Thursday, October 4, 2012

Life at the Police Dock

It’s turned out to be a funny place to stay here in San Diego. We followed the route of least resistance (and the notes in several different guide books) to the main transient dock  (at a marina or resort it might be called a guest dock) just inside the main harbor entrance. The first marina area is on Shelter Island and the first dock on that island is the Harbor Police dock, along with US Customs. According to plan (we had called ahead) we stopped there and since it was after hours, we picked any open slip, put our money ($1.00 per foot, per night) in the envelope and have chosen to stay put for 5 nights. The outlook toward the mega-mansions of Pt Loma beachfront is interesting, the sunsets and full moon rises continue to be outstanding, and though most of the locals are bemoaning the heat wave that San Diego is experiencing, we are waking to fog and mist each morning, drying sun at noon, and a brisk refreshing breeze all afternoon.        
Here are some of the views from the little bit of San Diego that we are seeing:     

The hotel and resort we look out on from our slip at the public pier -- lovely view!
The forest of masts seen from our slip. 

The Stars and Stripes take people out in these waters.
The homes on the water at Pt. Loma peninsula.

Birds of Paradise -- one of my favorites.

The beach walk where I've had morning runs.
Part of a mosaic on the point at our end of Shelter Island.

A beautifully refurbished PC that sailed by. This was the make of Lanham's first boat project, The Melinda Louise. It took us on our first cruise together, circumnavigating Whidbey Island.
A bronze bell that was given to San Diego in 1958 by her sister city in Japan.

This is a nicely done tribute to the "pearl" of the Pacific,
a joint design between architectural students from
Mexico, US, China, and Russia.

Our temporary home, the Police Dock on Shelter Island, is at the end of a 2 mile strip of ritzy hotels with restaurants and clubs on one side of the boulevard and a waterfront walk with grass, bouginvilla, public fishing piers and picnic areas on the other side. We have walked it several times and I have done a couple morning runs. Over the weekend the waters around the bay were absolutely hopping with activity – boats of all description plus paddle boarders, swimmers, and sunbathers. However, we are now one of only 3 boats at the dock that can hold 30. It is quiet except for the harbor police and workmen. The internet situation is funny for such a central location. They say they just got wi-fi last week. We are welcome to use it, but it doesn’t reach to the docks. So we have found ourselves sitting on the cement outside the police office with our laptops to do business. We think we will suggest that they get a picnic table or just a couple cheap plastic chairs for the transient’s lounge.

We had a festive celebratory dinner on Keith’s last night here, at the other end of the strip at Bali Hai, a restaurant with a killer view of downtown, and 1960’s Hawaiian decor.

Facade of the Bali Hai restaurant
The sun reflecting off of downtown, just before a giant orange harvest moon rose over the buildings. Notice the "transport ship" in the foreground. We watched several come in and seem to disappear around the corner into the inner harbor of San Diego.
Following our dinner out, we came back to the boat and took the dinghy about a half mile through the channel to the back side of an outdoor stage – hanging out on the water with other dinghies and kayaks we got to hear most of a Crosby, Stills, and Nash concert at Humphrey’s. Great ambiance and the price was right!
A couple ol' Rock 'n Rollers enjoying Crosby, Stills, and Nash concert -- dinghy style.
Unfortunately, on the way to the concert, we hit a rock in the shallows – bump! Fortunately, the outboard still runs just fine at low RPM and it gave us something new to work on and puzzle over this week. Lanham took it apart a couple times, talked to several dealers by phone and is pretty sure that the prop is slightly bent – but oddly, no one stocks the right replacement propeller. At least no one who is talking to us. We are going to leave it alone, go slow when we outboard, and see if we can find one down the road. We are considering the mystery of why boat world USA (aka San Diego) doesn’t have our prop, our Mystery #2.

Mystery #1 is that we are STILL hearing the dripping water, boiling bubbles, or now maybe crackling paint?? sound that we first heard in the narrow cove of Santa Cruz Island, and chocked up to the cave echos. Not so – it has followed us here, it is in, on, or with the boat – but we can’t locate it – and we’ve gotten used to it. We can even go to sleep with it ringing in our ears, because there is nothing to be done. Is this some weird lesson in letting go? Stay tuned, when we figure it out it will be big news.

In addition to outboard motor troubleshooting, Lanham has replumbed the oil pump. We have sewn a patch for the kayak which was over inflated on deck once the sun hit it and blew out a fabric seam. We have gotten out all the window coverings and are using them, both for privacy and shade and we reconfigured our large tarp sunshade adding new Velcro straps to hold it taut over the boom. It will see a lot of use in Mexico. We feel like the boat is well-equipped for heat. We had the fans going and we get a pretty good cross breeze with the hatches open. The portlights all have mosquito netting on them and we have nets for the overhead hatches when needed. No bugs yet!
All covered for shade
We found takers for the last of our stale bread
Along with groceries (a bus ride to Trader Joe’s) and laundry (ahh! three large fresh loads) we have been able to catch up with the network news and watch the first of the presidential debates. We got our ballots printed and mailed today, so now watching the debates is just for sport.

We plan to push on south tomorrow. The weather looks clear. We will either make it one long (12 hr) day or more preferably be able to anchor off an island, breaking it into two parts, and arriving in the afternoon on Friday. We have a slip reserved at Baja Naval, the older, smaller, more central (and cheaper) marina in Ensenada.
Next installment from Mexico!!

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