As I sit here in Cabrillo Isle Marina, I can hear the planes taking off from San Diego airport only a mile away. It’s truly mind-boggling the work we have done in the last few months to get us where we are today. Just a week ago we left our longtime home Camp Pendleton’s Del Mar Marina. The final days leading up to our departure turned into a blurry whirlwind. Monday and Tuesday we stuffed the last remnants of our worldly goods into the boat. Yes, we miraculously found a spot for all but 4 boxes that we shipped back to Michigan. Tuesday we fell into bed exhausted but pretty stoked that everything had a place. (Alas, our new waterline is now right at the edge to where we just had it raised, maybe a tad bit higher.)
The final day at Camp Pendleton…
The morning before departure we were feeling good… we were finally finished. This was our last day with the car as we were selling it that evening, so all I was supposed to do that day was get groceries, pick up mail and be done. We were waiting for a second anchor to arrive and figured we’d go pick it up that morning at our friend’s house. At 9am Brian looked at the email more thoroughly and saw that it did indeed get delivered, but to our former address. Crapola! What followed was 2 hours of us running around like chickens trying to get that stupid anchor.
We drove immediately to our former house in Carlsbad, knocked on the door, and nothing. Of course we were selling the car and cleaned it out, so I had nothing to place on the door. We went to FedEx just down the street to see if they could tell us if it had been recalled. Apparently they can only see if the package was received. “This is just a retail store” they tell me. “We don’t have access to any other information. You need to call 1-800-GOFEDEX.” So let me get this straight, I’m physically in a FedEx STORE and I am told I have to call FedEx. Seriously.
So we perform the mandatory automated number pushing and find out…nothing. But they at least put a ticket in so that if it gets recalled it will go to the correct address. Next I try to find my former landlord’s phone# to no avail and resort to emailing her in hopes she actually looks at her email and send my phone # to the current tenants. Then I try to buy sticky notes at this Fed Ex store but it was under reconstruction and had none! Useless. Did I mention that we leave the next day? I don't need this to happen right now.
Brian hadn’t had his morning caffeine jolt and was getting more agitated by the minute so we stopped for coffee. Subsequently, we walked into CVS and bought the most expensive sticky notes ever for a whopping $7 (this after having thrown away tons of sticky notes in the move). We then drove back to the house only to get cut off by a raging idiot. He pulled in front of us and proceeded to stop at a perfectly good green light juuuust long enough for it to turn yellow and punch it, leaving us to wait another turn. Wow. Brian is about ready to go into convulsions and I am stifling a laugh. Are we being filmed for a reality TV show, or what? Finally we placed a huge fluorescent note on the door of our old house to please, please hurry and call us. Then drove a mile away to munch on our breakfast muffins and sulk.
We decided to head back to the boat defeated, stopped to do an errand, and lo and behold the tenant called. We raced over there and thanked him profusely for calling. It is amazing how things get screwed up but eventually work out. My mom would call that serendipity. Had he entered a recall, FedEx probably would have picked it up that morning and we never would have gotten the anchor in time… it would have gone back to the shipper. Of course had the order been entered correctly it would not have happened at all, but I digress.
We got back to the boat, opened the package and while the anchor was there, a shackle Brian had ordered with it was not. Foiled again. By this time I left Brian fuming to go grocery shopping. Afterwards he told me that had been contacted by both the distributor and manufacturer apologizing profusely. We ended up getting our money back for the part as it was too late to ship it. I called back FedEx, told them to cancel the investigation ticket and noted how nice people are when you solve a problem for them.
The last grocery store trip…
Meanwhile I went to the commissary for the last time. I was humming merrily along until the enormity of our impending trip hit me like a brick in the canned food aisle. Who knew canned meats could bring me to tears? I stared at them: canned tuna, canned chicken, canned beef, canned clams (maybe), canned sardines (no), spam (hell NO). I realized this was the last day I was going to have a CAR to do grocery shopping! How the heck do people haul around heavy canned goods from a grocery store to a dinghy to the boat? I won’t have a CAR! I’m going to have to WALK everywhere! What am I going to do without a CAR? What the hell am I doing? Panic city.
The rest of the day went much better: I packed the groceries into the overstuffed cupboards, Brian fixed the steering column and we sold our car to a friend that night over dinner. This worked out well because he needed a car for his daughter and we needed to get rid of it. We contemplated keeping it but it just didn’t make sense in the long run. Besides, we still have the pickup stored at Dad’s.
In the morning, some friends took us to breakfast and we left the marina rather unceremoniously, just the marina staff and our two friends helped to shove us off. Of course I forget one stern line is still attached and hit reverse causing some disconcertion. But for that, it was a blissfully uneventful day. The winds were perfect, the seas flat and sparkled like diamonds. We pulled into Mission Bay in 5-1/2hrs after sailing almost all the way in 6 knots. We anchored like pros since there were hardly any boats in the bay to contend with. Quite literally the perfect first day to start of the rest of our lives. Compare that to the crazy days leading up to this moment and we were glad for the respite. After dinner I told Brian all I wanted to do was curl up and sleep for a whole day. Well we went to bed at 8:30 that night and didn’t get up til 12 hours later. Wow, we needed that.
Into San Diego Bay…
We motored out of Mission Bay and had to go out probably 2 miles to get past the kelp beds and turned due south. Rounding Point Loma we realized that we had never sailed in San Diego Bay. Now I knew why. Even on a Friday afternoon there were boats all over, and at least 5 huge Navy ships milling around contacting various boats who got too close to their operations. We had light winds in the morning but round the point we had plenty of wind and sailed all the way to Harbor Island. We had pre-arranged a slip at Cabrillo Isle Marina and had scoped it out a couple weeks prior. We knew exactly where the slip was, had noted that a red dinghy was in the slip and were told it would be moved by the time we got there. Ummm, yeaahh, it wasn’t. As we motored up to the slip I cried out “the dinghy’s still there, back off!” The decrepit red dinghy took up a third of the slip width so there was no way we were both fitting.
Backing out is no easy thing on a sailboat. You have to reverse, then the boat swings the wrong way, then you have to gun it forward to get the boat to swing opposite, then gun it back. Thank goodness I wasn’t driving. The thoroughfare was so narrow it was a miracle we didn’t hit anything (well I hit Brian with the boat hook but we don’t count that). We motor back out, call the marina and they give us another slip number which is thankfully a bit wider and easier to get into. Also it is far away from ‘red dinghy man’ who if I ever see will get the glowering of a lifetime. It’s still there in the slip, taunting me.
We are now 3 days out. We leave on Monday. That is “cray cray” as my friend Molly would say. How on earth we got this far I don’t know, but we have been on autopilot the entire time… heads down not really able to see past this date. Now it is finally here. We ACTUALLY live on a boat, we don’t have a car and are going to Mexico come hell or high water. This last week is full of parties, seminars, meeting other fellow Ha Ha’er’s, last minute boat fixes, and lots of paperwork. Bring it.