Camping at the Coast

It has been a wet, dreary winter here in Corvallis, even by PNW standards. So, when we saw the glimmer of potential sun in the forecast, we decided that it was time for a “shakedown cruise” in the Sprinter. The target was South Beach State Park in Newport, a mere hour from our home in Corvallis. This was an opportunity to make sure the van is outfitted with all of the necessary gear and provisions, and I’d say we did pretty well.

Our van trip to Newport along with our passages down the coast in 2019 and back up in 2021.

We headed out late on a foggy Saturday morning in Corvallis, and were treated to sunshine and blue skies as we headed through the Coast Range. We arrived at South Beach State Park in the early afternoon and headed to our campsite on the C loop. It was surprisingly crowded for a January weekend.

Gwen relaxing at our campsite at South Beach State Park.

It was sunny and in the mid 50s, so after a little bit of lunch, we got on our bikes to explore. There is a band of wetlands and dunes between the campground and the beach and there is a paved multi-use trail that goes from the campground to the South Jetty. As you can see from the image on the left below, it would have been a piece of cake coming in to Newport on the boat on Saturday. On the upper right is the Yaquina Head light, which I did not see on the way up the coast in August because of the thick fog. Lower right is looking back at the 101 bridge.

From the South jetty, we headed over towards the bay and the Marine Science Center, where NOAA’s Pacific fleet is stationed (after a former director and OSU professor “stole” it from Seattle). We rode on a little trail along the estuary and past the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

Not far from the Aquarium is an arcade full of kitschy beach shops and sea creatures statues, including one of “Nessie”, reportedly caught in a terrible storm off Yaquina head. I didn’t quite manage to touch the lower jar.

Aquarium Village
Is this what you call a “Land Yacht”?

It’s great fun to tootle along on our bikes and an easy way to cover a lot of ground. The map below shows our track (from my very cool/fancy bike computer). After returning to the campground we walked from the campsite on one of the trails climbing up and over the dunes. There was a distinct lack of driftwood on the beach, which was somewhat surprising. Gwen wondered if it was because the tsunami waves from last weekend had picked it all up and washed it away.

The next day was a spectacular almost spring-like day. Sunny from the moment we woke up and warmed up to almost 60! This time we rode inland along Yaquina Bay on the aptly named Yaquina Bay road, marked as the Newport Marathon route, which extends to the town of Toledo. We started on the North side of the bay on the waterfront, as it looked too sketchy to ride our bikes over the busy two lane bridge from the cmapground. We went as far as an area called Boone’s Island, named after Daniel Boone’s great grandson who settled in the area in the mid 1800s, before the Newport region was “removed from the Coast Reservation and opened to settlement” as the tourist plaque stated.

After some excellent beer and halibut fish and chips at Rogue Brewery, we stopped at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (yes, the Outstanding is part of the official name). It is overseen by the Bureau of Land Management, and a small entry fee is required. We decided to buy an annual “America the Beautiful” pass here, since it covers lots of recreation areas that we hope to visit this year. In a few months, I will earn the dubious privilege of being able to by a “Lifetime Senior Pass” for the same $80 price of our annual pass. One of the few joys of aging.

Gwen in front of the lighthouse, camera at the ready.
Surf breaking at Yaquina Head

The lighthouse was restored in 2005 and is perched on a bluff surrounded by rock formations (and apparently good tidepools). This made for some dramatic views, including this huge eagle gazing over his domain.

This was taken with Gwen’s camera, and a long zoom lens which clearly captures the light differently than my Iphone.

The next morning we headed back home, making the transition from sunny blue skies to freezing mid winter morning fog. The quick trip was a big success – no problems with the van, and only a few items to add to the outfitting list. It’s nice to know that we have lots of options to explore the Oregon Coast starting only an hour from home.

A new chapter: selling the boat and condo, moving to Corvallis, gravel rides

It has been some time since we last posted, and a lot has happened!

Our beloved Miss Miranda has been sold to a very nice couple from California. Her new name is Pinguino, and she will remain in the Pacific Northwest for the near future. We actually had a private offer on the boat before completing the last leg of our journey up the Pacific Coast. We were told that the buyers were well-qualified and ready to make a purchase. But best laid plans…. after a lot of serious looking and discussing, they decided commuting to a boat on the West Coast from interior eastern Canada wasn’t going to work for them.

In the meantime, our condo went on the market and we had an accepted offer within days, with a closing date of November 1. This left us in a tricky position… the boat would have to be sold by then, or at least moved out of the slip. We wound up listing the boat with Devin Zwick of Nordhavn NW in Anacortes and quickly had a couple of very good offers in hand. We signed an agreement with the current owners, who managed to line up a survey and haul out that would fit with our November 1 deadline. Everything went smoothly from that point… except…

The pressure gauge on the Fireboy with the needle clearly in the “Recharge” zone. If only it was that easy.

A day after the survey, but before we closed on the sale, I went down to the boat and heard the engine room fire extinguisher alarm going off, which usually means the cylinder has discharged. My first panicked thought was that somehow a fire had started in the engine room. I ran down to find that they system had NOT actually discharged, but that the cylinder pressure had gotten too low.

Relieved, I thought that I could just call the local fire extinguisher service shop and have them refill the cylinder. Of course, nothing is that simple on a boat. It turns out that Fireboy, the manufacturer of the system, does not allow anyone else to service their cylinders, and of course, my cylinder was discontinued. The only solution was to buy a new cylinder. Fine, but they said the lead time was 6-8 weeks, well past the time that the boat would need to be out of the slip. Fortunately, I was able to buy one locally and have it shipped to the service shop. They were able to get it installed a few days before Miss Miranda, now Pinguino, was to pull out of the slip under command of the new owners.

As all of this was happening, we were packing up the condo, wondering when the movers would arrive, wondering if we would close on the new construction house before our stuff got to Corvallis and dealing with some last minute issues with the condo. It all worked out, and we were moved out the last weekend in October and into the new house on November 2nd.

The new house in Corvallis

The next couple of weeks was busy with unpacking and getting new appliances (washer/dryer, refrigerator) and furniture (dining room, guest room, office). By Thanksgiving, we had things well enough organized to have the Oregon branch of Gwen’s family over for a big traditional Turkey dinner.

The Thanksgiving turkey, from a local farm. It was excellent, if I do say so myself!

We are now almost completely unpacked. The only boxes that remain contain books for the bookshelves that we are planning to have built. We’re also waiting for a custom master closet to replace the crappy wire shelves installed by the builder, and cabinets for the laundry room.

We are enjoying life in Corvallis so far. We were wondering what life would be like without Miss Miranda, and like many ex-boaters, we contemplated land-based explorations. We’ve always enjoyed riding bicycles, and really missed that spending most of the last couple of years on the boat. We decided that our next chapter would be to explore the Pacific NW and beyond by camping and biking. Too old to sleep on the ground, we bought a 2004 Mercedes Sprinter that has just been converted to a camper van by a small shop up in Bellingham, WA.

Should we call it “Mercedes Van Miss Miranda”?
The garage under the bed platform. Water tank is in the cabinet on the left side, electronics on the right.

It is a fairly basic setup, but very nicely built. It has most of the comforts of home including AC and DC power, fresh water, refrigerator, small propane stove, diesel heater and a queen sized platform bed with a “garage” underneath for bicycle storage. It does not have a shower or toilet, nor does it have a water heater. It is really meant for weekend trips for bike camping, not for “vanlife”.

We’ve been doing some riding over the past month, working on getting back in shape (it seems like it’s going to take longer to do that now that we are older). Corvallis is a very bike-friendly town and there are some great roads through farm country South of town, where we live. We have joined the Mid Valley Bicycle Club, and while we have not yet joined a club ride, we’ve taken advantage of their extensive ride library. This weekend, we decided to check out one of the club’s routes that started a little bit south of us.

We brought the bikes out to the van for the first time and learned that they would not fit in the garage with the fork mount setup (which is not shown in the photo above). The idea was to take front wheels off and secure the forks to mounts on the floor near the rear doors. My bike was too tall to fit even with the front wheel off. Gwen’s bike would fit, but only if we move the fork mount. We were able to slide them in and secure them with bungee cords, but need to find a better long term solution. Anyway, off we went to the start of the ride at Bellfountain park, about 15 miles South of our house.

Our first gravel ride.

The route was about 50% gravel and 50% paved roads winding through farm country around the town of Alpine. Gravel riding has become all the rage lately and consists of any road or trail that is not paved. This can include actual gravel roads, forest roads or even single track

We made some small changes to our touring bikes to optimize for riding on gravel. We switched out our 1.25″ road tires for 1.85″ all terrain tires, and added both suspension seatposts and stems. The wider tires make the off-road surfaces more manageable, and the whole setup makes for a much more comfortable ride, even on the road.

Riding past a local farm

On this ride, the gravel roads went through the woods and past a number of farms. A number of other rides go through tree farms owned by local timber companies, which require a (free) permit to access.

Not much traffic on these gravel roads.

One of the really nice things about gravel roads is the lack of traffic. It’s nice to be able to ride side by side without worrying about cars zooming by. The downside is that the roads are obviously not smooth, and can get muddy after rains.

Back at the van.

This was a kind of shake down cruise for biking with the van. We learned that we need to make some modifications to carry the bikes… you can see part of my bike in the photo below, leaning against the box on the side of the garage. We will find a way to move/use the fork mounts or buy a hitch mount.

Hi, Gwen!

We are really looking forward to doing some bike camping, as there are great places across the state from the coast through the Cascades and on over into Central/Eastern Oregon. We will continue to write posts on our more interesting trips, and Gwen looks forward to continuing wildlife and nature photography, so you can expect more photos too.

In the meantime, happy holidays to all!

Miss Miranda is for Sale

Update 9/22/2021

Miss Miranda is listed with Devin Zwick at Nordhavn Northwest in Anacortes. Devin can be reached at 949-633-4244 and

The boat is listed on both and Yachtworld

We bought Miss Miranda in 2017 planning to cruise to Alaska and then South to Mexico and beyond.  In preparation, we did extensive maintenance and upgrades over multiple visits to Philbrooks Boatyard.  Our goal was to make a safe, reliable, comfortable and self sufficient cruising boat able to be at anchor indefinitely.  An important part of this effort was to have a “Ready for Sea” Inspection by renowned Nordhavn systems expert Steve D’Antonio, who spent an entire day aboard Miss Miranda identifying any issues that would impact the goals outlined above.  This set of observations formed the basis of the maintenance work done at Philbrooks, while our own knowledge and experience drove the many upgrades, described in a section below. 

We completed our bucket list journeys, travelling to Southeast Alaska in the summer of 2019, putting over 3500 NM on Miss Miranda and then continuing down the Pacific coast in the fall of 2019.  We joined the CUBAR rally to Mexico and spent two seasons cruising the mainland Pacific coast and then the Sea of Cortez.  We returned to the US in June of 2021 having put an additional 7000 NM on the boat and were preparing for more cruising in the Pacific Northwest in the coming seasons.  Fortunately for the buyer, we have had a change of plans due to Gwen’s professional commitment leading to relocation and lack of time for long cruises.   For that reason, we are selling her and hoping that she will find a home with another adventurous cruising couple. Please see the description below.

Miss Miranda has just come out of the yard (Friday, 8/10/21) at Pacific Marine Center here in Anacortes, where she had the bottom and running gear painted, zincs replaced, the keel cooler cleaned and the main engine coolant changed.

Price is on request. If you are interested, please complete the Contact Form at the bottom of the post.

Miss Miranda – 2000 Nordhavn 50 Hull #12

Main Engine Hours: 3865+
Wing Engine Hours: 132+
Generator Hours: 2658+


This is the two Stateroom layout with Owner Stateroom amidships. The cabin sole is teak & spruce. There is a TV locker over a 5-drawer dresser in the starboard corner.  Hanging lockers and drawers are on either side of the Queen-sized island berth, while bookshelves are above the berth.  Above the bookshelves are two opening portholes, with a privacy curtain.  LED lights are mounted overhead and there are LED reading lights on each side of berth.  There is extensive drawer storage under berth on each side and at the foot – total of 12 drawers.

There is a large mirror on the forward bulkhead with a vanity light over bookshelves and counter surface.  Two DC circulating fans provide cooling. To starboard, a door leads to the private head and shower with medicine cabinet and mirror, LED lighting overhead, porthole with privacy curtain and shower compartment with bench and handheld shower; head is aft of the shower.

The guest cabin is in the bow with ensuite head and shower, with full size berth, and desk with swivel chair to starboard that can be used as computer station.  There is a hanging locker forward to port and generous drawer storage under the berth.  There are extensive lockers, drawers and bookshelves to starboard, and the cabin has a teak and spruce sole.

The main Salon has teak & spruce sole, covered with Soundown insulation and an edge-bound carpet.  There is an L shaped settee to port with up down table, overhead handrail and hanging locker aft starboard corner.  There is a Stressless chair with ottoman to starboard next to the built in TV/entertainment cabinet.  Storage locker with two drawers and surface is to port forward of the settee.  Generous storage beneath the settee and wine/bottle storage behind settee cushions.  Bookshelves and magazine rack forward to starboard.  Hunter Douglas shades for all salon windows.  The salon also has two DC circulating fans that often keep the space cool enough to minimize the use of air conditioning.

Climate control is provided by a four zone Webasto Hydronic Heating system (2010) with Everhot water heater plus four zones of Cruise Air reverse cycle heating/air conditioning (well tested in Mexico!).

Engine and Machinery

  • Main Engine Lugger L06108A2 Dry exhaust 3865+ hours
  • Racor 900 duplex fuel filter manifold filter on main engine
  • Yanmar 3JH3E 34HP wing engine 131+ hours
  • Northern Lights 12KW genset
  • 2658+ hours
  • ABT/Trac 220 Stabilizers
  • Reverso Oil change system for main engine, transmission, generator and wing engine
  • SS fuel manifold system (newly fabricated in 2018)
  • Fuel transfer system with separate Racor 900 filter and new Walbro pump on a timer
  • 12HP ABT Bow Thruster, 24 V DC – 4 stations
  • Mathers electronic Controls – 4 stations
  • 120v AC and 12V DC lights in engine room
  • Fireboy fire suppression system
  • Extensive engine room cooling system with delta T intake fans in engine room and delta T extraction fans in the stack, all controlled by separate breakers

Domestic Systems

  • Sea Recovery 800 GPD watermaker with remote control including auto backflush, (new membrane 2021) – approximately 550 total hours on the watermaker, about 50 on the new membrane
  • CruiseAir AC system/4 compressors
  • Webasto Hydronic heating system including Everhot hot water system, with 4 separately controlled zones
  • Asko Washer and Dryer.
  • 350 gallon domestic water capacity in 4 tanks controlled by a manifold.  Jabsco DC pump and pressure accumulator
  • 75 gallon separate drinking water system plumbed into forward tank with its own filter and pump


The galley features a quartz counter with bar above between the galley and salon.  Above is cabinet storage with custom dishware storage mounted below.  LED lights are on the underside of upper cabinets.  There is extensive storage both under this counter and forward between the range and refrigerator.  More prep counter space is here as well as cabinets behind and above.

Large storage cabinet above the refrigerator.

  • Broan trash compactor
  • SHARP Carousel convection/microwave oven (new 2019)
  • Garbage disposal
  • Culligan drinking water tap and filter M VS316.
  • Force 10 LPG stove and oven
  • Frigidaire freezer/refrigerator w/ice maker (new 2019)
  • Two drawer Sub Zero freezer (compressor replaced in 2019)
  • Moen faucet with extendable wand (new 2019)
  • Double sink
  • Ceiling mounted DC circulating fan

Pilot House

The pilot house is the happy place to be underway.  It is four steps up from the salon and galley.

  • Stidd Helm Chair
  • L-shaped raised settee and table behind helm (settee completely redone in 2019 with Stamoid)
  • Large storage locker to starboard adjacent to settee.  This contains a safe.
  • Book/Manual shelf and cabinets on starboard side
  • Counter and binocular storage above bookshelf.
  • Extensive three panel helm station with three panel overhead valences for navigation and systems monitoring (equipment described below).
  • Defroster fans (new in 2019)
  • DC circulating fans, two forward and one in aft port corner
  • AC and DC electrical panels
  • Stainless steel destroyer wheel
  • Chart storage in the area under the raised settee.
  • Port side storage drawer and locker.
  • Large center hatch above with screen
  • Sliding doors access both side decks
  • Opening windows on both sides
  • Window aft to boat deck at port aft
  • 6 Panels of windshield with mullions between
  • 4 windshield wipers with separate delay controls

Electronics and Navigation

We rebuilt the Navigation system, using the best components of the previous system and making strategic upgrades to provide full redundancy for offshore operations.

  • Furuno 1913 64 Mile open array radar with stand-alone display
  • Furuno DSRD4-NXT digital radar, integrated with Nobeltec TimeZero (new 2019)
  • Simrad AP20
  • Autopilot with 4 control stations and dedicated steering pump
  • Furuno Navpilot 711C backup autopilot with completely independent steering pump and fluxgate compass (all new 2019)
  • Furuno fish & depth finder FCV 585 (rebuilt in 2018)
  • Twinscope interphase sonar/DS
  • Furuno GPS 300 (new in 2019) and Furuno RD 25 instrument display
  • VHF radio ICOM M127
  • VHF radio with MMSI and DSC ICOM-M604
  • Vesper XB-800 AIS with integrated GPS (new 2017)
  • Airmar 200 weather station
  • Navigation PC, Apple Mac Mini, running Rose Point Coastal Explorer, connected to 12” touch screen display (new 2021) in front of helm. (new 2018)
  • Navigation PC, Intel NUC, running Nobeltec TimeZero, connected to 21” display on starboard PH panel.  (new 2018)
  • Rose Point NEMO Nav data multiplexer supplies navigation data to BOTH PCs via Ethernet connection. (new 2018)
  • Maretron DSM 410 displays NMEA 2000 data (new 2019)
  • Maretron NMEA 2000 monitoring includes: (new 2019)
    • Fuel flow, consumption and economy
    • DC power systems status
    • Generator power status and load
    • Engine room temperature
    • Wind speed data
    • Navigation data
  • Carlisle and Finch Searchlight with motor control
  • Exhaust temperature gauge for main engine
  • Exhaust temperature alarm for wing engine (new 2019)
  • Bilge counter (new 2019)
  • Bow thruster control
  • Windlass control
  • Fireboy control
  • High water alarm

Electrical Systems

We made extensive improvements to the electrical system to allow for extended time at anchor while minimizing generator run time.

  • 110/220V – 60hz AC. 12 and 24volt DC.
  • Forward port & aft starboard shore power connectors. 50 Amp connector for house power and dedicated additional 50 Amp circuit for Air Conditioning if needed.
  • Magnum MS2812 Inverter/charger
  • Square D inverter bypass switch in pilothouse.  Magnum Remote control panel (with Battery Monitoring option) in pilothouse.
  • Mastervolt 24V charger for starting batteries (new 2018)
  • 2 Victron 100 Amp Auxiliary chargers (new 2019)
  • 12 KW Northern Lights Genset ( 2891 hrs )
  • 24 volt 40 amp alternator on Main engine
  • 12 volt 170 amp alternator plus Balmar controller on Main engine (new 2017)
  • 3 solar panels (on pilot house roof) with 3 Victron MPPT 100/30 controllers tied into DC electrical system (new 2019)
  • 10 Firefly carbon foam house batteries, 1100 Ah total (new 2019)
  • 2 Lifeline starting batteries
  • 1 Lifeline Generator/wing battery
  • Extensive AC and DC power utilization monitoring with Maretron and Magnum monitors

Deck and Hull

Our major focus here was at anchor safety and stability.

  • Airtex 1500LD davit
  • Two Forespar “flopper stopper” at anchor stabilization systems, port and starboard side (new 2019)
  • Viking RecYou 4 person liferaft, canister, mounted on boat deck (purchased new 2019)
  • Two large deck boxes on boat deck
  • Starboard cockpit door & custom portside cockpit door
  • Cockpit cabinet/locker with steering control station, sink with extendable hot/cold shower wand, and storage drawer/lockers.
  • Swim ladder with emergency (from the water) deployment system
  • Stern anchor mounted on swim platform
  • Man overboard retrieval system including lifeline and a custom block and tackle system
  • Raw and fresh water spigots in starboard cockpit locker
  • Two propane tanks (recertified 2021) and propane controls in port cockpit locker.
  • Sunbrella awning over cockpit
  • Swim platform with removable staples
  • Sarca Excell 137 lb anchor (new 2019)
  • Maxwell 3500 windlass
  • with 450′ 3/8″ chain
  • Maxwell remote control with chain counter
  • Bow pulpit modified to include SS anchor chain keeper and anchor lock down system
  • Fresh & salt water washdown in forward starboard side of Portuguese bridge
  • Large bow locker forward of Portuguese bridge


  • 12 foot AB euro with
30 hp Tohatsu outboard with electric trim, Garmin fishfinder/chartplotter (new 2018)


  • Port and Starboard Portuguese Bridge controls
  • Cockpit Control Station
  • Buell Air Horn
  • Fire extinguishers (6)
  • Flares
  • Downrigger; Scotty
  • Pot Puller
  • Crab pot (2)
  • Prawn pot (2)
  • Fishing equipment
  • BBQ (Dickenson)
  • Charts: Olympia to Sitka, Pacific Coast and Mexico
  • Williams-Sonoma stoneware set in custom racks in galley
  • Maintenance records and service manuals are on the vessel
  • Receipts available on request for maintenance and upgrade work


Maintenance and Upgrades

We had all of our major maintenance and upgrade work done at Philbrooks Boatyard in Sidney, BC.  We visited the yard three times in 2018 and 2109 with a long list of projects in order to make Miss Miranda a safe, reliable and comfortable long distance cruising yacht, investing well over $200,000.  We have listed below all areas of the boat that have had maintenance or upgrades during our ownership.  As you can see, all the critical systems have been addressed.

Engine and Mechanical

Main Engine

  • Rebuild injectors – 2018
  • Replace coolant pump – 2018
  • Add coolant collection bottle – 2018
  • Upgrade 12V alternator to Leece Neville 170 Amp – 2018
  • Add Balmar Max Charge Regulator – 2018
  • New exhaust elbow – 2019
  • New exhaust blanket – 2018
  • New muffler and blanket – 2021

Keel Cooler

  • Clean and repair leak – 2018

Main engine shaft

  • Replace PSS seals – 2018
  • Check cutlass Bearing – 2018
  • Check prop balance – 2019

Fuel delivery system

  • Fabricated new fuel supply and return manifolds to replace original, leaking manifolds – 2018
  • Inspect fuel tanks, clean if needed (not necessary) – 2019
  • Replace leaking port tank sight tube – 2019
  • New Racor 900 fuel manifold for main engine – 2021
  • New fuel lines, Racor to main engine, manifold to Racor – 2020
  • Maretron fuel flow monitoring system – 2019
  • Fuel system pressure tested (no leaks) – 2021

Wing Engine

  • New V drive – 2019
  • Replace raw water pump – 2018
  • Replace circulation pump – 2018
  • Replace engine mounts – 2018
  • Rebuild wing engine prop hub – 2018
  • Align wing engine shaft – 2018
  • Replace wing engine wet exhaust hose with silicone – 2019
  • Install wing engine exhaust cutoff valve -2019
  • Install exhaust temp alarm – 2019
  • Replace Cutlass Bearing – 2019
  • New Tides shaft seal – 2019
  • Re-align wing engine – 2019
  • Replace all raw water hoses – 2019
  • Replace prop shaft – 2019


  • Install circuit breaker box – 2019
  • Replace heat exchanger – 2019
  • Replace exhaust elbow – 2019
  • Replace injectors – 2019
  • Replace raw water pump – 2020


  • Service hydraulics – 2018
  • Clean heat exchanger – 2018
  • Replace TRAC panel and servo controller – 2019
  • Replace TRAC power supply – 2019
  • Rebuild actuators – 2020
  • Change hydraulic fluid – 2020
  • Replace failed solenoid
  • New stabilizer water pump – 2021

Bow Thruster

  • Replace coupling – 2019

Domestic Systems

Water Maker

  • Cailbrate Salinity meter – 2018
  • Rebuild high pressure pump – 2019
  • New membrane – 2021

Air Conditioning

  • Replace Sea Strainer – 2018
  • Replace circulating pump – 2018
  • Replace seawater hoses – 2018
  • Replace raw water intake elbow – 2019

Water heater

  • Install new Seaward 11 gal hot water heater – 2018
  • Replace hydronic hoses to heater with exhaust rated hose – 2019
  • Replace heating element, zinc, temperature sensor, high temp shutoff – 2021

Hydronic Heating system

  • Full service, filters, fluid, injectors, etc – 2018
  • Replace Webasto motor – 2019

Heads/holding tanks

  • Replace heads with Tecma Silence plus – 2017
  • Replace duckbill valves – 2019
  • Add charcoal filter to vent line – 2019
  • Add spare macerator discharge pump (offline) and rebuild kit – 2019

Deck and Hull

Flopper Stopper system

  • Install Forespar flopper stopper poles, port and starboard, along with all rigging and with “flop stopper” lightweight aluminum plates – 2019


  • Installed chain counter/remote Control – 2018
  • Lubricate/service windlass – 2019


  • New Sarca Excell 137 lb Anchor – 2019
  • Install chain retainer, anchor retainer – 2019
  • New delrin anchor roller – 2019


  • Service davit and motor – 2019
  • Replace leaking hydraulic lines – 2019


  • Replace rudder bearing – 2019
  • Replace tiller arm bolts with Grade 8 yellow zinc – 2019
  • Add a second steering pump, replumb hydraulic lines to switch between pumps – 2019
  • Rebuild steering ram – 2019

Cockpit and decks

  • Repair chips in non-skid – 2019
  • New gasket for lazarette hatch – 2019
  • New gas struts for bow deck locker – 2019
  • Rebed swim platform staples – 2019

Electronics and Navigation

  • Replaced obsolete Nav Computer with DC powered Intel NUC, running Nobeltec TimeZero – 2018
  • Added a second Nav Computer – Apple Mac Mini with 12” touchscreen monitor running Coastal explorer.  Completely redundant – each computer can run the boat. – 2019
  • Rationalized the Navigation data input from multiple NMEA 0183 devices using a Rose Point NEMO gateway.  Data from all Nav sources shared on dedicated hardwired network. – 2019
  • Installed NEMA 2000 Network and Maretron monitors for critical systems – fuel flow, AC power consumption (generator), DC power consumption, and engine room temperature. – 2019
  • Added new Furuno DSRD4-NXT Digital radar.  Integrated with Nobeltec TimeZero to allow radar overlay on Nav chart. – 2019
  • Installed Vesper Marine XB-8000 AIS with GPS.  GPS data made available on Nav network for redundancy. – 2018
  • Installed a completely redundant Autopilot system with Furuno Nav Pilot 711c, Furuno fluxgate compass and dedicated steering pump.  Both Nav computers can run this autopilot if the primary fails – 2019
  • Replaced GPS receiver/antenna with Furuno GPS 300 – 2019
  • Added an iPad as a third Nav computer, gets Nav data over wifi network.  We added this because it had the most accurate charts for Mexico – 2018
  • Furuno FV585 fish finder sent to Furuno for rebuild – 2018
  • Installed new temp/depth/speed transducer – 2019

Pilot House

  • Installed defroster fans – 2018
  • Settee: Reupholstered with Stamoid and replaced cushions– 2018
  • Installed DC circulating fan – 2019
  • Installed Iridium GO and external antenna – 2019
  • Installed long range cellular data modem and external antenna – 2018
  • Rationalize Pilot House dash and instrument panel, moving stabilizer, EGT and spotlight controls to overhead and navigation equipment to center dash
  • Replaced weather stripping on PH doors – 2019


  • Install new bound carpet and Soundown insulation – 2018
  • Settee: Reupholstered with Ultraleather and replaced cushions– 2019
  • Install DC circulating fans – 2019
  • Refinished table – 2019


  • Replace faucet with Moen extendable wand model– 2019
  • Replace subzero freezer compressor – 2019
  • New refrigerator – 2019
  • New convection/microwave oven – 2019


  • Installed DC circulating fans – 2019

Electrical System


  • New Mastervolt 24V charger for engine start/windlass/thruster batteries – 2019
  • New Magnum BMK battery monitor – 2018
  • New 12v DC Ammeter – 2018
  • 10 new firefly carbon foam house batteries – 2019
  • New Blue Seas master battery switches – 2019
  • Two Victron 100 Amp chargers – 2019
  • Three solar panels (710 watts) and 3 Victron mppt controllers – 2019
  • Rewired Bonding system – 2018
  • Replaced interior light bulbs with LED throughout – 2018


  • Replaced main panel ship’s service selector switch.  This addressed a major safety problem with shore power leakage current found by Steve D’Antonio during the ready for sea inspection.  It turns out that the AC system as built DID NOT match the design drawings – there was no provision to bring the generator neutral to the selector switch.  It required replacing the original 2 pole switch with a 3 pole switch.  After the repair – no leakage current. – 2019
  • Added a circuit breaker for the generator output.  Another safety issue discovered by Steve.  Original installation did not include this breaker.  – 2019

Maintenance reported by previous owner


  • New Stabilizer seals (ABT)
  • New Bottom paint (Sea Hawk) New Zincs
New Propspeed; all running gear
  • 2015
New Lifeline batteries (all)
  • Delta ”T” 9 inch fan (2), engine room input


  • New inverter; Magnum MS2812
  • New 24V alternator
  • Rebuilt 12V alternator
  • New 12V external regulator; Balmar
  • New davit cable
  • New windshield wipers and controls
  • Rebuilt windlass motor
  • Rebuilt HVAC circulating pump


  • All new sanitation hose and valves

Home at Last!

Our trip up the coast was largely uneventful and actually quite enjoyable.  We came out of the Golden Gate on the ebb tide and got a good push under the bridge.  We took the shortcut to the North inside Four Fathom bank, locally called the “potato patch” and headed towards Point Reyes.  As we were coming out of the Golden Gate, we got a call from a sailboat that was also heading North. He asked if we had a report on sea conditions, and asked about places to stop along the N California Coast. We told him, but frankly were both surprised that the skipper would be asking those kinds of questions. I would not want to start a journey Northward up the Pacific Coast without having that kind of information in hand! More on this later.

There were lots of fishing boats around Point Reyes but there was good visibility, and little wind and swell.  It stayed that way up past Point Arena, with conditions milder than forecast… winds consistently under 10 knots, waves/swell a very manageable 3-5 ft.  We did run into pretty dense fog this first night, and for the majority of the voyage. We turned on the light bar, but could barely see anything with it in the fog.  It was kind of eerie to see the diffuse circle of light against the fog, illuminating the sea surface for probably 10-20 yards in front of the boat, and nothing else all around. I was very glad to have the two radars, with one zoomed out to “see” the coastline and another covering the couple of miles right around the boat.

While we were waiting in San Francisco, I had been in touch with Captain Chris Couch, who helped me deliver our previous boat from Portland to Seattle. He wasn’t able to help me this time, since he was bringing a boat from Seattle down to San Francisco, but was extremely helpful with his take on the weather and optimal routing. He departed Crescent City the day we departed San Francisco, and we passed in the night somewhere North of Point Arena.

I was on watch early the next morning when we rounded Cape Mendocino. It is regarded as the most significant obstacle of the Pacific Coast, followed by Point Concepcion, which we cleared on the way to San Francisco, and Cape Blanco, which can provide a rude welcome to Oregon. The first sign that we were approaching the cape was the reduced boat speed due to the currents around the cape. We had been making 8.5 knots running at 1700 RPM, which yielded a fuel economy of 1.7 NMPG, about as good as it gets for us. The bottom cleaning we had before leaving San Francisco was really paying off. We cleared Mendocino with no problems and only slightly bigger seas. The wind by this point was a whisper at 5 knots or less, highly unusual for this area. The fog lifted and the adverse currents abated and we headed to Crescent City, where we planned to stop for fuel.  Crescent City is unique along the coast as the only stop that doesn’t require a bar crossing. During this second afternoon, we heard one side of a distress call to the Coast Guard. We could hear that the boat in distress was the same sailboat that we had talked to on the way out of San Francisco. I don’t know what the problem was but there was talk of bringing that boat into Fort Bragg, S of Mendocino. Anyway, as we approached Crescent City, we called the fuel dock for an after hours fill up and got in around 6 PM. An hour or so later, we were back on our way, taking full advantage of this fantastic weather window.

On the way to Crescent City the computer powering my TimeZero chart plotter and backup radar died. The problem was the disk,  which failed completely due to SMART errors. This was the second computer failure in a week! My other navigation computer had died from the same cause earlier in the the week. I was really surprised by these failures, because both of my computers had solid state drives, which I assumed would be more reliable than traditional magnetic disks. This reinforces the hard lesson of cruising… be prepared for anything and everything to fail! Fortunately, I had a complete spare nav computer ready to go. Unfortunately, I did not have two of them. I did have a spare hard disk for the second computer and was able to get things back working over the course of the next day. I was glad to get the radar running, because at every port/bar crossing there was some amount of traffic, including small fishing boats. 

I was at the helm again as we rounded Cape Blanco in the pre dawn hours in thick fog.  The seas built a little bit, but the wind was still light, and if you weren’t looking at the course on the chartplotter you would have never known that we rounded the Cape.  It was now Thursday morning along the Southern Oregon coast, and today the swell built quite a bit, up to 10-11 ft at 10 or 11 sec according to the offshore bouy reports.  The swell was largely on our beam, so the boat would rise up, up, up and over the top of the wave, and then come riding down, the other side with the stabilizers working really hard.  Because it was on the beam, there was little pitching and no pounding, making for a pretty comfortable ride.  As we worked our way up the Oregon Coast we listened to reports of bar closures due to the big swell.  Again, it was very foggy overnight after clearing that afternoon, and when I came on shift we were approaching the Columbia River bar.  Assen warned that it would get a little bit lumpy there, but the large swell had settled down and it was all but placid going around the bar.  There was not much traffic either as the bar was closed to small vessels, but we head many calls to the Coast Guard asking if the bar was open.  This morning we heard two distress calls from fishing boats that had run aground.

By the time Assen took the helm in the morning, we were finally in Washington waters, and it was actually calm enough to take a shower, which I gladly did.  The easy conditions persisted all the way up the Washington coast.  For most of the day, the fog lifted and we could see the shore as we ran along the coast about 4 miles off, more as we passed river bars.  Late in the day Friday we were finally approaching Cape Flattery, where we would turn off the Pacific into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 

Around this time we heard another Coast Guard distress call, this time for a sailboat headed South about 26 miles off the coast with an engine failure. The Coast Guard offered to bring them in to La Push, but they wanted to go to Westport, significantly further down the coast. The Coast Guard called TowBoat US on behalf of the sailboat, but found that they would not go 26 miles offshore to do a 100 mile tow. Apparently the sailboat decided to continue on under sail with the Coast Guard checking in on them.

As the sun set we could see Tatoosh Island… but then the fog closed in again and we could not see it at all as we passed a half mile off.  The winds started picking up from the S – SW and cleared the fog so that we could make a visual approach to Neah Bay.  Here we started running into ebb current in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, slowing us down to 6.5 knots.  As we turned into Neah Bay we had the highest winds of the trip at 20 knots, 15 as we dropped the anchor in the middle of the bay in sticky mud.

We slept for a few hours, from about midnight to 4:30 AM, got up and pulled the anchor a little after 5.  Skies had cleared and winds were dropping from small craft advisory levels over night.  Pulling out into the strait, we were riding the flood for the first couple of hours with some wind behind as well as some small wind waves.  By the time we got to Port Angeles or thereabouts the tide had turned and we were working against it, making the poorest speed and fuel economy of the trip, a couple of hours at less than 7 knots.  The predicted small craft advisory winds did not materialize and we came into Skyline with about 8-10 knots from the S. 

The final approach to Skyline marina in Anacortes

Gwen met us on the dock, taking some pictures before helping to catch the lines.  Soon we were all tied up and the journey was over.  We celebrated with an arrival beer – one of the last Pacificos we imported from Mexico.

That’s us heading in.
Approaching the slip with Captain Assen surveying the situation.
Miss Miranda, back home at last.

The trip up the coast took about 4.5 days, from Tuesday morning until Satuday afternoon. Our fuel stop was probably two hours and our overnight stop at Neah Bay was around six hours. We covered 796 miles and used 518 gallons of fuel, for an average fuel economy of 1.54 NMPG. We probably averaged about 8 knots overall.

Miss Miranda is back in her slip for the first time since September 2019. Over that time, we’ve been aboard full time for over 13 months, covering almost 7,000 NM and a lifetime’s worth of adventures. We’ll come back with a post summarizing the journey, but for now, we are going to enjoy the pleasures of being back on dry land!

The Last Leg

Miss Miranda spent two weeks here St Francis Yacht Club guest dock.

Well, the day has finally arrived. Captain Assen Alexandrov of San Diego Captains arrived at the boat last night after a much-delayed flight from San Diego. We got a good night’s sleep and spent a little bit of time getting the boat ready this morning. It didn’t take long, as Assen has delivered many Nordhavns up and down the Pacific coast. The main task was mounting a pair of light bars on the bow pulpit. Assen calls them Hillbilly Headlights. They will, hopefully, allow us to see and avoid crab pot floats on the way up the coast.

The weather was looking really good, with light winds and diminishing seas forecast all the way up the coast through at least Sunday morning. We are likely to encounter some residual seas over the first day, with conditions improving as we head North.

The trip is 788 miles and will take just over 4 days underway at our cruising speed of 8 knots. We will stop in Crescent City CA or possibly Coos Bay OR for fuel and might stop overnight. We expect to be back home by sometime Sunday.

San Francisco

After waiting nearly forever for the right weather window, we departed Santa Barbara at 4 AM on a Sunday morning.  It turns out that the wait was worth it.  We had very light winds and pretty calm seas the whole way.  There were lots of whales, dolphins and gulls keeping us company along the way. Gwen got quite a show from a single humpback about a mile in the distance who was repeatedly tail slapping 10 times in a row then resting, presumably to stun fish, or just having a good time. We averaged about 8.4 knots for the 285 mile trip, arriving a bit earlier than planned.  It was overcast, and coming into San Francisco it turned into fog. 

So foggy I decided to do black and white!

We came in under the Golden Gate bridge at near the peak of the flood tide, making about 10.6 knots with the throttle pulled way back.  We didn’t see any of the bridge until we were just about under it, and even then, only saw a bit of the bridge deck.  It was notable that this time through San Francisco harbor, in contrast to our trip down in 2019, there was hardly any boat traffic- pleasure or shipping -in the channel with us. We were amazed how quiet it was, and it made it much less stressful.

Our reciprocal slip was at the St Francis Yacht Club, less than two miles from the bridge.  We encountered the highest winds of the passage at 20+ knots coming into the slip but fortunately we were able to tie up on the windward side, so we just got blown right in.

Gwen had to make a hasty departure the next morning to go to Oregon, where our beloved dog McGee was in the last stage of a losing battle with presumed cancer.  Miranda picked Gwen up at the airport and they drove down to Gwen’s parents, who had provided a loving home for aging McGee for the last two years.  They spent several days just being with him and finally held him while the vet put him to sleep.  It was very sad for everyone, and he will be missed by all of us.

Meanwhile, I was killing time in San Francisco.  Our plan was to get an experienced Captain to do the last leg with me so Gwen could go home to Anacortes. We were hoping to switch out (and find a good weather window) at the beginning of the following week.

I decided to do some exploring on the folding bike and the next day I rode out towards the Golden Gate Bridge. 

There’s the bridge!
Crissy Park – when Gwen got a chance to go.

The sun was out, and it was a beautiful summer afternoon, so I took the opportunity to ride across the bridge, maneuvering through the hordes of pedestrians and cyclists with the same idea.  I just went over to the Sausalito side and came back, but it was a lot of fun!

Looking back at downtown San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge.

Another ride was through the Presidio where I wound up on one of the major park roads that was closed to traffic.  It was a very nice, but uphill, ride through the park with views out over Lands End and some of the city.  The way back was a pleasant downhill coast.  The next day I went in the other direction along the downtown waterfront, stopping at Gotts for a burger in the Ferry building.  By this time I had covered all of the relatively flat areas of town. 

The weather here was pretty consistent, cool (low 50s) and overcast in the morning, often with fog, clearing towards mid day with sunny or partly sunny skies and plenty of West wind.  There is a quote about San Francisco mis-attributed to Mark Twain – “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”.  Well, we’ve lived in Wisconsin, so that is most definitely not true for us, but San Francisco certainly qualifies as the coldest summer we’ve ever spent!

Gwen flew back to San Francisco on the last day of July.   Our crew change didn’t work out, nor did the weather, so we were then stuck here for another week.  I was lucky enough to line up a Captain starting as soon as Sunday, August 8, so we just needed to bide our time and hope for the weather to cooperate. 

With Gwen back in town, we met old friends Allen and Jen for brunch in the Marina district, where Allen and Jen first met. It was good to catch up with them and fun to wander around seeing their old haunts.

We were determined to take advantage of our time here, so went over to Golden Gate Park and visited the Botanical Gardens one afternoon. Admission for us was $10 each, but free for San Francisco residents. The 55 acre garden is beautiful, with plants arranged by Geographical region. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.

We also rode along almost the entire downtown waterfront down to Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.  Gwen also got some shots of sailing and kiteboarding off of Crissy Park – the recovered waterfront park along the shore between the Marina area and the Golden Gate.

Smiling while standing up to the stiff breeze.

We did have some wonderful meals outside – one at St. Francis Yacht Club on their patio looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge. We made it to Chinatown for dinner at China Live – one of the few restaurants there with good outdoor dining. Another winner was PPQ Dungeness Island – a Vietnamese restaurant where we had our first Dungeness crab of the summer . We understand why there is less outdoor dining in San Francisco – its chilly and windy in the evenings! Patio heaters and jackets are a must. During our meals we realized that San Francisco is the home of training self-driving cars – at one meal we must have seen at least 20 of them go by – some of them more covered in cameras and sensors than others. They did still have someone in the driver’s seat.

At the end of another week in San Francisco, Gwen bid me and Miss Miranda goodbye and brought her part of the grand adventure to a close. She is now home in Anacortes, getting things ready for me to arrive in another week or so. As I write this the plan is to depart on Tuesday morning. It looks like there may be a weather window to make it all the way up the coast, with a stop at Coos Bay, OR for some fuel. The trip will be 788 miles and if our plan holds, Miss Miranda could be back at home in Anacortes by next Sunday.

The waiting is the hardest part

The waiting is the hardest part

Every day you see one more card

You take it on faith, you take it to the heart

The waiting is the hardest part

Tom Petty

In our last post, we reported reaching King Harbor in Redondo Beach. We were lucky enough to snag a reciprocal spot on their outer guest dock. This one had no power or water, but was apparently the prime viewing location for the 4th of July fireworks coming in a few days. We met lots of nice people at KHYC including former Tacoma Yacht Club members who were part of the KHYC bridge, and we shared the dock with a great couple on their new boat. We rode bikes along The Strand through Hermosa Beach and points North. We could have ridden up to our next destination, Marina Del Rey, but hunger got the better of us. We attended a fun Friday night dinner with our new friends, and headed north to Del Rey Yacht Club after two nights at King Harbor. We had a final celebratory dinner with Miranda in Marina Del Rey, and then she was off on the 4th, heading back home to Seattle.

After our Southern California sojourn with Miranda, we began our journey North in earnest. We didn’t make it very far. The next day we traveled about 50 miles to Ventura Yacht Club, where we stayed on our way down in 2019. We had a couple of nights there, going out for dinner in the harbor and riding bikes over to Ventura Beach for lunch. Next, we made the short run to Santa Barbara, where we had a reciprocal spot at the Yacht Club. It was a good thing, too, as the marina was full. Fortunately, the yacht club had a cancelation, and we were able to stay on the guest dock.

Santa Barbara harbor. You can see Miss Miranda on the end tie past the big dock in the center of the photo.

We are still sitting in Santa Barbara, here for two weeks already, waiting for a weather window to get around Point Concepcion and up the central coast. This is the place where we make the transition from the generally benign Southern California weather to the notoriously windy central coast, and Point Concepcion is the corner we need to round.

Forecast from for 7/21. The pointer is right off Point Concepcion, where we get a rude introduction to the central coast. The orange colors are not good, indicating winds in the 25 to 30 knot range.

You can see the SoCal coastline generally goes from West to East below Point Concepcion, and is protected from the prevailing NW wind patterns. You can see this reflected in the nice cool colors (low winds) around Santa Barbara, where we are now, and further East.

This pattern is caused by a high pressure system that generally sits off the Pacific Coast combined with a low pressure system that sits somewhere in Southern California. If you recall, winds circulate clockwise around a high pressure system and counter clockwise around a low pressure system. This combination produces patterns of strong NW winds along the coast that can last for weeks, as we are learning. The big problem, in addition to the wind, is the size, period and direction of the waves. The swell generally comes from the NW, so is right on our nose. The size has not been too bad – in the 4-6 ft range, but, the period – time between waves – has been very short, on the order of 8-9 sec. Our rule of thumb is that we want to see periods of at least twice the wave height, and ideally 2.5 times. The short period we are seeing makes for some serious pitching and pounding, the same conditions that caused Gwen to have a very rough night on watch during the Baja Bash.

So, we’ve been waiting. We spent a week enjoying the hospitality of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club on their reciprocal dock, and then moved into a slip in the VERY crowded Santa Barbara harbor marina. The weather has been fantastic, with sunny, mild days replacing the June gloom. Santa Barbara is a great town to be stuck in, so we can’t (OK, shouldn’t) complain. They have an outstanding farmers market that we have now visited three four times. The fruits and vegetables are absolutely amazing. We’ve enjoyed dinners out with friends Maria and Eric, and CUBAR friends Alex and Maria, and went to a party with friends Dave and Cammie.

Before the party, Dave took us for a ride up into the mountains to visit the Cold Spring Tavern, an old stagecoach stop off Hwy 154. They are famous for their Tri Tip sandwiches, music, and plenty of beer. The place was absolutely packed on a warm Sunday afternoon, but we did get to sample the excellent sandwiches and beer.

We learned later in the week that the marina was going to kick us out on Friday 7/23 because they needed the space (we are using someone’s slip). Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating with that departure date, so had to scramble to make some backup plans. First, we were able to secure a spot again at the Ventura Yacht Club if we really needed to leave. I hate to backtrack but don’t see any good options. Second, we have been looking into getting a captain to continue the run up the coast and letting Gwen go home. We really need to move on with house hunting in Corvallis and the rest of our lives. The rationale is that between me and another Captain, we could manage with slightly bigger seas than we’d be comfortable with just Gwen and myself. Of course, most of the delivery captains we know are pretty well booked at this time of year. However, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to several of them about both their availability and the prevailing conditions along this part of the coast. They all agreed that Point Concepcion is the biggest hurdle in terms of having to wait for the right conditions, and a two week (or more) wait is not uncommon. In those conversations, I’ve also heard significant respect for Gwen’s willingness to do the Bash.

In spite of being in sunny Santa Barbara, our spirits were a bit down. We have enjoyed the weather and hanging out with friends, but honestly, we are ready to go home. Things started looking up when Dave invited us to stay in his lovely home in the Santa Barbara hills while he went out of town for a weekend!

The view from Dave’s place.

We went wine tasting in the Santa Ynez valley with Maria and Eric. We visited two wineries (Sunstone and Lincourt), had a picnic lunch at the first and tasted a variety of mostly Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs (remember “Sideways”). Being the Bordeauxphile that I am, I picked wineries that were at low elevation, so we were also able to sample come Cabernet and (gasp!) Merlot.

Enjoying some Santa Barbara County wine.

We also did some bike riding around town and along the shore. Our folding bikes came in handy for trips to the famers market, for lunches in town and for some fun rides along the very well developed Pacific Coast bike trail.

As I write this in the middle of week three, it looks like a weather window might finally be opening this coming weekend. This one looks much better than what we have been seeing up this point and may allow us to get up to San Francisco.

This forecast is looking much better!

It is still early in the week, and this could very well change, but it is encouraging. Getting up to San Francisco will make things much easier. The timing would align reasonably well with the potential availability of a couple of captains that I have been speaking with, and it certainly is easy to fly in and out of here to Seattle. Looking at our route, it is 280 NM from Santa Barbara to the Golden Gate Bridge. This should take us somewhere around 36 hours depending on currents, and if we leave very early Sunday morning, we could expect to be there by Monday afternoon. San Francisco here we come!

The Haircut

Well, despite the strong support for continued crazy hair for Larry, he went ahead and got a cut two days ago. I think he partly did it as something to do during our prolonged stay in Santa Barbara waiting for weather to be tolerable to move north. He would probably say I made it pretty clear what he needed to do.

Here’s the before and after :

Before departing for the barbershop
Upon return …

I made a big hair change too. After growing out my hair color and only getting a cut once or twice during our cruising and the pandemic , I look pretty different now too.

You can clearly see my two toned hair!
A nice natural breeze was blowing as I took this.

Catalina Island

Miranda met us in Long Beach near the end of June for a 10 day Southern California vacation.  Unfortunately, weather-wise, it resembled a PNW vacation with the continuation of June Gloom (Southern California’s best kept secret). 

We planned to visit Catalina Island, 25 miles off the coast of LA.  The two primary spots for visiting boaters are Avalon, on the SE end of the Island and Two Harbors, about 10 miles NW of Avalon.  Both have systems of mooring balls where you pick up a line to hook to your bow, and then walk a secondary line to the back of the boat, where you pull up a stern line to secure yourself in place.  Avalon is first-come-first serve, while Two Harbors allows you to make reservations.  We chose to make a reservation at Two Harbors and then move over to Avalon later in the week.

Seas were a little mixed when we departed Long Beach on a foggy Sunday morning.  Unfortunately, Miranda got sick in spite of having taken some seasickness medication.  After a sloppy two hour journey we picked up the mooring at Cherry Cove, but it was exposed to the swell and quite rolly.  We called a shore boat to get Miranda on land but even land wasn’t enough for her to recover so Gwen managed to get a room for the night at the Banning House Lodge.  I got the dinghy down and joined them on the beach for a couple of hours until they could check in, and then went back to spend a rolly night on the boat. 

We had no immediate neighbor on the next mooring buoy, fortunately for our first time. The small float with the pole sticking up is what Gwen picked up to grab hold of the mooring line.
You can just see the line on the side of the boat holding the bow and stern inline. A bit more complex than mooring buoys we have used before.

Two Harbors is quite rural.  There is the one lodge, but lots of campsites around the area.  They have a system to haul gear from the ferry landing at the pier out to the campsites and back while campers hike in.  It gets crazy crowded at the landing at ferry time.  Miranda was feeling much better after a night on land, but we were concerned that it would be a problem to stay on the boat with as much movement as we were having.  The moorings were so close that there was no way to deploy the flopper stopper, so we decided to move on and see if things were better at Avalon. 

Two Harbors area from up on the hill.

After a short ride down the Island we met the harbor patrol boat outside of Avalon and got a mooring assignment.  There were plenty of spaces available, but they couldn’t guarantee us a spot past Friday… the big July 4th weekend was coming up.  The mooring balls are all privately owned, so the owners can come in at any time. We picked our way into the mooring field and settled into our spot nearly in the middle of the harbor amid 100+ other boats.

The view from our back deck in Avalon.

We did a little dinghy tour around the harbor and when we got back to our boat, we saw that we were dangerously close to the boat next to us.  We called the harbor patrol, and they advised us to switch the side of the boat that the mooring was attached to.  This was not a trivial task in the freshening breeze.  The harbor patrol launch first pulled us back until we could switch sides with the stern line, and then came forward to do the same with the bow line.  It took about all the launch had to get us enough slack and it was slightly more exciting than we bargained for!  But, we got it done and didn’t have any problems for the remainder of the week.

We celebrated my birthday the next day.  We started out by doing a golf cart tour of the area around Avalon.  It is quite hilly in the area and golf carts are the preferred mode of transportation.  Unfortunately, by the time we got over to the rental place, one of the ferries had arrived and we were battling with hordes of Angelenos to get one of the carts.  We did finally secure a rental and joined the heavy golf cart traffic on the 12 mile loop around the Avalon area.  It was actually a lot of fun and we got some great views of the harbor, went to the botanical garden and Wrigley memorial, and over to the Casino and Descanso beach.   

Later, we had dinner at one of the waterfront restaurants.  The highlight was having a local favorite cocktail called Buffalo Milk – named after the herd of buffalo still on the island after being imported for a movie many years ago. The namesake beverage is essentially a White Russian with a lot of whipped cream.  It was good for dessert and I was still able to drive the dinghy back to the boat.

Avalon from the hillside. The large building in the distance is the old casino.

Miranda had arranged for us to do a discover scuba dive at the gem of Avalon, the Dive Park in front of the old Casino.  I got scuba certified many years ago but haven’t done much diving in the last two decades.  Miranda is considering getting certified, especially since we are heading to Bonaire in December for an O’Keefe family dive vacation.  I was a little hesitant about diving in cold water, but they provided us with 7MM wetsuits and booties.  I brought my hood and was pleasantly surprised to find that I was not cold.  The dive was spectacular.  There is a kelp forest right in the park in 25-40 ft of water and the first thing we saw on descending was a trio of Giant Sea Bass, which must have been 5+ ft long and in the 250-300 lb range.  They were hanging out in the kelp, staying away from fishermen, I suspect.  It was very cool to swim through the kelp, and there were huge numbers of very curious bright orange garibaldis, the state fish of California.  All in all a very well done discover scuba class and a fun dive.  I think Miranda will do some scuba lessons back in Seattle and do her certification dives in Bonaire.  Cool.

The weather forecast was starting to look sketchy for the weekend so we left Catalina on Thursday morning.  We had flat calm conditions the whole way across and no seasickness.  We took a chance on going to King Harbor in Redondo Beach and managed to find a spot on the first-come first-serve reciprocal dock at King Harbor Yacht Club.

Long Beach

We left early on a cloudy morning from Newport Beach. By the time we cleared the breakwater we could see blue sky opening up to the North. Long Beach is a short 20 mile run from Newport Beach, located inside of the Los Angeles Harbor breakwater. We worked our way through many anchored cargo ships, many still loaded with containers, entering through the breakwater behind a cargo ship trailed by a large tug.

We had a reciprocal slip at the Long Beach Shoreline Marina, courtesy of the Shoreline Yacht Club. It was an end tie – super convenient getting in and out. Right across from us was Island Grissom, which is actually an oil derrick that has been disguised. It is lit up with a light and water show every night and looks pretty cool… not so much during the day. This is one of 4 “Oil Islands” in the harbor, each named for an astronaut that died in the Apollo space program.

Island Grissom with cascading fountains and light show at night.
Not so attractive in the daylight.

We celebrated our wedding anniversary at a nice restaurant a few blocks from the marina. We shared a large (and pricey) dry aged porterhouse steak and a nice bottle of wine at their outdoor streetside seating (which was quite breezy). The next day, Miranda arrived from Seattle after a bit of a hassle with a cancelled flight. We are excited to have her with us, having not seen her since December of 2020.

The next day we visited the Aquarium of the Pacific, which was located adjacent to the marina. They were doing timed entry and requiring reservations in advance. Even so it was quite crowded. Masks were required even though California is fully open, and we were glad, given how much was indoors and how many people were there. On the other side of the marina is a beach, and bike/walking paths extend from lighthouse point, across from the former oceanliner Queen Mary all the way down the city beaches. We had fun riding folding bikes around, with Miranda using one or two of the many electric scooters that were spread along the waterfront.

Old and new worlds – the Queen Mary has the blue hull!

On Saturday night we went up to the Yacht Club for dinner and met some of the members. We appreciated the nice meal and the hospitality. They were having their awards night, so we said our goodbyes and headed back to Miss Miranda to prepare for an early morning departure for Catalina Island.

We have been reading and hearing about the incredible heat wave up in the Pacific Northwest. Strangely, here in Long Beach, it has been sunny or partly cloudy with temps in mid 70s.