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Thread: Baja Bound Beetle

  1. #1
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Baja Bound Beetle



    Rob MacFarlane, his lovely lady Kristen and crew have exited the hustle and bustle of city life aboard Tiger Beetle,
    a N/M 45 IOR two tonner circa 1983 which has been short hand sailed both offshore and near shore for its entire existence,
    we will tag along with Rob's South Bound adventure as long as he keeps up the blog!


    "Greetings from aboard good ship Beetle! - we are making super time down the coast headed for Santa Barbara
    (nice marina there complete with adjacent train station that John wants, as he likes trains and will use one to get himself back home).

    The trip so far has been uneventful, which is a good thing. We waited for a weather window it looks like we found it.
    Breeze has been up and down between 2 knots and 15 knots, mostly from behind, with a nice 6 foot NW swell to go
    with it and that is propelling us along very well. That and the motor, which is chugging along and keeping us moving in the 7 knot range."



    Oddly enough, we are within cellular tower range of the coast, which provided my first opportunity to actually pull up the
    NWS web site and click on the buoys to get their readings (you're not allowed to do this during races, so this is my first time doing this offshore - very slick!).



    "Dinner was a frozen lasagna that Jimmy heated up, John did most of the day watch and is now asleep until 10pm,
    Jimmy has gone on for his watch a couple of minutes ago (8-10pm), and I will be back on at midnight when John comes off watch.
    I'm actually hoping to be up sooner as we will be making the next big course change to run down to pt. Arguello when we pass Pt. Sur,
    which is currently 21 miles out in front of us.

    Very little traffic to speak of, though AIS shows a fair number of container ships and tankers and tugs and tows about 30 miles to the west -
    we are staying inshore of the shipping traffic and haven't really seen much yet.

    The moon-set was wonderful, there's a big planet up there as well (or it could have been Venus, and no, I did not try to raise
    Venus on the VHF radio this time having learned my lesson in the 1996 SSS TransPac race - that does not work and Venus does not respond)".




    "I hope everyone ashore is having a fine night tonight, we sure are out here. A bit rolly with the quartering swell, but making good time.
    And we have the third reef tucked into the mainsail to help steady the boat a bit."

    - rob/beetle


    http://tbeetle.wordpress.com/
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  2. #2
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Wednesday Wanderings

    "Good morning! It's a fantastically brilliant and calm day out here off Pt. Piedras Blancas, tooling along at 7 knots or so, wind has dropped off to zero, Jimmy and John are both asleep and it's my watch for another 40 minutes.

    About the only interesting/unusual thing from last night was hearing the USCG broadcast regarding an abandoned overturned yellow (red?) life boat located 20 miles south of Pt Sur. The problem was the Coast Guard couldn't be more specific than that, so when we motored by on our way 20 miles south of Pt. Sur we did a bit more peering forward past the bow light than usual.

    All is well on board, plenty of food and fuel and water, the swell has dropped from perhaps 6-7 feet earlier to negligible now, though an occasional 4 footer passes by and we roll a bit. There is a sailboat just ahead of us, likewise south-bound, I believe we are motoring along slightly faster than they are and will eventually cross paths with them.

    We are 66 n miles from Pt. Arguello, and hope to be there by nightfall; this would put us into Santa Barbara some time early Thursday morning, which is a pretty quick hop down the coast.
    I will take a picture with the iPad and see if that can make it through to the wordpress blog, or not!"


    - rob
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  3. #3
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    Wednesday Night Thoughts

    "We are around Pt. Arguello and Pt. Conception, headed for Santa Barbara - breeze is light, seas have gone flat, the oil platforms are out in abundance, and the shipping channel off to starboard is corralling the big boats and keeping them out of the way.

    It's been a super day of tooling on across the ocean, we had a swimming shark go by (most likely a 5-6' blue shark), sun fish, a most excellent view of Vandenberg AFB (and safety zone 4 was closed today, we stayed outside of it). We should be in Santa Barbara around 2AM (6 hours from now), and will see about arranging a overnight transient berth, plus a visit to a laundromat, a shower, and the fuel dock.

    It's been interesting to see how communication equipment affects the way the trip has gone as regards news of the outside world, especially as we've been running down quite close to the coast and therefore are often within range of a cellular telephone tower. For instance, Jimmy was able to telephone his mom and let her know he was safely around Conception and that it was flat, Kristen has been able to track the boat via it's AIS transmission (we're running a Class B AIS transponder), as well as position from an InReach Iridium transponder. Armed with this information one can then make an educated guess as to when the boat might be within range and know when to telephone - so we've had a fair bit of phone conversation on board.

    Using the same cellular tower data transfers we've been able to pull up the national weather service web sites (Monterey and LA/Oxnard) to view the weather buoy data, read the marine forecasts, and look at current weather models via NOAA and Passage Weather. This is a huge change from 20 years ago when you didn't have any of the technology in place, and as a result I think we've made reasonable decisions on where we went and when during the 250 mile hop down from Half Moon Bay to Santa Barbara.

    And right now I'm typing up this log/note on an iPad that is blue-toothed to an Apple keyboard, into the gmail application - in the expectation that it will be ready to send when the next cellular tower comes into clear view as we approach Santa Barbara. The iPad uses significantly less power than the laptop and is slightly more hardened from damage as it is in a rubber and lexan case. The external keyboard makes it easy to type (the onscreen iPad keyboard is not suited for real typing). Plus it is possible to include images with the cellular email, something not really feasible via sailmail (sailmail is the normal offshore email mechanism on board, and has a 10kb attachment limit - and given the low baud rate possible via HF radio you don't really want to send or receive an entire 10k attachment as it takes a long time to send over the radio and pactor modem.

    So it's been interesting to be kept up to date with Kristen's activities, discuss with Dad a marina to meet at in San Diego, research the Santa Barbara harbor patrol phone number and slip rates, and send out significantly more detailed logs than I would normally do on the laptop (low power consumption is a good thing).

    We've eaten well, had a killer salad from John this evening, motor has run well, used the mini-bilge pump to suck up some water that accumulated (most likely will need to repack the stuffing box), the moon has been magnificent this evening, and we're all quite excited to have this leg under our belts.
    "
    - rob
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  4. #4
    Looks like Rob is living right!

  5. #5
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    In Avalon, Catalina Island


    Approaching Avalon, Catalina Island to starboard.


    Beetle arrived in Avalon last night just after dark, met up with the small orange patrol boat with all the side lights, exchanged credit card information and now we have a mooring for the next three days. Actually finding the mooring in the dark was another story as the moorings are packed in here as fore-and-aft arrangements: you pick up the wand on the mooring ball at the bow, drop the hawser over the bow cleat, then quickly pull up and follow aft a weighted line that leads you to the stern hawser that you have to really pull on to get up to the stern cleat. In the morning daylight you can see that what you're really doing is lifting a rather large chain the stern hawser is attached to, and the catenary of the chain keeps the boats in alignment - everyone here is bow out into the prevailing very light swell as it creeps around through the port and starboard breakwaters.









    Yesterday was a pleasant trip over from Santa Barbara, we got underway at 2AM with Jimmy on board and motored out onto the Santa Barbara Channel in a darn near straight line to Avalon some 94 miles away. There is a north-bound current sweeping up the channel, as a result most of the day we were down one knot of speed over the ground. In the mid-morning a southeasterly wind filled in and we sailed for an hour until we got headed 50 degrees and the wind dropped off, so away went the sails and back on went the motor.

    The stuffing box flax needs replacing, it still leaks more than it should, and I will do another round of mini-bilge pumping this morning.

    After arrival last night we made up some mini-quiches and mini-pizza things in the stove, ate them, set up the dinghy and made a quick tour of the small town. It's actually rather nice, and the original Tuna Club is still standing - that's a bit of history for the place.

    Kristen is on the 8:30AM ferry coming over from Long Beach, so we are quite looking forward to her arrival. She just drove down from San Francisco, so I wager she will be somewhat tired upon arrival. But Avalon is not a bad place to wake up, sunny, warm (t-shirt weather).




    The Casino, now fixed up as a theater, movie house, and I believe there is still a museum in the ground floor.

    Enjoy!
    - rob

    http://tbeetle.wordpress.com/2013/11...talina-island/
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Sunday Morning on the Mooring



    All the moorings that I am aware of (at least in Avalon) are privately owned, and the one we are on is no. 142 for boat La Vita Dura. And it's available for sale, according to the list maintained by the harbor patrol. For a mere $530,000. At a daily rate of $39, we worked it out would take 37 years of being here every single day to break even on the mooring. It must mean that the owner both has an incredible amount of money, and a great desire to never be told that there is no mooring available for him in Avalon! Upshot, we are quite happy to not own the mooring





    Went for a snorkel yesterday in front of the casino, lots of Garibaldi fish (the California State Marine Fish, no less) hanging out in the vertical kelp fronds. The water was a bit chilly at 62 degrees F, but the fish were fun and Kristen to go get wet. Afterwards we washed off in fresh water (nice to have a watermaker on board to make more fresh water as necessary) and it was nice to sit in the sun and warm up like a lizard on his hot rock.




    The three of us went ashore later in the evening in search of Luau Larry's (at the advie of friend Sylvia), and Kristen had a Wiki Wacker which comes complete with straw hat. Also some good food.

    Upshot is that Avalon is being a good place to pause on our way south. Ben Mewes (with Lucie and Charlie the Dog onboard Georgia) just telephoned to say they were around Point Conception and headed straight for San Diego. And Jeanne on Nereida is around these parts as well, it looks like we may all arrange a get-together in San Diego later in the week - that would be fun! Of course these are all Singlehanded TransPac folk, so it might be a mostly anti-social gathering, but at least we could all sit on the same boat and not talk to each other

    Enjoy!

    - rob/beetle


    http://tbeetle.wordpress.com/2013/11...n-the-mooring/
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  7. #7
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    Monday Morning In Avalon

    In this chapter we find that friends have arrived in Avalon and Beetle can stay two additional days:

    This morning the telephone rang and I woke up to answer it in hopes that it was the harbormaster from the Sheraton Marina in San Diego; turns out it was an even better caller: Ben and Lucie on their boat Georgia were ringing up to let us know they were just outside the harbor and coming in; much fun! And shortly afterwards Georgia came into the harbor and picked up the mooring next door.



    The harbor master stopped by to organize Ben's check in, and we discovered that there is a Veteran's Day special for the mooring rates: pay for 2 days, get 5 (continuous) days - a nice surprise! Upshot is Beetle, Jimmy, and I are going to hang two more days and Kristen is going to hop the ferry back to Long Beach this evening.



    Yesterday Kristen and I ran the dinghy up the coast a bit and found a nice spot in shallow water with kelp and sunlight and went for a snorkel. The water is a bit chilly but you can manage about 20 minutes before getting too cold. While doing this it occurred to me that we have the makings of a hookah rig on board: gas-powered generator, 3/4 hp air compressor, and the 60 foot hose and regulator that I normally use for cleaning the boat bottom. We decided to return (today) and try all this out from the dinghy.


    In preparation I charged the battery in the Olympus camera that has a dive housing, and cleaned up the CF card the camera writes to. All checked out ok so far. Here's a bit of what it looks like down in the kelp:





    On the way back from snorkeling we came across 5 or 6 Risso's Porpoise moving slowly back towards Avalon. We moved the dinghy up in front of them and shut off the motor, leaving us drifting quietly as the Risso's approached, then swam directly beneat the dinghy. These are large, slow moving animals, and it was amazing to see them so closely. We do see them periodically out near the Farallone Islands, I did not know they are also down south in the Channel Islands.




    And last night Jimmy cooked up a bang-up dinner of all sorts of things made up into a curry, and then we headed in to town to the Marlin Club, apparently it's the good dive bar in town and sports a small pool table. We met up a couple of other folks in from their boats and had a pleasant couple of games of doubles on the table.





    And now it's Monday morning, we've changed plans to stay here in Avalon until Wednesday morning - at which time Beetle will head for San Diego. Ben and Lucie have just come in from off the ocean (they departed San Francisco Friday afternoon, arriving here in Avalon this morning around 7:30AM). I made up a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and turkey bacon, Ben and Lucie and Charlie (their dog) brought coffee, and we sat around and swapped stories for a bit.

    Now it's off to the ferry building to see about getting Kristen a ticket on this evening's boat, and Ben would like to use the dinghy to get Charlie ashore.

    And Kristen is sometimes hard at work (literally - she's online doing work work using an external keyboard and her ipad working remotely from Avalon through Beetle's local MiFi unit)
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  8. #8
    Good on them! Looks like they are doing it right!

  9. #9
    Ben and Lucie are my heroes.

  10. #10
    I didn't know Rob was keeping this going until now!! I'll be watching!

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