Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dana Point, California

Osprey and Rhythm tied up in Dana Point.
We left Catalina Harbor on Santa Catalina Island on Thursday, October 25th and have spent the past 5 days soaking up the sun and enjoying the beach culture offered by Southern California. Our days are spent doing small boat chores in the morning and exploring and relaxing in the afternoons.  We really haven't done anything really exciting these past five days unless you count going to the beach every day, hanging out in the sunshine and generally cavorting with our friends on Rhythm.

On our passage from Catalina Harbor to Dana Point we motored most of the way as there was quite a bit of distance to cover and we wanted to get into the marina before dark.  The sun was shining but there was a slight briskness to the air as we headed east towards the mainland.  We rounded Santa Catalina Island and got a glimpse of Avalon.  We had wanted to stop in but our timetable wouldn't allow it so we sufficed in viewing it from the boat through the binoculars.  Besides, there really are just so many southern California cutesy tourist towns that one can visit.

Dolphins in the bow wake.
As has been the norm thus far, when we were about ten nautical miles outside of the Dana Point breakwater, we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by dolphins swimming alongside us.  At first we noticed a small group ahead of us and they looked like they were just going to cruise on by but instead they abruptly turned toward the boat and the next thing we knew we were surrounded by dozens of dolphins.  Now, I have to take a minute and let people know how much this excites me.  The sight of dolphins swimming in the bow wake honestly brings a smile to my face every single time it happens.  It never gets boring or mundane.  These guys are so jovial and appear so carefree that I really believe that they embody the spirit of cruisers and I cannot help but smile, ear to ear, at the sight of them.

This little guy found his way onto Osprey.
But then again, all of nature excites me.  Case in point...right after the dolphins left our boat, as I am sure that they spotted another boat and wanted to spread the joy, this tiny bird landed on our lifelines (the "fencing" that keeps you on the boat when walking forward or aft when the boat is rocking).  As the linfelines are coated in plastic, he seemed to have a hard time gripping the lifelines with his tiny feet.  He kept sliding forward in the lifelines and then flitted up to the strut to the bimini and tried to hang on to the metal pole...same problem.  But this guy was tenacious and kept trying even though he kept sliding into the supporting pole adjacent to the strut he was attempting to stand on for dear life.  Undeterred, he tried a few more times before finally saying, "The hell with it!" and took flight off the port side of the boat.  For those of you who are interested, this little guy is a Hutton's Vireo who seemed to have a faulty GPS as we were approximately 7 miles offshore when he visited us.

Turks...Shabby-chic at it's best in Dana Point.
Having gotten our nature fix for the afternoon, we turned our attention to locating the entry buoys at the Dana Point breakwater.  Once located, we slowed the motor down and cruised on into Dana West Marina.  Kathy and Tim were standing on the dock waving us in to our slip which was conveniently located right next to theirs.  As is our tradition, Richard and I went out to dinner and on the advice of Kathy and Tim, checked out a place that was celebrating their 40th anniversary and had rolled back their prices to those of the 70's.  Unfortunately, a 2 hour wait was not in our plans so we headed to a nearby joint called Turks.  Let's just way that people don't necessarily go here for the food (it was okay), but the atmosphere was dive-bar chic and we enjoyed ourselves so much that we ended up heading over there the next night for a couple of beers and to people watch.

Awesome (and cheap ) eats in Laguna Beach.
We had lunch the next day in Laguna Beach where I had some of the best grilled chicken tacos in my life at a place called Adolfo's.  And get this, two soft-shelled, grilled chicken tacos for $5!  They were amazing and I left a very happy camper.  After lunch, we walked down to the beach before heading back to the marina.  There were lots of surfers and paddle boarders in the water as it was quite hot out.  Good thing we had a beach right next to our marina!

Tim and Richard squaring off during the bocce game.
On our last day in Dana Point, the crews of Osprey and Rhythm squared off in the first (of many we hope) bocce tournaments on the beach.  I am sad to announce that Rhythm was victorious and somehow I feel as though I have let my brother Gary down as he is the reigning champion in the Bournival clan when it comes to bocce (sorry, Gar!).


  1. I know exactly how you feel about the dolphins - we get the Dall's porpoises up here and I always feel so amazed and lucky when they decide to ride our bow.
    Hutton's vireo, another great visitor! What bird ID book(s) do you have on board?
    Take care!

    1. I use the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Birds. I also just bought the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Fishes and an awesome book on marine mammals, also by the National Audubon Society (Marine Mammals of the World). Hopefully, now I will be able to identify anything that crosses our path.