Wednesday, October 16, 2019

San Diego: pelagic not litteral

The sound of nearby snoring woke me just after midnight.  I had reconfigured the interior to harbor mode and was sleeping on the v-berth with the forward hatch open above me.  I smelled fish.  I did not need to look out to know what had happened.

I rolled into the Great Cabin and got dressed.  I had hoped to catch him unaware, but he must have been sleeping lightly for as my upper body emerged above deck, he reared up and snarled at me.  I have arranged to be able to reach and turn on the hose without leaving GANNET, but I did not need to.  As I climbed onto the deck, he gave one more irritated ‘arkk’ and rolled into the water.  He swam around a few yards off for a minute or two and then went elsewhere.

Being awakened by snores is one thing.  Having the beast on the dock when I come back in GANNET would be quite another. There is not a lot of room here and he is considerably bigger than I.  Maybe I need to buy a water pistol.

A few readers have emailed suggestions of places I might use as destinations in Southern California waters.  I have sailed to many of them, though not for fifty years.  I have sailed from San Francisco to San Diego and from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  This last was between my second and third attempts at Cape Horn and one of the few boat deliveries I have ever done. 

As I have noted before, California, like South Africa, has few natural harbors and anchorages.  It also has a lot of regulations.  Southern California does have many marinas, but I have no desire to marina hop.  And all this is beside the point.

Simply as we all know I am pelagic not littoral.  If I were any creature other than human, I would be a wandering albatross.  Not a sea gull.  I am designed to sail across oceans, not beside coasts.  I don’t want land to always be in sight or just over the horizon.  I don’t want always to see four or five boats and ships or at night their lights.  I want land to be a thousand miles away and not to have seen another boat for weeks.  What I am going to do about that I do not yet know.

I know Southern California weather.  I pretty much know the world’s wind patterns, storm seasons, and currents.  San Diego’s weather is among the most consistently good in the world.  The wind is very predominantly from the NW.  I had hoped to sail to windward far enough to set the G2 for a long run back.  It didn’t happen, but I did get a bit farther north than the Yellowbrick track shows.  I was off Camp Pendleton, the Marine base, when I tacked.  Ironically this is the only undeveloped coastal land left in more than two hundred miles from Tijuana, Mexico to the south to past Santa Barbara in the north.

GANNET needs some work.  The pipe berth covers need replacement or repair.  The standing rigging replaced after a circumnavigation, though I see nothing wrong with it.  The jib furling gear inspected.  The masthead anchor light is not working.  The topsides haven’t been painted in six or seven years.  But essentially the little boat is better than ever since I repainted the interior and reorganized stowage.  It was significantly easier to change from harbor mode to passage mode and back this time and I like that the interior is less cluttered and I can with ease find whatever I want.  During our twenty-five hour sail, everything functioned as it should.  Life on GANNET has never been more of a pleasure.

Now if I can just figure out this sailing thing.