Sailing to Catalina on the Schooner Escape

July 8 - Back from a week of sailing to Catalina island for the 4th of July holiday. Sailed over on the Escape - Sidney's 45-ft, all-wood schooner - built in '33 (during the Great Depression). They don't make 'em like that any more. Wendy made a 7-min video about sailing on the Escape here. Look for the Real video file titled Sailing

See a copy of the ship's log for the trip here

Always had probs with other boats anchoring too close, & having to get up in the middle of the night, start the diesel, & move the boat to prevent crashing into other boats. Used a new trick this year -> every time a boat would come into the area, looking for a spot to anchor, we'd have the kids play some of their (most obnoxious) rap music on their ghetto-blaster. Without fail, boats searching for a spot to anchor would quietly leave the area. This is the first trip to Catalina that we didn't have to get up in the middle of the night to move the boat. 

Watched the fireworks from the boat at Two-harbors cove (Isthmus) after having a few buffalo milks (vodka, milk, creme de cocoa, creme de banana, topped with whipped cream that's been drenched with a shot of Kahlua). Everything was rocking eve before we started on the buffalo milks - didn't take many to get us feeling patriotic. 

Lani downed a few rum drinks. The next morning, on the shore boat, while heading to the island, she quickly turned away & blew chunks overboard - right in the middle of sharing her story about what happened the previous night. Seems that the mere mention of the word 'rum' made her sick. Where your camera when you really need it? =D 

Lani was on her way to meet Evan, who motored over to Catalina a few days later on the Catalina Flyer, cuz he couldn't get off work early enough. With Evan onboard, we weighed anchor & set sail for Emerald Bay for a few days of snorkeling. Wet suits & Churchill flippers made snorkeling especially enjoyable. 

Mom had premonitions that something bad would happen if we sailed around the West End, so we canceled plans to sail to Little Harbor, which would've taken us around the West End, and opted, instead, for nearby Emerald Bay. 

One morning while at Emerald Bay, Wendy & I took the dingy & rowed along the coast to catch a view of the notorious West End. But to get the view, we had to row out around a sharp corner at Point rock. Seems like the tides changed as soon as the West End came into view, & we got caught in a rip -> sucking us out to sea. Waves got big, & the sky became overcast. The dingy rocked violently in the growing waves. Rowing in the big waves was difficult. 

Wendy was rowing. Earlier she'd insisted that she was the better rower cuz she'd been doing it longer then me. She said, "You better take over," after rowing vigorously, but getting nowhere. Before taking over, I said, "I'll row, but first, tell me I'm the better rower." She got mad, but I refused to take the oars until she admitted I was the better. =D She finally did. 

As hard as I rowed, we barely made any progress. Then one of the oars would pop out of the bracket. It only took a few secs to reseat the oar, but that was enough time to negate 5 minutes of furious rowing. After paddling like a madman for 30 white-knuckled minutes, we finally made it back to a safe, calm eddy. We'd run out of water an hour earlier. My mouth was dry, arms were burning. Wendy said it was 'terrifying'.

The next day we weighed anchor & sailed to Avalon. That night, we saw the movie The Perfect Storm - at a cool theater there at Avalon .. talk about white-knuckled experiences. The movie was so realistic. After the movie, we caught a shore boat back to the schooner & slept onboard. Seeing the movie at Avalon after getting spooked in the dingy seemed strangely synchronistic. 

The captain, Sidney, appointed me Engineering Officer. Jahmar was tapped for Master-at-Arms duties, in charge of getting the crew to stow their stuff on the boat. Crew of nine sailed the boat. Wesley slept topside every night, under the stars. Evan caught a couple stingrays. To everyone's delight, a school of dolphins met & accompanied both to & from Catalina. 

Amazing how good bacon tastes at sea. We rarely eat bacon, except on the boat. 

One night, while at Emerald Bay, Harbor Patrol brought the kids home, saying they caught them lighting off fireworks on shore. The island is dry & grassy & fireworks are illegal. Sydney told the kids not to light-off fireworks on shore, but they didn't listen. Boy was he fuming when the Harbor Patrol said the Sheriff would be by shortly to write him a ticket with a fine. Fortunately, the Sheriff got caught up with a real fire at the Isthmus, and never came by. 

Enjoying the simple things of life again - like a hot bath, clean sheets & internet access .. but the desk is still rocking. =)

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