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

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