Saturday, October 27, 2012

Marina del Ray, Venice Beach, & Santa Catalina Island, California

Along the entry to Marina del Rey.
After Oxnard, CA, we untied from the marina and sailed down to Marina del Rey.  The winds were fair and we were able to hoist the sails and do some sailing (always a bonus in our book).  The entry to Marina del Rey is long and bordered by expensive condos and homes.  The breakwater was covered with cormorants, pelicans, and seagulls and has what I have come to call the "stench of wildlife".  Don't get me wrong, I love nature; I could just do without the smells associated with vast populations of birds congregating in a small area.  As anyone will tell you, birds are messy animals (right, Michael?).

We found our slip and tied up.  Rhythm had arrived earlier in the day and Tim, Kathy and I decided to check out the heated pool that we had access to by virtue of its connection to the marina we were staying at for the next few days.  Tim and Kathy brought a bottle of wine (compliments of their marine surveyor; not only does he survey boats for insurance purposes, he also bottles his own wine).  So with plastic cups in hand and towels in our daypacks, we went to the pool.  Richard joined us a bit later and we all headed inside for desserts and a discussion of how long we thought we might stay in Marina del Rey.

Santa Monica Pier attractions.
The next day, Richard and I did some boat chores, had lunch and headed out for the Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach.  We decided to take the bus to the Santa Monica Pier and then walk our way back to the boat; a five mile hike in total.  The pier is a tourist attraction complete with a mini-coaster, ferris wheel and games of chance. We opted to not ride any of the attractions and walk towards Venice Beach.

Richard flexing his stuff on Muscle Beach.
Venice Beach is a cornucopia of sights and sounds ranging from the expected to the sometimes unexpected.  Little did I know, that there are literally dozens of spots along this mile long stretch of California where I could get a doctor's appointment on the spot to determine if I needed a medical marijuana card to "ease my suffering".  I was amazed at how young these "doctors" looked and contemplated that they must have sped through med school on some fast track designed to get them on the streets "helping" unsuspecting tourists.  I think I might have said it before, but I will repeat it here just in case...California is different if not anything else from the rest of the states.  Venice Beach is also the original "Muscle Beach".

The Grand Canal, in Venice, CA.
We walked the length of Venice Beach and then headed inland to check out the town of Venice.  There were lots of specialty shops and nice restaurants but as it was too early for dinner, we headed back to the boat, satisfied that we had gotten some exercise in by way of walking the five miles back from the Santa Monica Pier.

As we were all interested in watching the third presidential debate, I approached the bartender at the poolside bar and inquired as to whether or not the debate would be shown in the bar.  The bartender was clearly positioned between a rock and a hard place.  She wanted to watch the debate but there was one patron who was watching the final game of the World Series semi-finals.  When I asked the patron if he would mind if the volume on the baseball game was lowered so that we could hear the debate, he pulled out this story that bordered on fan-based patriotism and stated that he wouldn't concede to such a suggestion.  Really?  A quick talk with the general manager of the hotel got the volume lowered on the game and the volume on the debate raised (by the way, even though there was only one person wanting to watch the game and at least nine people who wanted to watch the debate, he got the game on the big screen television while the rest of us huddled in a corner to watch the debate on a 22-inch television).  Tim, Kathy and I had dinner in the bar, content with watching the debate as such; Richard opted to watch the debate on the boat where he was able to pull in a decent wifi signal.

Catalina Harbor, Santa Catalina Island.
The next day, we untied from the marina and headed to Santa Catalina Island; our destination being Catalina Harbor which is on the ocean-side of the island.  We had fantastic winds the entire way and sailed under clear blue skies and a bright sun shining down.  Once in the harbor, Richard and I experienced our first "mooring field" and deftly pulled up the "stick" and found the lines that attached to the bow and stern cleats. Unphased by the amount of mud that was heaped on the decks by the mooring lines, we dropped the dinghy and motored to shore to try and catch the harbor office before it closed for the day.  Unsuccessful, we walked around a bit and then headed back to the boat for a quiet evening.  On our way back to the boat, we spotted a bison in a field.  Apparently, there are about 400 bison on Santa Catalina Island.

Richard, Two Harbors pier, Santa Catalina Island.
The following day, Richard went for a hike and I worked on securing health insurance for our trip.  I have to say that my agent from the Seven Corners Health Insurance site was very helpful in assisting me in my quest for health insurance.  I spent the better part of the day sitting at the resort cafe using their internet signal researching the different policies available to me and updating my blog.  

It was an early night for me as we had a long day ahead of us.  We planned to leave Catalina Harbor and make our way to Dana Point, CA where we would meet up with Rhythm and figure out our plans from there.

No comments:

Post a Comment