The Rest of the West (coast)
San Francisco: A week in San Francisco Bay is never enough to see and do everything but we were able to explore some areas we hadn’t seen in previous visits – Sausalito, Angel Island, Berkeley and Emeryville. The annual Fleet Week was in full swing, too, so we caught a Blue Angels show, which is always a treat.
Leaving San Francisco, we hopped down the coast, stopping at several more northern CA ports along the way –
Half Moon Bay, home of the famous Mavericks surf break;
Monterey, where the sea lions rule the roost;
Morro Bay (one of our favorite coastal towns), where we caught up with new friends, Carl & Bebot, whom we met in Brookings, OR.
From Morro Bay, we did an overnight and rounded Point Conception, our last major West coast navigational challenge, at night. We were lucky to have light winds and calm seas the entire time.
Santa Barbara: We pulled into Santa Barbara in the early morning and settled into our first southern CA port. We spent four days there, taking in the Harbor Festival, marveling at the beautiful Spanish architecture throughout town, and filling our bellies with good food before continuing south.
LA: After a full day of motoring (thanks to more low/no wind conditions), we grabbed a slip in the beautiful setting of the Marina Del Rey Marina and watched the weekly sailboat race in the channel. With only a couple of days in town we hit the ground running the next day, hoofing it to Venice Beach to check out the famous boardwalk and returning on our newly procured skateboards, a slightly faster but less stable (for Paula, at least) mode of transportation. The next day, we rented a car and explored further afield – Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Hollywood Blvd., Sunset Blvd., and Burbank, plus a visit to the Griffith Observatory and an obligatory pic of the Hollywood sign. Our only rule when driving in LA was “NO HIGHWAYS,” so our route back was an interesting tour of business districts and neighborhoods, some grungy and others over the top swanky. We had a fun time but two days was enough – time to leave the city in our rearview mirror.
Catalina Island: Several people had told us how beautiful the Channel Islands are and that we absolutely must visit, especially Catalina. We nearly skipped it because we only had a day to spare and there were other coastal ports we wanted to visit. With such strong advice, though, we figured we should give it a go. When we moored at Isthmus Cove in Two Harbors, we saw a barren and dusty landscape and a harbor full of mooring balls filling up quickly with weekenders from LA, not exactly the serene beauty we had hoped to find. What we experienced over the course of a day, however, was a laid-back, festive atmosphere with tons of activity – kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling – and water so clear you don’t even need to touch it to see the sea life fifteen feet below the surface. We took a few hours to check out Avalon, as well, which has a much different feel, with a busy harbor, a bustling tourist town full of boutique shops and restaurants, and the Casino (not a gambling establishment, but rather, a large event center and theater).
San Diego: One overnight from Catalina Island put us in San Diego, where we’ve spent the last week doing all the last minute preparations before we leave the US and head into Mexican waters. It’s not been all work… we’ve also had the chance to visit some of our fave locations and catch up with old friends, the best way to finish our trip down the US West coast.
On Halloween morning, we departed for Mexico as part of the annual Baha Ha-Ha cruisers’ rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas (www.baja-haha.com). Be sure to follow along on our international adventure!