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California Cruising: San Francisco to San Diego

Written by Cathy Siegismund
September - October 2000

The month or so we spent in California was full of deadlines and continued projects; although, we managed to visit with friends and family and enjoy some of the more enjoyable stops along the way.

We spent 18 days in Sausalito. I worked out the Onyx SF office and Ken spent a week touring with his Mom and his brother. We did manage some rest in Sausalito between work and entertaining friends and family.

Cath enjoying the hammock at the marina

We managed a couple of trips to Sonoma where we stocked Felicity with good California wine for our trip.

Ledson Winery

Ledson Winery, where we enjoyed tasting and a band and picnic on the grounds.

Ken spent a day out at Yosemite with his Mom and Pete.




We enjoyed the tricky sailing in SF bay. Every afternoon, at least in the early fall, the wind kicks up to 20 or 30 knots at the bay entrance.


SF Bay afternoon sail

Rainsong left Sausalito after a week or so for San Diego as they had family meeting them there. Layla was planning on staying in Sausalito through mid-October. So the trio from Seattle was breaking up until we would meet up again in San Diego. On Saturday, September 30 we left Sausalito for Monterey. It was an 86 mile trip so we left at noon on Saturday for a Sunday morning entrance to Monterey Bay.

Cath at the helm leaving San Francisco Bay

We sailed out of SF Bay fighting some of the flood tide, but about 2 hours outside of the Bay, our wind died and we began to motor sail. In early evening, we were passed by Kaien, a large steel Waterline from British Columbia. We had met Campbell and Nicki and their three children ages 9 - 15 who are out for 3 years of cruising. They are heading to Mexico and the South Pacific and possibly beyond. They are a great couple who we hope we will be able to meet again on our trip and get to know them better.


Kaien passing us on the way to Monterey

We arrived in Monterey Bay just after dawn on a foggy and cool morning. We easily got a slip and Ken, who had again got little sleep, crashed. I cleaned the boat up some, and went exploring. I found a gym/spa near the marina that I took advantage of while we were in Monterey. Later that day we wondered the town and had dinner.

Fisherman's Warf at Monterey

Moorings in Monterey Bay

Ken and I enjoyed relaxing Monterey. We window shopped down Cannery Row, went to the outstanding Aquarium, where you can feed and pet bat rays and see the most amazing jelly fish exhibit. We also attended the weekly street fair/farmers market and saw a movie. We met up with Jason and Tam who after arriving in San Diego had flown back to SF to get their car and had driven it back down the coast. They picked us up in Monterey and we all went to dinner in Carmel.

We again saw Kaien, and Pretty Penny with Bob and Penny, a Passport 42 from Seattle we would end up leap frogging the rest of the way to San Diego.

We had checked email and the weather at a local Internet Cafe. The weather looked good to head for Point Conception - the infamous Cape Horn of the Pacific -- and I had to get to LA to finish up my work with Onyx.

October 13, we fueled up and left Monterey, with the plan of going to Port San Luis Obispo if we needed to wait for a weather window to round Conception or continue on to Santa Barbara. We were going to have 2 nights at sea if we went all the way to Santa Barbara, so we decided to try a religious 4 hours on, 4 hours off watch schedule.

We sailed a bit, but were soon motoring in very light air. By mid-day our second day out we passed Port San Luis in very light air, and decided to press on to Santa Barbara. We passed a small sailboat, Velella from Seattle, we'd seen in Monterey. We'd later meet Wendy and Garth as they are Ha Ha participants.

We had a quiet and uneventful evening rounding of Conception and arrived in Santa Barbara at 3am. It was clear and after navigating all the oil rigs we made a safe night entrance to Santa Barbara.

We spent 2 nights in Santa Barbara --a great town. We had hazy but warm weather most of the time, but enjoyed the Sunday Arts festival and wandered the upscale downtown.

Santa Barbara

We also had a very interesting conversation with Victor Shane, the author of the Drag Device DataBase who came down to Felicity one morning to meet with us. We left Santa Barbara early Monday, October 9 and did a long 70 mile motor through fog and finally a partly clear day to Marina Del Rey. We arrived in the early evening in the massive marina that is home to over 6,000 boats. The transient moorage was nearly empty and we easily got a slip.

The next day I rented a car for a week and headed to work. We stayed in Marina Del Rey from October 7 - 18. It was good to see Rudow and Cindy Bible, co-workers at Onyx. Rudow had Ken and I out to his house for dinner, and another afternoon we took Rudow and Sam out for an afternoon sail. We again met up with Bob and Penny on Pretty Penny as they were moored next to us. I spent each day in the LA office, and Ken took the car and ran errands. He picked up the spare battens Frank had ordered for us, and found an Achilles dealer to trade in our leaking dinghy floor. He also found a machine shop to have the key to our autopilot re-machined. It was a busy week, but we were productive, and finally on Monday, October 16, I concluded my last day at Onyx. And on Tuesday, I shipped all of my equipment back to Onyx and returned our rental car.

Our last Sunday in Marina Del Rey, was Marina Del Rey Day. There was a little fair in the park that surrounds the transient marina. The highlight of the fair was a demonstration by the Coast Guard of a rescue diver jumping and them being retrieved by a helicopter about one hundred yards off our stern.

October 18 we left Marina Del Rey for Catalina. As we had reviewed our growing project list we had to finish prior to leaving on the Ha Ha, we decided to skip Emerald Bay on Catalina and just go to Avalon for one night. We left in a moderate fog, but soon got to sail in a nice 10 -12 knot breeze. As we angled out to Catalina we had to again start the motor and motored to Avalon.

Dusk approach to Catalina Island

We pulled into Avalon right after dark and behind Pretty Penny. We were met by the harbor master in a small launch who collected our money, escorted us to a mooring, and then put the requisite dye tablet in our holding tank - to ensure the continued clean water in Avalon Bay.

We successfully tied up to the double mooring (bow and stern) that allows the town of Avalon to stack boats into the marina like a Costco parking lot on a Saturday morning.

Avalon Harbor

Pretty Penny moored in front of us at Avalon

Ken enjoying a warm relaxing morning in the cockpit

We got up the next morning after sleeping in and relaxing and reading. It was warm and while relaxing in the cockpit we were impressed you could see the bottom of the bay. We took a water taxi to Avalon where we signed up for two bus tours. The first one was pretty good, we toured the town and had a very funny driver. We got some good Kodak moments of the town and learned that Wrigley (like the gum) owned pretty much the whole island until it was donated to the state.


Avalon Bay


Catalina Island

We met up with Drew and Vernita who had arrived that afternoon, and went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant. We turned in early as we had to leave at 0200 to make it to San Diego the next day and arrive in the daylight.

We left Avalon at 0200 as planned and motored out in the fog. We motored in calm seas with varying degrees of fog all day. It was a bit of a dull motor, so we amused ourselves. Ken by hunting stowaway flies.

Great Fly Hunter

I was entertained for hours by a tiny bird who hitched a ride with us most of the way to San Diego

Bird Hitch Hiker on our BBQ

Trying to keep his balance on our slippery wheel

We arrived in San Diego at about 4pm. As we motored into the long San Diego Channel and passed a parade of Navy activity. We saw helicopters, what looked like SEALS in two large high speed inflatables and a submarine.

Submarine at the entrance to San Diego Channel

We arrived at the Marriott Marina, where we were to stay for two days. Jason and Tam met us at the dock, and we ended up being next to Kate and Jordan, also from Seattle (on Queen Jane, a Shannon 50).

We caught up with Tam and Jason some, and then headed off for showers, laundry and dinner watching the fireworks that were kicking off Fleet Week in San Diego.

The next day we checked out the hotel. It is really a nice set up. The marina guests have all the same amenities as the hotel guests. You can even have them deliver room service -- or I suppose cockpit service. We met a couple of other boats going on the Ha Ha that were on our dock.

The next two days were full of errands. We picked up a rental car, went to the marine stores, found a stainless welder to do our rails for our solar panels, visited Sea Breeze where we picked up Mexican and South Pacific charts. We also went to Kinkos and created boat business cards. We were working on our project list our last night at the Marriott when Layla arrived from Catalina. We chatted briefly after we helped them tie up, but were soon back to our projects and the luxury of watching TV on board with the new monitor.

On Sunday, we had to move the boat to Kona Kai Marina. We had reservations there for the remaining 9 days of our stay in San Diego. It is a nice marina that's cheaper than the Marriott and on Shelter Island which is closer to the marine stores. Ken took the boat, and I checked us out of the marina and drove over in the rental car. When I arrived to check in, they pointed me to a very small and narrow slip. I was worried about squeezing Felicity in as she would be a little wide next to the cruiser in the slip. After some discussions I managed to get us assigned to a 78' slip!

We spent the next week working on projects. I worked on our web site, did some sewing, provisioned and did last minute shopping.

Ken flew home to see his Dad for 3 days. He also worked on installing our cockpit shower, mounting our solar panels and other maintenance. We got our Mexican paperwork arranged (tourist cards and fishing licenses), and packed up Felicity for our first non-English speaking country.

We did manage some socializing. We attended a little dock party on Rainsong, had dinner with John Holland and attended a Ha Ha party at Downwind Marine.

On Sunday night, we attended the Baja Ha Ha Halloween party and John, aka Sr. Monkey Boy, Hawk a very good friend from Onyx arrived in San Diego.

John and Ken in their trade show days at Onyx

Monday, was full of last minute errands and we finished up having a great Seattle boat dinner with Drew and Vernita (Layla), Jason and Tam (Rainsong) and Dave and Linda (Crusader), Ken and John and me.

Tuesday morning we returned the rental car and Layla and Rainsong came to Kona Kai to see us off.

Felicity packed up and ready for Mexico in her 78' slip at Kona Kai

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