What smells like burnt rubber and screams America?

Welcome to San Diego, California. We had no idea what to expect after drifting into Mission Bay after a 36 hr sail from Catalina (about 90 miles). 

The passage itself was just south of exhausting. Riding vespers in ocean swell isn’t easy. Just keeping the boat heeled the right way is a challenge. Listening to flowing sails is maddening. But when you can get it set just right, the sun comes up, its warm, dolphins are playing around you, and you are having a spa day. Buckets of crystal blue saltwater are the perfect cool for the warm sun. 

Pinch me, is this what sailing’s really like?? I’ll have another beer! And Maybe a joint!

After a few accidental heave-tos and some zi-zags drawn on the chart, there is finally enough breeze to sail into Mission Bay at 5am.

Mission Bay is fantastic. Boats are there from all over, its surrounded by soft sand, and so calm. There is a great little dingy tie up right by the start of a walking path to tourist area. But thats not what we see…

We have to be at West Marine in 6 hrs to check in to the Baja Haha. We have just been on passage for 36 hrs. We are ready to sleep. Deeply. 

A few hrs will have to do, we have to figure out transportation. Where this event is even at? Text John and Kristi. Did we miss anything? 

Coffee. 

Where were we again? 

Oh ya, call an uber, we can be there in 15. 

Arriving at West Marine we feel like slightly caffeinated zombies. At a halloween party in the afternoon, fitting. Focus on the long winded old guy, standing on the pickup truck with a microphone. 

I think I found what I want to be when I grow up.

Everyone rattles off their boat name and number of crew. Cinderella, 2 rad crew aboard! Are our friends here? Will the Baja even leave tomorrow? We just got off passage and saw even more dead air Predicted. That stuff we drifted in for 90 miles to get here. 

Surely all these SAILboats don’t mean to motor for two days just to get to Bahia Tortuga. 

On wait, not everyone quit their jobs 2 months ago. There are timelines to keep! Oh well, the electric boat is gonna wait. The wind will blow, and that’s when we go. Besides, we can use some r&r. 

We didn’t even know.

The pre-Mexico to-do list has a lot to be checked off. Not to mention the items that aren’t on the list yet. I had to hoist nearly 200’ of chain off the ocean floor when we left Catalina, I don’t intend to continue that experience. At the top of my list is installing our windlass. Oh ya, and we need Mexico fishing licenses. And propane. We should also provision. 

 When do we have to leave? Great news! Its not gonna blow for a few days!

Those poor HaHa boats. 

Let’s slow down. After all, Matt and Jannie are here. And you are right babe, if we keep this up, we are going to collapse of stress.

San Diego, we have made it.

We spent an amazingly sunny day sailing around Point Loma with our friend Josh, a very recharged couple days later. 

That’s when it hit us. 

AMERICA

F&%k YEAH

Rounding Point Loma, an F15 roars over us. That amazing sound of high performance jet engines whizzing overhead sends shivers of stars and bars down our backs. What an amazing piece of machinery. 

Just a few seconds behind, two olive drab hellicopters racing overhead. No less than 6 Navy boats coming ripping past us to port. All full of Navy Seals (so we imagine).

The display of money here is unparalleled to anything we have ever seen. All of the mega yachts combined in Marina Del Rey did not equal the cost of the giant aircraft carrier docked across the bay. Let alone the fighter jets or helicopters flying over. 

This isn’t completely new to me, when I had a slip in Port of Everett, the USS Nimitz was in for a little while. The war games thing, however, is completely new. It seems daily that boats full of Navy Seals are ripping out of the bay performing some sort of training exercise. Usually supported by a few choppers. 

It’s a show of force unparalleled. 

AMERICA

I see this and think, wow, that can buy a lot of tacos where we are going. 

We had the perfect sail from Mission Bay to San Diego Bay. The wind was light, but there. Cindy was trotting along at a few knots and the cold drinks went down easy as Josh gave us the tour of the San Diego shoreline. Mission Beach, No Surf Beach, Sunset Cliffs, Point Loma. If felt like we were sailing in the Sound again. Dodging crab traps as we sailed along.

One major difference, we were in t-shirts, and Seattle just got their first bit of snow for the year. I imagine my friends back home are jonesing for the first big pow dump. Our fingers are crossed for you guys, in the meantime, we are gonna work on this jacked and tan thing.

Our new anchorage (free for a month) is tucked on the east side of Harbor Island next to the Coast Guard station, and across from the airport. It’s a great anchorage until about 7pm, when they must let the not as well maintained planes land. I say this because we get occasional scents of burnt rubber. Those big planes must leave a lot of it on the tarmac, and we can sure smell it! It’s not that bad though, and after our experience in MDR, its welcomed.

It’s great having friends in faraway places, Josh showed us live music (something I have been missing since leaving Seattle) and a couple spots that just so happened to be having karaoke night. (Enough to think Josh was trying to tell us something).

We happy houred at a great Chinese Tapas (dim som) spot and wandered down the street to a really cool dive pub with, of course, free karaoke. The place was interesting. It had a huge American Flag hanging above our heads stretched across the ceiling and five or six amazing voices killing the songs that the selected. Where are we? We played whiskey roulette and sang long horribly to a few songs. 

The next day we spent an evening with our friend Shannon. She offered us the things cruisers equate to gold, showers and laundry. We took advantage of her kitchen and made some carne aside tacos and hung out on out on her sweet side patio. We shared our gifts from Island Canna Co. and wound down he night. 

Shannon gave us a ride back to Tink and we rowed back to Cindy. 

The following day we met John of craigslist. John was figuring out his next steps after moving back to San Diego and deciding to use his next ten years to have as much fun as possible. 

“I died once already. You know what happens when you die? Nothing, its like you go to sleep, but don’t wake up.”

“Heart attack, hereditary, the doc says the generations before me had too many brats and beers in Germany.”

John’s girlfriend saved his life and he was gonna make damn sure to live the rest of those years he has left. 

Because of John, Cinderella is now sporting a surfboard and SUP. New toys! and new friends, I’m starting to think this slowing it down thing is where it’s at. 

Ava and I still get into our tiffs, 35’ after all, is close quarters, but the air seems fresher, the sunsets brighter, and the water warmer now that we have left the anchor in one spot for a few days.

Sand Diego, you have been great.

We look forward to the next couple days, Ava’s brother and sister are en route from across the country. Maria decided to up and move to San Diego #westcoastbestcoast. We are shocked it took this long. 

We can’t leave now! 

The Baja will still be there in a couple days, we can wait on the tacos, I think they call that delayed gratification. 

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