June 6, 2000
The morning rose on what promised to be another beautiful southern California day. Debbie and I woke early and prepared the boat for our next leg. We filled the fresh water tanks, disconnected from shore power and fired up the engines for what would be an eight hour day at sea.
Not quite having a good feel on the speed of this boat, nor the effect of the California Current, we had planned on making our way from Oceanside to Newport, a humongous harbor south of L.A.. As things turned out though, we would make it well past Newport to Long Beach Harbor, doing about 7 knots.
Departing from the Jolly Roger dock at Oceanside, I got another lesson on the immensity of this vessel. The area seemed to be a bit crowded from my perspective, which led to me being conservative in backing away from the dock. I should have allowed more room. When I began to move the boat forward I quickly found that I had miscalculated the distance needed to turn this beast and soon found myself in the untenable position of being trapped between the dock behind me and the very expensive looking sailboat in front of me. Jockeying the engines forward and back in an attempt to pivot O'Baby!! away from the sail boat didn't work as planned. Any way, to make a long story short, the Zodiac hanging from the side of the sail boat ended up becoming a very expensive fender. Yeah, I hit it, but (thank God) no damage was done. We got our asses out of there nonetheless. (And, dammit, this wouldn't be the last boat I'd hit before the week was over.)
Leaving the harbor at Oceanside presented us with seas of 1-2 feet, much better than the seas we experienced coming in. For the most part, that would typify the conditions for the day. Coming in to Long Beach shortly before 6pm, we did see the seas get a bit choppy due to the wind, but the ride wasn't unpleasant.
During those eight hours at sea we saw all kinds of aquatic life - dolphins, seals, flying fish (yes, they really do have wings), sun fish as big as our dinghy, birds, jelly fish, etc. There wasn't ever a dull moment on this leg - and with the sun beating down and tanning our white butts, we were in heaven.
Coming into Long Beach was pretty straight forward, though we were pinched for time as the harbor office closed at six and we were pushing that time very close (we docked at the transient dock at 5:55pm). The previously mentioned choppy seas subsided as soon as we passed the breakwater (miles long!) protecting the Los Angeles/Long Beach harbor. We proceeded past the man-made islands (named for deceased astronauts Chaffee, White, Grissom, etc.) and headed the boat in the direction of the Queen Mary. After pulling up to the transient dock and registering ($25/night), we were directed to an end tie on a new and mostly unused pier. We made our way there in quick order, hooked up all our ground connections, and then went to explore town a bit (actually, we had to go find some more beer, wine and pop for our next legs - priorities you know). Debbie and I enjoyed a wonderful meal at a Greek restaurant in town then came home to the fireworks show for the Queen Mary. This was cool - but wouldn't you know it, by the time we grabbed the camera from inside the boat, the fireworks had ended.
We toasted the seconded leg, talked about the next, then settled down for the night. Tomorrow, Ventura.