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Cruising the Southland

September 3 - Channel Islands

We've been cruising here in Southern California - Newport to Avalon, to Two Harbors, to the windward side of Santa Cruz Island, to the leeward side of Santa Cruz Island, to Santa Barbara - for a week now. Having done so, we've been able to confirm that in late August and September, Southern California is one of the best places in the world to be cruising. Better than the Sea of Cortez? Yes, it's too hot down there. Better than St. Tropez? Oh yes, it's too hot, crowded, and expensive in the South of France. Better than the East Coast? Have you heard of Charley and Frances? Better than the Bay of Islands in New Zealand? Come on, it's winter in the southern hemisphere.

One of the great things about Southern California cruising is the variety. Newport, Avalon, and Santa Barbara are urban, of course, with all the positives and negatives that entails. But it's mostly positive. Avalon is 'island urban'. Two Harbors is 'island country' from Thursday through Sunday afternoon, but quiet the rest of the week. Santa Cruz Island, even at the end of August when the air and water are the warmest of the year, is a mostly lonely place. It's a very large island with lots of anchorages.

The weather has been lovely down here. A little fog in the morning and some evenings, but the afternoons are all about brilliant sunshine. Some nights we've complained that it was too warm in our cabin! One night at Santa Cruz Island, heat of the island flowing down over our boat, it was like being in the desert. The addition of a full moon didn't hurt the atmosphere at all. Because of the times of day we traveled, we only got one sail in - but it was a beauty. We left Santa Cruz Island just before noon, had about 90 minutes of sailing at 10 and 11 knots in about 15 knots of wind on the beam in flat seas. The wind went very light for the last six or seven miles, but we put up the gennaker and were able to ghost along at three to four knots. It was a lovely sail, with blue sky, bluer water, and warm temperatures.

Our cruising pals for the entire trip were Dave and Hilary of the Morrelli & Melvin 70 cat Humu-Humu, which is summering at Paradise Marina in Nuevo Vallarta. It was especially good to have Hilary along, as she accompanied the overactive Doña de Mallorca on long jogs along ridges and over cliffs. Among the friends we met at Catalina island were John Folvig, senior and junior, plus their wives Marilyn and Jen. We celebrated with a big barbecue in the sand.

When we pulled into Santa Barbara, we bumped into old friend - name withheld until his ex-wife and his lady's boss can be informed - once again. He had news for us. "Since my lady and I saw you two weeks ago, we've decided that if we're going to do things in life, we'd better get on with it. So we're taking my boat - which I've owned for 30 years - in the Ha-Ha to start a winter of cruising in Mexico."

Then we bumped into Bear, our favorite FedEx pilot, who in addition to having just bought the Cheoy Lee 48 Hotel California, owns, sails, and loves a 30-year old P Cat beach cat, painted to resemble a cow, around the Santa Barbara Harbor. "You've got to meet Liz," he insisted. "She's a lovely 23-year-old blond surfer/sailor who is going to surf and sail around the world in her Cal 40."

Liz, a graduate in Environmental Studies from UCSB, turned out as advertised. The inspiration for her surfing/sailing trip, as well as her university major, was a season of cruising Mexico in '89-'90 with her family aboard the Gulfstar 50 Endless Summer. We took an immediate liking to Liz, because she loves surfing and sailing, because she has an adventurous spirit - and in no small part because she reminds us of our daughter who is close to the same age. We'll have more on her planned adventure in the October Latitude 38.

We're enjoying our second day in the harbor here at Santa Barbara, as the weather couldn't be more perfect. As much as we'd like to stay and mix with the natives, we plan to head back out to Santa Cruz Island tomorrow, then Catalina for the wild Labor Day Weekend festivities. Wish you were here! Since you're not, we hope you enjoy some of the following photos:

As we took on gas at Newport before heading to Catalina, we met the Baja Journal folks. This Coronado 35 replaces their Columbia 26 that burned in Mexico.

A view of the casino, which celebrates its 75th year, and of the Catalina YC, which celebrates its 80th year, in Avalon Harbor.

Jen Folvig, now of Rockford, IL, holds up marshmallows for making s'mores during our Two Harbors barbecue.

By 3 pm on Sunday, even in August, Two Harbors is almost vacated. The two nights before, it was jam-packed.

Santa Cruz Island, when approached from Catalina, is spectacular.

Profligate, on the hook on the back side of Santa Cruz Island. The surge looks big, but really wasn't.

Profligate, tucked into one of the anchorages on the front of Santa Cruz Island.

Hilary and Doña just outside one of the many caves on the front side of Santa Cruz Island.

The look on Doña de Mallorca's face suggests she didn't care to go any deeper into the depths of Painted Caves.

Hilarius kneelious, believed to be the last of the Chumash Indians on Santa Cruz Island, was surprised by a photo of her looking for Contentment Plus, a natural herb remedy.

Hilary, Doña, and the dinghy, at one of the many little coves on Santa Cruz Island.

Liz Clark points to where she wants to go with Swell, her Cal 40.
Photos Latitude/Richard

People Smuggling - with a Beneteau 44!

September 3 - San Francisco Bay Area

On September 1, the Coast Guard raided the Beneteau C'Est La Vie just outside of Los Angeles Harbor, and found she was carrying 50 illegal migrants. Co-skippers Ray LaBono and Vernon Siegel were arrested on federal smuggling. LaBono had apparently chartered the boat three other times during the summer. He apparently was paid $250 per migrant from somebody who got a whole lot more money to arrange the whole thing.

2.5 Million Floridians Ordered to Evacuate

September 3 - Eastern Florida

They're calling it a "hurricane the size of Texas", twice the size of last month's devastating Hurricane Charley. It's Hurricane Frances, and it's lashing the Bahamas on its way to Florida. At the 11 am (EDT) advisory, the National Hurricane Center reported that Frances was centered 40 miles northwest of Eleuthera, in the Bahamas, and about 220 miles east-southeast of Florida's lower east coast. The only bit of good news: maximum sustained winds had dropped to 115 mph, making Frances a Category 3 instead of Category 4 storm. It is expected to make landfall as early as Saturday afternoon.

Hurricane advisories are in effect for all of the east coast of Florida and Lake Okeechobee. They have been canceled for the Keys. Mandatory evacuations were ordered in parts of 16 counties and voluntary evacuations in five other counties. Florida officials said 2.5 million people are covered by the evacuation orders. Most of them are staying in their own communities, not hitting the roads.

The Bahamas have suffered loss of power and communications, tin roofs ripping off buildings, and other damage, but no deaths or serious injuries have been reported so far. See www.cnn.com/2004/WEATHER/09/02/frances.bahamas.ap/index.html.

Lots more is available on the Web about Frances. For a sampling, see www.cnn.com/2004/WEATHER/09/03/hurricane.frances/index.html, www.weather.com/newscenter/tropical and www.palmbeachpost.com/storm/content/weather/special/storm/index.html.

You can always track Atlantic/Caribbean tropical weather events at weather.unisys.com/hurricane/atlantic/2004/index.html.

Rich Wilson at Corinthian Yacht Club Thursday

September 3 - Tiburon

Rich Wilson, skipper of Great American II, will be speaking at the Corinthian Yacht Club on Thursday, September 9, at 7pm.

Wilson is president and founder of sitesALIVE!, an online, interactive, learning adventure that connects live expeditions to classrooms. He has set three world sailing records challenging the great clipper records: from San Francisco to Boston by way of Cape Horn (California Gold Rush); New York to Melbourne by way of Cape of Good Hope (Australian Gold Rush); and Hong Kong to New York by way of Cape of Good Hope (China Tea Trade).

For more info on Thursday's event, see www.cyc.org/speakers/richwilson.htm.

Lats Are Out and About

September 3 - SF Bay Area and Beyond

The September issue of Latitude 38 has been delivered around the Bay Area and is making its way to distribution points further afield. In San Diego, the magazine will be delivered this weekend.

Our friends over at Baja Ha-Ha, Inc., asked us to mention that they now have 124 paid entries for the 11th annual rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. The deadline to enter is September 10. See www.baja-haha.com for more.

We hope you enjoy the three-day weekend; we sure will. Our next 'Lectronic edition is planned for Wednesday the 8th.

Look for the September issue of Latitude 38 at a maritime venue near you!

Photo Latitude/Annie

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