Monday, December 26, 2011

Isla Isabel

A calm overnighter of 92 miles brought us to the remote Island of Isabel, a bird sanctuary for the rare Blue-footed Booby. The birds were nesting and have no fear of humans due to their isolated location. It was fascinating watching their mating rituals and the comical way they preen and coo at each other like an old married couple. We dinghies to an abandoned fishing camp where a few pescaderos were mending their nets. Later, after a sundowner on the deck, we turned in, admiring the magnificent view of immense rocky white spires surrounding the anchorage. It turned out to be a great anchorage, even though the charts showed us to be in the middle of the ocean!
                                                    The One That Got Away (for someone else)
San Blas

Amid the crumbling walls of the old San Blas, Longfellow wrote his tribute 'The Bells of San Blas' many years ago. Times have changed but much is still as it was in this ancient Mexican town. The original church, now in tatters, was established in 1769, and still stands proudly beside the new cathedral, and the shady plaza below. At night it is a pleasant pastime to enjoy the local scene. Being the Feast of Our Lady of Guadaloupe, the evening mass was in session, and all ages spilled out on to the plaza dressed in all their finery, the small children in costumes, and all singing the Spanish hymns of the season. The fellowship and community spirit was intoxicating.
        A jungle trip, 'Tovara', down the river with Ian and Ellen on Kasasa, has been a major highlight of our time in San Blas. Our guide, Chengo, picked us up in his panga early one morning and we drifted downstream viewing a menagerie of tropical birds and reptiles, notably; Iguanas, Turtles and, yes, Cocorodillas! These amazing creatures lurked in the reeds and intertwined branches along the shore, smiling rakishly at unsuspecting Georgie as we glided by. We lunched at a small palapa and swam in a clear pool of fresh stream water, before a leisurely ride homeward.
        We have started Spanish lessons with Ami, a hairdresser in town who is willing to give lessons while tending her clients in between. Part of her case caved in during a rainstorm and was being rebuilt while we practiced our phrases. Between the customers and the construction there was always a commotion, but we were enjoying the classes and learned a lot about life in small-town Mexico. We heard about Ami from Pedro who owns a small restaurant across the street, Walla Walla. Pedro is a lovely guy who happens to speak excellent English. He agreed to drive us to Mazatlan to collect our new generator off of friends from home, Neil and Peggy on Night Sky. The day trip proved to be most interesting, as we zoomed along through villages and farmyards en route.  Pedro explained many aspects of Mexican life as we traveled. For example did you know that the term 'Gringo' is probably derived from the term 'green eyes' the Mexicans used to describe the Americans who tried to settle on their lands near the borders. 'Green Go!' was consequently the phrase they used to express their feelings regarding the situation. We shared a delicious repast with Neil and Peggy, collected our generator,( Thanks Neil!), and bid them a 'Bien Viaje'! We also said goodbye to the Jejaynes (Hay Hay Nees), also know as No see ums, who were eating us alive, and set off for Chacala.  On the way I plucked 15 Tics off of poor George, and am still finding the odd one of the little Bloodsuckers!


Chacala is the quintessential anchorage most people dream of. Its clear blue waters, lapping at white sand, surrounded by lush vegetation and coconut palms, make it a special place. A brief dinghy ride ashore and we strolled the tiny village and made our way to a ramada-lined beach dotted with colourful beach umbrellas. Later we shared a succulent meal of hand-picked, BBQ'd fish with Ian and Ellen. Two golden sunsets later, we hoisted the dinghy and prepared for the mornings crossing to La Cruz.

A large white cross, (LaCruz), now stands sentinel at the centre of this charming village, where a revered elder passed away and a leafy Huanacaxtle tree was planted to commemorate the spot. There is a wonderful music scene here, and we have spent a number of evenings at the local haunts enjoying the vibes.  Yesterday we met Jos and Barb, friends from Parksville BC who have a villa in nearby surf town Sayulita. We spent the night with them dining in the village and learning more about the people, customs and politics of this diverse country. The beach was bustling with young beach bums and surfers enjoying the holiday season. The cruisers have all arrived in Bandaras Bay for the Christmas festivities and many boats haves draped the rigging with Christmas lights. There is a Gringo turkey dinner being planned for Christmas Day with presents for the local children, and the pinatas are going up. I think I hear Jose Feliciano now......Feliz Navidad!

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both,
And be yet one traveler , long I stood,
And looked down one as far as I could go,
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

I shall be telling this with a sigh,
Somewhere ages and ages hence,
Two roads diverged in a wood,
And I took the one less-traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Monday, November 28, 2011

La Paz, City Of Peace

...and a serene oasis from the bustling world it is. After so much traveling we are taking an interlude to relax and do a few boat repairs before crossing the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan. I am making mosquito nets at the moment to fend off the hoards awaiting us. The weather has been idylic here; not too hot, cool breezes and mild evenings. We are spending our days cycling the windey streets and the bay along the Malecon, and visiting fellow cruisers. La Paz is a big city with a small town feel to it. The street vendors sell trinkets,and the outdoor markets hum with the sales of anything from tomales to pigs feet. Our next port of call is Espiritu Santo Island, a small uninhabited island north of La Paz.
   We hauled our dingy up on the beach of the tranquil bay of San Gabriel with the clearest azure water and purest white sand we have ever seen, and sunbathed until that currrent bun dropped behind the barren hills. Noting another sailboat in the anchorage, flying the blue and orange burgie of the Bluewater Cruisers, we went over to pay our respects. It turned out to be fellow cruisers, from Squamish, Geraldine and John, and brother Michael and wife Breda from Ireland.Being kindred spirits and Irish to boot, out popped the guitars and flute, and a celtic jam session was on! Next morning we bade "farewell and full jerry cans" to Sea Reach, and plotted our course for Los Muertes,our departure point to cross the Sea to Mazatlan.
The Two Amigos, and the Pequino Perro hit Mazatlan!
    The seas were agitated from the "Norther" that had been blowing the last few days and a four foot chop off the quarter made for a lumpy ride across the Sea of Cortez, and 34 hour overnighter to Mazatlan. As we neared the entrance to the El Cid harbour the depth sounder began to drop rapidly...20ft. 14ft.,8ft., 5ft.! With the breakwater only a stones throw away we made the split-second decision to reverse, and not a moment too soon. Apparently their dredger had broken down recently and consequently the channel depth was out by over 5ft! After recovering our wits we settled for the sleepy, but charming Old Mazatlan harbour 6 miles down the coast, and took ourselves out for a well-deserved dinner and bevvy in the Old Town. Here in the tree lined Plaza Machado, the old Spanish architecture has been refurbished, painted in bright primary colours,and adorned with decorative wrought iron balconies. Such a pleasure to watch the families and sweethearts strolling hand in hand, and eating gelatos and fresh fruit, as the Mariachi's play.Tomorrow we will join the Gringos and Canadianos for a good old hometown Grey Cup Game!    

Miles From Nowhere
Think I'll take my time,
Oh ya, to reach there.
Look up at the mountain,
I have to climb,
Oh ya, to reach there.
Lord my body,
has been a good friend,
But I won't need it,
When I reach the end.
Miles from nowhere,
Not a soul in sight,
Oh ya, but it's alright.
Cat Stevens

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cabo San Lucas

San Juanico
             Just before dusk we settled into the beautiful village and bay of San Juanico. Mexico is such an enigma. You never know what you will find next. We arrived at a lovely bay with palms and pastel adobe casas dotting the landscape.  We are now buddy-boating with Daragh's racing pal, Ole 'The Dane',and friends Suzanne and Art from Saltspring Island. A great trio, and excellent company. We caught our first fish on the way down, two big ten pound yellow tail Ahi Tuna. Thanks for the lure, Art! We will have them for dinner. We are also learning to ride the surf to shore in our dinghy with wheels. Quite a skill, as we found when we almost capsized on our first time over the breakers.
  As we landed we met Mike Honda on the beach. He said he had been expecting us! Turns out he is a good friend of Ivor's from San Diego. He invited us to visit he and Jan at their hand-crafted and impeccably-designed home on the hillside.It was all very luxurious for us sailors. Then we went for dinner at El Burro, a nice little bistro in the village complete with burro! Fond memories will follow us of our pleasant time spent with Mike and Jan in sleepy San Juanico.
Cabo San Lucas 
 Fiesta Todos Santos! or Happy Halloween in Canada. Here we are in Cabo, tip of the Baja, and famous for Mega Yachts, Sammy Hagar's Bar and Tequilla, 300 kinds! We were greeted at the docks by Piero, the charming dockmaster who helped us get settled in our slip, and then a walk down the Malecon for, what else, Cervesas,which came with a shot of Mexican Water (Tequilla). We had dinner at one of the many festive restaurants along the boardwalk, and who should be our waiter but our dockmaster Peiro at his other job. On Saturday we met our old sailing friends Mel and Marg on
Iridium, from the early days at West Bay in Victoria. They have sold up and plan to cruise for an indefinite period. We so admired them. We went for a dip at the spectacularly beautiful Cabo beach, a warm pool of aqua blue with a ribbon of golden sand. The cloud shapes above were right out of The Simpsons. No kidding! Even the 'pequino perro,' Georgie, went for a dog paddle. Andreas, one of the fellows who cleans and polishes the fancy power boats took a liking to Georgie (also known as Hor-Hay,) and we spent the morning tieing lures in preparation for landing "The Big One". The entrance fee for the big annual fishing derby here is a whopping $64,000 yes, dollars for a top prize of $4 million!
  Our next pit stop was San Jose del Cabo. The C-Map GPS display showed us sailing right up the slopes of the nearby hillside! The iPhone Navionics app came to the rescue and has better details.   Most of the area around here was charted by Capt. Vancouver long ago and is in need of an update, so one must tread softly. The Sea of Cortez northerlies began to blow and we became landlocked for several days. So we explored the quaint old town area as well as the more modern waterfront hotel district. A weather window finally cleared and we battened down the hatches and set sail for Los Frailles (The Friars), a scenic windswept anchorage a day trip away. Here we attempted snorkelling for the first time, and were amazed to find an underwater world of colourful fish and creatures darting between the coral in a shimmering sea of turquoise light! Early next morning we inched our way out of the cove before the winds got up, and set course for Los Muertos, The Bay of the Dead. How appropriate for this day of reflection, November 11th, Remembrance Day.   

Hark now hear the sailors cry,
Smell the sea and feel the sky,
Let your soul and spirit fly,
Into the Mystic.

And when that fog horn blows,
I will be coming home,
I want to rock your gypsy soul,
Just like back in the days of old,
And magnificently we will fold
into the Mystic.
Van Morrison

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cedros Island and Turtle Bay

Cedros Island, Mexico
                   We anchored outside the harbour of the tiny fishing village of Cedros Island just before dusk, after 50 hours of motor/sailing. Cedros is known for its salt refining plant, exporting 'sal' to all parts of the globe. Being that Daragh's company, Mainroad is a major customer , we hired a taxi to take us over to see it. Our driver introduced us to the agent-manager Alam Flores, and although we had no business cards handy, his trusty 'Mainroad' ball cap did the trick! Our tour guide Alissa took us on a tour through mountains of salt, and we left with many 'muchos gracias' all round. The people seem to have much spirit. We envied their comraderie where folks smile and laugh alot, and the inevitable Marachi music fills the air. Buenos Noches, Cedros!

Bahia Tortuga (Turtle Bay)
                          An envigorating downwind sail brought us into scenic Turtle Bay. While the turtles have long departed, the town prevails. At first impression one sees only a desert-like landscape, comparable to the surface of the moon. Almost no greenery of any description, and dust-covered lanes. However, on closer inspection we met Pedro, and Enrique, resident unofficial tour guide, and gas dock attendant/restauranteur, who escorted us, for a 'propino`, of course, to the local Vera Cruz restaurant, where we ordered a simple meal of beans and tortillas. Then we set out to find, Ruben, the mobile fuel guy to pay him for his service. After trudging over a desolate terrain,we finally spotted his boat at a nearby beach. Rueben invited us into his lovely hand-built casa of post and beam and glass panelled walls looking out to sea. He introduced his delightful family and we shared cervezas, as we watched the Baja HaHa boats drift in. Back at the main beach we had our first experience with riding the breakers in our dinghy out of the bay. A real white-knuckle experience but one that we managed to survive in one piece. We crossed ourselves, took a deep breath and plunged into the outgoing surge! Safely tucked back into Chantey once more, it`s all in a day in the life of a cruiser!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sunny San Diego and Baja Bound

     The Baja Ha Ha Cruisers are starting to arrive in preparation for the 130 boat rally south to Cabo San Lucas on Oct.24th. Our plan is to slip out of the harbour ahead of the gang, and get to in La Paz at the end of the month. In the meantime we have met up with good friends (and newlyweds) Grayce, from back home in Victoria, and her husband Tripp, who graciously invited us to their home, with a stellar view of the entire San Diego Bay area, for a good old Canadian Thanksgiving dinner, and an American Columbus Day celebration and a sumptuous meal it was! Rib-eye steaks , yorkshires and mash. Daragh was in his element. We have also made the acquaintance of Karen the doggy groomer at Doggy Deluxe, where Georgie spent the day getting spiffed up for the Mexican dogs. She left us with a very handsome pooch and a bag of Persimmons from her tree, no extra charge.
     We have relocated next door at another spiffy yacht club, the SouthwesternYC, and Daragh is busy emptying his pockets at the mecca of marine stores in the area, a sailors paradise! Later we took a well-deserved respite from life at sea and spent a pampered evening with Daragh's aviator friend and partner in crime, Ivor, and his wife Deann, and devoted companions Maverick and Sophie, the family Retrievers, at Rancho Santa Fe, a pastoral setting nestled in the hills outside of San Diego. The socializing has been a pleasant diversion from preparing the boat for the trip south to Mexico. Grayce assisted me with provisioning  food and supplies, while Daragh spent the day at Shelter Island buying such essential gadgetry as 'Flopper Stoppers'.
        On Saturday, after an invigorating sail in the harbour with new arrivals Colin and Dora, the last of the Irish contingent surfaced, Joey, and we were whisked off to his lovely beach house at Oceanside for a final night of revelry before heading off. Our closing day in beautiful San Diego was spent scrubbing decks, cleaning the cabins, replacing the dinghy prop, and generally completing last minute preparations. We had a farewell burger and bevy in the SDYC chartroom with Kim and Tom, who had just arrived on 'Exit Strategy'. So great to see our pals from RVYC and the BCA Fleet back in Victoria, whom we had shared our dreams and plans with so many months before. Alas we could dally no longer, the sea was calling us back.
         October 19th, we set out once again on the next chapter of 'The Voyage of Chantey', hoping yet again for fair winds and following seas, as we crossed over the border into Mexico.
         Ensenada, our first port of entry, marked a day shrouded in red tape and bureaucracy. The day started with a nice bracing cold shower as the local plumbing left a lot to be desired, and of course, the language barrier is challenging at best. One can only apologize with 'no hablo Espanol, muchos gracias', so often, while absorbing the blank, bored stare of the sales clerk. Time to get out of our comfort zone!  We spent most of the day roving from one government department to the next , and paying the ubiquitous 'fees' at 'Immigracion' in an attempt to clear customs. Actually, most of the people have been very helpful and tolerant of us Gringos who ought to know a little more Spanish. We are on our extra-good behaviour since we have crossed the border , especially after observing the ominous presence of the Mexican military, notably, the adolescent boys in fatigues wielding semi-automatic machine guns! As the afternoon drew to a lazy close, we hoisted the mainsail and set course for a double-overnighter to Cedros Island, and then on toTurtle Bay, Baja. Til' Mañana........
Adios Amigos!

May the road rise with you
And the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And the rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Monday, October 10, 2011

And Miles to Go Before We Sleep...

Oceanside Yacht Club,CA
The charming David, our OYC host, welcomed us at the dock for the Baja Ha Ha Rendezvous, a group of cruisers all heading south to meet up with another 168 boats who plan to shoot around the Baja together October 24th. There we met other HaHa'ers, Gilly and John on Destiny and several Vancouver and Seattle cruisers. Oceanside is a very small but active sailing club that certainly lives up to its reputation as the friendliest yacht club on the Pacific coast. The weekend opened with a tasty pancake breaky, and man-overboard presentation, with happy hour and Mexican dinner later in the chartroom, thanks to Les, Judy, Lee and the OYC crew. On Sunday we joined in a race around the buoys and flew the spinnaker, with myself, Cathryn, as Skipper and Daragh as crew. Yes! Chantey got the OYC trophy for fifth place! Which really isn't that great considering there were only five boats in our category. We also received a beautiful framed photo of Chantey, compliments of Judy the club photographer. Sadly, the party ended and we were off Monday morning for Mission Bay.
San Diego Bay
Well we made it! The first leg of the journey is over, and with 1500 miles behind us we slipped into Mission Bay, San Diego and dropped the hook in the pristine bay beside John and Gilly on Destiny from San Francisco. They shared many interesting cruising stories with us about life in Puerto Vallarta, their new home. We awoke to the unfamiliar sound of rain on the deck, as we haven't seen rain since we left Victoria, and beat a hasty retreat out of the bay, winding our way through a sea of crab pots and kelp beds around Pt. Loma to San Diego Bay. The sky opened up and poured buckets as we hunkered down for a wet night. Next morning sun filtered in through the portholes and we recalled the San Diego of our former visit, all drenched in sunshine. So here we are in sunny San Diego where we will relax and chill out, and prepare for the long trip down the Baja.
One of the Irish lads, and good friend, Ivor has called by, and has taken us out for a delicious dinner at 'Island Prime', with a panoramic view of the magnificent SD skyline at night, a real luxury after boat life. Ivor invited us to stay with himself and Deann at Rancho Santa Fe for an evening and delectable steak BBQ on the deck.

Just sit right back
And you'll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip,
That started from this tropic port,
Aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailin' gal,
The Skipper brave and sure,
And one Westie set sail that day,
For a one year tour,
A one year tour...
'Gilligan's Island'

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When the Sun comes up on the Santa Monica Boulevard....

We docked at the swanky California Yacht Club, in Marina Del Rey, Santa Monica, California only to find we had been given a slip too small and were now wedged in like sardines in a can! A good chap next door helped us find another more suitable slip and we headed up to the 'Chartroom' (a euphemism for the bar in boatspeak), to call the Irish contingent, Colin, and Dora, to meet up with us. On the return to the boat we noticed a sign, 'FOUND: Westie with Red Scarf wandering the Docks'! We quickly recovered the happy wanderer, and thanked our fellow mariner, Bill, for his troubles. Back on dry land, we stayed a couple of nights with Colin and shared a sunny day sail and delightful evening and BBQ with neighbours Mike and Leo.
        Next day we were off to Redondo Beach,CA.where we felt the concrete-car-consciousness closing in on us. After the solitude of sea travel the noise and traffic of the streets and highways seems a little crazy at times. However, the bike paths are wonderful and we peddled to the Santa Monica Pier, and Venice Beach where you can see anything from roller-bladers in drag to hippy Peace nics, all enjoying the vibe and selling their wares including 'medical Marajuana'!
         Our next port of call was the stunning Newport Beach harbour community of gorgeous waterfront villas, all with their own dock, and of course, personal yacht tied up outside. All the best toys! Now we know how the other half lives!  Catalina Island was our destination for the weekend. We picked up Colin and the UK Princess, Dora, at the dock, and cruised over to this most idyllic of spots. Tucked away on this tiny island is the seaside town of Avalon, reminiscent of a traditional European village. Once moored in the bay we set out to explore the village by motorized golf cart, with former race car driver, Colin, at the wheel. Yikes!( Fortunately top speed was only 16mph)   Later we celebrated Dora's birthday at a local steakhouse and toasted the day with a bottle of bubbly all round.
          Unfortunately, all good things must end, for on our return trip home in the dinghy we went to disembark on Chantey and all went ass-over-tea-kettle straight into the drink! Luckily, we made a quick recovery and were back on board wringing ourselves out a joking of our misadventures, thanks to our good-natured and resilient friends Colin and Dora.
          Back in Newport Beach, toasty warm and dry once more, we peered out the hatch and there sat Sea Whisper, with Barbara and Lionel aboard, our Bluewater pals from back home in Victoria. What a pleasant surprise! It is great to explore this beautiful coastline of ours, but home is where the heart is.
 With Lionnel's expertise we were able to resurrect the outboard motor, which had also taken a dip, in readiness for future predicaments! And so we sail off again for more of life's rich pageant
 "There is nothing, absolutely nothing,
   half so much worth doing,
   as messing about in boats"

   Kenneth Graeme, Wind in the Willows

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Monterey Musings

Add caption
The fog has lifted, and we sailed into Monterey Bay, buddy boating with our new sailor pals, John and Nikki on SV Seychelles. We spent the day touring the stunning coastline and visiting the world of Steinbeck and Cannery Row (more sardines), and the street market filled with earthly delights. A beautiful part of the world to hang your hat, or sou'wester, for that matter. It is also the home of the Monterey Pop Festival, where Jimmy Hendrix lit his fire on stage and made rock history!
Morro Bay
     The next stop was Morro Bay, literally 'The Rock', named for a monolithic rock at the entrance to the harbour shaped like a giant steaming Christmas pudding. Once inside, we were in a lovely sand-dune encased estuary, and tied up with the very good folks at the Morro Bay Yacht Club. Later in the evening we joined our local mariners for a convivial Happy Hour, which turned into two and then some, with our most gracious hosts.
      Next we prepared for the dreaded crossing of Point Conception and dropped the hook in Port San Luis (Obispo) for a very lumpy night at sea. Three a.m. saw us hauling anchor in the dark, ready for a long day (18hours), around the point. As fate would have it, it turned out to be the calmest day so far, with virtually no wind, sunny skies, and a slow, uneventful passage into Southern California and the land of warm breezes.  Daragh breathed a sigh of relief when we arrived in Santa Barbara harbour after dark, a bit of a challenge with the lights of the city blending with the red and green harbour markers.
    Santa Barbara is a gorgeous setting amidst swaying palm trees and the elegant streets lined with the traditional Spanish architecure and inviting lush courtyards.We splurged out and dined at an excellent bistro a few blocks down on the main drag. Of course, one must sample the fine wines of the region,and we can verify they are all fabulous! We wished a fond farewell to this charmed place, and reluctantly headed out to more distant shores, notably Ventura, and Santa Monica's, Marina del Rey where Daragh hopes to meet Angelina Joli roller-blading on the Venice Beach boardwalk. A last note to the Bluewater cruisers; you will notice that Georgie has abandoned his signature red scarf for the blue and orange burgie of the BCA's!

"The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began,
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet,
And wither then I cannot say."

Bilbo Baggins, JRR Tolkein

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I Left My Heart...

   Here we are docked center-stage with the whole glorious bay of San Francisco at our feet. We have taken in all the sights including Fisherman's Wharf, The Museum of Modern Art, and Market Street. It has been great fun except for the general cacaphony of noise from Pier 39 due to the tour boats and the mosh pit of sea lions flaked out at the dock next door. We left a day early for the Alameda Yacht Club (Oakland) on the canal. There we received a warm welcome from the local sailors in the bar, especially seasoned sailor Jolly, Geena Sunshine, and newlywed husband John, the barmistress and club chef. We will always remember their warm hospitality when thinking of the AYC
A blustery sail across the bay landed us at the very posh San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere/Tiburon township. We meandered the quiet streets and admired the elegant architecture at every turn. Later we treated ourselves to a bevvy at the very grand Corinthian Yacht Club and prepared for a sail down the Napa River to Benicia with it's beautiful, sunny marina and a lovely community with lots of cutsie shops and coffee houses to stroll, and a great bike trail.
Master  and Commander
       Sausalito has been a highlight of our trip so far. This trendy, bedroom community of San Fran has a stunning waterfront with many nifty shops and eateries. We cycled up a windy roadway to the San Francisco Bridge where we were literally blown away by the windswept hillsides and misty vales. Back in the marina we met up again with  John and Nicky from Seychelles, and George and Tuuli, and kitty aboard  Albion, and planned to buddy-boat down to Halfmoon Bay. Our jolly threesome anchored in the harbour and arrived at the Halfmoon Bay Yacht Club in time for a BBQ and live music. The guidebook described it as a 'Steinbeck' experience, which we interpretted as down to earth, homey,and friendly, which proved to be all of the above thanks to Commodore Ray, wife Krista and the hardworking folks there!  We especially got a charge out of the hand-pull dock/ferry from the dinghy dock to the clubhouse. Another gem along the way!

     "went into a church, I passed along the way,
       I got down on my knees, and I began to pray,
       I'd be safe and warm, if I was in L.A.
       California Dreamin', you got me in a daze".