbing, and just how much area it was lighting up. That's one heck of a flare! Even from how far away it was there was a path of reflected light all the way out to where we were.

Then it kept going...

We watched as it disappeared, and the same voice cut through our awe with "Danger zones 2, 3 and 5 are clear. Danger zone 4 is still closed." We looked at each other, "I think we just saw a rocket launch, maybe for a satellite" Dad said. I smiled, "How cool is that?!" We couldn't have been in a better place to watch it from if we'd tried.

Questioning type questions

Most of the Coast Guard questions are fairly routine and make sense given the situation. ie: number of people on board, boat name, current position, does everyone got a lifejacket on, and any distress or concerns.

Every once in awhile though, they throw in a question that makes you stop, wrinkle your brow, and respond with the ever classy "Uh hang on a second I have to check."

At one point I had myself half convinced the next 'Inquiring minds want to know...' out of the blue question would be: "What colour underwear are you wearing?"

Don't worry, it wasn't.

Johnson! To the poop deck

Dad was super awesome and let me sleep all day, and I awoke shortly after his attempt to put the hook down Becher Bay just off Santa Rosa Island. My mouth tasted like donkey, and I still had cotton balls for brains but I felt slightly more human... Dad had just made the executive decision that given the forecasted weather there was no suitable protection so he was heading for Santa Barbra across the channel, the wind had died and we were motoring.

We had just finished flipping through the Pilot notes, and deciding that Prisoners Harbour on Santa Cruz Island might work, besides which it was much closer... we were just off the western edge of Santa Cruz in fact... an island that looks very much like the badlands of Southern Alberta... in around Drumheller.

That's when the engine quit.


No coughing or sputtering, just dead. Only difference was that this time it wouldn't even crank.


Up went the sails, contents were emptied from various compartments around the engine... and Dad running on negative sleep was attempting to troubleshoot as the light faded, and the fog rolled in. To make matters more interesting there was a shipping lane with traffic separation between us and anywhere we could pull in to port.

For the second time in as many months, we called the US Coast Guard, and gave them the heads up that we were stuck on the edge of the traffic lane with no engine... and no wind. Yes we were fine, yes we had life jackets, no we didn't need blankets or anything else... we were just stuck.

From that point on we were on a con-sched every half hour, and they decided it would be best to tow us in to port. We spent the next couple hours or so coaxing 1 to 2 knots out of the fickle gusts that taunted us, toying with our tiny minds by changing wind direction... only to wait until we had flipped the jib to the other side to swing around again.

Questionably dubious decisions made

Well stuffy nose, sore throat and all we left Monterey with the intention of a 12 hour or so cruise/motor to Morro Bay. Morro Bay has the dubious distinction of being the foggiest place evar. I guess it's really not surprising that we had to bypass it, as the bar was closed due to fog and icky swell conditions. We picked our way into Port San Luis nearing the evening and had front row seats to their Pelican rock. I was glad that my nose was still stuffed up, the rock looked to be more guano than rock even if it was a cool battleship shape.

Between night watch shift and my cold kicking itself into higher gear I did a whole lot of bird watching (as little as possible of anything else), and Dad who had let me sleep during the day shift did a whole lot of sleeping. He was looking a little pink too, so I'm thinking that he got a few too many rays.

We had a visit from the Harbor Patrol who indicated that we were in a reserved buoy section, but that they did have an anchorage over on the other side free of charge. We were waffling between leaving and moving over to the other anchorage, when darkness set in. It was a case of getting the anchor up, realizing how little we could see... and that it would be easier to get out into the open ocean where there is less to hit by going back out the way we came in, than try to get to somewhere we'd never been blindfolded and put the hook down. We headed out into the evening fog (which was a little spooky) at a time which would allow us to reach the Channel Islands in daylight always a good idea.

In a culmination of night shifts and a massive head cold I felt like a big pile of steaming... spaghetti noodles, with sauce for brains. The fog was as thick as the jungle, enough so that we almost needed a cutlass to make our way through.

Oh yeah and fyi, head congestion mixed with swell is not even remotely cool. You know that feeling you get when you're all stuffed up and you try to bend over... the one that feels like your head is going to explode? Well it's not that bad... but it's the gentle warning feeling where your head is saying 'hey don't do this, it's not going to feel very good'... Every. Time. A swell goes by.


As of Point Sur the half way distinction between Northern and Southern California... We have officially travelled 1000 nautical miles! It's pretty incredible how big this little world is.

Sun setting between 'Awfuls'

"I don't know who named them swells. There's nothing swell about them. They should have named them awfuls. -Hugo Vihlen"

I have been trying to take a picture that would convey just how huge the swells are out here... and thus far I have been completely unsuccessful. These two pictures though are the closest I've come. They were taken, on a rise, and in a trough respectively.