On the road to San Diego

The storms have departed Southern California, and today dawned clear and crisp. The high swell has diminished, thunderstorms have vanished with the clouds, leaving behind a smooth rolling ocean and light air – time to head south from Marina del Rey and visit San Diego. I’m bypassing Avalon, on Catalina Island, as there’s no need to hang out in Southern California and I can instead move forward with traveling southwards towards, eventually, Banderas Bay (Puerto Vallarta).

The wind is essentially zero to 5 knots from mostly east-ish and the mainsail is up so it can dry out. The rains we had in Los Angeles were record-setting, at least at the Long Beach Airport: 3.97″ in 24 hours, as well as Los Angeles Airport (right next door to where I was in Marina del Rey) where they had 2.78″. It was definitely a good time to hunker down and keep warm with the heater running. Hey, it’s January – got to expect some cold, eh?

Currently I’m off Long Beach Harbor, which is a huge busy place, lots of cargo ships and traffic. I’m cutting diagonally across the shipping lanes and had a brief conversation with inbound cargo ship Mariner to verify that they were in fact going to follow the lane and turn in towards the harbor while I kept going (across their bow) headed for San Diego. The captain confirmed that they were going to come left to 270 and would pass to my stern. I don’t like cutting across the front of big ships, so it is nice to know what they are planning to do.

There are some mats of kelp out here floating about, some traffic to Avalon (primarily ferry boats, plus one helicopter), and various groups of porpoise moving around, plus groups of birds diving on bait fish in the water where something has driven the baitfish to the surface. Haven’t seen any whales yet; I sort of think I’m in between whale migrations as the Grey Whales should already be in Mexico and thinking about heading north, while the humpback whales are probably out in Hawaii or down in Baja having fun and being warm.

Plan is to arrive in San Diego late tonight, they have guest slips available. The newly-requested USCG Documentation paperwork should be waiting at the FedEx location in Pt. Loma. The USCG used to issue vessel documentation that was good forever, then they started charging $26/year and made all the certificates expire on March 31 of each year. This is annoying as it becomes a problem to get the actual piece of paper in your hands; not necessarily so simple if you don’t have a fixed mailing address for USCG to send it to you. And apparently a scanned and emailed copy is insufficient, as most folks would like to see the original document. So my original document will be waiting for me at Pt. Loma and I should be good for another year. I do not want a repeat of what happened the last time I checked out of Mexico: I did so on March 31, without thinking about the expiration date on the Certificate of Documentation. The Mexico folks pointed this out and said it was a good thing it was doing this today and not the next one.

So all is good here, the Kindle is charging and I’m going to do some reading while Beetle moves south.

– rob

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