Keith’s First Ocean Adventure: Enjoying Catalina, Then Back to San Diego

This is part three of a three part series. Click on the links for part 1 and part 2

Saturday morning we headed to shore right after breakfast. Keith was again furious about the life jacket, but this time his screams weren’t as hysterical as before. We quickly made our way over to Isthmus Cove, where Richard and Pam were waiting for us at the dock in their 1991 Sea Ray Sundancer 420. We hopped onboard. Here is Eric approaching the boat while holding Keith in the carrier.

They were on their way to Continue reading Keith’s First Ocean Adventure: Enjoying Catalina, Then Back to San Diego

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

Keith’s First Ocean Adventure: Leg 1 San Diego to Oceanside

We mentioned in our May 2012 update that we had taken Keith on three cruises around San Diego Bay by the time he was 8 weeks old. Shortly after his 2 month birthday (in May), we took him on a fourth bay cruise, and this time we stepped it up a notch by anchoring out overnight. Keith did just fine – in fact, that night he slept for 7 hours straight! (6 hours was/still is his norm, and believe us, that extra hour was a blessing.)

We decided Keith was ready for more adventurous cruising, so we planned a mini-vacation to Santa Catalina Island, about 80 miles northwest of San Diego. The last time we went to Catalina was in October 2006, when Kosmos was brand new.

We decided that instead of going to the main town of Avalon, we’d go to an anchorage called Catalina Harbor on the northwest side of the island. Despite the fact that it was probably the most sheltered cove on the island, it wasn’t all that popular of a boating destination. The nearby town of Two Harbors was tiny with few amenities. Niether of us had been to Cat Harbor before, but from the description, it sounded like it was the perfect “getaway” destination for us: quiet and peaceful.

Getting to Cat Harbor would take us 15 hours in head seas. We decided it would be best to break it up into two legs, with an overnight stop in Oceanside (about 40 miles north of San Diego Bay). The detour to Oceanside would add an extra couple hours of sea time to the trip, but we didn’t know how Keith would do in the open ocean and thought it was best to play it safe.

On Wednesday, June 6 at 0900, we untied the lines and headed to out. Sea conditions weren’t bad, but they weren’t good, either. Swells were coming from both the northwest and the southwest, hitting us on the port beam. Waves were 2 – 6 feet, gently shaped, and well spaced at about 10 seconds. There was a time when we had such a tolerance to the seas that we would have thought the conditions were fairly nice, but we’ve lost that tolerance and were both green the entire trip, though neither of us got sick. (Eric took seasickness medicine before we left; Christi did not as she is breastfeeding.) Keith slept for the majority of the 6 hour run.

The only exciting thing to report on the passage up was that near Oceanside we saw two military Hover Crafts doing exercises. We discovered that neither one of us wanted to change Keith’s diapers. The diaper changing station was located in the forward stateroom, a place neither of us wanted to be while fighting off seasickness. (Not being able to see the horizon often takes a person over the edge from nauseous to sick.) We also didn’t love walking up and down the stairs holding him while the boat was in motion. Keith pooped an hour out of Oceanside and we both agreed that he could wait for a fresh diaper until after we arrived. Fortunately, Keith didn’t complain.

We arrived in Oceanside around 1500 and were assigned a slip near the mouth of the harbor.

We’re kind of ashamed to admit this, but Continue reading Keith’s First Ocean Adventure: Leg 1 San Diego to Oceanside

Yellowstone to Jackson

This post covers the late afternoon of Friday, May 14, 2010 — Day 21: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming to Jackson, Wyoming. You can read about the activities we did in the morning here and the activities we did in the early afternoon here

We left West Thumb Geyser Basin and headed south towards Yellowstone’s southern exit. Bordering Yellowstone is yet another national park, The Grand Teton National Park, which features one of the world’s most spectacular mountain chains, the Teton Range. These precipitous mountains rise directly out of the beautiful Jackson Hole valley. Being geologically young, little erosion has taken place, leaving extremely jagged and photogenic peaks. The largest of the mountains in the Teton range is Grand Teton, which peaks at 13,770 feet. A series of beautiful lakes sit at the base of the mountains.

While the Grand Teton park is quite large at 310,000 acres (including 40 miles of mountain range), it is tiny compared to Yellowstone. The park was first established in 1929, but it was much smaller then. Between 1930s to 1950s, and then again in the 70s, surrounding land, particularly in Jackson Hole Valley, was purchased and added to the park.

Grand Teton is outside the volcanic caldera, so it does not have thermal attractions like Yellowstone does. But there are many things about the Grand Teton park that make it special beyond the scenic mountains. It is one of the few places where that still feature the same species of flora and fauna that have existed since prehistoric time. There is a rich ecosystem with more than 1,000 species of plants, dozens of species of mammals, 300 species of birds, more than a dozen fish species, and even reptiles and amphibians. There are about a dozen small glaciers in the highest regions. Some of the rocks in the park are 2.7 billion years old, the oldest of any US national park.

As much as we would have loved to do more sightseeing in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton, we were running out of time. We drove through the southern portion of Yellowstone and all of the Grand Teton park without stopping until we got to our destination of Jackson, Wyoming. As you can see, the drive was gorgeous! And we didn’t even capture it all. We’re not sure exactly where one park ends and the next begins, but we know the first photo was near West Thumb Geyser Basin and the last photo in this series is at Moran Junction, which is just south of Grand Teton Park.

Continue reading Yellowstone to Jackson

More Yellowstone National Park

This post covers the early afternoon of Friday, May 14, 2010 — Day 21: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. You can read about the activities we did in the morning here.

We arrived at the Old Faithful Geyser, probably the biggest attraction in the park, around lunch time. As the name indicates, it is a geyser that can be counted on to erupt every 60 to 110 minutes. How long one eruption lasts indicates how long it will be before the next eruption, so a naturalist keeps tabs on the eruptions and posts a sign indicating when they think the next one will occur. It was nice to look at the sign and know we had some time to kill before the next eruption. Instead of sitting outside in the cold, we wandered into the nearby General Store and had lunch.

Shortly before the estimated spout time, we found seats in front of the geyser and settled in for the show. The water temperature inside the vent is 204 degrees Fahrenheit, so some steam generally comes out of the geyser most of the time.

The steam steadily grew in intensity, then some water started to spout out with the steam:

And then she really blew, Continue reading More Yellowstone National Park