Friday, May 27, 2016

Cowles Mountain hike

Around San Diego there are all kinds of fantastic hikes, yesterday we tried out Cowles Mountain at Mission Trails Regional Park

The hike we did was the less intense, but still pretty steep at times, access road up the backside vs. the switchback up the front side.  Less steps and far fewer people.  Tessa wasn't exactly sure what the point of all this was and she was very slow going up (with several water breaks).  We chose an overcast day and still were sweating by the time we reached the top.  The views were awesome!

On the way down we ran into a bit of a roadblock.... BEES!  Thousands of them, something disturbed them and they covered the trail so we backtracked and waited them out, eventually they reformed on a tree adjacent to the trail.  I'm not one to get scared often, but this was a bit reminiscent of stories we here about the African bee swarms.  Awesome pictures but we don't need to see this again.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tessa the boat dog at 7 months

So this is the occasional obligatory 'we love our dog' post.  I understand if you skip this post because I often skip over what to me are redundant baby pictures, but this is our blog and our dog, and she's AWESOME!

Yep, one day soon we will be out there sailing south 

She's becoming a great boat dog, potty trained and was pad trained until a storm blew away her pad and now she's not so sure about the new pad, she's swimming now - when she was younger she was wary of the water, she's a great size now at 35lbs and holding for the last few weeks, maybe she gets another growth spurt or two, loves playing fetch with just about anything you can throw, but especially her piggy and her frisbee, she loves her marina pack with Adam and Jess and of course she is in love love love with the much older and not interested Rocket!

She will fetch anything, even the Chuck-it

Mud bath at Dog Beach

Racing the Rocket!

Frisbee focused

Her studly in-her-mind boyfriend, Rocket

She likes to be around during boat projects

Helping with winch maintenance

Overseeing the anchor locker resurfacing

But she's not interested in all boat projects, here's what she can do with her toy box when you work on one project for too long....

Mostly she just loves being around us and that's great because we love her being around too!

Wine time at anchor

Always knows how to bribe a treat from us when we're in the galley

and finds herself comfortable in bed with Monica all night long

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Antal rings, simplicity and cost effectiveness

Recently we've been going through some running rigging changes and have found Antal rings to be very simple and effective. Below are a couple of pictures of how we've used them. So far we've had them whipped on with single braid dyneema.

The first picture is our asym tack line running through an Antal ring whipped to the bow roller then running back to the cockpit.

The next picture is our preventer line through an Antal ring eye spliced with single braid dyneema then spliced into a loop and wrapped around our forward chock.

Anchor locker resurfaced

Quick post on a recent project where I resurfaced the anchor locker, the before and after pictures kind of tell it all.  The old paint was coming of in chunks and exposing the fiberglass.  I started by scraping off as much as I could, then went in with a power sander and roughed it up some.  I certainly didn't do this professionally, that would've required a lot more sanding and that would've required a full suit and breathing apparuttus to avoid all the fiberglass, so I did the best I could and used 5 coats of Interlux Bilgekoat white.

before, after 16 years of use
after 5 new coats of Bilgekoat

and with divider inserted
So now we're going with 200' of 3/8" BBB chain (and another 100' of 5/8" 3 braid) on the secondary which is a 45lb Bruce and 300' of the same chain on our 85lb Mantus - get one of these and sleep at night!

and 300' of new 3/8" BBB chain

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I’ll Tell You All About It When I See You Again by The Hesitant Half

I have been putting off writing this post for weeks now.  My first dilemma was the title idea.  I have been toying with using ‘Bittersweet Goodbyes Part #...’.  However, that just felt too final.  One of my biggest hang-ups with this cruising thing is the idea of saying good-bye to people I care about.  Now, I know this is never easy for anyone…but I feel like I am just extra sensitive about it these days.  Perhaps it is because I know that I have a lot to give out in these coming months, or it could just be because of things from my past.  Who knows?!  My other dilemma is that I just don’t feel like crying!!! (FAIL!) Needless to say, I will not be writing this post with a tasty adult beverage in hand.  I don’t need to add any fuel to my emotions!

In April we took what will likely be our last trip up to San Francisco.  I always spoke of my time there with such distaste.  It was ALWAYS cold and it just never felt like home to me.  However, I made some truly amazing friends up there that I hope to have for the rest of my life.  The simple reality is that I can’t imagine we will ever go back there.  Once we start cruising in January, we just won’t be making the trip up anymore. 
Our trip up was epic.  We spent 10 days visiting friends and had an amazing time.  We spent most of our nights at Matt and Brandy’s house and it was just like ol’ times.  Meals were made, cocktails were poured (and poured and poured and poured), lots of laughs and an occasional tear mixed in.  Stories were traded with all of our San Francisco sailing gang.  We had fun dreaming about what to buy at the Richmond Boat Show with John and Ramona.  Many a trip was made into the city to visit Chris’s old office, as many of our friends as we could, and my former teacher colleague’s/family.  Stories of administrator/dictator woes were met with great sympathy and admiration.  Wine was snuck into the park as we all enjoyed a rare day in the warm sun.  Everything was just like I had never left…..except when I finally had to. How do you say goodbye to these people who have become my family?  I hope I will see them all again, but my fear is that they will become the fondest of memories through days of silly photo gazing.  The invitation for them to come visit me anywhere around the world is an honest one.  But, I can’t buy the ticket for them.  So all I can do is hope and let life take us where it must.
Denton, Lily, Megan, Tessa, and I...just like the good ol' days!!!
Shhh!  Don't tell anyone what's in that cup ;) 

Glenda, Brandy, The Hesitant Half, Ramona, John
Every year we lived in San Francisco we would surprise/embarrass Brandy for her birthday at the boat show.  She hated it, but I know she is going to miss it next year :) 

On Chris’s way home south from San Francisco he dropped me off at my parents house and the next day I departed for a trip up to Canada.  My dad’s side of the family lives up there and my Great Aunt Ann and Uncle Henry aren’t doing to well.  They are both in high spirits, but the cruelty of time has started to take her toll.  I went up there knowing that this would likely be my last trip up.  Fondness for the farm house instantly returned the second the front door opened and I smell the wood furnace and sausages boiling on the stove.  It had been over 10 years since my last visit, but things were just as I had remembered.  Honey buns every morning and extreme over eating the rest of the time.  My cousin Kelly spontaneously joined us and made for an awesome addition to our trip.  We spent time with family every day.  Uncle Henry was always excited to see us when we would stop by his assisted living home.  Perhaps it was because he knew that I was sneaking in chocolate and beer for him!  Stories were shared of times long ago and the bond that is shared between family was built even stronger.  My cousins that I haven’t seen in over 10 years became my closest of friends over night.  We laughed until we cried and enjoyed amazing adventures together.  It is funny how much time can pass between visits and it feels like I have always been there.  I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful family that gets along as well as we do and genuinely relishes our time together.  Upon leaving it was even more difficult.  Aunt Ann is 84 and Uncle Henry is 88.  As I received my last firm hug from my aunt she told me that she loves me and that the next time I see her or Uncle Henry will be in heaven.  I completely lost it (much as I am again writing this), but this is the reality of life.  Time can be cruel so all we can do is enjoy our time today as best as we can.  This part of the trip was magical and I have formed memories that will bring me happiness for the rest of my life.
Uncle Henry enjoying a delicious beer that I smuggled in for him
The Canadian Family enjoying dinner at my Aunt's favorite restaurant

As our time in San Diego comes to an end I know that I will have many more family and friends that I will have to say farewell to.  I doubt I will see some of them again but I am learning to take comfort in knowing that the time that I share with people changes me and makes me better forever. 

Life has taken me to amazing places and it will continue to do so and I promise…I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again.