Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Newport Shuffle

Happy New Year! A fog bank descended upon Catalina for several days after our much-needed hikes. It impeded our movement toward mainland, but maybe that’s just an excuse as we thoroughly enjoyed how we spent the calm foggy days. We sailed from Cat Harbor on New Year’s Eve and found a beautiful spot a few miles east to spend the holiday, tucked behind a reef in the inner basin of Little Harbor. After two nights enjoying this special spot waiting for the fog to lift, ready (itching?) to move, we headed out. As always, we attempted to sail, but the light, fluky, and then nonexistent winds from the direction we were heading pushed us to work the engine a bit. (As an aside, if you’re wondering what happens to all those huge bunches of balloons that are let go into the sky on New Year’s Eve, they’re now floating around in the ocean…). We motor-sailed around the eastern tip of the island past the bustling city of Avalon and as the sun dipped out of site we set the hook off White’s Landing, a great pushing off point to attempt a one day sail to mainland. The next day dawned with a beautiful sunrise signifying changing weather- the edge of a small storm but thankfully no dense fog. We sailed off our anchor with a following wind pushing us directly toward our destination. Unfortunately this didn’t hold, so we struggled through several sail and course changes and ended up motoring across the shipping lanes in no wind. But just through, as we passed the offshore oil rigs, the winds filled in for a perfect sail. We approached Newport Beach Harbor at nearly 5 knots, under sail with pods of dolphins playing in our bow waves, a rainbow on mainland, and a beautiful sun setting behind us between clouds and Catalina. Magical!

2009 and we’re not in Mexico yet, but never fear, we’re so close we can taste it. We find ourselves in the surprisingly huge Newport Beach Harbor. Our first two nights were spent in the inner harbor anchorage, but yesterday, we decided to take a quiet and calm mooring (reputedly the most inexpensive in the country quite unexpected in this very wealthy place) behind Balboa Island so we can focus on reprovisioing and attempting to fill lots of last-minute-before-we-leave-the-country tasks. We’re both excited and nervous for this next step that will be so different. It’s been quite a shakedown so far with lots of magical moments as well as many less publicized frustrating and scary times through which we have really appreciated all of your encouragement and interest. For the next week or so we’ll be here running around like crazy but would love to hear from you one more time before we head out of the country where our cell phones will no longer be active and we’ll lean more heavily on the internet connection (Skype anyone?!). Look for another update before we push off and best wishes to all for a fun-filled 2009!

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