Nancy and Sam welcome you aboard Windfall, our 1977 Maple Leaf sailboat. Windfall is a center cockpit design, 42' length, 13.5' wide, and 40,000 lbs of cruising fun!

On August 7th, 2010 we set sail on our "No Itinerary" world cruise and enjoying the "Cruising Life" very much! It's a wonderful adventure!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Catalina Island



Our journey started at San Francisco’s Aquatic Park with raising the anchor in total darkness at 6:30am, then maneuvering Windfall around several swimmers in the water. About 20 swimmers were in the water, some swimmers thankfully had little blinking lights on their swim caps, while others had no lights and were very difficult for us to see as we were trying to aim Windfall out the narrow opening to the bay. Twice we were lined up in the darkness to the narrow channel leading to the bay…twice we were blocked by swimmers crossing our escape. Nancy held the spotlight on swimmers, letting them know we seen them and telling me which way to turn to avoid the unlighted swimmers. With the fog totally encompassing the Golden Gate Bridge (normal for us by now) we sailed under the massive structure for the last time.

Hey Nancy! Wake up! Twenty five miles offshore of Half Moon Bay we spotted Humpback Whales! WOW! These were huge and only a hundred feet from Windfall in the open water as they slowly swam, spouted, and dove into the cold 2000 foot deep water.

We have many dolphins approach Windfall during the day and night. We call out to them and clap our hands in welcomed appreciation as they jump, splash, and playfully put on a show for Nancy and I. The dolphins are so playful, many times we spot 20-30 in a group racing toward Windfall, leaping from the water like it’s a race to be the first to jump Windfall’s wakes left behind.

The water was a bit rough with 5-7’ waves coming directly at us from behind, but Windfall seemed to like the waves as we motorsailed at a brisk 7 knots, and gave us a smooth ride. In fact, Nancy read a book on her new Kindle, which she loves, about the tragic Donner Party...I just hope she’s not copying recipes! Gulp!

I thought for sure Nancy would feel seasick reading and cooking as we sailed, but with the faithful “patch” stuck behind her ear she felt very well the whole trip…including during rough water….I’m very proud of her.

Saturday, at 5:30am, as we were nearing the islands, a Warning to Mariners came blasting on the radio! Warning! Mariners should take to port immediately! A HUGE large electrical storm with lightening shooting to the water, 40 knot winds, and high waves has been reported from Catalina Island and heading Northwest at 20 miles per hour….right for us! Son of a Bit…. HEY NANCY! Wake up! We quickly altered our course 90 degrees away from the storm, and prepared Windfall for heavy seas. Fortunately, the Weather Gods were with us and we missed the storm completely…and had very smooth water to sail. But now, we are behind our schedule to arrive at Catalina Harbor during the daylight hours, and entering an unfamiliar harbor, at night, and with a bit of fog is NOT on our list of fun things to do. Again, the Weather Gods gave us a small break and lifted the fog just 3 miles from the welcomed entrance.

After 62 hours leaving San Francisco, we slowly entered Catalina Harbor seeking just one available buoy for Windfall to tie up to. With spotlight in hand, Nancy slowly searched the darkness for a buoy…and searched… and searched, when finally one lonely and empty buoy was spotted. These buoys have a 4’ tall pole on top with an attached rope connected to two heavy concrete weights secured to the bottom. You tie one end of the rope to the front of your boat, and then lead it to the back where you pull tight and tie it again. This secures your boat front and back and keeps the boat from swinging with the tides and waves...and from bumping into your close neighbor’s million dollar yacht! Whew!

It’s now Sunday, 8 a.m., as I’m sitting in the cockpit, sipping hot coffee, and typing this on the computer. The friendly Harbor Master boat came along side and answered questions of where we pay for the buoy, stores, fuel, etc…Oh, and by the way…Did we know this is Buccaneers Weekend and there was over 3000 “crazy buccaneers” in the little town for the weekend! Uhhhh noooo…no, we didn’t know this. Luckily for us, it’s now Sunday and many “Buccaneers” and boats are leaving the harbor to return to their homeports of Long Beach located on the mainland 30 miles across the water.

Today, we will relax, do some housekeeping, and go to the Harbor Master to pay moorage. Tonight, a nice barbecued dinner with glasses of wine are in store for the “tired crew” of Windfall.

Nancy phoned our friends, Butch and Susan, who are in San Diego and awaiting for us to arrive. We will be sailing the Baja Ha Ha along with Butch and Susan’s boat Valparaiso and 195 other boats signed up for the cruise Ocotber 24th , to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico! Susan told about their adventure today to the Miramar (Top Gun) Airshow… they took a bus, then had to walk a mile to the entrance gate…then another 4 miles to see the airshow! With complete fatigue and sunburned faces they returned with the endless 5 mile walk back to the bus, then returned to their boat where they fell onto the couch in sunburnt exhaustion. Now, I’m not a doctor, but I would strongly prescribe several “coldies” to help relieve the patient’s endless sufferings…of course, these “prescribed coldies” would come from their coolers and not ours!

Well, it’s now the crack of 10:30 and time to muster-up the crew from her well deserved rest and prepare for the day’s chores…tough duty in this beautiful sunny 75° California weather…yeah…we sure do miss that cold, wet, and endless Oregon rain…Ha Ha Ha Ha!
We are in Two Harbors-very laid back and like a Hawaiian village. We spotted a buffalo on the hillside as we were packing up to leave. As we were raising the dinghy motor to secure it to the boat....well, lets just say "someone..who remain nameless (Sam)" forgot to tie the dinghy to the boat! There it went..slowly floating away....we looked at each other (with Nancy giving me "the look") Son of a B! Next thing I know "Super Nancy" is jumping into the 63 degree water to retrieve the runaway dinghy! NO WAY!...Yes! She swam back with dinghy in tow! With a storm coming in we needed to leave soon, so at 6pm we set a course for San Diego....Hey Nancy…toss me another coldie!
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