Somehow we’ve been here in Chula Vista for quite some time. 3 weeks? 4 weeks? It’s just over 4. The only way I can gauge is that we’ve eaten at our new favorite, cheap and delicious Vietnamese noodle house every Thursday since we got here and it’s been 5 times. It’s not a plan, it just happened to work out that way (OK, well it is a plan NOW).
So much of what has been going on here, after getting our bearings and adjusting somewhat, involves working on the boat or visiting with family and friends.
There’s a big list of projects which includes, but is not limited to: replacing and reconfiguring rigging – installing rope clutches, cleats, LED lights on mast, new way to secure jib halyard (we’ve nixed internal halyards, thereby removing the need to pull the mast and saving us lots of $), fix the gooseneck, get the mainsail modified so we can actually reef properly (they didn’t make it right on our new ‘bargain’ sail…) check/fix spreaders,
remove/inspect and possibly replace chainplates, repair/fix issue causing galvanic corrosion at foot of mast, getting a bimini (shade structure), put a coat of cetol on the teak, install some kind of fish cleaning station, stocking up on spare parts and supplies, fixing the leaky bow water tank, getting more chain for the anchor, getting another propane tank and install mounting for it, tweak some of our systems based on shakedown lessons, finding a boarding ladder that works, fixing the galvanic corrosion between the solar panels and the arch frame, getting an anchor bail, rewiring our radios so the VHF and Chartplotter both have AIS at the same time (they can’t now, and we’re not sure why), see if we can get our PC program to talk to the chartplotter, Getting screens for hatches, getting fans, wiring power into the pedestal (right now the CPT autopilot is kind of hokily wired up), rebuild saltwater pump, devise quick disconnect system for Monitor Windvane, paint corroded parts of engine, install some sort of heat shields around stove (the wood is getting increasingly black and is bound to catch fire one of these days. Whose design was that?), get insurance for out of the country, figure out what to do with Verizon plans, stock up the first aid kit, learn how to use the sextant, clean up and sell my car….
That’s the bulk of it, mostly. I’ve been trying to write this blog for some time now, and we’ve actually crossed a number of these things off the list. But the guy we hired to do our shade/bimini and screens seems to be AWOL. We were warned he was sloooooow, but we really wanted to believe he could finish by Nov 10 like he said he could. We hounded him for a bit, but he last promised to come at a certain time last week and he didn’t. No call. No show. And I thought people in Santa Cruz were flaky!!! We gave up on him (he never even charged our deposit). We did find a large finished piece of canvas-y plastic stuff at Minney’s Yacht Surplus (used boat parts mecca) that I was able to get the majority of the mold stains off of – and we have ordered a grommet punch tool, so we can make holes in it to tie it down. It will drape over our boom like a big tent and shade the cockpit. It will do for now until maybe we find someone to make us something more fitted in Mexico? But, as we learn again and again, “There’s nothing more permanent than a temporary fix”, right?!?
We do have a rigger helping us out. Unfortunately between the time we found him and were ready to work with him, he took a “real” job and doesn’t have as much time for us. But he’s a super nice guy who’s happy to share his knowledge with us and give Jonny that boost of confidence he needs to do most of the work himself. He will be helping us replace our upper and back stays. His review of our rig is that we are in great shape (except for the gooseneck – the part that holds the boom onto the mast. That’s a mess/long story) – and that we seem to know more about what we are doing than most people he meets who go cruising. That is nice to hear!
We realized that our departure date of November 10 is highly unlikely at best. Just too much to do and the amount of stress we are feeling at this somewhat arbitrary date is unhealthy! We are supposed to be having fun, right?!?! Not so much. So we are going to give ourselves to the end of November. We will probably leave a bit before then. Can’t complain about having to be here longer, the marina is just wonderful and we’ve met so many great people. We could spend all day chatting with nice folks walking by.
So what else have we been doing in the last 4+ weeks?! The idea of having a gathering with our immediate families became a reality. What started out as a vague idea of an afternoon party, turned into 11 days of reunions, fun, visiting, eating and being merry. It started with the arrival of Becky – my cousin and best friend since before we were born. Somehow it’s been 7 years since we were together. Emailing nearly every day is nice, but nothing beats face time. We had a great trip up the coast / beach day ending with Korean food and amazing gelato in La Jolla. I spent a few nights in her hotel so we could make the most of the few days. Weird to be sleeping in a building on land! We also spent some time running around preparing for the upcoming festivities and visitors.
My parents rented a house in Chula Vista – it was very large and more than a little bizarre. The décor was interesting in a cartoon-meets-Ikea-meets the San Diego Zoo meets a fun house sort of way, with sloppy paint jobs and weird paintings thrown in. Also they forgot to clean up the yard – it was full of debris, broken mirrors, strange furniture and what not. Lots of what not. BUT, it was clean and roomy and had a great kitchen and living area for all of us to gather and eat and visit. It also had a washer and dryer. Yes- we did about 5 loads of laundry. No quarters required!
Aside from my Mom and Dad, many of our other favorite people came to town for extended visits: My sister with my niece, Kiyomi and nephew Adin, my Aunt Rosie (Becky’s Mom) came out from Pittsburgh, Uncle Art and Aunt Lisa from Utah (or Arizona, depending), Jonny’s dear friends (surrogate parents) Cliff and Dee came down from Fort Bragg, Jonny’s sister Laraina, brother-in-law Jerry and niece Bella came in from Long Beach area.
We had planned to have our gathering in the park right next to the Marina. It worked out to be a great spot. On party day we also got to see Jonny’s Mom, his brother Zac, sister-in-law Renee and niece Paulyne and nephew Cole trekked down from Long Beach, my dear friends – Erika (and Einstein, the dog), and Mindy, Paolo and their boys, Jake and Sammy.
It was quite a party!! I don’t think I’ve had that many people I loved in one place at one time, ever! And humbling to think they all came just because we asked. At first I was a little overwhelmed- wondering how on earth I was going to keep track of everyone all day… But it worked out and I felt like we got to visit with everyone – during and after the day. My Mom did a great job of listening to what I wanted to see happen as far as food and set up – we had a huge spread we picked up from Whole Foods catering (no they did not pay me to say that) and a tent and tables/chairs, real plates and napkins (not as much waste!). I think this is pretty much the closest thing to a wedding my parents will ever get to give me…it was wonderful and I’m SO grateful we got to have it.
Cliff managed to get everyone’s attention at one time and made a really beautiful toast for us. Everyone gathered around and it was amazing to be surrounded by so much love and support! Especially when I suspect a lot of people think we might be a little bit crazy for what we are doing… but hey, it’s our family and friends, they all know we’ve always been crazy, so I guess they aren’t so surprised by this latest manifestation.
The day after the party, Jonny got to take Laraina, Jerry and Bella out for a sail and I spent a day tramping around San Diego with Mom & Dad, Sandra and kids and Rosie and Becky. I got to spend some good beach time with Sandra and the kids (Adin’s first time body surfing! And Kiyomi and I in our skivvies…). There were also way too many trips to In and Out Burger – a novelty for many out-of-towners.
My parents stayed on a bit longer still and we got to take them out for a sail one day. We went into San Diego and got a guest slip for a few hours so we could go out to lunch. We had a gorgeous sail home, arriving just after sunset. Jonny got to scare the hell out of my parents in a CVS – I was clear across the store when I heard my Dad scream… Rest assured, someday, there will be revenge.We also got to poke around Old Town San Diego and downtown Chula Vista. It was nice to spend some time just relaxing with them!
The biggest bummer is that everyone left at different times, different days. That’s a LOT of good-byes. By the time my parents were the last to leave, I kind of fell apart. It took us a couple of days to come down. Actually, I think we came down hard immediately and it took a couple of days to recover from the crash! It was so wonderful to have everyone around for a happy occasion – and then suddenly we’re all alone again, in a place that doesn’t feel like home (except for when we’re on Summer) with an overwhelming list of projects to figure out and accomplish. We may have become a little bit cranky.
But this past week we got ourselves back on track and dove back into all these projects. I have my fantasy routine that I would like to see happen every day while we’re here – I get up, go to the gym and work out, shower, make a nice healthy breakfast, accomplish great amounts of work in time to have a swim in the pool, soak in the hot tub and then make dinner (Unless it’s Thursday, in which case I go to Pho Vinh and have a #22 with egg rolls and lemonade) and have a relaxing evening . I may possibly have had one or 2 of those days, and many of those things happen in some fashion each day. I may not always get to work out. Or shower. Or make a good breakfast. Or swim/soak. But it’s nice to have goals!
At the end of this week we will celebrate Jonny’s big 4-0 on Halloween. Costumes to be determined. Nothing better to make me homesick for Santa Cruz than Halloween! I don’t imagine the costume party at The Galley at the Marina is going to come close to Pacific Ave. in Santa Cruz. Someone send me pictures, please?!?!
In other news, The Baja Ha Ha is about to take off this week. That is a sailing rally where about 200 boats all zoom down the coast of Baja to Cabo San Lucas. Partying and living it up the whole way. We’ve met lots of great people who are joining in those festivities and gearing up to take off soon. I can’t tell you how many times other cruisers or sailing folks NOT doing the Ha Ha (in stores or other places) ask us, with a big, excited smile “So, are you doing the Ha Ha?” and we say “No, we want to go at our own pace and just relax and do our own thing” and they look at us with relief and say “It’s better that way… The Ha Ha is just so crowded and they don’t take time to stop for very long at places on the way down”.
I must admit to being a little trepidatious about leaving the country (for good-ish) and relinquishing the ease of communications and ability to almost instantly get whatever we need in the way of parts or food or whatever. I hope it’s like when we left Santa Cruz –wherein it turned out to be far less scary than I imagined it could be. I’m also hoping we can remember how to have fun and learn how to switch off this GO mode where we drive ourselves crazy with pressure and stress. That’s not what this is supposed to be! Right?! You guys would rather read about interesting adventures, right? Don’t worry, it’s on my To Do list.