Sunday, October 9, 2016

ON OUR WAY, again.

Scrimshaw departs San Francisco Bay
Scrimshaw slipped out of The Gate with an early ebb tide yesterday morning. Darrell and Pat guided her safely around Point Sur to Morro Bay, where she will be for a couple of weeks. As winter approaches in the Sierra, we will make our way south, slowly, to Marina Coral. We have missed Ensenada's Vibe; the people, the food, the many happy celebrations of life, the peso to the dollar, and the warmer climate. We have also missed Marina Coral with its magnificent views, swimming pools, friendly staff, and its most excellent restaurant. Baja Naval is also on the docket of places to visit when the time comes. Next fall, we are on going with the CUBAR (aka FUBAR), sponsored by the San Diego Yacht Club, to La Paz, Baja. We REALLY REALLY REALLY miss La Paz, Costa Baja, and the islands in the Sea of Cortez. 
We're anxious to see old cruising buddies, who we hope don't mind hanging out with stinkpotters!

Monday, November 2, 2015


Our last anchorage aboard El Tib.
La Playa, San Diego
Our last weekend aboard El Tiburon was filled with sun and warm water and good friends and lots of fun and some sadness. The weekend was Bittersweet. We anchored out with our friends, Chris and Manuela, from Manuela, a Hylas 56. We are looking forward to sharing more anchorages together in our new Grand Banks Trawler. 

 The weekend included plenty of relaxing.
 We visited some Italian bathing beauties aboard Manuela.
 Enjoyed the local scenery.
Spark had a final swim from shore.
And one last cruise around Shelter Island.

If you see EL TIBURON in Mexico say "Hello" to her new owners, Rob and Jane.
And please give El Tib a pat from us.
She is a strong ship and served us well for 8 years!

And if you see a GB 42 named Scrimshaw, say "HI" to us.
 Clipper Cove, Treasure Island
Our 17th boat.
A fine example of Darrell's handiwork.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

- EL TIBURON - Let the Good Times Roll -

El Tiburon all cozy in Avalon, Catalina Island

Isolated Anchorages.
White Beaches.
Fishing Galore.
She Sails Beautifully!
And More Sailing
And Flying The Spin
Romantic Evenings
And Tons of Fun.

Achilles with 15hp and wheels.

New Hard Dodger Cover and Glass, Granite Counters Throughout, Decks totally Refurbished, Brand New Seafresh Electric Head, Manual Raritan Head,Topsides Painted, Achilles 11' Dinghy with New Chaps, Dinghy Davits, New Fleece Fender Covers, Rebuilt Autopilot,Full Service Engine with New Turbo, 2014 Raymarine Radar, Custom Mattresses, Imtra Lights, Frigaboat Refrigerator and Freezer, Newly Varnished Cabin Soles, New Main & Staysail, Stack Sail, Fans Throughout, Espar Heater, All Lines Lead to the Cockpit, New Dining Table, EPIRB, Avon Life Raft, Single Side Band, Shark Cutter, Max Prop, Quiet Rutland Wind Generator, 2 Solar Panels, Spectra Watermaker - Santa Cruz with New Membrane and Much More. Yikes, what a great boat! 


Thursday, February 12, 2015


We may not be in Mexico, 
but we are close enough for the real deal, Gordon's in Chula Vista.
Al Pastor, My VERY Fav!

El Tiburon has found a new spot that includes a gym, pool & spa, and it comes a restaurant that delivers to the boat. We love the Kona Kai on Shelter Island, we had an end-tie here 3 years ago, and its great to be back. We are close to the yacht clubs, chandleries, running beaches for Spark, long walks for us, lots of cafes, and an endless amount of entertainment in San Diego. Darrell's business is doing well, he's selling solar, wind generators, inverters, batteries, chargers, just about anything that will help manage your energy needs aboard your boat, RV, home, or business. Check out Erickson Energy Management at  
 Our Hood.
Big Boy Neighbors.
 Attessa, a 300 foot Fedship comes with a Rolls Royce.
The rich are NOT like us.
More of the hood, with  
Big Blue & Stars and Stripes in the background.
Another nice thing about being in San Diego
 is hanging out with sailing friends from Mexico.
Spark goes swimming as Fred and Darrell sail by on Tapatai.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


In the fifties the Four Preps sang "26 miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is waiting for me. The island of romance. Romance. Romance. Romance". Yep, 4 refrains! This song plays over and over and over and over in my head every time we come here. 
Darn near everything is romantic in Avalon in the winter. 
Spark, El Tiburon, the Casino, the weather; its all good.
And of course, Darrell is muy romantic!
The Harbor Patrol assigns our mooring, then
comes aboard to ensure our head is contained so there is 
no discharge into the crystal clear water. Sparky
gets his usual attention. They actually remember him!
Spark brings Lambie as a gift to the Harbor Patrol.

The first order of business after we check-in and get squared away with a mooring, is a bit of work for Darrell. Selling all those solar and wind systems is hard work, and makes Darrell very thirsty.
More work.
Still working, at the Sand Trap,
 while waiting for his tacos.
Darrell makes every minute count.
Gotta love this this guy.
After lunch we decided to go for a long walk through town, visiting some of our favorite spots. First up, a boutique owned by a local woman who also has a Vizsla, named Lucy. Behind her counter was a big fluffy overstuffed dog bed with a big fluffy blankie - just like Spark's, and just like about every other vizsla we have ever met. The shop owner also keeps a bag of organic cookies for her furry friends. Lucy wasn't too keen on sharing, but Spark got his share anyway. No romance here.
 Lucy is 10 years old and very fond of cookies.
Sparky is very fond of Lucy's cookies too.
Spark is pursued everywhere we go.
Appears Spark has no romantic interest in the buffalo.

We continued our walk towards the Casino, built in 1929, rich in art, culture, and history, it continues to draw large crowds for a variety of functions today. For me, it is the grand architecture and the colorful art deco tiles that grace its walls that always knock me out. The tiles below can be found along the quay leading to the casino. Catalina has a slew of attractions that lure tourists including; dozens of hikes, camping, zip lines, golfing, the Wriggly Mansion, wine tasting, music concerts and an annual fest, marathons,  all kinds of boating, scuba diving, abundant wildlife, and just about anything your imagination can come up with to do in paradise. Past blog posts showcase many of these wonders of Catalina, so I will not repeat myself here.

California State fish, the protected Garibaldi
A happy otter swimming amongst kelp.
Palms, blue sea, and a passing boat make a pretty romantic setting.
Add a pina colada or a mojito, and Viola! More Romance.
 Avalon Pier welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each summer,
but only a few thousand in the winter.
Winter's empty mooring field provided plenty of peace for us.

Winter storms, especially dreaded Santa Ana winds, can be treacherous in Avalon. The anchorage faces northeast and over the years has suffered severe damage when harsh weather approaches from that direction. Consequently, the number of boaters and visitors decline in the fall and winter months. Boaters must be extra cautious, listen daily to marine weather, and be ready at a moments notice to flee the anchorage. A New Years Eve storm this year did serious damage to the long pier and to several boats. Unfortunately, it also claimed the lives of two residents. A member of the harbor patrol died a hero trying to save a boat, and another resident was found drown. Debris from the storm and a memorial for the two men were sober reminders of how quickly the weather can change, and how vulnerable we are when it does. Life is precious, and each day a blessing. Our hearts go out the the families of the lives lost.
Remnants of the New Years Eve storm.
Wreaths commemorate the two men.

Time to keep El Tiburon moving towards San Diego, and onward to our final destination for the next few months, Marina Coral in Ensenada, Mexico. By 5am the next morning, we slipped off the mooring lines, threaded our way through the moonless anchorage, and headed south in the early dawn. Still dark and chilly, but an hour later the sky lit up with bold vibrant colors.
 San Clemente, faintly seen in the foreground, lies 32 miles west.
 Snow covers the distant mountaintops.
A true Vizsla, Spark seeks cozy warmth.
Vizslas are not early risers.
 Catalina, the island of romance, off our stern. 
Drumroll. A new day is born.
Our destination, San Diego, 72 miles southwest.
The visibility was incredible. The winter months are usually crisp with increased visibility, but the past few days have been unusual. Dry weather, no morning dew on the decks, and extreme visibility are hallmarks of Santa Ana winds. Yep, time to get rolling to a safe harbor in a snug slip! Sounds like the Southwestern and San Diego Yacht Clubs to me! We will also be meeting up with sailing friends from "Gate 11" in Alameda who have relocated to SoCal. David and Cate, aka sv/Timeless, have also become confirmed warm weather sailors. We are also looking forward to catching up with Fred and Penny from sv/ Tapatai. People, one of our favorite things about the cruising life.
A rare photo of yours truly, 
chronicler of fun and adventure aboard El Tiburon.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Grinding the winch in light winds.

We left the Ventura Harbor early in the morning to make sure we had enough daylight to travel the nearly 70 miles to Santa Catalina Island before nightfall. I have sailed to Catalina many times in the past 40 years (OMG 40 years!), but this time - January - was the BEST. Brilliant blue skies, clear water, a warm breeze, and great views across the channel towards Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands. All was mellow. We were looking forward to some peace and quiet at Twin Harbors on Santa Catalina. As we approached we called the harbor patrol and were told there was a threat of a Santa Ana and it would be best for us to take cover on the west side of the island and to pick up a mooring at Cat Harbor. Santa Ana winds are powerful winds that whip up quickly in the fall and winter. They come over the desert head northeast roaring down over the Santa Ana mountains. Gusts from 25 to 60 knots can reek havoc in the Channel Islands. Both main anchorages at Catalina, Twin Harbor and especially, Avalon are at risk. Who are we to disagree with the harbor patrol - so we did a 180 and headed around to the more protected backside of the island. The change in itinerary presented us with a spectacular red sunset, but also meant we entered Catalina Harbor in the dark. We had to thread our way to the assigned mooring ball using our Chartplotter, which is great, but I always prefer eyeballing anchorages as we enter them.  Only a handful of boats were there, so the job wasn't too tough. After an 11 hour passage from Ventura we were tired and hungry and glad to be out of harms way if the dreaded Santa Ana winds materialized. They did not.

Spark goes nowhere without his Lambie and Blankie.

We all slept well knowing we were in a secure harbor. Bright and early the next morning Spark was most anxious to get off the boat and run about. So were we. The island is lush GREEN, the greenest I have ever seen it. SoCal had a lot of rain in the previous weeks  turning the hills emerald, the flora and fauna big and bright, and the red clay ground muddy.
Faster, Faster Dad! I gotta go!
 More Green
Flora and Fauna 
Firepokers & those purple thingies that butterflies love.

It's a 10 minute walk from Cat Harbor across the isthmus to Twin Harbors, and every inch of the walk is splendid. Winter here is utterly fantastic. It's quiet and peaceful, an extreme contrast to the hordes of summer-folk who flock here in their boats. In January, there are few tourists, some hikers or divers enjoying the island beauty, but mostly it's the full-time islanders that work here. What a life! A few years ago, D almost had me convinced to do this. He had his application already to be a harbor patrolman, I wanted a house. And the rest is history. And we are both content. Right now, we feel like we are cruising again, and glad to have the house sealed up, and back on board El Tib.
 The only people on the pier! A winter blessing.
 The poor ole lonely harbor master. Not.
Empty mooring fields that will be packed in 6 months.

All checked in and paid up - we thought $51.00 was steep for a mooring in the winter, but in reality who can complain? Not us. We were ready for a nice long stroll, being on the lookout for the local buffalo who roam the countryside. Fun to spot. We saw a big guy grazing on the hillside as we landed the dinghy onshore. But, we are also a bit leery, since a couple of years ago the oldest-biggest-baddest buffalo gored a tourist! Yikes! They are supposed to be able to run very fast! So we keep our distance and eyes peeled.

Buffalo prints. Nothing to laugh at!
Strange, but true the harbor restaurant serves Buffalo Burgers. $11.50.
Regular hamburgers are only $8.50.
 No Thank You!
Buffaloes like the beach just as much as anyone else.
Now, back to our walk.                       
 Spark, unaware of the buffalo lurking in the background, 
is poised to run!
El Tiburon snug and secure.
Land's End. Spark loves to pose.
Looking southwest, our planned sail tomorrow as we head to Avalon.
San Clemente Island lies 18 miles to the southwest.
The boys look forward to Avalon.
Up early the following day, 
and headed around the corner to Avalon Harbor.