I believe that what I think and say influences my world. That applies to a sailing aphorism that I now discount:
There are 3 kinds of wind
This trip proved me right. The wind for our April 29 overnight trip to the Los Coronados Islands was perfect. We had wind out of the right direction on both crossings, and it was just the right amount.
We cruised over on a port tack beam reach averaging 6 knots, and beat back on a port tack with boat speeds over 7 knots and apparent wind up to 21 knots.
Cheryl Caleca, Sharon Baker and my 11-year-old daughter, Leah, made up our fantastic crew. Cheryl led the crew for the entire boat set up. The weather was warm, reminding us that summer is close.
We left late morning Saturday. We arrived at 1530. We anchored in 28 feet of water at high tide with 180 feet of Celtic Song’s all-chain rode out.
The swell created a challenge to hoisting the beefy outboard onto the dinghy. Cheryl, Sharon and Leah did a great job despite my anxiety. And Sharon proved to be an first-rate dinghy captain.
TIP: when operating the outboard, begin with the choke all the way out, pull the cord to start, then push the choke in part way. Allow the outboard to warm up before pushing the choke in all the way.
I decided to jump overboard to take pictures of the prop zinc. Water was cold at 64 degrees. But my wet suit, cap and booties made it easy. The current was strong, and the yellow swim line caught me as I floated past.
Part 2: We met in a car wash. Must have been fate.
I met Harry Thompson after church one Sunday afternoon at the car wash while he was working on landscape architectural plans for a client. We talked about gardens for a couple of minutes, and somehow ended up swapping cruising stories and the passion we both felt toward our boats.
That day marked the beginning of our cruising friendship. This weekend Harry and crew were our buddy boat. What great people to have close by.
Harry’s boat, a French-built 47-foot aluminum-hulled Garcia, is named La Danseuse, Harry’s wife, Mora, has also become part of Celtic Song’s core team along with Joe Hoffman and Ken who were crewing on Harry's boat. Sailing builds relationships.
They were great neighbors. Our four-member Celtic Song crew motored over to La Danseuse in the early evening for a fabulous feast of enchiladas, rice and beans cooked and sent along by Joe’s wife, Renee, who must come on one of our trips!
We shared dinner, laughs and stories then topped the evening off with pineapple upside down cake that Cheryl baked and brought along.
Back on Celtic Song, it was early to bed snuggled under a blanket of sparkling stars while our boat gently rocked us to sleep.
So quiet, so dark, only a couple other fishing boats and the Mexican fish farm as neighbors. Sea lions barking and sea birds flying and calling overhead. It always amazes me in this tranquil anchorage that only about 20 NM north is the crazy, crowded, noisy world of mainland San Diego. Travel four short hours, and we could be anchored off a remote Pacific island. It’s a magical transformation.
Next morning with calm seas, Leah and I took the dinghy to another anchorage on middle island where we encountered sea lions that chased, played and jumped around our dinghy. Leah was smiling and shouting with delight.
We weighed anchor at 1130, underway by noon. The winds started out at about 6 knots and gradually increased until, reefed, we heeled over with a 21-knot apparent wind.
Outside the harbor at the Mo”A” bouy, we met up with a Dole container ship and assured them we would give way as we passed within meters.
Dockside by 1530. Celtic Song beamed with delight after a great sail and a complete scrub down.
Some things to note:
Diane Berol is an ocean adventurer and the captain of Celtic Song based in San Diego, CA.