Saturday, November 24, 2018

Cruising Again!

Back in San Diego the May Gray and June Gloom were beginning to break their grip on the coastal section and our morning walks were starting to pay rewards.

We never get tired of the ever changing sights along the La Playa trail with interesting yachts...

...and interesting waterfront homes.

And what could be easier on the eyes than a PC, built in San Diego by Kettenburg back in the 1930s and 1940s?

Meanwhile aboard Moonshadow, we moved ashore, staying with Deb's Dad while John was making use of his brother Steve's wood shop to improve some of the interior carpentry.

The rusty old cloths dryer was finally removed and in its place now is a new laundry hamper, with a matching teak door covering the new washing machine.

Something that was a constant eyesore is now an attractive and functional space.

Then there was a section of interior panelling that has suffered moisture damage from the refrigerator door.  The panel had bowed slightly, but just enough to prevent a proper seal when the fridge door was closed.

The panel was replaced and the new one was through-bolted to the interior of the box solving the sealing problem.

Finally, all of the interior cabinet work was sanded and re-varnished with several coats to a mirror finish.  Now we can comb our hair anywhere in the boat!

This phase of boat work was finished in time to allow us to move back aboard for the Fourth of July celebrations at San Diego Yacht Club.

Independence day at SDYC is always fun, especially when the grandkids are aboard.

But this year we also checked a bucket list item.  Scott and John took first place in the SDYC Bocci Ball Championships.  Probably the Team Moonshadow crew shirts intimated the competition.

More boat projects got our attention including a new fridge holding plate, water-maker pump, and new thrust bearing for the main engine.  Later in the summer we finally cast off for our shake down cruise to Catalina...

...where good dogs go for dinghy riding training.  They're taught to ride the bow...

...something they learn from the pelicans.

Catalina's hillsides come alive in the late afternoon.

and as the sun drops lower the colors become richer

After a few nights at Whites Landing we moved up to our favorite cove at the West End where we've spent dozens of summers aboard previous boats,
Howlands Landing

We worried about finding a mooring there but hey, no problem!  Moonshadow had the cove all to ourselves.

September in Catalina is the best

A favorite pass-time is combing the beach for sea glass
among the rocks on the beach.

Another favorite is watching happy bow-riding dogs in dinghies. 

We took the hike to Parsons...

...saw some more old friends...

...speculated on why they call this "Emerald Cove"...

...and caught a glimpse of good ole Moonshadow from the cliffs upon our return.

Back in San Diego, the morning walks were still pumping out some spectacular views, now driven by a tropical storm crossing Baja way to the south.

Evidently, we were talking too loudly on our walk as this sea lion gave us a piece of his mind.

More tropical skies, this time at sunset.

With all of the boat projects done and just a few days before our planned departure for Mexico, we gave a talk at SDYC's Cruising Fleet dinner...

...and soaked in the sights around this great city...

...looking forward to warm skies in Mexico

Finally, the Baja Ha-Ha party at West Marine brought out the Moo Crew in our award winning costumes.  

Crew this year were SDYC members Ed and Nancy Lazarski who had sailed with us aboard Moonshadow in the Caribbean back in 2012

We dragged some old rusty lures for a day, then changed to two new ones, which seemed to work better.  Simultaneous hookups with two nice yellow-fin tuna (Ahi) resulted in some big smiles and tasty tacos.

Turtle Bay seems to change very little over the years, but when you add 150 sailboats and 500 gringos, things change here a lot!

Photo by Fin Beven aboard Profligate

We realized there were lots of SDYC members along in the Ha-Ha Rally this year so Moonshadow hosted a burgee party.

Next came the Turtle Bay Baseball day.  Picture 35 ancient mariners in the outfield, a dozen Mexican youngsters in the infield and a line of 100 (young, old, locals, gringos) in line for their turn at bat; and pitches lobbed over the plate about every 20 seconds.

Deb decided to take a turn at bat and swung at this Richard Spindler pitch...

...She HIT the damn thing!

Kind looks like she wasn't expecting that...

Further south is a beautiful unspoiled bay called Bahia Santa Maria where we woke to a morning fog.

The bay is ginormous and could easily accommodate a thousand anchored yachts.  Rally organizers bring a band from La Paz, clear on the other side of the peninsula to entertain the sailors while we take in the surreal view.

There is some great hiking at low tide.

Fishermen take the day off and provide water taxi service for the cruisers

And when it's time to return to the boat, we're glad for the taxi service

When the Ha-Ha fleet leaves, it must seem awfully quiet... there's nothing here - nothing but raw beauty.

This year the wind along the Baja Peninsula was very light.  Most boats motored the first two legs, but we finally got some decent sailing in on the last leg to Cabo.

Moonshadow photo by Fin Beven aboard Profligate

Wild Orchid behind Moonshadow at sunset provided a beautiful photo-subject for the sunset hour

The Ha-Ha Rally ends at Cabo where they have some fun parties, but for us if it weren't for the Ha-Ha, we'd never visit the place.

In 1971 when John sailed there aboard a Cal 25, this is what Cabo looked like:
photo shamelessly pilfered from 

You could say things have changed.  Not necessarily for the better.

photo shamelessly pilfered from

As we see it, a place that has changed for the better is La Cruz, near Puerto Vallarta.

It felt really great to be here where we've based three previous seasons of Mexican cruising aboard Moonshadow.

In fact, while we were away in the South Pacific, someone painted this bench just for us as it captures our sentiments exactly.

So as we contemplate the rising full moon and think about our plans for this season, we are reminded that our plans are always written in the sand...

... at low tide.