Thursday, November 1, 2012

Checking Out San Diego

A dolphin off the bow.
We arrived in San Diego on the 16th after a great trip down from Dana Point.  I say great because we had an almost constant line of dolphins playing at our bow for hours on end.  The water was crystal clear so we could see them perfectly – I’ll try to post the short video I took along with a couple pictures.  They are so amazing to watch – graceful and FAST!  We have yet to get tired of watching them. 

After docking at the Point Loma Marina in America’s Cup Harbor and cleaning up the boat a bit, we were off to visit my folks at their place in La Quinta, about 40 minutes south of Palm Springs.  We spent 5 days there and had a great time – thank you very much for your hospitality Mom and Lloyd!  And we’re very sorry for what I’m sure will be a much higher water bill this month!  Did I mention how nice it is to have a shower where you don’t have to worry about how much water you are using and how soon you’ll run out of hot water???  J

Mom & Lloyd brought us back to San Diego and helped us BIG TIME with our final provisioning.  It’s a really weird feeling to be stocking up for an indefinite amount of time outside of the US.  While I know Mexico and the South Pacific will all have food and other goods that everyone needs to live, there is a tendency to feel a little panicky about saying goodbye to all of your favorite food items – especially if you are a total foodie like me!  I’ll write more on this later as provisioning is the topic for the November Raft-Up. 

Brett's looking pretty relaxed, eh?
After running around to a million last minute places while we still had a car, we said goodbye to the folks and then made our way over to the San Diego Yacht Club.  If you’ve been keeping up on the blog, you’ll know that we’ve been hitting a LOT of yacht clubs on the way down as it is a way to stay at the dock for FREE!  And we’ve stayed at some mighty impressive clubs on our way down, but I have to say that none of them can hold a candle to the San Diego Yacht Club.  WOW!!!  Can you say huge?  They have an absolutely beautiful club house, several outbuildings that house the junior sailing program, a full workout facility, laundry area, storage units for members, the dock master office, a big meeting room and more.  They also have an extensive library, a pool, hot tub, sauna and tennis courts.  The place is amazing and we were tied up right in front – pretty cool!  The SDYC is also in a great location near Shelter Island, which puts you within walking range of a bunch of great marine related businesses to take care of any last minute needs.  There are several excellent restaurants and pubs as well - one of which we checked out with our friends Mark and Kris who happened to be in town.  We especially loved Downwind Marine and Offshore Rigging (who did a rig survey that was required by our insurance).  The staff at both were exceptional and very eager to help.

We’ve been learning all sorts of things we didn’t know about Mexico through some seminars and other cruisers.  One very important bit is that you need Mexican Liability Insurance to stay at any marina in Mexico.  No insurance, no docking!  Unfortunately your normal liability insurance doesn’t count for some reason.  So after shopping around we ended up using Rocliffe Insurance – talk to Deanne if you need help – she was great! 

Frank and Caroline from S/V Daybreak
Ran into our new friends Caroline, Frank and Léa a couple of times, so had them over for dinner and WAY too much wine, but good stories for sure!  It looks like we’ll be leaving for Mexico at the same time, so it will be nice to have a buddy boat on the way down to Ensenada where we’ll be checking in.

The next day we moved on to the Chula Vista Yacht Club, which is waaaaaaay in the south end of the San Diego harbor.  If only you could leave for Mexico from there you would be so much closer – you can actually see Tiajuana from the yacht club!  Unfortunately, there is no opening to the south, so you have to go all the way back to the start by Shelter Island to leave – about a 2 hour trip!  The Chula Vista YC was another fun place to stay.  While not as fancy, we met a LOT of friendly members and we enjoyed our stay there very much. 

The sunset behind the Hotel del Coronado
As I write this we are at yet another club – the Coronado Yacht Club, which is located right across the street from the super fancy Hotel del Coronado.  We walked through the hotel yesterday and what an amazing place!  We didn’t think that we’d be able to afford drinks within our meager budget, so just took in the sights and enjoyed learning a little about the history of the hotel, which has been around since the late 1800’s.  Pretty amazing for a big hotel like that to stay in business through the depression and two world wars!

Tomorrow we will be off to stay at the Southwestern Yacht Club, back at Shelter Island – the perfect place to leave for Mexico, which (weather depending) we hope to do this Sunday, November 4th.  It’s kind of a strange feeling to know that we’ll be leaving the US for such a long time.  Every other time I have left, it’s been for a couple weeks at the most – never a completely open ended amount of time.  We don’t even know when we’ll be back to visit – it could be many, many months (years?).  I must admit to moments of trepidation and unease at the thought of leaving the comfort of home where everything is known and easy.  I’m also feeling very sorry that I haven’t devoted more time to learning Spanish!  But they say immersion is the best way to learn, so immersion it is! 

We have truly enjoyed our stay in San Diego and found it to be full of folks that are interesting to talk to and very interested in helping us in any way they could.  We continue to be amazed at how friendly and helpful everyone has been along the way.  Here’s to hoping that Mexico and beyond will be more of the same!  

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