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.

No comments:

Post a Comment