Monday, November 24, 2014

Leg Two Complete - San Diego!!

Don't want to get in this guys way!
We officially arrived in San Diego harbour on November 18th.  A bit of celebration is in order as we have now completed leg two of three for our journey this year.

San Diego is the biggest navy port on the west coast and motoring up the channel is was obvious that this fact is true.  WARSHIP after WARSHIP passed us accompanied by all their sea and air support.

WARSHIP can only be written in capitols due to the fact that they make sure they pronounce their names ie: "WARSHIP 47" as intimidating as possible over the radio when identifying themselves.  We wondered why they didn't call themselves "Peaceships" but I guess that's just us being Canadians and why our country only has 2 of these.  (I think one tows the other one to where it needs to go...)
Very Hoity toity
 We docked at the Southwestern Yacht Club for three nights, but have now moved to an anchorage just outside the club.  SWYC was very welcoming and even has little posts on each guest dock filled out with the name of the vessel.  Free popcorn, wifi, showers and a beautiful clubhouse made it difficult to vacate.

San Diego has a bit of a bum boat problem, so they have very complicated rules about how long you can stay in each anchorage.
We are in the 'weekend anchorage' at the moment, but will have to move to one of the other 72 hour anchorages on Monday morning.  Luckily they have a reservation system, so at least you can reserve a spot in each zone.  This anchorage is restricted to 30 boats but we count about 45.

Hopefully the next anchorage doesn't have the same problem.  We've been taking advantage of being near marine chandalries, West Marine, good bookstores etc.  And we found a great place for sushi!

We have visited with our friends Pete and Karene, who we met years ago in Point Roberts when we owned Querida and they owned a powerboat.  They have since bought a catamaran and moved to San Diego last year, where they are living aboard and loving it.  They had initially planned to 'go Cruising' like the rest of us, but they like the lifestyle they have in San Diego and so are finding it difficult to leave.  The problem is that once you go south, it gets very difficult to go north again.  San Diego is a great place though, so I can see why they don't want to leave.  They certainly have a good thing going here.

Otto Sr and Jr.  We hope Sr teaches Jr how to steer
In amongst the visiting and provisioning (Pete kindly lent us his car to do a big shop before going south) we have, of course, done a few boat projects.  Our biggest priority was to replace our autopilot, which you may remember didn't survive the gale we sailed through on the way to Morro Bay several weeks ago.  Since then we have had to hand steer, which has sucked.  It made us appreciate "Otto" a lot more!  Anyway, "Otto Jr" was installed with only 1 major panic attack. After the new autopilot was in place, we discovered we could no longer turn our wheel - a bit of a problem for a sailboat.  After Gary disconnected the new autopilot and the problem persisted, the panic attack ensued... Gary quickly donned a bathing suit and goggles and got in the marina water (yuk) to check if something had gone wrong down below.  Nope, all looked fine there.  Phew.  After he dried off he realized the only thing he'd really changed with the new autopilot system was a big bolt.  A trip back down into the back lazarette (aka, the garage) confirmed that, yup, the new bolt was too long and so the steering quadrant couldn't turn.  A quick saw of the bolt later, and our steering had been restored.  All in all our 1 hour job only took 4 hours to complete.
Every boat needs a vice on board!

The second major job we tackled was replacing the 2 broken pieces of our poor, suffering windlass.  Karina got everything apart without issues, but couldn't get the replacement stripper to fit into the drum.  Hmmm... We compared the new stripper to old one, and lo and behold, they were different!! Of course they were... Assuming that we'd somehow ordered the wrong parts back in BC, we quickly set about getting the dingy ready to go to shore so we could visit the local chandalries to try to find a replacement (or at least order one).  Then we had the bright idea to check the second spare stripper we had ordered at the same time.  And it fit!! So at least the windlass could go back together.  We don't have a replacement part anymore, which is a bit of a worry, but at least  the damn thing is working now. Again, a 30 minute job only took 3 hours to complete.  At least we're not losing our troubleshooting skills while we are out here.

We also tackled our bow roller issue - basically we took it apart, switched the 2 rollers around and greased them up.  At least now the roller is spinning, which it wasn't doing before.  Hopefully this will help solve our chain twisting issue.  Time will tell.

In the land of tropical flowers.  YEAH!
There are a bunch of Bluewater Cruising boats in the anchorage this weekend, so we are having a BURP (no idea what is stands for) tonight.  There will be Dean/Lynn from Solastra, Gord/Mags from Kanilela, Scott/Tanya from Kialoa, Annie/Tom from Tappen Zee, and a new young couple we've just met - Austin and Christina, who are sailing on a friends boat for the season. I can't belive we are going to have 12 people on board tonight...for potluck dinner!!  Should be entertaining.  

Our loose plan at the moment is to stay here next week to complete our water maker install (and a few other jobs).  We'll probably leave for Ensenada just after Thanksgiving.  We have to get a vet certificate for Charlotte and clear out of the US 72-hours before arriving in Ensenada, which means we can't leave here until at least Tuesday, December 2nd.  We are taking it easy and enjoying what the city has to offer.  I know that the Sea of Cortez is our final destination, but we are in no rush to get there.  The journey is as important as the destination.

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