Sailing the New Boat

DSCN0630_smallSo, we sailed our boat from Oxnard to Long Beach, and into the new slip.  It was almost 100 miles and just over 16 hours at the helm, but it was well worth the time.

On our first leg of the adventure, we encountered several groups of dolphins that seemed to be having fun by darting under the sailboat, then coming out the other side only to jump out of the water and put on a show for us.  We then came to the first group of islands, the Channel Islands, where we had a wonderful view of caves cut into the shore and beautiful hills.

From there we sailed around to the seaward side of the first island and then headed south towards Catalina Island.  That was the longest leg of our trip and required many hours at the helm.DSCN0635_small This picture of me is obviously a pic early on in the adventure.  I’m not sure I was smiling so much after the five hour point.

We carried on through the open ocean between the Channel Islands and Catalina, and found a LOT of open ocean.  There were but a few schools of dolphins and only two birds that we saw as we left the islands.

Funny thing was, that after all theses miles we were just sailing along minding our own business, and noticed something really unusual in the water.  I mean, we would have expected to see a lot of things in the water, but you just never know what you are going to see.

Then we came across a shiny object in the water.  At first glance, it liked liked it might be a duck floating along,DSCN0639_small but then as it came into view, it became apparent that it was something different – something far more sinister.  It was none other than…  A balloon from a kid’s birthday party.  Wow, and to think that all this distance from shore (only about 20 miles at that point) one would come across a birthday balloon…  My wife quickly noted that the Pacific is the burial ground for all those lost party balloons that are lost to the skies.  Okay, I guess I can buy that one.  It was a sad tail, indeed.  We both had a moment to reflect on what was probably a long and productive life for that sad party balloon, and then we went back to the mundain task of manning the boat.

As we sailed (actually motor-sailed because of the lack of a good wind) along, we decided that it was dinner time.  Time to cook that wonderful dinner that we were going to save for when we anchored at Catalina, but since we were late, were going to have to cook at sea.

The wife went below and started planning.  We were going to have steak, shrimp and spicy potatoes.  She started with the potatoes to give me time to put together the new grill.  Problem with the grill was that we didn’t have the proper mounting kit, so we decided that all would have to be cooked on the galley.  After the potatoes, she cooked the shrimp.  She then brought me a plate of shrimp and spicy potatoes that were to die for!  Nothing like galley-cooked and fresh-cooked food when you are really hungry after a day’s worth of sailing!  I’m not sure if it was the taste or how grateful I was for the food, but that was one of the best meals of my life!  Too bad I didn’t get any pics of it…

As we sailed along we noticed that the sun was setting on the ocean.  Nothing more beautiful, so we had to snap a few pics of it.DSCN0646_small There is nothing like the sun going down (or rising) over the ocean.  Such a beautiful site, and no one is the same as any other.

Sail on was the ticket and sail on we did.  It became a dark night and time seemed to slow after the sun left us.  We went on for a long time before Catalina finally showed herself from behind the fog bank that obscured her before.  What a welcome site though.  One never realizes how precious land can be until it is out of sight.

So onward and inward we went, until we reached our final destination.  It was over 100 miles and over 16 hours of me standing at the helm steering.  Had I not stood there, the current would have pushed us side to side and we would not have been able to stay the course to make it home.  God and our faith, along with a good boat, saw us through.