Category Archives: Adventures

Spearfishing in Catalina

My first ever sighting of a Lobster in California. Roy spotted this little guy right here in Emerald Bay.  This area is a refuge, I wish we had seen more of them.


The kelp is beautiful swaying its golden leaves with the surge. Kelp is found in cold coastal water.  The closer to the poles the more it thrives.  So, to see us snorkeling in kelp means we are COLD.


The water is as clear and colorful as the Bahamas.


It’s is amazing how much life is under the water right here under the boats.  The bay had a thriving community of these shovel nose guitar fish from the shark family.


The cow nose ray reminded us of the Sea of Cortez and the Bahamas where we saw plenty of these rays.


Catalina is our first attempt at spear fishing in California.  Whenever Roy fishes in a new region he pours over his fish identification books looking for just the right one for lunch.  The Kelp Bass, sometimes called Calico Bass is abundant around here.  We see plenty of small bass, less than 12″, but Roy’s keen eye and great bottom time lets him sink to the bottom and look for the prize camouflaged among the weeds and kelp.


This weekend is also for Topaz. She swam and swam, jumped and leaped, paddled and dunked her head in to retrieve her collar.  All day, over and over, Topaz tired herself out until she finally curled up in her favorite spot to sleep. Topaz prefers Catalina over Newport Harbor because the water is so clear and she can see the fish.  If we ever got a swimming pool, we would have to project fish in the water to make the pool more interesting.


Roy wouldn’t see the point of spending an entire weekend on the boat if he couldn’t fish both days.


Our pal Jeff from Tres Estrellas, we cruised with him and his wife Lisa in Mexico in 1997,  works here on harbor patrol.  Jeff showed us around some of his favorite fishing spots.


The Garibaldi damsel fish is protected and California’s state fish.  They live along rocky coastal reefs and depths up to 100 feet.


Eric is deathly afraid to see Roy pop out of the water with one of these guys on his spear, but Roy said not to worry.  I guess it would be hard to mistaken anything in the water around here for one of these bright orange fish.


It is so nice to hunt in water clear enough to see down 15 or more feet.  We had problems with visibility a few times in Mexico and all the fish were safe from our frying pan on those days. Roy spotted a Kelp bass and went down to take his shot when he spotted a bigger one hiding in the weeds.


The last one wasn’t quite so big, but still made it to lunch. Thanks Jeff for showing us around.


According to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium the juvenile  Garibaldi is allowed to share the territorial adult’s space as long as it has blue spots.  I noticed the smaller the fish, the more spots it has.  Juvenile’s retain these spots for 6-7 years, Wowsie. A Garibaldi can live 12 years, I’m thinking that’s pretty old for a fish.  It’s a good thing they aren’t a good eating bass that isn’t protected from guys like Roy.


Snorkeling in the Bay was like swimming in an aquarium.  The water is in the low 70′s which the locals think is like bath water, but we’re used to the warm water in the Bahamas.  I guess we’re lucky to be living in this cold water, it is resistant to hurricanes like Joaquin which is currently ravaging our favorite islands in the Bahamas.


Jeff put Tres Estrellas on the mooring next to us while he dove and had a fish lunch with us.  Then at noon, he moved his boat back down the cove he was due to patrol and we untied our lines and headed back to Newport.  It was a great time, looking forward to our next trip to Catalina.




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Enjoying “The Land of Plenty”

Do the Bahamians have dozens of major theme parks  within 200 miles of each other. How about several stores selling several brands and models of refrigerators, or maybe stores that sell couches on one side and watermelons on the other.  I don’t think so.  There, you are lucky if the fruit isn’t over ripe and the chicken package doesn’t include feet. All the other countries in the Caribbean and Central America have similar situations.

But, now were back in the land of plenty and as soon as the major projects were complete we were off to Disneyland.

Eric and the sisters had a regular routine of checking out all their old favorites one evening a week. It has been really hot, so evening was a great time to walk down Main St. Disneyland. Marie got to drive the Mark Twain, one of their dream experiences.

We even have a brick in the entrance plaza that Eric got the year Marie was born which happened to be Disneyland’s 50th anniversary.

Oh, yes, the long awaited health insurance cards were finally in.  While we were gone the new health insurance laws went into effect and we could no longer afford to pay for full coverage on our own.  Under California’s subsidized plans we could only get covered treatment in California, which would have been crazy to bring the whole crew across the USA for a dental cleaning, so we paid out of pocket.  Now we’re back with our old dentists and doctors and everything is covered thanks to Eric’s employer. Everyone got a full set of xrays, cleaning, checkups, Marie had a pesky baby tooth removed, Roy got braces and Genny is awaiting a bite correcting device.  Everyone had physicals and eye appointments.  The good news is that we’re still healthy.

Then there are the long awaited birthday parties with friends.  Our Pal Elena just turned 13 and the sisters went to her ice skating party.

Remember that couch I told you about.  Here is the latest Costco special.  This couch is so huge that 5 of it’s pieces span the length of our living room and the last two pieces attach to the ends for a place to stretch your legs out.  We also got new lights and a computer for the TV.  The great thing about having the computer displayed on the TV across the room is that I don’t need to wear my reading glasses with it so far away.

No that’s not all, we also got a refrigerator.  Like the couch it was on super extra sale!

It’s nice to have ice and water in the door and a brightly lit organized display of our food. If I can’t make dinner with a view of tropical islands, at least I can have nice appliances here.

These are all things that we let go for the last decade while we were preparing for our trip.  Now the fun is over and back to pinching pennies while we save up for the next trip.  Notice the count down posted on the side bar to the right of this page.  Eric says it makes him feel better knowing that everyday it goes down by one.

Topaz is bored, bored, bored, while the rest of us are busy, busy, busy.  The first few weeks of school I was overwhelmed, disorganized and confused.  Most homeschoolers in Southern California don’t sit at their kitchen table with a stack of subjects everyday.  Here homeschooling is more like education management.  We have a full schedule of carefully selected classes with highly recommended teachers.

All of our classes are on Tuesday and Thursday and Marie also has piano on Wednesday and a Minecraft class on Friday.  Their writing classes are at the Sea Scout Base overlooking Alamitos Bay in Long Beach and the rest of the classes are in Huntington Beach.

We look forward to our days off from classes so we can get caught up on our work.  We even work on homework in the evening, so don’t think homeschoolers are spending the day goofing off.  This is Roy’s freshman year and he’s taking English 9, a Literature/Writing class, High School Chemistry, HS Spanish, CBS bible study with the rest of us, and he and I attack Geometry together.  The sisters have similar schedules with an Art/History class instead of Chemistry.

We’re happy to have all the conveniences of life on land, but payment for that is the stress of schedules.  We miss living in nature with the wind, water, sky and stars.  We did get to rush down to our crowed coastal beaches to watch the recent lunar eclipse. The evening reminded me of our last night with friends in Bahama’s Ragged Islands. We all met at the beach after dark and the kids each presented a star.  This was such a special time, I can’t believe it’s over. Oh well, on to new adventures, right?

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Labor Day 2015

Labor Day weekend at our cabin is full of traditions that go back, maybe 30 years or more.  We’ve been cabin owners there for 20 years and Eric had been going up for at least 10 years more than that when he went to high school with friends who have a cabin up there.  Many of the owners have been there longer than that, they grew up there as kids and are now grandparents with plenty of stories to tell about our neighborhood.

One of the neighbors has babies and puppies.  Our kids could have move in over there.  I couldn’t get the kids to leave.  They just kept picking up these chubby little pooches and cuddling.

Our neighbors and pals in Cypress bought the cabin across the street from us just before we left.  For the past three years they remodeled, fixed up and cleaned up their old place while staying in our cabin and taking care of maintenance and fixing minor disasters. Its so nice to have them for making future memories to reminisce about.

See this adorable baby, she and her brother live with the puppies.  Marie was in heaven with them.

Our neighborhood gatherings revolve around our shared roads and water system.  Labor Day weekend we have our association meeting and potluck. The local volunteer fire department hosts a pancake breakfast and the disaster preparedness team has a burger and hot dog lunch this weekend as well.  So, the whole weekend is full of food and catching up with friends and neighbors that we haven’t seen in awhile.

The Aanonson’s set up a badminton court behind their house.  The kids had great fun.  I was impressed that they all played by the rules and kept score.

While were were in the Aanonson’s back yard, we had a guest walk through our back yard.

This bear must have smelled out potluck and came to find out if his invitation got lost in the mail or something.

The weather will be changing up there soon.  Eric got a ton of pellets and we sorted out our snow clothes to see what needs to be replaced. I’m looking forward to the weather cooling off.  It can be in the 90s or warmer in Southern California well into October and even past Halloween.

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Boy Scout Sierra Hike

A few weekends back my Scout Troop 555 from Huntington Beach set out to spend the weekend hiking around the Sierra mountains out of Mammoth, CA.  Thirteen boys and leaders plus a handful of day hikers caravaned  to base camp and had one last hot meal before the next four days of dehydrated food and fish.

Our view was amazing.  The mountain peaks with patches of snow towered above us and their reflection  covered the glassy surface of the lakes.

Each day we packed all of our belongings into our packs and followed the trail approximately 5 miles to our next camp.  The spectacular cliffs and stone formations compelled us to seek what was around the next bend.  As always it’s important to stay on the trail, because getting lost in the wilderness is dangerous.

We stopped at three of the many lakes in this area.  In the middle of the summer heat cooking Southern California,  at an altitude in excess of 9,000ft we were huddled in jackets and long underwear and snuggling deep into our sleeping bags at night to keep warm.

All around us there was evidence that we are only guests in the forest.  The land here belongs to the wild life. These bear scratches helped to remind us to clean up our food scraps and keep our snacks safely secured in a bear box.

Ansel Adams Wilderness was named for a famous photographer and environmentalist know for his black and white photographs of western scenery.

Water breaks were also a time for the guys at the front of the line to chat with guys from the back.  After hours hiking in a line it’s nice to see your travel companions.

Just can’t get enough of those views.

Here is a picture of our line of scouts trekking along the path.

The color of the water reminds be of the Bahamas.  No spear fishing today, the water was warmer than the air temperature in the morning but I’m still sure and ice cube could survive until noon here.

Thousand Island Lake was one of the two big lakes we visited, the rest of them were more like large ponds.

The water must come from melting snow accumulated during winter storms.

Around every corner is a photo opportunity.   We went bouldering here, climbing on the rocks and shimming up the cracks. Granite provides great traction.

Ancient Bristlecone Pines are abundant.

Do you think I took this trip for the views or the hiking, how about the camping or delicious dehydrated foods.  No, none of that, I came for the fishing.  I was snoozing with my hood up protecting my fresh haircut from the biting wind when this fish jumped on my line. MMmmmm, he was much tastier than my freeze dried biscuits and gravy.

I caught this little guy with my hands.  He was lucky I wasn’t hungry, so I located him to a bigger pond.  Over the 4 days I caught eleven fish.

A special thanks goes to our leaders Mr. Gartland and Mr. Rothbart for leading us on this hike and all the work they did to prepare us for a great time.

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Makai’s first trip to Catalina

We’re trying to get used to Makai’s new neighborhood.  The moorings are way better than the concrete jungle off in the distance but a far cry from an uninhabited cay in the Bahamas.


Patrick, Julia, PJ and their pup Posie made the 15 mile trip from Long Beach to Newport Beach on their boat.  They probably go here faster by water than freeway because of traffic and parking hold ups.


Genny brought a friend and Grandma Beth came as well. Patrick treated us to a bay cruise past the beautiful houses and boats that line the bay.


Santa Catalina Island is our little touch of cruising.  The water is clear and full of life.


Abalone is a cold water mollusk once considered to be a delicacy in Asia and until its popularity spread through the rest of the world.  This ocean gastropod is now protected with strict fishing regulations. Most of the Abalone consumed today is farmed, but if you want to fish for them yourself you need a license .  The license allows free divers to take no more than 3 per day and 24 per year, they must be taken during the summer season.  Only a few of the abalone can be taken between San Francisco Bay and Mendocino county to the north and the rest of your limit has to come from points north of there.  You know, I would be happy to spring for a farmed abalone some time just to see how it tastes rather than dive in those frigid waters.  I have some friends who remember the good old days of eating abalone all summer until they were sick of it.  This sounds like over fishing, but the decline is also attributed to changing water conditions and pollution. Until then we have the opportunity of spotting the abundance of their return to Catalina.


Today the colors popped out with natures Technicolor. Looking forward to thicker wetsuits and more time with my favorite fishy friends.





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California Science Center

I am so grateful to my friends that entertained my kids and even fed them here and there while I focused myself on house and yard projects this summer.  The California Science Center was our first field trip together.  The kids love the giant lever exhibit in the parking lot that allows them to lift a pickup truck.

We saw an IMAX movie about Jerusalem and how it is divided between the Jews and the Muslims.

The kids love the exhibits on lift and the Wright Bros. plane.

They were newscasters reading from a teleprompter.

There was the ice wall, ecosystems, and the world of life.  More than we could do in one afternoon.

We had tickets to the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit upstairs.

Even though we couldn’t read a word of what was written on the shards of parchment, it was neat to see the word of God the ancient Jews wrote down and stored away in caves for their future generations.

Just before we left for the boat we were here and they were preparing for the Endeavour Space Shuttle to arrive.  On the day it flew in on a 747  we all ran down to the beach to watch it fly over.  The radio and internet broadcasted its current location and the beaches and piers were full of people waiting for its arrival. The Science Center had a cool movie showing the Endeavour making its way through residential neighborhoods on its way from LAX to the museum.  It is special to see the space shuttle here after visiting Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space exhibits in Washington D.C. and NASA Visitor’s Center on Wallops Island, MD.

Where will The United States take us next.

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Yard Project

The back yard is the last of our huge projects for the summer. Over the years we’ve had a giant tree in here, cheap outdoor carpet with a sand box and big plastic play house, stepping stone patio for an outdoor table and chairs, tried to grow a garden, several rounds of sod in the grassy area and most recently, weeds and dirt.

As soon as the yard came to the top of the list I began digging and preparing the grass to be replaced by artificial turf. The instructions said to dig down 3 inches, I did a little deeper because I removed a wooden retaining log from the low end of the yard.  Then I rolled out a 1cm metal screen to discourage gophers and voles, covered everything with black weed deterrent cloth, and then several bags of patio leveling sand.

After leveling and packing we rolled out the turf and pinned it down around the edges, seems and tree roots. Topaz was happy because I’ve been keeping her in the house while the yard was all dirt.

Next I moved all the stepping stones near the house to locations along the fence that were bare dirt waiting for weeds to grow.

Then I began digging again.  By now Southern California was in a two month long heat wave and I could only work until 11am when the sun came over the house and shined down into the yard.  So just before the sun came up I would start digging and leveling deck foundation blocks and the frame.

Twice we hauled away 1.5 tons of dirt from the yard.  The kids did a great job helping with this hot and dirty task.  One morning I told Eric I was uncomfortable driving the trailer (the first one was bigger than this one) to the dump which was about 15 miles away, so he helped us at 5:30am before work.  Yeow, we all, including the car, stunk like the dump for the rest of the day.

No matter what chores have to be done, there is always time to cuddle and schmoogle on Topaz.

Roy requested we buy this Bird of Paradise plant when he was just a tyke.  He liked the huge plants at Disneyland.

Eric got us started with the frame.  We used treated wood and dug trenches for the boards which were below the level ground.

With the frame built it was time to get the recycled plastic decking.  At first we thought we would like the red wood, but then after changing our mind on the fastening system we found that the grey was going to work out better for us.  The biggest problem is that it only came in 16 foot boards.  Brian happened to be visiting with his motor home so I roped him into helping me return the 8′ boards the kids and I stuffed into my jeep and then load 16′ boards into his motor home. After work Eric got us started on installing the fastener clips and boards then the next morning Brian and I finished up.

Within minutes of Eric fitting the final boards around the sewer drain, air conditioning and up against the house, I showed up with furniture.  Presto, instant backyard patio. For the next month heatwave kicked it up a knotch and  even extra umbrellas didn’t help the unbearable heat.  Now, in October, the weather has cooled and the patio is comfortable to lounge and dine in the evenings.

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Cabin Cleanup

One of the delays on these blog posts is because I’ve not been satisfied with the photos of our projects.  We’re all dirty and busy and don’t have a chance to get a picture that tells the whole story.  The cabin cleanup started with protecting the wood on the new patio’s floor.  When we bought the cabin 20 years ago this porch had a roof, a warped plywood floor, shaky stairs and banisters.  One year we stapled screens up to keep the bugs out, but the dust and pollen would coat anything out there and it wasn’t worth it to spend the weekend cleaning up.  Just before we left on our boating adventure we had our friend Jack rebuild and enclose the space.  At the time all funds were being directed to the trip so we never finished off the interior.

The floor was labor intensive but the cost of the project was that of two cans of floor Varathane.

The girls and I went to the cabin on Friday morning and emptied the furniture off the porch.  Then I cleaned up the belt sander and got to work.

Marie said I spent 5 or 6 hours out there sanding off the green construction lines.  Oh, it was horrible.  By the end of the day my brain was rattled and despite the mask and goggles sanding dust was everywhere on me.

The girls occupied themselves by dressing poor little Topaz up in hats from my grandmother’s bureau.

The dust covered the walls and ceiling as well as the cob webs.

At the end of the day I was ready for a treat so we went down the hill to Red Robin.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a giant, gooey, drippy cheeseburger.  It sure hit the spot.  Crazy Marie had Mac and Cheese, that’s all she every eats.

The next morning I cleaned up the dust and applied the Varathane with a mop like applicator.  Four coats gave the floor the feel of a solid sheet of plastic. The next week Roy and Genny went out to help a neighbor with yard work and Marie helped me put all the furniture back on the porch.  Marie did a great job helping to reassemble the bunk beds from her room in Cypress out there.

The next thing to remove is our old piano.  Roy and I removed all the pieces we could unscrew and then tried to pull it away from the wall to disassemble from the back.  It was so heavy we could barely move it a few inches.

When there were no pieces left to remove and it was still to heavy to move we called in Eric for a consultation. In the end we cut all the strings to access the iron frame inside.  Eric and I carted it out behind the wood pile with the help of a skateboard. The rest of the cabinet was equally heavy.  Just about when we got it wedged in the kitchen door way, Mike and Jason showed up and were drafted to help get the job finished.

Next I had my eye on this fiberglass picnic table that has been on our patio since before we bought the cabin.  I have repainted it several times, but this time Genny was paint shopping with me and she selected blue.

My poor Jeep has been a work horse all summer.  After sitting up in the mountains all those months we were gone, it had several mechanical failures.  Luckily Eric the master mechanic and Jeep lover has been able to keep us on the road. So far my Jeep has gotten new tires, air conditioner servicing, rear hatch support struts, a hard to reach sensor, and today the Jeep is requesting a new radiator.  Roy, Tyler and I spent the day shopping for Roy’s back packing equipment and the Jeep couldn’t handle the heat and climb back up the mountain. We overheated just before the hairpin turn at Forest Falls, AAA towed me the rest of the way and Eric came back a few days later with a new radiator to get us back on the road.

We love guests and our pal Brian came to visit just in time for adventures to the dump.  We had some trash to get rid of including the old couches from our living room.  I covered these old couches twenty years ago to cover up the stuffing that was popping out.  Now the covers are thread bare and just needed to be retired.  So we piled everything in the trailer and headed out to the land fill.

Roy noticed other couches, an exercise trampoline and a cake in a box.  Luckily we had a “no shopping” rule here and nothing came home with us. I was surprised to see wild burros on the road.  They are beautiful little animals.

Now its time to relax and think about what the next project will be.  I have an idea for daybeds to replace the couches.  So far all I have is the mattresses, but I’m confident one day I’ll toddle off to Home Depot and come back with a load of wood to rout and sand to make custom couches with the twin mattresses.

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Where should I start?

The moment our feet hit the land we have been busy busy busy.  Looking back at the calendar I see that we’ve been home for 2 months and this is my first post.  We departed just before dark on an overnight trip from San Diego to Newport Beach.  Passing Mission Bay we saw the fireworks at Sea World and arrived at the entrance to Newport Harbor at first light.  I think that we all enjoyed passages because it was a time of rest from all the chores as well as fun activities life in port had to offer.

We called Krista to come pick Eric up and take him to the car we borrowed from his mother.  Meanwhile the kids and I piled our necessary items up in the cockpit.  I went in for a nap after talking to the teacher in charge of our family at our new homeschool charter school. Oh my, the beginning of schedules and responsibilities.

The Aanonson family had spent some time a few days ago straightening up our house.  Krista filled our refrigerator and left us with a crockpot and a casserole and this was perfect as we had to immediately get started on sorting things out. We spent the rest of the day unpacking everything we stored away in the sisters’ room, rearranging beds so everyone had a place to sleep that first night, and making plans for upcoming projects.


Before we could complete the first task, we had to go up to our cabin in Angelus Oaks and retrieve our cars.  So the very next day up to 5800′ to see what the spiders and mice left behind for us.  Lucky for us, the Aanonson family had been there too!

The place was neat as a pin and looked much bigger than I remembered.  Maybe its because before we left we took a good look at all the kid items and passed them on, donated, and threw away what we thought we wouldn’t be interested in when our kids returned.

Topaz found her pillow bed and grunted a sad sigh thinking about her days swimming off the back of Makai and running along the beach chasing fish.  It took two days to make trips to Costco for new batteries, AAA’s DMV service to get temporary registrations, the SMOG check place for inspections, and the car wash to scrub away the years of pollen and dust.  Finally we had two street legal vehicles to take back.

By day three we were back on the boat moving more of our belonging off, securing lines and setting up fencing and other deterrents for the birds looking for a perch and harbor seals that like nap on the boats.  To try to make us feel better about Makai’s new home we went to the nearby amusement pier for ice cream.

By Monday morning Eric was off to the office and I started on the projects that we had been discussing for weeks and months leading up to our return.  First, we had to empty the bedroom we stored all of our possessions in while we were gone.  Grandma Beth spent the winters here when it got too cold in Colorado and we didn’t want her to have to live with our stuffed animals, exercise machine, books and trinkets. Next was to paint the room.  Before we left I painted all of the other rooms but left this one to be done when it was no longer considered a storage compartment.

That first day with the cars I noticed that my tires had cracks all around the side walls and by the end of the day Eric called to be rescued on the side of the road because his tire split a few blocks from home.  When he went to put the spare on he found out that the lug nuts didn’t line up with the holes on the spare. We were lucky enough to find a tire shop open to switch the tire and rim and as long as we were there Eric went ahead and ordered new tires for both cars.

By the end of the week we were working on the next project.  We all have queen size beds on Makai so the kids and I hatched a plan for queen size loft beds.  The internet offered a hand full of plans to choose from.  Jack is an expert builder and came by with all of his tools to get us started.


By the end of the weekend Roy’s bed was built and prepped, ready for a Varathane clear finish.


The next week was spent getting the loft beds made for the girls.  During the week the kids and collected the wood from Home Depot, had it cut, routed and belt sanded.  Then Eric came and drilled the holes for pre-assembly.


I got the girls involved with the 3 coats of clear Varathane and by the end of the week we were installing the beds in their room.  When we weren’t working on the wood, we were researching and purchasing mattresses.  This was a real headache.  I couldn’t decided where to get them, what time, or how much to spend.  In the end I got cheap 5 inch spring mattresses from Big Lots and put on a nice memory foam topper.


There wasn’t much time for breaks, but we tried to have fun too.  The kids discovered slurpy refills from 7-11. Just like life before we left on our adventure, the Mears and Aanonson kids were inseparable.


We had summer passes to a trampoline place in the mall. Besides trampolines they had foam pits.

And bull riding.

All of our favorite stores are in this mall as well as Walmart.  They have the best deals on bicycles which Roy was in need of.

We also joined Grandma Beth in upgrading our iPhone 4 to the new iPhone 6 plus.

The list of errands was long, but we worked our way through them.

On  another day off we all went to Makai for the afternoon.  Visiting the boat has become a real challenge.  First, we have to have a way to get out to the mooring.  Eric found paddle boards to be a little more civilized than laying in the water and paddling a surfboard back and forth.  Now he keep a paddle board in the garage which can be transported to the bay on top of the Jeep.  From there he paddles out to Makai, unlocks every thing, rolls up the fencing to keep the seal off, lowers the dinghy and comes for the rest of us while I cruise the neighborhood looking for a parking space for the car. Once we get to Makai, we have to start up the watermaker and then wash the pollution dirt off the decks, pull the cockpit cushions out of the salon, defrost the freezer, and unpack.  Whew, are you tired yet?


In the end we get to have guests, Topaz swims, and we can enjoy water sports in Newport Bay.


The Gough family came down from Long Beach in their boat for the afternoon.  Grandma Beth was still visiting with us and we all went on a little harbor cruise for the afternoon.


It was a great day, but we had to get back to work.  Now that the loft beds are complete, the kids need workstations because school this year is going to be more challenging than they’ve experienced so far and their own private work spaces sounds like a good idea.  We made our first trip to Ikea and after being in rural Mexico, Central America, and the Bahamian Islands for the last 9 months, Ikea was just too overwhelming.  After a walk through we left and decided to think about what we saw, shop around a little more and then go back.

They each selected a desk and a chair.  We loaded them onto the car’s roof rack and each kid got out the instruction booklets and began assembly.

Ikea does a great job with their assembly instructions.

Everyone enjoyed assembling their work stations.

Now, like on Makai, they are all very happy to disappear into their own little spaces.

Roy always had his own room, but the girls had to share.  For years they would put book cases up to separate the room in attempt to have their own personal space.  Now they each have a queen size bed and a room underneath it to decorate as they wish.

This year Ikea only offered us two choices in furniture color.  Roy and Genny chose the dark brown/black.

Marie chose white. We shopped around for lights, fans and accessories for their new living spaces.


We have to give thanks to the grandparents for all their help and gifts that helped us get back on our feet on land.

These projects are only the beginning.  I have several more posts lined up, so stay tuned.



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Last passage to U.S.A.

“The Baja Bash” is what everyone calls this trip north, but it is anything but that this week.  Other than a few afternoons, the trip has been calm with flat seas and light winds.  This seal is laying on the surface warming his fins.


One over night passage north from Magdelana Bay is Bahia San Juanico, surfers know it as Scorpion Bay.


On one side of the bay the fishing pangas blast through the surf to go out and check their traps and nets and the other side is covered with gringo surfers camping along the bluffs and parking on the beach. We had the best camp spot, just out beyond the surf line.  I love traveling on Makai, the scenery changes but our home remains the same. We have the same comfy beds, nice warm shower, a refrigerator full of snacks, plenty of water, and movies in the evening.  I’m so glad I’m not camping in the dirt.


The kids quickly got the hang of catching the little waves near the beach.  One day wasn’t enough, so we stayed a second and a third.


The town consists of a grid of dirt roads, a few small tiendas, hotels for surfers, a restaurant and a campground.


Eric, Marie and I went to town for a few supplies and found out no one remembered the pesos.  Marie had a U.S. $20 which we were able to use in a store and got enough pesos for change to buy a few drinks and chips and salsa.  Perros everywhere.  This little guy lives at there the restaurant.


We look pretty far away from the bluff at the campground, but you can see the waves rolling in.


Over the years we’ve had plenty of great days at the beach, today was another one.  Besides surfing, we drew pictures in the sand.


And the kids played around.  I think everyone is trying to get as much ‘Cruising’ fun in as we can.


Topaz has been having a great time.  We always tie her to an anchor so she doesn’t have the freedom to explore unsupervised. She tromps this way and then back that way looking for fish or other interesting things in the water.  The only problem is that she always turns to the right and drags her line over the anchor.  In just a few turns she can manage to ball up her line around the anchor and then run around dragging this glob of weight.


I guess we’ve had enough fun, better get going.  Passages have their own routine.  I usually cook a bunch of food up every other day and then everyone fends for themselves.  Eric and I take turns during the night and spend lots of time taking naps and reading during the day.


Topaz is enjoying her last raw hide bone.  She often leaves it on the floor in the cockpit.  A few months ago, Roy came out and accidentally kicked it right out the back and later that day Marie did the same with a new one.  Today Eric did it, but we turned around and went back for it.  Marie rinsed it really good and that must have made it more delicious because Topaz was happy to gnaw on it for awhile.


We departed San Juanico on Monday afternoon and had great conditions until Thursday afternoon when we were a little south of Ensenada.  It was just the usual afternoon wind and waves but we weren’t making any progress, so we spent the next few hours tacking out to the west.  Even though we weren’t pointing towards San Diego, Makai was riding comfortably waiting for evening when the wind and waves usually settle down.


Finally, Friday morning we arrived in San Diego.  On the way up I stared at my phone waiting for Sprint 3G so I could make phone calls and text my friends.  Yippee, Hello Krista, Karen, Tara, Mom, and Jim!  The Point Loma lighthouse greeted us.  This is my favorite lighthouse, I have a picture of it that hung in our old Makai and is now by our back door on land.


The buoys are always a resting place for local seals.  Sometimes they bark, sometimes our dog barks.  Teak used to get all excited when we passed a buoy, barking at the seals.


San Diego is a big military town.  The submarines tie up on the side of the channel, navy ships and aircraft carriers are further down the bay.


After more than a week with out seeing other boats, San Diego harbor’s frenzy of activity really made everyone nervous.


Krista asked me weeks ago if we would be here for the holiday, but we didn’t think we would be in so soon.  When we arrived her family was already here visiting other friends but was getting ready to head back home.  It didn’t take much to convince them to stay for the 4th of July fireworks.


We traipsed around town.  Mexican food for lunch, I might be about taco-ed out for awhile, West Marine to see if they had anything we can’t live without.  Eric didn’t see any critical boat parts but the kids said special sunglasses with mustaches are a critical.  They are good for a picture but were vetoed at the cash register.


Since leaving the Sea of Cortez we’ve been quite chilly.  Most days the sun only comes out for an hour or two and if it’s breezy we need to wear jackets.  Our walking adventure started out chilly, but all of a sudden the sun came out and everyone started to melt.


We spent some time at the launch ramp on Shelter Island watching boats being dropped in and hauled out.  The highlight was this amphibious bus which putts around with an outboard engine and then roars up the ramp and drives down the road.


There are several public grassy areas on Shelter Island.  These green spaces were covered with EZ ups and little parties. It looked like fun, but the thought of dragging all that stuff down to the shore, packing up and driving out after the fireworks doesn’t sound like fun to me.  Once again, Makai come through with the best venue for the day.


After a wonderful dinner of Roy’s Dorado and tri-tip steak we went up on Makai’s hard top for fireworks.  We had six adults, five kids and two dogs up there.


I’ve never seen a fireworks display that features four barges lighting off fireworks all synchronized to music broadcasted on the radio.


After our guest left and the festivities were cleaned up our friend loaned us a car for a little sight seeing.


The first stop was Point Loma and the Cabrillo monument.  This national park has a great view of the city and, our favorite, a movie.  In the movie they followed Cabrillo’s expedition from Barra de Navidad up the Baja and beyond San Diego.  The kids were excited that they mentioned many of the places we visited and the history that we learned about when we visited Mexico. Just beyond the monument is the lighthouse.  It operated in the late 1800s and was eventually decommissioned because it is too high up on the hill.  At this height the clouds and fog often impedes visibility and no one can see the light.


Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery covers the ridge with plain white stones of the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom.  Many of the graves date back to the early years of the California Republic, but by the late 1960s all the spaces for caskets were full.  They still accept cremated remains which reside in walls build throughout the cemetery.


We stopped at the shops on Rosecrans by Midway and Sports Arena for a hair cut.  Marie’s hair has been a major issue.  First of all, our hair is pretty dry and damaged and secondly, she hates to brush it.  That combination results in huge matted messes.  Finally she decided a good cut would solve all of our problems.


The last stop for the day is at Filipe’s Pizza Grotto.  Eric and I used to come here all the time when we lived on old Makai on Harbor Island in the early 1990s.  Ahh those were the days when we could gaze into each other’s eyes over a meatball and fall in love.  Now look at us!


Oh, well, I like the kids too.  Yes the food is great, but the character of the restaurant makes it taste even better.  First you wait in a long straight line through the deli.  We had plenty of time to check out the salted cod, refrigerated meats and cheeses, interesting wine bottles, noodles, oils, sauces and sardines.  Mmmm.


We only have a few days here with a dock and hose to make boat maintenance easier.  Eric got back to work on his computer, the kids quietly hid in their rooms enjoying the internet, and I set out to scrub, and wax the cabin, deck, and cockpit.




Tomorrow is 979 days on the blog’s Adventure Days counter.  That’s the count from the day we drove away and said adios to our friends and the town house we’ve been living in.  Tomorrow morning Krista will come pick Eric up at the shore so he can go retrieve a borrowed car and a new adventure will begin.  We have to put together the house, get our cars on the road, get everyone registered for homeschool classes that will begin next month.  We have a few building projects, painting projects and yard projects.  Then we’ll have the impossible task of visiting and taking care of Makai, our cabin, and the town house without leaving any place neglected or left out.

If you all are still interested in our day to day adventures, stay tuned, I’ll try to post regularly.

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