Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ventura Yacht Club, Santa Cruz Island anchorage and Del Rey (LA) Yacht Club

In case you are following this blog closely, many of you will rejoice with me in the knowledge that I know that I did indeed earn my Propane Badge! And here it is, thanks to our friend and fellow Wauquiez owner Brian S.!!! Woohoo! Thanks, Brian! I will wear it with pride!

I haven't been able to blog now for several days so I will attempt to catch you up on Planet Appa over the last week. After Marcus and Ben got back from Seattle last Monday and we knew we were done with Santa Barbara, we waffled and debated whether to head South to Ventura or out to the Channel Islands. In the end, we decided we needed to get our bearings and more information about the islands before heading there. Marcus and Ben were suffering from "dropping out of the pod and dropped back in" syndrome after their trip. It is amazing how you get used to being in such close quarters with each other. And then to step out of it and back in is quite disorienting. For everyone. We followed our friends from Sunshine (Pender Island, B.C.) and Winterhawk (Edmonds) down the coast, arriving at the Ventura Yacht Club shortly after they did. Such a lovely and friendly yacht club!!!
Winterhawk, Sunshine and Appa at VYC Guest Dock
We went directly across the street to the beach for a swim and Samey amazed us all by actually making it past the waves on the beach and she swam about (with her swimming vest), quite proud of herself!! She is amazing. Back at the Yacht Club, we made instant friends and were included in a BBQ potluck dinner that even included a violin "concert" that Samey danced in!
We even opened a fantastic bottle of wine - THANK YOU, GINNY!!!
Samey dancing with a little 4 year old named Ava
Marcus shared with our table mates that he races J-24s in Seattle and was invited to fill in on one of the boats in their fleet for their Wednesday night racing series. I didn't hear much about it but I think he had fun. We spent tons of fun hours with Trevor-Kane, a sweet 12 year old who lives there with her family (her Dad Garrett was the one who Marcus raced with) and who showed us around Marina Village the next two days after school. We had ice cream (sorbet for Ben, the only kid on the planet who doesn't like ice cream) and even got hair cuts for Ben and Sam. We also got to watch a movie with her on her boat. A really high quality movie called "Superbuddies". They are a family of four (Trevor's older brother Braeden is 14) living on a 30 ft boat (Catalina). And it looks incredibly comfortable and spacious. They just have it all worked out. Amazing. Such great people. Thank you!!! This is a shot of where Ben and I got to do our schooling both days.
Homeschooling can be OK, I guess.
In the dinghy? Marcus and Samey!!
We had arrived in Ventura on Tuesday the 24th and left on Friday morning, the 27th for Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands. It was a fantastic sail over with lovely weather and I was only slightly seasick (put the patch on too late).

The Channel Islands are like dry, hard, crumbling rocks falling into the sea. Dirty brown, with cascading cliffs and disintegrating walls. Very remote feeling despite the many boats anchored at Smuggler's Cove where we also anchored. It was, after all, the weekend. Many head there from the California coast for fishing and hiking and the likes. It is hard to impress me coming from the Pacific Northwest and knowing the splendors of the San Juans but we loved being at anchor and away from "land". It was a lovely place to be for three days. We did dinghy in to the beach both days and practiced "landing" with the dinghy wheels which was challenging but successful!!

So glad to have Max with us. Really. For so many reasons. He is such great company and great crew help for Marcus. And with Ben and Samey. I love that they will have this experience together despite the vast age differences. It is something they can share across the "time zones" of their ages and stages. My favorite thing on the island was the rocks. They were so incredibly complex and I wished I knew more about geology. I did find a rock with fossils in it. I'm sure the beach was covered with fossils. I loved it.

Yesterday, we decided to head to Los Angeles. This Thursday, Max flies to Seattle for a visit with his Dad and friends for the weekend and I am flying to Florida for the sad job of emptying my dear Aunt Shirley's condo to prepare it for sale. She is now 95 and comfortably settled in Seattle in a wonderful adult family home. With her advanced Dementia, she is no longer be able to live alone down there. My cousin Chanda and my friend Keri will join me down there to help. I love them both so much and am SO grateful for their support in this. Max and I will both return on Monday evening. Our flights are out of LAX. Also, we have not gone grocery shopping for a week now and the echo in the fridge is starting to be disturbing. We would not starve (there is still a ton of stuff on board) but we have made our way through everything we had on board that was fresh. I like the challenge of thinking of what we DO have and what we COULD make...
Making dinner and Keri's famous guacamole
If you are reading Max or Marcus' blogs then you know that we were graced with the gift of a dolphin escort off the island of Anacapa yesterday morning on our way to LA. Not just one or two but HUNDREDS. It was so incredibly beautiful and up-lifting. Such grace, such a gift to have them follow us, play with us. And then to look away and see them, hundreds of them, skimming the water. Even babies learning to breathe. We were, all of us, enraptured.

Could these creatures be luckier?
 We are now snuggled into a great slip at the Del Rey Yacht Club in LA. They have a swimming pool so we are all thrilled. And the people here have been so incredibly kind and welcoming. We had only just arrived when a kind yacht club member offered us his restroom key for the night as we arrived too late to formally check in! They were having a BBQ and Monday Night Football gathering and we were welcomed and included by all. So nice. A lovely yacht club once again. Now, gotta go get the school day going (*BIG sigh*). AND, later, we want to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2...!

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