10.27.2008

Finalmente!


Hey Everyone,

After a couple expensive days in San Diego we're finally taking the plunge over the border... as soon as the fog burns off.

There are 200 other sailboats departing San Diego for Mexico today. I wish we had a waterballoon launcher... and radar for afterdark navigation.

Final preparations would have been a lot more difficult if not for the help of our new friends Ron, Lori, Mel, and Inga.

Saying Ron and Lori took us under their wings is the understatement of the century. Ten minutes after docking we were eating fried egg sandwiches on their beautiful boat. Without Ron's advice, patience, and generosity we would've never gotten done what we needed to here.


Installing the Crow's Nest.


Mac experimenting with desalinization systems.


The Junkyard.

We bought a new motor, a couple hundred dollars in groceries, and another couple hundred bucks in other essentials.

Then we got your packages.

WOW!

The boat is barely afloat. I'll be sleeping atop a SNACK MOUNTAIN for the next month.

Look for progressively fatter dudes in upcoming photos.

EVERYONE who sent something wins the Baja Kite Vacation of a lifetime. Get in touch and we'll start hashing out plans.

Special thanks to...
Walt and Reed from Bend (we're hanging her atop the mast at dawn),
Brian and Brady Bates (everything but the Spam... although Hickery Smoked and Lite varieties entice),
Nico at Bay Area Kitesurf (stylie!)
Naish Nick (one step closer to our kite sail)
Mom and Dad Mogren (the uniforms will undoubtedly intimidate Mexican authorities)
Brad and the Cotter Crew (who knew Von's would deliver such profanely delightful food)
and, of course, Mel and Inga

We're heading to Bahia San Quintin (about 200 miles) and then Bahia Tortugas (about 400 miles). I doubt we'll have internet access for at least a week.

The wind looks light until the 2nd so we'll probably keep sailing as much as possible. Hopefully the FINDMESPOT works and anyone interested can track our progress.

The next post will be more exciting. Guaranteed.


Hasta Luego!

10.25.2008

It's Called Gratitude...

On Catalina Island, we discovered the best six-dollar breakfast in the world, masticated, no less, in paradise.


2800 fillingly empty calories later we breezed the 100 miles to San Diego.

Experimenting with new light wind tactics, we broadened our abilities to travel while simultaneously sticking it to the man.

Old Mother Nature can do you no greater honor than bestowing a dolphin escort to your little boating adventure.

Straddling the bow with six of the big, beautiful beasts playing a foot below your toes is incredible. Momentarily, you're completely tapped into the source.

video

They're smarter than us. Mac and I proved it.

Dolphins don't even consider eating SPAM... let alone half-gallons of cheap ice cream. They don't pollute or fight or buy stupid crap or freak out either.

In fact, dolphins, when not enjoying scientifically-documented recreational sex, just munch healthy fish and bust sweet aqua-acrobatics.

This obviously prompts the question:

Who's really Top Dog on old planet Earth?

10.24.2008

Two Monkeys F*#%in' a Football

Hey Friends!

Greetings from the Land of Light (and occassionally Toxic) Wind!

SOCAL!

Specifically, Two Harbors, Catalina Island... a short jaunt across the waters from SMOGBOUND Los Angeles.

Sailing in here, a strong Santa Ana from the NE felt like sucking a tailpipe. 30 miles from shore, I couldn't help but inhale the nonsense of LA. Meanwhile, as dolphins played around the boat, I took a look at the GPS and noticed we're sailing over a "CHEMICAL MUNITIONS DUMPING ZONE".

Sunrises have been creepily greenish purple.


Carcinogens aside, this beautifully rugged island is the namesake of La Sin Fin. She is, after all, a Catalina 27'.

Being in the mellow waters La Sin Fin was designed for, I wonder what the hell we were doing sailing it along the Oregon Coast in October.

Supposedly, it'll be a breeze from here to Cabo.

Palm trees!

Cacti!

Little Lizards!

Cocktails with umbrellas!

They're all here.

The border is a mere day's sail away... if only we had wind, a reliable motor, and a zillion other little things squared away. It looks like we'll be in San Diego into next week.

IF... if... if..

we make it the 100 miles to San Diego. With minimal wind we'll be relying on our "spare" motor to putt us along... a feisty but occasionally grumpy 1984 Honda 10 horse.

The Mercury 25 won't start no matter how much we fiddle with it.

Maybe "oilfreefun" wasn't the best URL. But we're trying.

Enough of the negatives.

The trip from Santa Cruz proved note worthily awesome.

We left Santa Cruz an hour before twilight to avoid 102 dollars worth of bullshit.

The wind picked up and it was smooth sailing to beautifully tainted Morro Bay.


Beautiful because of the mountains, sea life, and beaches.

Tainted by the 500 foot smokestacks of this powerplant looming over the entire bay... and a shitty vibe.

Unfortunately, the wind was too light for kiting so we decided our stay would be very short... two hours tops.

The kiting around Morro Bay is undoubtedly really, really good.

Mid afternoon we pulled up at what we ASSUMED was the gas dock, picked up a few gallons, "confirmed" we could tie up there a few hours, and went for a pizza.

"BROSEF, I'M GONNA HOOK YOU UP FAT!"

Apparently, all the dudes working in all the pizza joints in Cali say this. And they do hook it up. A seven dollar pitcher of Sierra Nevada and triple toppings attested to that.

Hooray for hookups!

Appetites vanquished in preparation for a little foray from civilization, we returned to the "GAS DOCK" to find our boat had been moved by a commercial fishing husband and wife team of questionable sobriety.

Apparently, we had parked in their spot. The Harbormaster had to move our boat. Folks were irate. Apparently, we'd committed a grave offense.

While she reamed me out, I offered infinite apologies at the misunderstanding.

The husband had disappeared in search of the authorities.

Mac nonchalantly readied La Sin Fin.

A prompt departure needed to be made.

Realizing we were taking off, the ass-reamer switched from "turbobitch" to "nice-lady" mode, encouraging us to stay for the night.

"You don't want to go out there. The weather's gonna be SNOTTY. Stay tied up right there."

Lady, you're snotty. And devious.

Clearing the jetty at full throttle Mac and I couldn't help but crack up. Seriously?!?!

Hopefully there'd be no one to judge and fine us on the uninhabited, westernmost of the Channel Islands: San Miguel.

Incidentally, the weather was pretty damn "SNOTTY" going around Conception Point in the middle of the night. The camera captured the essence of my seasickness and fear.


My vision may be blurry but I can tell the bastard is smiling. Thank God for the full moon or we'd have been flying blind out there.

Midmorning, still dealing with 30+ knot winds, we pulled into a deserted bay on a deserted island and scratched our heads about where best to drop the hook amid the kelp forest.

Our only neighbors were the biggest, noisiest, fightingest, fartiest Sea Lions imaginable.

The boat snugly anchored (or so we thought), we took off exploring in the dinghy.


The sailboat is way in the background of the above picture.

We carried lots of crap up big steep hillsides.


And found the best secret kite beach ever.


There's half of it. Here's the other half.


It was a good time. 20 knots with nice waves.

After a sleepless (for Max) night on the anchor, the wind picked up even more the next day. Gusting over 35, the anchor drug into some kelp and got seriously fouled.

Things were a little hairy for a while but eventually relative safety was restored. Then we went kiting again.

Winds subsided the next day and we set sail again.

Conditions? Perfect.


While I'm reading, Mac is strumming his ukulele.

He's really getting into the spirit of the whole trip.


Sometimes, I can barely recognize him.

Me? I'm still freaking out and stressing occasionally. I think once we're south of the border I'll be able to relax a little more.

The new autopilot, "BEBE JESUS" (pronounced BAY-BAY HEY-ZEUS), is without a doubt our little personal savior.


Multiday sails are a breeze with that little bastard manning the tiller.

As Cool Hand Luke prophetically put it:

"I don't care if it rains or freezes as long as I've got my plastic Jesus..."

This post is going nowhere and the wind is picking up and there's oodles to do so its time to wrap it up.

We're headed to San Diego NOW. Mac's mom is flying down to visit and we're very excited about that.

After a few days of final preparations, we're finally and truly GONE.

Incidentally, yesterday marked the 1 month mark of this little viaje! We haven't sunk ANYTHING yet! We celebrated with a nip of Sake.

We're 4/7ths of the way to Cabo and halfway to La Ventana.

Mexico is so close that my bowels are already agitated. Vamos!

Hasta Luego, Ch├ęs Locos.


10.18.2008

Santa Cruzin' and A CONTEST!

We left San Fran around noon and made it to Santa Cruz at about 2 am.

Its a funky city with great kiting and surfing. Unfortunately, there's no wind or swell currently so we're moving on.

The little time we spent here proved fun. Many folks seem laid back and with it. Lots of cruiser bikes and longboards.

Max bought spearfishing gear and can't stop fondling it.

Check this dude out. Badass. Obviously, I didn't take this picture.


What's he gonna do now?

Big thanks to Shawn from Wainman Hawaii for showing us around, taking us to the only vegetarian post-apocalyptic 50's burger joint on the planet (The Saturn... delicious), and shuttling us to the grocery store and gas station.

A $52 "parking ticket" from the Marina coupled with another $50 in dock fees has us leaving before dawn. Calling in the Coast Guard is highly unlikely; we're a very small fish in a very big pond.

The wind is forecasted to build for the next few days, peaking on Wednesday.

Our goal is to get around the last big Cape in the US, Conception Point, en route to the uninhabited San Miguel Island, about 230 miles South.

We're hoping to anchor here:


Here's the island.


The bay is on the NE side. There looks to be epic kiting over the ridge on the NW side. It's supposed to nuke with moderate swell on Monday-Wednesday, so hopefully we get to kite our faces off.

From here, we're planning on heading about 130 miles to Two Harbors on Santa Catalina Island for more supplies. Then its another 100 mile jaunt to San Diego.

Speaking of San Diego... we have a mailing address there!

Mac and Max
c/o Mel and Inga Holmes
1118 Hornbeam Court
Hemet, CA 92545

Here's the contest. Whoever sends us the most delicious or useful or funny items, wins.

Think, "If I were stranded on a desert island with three things, what would they be?"

Winner gets the Baja Kite vacation of their lifetime. You get to Cabo or La Paz and we take care of the rest. Also, all submissions will be made note of publicly.

As long as you get it there before next Friday, we'll get it.

Gotta go. Sun's comin' up.

We'll have internet again in about a week.

Hasta Luego!

10.16.2008

SCIENCE!

video

Greetings From the Golden Gate

Hey All,

It turns out San Francisco is the land of the free lunch. This makes sense, given their collective propensity for getting rich off of cyberspace.

So far, no luck in that department for us hobo yachtsmen despite this awesome website.

We got here at dawn yesterday. The view was surreal. The full moon to the West. The sun just about to peek out to the East.

The pictures turned out like ass. We need a real camera.

Coming into the Bay in twilight we were terrified of getting run over by one of these.


There was a guy rowing around in a racing hull out in the Bay in the dark. He was, without a doubt, the craziest yuppie bastard I've ever seen.


We're staying at the Golden Gate Yacht Club, about a mile inside the bay. The view of the Golden Gate, Alcatraz, and assorted other stuff is surreal. We're right next to this place:


THE PALACE OF THE FINE ARTS

Clearly, we've landed in the creme de la creme of San Fran. Suprisingly, there are little shitty boats like ours docked up next to SUPERYACHTS in the marina here.

So far, noone has asked us to pay for our slip, so we haven't. SUSS!

Yesterday, we rallied the dinghy 12 miles to Alameda for a new Simrad Autopilot. 530 dollars later, we're right back where we started.

En route we passed the most expensive sailboat ever built (seriously). We couldn't help but laugh.


This beast is several hundred feet long. WHY?

To reiterate, viagra is cheaper, tough guy.

We went out for dinner yesterday with old friends and for breakfast this morning with Nico from Bay Area Kite Surf.

As alluded earlier, we didn't have to drop a dime on food. Thanks, amigos ricos!

San Fran is amazing but it can't do justice to the image of it I have in my mind.


Gone are the days. Joggers, yuppies, and technophiles are all I see. Not a legit hippie in sight.

Maybe we're in the wrong neighborhood.

Regardless, the wind is too light to kite but good for sailing, so we're rolling South.

It's a voyage of self-discovery... sailing along, boldly asking the tough questions:


DO SEALS LIKE SPAM?

Ciao!

10.14.2008

Estamos En Bodega Bay

Hey All,

After 41 hours of sailing we made it the 200+ miles from Trinidad to Bodega Bay.

About 15 minutes after leaving Trinidad the AUTOPILOT shit the bed. For those unacquainted with "shitting the bed", it's an expression that is more forcefully synonymous with "dropping the ball". Aka, failing to perform at a VERY inopportune time.

Hence, due our third crewmembers demise at sea, one of us had to steer at all times during that 41 hour sail. No bueno!

Regardless, it was awesome. At one point, this actually happened.

Conjure the image.

Its a perfect, sunny California afternoon and after a long stretch of sailing, we're approaching our destination. La Sin Fin is about two miles off a remote, mountainous, beautiful coastline. Conditions are mellow. Mack is currently manning the tiller... ALREADY AN AWESOME SITUATION!

But it gets better.

About 25 feet to our right a family of whales (including a baby) is swimming at the surface. Mommy and Daddy whale are MUCH bigger than the boat. Baby is just a wee bit smaller than the boat.

But it gets better.

Meanwhile, 5 or 6 dolphins and doing laps around the whole scene, darting, leaping, and making funny noises.

But it gets better.

Just to our left, 300-400 (yes, 300-400) SEALS are going nuts about something. It looks like a feeding frenzy. Countless seagulls and pelicans circle overhead, occasionally divebombing amidst the frenzy. When the seals notice us, all their attention switches to the boat. They start following us around, waving their flippers, making funny noises, and doing assorted other hilarious crap.

And the whales just take it in stride and keep swimming along... breaching and spouting and slapping their tails.

I gotta go get some lunch. Then we're going kiting. Setting sail for San Fran this evening.

If all goes according to plan, we'll be approaching the GOLDEN GATE at dawn.

Yep.

10.11.2008

Directly Into the Beam

We're pulling out at 11 pm so this update will be short and sweet.

I'm hoping to get two hours of sleep.


We left Crescent Schitty at 5am on Friday, hoping to be in Trinidad by 2pm. Ideal wind and perfect swells pushed us here by noon. It was a great sail although things got a little stronger than we'd have liked as we rounded Trinidad Head.

The whole fishing fleet is gone, and all the little moorings have been pulled for the winter.


We're the only boat in the Bay. It is a little disconcerting.

There are plenty of good reasons not to be sailing in Northern California right now.

Since we're anchored off, we had to pull the dinghy off the bow and use that to get to and from town. Lo and behold, it has a pretty substantial leak. This doesn't surprise me.

If it can break, it will break. Murphy's Law reigns supreme in sailing.


Actually using a sailboat is a lot of work... especially if said sailboat doesn't have a bunch of silly little motors that do all the work for you... but its completely worth it.

Trinidad is one of the most beautiful places either of us has been. Words can't do justice to the natural beauty here. It kicks ass.

Though its been a short stay, the people have been extremely welcoming and friendly.

The first guy we met in town, an archangel of a man, set us up with a ride to go kiting and offered to let us stay at his house.

The ride he set us up with lives completely off the grid and became a fast friend.

We kited Big Lagoon and it was incredible. Ideal wind but the meanest, steepest, heaviest shorebreak either of us has ever seen. I got out once and caught the ride of my life coming back in. Then I got throttled a dozen times and decided to stick to the amazing
REDWOOD LINED LAGOON across the dunes.

There were no kiters, but a few speed demon windsurfers shared the water with us.

This morning we hiked Trinidad Head (great views) and then went back to "The Beachcomber" coffeeshop in search of eats and another ride to go kiting.

We found it in the form of the first hardcore, pure surfer I think I've ever met. He was great to talk to.

He drove a crusty old Toyota with a little dog in it. Three boards and a wetsuit in the bed. I can't imagine paddling out in frigid Northern Cali waters, but he's been doing it for twenty years.

That very morning, he'd been surfing 12 foot "kegs" at a secret spot where he has previously been attacked by a 16-18 foot GREAT WHITE.

A GIGANTIC KILLER FISH TRIED TO EAT HIM.

I saw the scar.

Ten days after the attack he was back in the water.

He took us to a beach where we had the best kiting of our lives. This didn't surprise me. He knows this stretch of coastline like Stephen Koch knows the Tetons.

As the waves were dying and wind shifting towards the shitty a few local kiters showed up. They were the first kiters we've met on the trip and all great guys.

There's definitely a big future in kiting around Trinidad, which is as nice a little town as anyone could ever hope for. I think it has something to do with Humboldt being the growroom for the USA.

Looking at the models, buoys, and assorted forecasts it looks like the swell is dropping from 7-10 feet to 2-4 feet for the next 20 hours. Also, the nuclear winds are going to subside in a few hours and winds in the teens should linger until late afternoon.

Then things are going to pick up again, both wind and swellwise. We need to get around Cape Mendocino and into relatively safer waters before that happens.

Hence the planned 11pm departure.

After Cape Mendocino, we're more or less stuck out there for another 200+ miles to Bodega or Half Moon Bay. Fortunately, after tomorrow evening, conditions look ideal for the remainder of the sail.

Maybe we should have driven to Baja like everyone else.

Just kidding.

This trip is really making me realize how dependent I've been on oil for every aspect of my life. Its pretty disgusting, really. Even in this quaint little hippie town, 19 of 20 people you see go driving by.

Today I saw a monsterous, brand new, $400,000 RV lurching around a corner. It had Minnesota plates.


All these frowny jokers are burning it up, blasting exhaust right up the future's ass.

QUESTION:

Why are the old selling their McMansions and going coast to coast in tourbuses?

ANSWER:

So they can watch satellite TV from a different zipcode every night.

I'm over watching it all fall apart. Hence, El Viaje.

We're getting this sailing thing down to mountaineering-jaunt-like standards of "on it".


I'm gradually coming to believe that we're not going to sink.

Hopefully, we can just keep going.

Vamos a veer.

10.09.2008

I Had An Awesome Time!


Today dawned too windy to leave Crescent City so we made the best of it. And it was good.

Exploring the coast, I realized that all the little granite mounds around here are like super clean little summits... great for scrambling.


I felt like I was in the Tetons as I explored neo-classic 5.4s like Sketchy Underpants Couloir.


Then I saw a sailboat that makes mine look really nice.

That blob behind it is a lazy sea lion.

Here's some more sea lions.

I'd call them the most 'merican of all sea critters.

Then I had the best biscuits and gravy ever at the CHARTROOM.


The strange ambiance left nothing to be desired. The mirror door propped across from the table warns:

WATCH YOUR STEP

above:

LIVE WELL * LAUGH OFTEN * LOVE MUCH

Being windy, naturally we went kiting and had a great high-wind, mellow-wave session on Crescent City South Beach. Highly recommended with NW wind and swell.

At 5am tomorrow we're setting sail for here:

TRINIDAD BAY

With luck we'll be there by noon or one, before it gets real windy.

Then we're hoping to hitch a ride N on 101 to Big Lagoon.


3.5 miles of waves and flatwater with a spit of sand between them. It's forecasted to blow side on, 22-24 with NW swell. The mountainous backdrop looks nice too.

Giddy up.

Thanks, Google Earth. Your omniscience is scary, but awesome.

10.08.2008

Bustin' Outta Bandon!

A few decades ago, a crazy dude in Bandon built a sternwheeler reminiscent of the Mighty Mississippi.

Launching the Dixie Lee

Crazy enough to build a sternwheeler on the Oregon Coast, naturally the beautiful bastard took it over the Bandon Bar and paddlewheeled all the way to San Fran. Supposedly, it's still there.


Notice the plywood over the windows... this act was premeditated.

We too made it out the Bandon Bar, and under similar conditions.

Where are we now?

There's a lot less mist in the morning and a little more stank in the air. The blackberry brambles aren't quite as dense, and the succulents and frondy plants are holding their own.

We just bought a $26 pizza at a restaurant straight outta the Twilight Zone. Everyone thinks they're much cooler. And there are bums.

Clearly, we've arrived in CALIFORNIA.

Crescent City, California, to be exact... majestically located armpit of Del Norte County.


I say armpit because after building the most beautiful lighthouse here, they decided the rest of the town could be sinfully ugly. Its sinful on account of the surroundings. Have a look...


and...


Redwoods National Park is just south of town.

Getting here was the most nauseating experience of my life. I haven't thrown up that much since I got the flu in kindergarten, barfed 53 times in one day, and had to be hospitalized.

I got so seasick I was seeing mermaids beckoning from the bioluminescence-sparkled water...


...and puking on them. Repeatedly. All night long.

Fortunately, for both of us, Mac never gets seasick.

We set sail from Bandon Monday afternoon, knowing things were going to get ugly that night .

Our choices were to leave then or wait at least a week while 10-13 foot NW swell hammered the jetty in Bandon.

With swell like that coming in, there's no way out.

Sharon H Capsizing
32 foot double end commercial vessel
Bandon Bar, October, 1995

Owner Rescued by USCG Helicopter

Maybe these guys could make it out.


But these guys wouldn't have a prayer.


4-6 foot swell was scary enough while motoring outta there. I can't imagine taking a 10-13 footer on the nose.

With a cold front forecasted to hit shore around midnight, we knew it wasn't going to be a fun night. On the bright side, things were supposed to clear around 3am and a gentle N wind was supposed to build as the day went on...

...to 40.

As we sit snugly in the Crescent City Harbor,
toasty warm (thanks to a blowdryer),
sipping hot apple cider,
it is HOWLING out there.

Combine wind like this with 10-13 foot swells from the NW and you've got interesting conditions. Fortunately, racing from Bandon to Crescent City, we caught only a taste of 30 knot wind combined with big swell. The last two hours were a little dicey.

Cruising down the face of a whitelipped wave, the GPS clocked us at 15.8 mph. That's twice La Sin Fin's hull speed. It was an interesting sensation.


Its easy to sit in port when you know you don't want to be out there.

Things are supposed to be mellow tomorrow morning. Hopefully, with a 5 am departure, we can make it the 50 miles to Trinidad before winds pick up again tomorrow afternoon.

Only 800 miles to go until Mexico. Then another 800 to where we wanna be in Baja.

We're only about a fifth of the way there. Already it's been the most
boring
fun
exciting
frustrating
scenic
scary
pleasant
nauseating
educational
humbling
experience of my life.

So far, so good.