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Sailboat Cruise to the Channel Islands
September/October 2009

By "Skipper" Harold "Bud" Suiter

Editor's Note: Bud was one of the first people that I met at Cornell. We were both engineers and back then you were assigned to sections by the first letter of your last name. So the first people I met had names like "Stern" and "Stowell" and "Suiter" etc. Bud, was a valued member of the Cornell Crew. This "Of Human Interest" story indicates his continued love of the "watery part of the world."

Tossed by the seas, pushed by the winds in the wrong direction if at all, small capacity spaces for storage, limited toilet holding tanks, and difficult to replenish supplies of food and water. Close quarters with crew you thought you knew better. This is what cruising on a sailboat is all about.

Or is it?

Our Cruise

On October 1, 2009, two friends and I completed a ten day cruise to the Channel Islands northwest of San Diego, CA. We covered nearly 500 miles. Our boat, Rum Funny, is a 43 foot long sailboat, a J-133. Rum Funny sports a microwave oven, two heads, and three hot water showers. She is just over four years old – in boat terms, still new. She is also fast.

We saw hundreds of dolphins (there are 32 species of dolphin and only seven of porpoises, so we usually see dolphins), four gray whales and two blue whales, a marlin, many species of sea birds, and fish galore. Some chased each other because they were hungry, others chased us for the fun of it, and some showed no interest at all in us as we passed by.

One of our destinations was San Miguel Island where the Portuguese explorer Juan Cabrillo is believed to be buried. Cabrillo re-discovered what is now called southern California and succumbed to gangrene from a broken arm in 1542.

Overnight visits to yacht clubs we haven't seen for a while – or for some of us, ever – brought bonuses and surprises in unexpected ways. For example, a Suiter family reunion was held at the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey, CA. Restaurants new to us appeared, such as the Enterprise Fish Co. on State Street in Santa Barbara. Latitude 38, the sailors' newspaper, commended this one to our attention.

My crew is experienced in boating. We are not experienced in hiking and did not try this fascinating dimension of exploring the islands. Pete Lawrence is a lawyer who has sailed and raced and owned all kinds of boats, and has competed in Transpacs. He presently owns and races a Kettenburg PC, Route 66, and cruises a Maxum 18 with a huge motor. Bruce Colby is a Ph.D. in chemistry from Cornell, an experienced sailor, who races Alfa Romeos and BMWs. I’ve been in business and education, and have owned, raced and cruised 43’ sailboats for fourteen years and have been sailing for over forty years.

The Channel Islands

Why would the Channel Islands be of interest to anyone? First, there are five islands in the group: Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara, located on or near the Santa Barbara Channel. San Nicolas, San Clemente, and Santa Catalina are not Channel Islands, although many mistakenly believe they’re included. Channel Islands National Park was created in 1980 to preserve and promote these islands, but to date the islands are the least visited of all the national parks. Of course, that is part of the allure. The Channel Islands are often referred to as the ‘North American Galapagos.’ There are also over 2,000 species of plants and animals to see, 145 of which are found nowhere else in the world.

Windswept beaches on San Miguel like this one at our anchorage are a good reason to visit the Channel Islands. Forty knot winds here at night can be unnerving but the vistas very rewarding.

Bruce was excited about seeing pygmy mammoths, one of his reasons for going. Pygmy mammoths are believed to have inhabited Santa Rosa at the same time the earliest humans in North and South America lived there: Arlington Man had been on Santa Rosa 13,000 years ago! The recent discovery of a human femur bone at Arlington Springs has led to this conclusion. At the time of Arlington Man, the climate was much colder than today’s Mediterranean climate. In fact, all the islands were joined by land bridges except Santa Barbara Island. The mammoths are gone now but we didn’t want to spoil Bruce's excitement.

On September 8, 2001, a group of Chumash Indian descendants paddled from the mainland to Santa Cruz Island in a newly constructed canoe ('tomol') built in the fashion of those made by the earlier Chumash inhabitants of the islands. Since then, more canoes have been built and more groups have re-enacted earlier trading routes. Maybe we’d see one of these groups paddling their redwood canoes bound together with animal sinews and tar.

Maybe it would be enough to see the Anacapa lighthouse built in 1932, the last operating lighthouse to be built on the west coast of the U. S.

For these reasons and many more, we decided to go visit these intriguing islands. The following is excerpted from the log of the trip which I kept on Rum Funny.

Cruising the Channel Islands

Monday, September 21, 2009

We leave dock D-16 at the San Diego Yacht Club at 4:10 AM bound for the Newport Harbor Yacht Club in Newport Beach, CA. Bruce, Pete and I peer into the dark trying to miss even darker objects in the pre-dawn blackness such as flotsam, docks, and boats at anchor without anchor lights set. Today, there were no other vessels going out. Usually there are fishing boats at this hour, but now there are none. We guess it's a seasonal difference.

San Diego Bay is millpond smooth. City lights illuminate most of the obstacles and raise our confidence in moving a 20,000 pound boat quickly at night. We turn to 270 degrees west at 5 AM, well beyond buoy three, because Pete says there’s unusually heavy giant kelp. If we turn earlier at buoy three which we usually do, we hit more kelp. Boats with shapely keels and large rudders like Rum Funny will hook kelp then slow down. We can lose half a knot to a knot depending on how much and what parts of kelp, stipe (stalks) or fronds or pneumatocysts (buoyancy balls) or all of these, and whether it catches on the keel, the rudder or both. To release the kelp, we stop and back down. Once clear we can proceed. If we miss the kelp in the first place, we avoid these time consuming stops. At 5:30 AM we turn to 310 degrees northwest. At 5:50 AM on this heading we hook kelp despite the carefully plotted course and back down to clear it.

The giant kelp we cleared is probably the brown algae macrocystis, common in the eastern Pacific clear up to Alaska. We were to find beautiful kelp forests throughout the Channel Islands and especially in Johnson’s Lee on Santa Rosa.

We discovered early today that Pete liked Creamora in his coffee. We also set up our first game. When Pete carefully stowed the Creamora in the locker so he could find it for next day’s coffee, Bruce surreptitiously moved it to a new location. This daily trick became a source of great merriment for Bruce and I as we watched Pete try to find the Creamora, convinced he’d somehow misplaced it. He never figured us out.

By 7:20 AM, we're just south of La Jolla Canyon, and have had several near misses with fishing boats coming out of Mission Bay. Near misses always amaze me when you consider all the earlier events that have to occur to make them happen. It’s a big ocean folks, so how can two boats come even close? But maybe that explains why we see so many dolphins today, too.

With the wind holding at 12 knots apparent, we're doing 7.1 knots over ground at 10 AM, with only the main up. We're close hauled and pushing against the current. Not bad for a sailboat. In a first for me, we sailed the last hour into Newport Beach, engine off. I've always had to motor to get the angles right. This is special.

We arrive at the Newport Beach harbor mouth at 3:20 PM and are tied off at the front dock of Newport Harbor Yacht Club at 4:10 PM. Although the club is closed Monday, Alan and Hugo are there to help us dock and Alan brings us ice! This is a first in my experience. I like this club because they’re always so Corinthian. It’s also where the Parker Sailing Team came for the PCISA regatta, the Anteater, every year, and where Roy Disney told me the story of getting a ticket in his new 512 Maranello Ferrari.

We enjoy a light alcoholic beverage and eat Charlie's (Pete's wife) outstanding guacamole with chips for dinner. Later, Fast Eddy comes over for a beer. He's on the boat tied off at the front dock next to us, a 37' double ender, and lives in San Diego. He's just back from two months in the Channel Islands and is not impressed with our ten day plan. We later nickname him 'Fast' because of the number of questions he asked during a two beer visit. Pete, a veritable encyclopedia of sailboat facts, agreeably answers Eddy's many questions. Afterward, I tell Pete he could have charged $150 for the amount of information he divulged. Fast Eddy asks for a tour of Rum Funny, and observes during my tour, 'No furniture.' I say, 'Well, it does have a microwave.'

At 7:30 PM, the roof caves in on our little piece of heaven when an immense tugboat named William B comes alongside in the gathering gloom and asks us to move down so they can tie up where we are. Fortunately, they just fit. I think that for the courtesy we extended by moving they could have shut their diesel engine down sooner. However, in their defense, it turned out that someone else had taken their mooring buoy, forcing them to tie off on their own yacht club’s main dock for the night. We were fortunate to remain there at all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

All hands sleep hard from 10 PM until 7 AM while fog settles in overnight. Fog was to become a theme of the trip. I make cheese and olive omelets while Pete washes the boat down.

We head north into the morning mist at 8:50 AM toward Pt. Vicente off Palos Verdes Peninsula. We turn the motor off and sail. Bruce is pleased. Pete is pleased. Then suddenly we spot a gray whale which always makes a special treat when you’re sailing. The wind is blowing 15+ knots so we’re seeing white caps and tacking back and forth to make the mark. Once around Pt. Vicente, we avoid the shallows (it quickly gets down to fifty feet or less) and once again, we sail the lay line the last two hours toward Marina Del Rey. No motor. Over eight knots. Bueno.

A boat party at the California Yacht Club guest dock is arranged with my family. Brother Ron and his wife Dot Suiter helped organize the details. Brice and my niece Anne Head bring Lauren, Paulina, and Austin ages 8, 6, and 4. Barbara brings her new black and red Mini. The kids enjoy Rum Funny and bounce on the forward berth. Brice treats to dinner at The Counter, a nearby designer hamburger joint with class. Thanks, Brice!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

This is an unusual day. As we awake at CYC's guest dock to a beautiful sunrise, we see that the boat is covered with ¼" of brown mud. This must be our dirtiest collective yacht basin experience ever. So Pete washes her down at 7 AM, spending an hour at it. We later discover that this 'fallout' had come from the Sylmar fire. Marina Del Rey is off the hook.

The trip north to Channel Islands Harbor starts in fog and ends in fog.

We can see the bow of Rum Funny but not much further for the entire distance. We rig and test the fog horn. It works. We shorten shifts at the helm. For example, mine are shortened to 15 minutes, Bruce's to one hour. We try to interpret radar bogies. This is an intense day during which we can only see through the chart plotter and the radar. Bruce gets credit for finding the most sea birds today but we finally figure it out: he has the group of forty or so birds get settled on the water beside us, then fly ahead and settle again. They were counted 82 times today for a total of over 3200 birds.

The fog clears at the Channel Islands Harbor entrance. We made it! But a navigation error puts us at CIYC instead of the usual Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club. It may also have been an early Alzheimer’s attack that waylaid the navigator. The showers at CIYC were good and the drinks in the bar reasonably priced.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The journey to Santa Barbara is just the opposite kind of day. Bright sunshine and beautiful mountains accompany us. We see three small gray whales, a billion birds (same million a thousand times), a ‘ floater’ brown harbor seal and ten or so oil rigs. Bruce again gets credit for finding the birds and Pete says new oil rigs are now placed underwater, according to Al Breitenbach, SDYC, a career oil man. At the beginning of the journey to Santa Barbara, we stop at Ventura Harbor for breakfast on the boat and for refueling. This port is just up the coast from Channel Islands Harbor. A tipster at the Channel Islands Yacht Club bar said yesterday that fuel was a dollar a gallon cheaper here than anywhere else. It is. We avoid having to refuel in Santa Barbara thus saving $20.

Ventura harbor is sunny and pleasant as we cruise by Ventura Yacht Club, a favorite spot where we were invited long ago for a barbecue after a harrowing passage on another sailboat.

We hook up at slip Q12 in Santa Barbara by 2:30 PM, grab showers, have a drink at the Santa Barbara Yacht Club (these were the most expensive drinks of the trip – thanks Bruce), and dinner at the above mentioned Enterprise Fish Co. We each had three appetizers, all excellent, and drinks. The mojitos are spicy. Later, the walk up State Street showed ten boarded up businesses in the first two blocks. The recession has gotten as far as Santa Barbara.

I love sitting on Rum Funny here in the harbor and looking up at the mountains that surround the city. After all, this is where my Parker High School sailing team won its first ever race. Several years later we won our first ever regatta here. This time, however, there is a brown line on the mountains, a demarcation of where the awful fires this year came over the top of the mountains, stopped, and went back, sparing the city of Santa Barbara.

Friday, September, 25, 2009

A pattern emerges. Pete is up first followed by Bruce. I get up today at 6:56 AM when I hear the coffee grinder.

Today we make ready to go offshore into the wilderness of the Channel Islands. We fill the water tanks and stop by the fuel dock to fill the dinghy gas tank. We motor out the narrow Santa Barbara channel, by the Stern Pier, and set course at 225 degrees southwest for Cuyler's Cove, San Miguel.

There are many, many dolphins. Around 11 AM, we wrap the propeller with what we think is fishing line. Bad luck! Backing down twice does not clear it. So we shut the engine down and sail three hours right into Cuyler’s. We are flying. Rum Funny heeled over at 28 degrees most of the way, an optimum angle for speed. We set anchor at 3:30 PM in Cuyler’s in 17 feet of water. The distance to the beach is about 100 yards, giving us plenty of swing on the anchor rode. The beach is white sand and stretches nearly four miles. Gorgeous! We are as far west in the Channel Islands as you can get.

Fog is wreathing over the hills to the north of our anchorage and the wind where we are is running 6-10 knots. The shore break prohibits us from going ashore but tomorrow is another day. The water temperature is 62 degrees and there are many jokes about who would be going over to clear the propeller. You cannot risk the hazards of the Channel Islands without a motor. We put this decision off until tomorrow but Bruce is leading the vote 2-1 since he is the youngest on the crew by two years.

The crew has been warned about Cuyler's winds at night. I take the first watch at 1 AM. On watch, you get up, check the rigging, check the anchor, and check the latitude and longitude. You have to know where you are within a few feet in the dark so you know you haven’t pulled anchor. At 1 AM everything is fine and the wind is 10 knots. I’ve taken an antihistamine for an allergy attack but awake ahead of my watch anyway.

Later, Pete and Bruce both get up for the checkups at 2, 3, and 4 AM. At 3 AM conditions are so bad that they are both scared: 40 knots, rigging singing, anchor holding. By 5 AM, the wind has died and the air is a cold 50 degrees. This is pure San Miguel. But this is my fourth trip here and I manage to sleep through the crisis hours. Blame the antihistamine. We have to remember that we are anchored only 30 miles south of Pt. Conception on the mainland, one of the roughest sections of ocean on the west coast.

Pete starts the engine at 7 AM to charge the batteries and accidentally puts the boat in reverse. None of us realized this for the next two hours. We discover we're in reverse when we notice that we are closer to the beach. We shift the engine to neutral. Perhaps the motor pulled the anchor a bit, or perhaps we'd swung around the anchor with the wind shift. Either way, the crew was now nervous about our anchorage and the shore break which was undiminished this morning. Occasionally, a fifteen foot high surge of white water would hit the rocks along the beach, more than I'd ever seen here.

We shut the motor down for Bruce to check the propeller (yeah, he wins the diving rights) and he discovers whatever had been there was gone and everything was OK. Perhaps running the engine in reverse for two hours helped. After just a few minutes in the water, he comes back up the ladder and takes a shower. At least he is clean. He is cold, too, and his voice squeaky.

Bruce and Pete are not interested in going ashore to see Cabrillo's grave. I'm suspicious that Pete and Bruce might just be trying to avoid exercise in climbing the trail to the top of the cliffs. But in their defense, the surge has cut into the beach over night and white water is still breaking over the rocks and on the sandy beaches. Although this is a long way to come to miss this chance to go ashore, discretion is the better part of valor. We weigh anchor for Johnson's Lee on Santa Rosa, the next island east in the chain.

Since we had seen rough conditions the night before, and I had seen high winds on the south side of Santa Rosa on other trips, we reef the main sail for the first time on the trip. But wind turns out to be negligible. Fog closes in as we come down the south coast. We have a good following sea and plane the waves at eight knots.

Johnson's Lee is the best port in any storm. We are at anchor by 2 PM in 23 feet of water. As always, this place is sunny and the water calm. Outside Johnson's Lee in the channel we can see white caps. The air is hot and the water up to 66 degrees from the much colder stuff we experienced at Cuyler's. So I jump in for a swim off the transom and take a quick shower on emerging. Now two of us are clean. Pete does not like swimming in the ocean so we bite our tongues and wait for a chance to give him a shower.

There are many seals, sea lions, and elephant seals on the beach, a big change in the animal count from my last visit. Bruce has the best eyes for spotting animals and has many to his credit. Two elephant seals are chest bumping each other to determine the boss of the game on the beach. The animals’ chatter enlivens the atmosphere. Only one other boat comes into our harbor to anchor. The husband and wife team in that sailboat later stop by in their dinghy to apologize for wrecking our privacy!

Pete barbecues chicken on the outside BBQ, Bruce makes broccoli rice, and I make margaritas. We enjoy an excellent dinner in a calm and beautiful place.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

We leave Johnson's Lee at 10 AM and soon make Santa Cruz Island, the next Channel Island to the east. Our course comes in close to the coast on the south side of Santa Cruz to better see the rocks and coves. Wispy fog obscures the peaks and some of the more distant beaches. Willows Anchorage, Albert's Anchorage and Coches Prietos are the favorites among our crew and we actually come in quite close to see them. These three anchorages are crowded with boats.

We put into Smuggler's Cove on the east end of Santa Cruz at 4 PM for an overnight. Smuggler's is predictably difficult. First the new $800 ground tackle jams as we deploy it in 28 feet of water. The waves are bouncing us around, particularly the reflected waves off the shore, as they meet the swell from the northeast. The shore break is high. The wind shifts 360 degrees in one hour.

We disassemble and fix the Lewmar anchor windlass. The rode has looped and jammed in the through deck opening on the way out of the chain locker. Pete suggests we anchor in San Diego at a future date and run the new rode out to ‘condition’ it and prevent these jams.

At night, we are ringed by over thirty fishing boats with bright lights at a distance of one mile. They are active all night. We surmise they are squid fishing. This is confirmed later by a marine biologist we met in Two Harbors, Catalina. These we were told are the small squid (loligo forbesi) used for calamari in restaurants. Squid are known as the ice cream cones of the sea due to their popularity with other sea creatures and with man.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

We weigh anchor at Smugglers at 6 AM bound for Santa Barbara Island. As in so many legs of this trip, animals abound. There are many common dolphin plus somewhat fewer of the larger common bottlenose dolphins. Seals show up in increasing numbers as we head south and there are sea birds as well. The animals seem widely dispersed on this leg in smaller groups rather than in large groups.

The run to Santa Barbara requires six hours. The tunnel worn into the rock by the sea on the northeast corner of the island is photographed many times by three cameras. Hopefully we get one good shot. We cruise by the ranger station. The animals appear to have been cleared out of the path leading to the ranger station. The beaches south of the station are covered with seals and larger animals such as sea lions and elephant seals. Some climb several hundred yards above the beach. All talk with one another in short barks at the same time, apparently all the time. We wonder how there can be so much to say.

We spend 45 minutes cruising Santa Barbara and decide not to stay overnight but to proceed directly to Catalina. The naviguesser (me) predicts that we will pass the northwest point of Catalina by 3:30 PM. We actually make it by 3:15. This makes up for the Channel Islands Harbor's yacht club fiasco. We moor at Cherry Cove, B2, on the east (usually lee) side of Catalina at 4:30 PM and let our weight down for the first time. Cherry is well protected and a mooring has none of the risks of anchoring with our recalcitrant ground tackle.

We go ashore at Two Harbors for the 90 second shower (which costs fifty cents) finally bringing Pete up to standards. We then repair to the Harbor Reef Bar. Pete, now clean as can be, orders Buffalo Milk for all. This turns out to be Pete's first try at Buffalo Milk which is actually made with cow's milk. He liked it so well he bought a second round. Pete says they're like Brandy Alexanders, his personal favorite. When he talks to Charlie later that evening, she detected he was more than usually tipsy.

Aboard ship again in the late afternoon, the BBQ on Rum Funny is energized and chicken is grilled. We share Pete’s chocolates at bedtime. Bruce does not eat chocolate.

Pete and Bruce enjoy wine each evening from a box. Peter Vella Vineyards red and white wines are favorites of theirs and the boxes store better than bottles. However, one taste of this vile liquid is enough for me. I drink bottled wine such as Loon and Robert Mondavi and rum and am happy as a clam.

Monday, September 28, 2009

In the morning, I go to Two Harbors by shore boat at a price of $4. Pete and Bruce fire up the dinghy and drive up to Emerald Bay for the morning. There is wireless internet service at Two Harbors which is free but works only around the restaurant. The theory is that this stimulates business at the bar and the restaurant. In my case, the theory works. The Harbor Reef Bar is a happy place with patrons laughing, a view of the ocean and Bird Rock in the harbor, and people leaving and arriving by ferry on the dock that ends at the bar.

Sissy, the shore boat driver, says that a storm is expected. So I use the internet to get four weather forecasts. The area we had come from has gale warnings! The wind is 20-35 knots and the wave height was up to 13' from Pt. Conception to Ventura. This gale is occurring in the area that included much of our journey through San Miguel and on the north side of Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz. The question is would this weather come as far south as Catalina and wreck our return schedule.

We gather for lunch at the Harbor Reef Bar. I order the tuna melt on sourdough. Good.

At this point in the trip, we all need space, so Pete and Bruce go back to Rum Funny after lunch to read novels. I go up to the Banning House Hotel. From the porch of the hotel, the view overlooks both Catalina Harbor to the west and Two Harbors to the east. I secure a glass of Pedroncelli cabernet from the proprietor and finish my novel, The Sleeping Doll, sitting on the front porch.

Later, back on the boat, the barbecue roars and we feast once again. Suddenly the cell phone rings, and my wife Gaynor says that a tsunami is on the way from the south Pacific. We tune into the only weather channel we can receive back in the corner of Cherry Cove, W5. We run the numbers and decide the tsunami should hit Catalina at 9:28 PM. Pete is not concerned, but Bruce and I sit in the cockpit of Rum Funny as the moment comes. We think we can detect an increase in the 'splush' of the waves on the stones of the beach at the appointed time. There were three waves in succession with increased force.

On the weather front all remained quiet in Cherry.

Tuesday, September 29, 2008

At 9 AM, we leave Cherry Cove heading south for Buffalo Beach, the San Diego Yacht Club outpost at White's Landing. The wind was up but still the gale holds off.

We start anchoring at Buffalo Beach when the Harbor Patrol pulls up and says we can't anchor where we are. A Navy hovercraft would be leaving the beach and we were too close to the intended path. On pulling anchor, we experience a twist in the chain that does not allow us to fully raise the anchor, due to kelp fouling the anchor preventing the anchor from swiveling properly. Our conclusion: we need more work on the ground tackle, perhaps a swivel or two in the right places.

We skip Buffalo Beach and the anchoring issues and go in to Avalon. We get an inside mooring at noon. That's a big deal: in the summer you are usually placed outside the harbor and bounce all night long.

The showers here are $3 but last five minutes, not 90 seconds as in Two Harbors. We follow the showers with a trip to Antonio’s for chips and mustard on the porch overlooking the harbor. There are no people and no boats in town at this time of the year. Avalon looks better in September. The cloudless day is warm and relaxing, the views gorgeous. Crew tension diminished yet again faced with this nearly perfect place.

With three showers on Rum Funny, one might ask why we don't shower aboard. The reason is that water is hard to come by in the islands, so we conserve by showering ashore.

We decide to put the dinghy aboard around 5 PM while it's still light. This is a difficult maneuver in the dark and we plan to enjoy our last meal in Catalina ashore, and won't finish until after dark. This evening, we select Original Antonio's up a side street away from the beachfront. They play fifties tunes and you can throw your peanut shells on the floor. The Kick Ass Veggie pizza is quite good. Bruce and I share one of these. Pete tried the pepperoni and cheese and is not inspired by the result.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

After wine, we turn in at 9 PM, anticipating an early start in the morning. Pete did not disappoint and had us up in time to depart the mooring at 4 AM. Threading out of the harbor in the dark is a challenge. You imagine bogies that fortunately do not exist. But some do. The trick is to know which is which. We survive that process and are soon on our 115 magnetic heading to San Diego. Still no gale. In fact, the lack of wind held up so well that there was not enough pressure to put up a sail all the way to San Diego.

Little do we know what is in store for us: two flying fish launched into the air beside us before 6 AM. About 1 PM, we saw TWO BLUE WHALES, the largest creatures ever to bless God’s earth. We also had the pleasure to see what appeared to be a marlin sitting on the surface, dorsal fin up. Then we saw a bunch of tuna leaping into the air, pursued by dolphins. Folks, it just doesn’t get any better.

We were home on the dock in San Diego at 2:30 PM and put Rum Funny down for a much deserved nap by 4. Rum Funny performed flawlessly for ten days.

What an adventure we'd had, what stories we can tell! This is why you cruise a sailboat to the Channel Islands.

The 'gale' came through two days later, reported by a fellow SDYC sailor who followed us from Catalina in his power boat. The gale from up north had diminished to 15 knots by this time with 5' following seas on the lay line from Catalina to San Diego and therefore was no longer strong enough to be classified as a gale.