Now that we are safely moored in the Southwestern Yacht Club in San Diego, follows a complement to my previous post, uploaded in the middle of the night as we were sailing from Cat Harbor.
A weak front was coming up the Baja California peninsula, forecast to reach San Diego on Monday afternoon.
So, with a mix of reluctance and anxiety, I decided to anticipate our departure, in order to reach San Diego before the front did.
The reluctance came from the fact I simply loved Catalina Harbor, and the idea of departing it for good made me a bit blue. The anxiety stemmed from a book that I am reading – Two Years Before the Mast – which provides a sobering report of a Southwest Storm in the channel islands.
The distance we would cover was roughly 100 miles, and we decided to leave at dusk in order to reach San Diego early morning.
So we did. Pesto was untied from the mooring buoys at 5pm, and as soon as we left the harbor we were greeted by a majestic sunset. I glanced back into the harbor one last time, wondering if I will ever come back to this place again, and then pushed Pesto’s throttle forward and set her in full cruising speed.
We turned the island’s Northwestern tip after dark, and were abreast of Avalon by 9pm. From there we made it in the open channel and turned Pesto’s bow straight to San Diego, 80 miles away.
By 10pm-ish Adriana, Roberta and the kids went to bed, and I stayed with the first night watch. Conditions were extremely fair – almost too much to be true. The skies, however, were covered with eerie clouds, and the thoughts of the book’s storm description couldn’t get away from the back of my mind. I spent the watch savoring my anxiety and negotiating with the heavy night traffic coming off of Los Angeles’ ports.
Adriana woke up around 1am and stood watch while I rested. When I relieved her again at 4am, she reported we passed very close to a submarine ! The sky looked less menacing at this point, and by then I felt stronger that we would make it before the front hit. And so, I could enjoy the watch better (as evidenced by my post).
By dawn we were already approaching San Diego. Adriana and Roberta joined me to watch the sun rise, and we also saw 5 whales less than a mile from the coast. Just before entering the channel, we crossed a dense patch of kelp and yet again Pesto’s prop got fouled with it. We made the final 2 or 3 miles limping forward at 5 knots, but made it safely to the marina.
Less than 3 hours after we were docked at the charming Southwestern Yacht Club, a strong Southwest wind blew in the harbor, followed by rain. We had played our weather cards right !
The arrival to San Diego marks the accomplishment of a second major milestone of our journey. The first was when we reached San Francisco, which meant we had covered the most dangerous portion of the West Coast during winter. By getting here now, we have completed the descent of the US west coast – in the last 5 or 6 months we have sailed every inch of it !
We will spend at least 3 weeks here now, preparing for the next step on this journey. More to come. Stay tuned.