Mustang Sally
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These are the chronicles of the sailing ship Mustang Sally a blue water catamaran.  Rae and Sharon Simpson are circumnavigating the planet aboard.  Rae and Sharon departed White Rock,  British Columbia,  Canada - from Semiahmoo Marina on June 1, 2005.  Their updated itinerary can be viewed by clicking here.  You can reach Rae or Sharon by email.


San Diego - What a Great Place

September 30 and we are still here in San Diego.  We are delayed waiting for parts for the windlass.  (the machine that lifts up the anchor and chain).  Get this - we are two Canadians waiting on a Japanese manufactured bearing,  used in an Italian gear box, distributed by an American company for a French boat. 

Gotta love globalization!

So check out the solar phenomena in the sky over San Diego.  We have been trying to find out what it might be.  If you have any ideas let us know. 

The picture at the right was taken with my HP707 digital camera.  The picture was taken at dusk.  The silvery gold is a cloud or fog rolling over the hill.  The dark green patches at the bottom are trees below the fog.  Dark blue is the sky. 

What the heck is the rest?  You can click on the picture to expose a high resolution copy.

It took me about 15 minutes to convince the camera to take the picture.  It closely mirrors what we saw in the sky over Point Loma.

The best account came from my brother George:  - "cirrus cloud formations are the most likely explanation. These high clouds composed of ice particles are the very wispy ones you see on a clear day. They can catch and reflect the sun's light towards you after sunset. If this explanation is on the right lines, it looks like there might have been two layers each acting like a lens - the image of the sun is turned into ovals by being out of focus; you can do this with a magnifying glass."  

We are getting some boat jobs done and preparing for cruising in less developed countries but mostly we are taking our time and enjoying this beautiful city.  We even had fun trip while tending to the Mexican embassy and department of fisheries for permits and visas .

We spent the first week at South Western Yacht Club.   Very nice location - high end.  We hooked up with some interesting boaters.  George and Lyn on Tranquilo.   What a fine yacht George and Lyn built.  George lamented that they spent so much time building that they never had time to travel before they got too old. 

George and Lyn still enjoy life and are spry enough to get around and to tell some good stories.  We enjoyed their hospitality and some lazy warm evenings talking boating and savoring hors de oeuvres and the odd libation.

We were honored to meet Mike and Chris Eldon and daughter aboard Chinook - a 44ish foot Tiara.  We joined them for an afternoon cruise to Coronado where we hung out at the elaborate "Del" hotel. 


We were moored at the San Diego harbour police dock for ten days where we hooked up with some Blue Water cruisers from British Columbia.  Terry Pope aboard Southern Wind arrived in San Diego after an offshore passage. 

BCA members aboard Maestra Del Mar arrived safely after an 18 day passage direct from Bella Bella. It has been a pleasure getting to know Rod, Charlotte, Morgan and Kerry.

The police dock is a modest facility located at the entrance to Shelter island.  Our best pictures of San Diego were taken there.  Click here to view. 

Alas,  after 10 days they boot you off the police dock.  So now we are at the beautiful La Playa anchorage.  This anchorage is tucked between Southwestern Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club.  This is "weekend only" anchorage in this highly regulated area.  If our windlass parts don't come Monday, we will scoot up to the harbour at Coronado.

Such is the life of a "transient" boater in San Diego.  You might be amused by the song I wrote to commemorate the Diego Dock Dance.  Its got kind of a Latino up beat rhythm.


Santa Catalina - Divers Paradise and So Cal Boating Meca

On September 8th we left Marina del Rey and had a pleasant 30 mile sail to Two Harbors on Catalina Island.  Motor sailing south under clear skies and a gentle breeze it was a beautiful day.  We were making water and charging the batteries while we sailed.  The breeze built in the afternoon to 10 then 15 knots and we could shut the twin diesels down.  We had a glorious sail south over smooth waters making a steady 7-8 knots. 

We planned this trip to avoid the long weekend holiday crowds.  But it didn't much matter as by Saturday, Catalina was busier than any resort Island we have ever visited. 

Nevertheless it was great fun, very beautiful and  a taste of tropical cruising.  You can see some of the beauty in the two pictures left and right. 

These were taken from the boat where we were anchored in Little Fisherman's Cove which is within Isthmus Cove at Two Harbors.  We anchored in 12 feet of water 50 feet from the beach and 20 feet from a cliff.

We had some fun doing a couple of marine rescues while anchored here.  One rescue involved a seal with a fishing line around his jaw, and the other a boater who fouled his prop trying to stern anchor.

We solved the rice krispy crunch mystery after a couple of miss-starts.  Experienced cruisers may already be aware of this situation but it drove me nearly crazy for a few days.  New cruisers may appreciate knowing what the heck those snap crackle pop sounds are.


Three fires broke out at Isthmus Cove on the weekend destroying two boats and damaging some property on land.  Catalina's fire department was very quick to respond and get the fires under control,  but unfortunately, boat fires move quickly.  No one was killed although one mariner suffered significant burns while trying to stop the fire on his boat. 

It was reported that this was the worst weekend ever for fires at Catalina. 

On a more positive note,  the scuba diving, snorkeling and dive sites are incredible.  I did two scuba dives, one at Emerald Cove and the other off Bird Rock.  The kelp forest, the marine life, the crystal clear water,  the 50-60 foot visibility all work to make diving on Catalina - awesome!

I also found time to finish my Baja Hurricane study.  I looked at the last 10 years of storms and used that data to try and estimate storm likelihood as this season peaks in September and winds down in October.

For a slide show of Santa Catalina Island, Click here.

Farewell fair Catalina.  Your treasures abound. 


Marina Del Rey, Venice and Santa Monica

On September 4th, in the middle of the Labour day holiday weekend, we sailed into the largest man made marina in the world.  This after a couple of days at the very secluded Santa Cruz Island.  But - on the labour day weekend - what boating destination in So Cal is secluded?  None, I expect.

Marina Del Rey,  Santa Monica and Venice are the opposite of secluded.  Happening places with boats, festivals, celebrations,  shopping, surf and surfers, music, beaches, noise and fun.  Friends Roger and Alice from White Rock drop in to enjoy the mayhem.   It is a wild and unexpected treat as the gears of our  career oriented, time sensitive friends somehow mesh nicely with our time insensitive lifestyle.

We tour the beaches where the famous Bay Watch TV show was filmed.  We watch the surfers ride the waves.  Shopping,  swimming, and body surfing round out the weekend. 

At the end of Santa Monica Pier, a guitarist lays down his bluesy tunes while we watch the world of Santa Monica go by.  Santa Monica walks, sails and rolls on by as the California sun sizzles and the light sea breeze cools - each in perfect harmony with the other.  

Click here for a slide show of the Santa Monica, Venice and Marina Del Rey.


Santa Cruz Island

The diving around this secluded marine sanctuary is awesome.  We spent a couple of days of the Labour day weekend there.  Just 25 miles south of Ventura is a divers and boaters paradise to rival our Gulf and San Juan Islands.

Crystal clear coves with great soaring 10 feet thick kelp trees that calm the waves.  Hundreds of sub tropical fish dash in and out of the rocks as you approach.  I've left the wet suit on Sally and dive in my skin for an hour or so while Sharon tends the dingy and gazes down through the clear waters.  With visibility reaching 30 and 40 feet this is excellent diving.  Unfortunately my underwater camera flooded and I got no pics!

The Santa Cruz Yacht Club had planned a weekend expedition to Prisoners Cove where Mustang Sally is anchored.  We meet some of our new acquaintances from the club.  Two of the boats will join us in Mexico later this winter.

After leaving Santa Cruz we sail close by the beautiful and much photographed Anacapa Islands.  Some of the breath taking scenery can be seen by clicking here.


Ventura Ventures

We really enjoyed Ventura and the hospitality offered by its number one yacht club. The Ventura Yacht Club offers up to three free days reciprocal moorage to almost anyone who can produce something resembling a yacht club membership card.  The club members enjoy meeting new people and the cruisers who are passing through the area.  Folks like Rick and Suzie McWilliams, Ed and Barb, Una & Herb and many others were wonderful hosts,  putting on a pot luck,  offering us help with our trials,  rides to town and lots of good advice on traveling in Mexico.

Ventura is a cool surfer town.  The locals say it is the 'sticks' - but to Canucks from small town White Rock it feels pretty good.  Great beaches,  fantastic surf,  nice people - friendly small town USA.  Click here and here to see a couple of surfing clips.

Would be great to stay a month or two next time and really learn to surf.  Ahhh,  so many beautiful places,  so little time.

We came across an interesting new way to water ski while anchored just in side the outer breakwater at Ventura.  Check out the pictures here.  These guys were cool and not very intrusive.   The jet skiers are fun to watch for a while,  but occasionally we got some turkey who would just go round and round and round the boat.  Drove me nuts arrrrgh!

Drug Running in the USA

Have Rae and Sharon turned to a life a drugs and depravity?   Well,  yes and no.  We are learning the challenges of importing prescription drugs from Canada to USA.  Apparently it is perfectly legal to do from corporation to corporation,  but drug store to individual - is frowned upon.  Click here if you are interested in the whole story.


Rounding Point Conception

The rounding of Point Conception - so called "Horn of West Coast North America" was carefully planned and went without a worry on August 13, 2005.  The seas were threatening but remained fairly calm and the rounding was uneventful.  Our last rounding of this Point in May of 2000 was a totally different story.  You can read that story here.

The reasons why things went so much better this time are better planning, more experienced crew and most importantly we were traveling with the prevailing wind and current.  Last time the winds and current were against us.
After rounding Point Conception we tucked into the anchorage at Point Cojo. The picture on the left is looking north and on the right looking east.

Once past Point Conception, the land falls away mostly to the east instead of south for a couple of hundred miles.  The Channel Islands , 25 miles off shore break up the big Pacific winds and waves. The ocean changes from the brisk and vigorous North Pacific weather toward a soft tropical flair.  There is a noticeable rise in air and water temperature.  Palm trees appear in abundance.  Flannelette sheets and woolies are packed away.  Temperate climate - begone!  Hello sub-tropics.
Onwards to our explorations of Santa Barbara.  Ah - Santa Barbara,  that fairest of all the fair cities in Southern California.  We came for a day, we stayed for a week.

The town planners and architects are commended.  Retaining the Spanish flavor and low building profiles seems to have been a priority giving the city a soft Mediterranean feel.  Residential districts roll over the foothills surrounded by thick gardens and parks.  Modern day palaces dot the hill tops side by side with more modest abodes.  The cities outskirts are surrounded by numerous 'ranches'.  The ranches are really private tropical parks complete with splendorous villa's.

Click here for a virtual tour.  We think you will agree that the town is indeed one of North America's most beautiful.

We anchored Mustang Sally just east of Stearns' Pier.  You might be interested to know how we get around for our outings on the town.  We use the dingy as our car to get from the Mustang Sally to shore.  All groceries and supplies must be carried to the boat in the dingy. 

Stearns' Pier is about 30 feet above the water.  If you want,  Sharon will demonstrate getting to and from the dingy from the pier.  Click here to see how its done.

We had a great time living and loving life in Santa Barbara.  The fog would burn off around noon and afternoons were sunny and pleasant.  Each day we could see dolphins and those pesky seals and sea lions swimming about.  More fun pictures of us, boats, and other cool stuff can be found by clicking here

Be sure to ask Sharon about crossing wits with the sea lions of Santa Barbara the next time you see her.



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