Keith’s First Ocean Adventure: Leg 2 Oceanside to Catalina

This is part two of a three part series. Read part 1 here

On Thursday, June 7, we took off bright and early from Oceanside. Conditions were almost the same as Wednesday, except the wave interval was 8 seconds instead of 10 and they were hitting us on the nose. Eric and Christi were both green almost as soon as we pulled out of the harbor. The good news, though, is that Catalina Island offered some shelter, so the closer we got, the better the sea conditions became.

Keith slept about half the time. While he was up, he seemed unaffected by the seas. We brought his changing pad upstairs, so diaper changing was no longer an issue. We saw the Hover Crafts again, and this time one came up very close to us so we got a good look at it. And a couple pods of dolphins came to visit.

We pulled into Catalina Harbor in the early afternoon and radioed the Harbor Patrol to get a mooring assignment. There were about a dozen boats in the mooring field and at least forty empty moorings. We were assigned a spot with no one around it so it would be easy for us to tie up. Amazingly, as we were motoring towards it, another boat tied to the mooring next to the one we were assigned to. We asked if we could move one over so we would still have plenty of space to maneuver. The Harbor Patrol said no problem.

The moorings at Catalina are a little different than any other mooring we’ve been on. Since it had been so many years since we’d been there, neither of us really remembered the right way to tie up. After some arguing and awkward fidgeting with the muddy lines (that left us both coated in mud), we finally got properly secured. “Ah,” we said to one another “It’s time to relax!”

Literally one minute later, the Harbor Patrol radioed us and let us know the slip we were on had just been reserved and we needed to move one over. Sigh.Now that we knew what we were doing, the second tie up was simple and completed in a few minutes.

That night we stayed onboard and enjoying the peacefulness of the anchorage. Here is a picture looking back at the entrance of Cat Harbor from Kosmos’ deck.

We started Friday off with Continue reading Keith’s First Ocean Adventure: Leg 2 Oceanside to Catalina

San Francisco’s Embarcadero

Since returning from our circumnavigation in 2009, we’ve started several threads that we haven’t finished. One of Christi’s New Year’s Resolutions is to get better about finishing blog threads. So to start the year off right, we are going to finish up our San Francisco thread from a few months back.

To recap: on Wednesday, October 31, 2011, we set out from our home port in San Diego on our way to San Francisco, where we planned to spend a couple months. We broke the trip up north into two legs: the first was 24 hours at sea, stopping in Ventura. The plan was to wait in Ventura for a good weather window around Point Conception. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long. After only 24 hours in Ventura, we were back at sea. Leg two took two days, and we arrived in San Francisco Bay on Sunday, September 4.

We docked at South Beach Harbor Marina, located right next door to the AT&T ballpark in the heart of downtown San Francisco. We picked that location because Eric could walk to work (his company also has an office in San Francisco, which he worked out of). Here is a shot of Eric in front of the ballpark and one at the back of the ballpark.

Monday, September 5 was Labor Day, so Eric had the day off work. We took a walk along the embarcadero to the famous Ferry Terminal Building. Here are some sights along the way:

This is Pier 38 right next to the marina. Along the waterfront, there are several more of these Pier buildings that all look similar.

The view of San Francisco Bay and the Bay Bridge from just past Pier 38

Continue reading San Francisco’s Embarcadero

More About Part 2 of The Unexpected Circumnavigation


Part 2 of The Unexpected Circumnavigation: Unusual Boat, Unusual People covering Australia to Oman is now on sale! Read the first few pages on Lulu’s “preview” feature and read an excerpt from Chapter 1 here (starts on page 18)!

Jeff Merrill wrote an extensive book review for the Nordhavn.com site.

Many people have asked us why they should buy our book if they can read our blog for free. Just like Part 1, the book is very different from the blog. Here are a few of the differences between the two:

  • Prologue: Picks up where the Prologue of Part 1 left off. It focuses primarily on the research we did as we planned for our journey and addresses the majority of the questions we were most frequently asked.
  • Several new stories from the journey – And there are some really good ones!
  • Many details have been added that were best left undisclosed while we were still on the journey (sometimes we didn’t want our parents worrying about us; sometimes we didn’t want to incriminate ourselves!)
  • In Retrospect sections with great insights — so you can see the situation through the eyes of a newbie as we learn, while simultaneously seeing the same situation through the eyes of experience.
  • Streamlined stories – some complained our posts were too long and detailed, the book is a condensed version they will enjoy more.
  • Formatting is first person, through Christi’s eyes – Some complained they didn’t like the third person format, so they will enjoy the book more.
  • Actual dates on each post. On the blog, the dates are not real time, which is a significant piece of information for anyone hoping to follow in our footsteps.
  • All profits will go to our cruising fund. The more books we sell, the sooner you can start reading about our next journey! So, buy one and get all your friends to buy one, too!

People have also asked us why we broke the series up into four books instead of only three. We had very different experiences in each of the four world regions, so it was best for each region to have its own volume.

  • In the South Pacific, Part 1, we spent most of our time in sparsely populated areas communing with nature. And we did a lot of rough sea time, learning about boating the hard way.
  •  In Asia, Part 2, we were mostly in densely populated areas building cultural bridges. Our sea experiences were also different from the Pacific, with both our best and worst passages occurring in this region.

Exploring Grasse, France

When we originally scheduled this trip, Friday and Saturday were Eric’s day off to sightsee. Sadly, at a relatively late date, his company decided to send him to Luxembourg for a meeting. He was up at 0430 and out the door at 0515 for the airport.

Christi got up with him and took him to the airport. She worked on blogs for a couple hours, took a bath, and otherwise puttered around until 0930. Sure that traffic must have cleared by then, she took the car to the town of Grasse, a mountain village north of Cannes that is the perfume capital of the world. Christi took the highway to the Cannes exit, but instead of heading south towards the beach, went north into the mountains.

Since she had gotten up so early, she was starving at this point. Right off the exit, she found a boulangerie/patisserie  (bread/dessert bakery). She ordered an individual size goat cheese quiche. She wonders if she got the right one, since it was loaded with bacon but didn’t taste much like goat cheese. She also ordered a pain du chocolate (chocolate croissant) and a beignet (donut). She sat in the car and scarfed them down before heading up the mountain.

The road was narrow and somewhat windy. She had read there were flower fields surrounding the town of Grasse, so she was surprised to see that it was completely built up along the road, with no fields to be seen anywhere. The buildings were an odd mix. Some were old, as in Medieval, some fairly new, as in probably the last few years. Commercial and residential properties were mixed, with a mechanic shop next to a private mansion. She noticed signs for three different perfumeries along the way.

The heart of Grasse looked medieval. In the center of town, there was a parking garage. She turned off the main road and headed towards the garage, but she missed the entrance. She found herself on a scary one way road back down the mountain. It had dangerously sharp switchbacks, obviously originally a horse trail, not a car trail. At a couple points the road split, in both cases, she made the wrong turn. The first time, turning around was easy because she came to a roundabout, but the second time, the road dead ended and she had to make 30 point U-turn to get out of the tight little alley.

The road ended near the bottom of the mountain. Sigh. She noticed a sign for one of the perfumeries that said it was close by and decided to go there instead of back up the hill. One, she didn’t want to drive that scary road down again and two, she really liked the name of the perfumery, Fragonard, because there is a Rococo-era (early 1700s) painter by the same name whose works she particularly likes.

The facility was new and modern looking, probably built in the 1960s or later. They had old equipment on display in the parking lot.

Inside, the Continue reading Exploring Grasse, France

Exploring Nice, France Some More

Continued from yesterday… Christi took a different path down from the Lou Castel park than she had taken up. When she got to the park gate, she found herself on the waterfront. The only problem was that she had no idea where on the waterfront she was! Here is a shot of the Tour Bellanda and the staircase that leads up into the park from from the bottom.

Christi headed inland, and after a couple blocks found herself in the familiar Cours Saley street market. She wandered through Continue reading Exploring Nice, France Some More