Finally, a lovely sail! We left Oxnard under favourable conditions right after breakfast. As we exited the breakwater, we caught a Northwest wind that carried us all the way to Marina Del Rey some 30 miles to the southeast. The wind ranged from 15 to 25 knots with occasional gust to 30 throughout the day as we made several sail changes and adjustments. Just for fun, we hand steeried for most of the way. The seas were relatively flat, the sun shone, we saw a whale come up for air and descend again to the depths. We entered the Del Rey breakwater and into the largest man-made boat basin in the world, just after 5pm, and motored into our assigned berth at the Pacific Mariner’s Club.
|We are in D basin - the one with the beach at the end in the upper right corner|
We were greeted by Rex, a member we had met the last time we were here five years ago. The club had not changed much – still very accommodating and friendly with all the services close to hand that sailors on a transient yacht could need.
|The guest dock is right in front of the club - members call it the "fishbowl"|
Our first day here we unpacked the bicycles and headed out to find some fresh provisions. We realized almost immediately that LA is “car” town - few, if any bicycle paths and lots of automobiles with determined drivers. We threaded our way along sidewalks and also realized that LA has few pedestrians! We were able to load up our baskets and return unscathed, but realized we would need to stick to the ocean walkways if we wanted to ride.
|Posted in a window on Venice Beach|
That afternoon we pointed them to Venice Beach and rode all the way to the Santa Monica Pier where plenty of tourists were taking advantage of the carnival rides that are permanently there.
much had changed along this strip still covered with tacky tourist shops
selling edgy T shirts and medicinal marijuana.
What I did notice, were more young homeless people, wrapped up in their
ragged blankets against the sun and stares of passersby, their meagre
possessions tucked under their shaggy heads or clutched in their boney
hands. It was a heart breaking sight to
see those broken dreams littering the beach while the more affluent gawked.
|Midway at Santa Monica Pier|
|Homeless in Venice Beach|
Next day we were on the bikes again. This time, we headed south, across the channel on a double bike lane running along the beach all the way to Paso Verdes, thirty or so miles in the distance.
|Great riding along the beach - Santa Monica in the far distance - note airplane|
We rode along for a few miles until just after the airport, watching airplanes ascending, two by two, every few minutes, destined for all parts of the world. There were hardly any people on the beach and we picked our way through drifting sand and scattered palm branches that had been tossed around in the high dry winds we had been experiencing since we arrived.
|Lifeguard stations on the deserted beach|
We turned around just after a parking lot campsite where we had stayed a couple times in our truck/camper on our winter vacation California forays fifteen years before.
Saturday was Halloween and the PMC were hosting a costume party. We spent a few hours thinking up ideas then foraging around dollar and drug stores for accessories. We scored a clown and an afro wig, a red ball nose and a fuchsia feather boa. Here is the result:
We had a lot of fun meeting many new people, dancing up a storm to an excellent live band and enjoying a big feed of tacos. One of the highlights of the evening was having our tarot read by a fortune teller. We each drew two cards and, of course, the results were positive and somewhat insightful. I later looked up the interpretation of our cards on the internet which seemed to confirm our readings.
Last night we join the Pacific Mariners again for their Monday Night Football. One of the members takes on a big dinner to feed the fans each week and we had a delicious feed of smothered pork chops with noodles. We remembered this fondly from our last visit and we weren't disappointed..
We plan to leave here on Thursday morning for Catalina Island. There are a number of anchorages we can take advantage of and we have been getting a lot of advice from the locals. Most of the bays and coves have moorings that require payment. At this time of year sailors must be aware of the potential for the strong Santa Ana winds which turn the anchorages into lee shores. The time we stay there will be totally dependent on the weather, but we are hoping to visit a few bays before moving on to San Diego and our last stop in the US before making the passage to Mexico.
|An even better arial view showing Vencie Beach to the south and Playa Del Ray to the north of Marina Del Rey|