Thursday, November 6, 2014

San Diego California

Dawn departure from Catalina Island

We had a wonderful sail from Catalina Island to San Diego sailing all but the first 45 minutes with the wind behind us and building to 25 knots plus we made good progress. Although we left just after dawn we arrived in San Diego just after dark. We squeezed our way into our slip that would be our home for the next month or so whilst we wait for the hurricane season to end in Mexico and to complete some boat projects. 

Our good friend Steve, who has been with us since San Francisco, departed back to Colorado and we settled into some sort of routine.

The Harbor Island West Marina has some good facilities including a swimming pool, hot tub and sauna, all of which we made the most of. Now that we are tied up Jude took the opportunity to recommence her exercise and started walking (very briskly)up and down Harbor Island followed by a swim, hot tub and sauna. Within a few days Jude was joined by some other friends, some we have known for a while and some new friends she has made from the Marina. By the end of the stay I believe there were eight in the group exercising every morning!

Katya recommenced her home school studies and I started on the solar panel installation, which I have been putting off for some time.

San Diego is the congregating point for many cruisers heading south to Mexico and beyond and has a great selection of boating stores and services. DANGEROUS I can tell you. Our budget has been stretched this past month.

I ordered the solar panels, three 240 watt Panasonic high efficiency panels, and started to order all the fittings needed to install them along with the charge controllers and wiring. The project started to turn into a bit of a nightmare as the system got more complicated due to our two sets of house batteries (12v and 24v) which requires us to have two charge controllers and a means to switch the output from the panels to each controller.

Attaching the mounting brackets to the panels

Panel wiring going through the deck. I just hate drilling any hole on the boat especially this size! 

Panels have 3 tilt angles

Panel on the davit

Two charge controllers, breakers and switches

The Marina held their annual Halloween party with Katya and her friend Emily (from Colorado) both excelling with their costumes.

Geri, Paul and Iva

Olga, Sara and Jude

Mike and Jan

Olga, Emily, Katya and Jude

Katya and Emily - with the best costume prize - 1.5ltr bottle of Hornitos Tequila, confiscated naturally. 

With the help of friends and other cruisers we worked our way through the requirements to enter and stay in Mexico, a plethora of paperwork: Tourist Cards, Temporary import permits for the boat, crew lists in triplicate, Mexican liability insurance, Fishing licenses and import restrictions.

As always there are plenty of boat jobs to do, some planned and most not planned. Another bird flew off with our wind instrument – an eagle flew off with it last year – so I had to order another one and climb the mast to replace it – Thanks Geri for the photo! I replaced some more hose on the aft head, repaired a leak in the dinghy, serviced the outboard, adjusted the valve clearances on the main engine and installed a new Weber grill on the pushpit along with new stainless mounting brackets.

Up the mast fixing the wind instrument

Finally all the jobs were complete and it was time to cast off the lines and head across the border to Ensenada Mexico where we would check into customs and clear immigration and complete a host of other paperwork.