November 10, 2006:  After looking at the calendar, and seeing the holidays fast approaching, I decided that it I was going to get to Catalina before the end of the year, this weekend was it.  As fate would have it, I have had a slow summer and fall, but soon after taking a pro bono case from the Public Law Center (an unlawful detainer with habitability defenses) everything broke loose.  Several of my dormant cases came to life and a couple of new labor law matters came in, as well as a major bankruptcy filed by a big client's tenant ($56,000 a month rent at stake).  I worked uncharacteristically well past dark a few evenings and got things under control.  I did not have a chance to go to the boat during the week to get things ready, but I had filled the fuel tank and the boat had a fair amount of food and wine on board already, so I stopped off at Trader Joes on the way to the boat and bought fresh vegetables, a steak, a quart of milk, foccacio rolls, and strawberries and I was ready.  After disconnecting the shore power, loading the groceries, putting on the autopilot control head, putting the remote microphone for the VHF radio in the cockpit, taking off the covers and other minor tasks, I was underway by 10:00 a.m.

There was no wind, so I did not even take off the main sail cover and we motored out of the harbor and set the autopilot on the Cove bearing.  A little bungee cord work cured the throttle creep that kept slowing the boat down and with NPR on the Sirus satellite radio, the trip was mostly just a sit back and try not to run into anything trip.  A fishing boat towing a trawl net caused me to change course once, but other than that I could have gone below and slept the entire trip.  A few sea lions were cruising about in the channel, but no dolphins.  I may has seen a whale, but I could not truly see flukes or spouts to confirm it.  It may have just been a unusually large sea.

Within 5 miles of the Island I could have sailed, but by then the incentive is gone and it is too much work to put up the sails just to have to take them down again 45 minutes later.  I got into the empty Cove about 2:30 p.m. and had an easy time putting down the anchors with no other boats to worry about.  With a weather forecast of  Santa Ana winds on shore over the weekend, I set out a lot of bow scope and stayed further from the shore than I might have in the summer.  The winds are not predicted to reach the Island, but it can get ugly if they do.

I called Patty (who was in Phoenix for INTA leadership meetings) about 5:00 p.m., and while I was on the phone with her, Bill and Suzette Lewis on Allez-y showed up and dropped their hook just to the east of me.  They invited me over for ceviche, and I had to get the kayak in the water and put the seat on it.  As I was leaning over the kayak trying to fasten the outboard hook on the rear of the seat, the whole thing capsized, sending me for a unplanned swim.  (I am sure the three glasses of afternoon wine had nothing to do with it.)  Luckily, the water is not too cold yet (I had my jacket on anyway) so I finished putting the seat on and clambered back into the cockpit dripping as Bill and Suzette finished getting their anchors set.  Stripping off the soaking clothes in the cockpit, I took a hot shower (plenty of hot water from the engine running on the trip over), shampooed my hair and changed into dry clothes.  My second boarding of the kayak was more successful.

Since Suzette is a teacher, and had Friday off for Veterans' Day, Bill had taken the day off and they were making it a 3 day weekend.  We ate ceviche, drank Bloody Mary's, and caught up.  The sun was well down and the stars were out when I paddled back to our boat and made dinner.  The steak did it's thing on the grill and I paired it with a pile of baby broccoli and sautéed mushrooms.  I watched a couple of Net Flix movies and went to bed.

November 11, 2006:   I woke up about 6:00 a.m. to a beautiful sunrise and spent the next few minutes taking pictures as the colors changed and the sun rose.  After coffee, I spent a couple of hours working on the club web site, which I have just been asked to take over (they somehow think I know more about this stuff than I do).  Bill and Suzette had brought their dive gear and were planning a dive on the reef on the west side of the Cove (a really fine dive spot).  They were about to get into the water when the "Cee Ray," a dive cattle boat from Los Angeles pulling into the Cove, dropped their anchor, and started spitting out black skinned, hooded creatures.  Bill and Suzette immediately made for the reef, and luckily the sea cattle were slow to herd up and Bill and Suzette were about finished with their dive by the time the herd moved that way.

The divers were mostly in classes (one of which was completely female with a female instructor) and so they spent a lot of time just floating around and going up and down in open water.  When they did go over near the reef, they spent most of their time along the side of the Cove near the rocks and out of the kelp.  I kayaked to the beach, where a couple who had arrived by kayak were taking a morning break on the beach.  I check the shore facilities out and hiked up to the road and around to the point to take some pictures of the Cove for the Club website. 

After coming back to the boat mid-day, I had a bowl of clam chowder, a sandwich and hung out on the boat for a while.  I finished a book called Fortunes' Formula by William Poundstone, that deals with attempts to mathematically develop market trading formulas that beat the market.  He deals with various attempts and some spectacular failures such as Long Term Capital Management.  A very interesting book, and further evidence that stock trading is wildly difficult and that the long term "buy and hold" value investor is almost always better off than the aggressive traders.

The wind picked up in the afternoon as the cold front passed through and I battened down and cooked chicken and pasta and watched "Casanova," a thoroughly bad movie but with great scenery in Venice.  Shot entirely in the City, it is almost worth watching just to see the scenes of that magic city.  After reading for a while a novel about the Spanish invasion of Mexico from the native perspective, I went to sleep.

November 12, 2006:   I woke up at six, went to the head and crawled back into bed.  I read for an hour or so and called Patty.  While we were talking, I looked out and Bill & Suzette had upped anchor and were sailing across the horizon.  They did mention that Sunday was pizza night and they needed to get home early to make pizza.  I made coffee and worked on the web site a little. 

About 10:00 a.m., I put the camera in a zip lock bag, got a bottle of water, put on the sunscreen, grabbed a hat and took off in the kayak.  I learned a long time ago that the best policy is that one goes out up wind.  The wind blowing from the west, I went toward the west end of the Island. 

There were only two boats in Howland's Landing and three boats in Emerald Cove.  I paddled all the way around Arrow Point, about a mile and three-quarters, by the chart, but longer with the wind in your face and following the shore to get some protection.  There are a few fishing and dive  boats about, but not much else.

The west end of the Island is visible in the picture, however, Arrow Point is the point that protects the North side of the Island from the prevailing wind and seas, so there is not much on the Island past Arrow Point.  All of the coves, camps and points of habitation are east of Arrow Point.

I turned around and got a boost from the seas and wind and was able to paddle straight back toward the boat.  It was a beautiful day and even got a little hot with the wind at my back.  I was glad I brought a bottle of water.  The people from a couple of boats were free diving and spear fishing around Indian Rock at Emerald Bay.  As I paddled past, one guy came up with a fish on his spear, yelling in excited victorious hunter fashion; his female companion pointed out that it was a bit small (I think she was referring to the fish); and he admitted that it was.  The poor thing was about 6" long, but I am sure looked like the size of a dinner plate underwater.  One of those tricks of diving they try to teach you about.

The wind calmed down, the clouds went away, and it was one of those perfect winter days at Catalina; where there are no crowds (I have the Cove all to myself).  I stripped off my clothes in the cockpit, hung my shorts up to dry, started the engine for the afternoon two hour battery charge (the downside to refrigeration on a boat).  I heated up a bowl of chili, took a hot shower, and uploaded pictures and worked on the web site.

I took a few pictures to show life inside the boat:

November 13, 2006:  Well, I got up at 7:00 a.m. to clear skies and calm conditions.  The wind was blustery last night following a weak cold front, but that blew itself out sometime in the night while I was sleeping.  I had a bowl of cold cereal and a cup of coffee and by the time I was finished with that, it was warm enough to walk around in a short sleeve capiline top and my boxer shorts.  I paddled the kayak out, retrieved the well dug in stern anchor, and brought it back.  I put it away and pulled the kayak on board.  I started the engine and pulled the bow anchor up with the windlass.  I could see a wind line a mile or so off shore, so I put up the main sail.  Unfortunately, the wind never materialized and the engine raw water intake was partially blocked with something (probably sea grass in the strainer), so I had to keep the engine RPM's down to about 2100 (from the normal 2600).  Because there was no wind, and the seas were flat, the boat still did about 5.75 knots, so the trip took under 5 hours from Cove to dock.  I would have pulled the raw water strainer apart at sea, but I would have had to shut the engine down to do that and with no wind, I waited to do that job.

The weather was warm and I only put on my shorts over my boxer shorts when I got into the harbor in Long Beach.  The boat was tied up at the dock by 1:30 p.m.  Now I have another item on the work list; cleaning out the raw water strainer.