Thursday, November 27, 2014

November 27, 2014 - San Diego - Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! 

Thanksgiving morning.  Going to be 85 degrees Fahrenheit today
in San Diego

We wish we could be with our friends and family this thanksgiving.  We miss home but at the same time are having a great adventure.

We are still in San Diego, due to some strange circumstances.  For the past few weeks we have been doing quite a bit of shopping, loading the boat with items we realized we were lacking after 3 months of living onboard, and/or we wanted to buy in America before we possibly could not find it in Mexico.  My parents have noted that it seems like partying all the time.  Well, life on a boat is not a constant party.  There are chores to do, homeschool, maintenance, planning, checking weather, figuring out what each new port has to offer, etc.  Since arriving in San Diego a few weeks ago we have been shopping almost every day when we had our car.  Unfortunately, despite attempts to avoid it (advanced notice to our credit card company), our credit card company has declined our card numerous times here in San Diego.  We have to call to verify our transactions, explain our travel plans, and answer a bunch of security questions designed to protect us.  Then, a few days ago, after being declined for the 3rd or 4th time, they informed us that we had to have new cards due to the recent Home Depot mass-compromise event.  OK, no big deal right?  Well, actually when you are living on a boat and have no permanent home address it is a big deal.  I (Steve) spent almost an hour on the phone working on getting our new cards.  We figured out that we could have them sent to a UPS store a few miles away, although this took manager approval from the credit card company.  They overnighted the new cards and Kathy rode her bike over the UPS store to retrieve them on Tuesday.  Well, guess what?  They only sent my card, not Kathy's, and my new card expires in a month!  In addition they have now deactivated our existing account so we can't even use it for shopping.  So, back on the phone for me, for another hour.  They say they overnighted new cards for us to the UPS store, but when Kathy and Kevin rode bikes over there yesterday afternoon, there were no cards.  Today is a holiday, so we won't be seeing our cards today.  Maybe Friday?  We will see.

The other thing that is keeping us here is that yesterday morning, right after breakfast while I was washing the dishes and Kathy was downstairs getting dressed for the day, Cindy took a fall in our pilothouse.  She was sitting on the top edge of the settee (like sitting up on the back of a couch) and she somehow lost her balance even though it was flat calm with no waves.  She fell backwards and the back of her head hit the windowsill and then she fell to the floor.  She popped up right away and other than being a little startled and scared she seemed fine.  Within about 10 minutes she was very tired and cold.  She laid down with a blanket and wanted to sleep.  Within about an hour she was becoming very confused and mumbling.  Classic symptoms of a concussion.  We watched her for another 15-30 minutes while we made some phone calls to walk-in clinics, and also looked up concussions on the internet.  Cindy was getting confused and couldn't explain what had happened in a coherent sentence so we decided it was time to see a doctor, just in case it continued to get progressively worse.  I called a cab and we got in the dinghy.  Before we could untie though, Cindy climbed out, went back in the boat and took off her life jacket.  It was very hard to convince her to get back into the dinghy.  She clearly was not herself.  In the cab she started to say she was going to throw up.  She didn't, but these are all the symptoms of a concussion.

We arrived at the Emergency room of a children's hospital about 10 miles from the boat and Cindy was immediately sent back to the ER doctor.  Kathy and Cindy were back there for more than two hours while they monitored Cindy's condition.  At about the 1 hour mark Cindy did throw-up in the examination room.  Unfortunately, she had yogurt and berries with breakfast so the mess was a  wonderful raspberry bright red color.  Kathy still can't figure out how so much vomit came out of her body, given how much she had to eat for breakfast.  Kathy says, it was a BIG mess!

The Children's Hospital we took Cindy to after
her fall and concussion.

The check-in counter for the emergency room.

As soon as Cindy threw up she felt much better.  When Cindy came back out to the waiting room she was back to her normal self.  Phew.  That was scary!  She has been instructed to take it easy for at least the next few days, perhaps up to a week.  They say she did indeed have a concussion.  We caught a cab back to the boat and we did take it easy for the rest of the day.

I am happy to report that today Cindy has been just fine.  She slept well last night and has been absolutely normal all day today.  We are taking it easy though, following doctors orders.

So, we are still waiting for our new credit cards, and we are monitoring Cindy's recovery from her concussion.  As a result, it is unlikely that we will leave San Diego until early next week.

San Diego is a beautiful city.  We are loving it here!

We are very thankful on this Thanksgiving that Cindy's fall was not more serious, and that the rest of us are all healthy and very much enjoying our family adventure.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  We miss you all and stories and happenings from home.  Please share things as we are all missing our little La Conner town.

Friday, November 21, 2014

November 20, 2014 - San Diego Part 3

This past week we purchased the four day San Diego Go Pass from Costco.  We spent much of the four days out at attractions as part of the pass.  I believe the cost for two days at Sea World is close what we paid for all we did in four days, it was  definite bargain for us.  We spent hours trying to figure out our itinerary to maximize the 4-day pass.  On nomal days (without the pass) we are typically back to the boat by dark (5:00PM), but on our Go Pass days we were leaving by around 8am and returning between 6-8pm, in the dark.    All has been safe, but Zappa has been a bit lonely.  All of the below attractions were included with the pass.

Day 1, Monday's first stop was Legoland.  We had been there before but decided that this would be one stop the kids would really enjoy.  Especially since they had been talking about LegoLand for the past month.  We spent about three hours there before heading off to go kart racing at the Miramar Speed Circuit.
They had each of the main scenes from the Star Wars movies recreated in Legos.

Life size Chewbacca, entirely made out of Legos.
After three hours there we sped off to Miramar Speed circuit for a race.  This was nice as we could all race together.  Kevin is still a bit small for the adult size karts and in other facilities we could not all race together.  It was just the four of us in the race which was nice (school kids were still in school).  Following that it was off to Boomers for a few rides and miniature golf.  They had two courses (not in great condition) and we played both of them.
This is the closest our kids have been to a school-house this school year.
That was the end of day 1, three stops with lots of fun.  This was the day we traveled the furthest and got to experience San Diego traffic, which I think rivals Seattle's infamous traffic.

Day 2 was all day at SeaWorld.  We also spent half of the next day at Seaworld, as we could not get through it all in one day.  It was great, there were NO lines for the rides. We saw all the shows and on the first day received a special surprise gift of a one hour "behind the scenes" tour just by being at the right place at the right time when two employees came up behind us and presented us with our tour certificates.
Mom and a baby (will turn 2 years old on valentines day)
Steve, Cindy, and Kevin on the Manta ride - I had to hold the backpack :) 

Steve, Cindy, and Kevin on the Manta roller coaster.
During the 2 days here Cindy and Kevin rode this about 20 times and sat
in every seat in every row!

Dolphin and Pilot whale show - the Christmas special

The Shamu show!  Not many people here this time of year.

The Shamu show.  SeaWorld has 10 whales and a baby expected next month

The Shamu show.  Wow!
 The backstage tour that we won was awesome.  It was an hour-long walking tour where we got to see the animal care facility.  There were several rescued sea lion pups (no Mom could be found) so they are being cared for and will be reintroduced into the wild when they can take care of themselves.  Below is a shot of Cindy and Kevin looking at a pool where a mom and baby dolphin were swimming.  They are really curious and came right up to take a look at us.  Did you know that dolphins can have one eye looking at you and the other in another direction?
Curious dolphins come to look at us

Following the care center we got to see the Humbolt Penquins which is a threatened species and not available for public viewing.  They are working to study and breed these penguins at SeaWorld.
Humbolt penguins.  We were the only people visiting the park
to see them today.

The final part of the tour was learning and feeding a turtle species; the Green Turtle.  It is named green not for it's color but because it's blood is green!
Cindy and Kevin at the turtle pool

Tree at entrance to SeaWorld

Beluga Whale tank.

Yes, that is real snow in SeaWorld and Cindy and Kevin on the little sled run!

Day 2 we came back and prepared for getting wet.  Cindy and Kevin went a second time
but said it was too light without Dad and I for a good ride.

Cindy and I on the Bayride at sunset, it was beautiful.  This is a chairlift-like
ride that takes you high above the water and over a marina.
Day 3 included SeaWorld but the morning was spent at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.  We spent two hours in the exhibits and then went to an iMax movie about the Nile river.
A catenary - the curve that an idealized hanging chain assumes under its own weight 
when supported only at its ends.  Cindy and Kevin built this one!    
Cindy and Kevin's image in low-resolution boxes.
There were lots of interesting exhibits in the "illusion
and vision" section of the museum. 
Day 4 started with turning in our car just after 8am and walking over to the Go Car.  We had a free half hour that we could use for it but decided to pay to have it be an hour.  What a fun adventure as the car told us about buildings, architecture and some history.  Kevin and I were in back so we did inhale some fumes from the front car but overall, it was a fun and informative hour.
Steve and Cindy in front just about ready to head along the waterfront.
These are registered as motorcycles.

Kevin and I in the back.  These things go up to 30mph.
Next up we walked over to the USS Midway Museum.  It is an Aircraft carrier that we have been looking at now for a week from our boat.  It was commissioned right after World War II and was decommissioned in 1992.  There are many facts about this ship that we would love to share but too much time for us to spend now.  Steve and I were excited to go aboard.  I realize it probably was not so but it sure seemed that most of the vessel was open for viewing.  We highly recommend this for anyone coming to San Diego.  It was HUGE!  The Audio Tour was a great benefit and they had two choices, one for kids, so we could choose what to listen to.  There is a device you hang around your neck and headphones plug into that.  You simply typed in the number for the audio tour when you arrived at a particular section and inform you about that area and even offer additional commentary from someone who was on the ship and working that part of it.  It was very well done and there were perhaps 100 audio segments aboard.  They had many planes and helicopters to tour as well.  You could sit in the cockpit of some of them too.  The Docents were incredible and many were retired military with experience at the area they were stationed. We listened to two talks, one on how they brought in aircraft and another on launching from the ship.  We also got a guided tour of the bridge and Captains quarters. We saw much of the ship, everything from the hospital/medical area to several of the galleys (kitchens), berthing (sleeping areas), heads (bathrooms), engine room, brig (jail) and so much more.  Each had audio tour information as well as informational boards telling about it's history.
Cindy and Kevin in the cockpit of a plane on the Hangar Deck

Kevin and Cindy on the Flight Deck

Kathy, Cindy, and Kevin on the flight deck,
We had a nice lunch at a waterfront restaurant and then a quick stop to the Maritime Museum.  We were able to tour a Soviet Submarine and as well a tall ship.  Back when it was in service this B-39 Soviet Submarine was most likely tracking some our our US ships that now are located here in San Diego.

Following that we took a quick tour of the "Star of India" ship.  It is 150 years old! Following that we walked about a block to go on a 1 hour tour-boat ride of the south bay.  Steve and I were once again excited to do this as we knew it would include much information about all of the Navy ships that we saw on our "Adagio" cruise through the bay a week ago.  The person narrating was x-navy and told us much about the ships as we passed by as well as other landmarks and information.  We were quite tired at the end of it all.  When we exited the ship there were bicycle powered taxi people offering up a ride. We really were not wanting to spend any money but were also very tired.  The gentleman negotiated a deal after stating that he too had kids.  Kevin had already gotten on his "bike" and rode it a few feet but had to get off since we had decided not to take the taxi.  30 seconds later the taxi driver agreed to our price so we all hopped on.  He could take us to the top of the ramp where our dinghy was tied up.  I felt bad to short change him and the ride was so much fun that we ended up giving him close to what he was asking for.  He had music, lights and a disco ball.   When we got off we all commented on that it was farther than we remembered so were glad to end the day and the four day pass with some music and lights.  Getting back to the boat at 6pm, we were exhausted.  Cindy asked if she could sleep in and we said yes but it is a school day.  The kids had not had school in a week.
Our crazy bike-taxi ride.  Music, disco ball, and lights!

Today we got back to school.  Cindy did three days in one day today.  Did she sleep in?  Nope, it was probably 6:30am again.  The daylight savings time change is a contributing factor to our early rising kids, plus we moved to the anchorage area next to the airport.  At 6:20am life at the airport seems to start with jets roaring down the runway.  There is also a major construction project off the point here this is in full swing by 7:00AM with air powered tools, hammering, sawing, and construction workers yelling over the noise.  We are not complaining, the sun is out every day and we are enjoying this beautiful city.  Plus the anchorage is very calm and quiet at night.

Next up, several more days to prepare for our Mexico entrance.  We are close but not quite ready.  Our departure is now sometime next week I imagine between Tuesday and Friday depending on weather.

Oh, I have to mention that we saw a catamaran come into the cruisers anchorage here. Steve just knew he had seen this boat somewhere back in the NW and most likely from Shelter Bay.  It is called "Dueling Dragons" and has some Chinese writing on it,  Anyone remember it?  It was moored in Shelter Bay on Nootka Place, it's 48' long and looks to be just about as wide :-)  They are here and headed south as we are.  Steve just chatted with them this AM.  What a small world we live in.  1500 miles from home, on a boat, and here is one of our neighbors on their boat just 200' away.

More to come just before we leave the United States of America!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 18, 2014 - San Diego Part 2

Hi everyone!  We are having a blast here in San Diego.  I know some have emailed us worried about no movement of us southbound, but no worries.  We are here provisioning and preparing for entry into Mexico.  We have been purchasing goods and getting ready, but at the same time having a lot of fun.  Below are some pictures of what we have been up to this past week.  We bought a couple of used beginner "long boards" so we can learn to surf during our trip.  The trouble is, the kids won't give us adults any time on them!

We purchased a San Diego pass that has many attractions which hasn't left much time to post anything.  We are using the pass this week, Monday through Thursday.  The kids fell asleep tonight by 7:45 soon after a dinghy ride back to the boat in the dark, and a quick dinner.  Another two days on this pass for us and turning in our rental car.  We are attempting to get to as many attractions/museums as possible!  Lucky kids;  no time for home school this week.

Here are some photos of what we were up to prior to having the attractions pass....

Rock hopping in a local park.  Line up for the next rock.....

A local playground that is new and awesome!

Spider-man would be jealous!

1 adult = 2 kids.  Hmmm....  Steve thought he had more "power" over the kids.

Why do the kids always want to go faster?!
We are anchored next to the Coast Guard station.  It makes for some very
interesting viewing as they practice hovering and deploying people from choppers.

Cindy, Stylin' in San Diego

Leaving our boat for the day in the "cruiser's anchorage" in San Diego Bay.

Cindy, trying out the new long surfboard from the boat.  Balance, um... acquired!
Surfboards and kids, ready for the waves.  Steve can't get any time on either board.

Cindy, an easy one......

Kevin, he's already mastered looking good on a board.  Surf's up DUDE!

We will post pictures from some of the attractions we have been visiting, like LegoLand, SeaWorld, and more in a few days.  We expect to be leaving San Diego for Mexico in about a week.

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014 - San Diego Part 1

We left Oceanside on November 7th at about 6:30am and headed south on extremely smooth seas.   In 4 short hours we were at Mission Bay where we pulled in to refuel.  We are set now getting to Cabo and beyond (we won't be visiting a fuel dock again likely until spring).  In Mission Bay we had to pass under a bridge and we watched closely to make sure our antennas did not hit the bridge.  We made it with a couple of feet to spare.  An hour later, boat considerably heavier, wallet noticably lighter, and we were on our way south to San Diego Bay.

There were many marinas to choose from here and only a few anchoring spots that you need to register for.  We decided to head to the police dock that had a perfect side tie for us since we had company coming the next morning.  It is also one of the cheaper options for overnight that we could find.  The dock was nice and clean and we have had very nice quiet nights here.  A sea lion comes each day and sleeps on the dock but then disappears at night, we assume to hunt.

John, girlfriend Sunny and daughter Haley came for the weekend.  This was our first for having three people overnight and all went well.  The kids slept in our stateroom (along with us), John and Sunny in the V-berth and Haley on the salon settee.  Haley is a freshman in college here in San Diego and it was great to see her.  We had not seen her in a few years.  We were sorry to miss John's other daughter Kaitlyn but she had plans for a Vegas weekend.

Feeling humbled. Adagio to the left and a mega yacht on the right.
Dorothea III, only 150 ft long. 
We noticed many sailboats heading out Saturday morning but already had plans to tour the bay with our guests, and go close by downtown.  Leaving our cove was interesting especially since sailboats under sail have the right of way, and there were at least 100 of them filling the channel we wanted to transit.
Sailboat race right outside our marina
Sunny, John and Haley with San Diego in background

On our city tour, Steve turned around by the big aircraft carriers.
Yes, there was a guy on the end of one holding a machine gun, watching us closely!

A very unique Navy ship.  Not sure what it's purpose even is.  

John and Steve, San Diego tourist attractions in the
 Well, of course we came back in right at the end of that sailboat race and those sailors do not mess around.  They finish, get drinks out, and head right back into the marina, still under sail.  We had them all around us, and they were sometimes uncomfortably close, so it was a bit stressful.

Sailors coming in for the finish
He's laughing because Steve told the sea lion that John tastes like Chicken on a stick!

Kathy, Haley, and Steve.  She was able to open her eyes looking at the sun for this one.
 It was fun to have visitors again.  We played games and chatted.  They had to leave Sunday afternoon/evening to head back to reality and their lives.

Today we got the bikes down and after home school went out for a ride from Shelter Island where we are moored, over to Harbor Island and back.
The anchors are getting smaller or the kids bigger.

Our bike ride today.  From Harbor Island looking at the city
Sailboats; not many on a Monday at 1:00pm!!!!
 Going over one of the bridges we saw these pens below and many dolphins, porpoises, and seals that appeared to be being fed. John had just told us of how they train them here to be able to find submarines or mines in the seas.  We watched for a while and did see some training with the dolphin where the dolphin is learning to jump into a sling which then rides in the boat.  I guess they do take them out into the open water for training.  Now, that would be great to see.  At the lower left of this photo you can see a dolphin going into a sling toward the boat.
Military training dolphins, porpoises, and sea lions.
at the Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command Center
We will probably post again after our time in the city is over, which will be next week.  Tomorrow we are headed to an anchor field where we will stay for a week or so.  It is free of charge to anchor there.  Costco sells a multi-day pass that includes museums, parks, and random attractions, so we will do that as well as rent a car for a week to get some final provisioning done.  We have lists and preparations to complete before the transit into Mexico.  We have to get all of our paperwork in order, restock those items that are hard to find in Mexico, figure out the weather forecasting, perform maintenance, finish up a few electronics projects, and more.  It will be a busy stop in San Diego.

Next stop Ensenada Mexico!