|Avalon on Catalina Island. The mooring field is starting to fill up for the weekend.
We were only going to stay in Santa Barbara for a couple of days but I caught a cold and we stayed a nearly a week with no problems. We've heard from other cruisers that during the summer, slips in Santa Barbara are hard to get and good luck trying to extend your stay. It is the city's only marina and in a wonderful location, so it's not hard to understand why slips are in demand.
|Virginia explores Pelican Bay on Santa Cruz Island.
|Beautiful Santa Cruz Island.
We were there for two nights when we heard a weather report of gale-force winds that would hit the island. So we sailed to King Harbor at Redondo Beach. No slips were available, but we spent the night on one of four mooring balls for transient yachts. We were the only boat at the mooring field and there were no boats in the anchorage inside the breakwater. This small marina is a gem, but we didn't have the time or inclination to explore it. Still feeling a little punky from my cold, I didn't want to unlash and launch the dinghy.
|Seabirds line the breakwater at sunset on the King Harbor breakwater.
|Shoreline Village Marina in Long Beach. The harbor is also known as TransPac Harbor with signs detailing the history of that great yacht race.
We weathered a pretty good storm, with gale-force winds, rain and thunder and felt secure; the boat hardly moved. In the morning the marina was filled with garbage washed down the LA River into Long Beach Harbor. It was pretty grim. Most of it was reeds and branches, but much of it was plastic: water bottles, plastic sacks and wrappers of every description. Single-use plastic is evil. We stayed four nights and by the time we left most of the garbage was cleaned up.
We found the gas dock at marina next door was convenient place to fuel up. Their diesel price was the least expensive we've come across and the attendant was helpful and friendly. He told us stories about other cruisers he'd met including a family of four from France who set off for French Polynesia after buying fuel.
|Two Harbors on Catalina Island.
"Don't go to Avalon" was a phrase we heard often while at Long Beach. "It's crowded, expensive and hard to get a mooring ball." So we decided to stay at Two Harbors. The mooring field at Two Harbors is lovely and deserted in the winter time. We spent two nights... two very rolly expensive nights. At $50 a night, it was more expensive than most marinas. We were glad to leave that harbor.
|Oceanus moored in Avalon Harbor with the amazing Casino, which was never used for gambling.
|The harborside of Avalon. In the background is the entrance to the walkway to the Casino and the Avalon Yacht Club.
On shore we visited some of the shops, but we really had no interest in most of them. We have everything we could want. We did find a great Ace Hardware store packed with an astonishing selection of practical items. I finally found the perfect nozzle for our hose to replace the one we left on the dock at Newport. I've been looking for the right one in every port since we left. Best of all it cost only $3.
|The botanical gardens on Catalina Island.
Friday was the last night of our stay in Avalon and the little harbor filled up with yachts including several from a Southern California yacht club having their spring cruise. The main party boat was next door to Oceanus and at one time had eight dinghies tied up to it. The nice thing about yachties is that most of them are older and the party was all but over by 9:30 p.m.
The next day we headed to Dana Point Marina for two days to visit friends. It's a beautiful marina. They were also very accommodating when we needed to change our reservation because we stayed longer than we planned at Avalon.
Then it was on to San Diego. As we came close to the entrance to the bay we saw two islands... two Mexican islands!
|Oceanus was one of only three yachts tied up to the Police Dock in San Diego. During the fall this place is packed.