Now I’ll have to admit I was not expecting much from a place called Oxnard, but it just proves why you should never prejudge something. It turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. Upon entering the harbour, we stopped at the Harbour Master’s dock and checked in. We were assigned a slip down the channel. The channel is lined on one side with boat slips and condos, and the other with boat slips and commercial buildings. The slip was nearly at the small low bridge that separates the marina area from the canals. Turns out, a big part of Oxnard is like Venice Italy, with several canals that run through town all lined with houses and condos and all of these with a boat or two in front. We spend a couple hours in the dinghy just cruise’n through the “streets”.
From Oxnard it was on to Marina Del Rey. This is a massive Marina complex with space for over 4500 boats. Even so, it is nicely divided up and our slip was right at Burton Chace Park. It was a short walk to the grocery store and they had a free electric car shuttle service that would take you around the marina area and even to the Venice Beach Pier. Of course we took advantage of that and spent an afternoon walking Venice Beach and its famous boardwalk. People watching is a sport in this area and there are some very “interesting” people to watch.
Our friends on Salish Dragon and Sedna both stopped in Marina Del Rey as well and between the visiting, sightseeing and the re provisioning (30% off wine if you buy 6 bottles, my favourite red was $4.19 a bottle!). We spent a full week here, it was a great spot to hang out for a while.
After a week in town it was time to move on and Santa Catalina Island was calling. This Island is located just 35 miles off of LA and is known to be a popular getaway for the city’s boating community. Read – it gets very busy sometimes. Our first stop was the bay called Two Harbours. There are 257 mooring buoys in the bay which provide you with a unique learning experience the first time you must do this.
1. Radio Harbour patrol to get your buoy assignment. Advise if its your first time. They are very helpful.
2. Motor to the numbered buoy and pick up the 6-foot-long stick floating vertically beside the buoy. Its attached to a big yellow loop that you place on your bow cleat.
3. Once the bow cleat is secured note that there is another line attached to the yellow loop. This is the spreader line and the other end of it is attached to the loop that goes on the aft cleat, so you quickly have to hand over hand along this line until it pulls tight and you get the aft loop to secure on the aft cleat. And you are all done.
4. It’s that easy. Yeah right. I mentioned there are 257 mooring buoys, so on a busy summer weekend you are crammed in there like a mall parking lot during the Boxing Day sales. The wind and waves are moving the boat almost exactly where you don’t want it to go and of course all the other boaters are watching. We made it without too much drama.
Two Harbors offers a beautiful beach with 1 store, 1 bar and 1 restaurant. Hey at least the choices are easy. There are several trails you can walk on.
The crew of Salish Dragon hiked to the top of the mountain. We took the trail across the island to check out Catalina Harbor and spent a good part of the next day just sitting on the beach. That night the sky lit up with the launch of a SpaceX rocket. That’s not something we see everyday. We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving Day with a dinner onboard Sedna with all of us agreeing we had much to be thankful for
From here we moved down the Island to Avalon Bay. Avalon is the playground of the rich and famous and now us. Same mooring ball program but we’re seasoned pros now so this one went smoothly. Avalon is a much larger town with numerous hotels, restaurants and shops. Even some cruise ships make this a port of call. In Avalon, golf carts out number automobiles as the means of transport. We split the rental cost of a four-person model with Ken and Cheryl from Sedna and took an hour drive around town. They have a route map with the one-hour tour planned out almost to the minute. Take your pictures quickly or you’ll be late and charged extra. We made it back in 58 minutes.
We happen to be here at the start of the Avalon Jazz Festival and have managed to grab tickets for the Friday night performance. We will do that and then probably leave very early, like still dark early, Sunday morning and make the run down and over to San Diego.
Its still hard to believe that we have sailed from Vancouver to Alaska and are now getting close to Mexico. We have travelled 2615 kn going north and 1387 kn so far southbound.