Avalon sailing

A mini-sailing adventure out from San Diego was on the cards. Having spent 2 months in San Diego, living on, working on, and occasionally sailing, an 83′ sailing schooner, we had never made it far enough to have a proper explore of the wonders the Californian coastline has to offer. Luckily, when 2 Frenchmen and Brit spend enough time (2 months +) wondering around a marina trying to fix up a massive sailing yacht, they attract attention, and sympathy. We have been incredibly lucky with the people we have met, and the friends we have made while here, and are especailly lucky to have met Tony and Tyler (and Lola, dog extraordinaire), who realised that someone really needed to look after us, and in the absence of any other willing volunteers, took it upon themselves to adopt us.

As part of this adoptive process, we went sailing with them to the much fabled Catalina Islands, touted by all whom sail from San Diego Bay as an all round, top notch destination.

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The first couple of nights were in Two Harbors, a great set of moorings with the only facilities being a dive shop, bar, and small store. Luckily, the bar didn’t allow dogs, which saved us from spending our evenings there, and in turn spending our life savings on a modest amount of beer. However, we did embark on a couple of hikes which afforded some good views, and reinforced the number one lesson of going off walking in 30+ºC; remember to pack water. The dog was fine however, as we somehow remembered to take water for her. Priorities the right way round I suppose.

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Two Harbors done, a sail down the coast to another cove was in order. The perfect combination of a good breeze, from a steady direction, and a calm enough sea, meant it would have been treasonous not to go for a proper sail, and afforded us the perfect opportunity to get Tony’s spinnaker up for the first time ever. Big and red, it powered the boat along at a very reasonable pace, ticking all the boxes for what a spinnaker should fulfil; big, red, and fast.

With the swell picking up and the breeze dying, we reluctantly decided that our best conditions were now behind us, so dowsed the kite and sailed into the next cove to drop anchor and drink more beer.

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Yet another picturesque setting to spend a night, the next day was spent relaxing, diving, and making futile attempts to spearfish dinner. However it did provide a good bit of downtime for Lola to catch up on some of her nautical theory, although her attention span is even shorter than mine when it comes to such things, it seems.

Further company was provided by Lola’s best buddy, Rocket, whose ears give the impression of always being alert to everything going on, even though he’s generally just kicking back, hunting down his ball and some good food that doesn’t belong to him.

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Boat life continued for a few more days, with the occasional diving had, lots of beer, and good company. Having made the run up from San Diego overnight, we had an early start and the made the most of a daytime trip back, with some fine sailing and further spinnaker action when the wind allowed. After 10 days away from home, it fairly obvious that Lola was more than keen to get back to reality, and on the approach to San Diego had her nose firmly in the direction of good smelling land, along with deploying her ears to provide maximum sail area in order to make best speed in that direction.

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