With great difficulty we pulled ourselves away from Santa Barbara – our favorite place so far. We said goodbye with a bottle of wine on the beach (thanks Chris and Kim for the recommendation – Blue Fin Pinot Noir from Trader Joe’s – pretty good for California pinot).
While in Santa Barbara, the owner of the boat next to us invited us to spend a night at the dock in front of his house in Ventura. Ventura is only about 20 miles from Santa Barbara, and we motored over in calm seas, and ho hum, caught three fish on the way (nos. 6-9). Tied up for the night at the dock in front of Paul and Sandy’s house and shared a few bottles of wine, snacks and conversation with them – nice folks.
Left early the next morning for Marina Del Rey, which was another motorboat ride. Marina Del Rey is the largest marine facility on the south coast, home to over 6,000 boats. As we approached we could see the “Hollywood” sign on the hills as well as the masts of a huge ketch towering over all the others – the masts were so tall they needed red lights on top due to the proximity of LAX!
Arrived just at sunset and tied to the public dock adjacent Chace Park. Nice facility with fast, free Wi-Fi. There was a Halloween showing of the movie “Maleficent” on a blow-up screen in the park.
I used to feel pretty smug about how good Portland was about recycling and other progressive ideas. So far we have been very impressed with California. Public garbage and recycle receptacles are everywhere, there are numerous dedicated bike paths, and free Wi-Fi provided by the City or County is widely available.
Got under way for LA the next morning, which was only 25 miles away– even baked a birthday cake for Dan while underway. Had a glorious sail until fog blew in from out of nowhere and the wind died completely. It was pretty entertaining to hear the panicked calls to the Coast Guard on the VHF from folks caught out in the fog with apparently no GPS, radar or other means of determining their position. Within an hour the fog was gone and we sailed into Los Angles harbor in late afternoon, and headed for Fish Harbor, a small industrial harbor well inside Los Angeles harbor where we had anchored on our last trip. Fish Harbor is an all-weather anchorage, completely protected from all directions, and a good place to sit out the forecast strong gusty winds and thundershowers.
We enjoyed the flat calm of the anchorage even if the scenery was industrial. Unfortunately, it was too good to be true, and the next morning the LA Port Police swooped in with blue lights flashing to chase us out. They were very nice, and informed us that anchorage was no longer allowed in Fish Harbor. They wished Dan a happy birthday and provided us with a permit to anchor off Cabrillo Beach, which although behind the harbor breakwater, is referred to as “Hurricane Gulch” in guide books. Not where we wanted to sit out a blow. Called a few marinas and found a spot in Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach.
I feel like we have landed on another planet. Rainbow Harbor is a circular marina, surrounded by a park-like setting with fountains, sculptures, restaurants, and shops. Music plays from each light post – Christmas music. The Queen Mary is parked just across the channel. We are the subject of many photos as we are the only sailboat. We will escape and head south again tomorrow…