let’s sail away

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Last November we sailed to Catalina Island to enjoy a quieter and more ‘in the moment’ experience as a family. Being so grateful for our ability and desire to be on a 38′ sailboat in quiet coves together, we decided it was a perfect way to celebrate our Thanksgiving. When we go, our time is always spent in ways that I wish we would spend it while we are at home. Alas, we get distracted by schedules and expectations. On Pelican we have to let all of that go. It usually takes a few days to settle into the mode of no itinerary.

On this trip we wanted to visit a new cove that we had never been to but when we arrived in Avalon there was a lot of frantic energy in the harbor about pending NNE winds. These winds known as the Santa Anas wreak havoc on the NNE facing coastline of Catalina Island. They have been known to build huge waves and push floating vessels ashore. Fortunately for us this time they never came. We had one night of stronger winds and larger swells heaping up in the harbor but since we were moved by the Harbor Patrol to a mooring tucked in behind a seawall where the famous Casino is, we weren’t uncomfortable. We ended up staying one extra night in Avalon than planned because we weren’t in any hurry to go anywhere. One thing you shouldn’t have on a sailboat is a schedule.

Finally when they decided the high winds weren’t going to come, we decided to head up the coast to the west end of the island. We stopped in Two Harbors and picked up some ice then went up to Emerald Cove where just one small sailboat followed us. Aboard was three generations-a grandfather, his son and his son’s two boys. The grandfather had been coming there for decades. He stayed on the boat while Dad and his sons went on a hike across the island.

We decided after a swim in the murky ocean that had been stirred up by the winds one afternoon that the next morning we would go on a hike as well. It was not a welcome idea by M&M but by the time we were turning back we had seen a deer, a pheasant and then right in front of us was a huge bison! When we got back to the coast we looked down and there were dozens of 5′ leopard sharks swimming right where we had been swimming the day before. This is the kind of experience I want my kids to have all the time. It’s just so important for them to know that there’s more to life than the demands and expectations of life in Orange County.

We then moved to our favorite spot in Fourth of July cove. On Thanksgiving Day we went ashore and enjoyed a ginormous meal of turkey and all the helpings at the Harbor Reef Restaurant. This was the only day we ate ashore. I love cooking on the boat and ended up making every other meal onboard. I used the pressure cooker to prepare split pea soup and turkey/veggie soup. I baked cookies and pancakes and all the usual goodies we enjoy at home.

Merrik spent two days free diving for sea anemone skeletons to give to his friends for Christmas. What better gift than something discovered and labored for.

It’s really an amazing lifestyle and one that I’m so ready to be living full-time. We are doing as much as we can right now to move in the direction of our dream. So much of what we do is based around the desire to live like this for at least two years full-time. We are still on the hunt for a larger boat that will accommodate our family and all the things we will need to be independent on the ocean.

Even when we were in Catalina we saw boats that would suit us so we continue to look into finding one here on the west coast. These two appeal to us and we have done some research on them. We love the idea of a hard dodger. The sailboat below with the yellow kayak is a Kelly Peterson 46 and it is set up pretty much the way we like. We are also curious about the Celestial 48 (Indigo) and we are going to look at both these types of boats this weekend. I am still trying to figure out what Volition II is!!



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