Kids, Don't Try This At Home!

Hi, and welcome to the adventures of "Triton", a 45' Robertson & Caine Leopard catamaran we purchased in July of 2007, in Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands. We sailed her back to Emeryville, California, located in the lovely San Francisco East Bay area, worked a few more years, then set off cruising in the fall of 2014. This journal is the story of our ongoing adventure, the folks we've met along the way, and the hardships and joys of that journey. Please read along and let us know what you think!

You can click
here to start from the very beginning of the entire adventure. You can navigate from post to post simply by clicking the NEXT or PREVIOUS phrases at the top or bottom of each page. To find out what we've been fixing, changing, upgrading, click on the Triton Boat Work link under Related Websites. If you want to subscribe to this blog (and get emails letting you know whenever we update it) just click on the icon that says "subscribe to: posts (atom)" at the bottom of each page.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Barn and Beyond


Ahoy Mateys!

Well, we are in San Francisco now. The weather is cold, it is raining on and off, and windy. There are Subarus and Volvos filled with soccer moms everywhere we look, the streets are filled with people bustling about carrying shopping bags, and everyone is bundled up against the weather. Oh, wait a minute, this is San Diego! It just seems like San Francisco. What happened to their blue skies, warm winds and lush gardens is beyond me, but folks here all insist that we at the southern end of the state, not the middle of it.

We left Ensenada this morning, motoring for San Diego harbor. The trip north went smooth and was uneventful. We had southerly winds and swells from the west, making the coast fly by, but it really hasn't been nearly as much fun. The motors throb and rumble as they push us along, and the seas roll us side to side, making for a less peaceful journey. We also aren't cooking very much. Mike and John have been living on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and bananas with Nutella. I've been eating mostly from foil packets of Indian food, straight from the pouch. Not great, but tasty and easy to grab.

A troupe of dolphins accompanied us most of the way, dancing across our hulls and jumping out of the water so close we could reach down and touch them. They are always happy to see us, our grinning and playful neighbors that come and go as they please. I've watched them now for over a year, but I know that soon, sadly, they'll be gone; the water is getting too cold for their tastes. I will miss them. We've started seeing more seals, another indication of the changing weather and water temperatures.

As we entered American waters, we played "Back In The USA" by Linda Ronstadt, but honestly, it was anti-climatic. We were cold, tired and ready to get off the boat. The water heater lines had ruptured a while back, leaving us without hot showers. Our makeshift attempts to repair it lasted only a few days, so we were looking forward to land and warm water. Although we'd had a very good run up the coast, still, it has been cold and windy, and at times wet, especially at night. We had to wear foulies for most of it, with lots of layers underneath. At night we slept with as many blankets as we could find. With only three on board, our watch schedule meant someone was always at the helm while the others slept, and no one was getting as much rest as they needed. We were looking forward to getting off watch, going out for dinner and getting a decent night's sleep.

On the way in to the harbor we passed several Navy war ships, freighters and even a submarine on its way out on patrol. There were many helicopters practicing search and rescue exercises, and fighter jets circling the bay, clear indications that this was one of the United State's largest naval ports. Their presence here permeates everything about the area. It is definitely a military base city, regardless of how laid back or left wing it might appear.

We arrived at the Customs dock at 4:30pm. A previously arriving vessel had already called for the Customs Officials (based at the nearby airport), so they appeared only minutes later, instead of the normally long wait. There were two officers, and I think we got the nice one. He was quite nice and very polite, gave us help filling our forms and explained where the local stores, restaurants and government buildings were. He wasn't sure about our papers, it was not immediately clear if our vessel required additional processing, and ended up calling the main office several times as we tried to resolve this. In the end he didn't confiscate our documentation, but suggested we show up at the main office on Monday just to make sure. After a brief inspection we were officially back in the states, and free to come and go as we pleased. We then moved the boat over to the "transient" dock (funny to be a transient now that I'm a legal resident again), where arriving boats could stay for up to ten days for very little money. Mike and John had made flight reservations to leave on Sunday, so we were planning on spending the next day at the world famous San Diego Zoo, a tourist attraction none of us had ever seen before. We grabbed dinner and went to sleep, happy to be home.

The next morning Mike received a call from his wife. The massive storms that had made getting here so easy for us, had flooded his home. Their garage was awash, and their back yard was under three feet of water. He needed to get home immediately, and grabbed the next plane back. John was also feeling bad about leaving his folks for so long, and decided to leave a day sooner as well. They were both the greatest of crew, the best of friends and folks to whom I will always be grateful. Getting up the coast without them would have been a slogging nightmare. Thank you guys!

Well, we've made it to the states, that's one big accomplishment achieved, and something that took far too long to happen, but was worth every delay, disruption and detour. I've been fortunate enough to have had the help of many great friends, made some new ones along the way, and found out that the best measure of a man is the quality of those who come to his aid. By that yard stick, I'm the luckiest guy alive. I never dreamed so many wonderful people would join us along our trip, nor did I realize just how much I needed their support. To everyone who was ever a part of this, I humbly thank you all.

Now all that remains is get around Point Conception (known to be a tough corner for boats going north) and the slog up to San Francisco. I'm not sure if I'll be able to convince anyone else to come along, but I think the rest of the journey could be day hopped, as there are hundreds of harbors, large and small, along the way. For now, I'm going to take a few days to relax, see about getting the boat back to shipshape, repairing those items that we've left to the last or couldn't find the right parts for in Central America, and resting up for the next big jump.

I trust all of your plans are moving along as well, and look forward to seeing you all shortly.




1 comment:

Jamal B said...

Hey guys, welcome back to the USA! Can't wait to see you once you're back in the Bay Area. :-)

Have a great final leg of the journey...

-- Jamal