I stayed in Southern California this year and accepted an invitation to go to Mia’s aunt & uncles house. They are Betsy and Tracy, also there was Mia’s family. When I showed up at 2pm they had croquet out in the lawn and ping pong around the side of the house. I’ll have to refine my croquet game but ping pong was my talent that day, for the first time ever I won a match against my girlfriend.
After a delicious thanksgiving dinner and dessert the kids (which includes everyone except the parents) went to see a movie. The theater became packed and there were already people waiting outside or stores for Black Friday at 8pm on Thursday. Ridiculous.
On Friday I got a tour of Sierra Madre, which has the same feeling of a town near where I grew up, it’s a really nice town and you don’t feel lose to Los Angeles when you’re there even though there are great views of the skyline. It rained all morning and Mia’s brother and sister James and Maeve put on rain ponchos and played croquet outside, it was hilarious.
After stopping by the LMU law school I got to surf really fun, big waves at the Redondo Breakwall. Unfortunately everyone seemed to have the day off and anyone in the surf community had heard how big the waves were going to be with favorable weather conditions -glassy all day. So there were about 50 surfers wading in the water for one wave to break. It can be a heavy localized spot with people heckling each other in the lineup.
The rest of the weekend I surfed another time or two and hung out, and read. We took a trip to urgent care because Mia wasn’t feeling great. We were the only people in the building and the whole visit took about 15 minutes. This is worth mentioning because of so many times I didn’t go to an urgent care when I should have. Now I know it isn’t a bad experience.
This grey plastic bin was purchased when I first got my old catamaran sailboat. It held parts and miscellaneous things like life jackets and tools and I could pull it everywhere that I went sailing. When I moved on to A Cenoura and sold the catamaran I used this grey bin as a permanent trunk for my truck bed. The contents mostly swim fins and a surf leash, a couple jugs of water and a tarp. Well, it’s been about a year of it sitting in the sun and becoming brittle, then I accidentally stepped on it whole walking across the bed of my truck. The up side is that I got a new one which is lower-profile yet can hold the same amount of stuff.
November 27, 2013.
It’s officially been a year that I have lived on the boat. Not that one pictured. That one pictured has sat there floating for longer than a year without a single visitor. The bottom has more sea life growing on it than most of the docks in the marina. The back of the boat, where I’m sure the manufacturer designed for people to stand and steer and fish from, actually makes for a nice alternate home and toilet for birds. The precipitation and dew over the course of however long it’s sat there have cause little flow-lines weaving through the dirt that remind me of a delta releasing a river into an ocean. As if that center bow cleat could be an island causing a wake as water runs past it. Anyway, if someone gave me a little money I would Magic-Eraser and hose down that thing and in 2 hours at least the top would look as good as new. The only reasons I say that is because the boat is docked closest to the entrance ramp, so everyone gets to be welcomed by its condition when they step foot on the C docks.
My window-fix wasn’t a complete success. I tested it by letting the rain fall on it for a day. It doesn’t trap the water in the aluminum and overflow into the boat like it used to - so that’s good - but that rubber interior seal does still get wet. Oh well, I give my repair a grade of a B+.
Aren’t old Ford Mustang fastbacks awesome? I got to work this morning - the day before Thanksgiving - and at 9am this car was the only one on the bottom floor. I know that it was left overnight, but still, there’s something I like about a classic car parked by itself in a dimly lit garage. Come on! That car has survived probably 47 years of being iconic and looking awesome, it deserves a spot on my blog.
Some actual rain happened this week, and although I was feeling confident about fixing my leaking window, I still found an old t-shirt to soak up the water and keep it out of any crevasses and dripping into the cabin. In fact, the old shirt wasn’t hard to find. I keep a whole box of these sweat-stained white shirts (in the dock box) which I used to wear all the time during my valet-parking days just for the purpose of boat-rag supply. I probably have enough to weather the next five years of storms.
It’s a funny thing when there’s bad weather along the Southern California coast. It will be sunny and warm and feel like paradise before a storm - a storm, in Southern California, is any weather that isn’t bright sun - and then it might rain lightly for a day or two but it’s still too warm to bundle-up in any kind of warm clothing, and then it will be the clearest day you’ve ever seen. Probably not, actually, but clear for Los Angeles area standards. The wind and precipitation subdue the pollution and haze and what you get is views of things you just forget are there - like mountains with snow, just an hour drive away from LA, and Catalina Island (and even islands beyond that) which appear so close. This picture above is actually a screen-shot from my cell-phone while using Surfline’s (the company I work for) live streaming webcam. This is the camera in Manhattan Beach, looking south on Saturday. You see the Palos Verdes headland at the top left and Catalina Island in the Background hovering the horizon.
At work, we are given the privilege to park for free in a 2 story parking garage. Benefits include a sense of security, a cleaner car, and the location of walking upstairs and across the street to surf. Setbacks are that when it gets cold and rainy, a handful of bums sneak down there to sleep at night - and stay asleep as the garage fills up in the morning. One guy who screams at people and wears handkerchiefs as shoes was toting around this broken surfboard for a couple weeks. It seems that the building maintenance team took it as some form of overnight-stay rent-fee.
The weather all work-week was warm and sunny, in fact it felt like summer and there were really good waves to surf and bodysurf. I had a fun session during work on Thursday with a handful of coworkers. I bodysurfed and they all rode boards. Aside from the guy on a longboard, I think I had the most fun. The tide was low so the waves were breaking very steep and fast.
Anyway, over the weekend, Mia was over and the main priority was to spend as much time studying and at a law school function. (It was really cool, they provide legal advice to the less-fortunate at a homeless shelter in Squid-Row). This meant I could spend the same amount of time not bothering her, so I went to work on a few boat things.
This solar powered light used to be mounted on a plastic rod and screwed to the stern rail, that eventually broke, so I drilled some holes and tied some string to make it a portable, hanging solar light. I’m happier with it now than I used to be!
I took apart the base of the main shroud/side-stay that goes through the deck. This was the last one I needed to check, and my concern was that it could’ve been suffering from crevice-corrosion. That’s when salt water leaks into the core of the boat, is on metal, and without oxygen it begins to rust straight through the metal. The lower stay in front of this one had that problem and I replaced it first-thing when I bought the boat. During the survey, this was the only place that a water-moisture-meter picked up as possibly having moisture in the deck. However, it feels super solid and there’s nothing else as a bad sign. I checked it, it seems perfectly fine and well-sealed. I added more sealant to the cracks and butyl-taped the rest of it. Now I feel much better about it. Fingers-crossed my whole rig doesn’t break and ruin my home during a starboard tack.
I surfed on Saturday morning in Redondo Beach. It rarely gets good there because of being blocked from most angles of swell, but things lined up and I was in the water for more than 2 hours, I have the neck rash from my wetsuit to prove it… and some pretty wild hair, too.
I made these bagel/egg/(turkey)bacon/avocado breakfast sandwiches that were a hit for Mia and I. It was a delicate balance of using the microwave, toaster, and skillet, while making coffee, without drawing too much electricity through the outlets at the same time.
On Sunday afternoon we knew it was going to be dark around 4:45, so we took the boat out to the pump-out dock, and then anchored in the main channel to watch the sunset. I took Mia through the part of the harbor where there are bars and restaurants because she had never seen it, and then a very bright full moon came up. It’s really difficult to get a good picture of the moon through a cell phone, but if you squint it’s basically like being there in person..and squinting.
This is about the same week last year that I moved on to the boat. Maybe I’ll write something up about what I can take away from it all in 1 year. (That’s my version of a writers cliff-hanger)
3. That’s the number of times I have actually slept outside on my boat in a year. Two of them were a result of being intoxicated and because my tall brothers can’t really fit to sleep anywhere inside, so I joined on the other side of the cockpit bench.
Finally though, time #3 happened by choice because it was a warm, calm night with a bright moon. I had just read a blog of Liz Clark who is sailing around the South Pacific right now and she pointed out something to the effect of sleeping outside is good for you. It is, I woke up more naturally and felt pretty fresh. Thankfully the cushions outside are comfortable.
I remember when I was younger sleeping outside at my dad’s old condo in Sunnyvale. The place was underneath the flight-path for Moffett Field, which practiced helicopter and C-130 (big 4-propeller transport plane) drills at night. I would be sleeping on the patio furniture with a big blanket and feel the rumbling and hear the churning of engines approach, look up and see the landing gear lights zoom by overhead. There was a bakery across the street so every morning you could wake up to fresh baked bread.
I’ll probably do this more often now.
The weather forecast was pretty good. My weekend was mostly free. Mia’s family was in town for a little over a day. We’ve been talking about making plans to go sailing on my boat, and we finally made them. So, to prepare, I spent a few hours on Saturday cleaning the inside and outside of the boat – it hasn’t been sailed for about 2 months. I worked until sundown and then Mia and I drove up to Santa Monica and had dinner with her family. It was a ton of fun, and I valeted my truck which is having some quirky transmission issue, so that was fun, too. Fortunately, I washed it that morning and it was a shiny, sparkling, somewhat crippled truck as it rolled up at the nice restaurant valet.
Anyways, Sunday morning it was an ideal bright and sunny November day – a little bit of haze and a little bit of wind, virtually no swell on the water – Perfect for a comfortable day of sailing. My guests arrived around noon, just as the wind picked up and the sea was white-capping. “Oh, wow, the wind kind of picked up, a lot.” That’s what I was saying, but I wasn’t nervous because we could always adjust the sails to keep the boat ride mild and flatter. The sail took us down Redondo beach and then up north to the manhattan beach pier. It was a great time, I always enjoy bringing people out sailing when they ask questions about the boat. It makes me feel proud when I can answer questions about my own sailboat.
Mia is approaching time for finals for her second to last semester of law school. So during downtime she will study while I could do some of my own chores.
There’s also photos of sunsets, the weather last week has been more like summer and on Thursday my work had a happy hour on the patio deck, there’s certainly perks of the office location. And there is a picture to give you the idea of what I mean when I say that in the winter I’m woken up by the sun - it shines bright directly where I sleep.
I got to be Santa Claus for Halloween. Mia and her roommates threw a themed Halloween party, the theme: Holidays. Mia ordered a Santa costume that was mistakenly sent to Florida on Oct 31st, so her roommate, Syd, went out and found this gem of a complete Santa outfit. Some notable costumes include: Groundhogs day (A groundhog, and then another person dressed all black as their shadow), a Christmas tree with presents and shoes and a Thanksgiving turkey. I thought it was awesome, and was committed to wearing my full outfit with all the pieces for the whole night. It was a lot of fun, but I hurt the next day at work. Luckily it was a Friday and I surfed and left at 4pm.
Over the weekend I bodysurfed and chased seagulls around.
Now I’m going to talk about something that bothers me. This guy in the photo of the white truck - he sleeps in his truck every night - and he’s not the only person getting away with this. It’s like these guys flunked out of responsible adulthood and still own a little boat, therefore have access to the marina’s parking lot and facilities, so they just post up. It irritates me because the bathroom showers have been used with no respect and left filthy, covered in dirt, peoples toothbrushes, wet soggy paper towels in the stall, just taking away from the $200 extra I spend as a liveaboard for the clean facilities. Really, not a lot of things get ‘under my skin’ but this does. So this guy drives in around 7pm, brushes his teeth while sitting in the drivers seat, spits on the ground in a parking spot. He was cutting his fingernails in the drivers seat when that picture was taken. He has a twin-sized bed and box-frame stacked with a sleeping bag under the bed cover of his truck. Then he’s gone around 6am every morning. I know he’s using everything as much or more than I am that I pay an extra $200 for each month, and he’s one of 5 or 6 possible new guys who slum-up the bathrooms and showers nowadays, and I know he’s not paying it… I guess that’s the part that upsets me.
The windowless vans used as closets and storage sheds don’t bother me, neither do the flat-tired old work trucks that never move, it’s the guy sleeping in the bed of his truck beside my car at night and receiving, for free, everything I pay extra for. I hope he isn’t smug about his new inexpensive lifestyle choice. I’m done talking about it now.
Daylight savings happen, the fall-back version.
Downside: it gets dark before I leave work.
Upsides: it’s daylight earlier, so I have time to surf before work again. I didn’t really rely on the daylight after work for much anyways. It makes people lazy (statistically) so my gym is less crowded from now until after new years. The sun rises more in the south and always directly into the cabin, warmly waking me up on the weekends. Some of the liveaboards can’t tolerate the chill and move back to land - I’m not being mean, a handful of these guys had condos in AZ or somewhere to reside in the winter, making for less competition to get a clean shower stall every morning.
A lot of surfing has been going on a work, which is great. There’s not many better ways to block out part of a workday than to take a surf break in fun waves. Over the weekend I had to sort through a large plastic bin of shoes that I’ve kept in the boat. The reason being, because I wanted to wear these black shoes I have, pulled them out of the bin and the toes were covered in mold - that’s boat living. Upon further inspection, there were a few more pairs that I wouldn’t want close to my skin even if I could clean them. So I trashed the moldy ones and cleaned the okay-looking ones, and let them dry outside.
I met up with a group of friends for a couple hours on Saturday afternoon for a little bit of drinking-game playing. The dogs were there.
On Sunday Mia and I attempted one of the goals we set a long time ago - teaching her how to drive a stick-shift. She did pretty well, better on a slight downhill start, but then shifting through the rest of the gears was easy-peasy for her. We’ll practice more. At one point after a few consecutive stall-outs, I (probably shouldn’t have) gave her the motivating scenario of this: “OK, I drove us to the beach and you’re watching me surf. A shark bit my leg! I can’t drive my own truck but we need to get to the hospital. Ok, Go!”
I realized that photo content is more important than my writing on my blog. I’m no journalist, and I’m an even crappier story-teller. The problem was that I’m also not somebody who always has my phone on me - like when sailing, the phone is tucked away playing music to a speaker in the cockpit, hence so few photos of actual sailing.
So I’m going to make an effort to get more photos. I walked across the street from work to the Huntington Beach pier, snapped a couple. I didn’t have long because I was standing near a gift shop that some homeless person pooped on the side of the building of, but I took these 2 photos and cropped them a bit. There has been a decent run of surf for a couple days, and with the weather this way it’s often difficult or impossible to see a horizon line. You can here, but this morning it was just silver from the sand up to the sky. While out surfing, you can’t notice the texture of a wave forming until it’s just about to break on you. The reason I like these conditions is because it almost always means good waves, good memories. In fact, I contemplated naming my sailboat “Silver Water” or something because it was such a positive memory for me when the weather and waves are like this. But that name kind of sucks, A Cenoura is much better. Note that it’s the end of October and people are still playing at the beach in trunks, even in the gloomy weather. Water temps are actually warm and feel the same as the air. I’m curious how much Hurley paid the city of Huntington to convert all the “H” letters into their company logo for lifeguard towers.
We all have those moments while doing a routine, your mind goes blank and you skip a step. Well on a morning before work I started the coffee maker without the pot underneath. I only noticed halfway through because it smelled way too much like delicious coffee, due to it being all over the sink and counter.
This weekend was the “October Birthdays Party” at Mia’s family’s home in Shell Beach. Mia and her cousin/roommate waited for me until I finished work on Friday and we drove up there Friday night. On Saturday morning a bunch of us went to a farm that has fruit and a hay maze and all sorts of family-oriented Halloween season activities. Later a big fun group of family slowly trickled in, and so did my mom! After-all her birthday was a few weeks ago in September. It was awesome to see my mom at this pleasant halfway point from SF to LA. We went up to see George the horse. It was fun to see several horses being ridden and people’s dogs freely walking around the barn stables, everyone is very friendly and the weather was perfect up there. The rest of the day we searched through the tide pools and Mia’s sister, Maeve found an eel, an octopus, and a starfish.
On Sunday everyone got up and we went to the Pismo dunes. I got to drive on the beach and out there it really does look like a desert.
It was fun as always to see so many people and meet a few new faces, and best of all to see my mom for the weekend.
October 12ish. I had to miss work after being sick and showing up there for 4 days. Finally it was so obvious that my manager told me I probably should go home - I couldn’t because I carpooled with two other employees who live near me - so the following day I didn’t go in. That was Friday, and i did the “leaky window project” I’ve been talking about for a whole year now. This involved removed the whole window, the frame, everything. Taking apart any piece I could and cleaning it, butyl-taping the frame to the deck and applying marine grade sealant to the outside. I waited 24 hours to let the sealant set, sprayed the hose, and it didn’t leak! … Then I removed the excess butyl tape and the blue painters tape from the sealant and tighten the frame screws a little more for assurance. Then I sprayed again and a tiny bit leaked. Damn. I think it’s the outside sealant. I can run another bead and flatten it down neater another time, but I feel good and confident about the seal of the frame to the deck. Also pulling things apart and putting them back together is helpful in learning how and why it works.
Mia was able to spend the weekend over and studied and worked on a work research project, but I enlisted her for some help, as the picture showed.
Definitely worth noting is that when I was feeling sick and went to work on Monday she came back to my boat with cough drops and throat medicine and a get well card. Could I ask for anything more?
One small thing that is comical, and on my opinion stupid, are holiday decorations on boats. Christmas trees, blow-up Santa, reindeer- we’ve seen it all on house yards and roofs but seeing it on a boat in the marina is something else. This guy who spends a few nights a week on his boat put up the cheapo Halloween lights you’d find in a front yard, and he wrapped the bow with caution tape and an inflatable skeleton hanging where an anchor would be if he ever actually took the boat anywhere. Who’s trick-or-treating on docks anyways? Doubtful there’s any king sized candy being handed out.
I put this bear sticker on the port rear window. I have the same sticker on the back window of my truck and it sits on my old roommates company car, my other old roommates sold dodge ram, my brother Matt’s truck, and some random kid in Newport who once stopped me in traffic for one. It’s a custom sticker that of course resembles the California bear. It’s subtle and original and i occasionally get compliments on it. I’m very pleased with it on the window, or “port light”, on A Cenoura.
By the way, with the leaky window project kind to complete the next on the list actually is getting the correct name on the transom of the boat.
About once a week or two a huge navy warship comes into the naval station in seal beach, which I drive past on my way to work. This was a really large one, it’s impressive.
Then there’s a peculiar horseshoe pickup truck parked at my gym.
When I got back to the boat the other night I hear the quacking of ducks from a few boat slips away - they swam over to me to see if I would feed them - I don’t. There’s obviously more wildlife around, maybe now that the summer crowds have gone. But I started to see sea lions swimming around the docks catching fish again, too.
September 28 & 29
That boat that had a “stuck throttle” and did so much damage to my neighbor is finally gone. A few weeks ago the true owner - someone apparently in Marina Del Rey who lets his buddy use the boat - came over at about 7am and was yelling for the buddy. I had to go to work but when I came back that night the powerboat was gone. So since then, the marina is letting people stay in the slip I think as transients. ”Sex Sea” was fortunately just there for a day. Right now it’s a center-console that just says “Research Vessel” on the side, but I saw 3 people about my age in normal clothes get on it to go fishing over the weekend. Maybe the name is a trick to get stopped less by the Fish & Game.
I helped my dad and his friend Dave, who just bought a 35 foot powerboat to live on, move it from Marina Del Rey to Cabrillo in Long Beach Harbor. This was set for Saturday morning, it was just about the best weather you could hope for - sunny, close to 80 degrees, no wind, no swell. This was important because as we left MDR and throttled up the engines, the starboard side malfunctioned so be sort of limped the whole trip down the coast with just the port engine and about 10 knots.
I was happy to be a sailboat owner, because we came close to running out of fuel on the way down, and then another $100 was dumped into the tanks. Remember, my boat has used 4 gallons in 8 months.
Coordinating boat moves like this takes some logistics concerning who drives what car and picks up who and drops who off in what car. There’s a picture of the inside of my dads Mustang, it looks brand new, but it’s a few years old. Unlike my truck, which just turned 150,000 miles.
I got really stoked to be able to cook food and turn out pretty decent meals ever since the Big Bear trip over Labor Day weekend. So I’ve been trying to do the same on the boat. I am accumulating a great appreciation for the day I move onto land and have a full size kitchen, however I do love the galley, the uniqueness of making meals on a boat, and my electric grill.