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September 26, 2012

Change Is in the Air

Looking for whales in sunny Cat Harbor on Monday afternoon.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Late Monday afternoon we took a hike from Two Harbors out to some benches overlooking the far end of Cat Harbor, Catalina. We went for the exercise and to see if we could spot the whale that had been paying visits to the harbor in recent days. He’s believed to be a gray whale of about 30 feet. Because of his behavior — bumping into boats, swimming around and maybe even under the dinghy dock, and surfacing next to folks in dinghies — some say he’s a teen. Teen whales apparently exhibit such behavior. But we couldn’t see the whale, and if you look closely at the photo, we doubt that you can see him either.

The dance floor on the patio, which less then two days before had been packed with wildly animated dancers.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The other thing you don’t see in the photo is fog. Boy, has this ever been a great summer for sun along the coast of Southern California. We had tons of it in San Diego, almost as much in Santa Barbara, and every morning for the last 10 days was fog-free at Two Harbors. We came down to San Diego yesterday in bright sunshine. When we arrived just after dark, there were wisps of fog, but as of 9 a.m. this morning, it had all burned off. Being from San Francisco, we don’t want to say anything against the fog — other than if we never see any again in our life, it will be fine with us.

The base of the pier at Two Harbors? Where the folks from the moored-out sail and power boats? Where are the Boy Scouts being herded on and off the ferries? Where are the lovers giving parting smooches?

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

It’s about a 40-minute hike from Two Harbors to the benches at Cat Harbor and back. Prior to Monday, it had sort of been a highway of hikers. On Monday we passed only one other person. And when we got to the base of the pier and the patio area of the restaurant, it was like a cheap sci-fi movie. These two areas, where there had been lots of people for the previous three months, were devoid of human life. Weird. True, there were a few people inside the restaurant watching the Packers get jobbed by the Seahawks, but to not see anyone outside or at the nearby picnic tables was weird.

The hiking in Bahia Santa Maria is spectacular.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

All it really means, of course, is that the changing of seasons is in full swing. People are thinking of school, football, fall fashions, and god knows what else. The irony is that it’s almost October, and except for the shorter days, it’s one of the best months for cruising Catalina and the other Channel Islands. So if you’re coming down for the Ha-Ha — we’ve already met a bunch of you folks — make sure you take some time to smell the Channel Islands. Speaking of the Ha-Ha, the start is just over a month away, so it won’t be long before hundreds of us cruisers will be hiking along the shores of Turtle Bay and in the high hills in back of Bahia Santa Maria. We can’t wait! 

Quake Rattles La Paz

Happy hour for cruisers in Baja California Sur was disrupted last night by a 6.2-magnitude earthquake, which was followed by four sizable aftershocks. The quake, centered offshore in the Sea of Cortez about 45 miles north of La Paz, hit around 4:45 p.m. yesterday, then four aftershocks of less than 4.8 kept residents’ nerves frayed. Officials say damage was minimal and no injuries have been reported.

"We were enjoying sundowners on a friend’s sailboat while docked at Marina Palmira," Ha-Ha vets Julie and Bill Martinelli of the San Francisco-based Catalina 470 Voyager wrote last night. "We felt some seriously good earthquake shaking for several seconds, which was surprising since we never felt any when we were aboard in a Bay Area marina. This also happened during the middle of a rare rain shower! Luckily, no drinks were spilled, the boats got a free wash, and all is well. Ha-Ha’ers, come on down!"

A well-designed cockpit table will help prevent any tragic drink spillages during large earthquakes.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Boatrides and Barbecues

Over the past several months, we’ve been reporting on the progress at the new Sausalito Community Boating Center at Cass Gidley Marina. A group of community members are working their tails off to raise the funds needed to turn the once-dilapidated facility into a safe and ADA-compliant community sailing center. They’re closing in on the halfway mark, but that leaves about $75,000 that needs to be found by the end of the year. 

© Sausalito Community Boating Center

To that end, ‘Boatrides & Barbecue’ fundraising events, featuring — as you might have guessed — free boat rides and BBQ, as well as live music by the Waterfront Pickers (including Latitude’s Managing Editor ‘Banjo Andy’ Turpin) are held on the fourth Thursday of every month (except Thanksgiving). The next will be tomorrow, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on the beach in Dunphy Park. Although the entire event is free, donations are encouraged — they’re tax-deductible! For more on the project, go to


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