|Santa Catalina Island|
|The top, at last! Those tiny white things are all the mooring balls|
|Isthmus (left) and Catalina Harbour (right - where we stayed)|
|Bocce tournament on the beach with fellow Cruisers|
|The chain/rode snarl...|
After several days of boat projects (cleaning the hull, working on the water maker install etc), and some play (several Happy Hours, a bocce tournament in Two Harbours with the crews of s/v Kanilela, Kialoa and Greybeard), we motored over to the main town of Avalon with the intention of anchoring outside the bay (we were too cheap to pay the extra mooring ball cost). The bay was deeper than we'd anticipated (150'), but as we needed to untwist our anchor chain, which had been causing us problems all summer, we decided to give it a try. Now, the chain has been really bad all summer, but usually I can get 120 feet out with no issues. On that day, it seemed worse for some reason. Even though I was going slow and being paranoid about untwisting it as I went, I only got 100 feet of chain out before it jammed in the windlass (does this sound familiar??). Needless to say, a lot of very foul language was said by both of us and a mini-meltdown ensued. Gary kept saying 'why doesn't this ever happen when I run the windlass?' ...Then we saw the chain... From 120 feet on-wards, we no longer had chain, we had a chain/rode ball. There was no beginning and no end. What a disaster. After we got the first jam out and realized the windlass still worked (ha, I didn't break it!), we drove silently out to deep water and set about untangling and dropping it all in the water. It was a very long and painful process, which took almost 3 hours to complete. As we pulled in the rode, we broke the stripper arm on the windlass, but it seemed to work if I got in the anchor locker (which is very small) and pulled from below. Luckily we only had to do that for the rode - the chain seemed to go through the windlass fine. After the untangling, we tried dropping and raising the anchor a few times and realized that our bow roller was causing the chain to twist 90 degrees between the roller and the windlass. So, problem identified and fixed for the time being, but a final solution would have to come another day. As it was almost dark by the time we were done, we motored 3 nm north of Avalon and picked up a mooring ball there. Despite our dark moods, we worked as a team to land the dingy in small surf on the beach so Charlotte could pee (in the dark) then went back to the boat for a tasty (?) meal...
The next day we spent the morning fixing an alternator issue and topping up our batteries with water, then motored down to Avalon in our dingy to meet Gord and Mags from Kanilela, and Scott and Tanya from Kialoa for a late lunch/early dinner at a great hole-on-the wall Mexican place off the tourist track. We celebrated making it this far by drinking margaritas (Gary had a smoothie) from styrofoam cups, with friends. Thankfully in Cruising, the 'bad' is always tempered by the 'good'.