Our recent voyage to Two Harbors on Catalina Island was a huge milestone for us as a family. We’ve been dreaming of sailing with the kids on our new to us Kelly Peterson 46 for over two years. Health issues, recurring boat system problems, and lack of enough time and money has kept us from making the journey out of San Diego.
We had intended to depart two days after Christmas but there was a small craft advisory so we had to wait an extra day because superstitious sailors never depart on a Friday! Our first passage was 13 hours to Dana Point Harbor. We pushed off at 00:30 on Saturday, December 29, 2018, and arrived at 13:30. The first few hours of daylight brought us some nice wind but very confused seas. The winds had been blowing NE the day prior and the prevailing swell direction was NW so this made for some choppy waves with short intervals. Merrik and Maliea were so excited to finally be underway they were bouncing off the bulkheads. By the time Maliea came up to the cockpit, she was already feeling woozy. Unfortunately, she felt sick until we docked at Dana Point Marina. But, she was a trouper and doesn’t want to let it discourage her.
We spent the night at the end tie of A dock, island side to ready for our passage to Two Harbors. But within minutes of pushing off the dock at 05:00 I smelled something odd in the engine exhaust so we turned back to the dock immediately. I checked below and only saw a small amount of steam or smoke coming from the oil dipstick. We shut her down to be safe. After talking to several people I went poking around the engine better to discover a broken and melted alternator belt wrapped around the pulley. What I smelled was clearly burning rubber. We spent the rest of the day getting all the engine seacocks closed, detaching water hoses, replacing the belt, and putting everything back together. Jim and Indra earned a new stash of socket wrenches and extensions for the toolkit. Thank goodness the belt broke right off the dock and not in the middle of the ocean. I find it empowering to be able to fix our own systems on the boat. Every time we work on the boat ourselves, we get that much closer to being self-sufficient.
We had to wait again for a good weather window. The NE winds were predicted to come up again within the next two days. The harbor at Isthmus Cove did close and boats were redirected to Cat Harbor on the other side for safety. We finally departed for the isthmus at 04:30 on Wednesday and enjoyed a couple hours of sailing in between motor sailing. We have been rudely reminded how much motor sailing you do in Southern California!!
We arrived at a completely empty Isthmus Cove. Because our dinghy outboard isn’t in perfect working order, we decided to keep it simple and pull up a mooring in the Isthmus rather than one of the outer coves. From there we could row our dinghy to the pier and the kids could swim or paddle to the beach. We had a beautiful spot right next to the cliffs in shallow, emerald green water. The kids were ecstatic to finally be in Catalina and couldn’t wait to enjoy it’s beauty. Maliea made a list of goals for us: jump off the boat, go swimming, look for Garibaldi, go on a hike, find 3 cool rocks, let Sushi walk around on deck, look at the constellations. We’ve been talking about going for so long that it really showed them how tenacity and perseverance pay off. They reveled in every moment of our visit and are ready to go back soon-especially when the weather warms up!!