December 14th – A couple weeks ago, the weather turned cold and rainy. In San Diego, December usually has mild weather and the rain don’t start until January. The earlier than normal and heavier than normal rains are a result of El Nino, an unusual weather pattern that occurs every 2 5 years. The El Nino pattern affects a huge chunk of the world, and affects each area differently. In Panama, it has a negative effect on the wildlife, in Indonesia it brings drought, and in Southern California, it brings excessive rain. Of course, since Southern California has been in a severe drought for the last three years, the rain is a welcome relief.
Our marina was feeling a bit ominous. The docks were deserted. The days are short and were very gray. While it was warm and dry inside Kosmos, on the walk to and from the boat, the moist, damp air seemed to permeate our clothes. The especially strong winds made a perpetual “woooo” sound through the sailboat masts that sounds like ghosts howling. It was the perfect setting for a horror flick.
So, we were quite pleased when we woke up early this morning to blue skies, bright sunshine and no wind. And the forecast said no more rain for the next few days. Yay! Weeks ago we had scheduled Komos to be hauled out today for new bottom paint, and we had been worried that the adverse weather would affect the bottom painting.
We pulled out of our slip shortly after dawn broke. The water was flat as a pancake and looked like a mirror beneath us as we headed over to the boat yard. Unfortunately, we were heading east, so the incredibly bright early morning sun was blinding us. But we were so happy to see the sun that we didn’t mind the glare.
Like the haul outs in both Australia and Turkey, we pulled Kosmos into a special finger slip and secured her. A huge machine called a travel lift rolled up to the edge of the dock. The travel lift has straps, and the straps were lowered into the water and secured underneath Kosmos.
The machine slowly brought Kosmos up out of the water. We watched with baited breath. After hearing multiple stories of boats being dropped from the travel lift during haul outs, we always are a tad nervous about the process.
When she was high enough off the ground, the travel lift backed up until Kosmos was completely over terra firma. We walked all the way around her, inspecting the bottom. Since the bottom paint was completely worn out, we had expected to see a full botanical garden in bloom under the waterline, and were pleased to see there wasn’t nearly as much growth as we had anticipated. We credit moderate growth to the cold winter water temperature. One of the yard workers thoroughly washed the bottom with a power washer.
When her bottom was cleaned, the travel lift wheeled Kosmos over to a parking spot, where the yard workers secured her on the hard using bricks and locking stands.
When she was fully secured, the crew un-strapped Kosmos from the travel lift and it drove away. Kosmos rested peacefully on the stands. Yay! We were relived the haul out was successful with no issues.
The painter immediately got to work sanding her bottom and smoothing out the surface. We watched for a little bit, but we couldn’t really linger. We needed to hit the road. Eric was going to Tempe, AZ (suburb of Phoenix) for a business trip, and Christi was tagging along.
It is a six hour drive from San Diego to Phoenix. The first hour and a half is through San Diego, which is hilly. Just a few weeks ago, the hills had been brown, with little vegetation. We were surprised to see that the hills were already becoming green with new plant life. It is amazing how much the rain affects the landscape. Once we got far enough east, the landscape changed to stark desert. Since the days are short, we didn’t get to enjoy the desert scenery much before the sun went down, but it was a lovely sunset. There are a handful of small towns along the way, but they are few and far between.
We knew we had arrived in Phoenix when we saw major city lights. From what we could tell in the dark, Phoenix is an urban sprawl””a seemingly endless expanse of low buildings. We did notice a handful of tall towers congregated together in one small area, and we assumed that was downtown. We arrived at our hotel in downtown Tempe about 15 minutes after passing downtown Phoenix. The entire six hour ride was uneventful, just like it had been an uneventful haul out. And, uneventful means good, so we can say today was a really good day.
And, a blog questions:
Q: Does Christi still clean the bottom of the boat? How often does it need to be done?
A: Christi has an aversion to cold water, so she stopped cleaning the bottom of the boat when we got to the colder waters in the Pacific Ocean. Now we hire someone to do it. How often it needs to be done depends on how good the paint is and how cold the water is (things grow more slowly in cold water). When we were in 85 degree water and the paint was worn out, the bottom really needed to be done weekly. When we were in 85 degree water and the bottom paint was good, it needed to be done about every three to four weeks. Right now the water is only 55 degrees, but because our bottom paint was so bad, it still needed to be done every month or so. Once the new paint is applied the bottom will only need to be cleaned about every six weeks (until the water warms up in the summer).