October 1, 2006

Catalina Island - Cat Harbor

Hi Everyone!

We had a wonderful week in Marina del Rey visiting with my Dad, Sam; Brother, Bob and Sister-in-law, Stephanie. We stayed at my old stomping ground, the California Yacht Club. We saw a few of my old friends, but there are a lot of new faces at the club. It was 1992 when I moved North and stopped being a club regular.

We left Marina del Rey on Friday the 29th at 10:15 AM and motored out of Santa Monica Bay in Fog and 1 to 2 mile visibility and light winds. After we passed Palos Verdes the skies cleared and we had a wonderful close reach over to the Catalina Isthmus. Again, as on our 2004 trip, this was one of the best "sails" of our trip down the coast.

We tied up at mooring G2 at the Isthmus, got out the dingy and went in to Doug's for a famous "Buffalo Milk". They're much richer than I remembered (from 15 years ago!) so we switched to beer.

The anchorage was so rolly all night that we got up at 11 PM and rigged the "Flopper Stopper". This is the first time we've used it in all our cruising so it took about an hour to figure out, rig up and deploy.

Our Flopper Stopper is an aluminum contraption 2' x 3' consisting of a frame and one way flaps. Hung off the end of our spinnaker pole, off the side of our boat, completely submerged, it acts like a one way valve. When we roll to that side of the boat, the flaps open and the water flows through. When the boat starts to roll the other way, the flaps shut and the whole think acts like a sea anchor, damping the roll. It works pretty well, we were able to sleep the rest of the night.

Enough with this nonsense! Saturday morning we talked with the Harbor Patrol and switched to mooring N1 in Cat Harbor. We're less than a mile from our original mooring, but it's absolutely flat water.

Oh, for those not familiar with Catalina Island, we did have to motor around to the other side of Catalina as Cat Harbor is on the South side of the Island and Isthmus Harbor is on the North. We left at 9:15 AM from the Isthmus and were moored in Cat Harbor by 1130. We went around the West End of Catalina for short passage of 15 nautical miles.

Cat Harbor is wonderful and quiet as it's on the "back side" of Catalina. It gets very little traffic as most folks stay on the side closest to the mainland. It's only about a 1/2 mile walk from the Cat Harbor dingy dock to Isthmus Harbor, so we can still easily get to the little store, restaurant and Doug's Harbor Reef Bar.

We're going to stay here until Monday the Oct 9th, when we'll move to Avalon, then on to San Diego the morning of the 12th. We plan to do a lot of hiking up in the hills and go diving while we're here.

This coming weekend (Oct 7th) is buccaneer days at the Isthmus. It should be very interesting... We have our "2nd string" pirate costumes at the ready (we're saving our best ones for the Ha-ha kickoff party).

That's the latest from Raptor Dance!

Warmest Regards to all,
Bill and Mary

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