September 21, 2006

Santa Barbara and Channel Islands Harbor

Hi everyone!

After arriving safely in Santa Barbara on Monday, Sept 11th, we got caught up in the social whirlwind, meeting some of this year's Ha-Ha cruisers.

Our trip down was uneventful. The most difficult part was at 10PM, trying to see all the channel markers as we left Morro Bay. We had fog almost the entire way. Going around Point Conception was remarkable only because the sun was shinning brightly as it rose. That did not last long. The fog retuned.

I managed to sleep some on the way down. Bill did not do as well. It was rather amusing seeing him later in the day in that "fun stage" of sleep deprivation. Being an expert in sleep deprivation from my years in the OR, I recognized what was going on with him and let him enjoy it.

Santa Barbara was an enjoyable place for us. The town is so accessible from the marina. We mainly walked but shuttles were available to the marina and up and down State Street, the main street through old town.

There is a wonderful farmers' market on Tuesdays with all sorts of vegetables and fruits, even Dragon fruit, flowers and grass-fed beef. The aromas of the basil, mint, cilantro, etc. mingled with the Spanish guitar being played in the background.

State Street is lined with restaurants and shops. These feet stop at all the interesting shops. But that's not where I made my purchases. That I reserved for Sarah's gems. Sarah and Darrell, our dock neighbor's from Alameda, were in Santa Barbara too. Sarah makes beautiful one of a kind jewelry. See http://www.saraherickson.com for just some of her work.

We even had a little fun trying out the Segways at the local dealership see http://www.segway.com/ We have seen some power boats with them ready to go on the stern. But they are still to big for our boat. Fun and easy though. What a great way to get around if you lived in town!

The best part was all the people we met. The last time we saw Pat, a single hander, was in Port Angeles, Washington. Stan, who we met in Monterey, arrived before us. Carl, Yvette, Joel and Kyle on Liberty came in the next day. Sarah and Darrell unfortunately were not continuing south with us yet. We spent some time getting to know Richard and Andrea, Flamenco dancers on Saete. They are planning on performing to finance their journey to Spain.

Then Richard, Karen and Richard (their son), on Chessie, arrived and docked by us just in time for us to convince them to do the Baja Ha-ha with us. No sooner had they pulled out than Chere with Charles and Cathy pulled in...friends made in last month in Alameda.

Now my memory is being challenged with all the names. I know I am forgetting some of them already. And to think there are 182 boats signed up for the Ha-ha all with at least 2 folks on board and many with 4 or more!

Down the road we'll get to spend more time with Mark, his wife and little 2 year old girl on Southern Star. Same with Mike Moorehouse and his wife who were busy with boat projects. We had been expecting Robyn and Chris with their boat Robyn's Nest (nice cozy name)for a couple of days. So we were happy to see them pull in.

The biggest surprise came from some buddies that we met on the 2004 Ha Ha. We kept extending our time in Santa Barbara for a couple more days. We were having too good of a time. It was a good thing. Rob and Shannon were bringing their new 1990 Angel 56 Pilot House Motor Yacht down to Mexico in a hurry. So they were not making many stops in order to get Rob back to work on Sunday. So into Santa Barbara they come with Rob and Shannon, Craig and Barbara (who sold their boat Capella) and Roger and Mona (who also sold their boat Cherokee Eagle). What a sight for sore eyes! They looked jubilant but a little tired as they/we all toasted to "cheating death again" done on arrival to each destination. John and Kay Semon of Semonship (their boat is docked in Santa Barbara) drove down to make our group complete.

Santa Barbara held one more surprise for us...a wind shift that brought fine ash down on us and the entire area. It came from the fires roaring away up near Magic Mountain. That lasted for two days. Then the wind shifted again to blow it in the opposite direction. It was a pain to be scrubbing it off the boat. At least we could hose down and scrub the boat. It's not so easy for the home owners.

We finally broke our ties to Santa Barbara and moved on a short distance to the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club, Channel Island Harbor, Oxnard. It's a nice club, complete with pool, Jacuzzi, bar and restaurant. Here we met up with Len and Norma, also friends from the 2004 Ha-ha. What a kick! We definitely had some laughs getting together.

Tonight we are having dinner with Don Anderson and his wife, Joan, from Summer Passage, a Valiant 47 see:
http://www.csus.edu/indiv/f/foxs/Summer%20Passage/sumpas_index1.html

Don is the famous and most helpful weatherman for cruisers, especially in Mexico. He not only gives the weather projections but helps all the cruisers learn what to expect and how to anticipate the weather. We'll report back on this later.
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Our next stops:

Sept 22 - arrive in Marina del Rey - California Yacht Club

Sept 28 - leave Marina del Rey for Catalina

Oct 16 - arrive in San Diego - Silver Gate Yacht Club

Let us know if you would like to come visit us or go day sailing!
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That's all for now from Raptor Dance!

Warmest Regards,
Mary and Bill

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