October 28, 2000. Santa Catalina Island, California. Sunny, wind variable and 75F/24C in the afternoon.
Looks like winter is catching up with us. The tail ends of the storm systems hitting the Pacific Northwest are affecting us now once or twice a week with brief heavy rain (just a hour or two) and a surge in wind and swells. We still get great sunshine and balmy weather in between and the island still look parched (except for the muddy dirt roads). We plan to sail to Oceanside Monday, after the next front passes through. Joan will not be coming with us due to scheduling problems. Anyway, it looks like a longer trip than we had initially though, 12 to 15 hours, meaning that we have to leave at 4 AM, something that Joan will not miss! We should be at her house on Halloween to help her eat the excess candy!
You may remember me mentioning old wrinkled vegetables. Well, last Wednesday a barge was supposed to arrive with fresh supplies. So we went back to the store, hoping to find new bell peppers replacing the old ones, which had been on display since we had arrived. We are very fond of peppers roasted on the barbecue. No such luck, maybe the barge operator does not like peppers. The old ones had disappeared but they were replaced by one grapefruit. However, there were some fresh mushrooms, carrots and iceberg lettuce, as well as rising crust frozen pizza, which is much better than the pizza produced by the local fast food restaurant (we know from experience). The last time we were in a fully supplied supermarket was in Monterey, 17 days ago. It certainly is not a hardship since the boat is still well supplied but I had not really expected to be without a supermarket for so long when we left Monterey. I finally had to start using the cabbage I had bought just in case.
However, the shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables is not stopping me from baking. I have used old recipes as well as tried new ones. For the new ones, about half are disappointment and half successes to be added to my repertoire. Baking warms the boat in the morning and the cake is nice to serve when we have friends coming in the evening to play games. We have also exchanged films on DVD with our neighbor and watched recent movies we had missed in the theaters.
We hiked up in the hills (another 1200 feet up or 400 m) on the south side of the island where the slopes are covered with dry grasses, cactus and shrubs and hiked down on the north side which is more lush. The north side has many nice coves (mostly filled with moorings) with turquoise water and many divers. The visibility in water is over 50 ft (16 m) which seems enormous for someone from Seattle.
Besides hiking, Clark has been devouring books at a rate unheard of (the absence of a marine store reduces the number of projects possible on the boat), and I have made a little more progress learning Spanish. We keep in touch with our Canadian cruiser friends through the radio, but it seems they will always get where we are when we are about to leave. Most of them opted to visit the south California coast including Santa Barbara, Oxnard and Ventura, which we bypassed entirely in search for wilder surroundings and cheaper anchorages. We hope to synchronize our travels a little better down the coast of Baja.
Hope all is well with you.