Avalon and Night Runs

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Departing October 20, 2006 San Diego, CA arriving October 21, 2006 to Avalon, CA (Catalina Island) and returned October 22, 2006 to San Diego. We left at 11pm Friday night. It is a 12 hour trip to Catalina at Kosmos speed, which is about 6.5 to 7 knots. We had 5 guests with us — Christi’s friend from college, Omar, Christi’s life long friend, Brandie, and Brandie’s husband and two oldest children.

There was no moon and it was quite dark as we headed out. Still in the bay we heard a call on the radio. Hailing fishing boat passing the sub base. Hey, we were passing the sub base too. Hey, wait a minute, radar shows we are the only boat passing the sub base. We do look like a fishing boat. We answered and switched to a working channel. Sure enough it was us they were hailing, and it was the blip on the radar not too far behind us. They wanted to know if we were going to be keeping a steady course or accelerating soon. We chuckled back and said, well for one we were not a fishing boat, and two, we were already at our cruising speed of 7 knots. We agreed upon how he was going to pass since his speed was about 11 knots. This was important because just past the sub base is the narrowest part of San Diego bay. And sure enough, given the relative speeds, they passed us at just the narrowest point.

We followed our fishing friend on radar and saw his light turn into a small speck. He joined 4 other fishing vessels zigzagging around outside the bay. It was a fun obstacle course. We gave them a wide berth. While you could make out the lights, the radar made it amazingly easy to navigate around them.

After we made it past the large kelp beds by Point Loma we set course for Avalon and it was time for the captain to take a nap. Every two hours there was a new watch officer and an engine room check. Everything went smoothly and despite getting up at each crew transition, the captain actually got some sleep. The red floor lighting throughout Kosmos is wonderful for night running. Except for engine room checks you do not need to ruin your night vision. We had the outgoing person do the engine room check so the new watch officer had perfect night vision.

The picture at the top of the post shows us approaching Avalon with its famous round casino building. A casino in this case is not a place to gamble and it never has been. It is place to gather and have fun. They have dances and show movies there.

Once you arrive at Catalina you have a lot of choices as to where to go. There are hundreds of moorings around the island, as well as several anchorages. But if you want to take the shore boat into town, you need to get a mooring pretty close. We lucked out and were able to get one. The protocol is first come first serve. You simply wait in a spot outside Avalon bay and a harbor patrol boat will pull along side you, assign you a mooring and give you directions, and collect the fee. It was $30 for the night. Mooring is an art that we have yet to master. All 5 adults pitched in to help get us properly moored into our spot, and a few of us got covered in yucky slime in the process. Oops. We definitely need to practice MOOR (ha! ha!)

Since there were too many of us to fit in the dingy, we decided to take the shore boat in since it was much easier than trying to shuttle people with the dinghy. Simply call on the radio and a boat picks you up. . Also the dinghy docks at Avalon are notoriously crowded.

Avalon is a nice little town. It is very tourist oriented.  We really did not have too much time to spend ashore, since really this trip was about getting some good time underway. The highlight was renting golf carts and driving around the streets of Avalon. We got some nice pictures. Check out the tall sailing ship and the fog bank rolling in.

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This next picture is particularly interesting. Why? Because the boat in the foreground with the blue top is the exact model of our previous boat, a Bayliner 2855. Kosmos is quite the upgrade.

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Can you pick out Kosmos in these pictures?

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Avalon varies from the tourist landings and densely packed housing down low. As you climb up the hills around the bay you notice the houses get nicer and nicer. There are some pretty amazing places up high with spectacular views. Catalina has many great places to visit, especially branching out past the tourist focused Avalon.

Interestingly enough, while in Avalon we ran into a number of people we know. First was Steve, Christi and Brandie’s close friend from high school. As we were getting ready to head back to the boat we ran into our brother in law and Eric’s cousin. I cannot describe how interesting it was for Christi to be in Avalon with a friend from jr. high, one from high school, one from college, and Eric’s relatives. It’s like a whole bunch of our roots all popped out of the dirst at the exact same moment.

Here is Christi with our guests for this trip.

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We left at 5am Sunday morning. A fog had rolled in. It was pitch black. Our spotlight came in very handy as we planned out a path to weave out of the boats that anchored in front of the mooring field. Amazingly some boats did not run their anchor lights. Radar also gave us a good picture of the boats around us. As we pulled away from Avalon we were surrounded by a shroud of darkness. It was glassy flat. Without the GPS giving us a speed you would swear we were standing still. It was a surreal moment. After some time the slightest of glows appeared high in the sky. It looked like an apparition at first. But soon it brightened and the day began. The fog burned off and we had a nice trip back to San Diego. We ran a load of laundry and made some water with our handy dandy new water maker.

5 thoughts on “Avalon and Night Runs

  1. Sounds like a cool trip!
    No problem spotting Kosmos the paravens and the solar panels are a give away! Third from the right forward line ??

    You mention a water maker? Which one did you get? Did you go for a 12volt DC or AC model ?

    Avalon looks warmer than home right now ! 6 centigrade and falling–Kosmos definately looks the place to be !

    Regards

    Jaime

  2. Hi Jamie! You certainly know what Kosmos looks like. 🙂

    We got a great deal on 400 gallon per day AC watermaker from Village Marine. We were pre-wired for an AC unit. In addition to the deal we felt the AC units were more reliable and solid. AC works great in anchoring situations where we will run the generator to charge the batteries and can make lots of water at the same time.

    Of course there is a trade off. A DC system has some attractive benefits. First it is a waste to run the generator to make water underway when the main engine can crank out plenty of extra DC power. Second people recommend making water when out a sea where the water is generally cleaner. And third, there are redundant sources of DC besides the generator (alternators on the main and wing engine, solar panels).

    We always plan to monitor fresh water and have at least 150 gallon fresh water aboard (we hold 300). Below that safety line we will go into conservation mode until we can fill the tanks somehow. We are not worried about running out of fresh water to survive. But considering how important abundant fresh water can be to make things comfortable, we are thinking about a small DC system for more efficient underway water production. Some of the smaller systems appear to be more reasonably priced.

    It is all part of the redundancy game we are playing right now. We have all the basics, and people have left cruising with less that what we have. But there are some things we want to add such as kayaks, bikes, sat phone, pactor modem, TV, stereo, video camera, dive compressor, multi-phase/voltage battery charger, AIS, lots of spare parts, second radar, etc. etc. Given limited time and resources we will see how much we can still get aboard before our planned departure in mid April.

  3. HI Ive been sailing in the navy 20 yrs. as marine engineer. and we never make water less than 10 miles from shore or less than 5 knots. Not everyone holds their black and grey. Just a thought, enjoy your logs, kinda of jealous!!! Fair winds and following seas. M

  4. Hi Christi and Eric,
    It is a long time that I not read new news at your website. I hope that you are full in action for your round the world trip. How is your NH 43, is she good running? How are the noise in the rooms an in the the Pilot house?
    I received some information via internet about EGRET (NH 46); do you have also contact with them?
    I will see on the exhibition “Duesseldorf Boot 2007” in Jan 20 – 28 the new NH 43.
    I wish you all the best and have a nice year 2007…
    Best regards Peter

  5. Hi Peter, nice to hear from you. We know we have been bad about updating the blog! It has been hectic this month. But overall things are going well, and we are making progress. While it deserves its own blog post, we have a window of time of departure for full time cruising: April 08-15. We plan to depart from San Diego to Nuka Hiva, which is about 2900 nm.

    Kosmos is running great. Noise levels are very comfortable. We tracked down an annoying vibration noise in the main engine throttle lever, and will be getting that fixed soon.

    Egret is owned by Scott and Mary Flanders. We mention them here: http://kosmos.liveflux.net/blog/2006/03/15/inspirational-people-for-the-boat/. They are an inspiration to us.

    All the best for the New Year to everyone reading.

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