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Southern California - Prairie SeaShell Sea Stories by Lynn & Don Campbell

Monterrey Sea Lions
 Monterrey Sea Lions
We left Monterrey after fueling up, in case there is lots more motoring, and practically had to run over the sea lions to get out. They wait until the very last moment to move.
We had another great whale watching day, saw a grey whale surface several times, then around supper time, saw a pod of Orcas right behind us, about 5 or 6 of them. We have had some wind today, but not enough to sail only, but at least the seas were kind to us for our first overnight on our own.

We did three hour watches, all went well, skies were clear and the stars were shining bright. We are approaching Pt Conception where the weather is supposed to warm up considerably.
Monterrey harbor
 Monterrey Sea Lions
Around noon, the engine noise changed and the rpm’s dropped for a moment. Think we may have run over some bull kelp, however now the engine makes a lot of vibration when we power up. We’re going to put sails up for a while, even if we go slow, so we can check things out.
Meanwhile, we are surrounded by surfing seals playing in the big swells and jumping right out of the water. Had to take sails down again, now we have too much wind, so we are going to motor slowly, Santa Barbara and all the oil platforms that are light up like Christmas trees. Some look like dinosaurs, or birds etc. It is however, quite smelly around here.
The dolphins are back again, making a green glow under the boat.  We had seen the streaks of phosphorescence last night, but weren’t really sure what we were seeing.  Tonight there is enough light from shore that we can distinctly see the outline of the dolphins, torpedoing themselves under the boat, back and forth.
Oxnard, California
 Oxnard, California marina
We arrived at Oxnard CA, in the Channel Islands around 10 A.M. and checked in  with the Harbour Master and Homeland Security. A really nice marina that can accommodate around 2,000 boats, and we don’t see many empty slips. We had free internet connection from the many apartments/condos across the channel, so I talked to my sister and Greg & Shannon on Skype for quite some time.
We had the best sleep here in a long time. It was so still, we didn’t even know we were on a boat, there were no sea lions barking, no trains, no party music, etc. and we slept the clock around. Don got into wetsuit and went under the boat to check out the noise we were hearing. He was very relieved to see that there was no damage to the prop or shaft.
It appears that the anodes, which are a sacrificial piece of metal, intended to protect the shaft and prop had fallen off. We did some boat chores, changed oil, ordered some parts to be picked up in San Diego, did groceries and baked some bread. Now we are ready to head off again.
We left the Channel Islands, again with no wind, and no swells, so took the opportunity to polish the rails. We saw what appeared to be a whale at the surface with several birds riding on its back. We also saw some jelly fish floating at the surface that look like a round plastic bag with a light inside, and about 5 A.M. the dolphins were back again.
yellow bird with red dot
 yellow breasted bird
We picked up a hitchhiker again, another little yellow breasted bird with a red dot on his head. This one was so unafraid that he actually hopped right up on Don’s foot and tried to get below.
military near San Diego harbor
 Military traffic
We had a bit of military traffic as we approached the entrance to San Diego harbor. One vessel warning of live fire exercises and the other was doing a continuous port turn and sounding the boson’s call regularly. The sound travels thru the hull incredibly well as we could hear it below deck first.
Our first approach into the Police Dock in San Diego didn’t work, even though we had some help on the dock. The stern swung out and we had to try the approach again. Second time worked OK, but then we had to move into a double slip along side another boat in a very narrow channel. Fortunately this time the wind was in our favor and it worked perfectly. We docked along side another Canadian boat s/v Wyntersea from Grand Prairie, AB, with Jack and Linda aboard.
There are many cruisers at this municipal dock, most of them are leaving in a few days on the Bajaha Race. The race is organized by one of the local marinas, and the cruisers head to Cabo San Lucas, with only two stops, and they generally complete the trip within 10 days. I’m sure it will take us much longer than that. 
San Diego harbor
 San Diego marina
While we were having lunch on board one day, we noticed a big red sailboat pull up to the pump out station. It was Ave del Mar who had been anchored beside us in Sidney. They came for coffee the next night and told us about their boat building stories. They built their boat in Ottawa, had it trucked  to Vancouver and have been living aboard since 1995.
Another day, a big catamaran flying the Canadian flag pulled in and sure enough it was CopOut from Calgary. We had met them at the BlueWater Cruisers Rendezvous in Montague, and another BCA member boat, Hakuna Matata with four kids on board all pulled in. We also had a quick visit one night from s/v GreyLag from Comox, whom we had also seen anchored in Sidney.

It appears we are not the only crazy Canucks en route to the sun and sand of Mexico!

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