This past weekend we recruited our pals Dustin and Lena to make the voyage to Santa Catalina Island. They're both rock climbers and outdoorsy types, and since they'd been living out of their car as they made a move across the country, they were primed for boat life. Lena did a little sailing back in college too, so she helps Mack do all the maneuvers and I get to be on my drugs without interruptions when she's around.
The day started out foggy, but we were hopeful it was just a marine layer that would burn off before noon. Lena and Dustin brought us some awesome and giant breakfast burritos from a food truck, which we ate as we were pulling out of the harbor. We were off for Kenutu's second overnight voyage!
In anticipation of the trip, Dustin, who we'll be calling Dave for my enjoyment, and Lena watched some videos and discovered a song called 26 Miles by the Four Preps. Now we can't really even mention the island without breaking into a chorus of "romance, romance, romance." You, too, deserve this affliction.
As we made our way out to sea, the fog seemed to become a thick cloud cover. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing because the sun can get pretty intense. But the waves, which were much bigger and confused than we'd expected, were bad.
We tried to raise the sails but despite the action of the ocean, there wasn't much wind. And then Dave came up from the salon the color of an avocado and puked so violently over the lifeline I snuck my finger into his belt loop so he wouldn't fall into the ocean. We turned on the motor, drugged Dave, and did our best to speed things up. The waves were so crazy we actually had to surf them a bit. I took the helm through the shipping lane, but I got us pretty far off track wrangling the waves and turning north to avoid going between two container ships. Captain Mack finally had pity on poor puking Dave, booted me off the helm, and Lena and I decided to check out the view from front of the boat.
The view wasn't bad, but the extra bouncing up there sent Lena to the cockpit to barf alongside Dave. Romance, romance, romance! Unlike Dave, Lena ralphed and rallied. And me, oh, I was TOTALLY FINE! Yeah, Queen Motion Sick here wasn't the least bit queasy. Having Dave and Lena puke was a little validating, since Mack sort of thinks I make up my nausea or that it's all in my head. Nope, it's a real condition shared by many people. People who don't have drugs. Drugs are awesome and I love them.
Eventually we made it to our mooring ball, which took about four attempts to tie off to. Kenutu is a heavy girl, and she doesn't slow down by pulling on a rope. Instead, you get her bow tied off and her stern starts swinging the totally wrong way. Eventually Harbor Patrol came and helped us stop looking stupid, but I honestly don't know what we could have done differently. Ask Mack, I'm sure he has all kinds of ideas.
Once we were stable, we noticed these miniature lobsters floating around in the water. I was sure they were baby lobsters, but Mack did some research and found out they were tuna crabs. The water had been unusually warm, so they'd come farther north than they normally do. Unfortunately, the water had turned cold again and these little fellas were beaching themselves trying to get out of it!
When I finally jumped in, with a wetsuit on mind you, I knew exactly how they were feeling. I managed to clean the bottom of the boat when we went to Catalina in March, but this time I managed to get down the ladder, regret it, and climb back out. The skies were too gray and they made the water too damn cold for human or tuna crab occupancy.
Since there was no swimming to be done, we decided to blow up the inflatable dinghy and head to shore for a hike. Dave wanted to look for some rocks to climb and we wanted to scout the back side of the island in case we ever get the gumption/knowledge about anchoring to go there.
It's not Catalina without some dinghy drama and this trip delivered. The inflatable dinghy not only had a leak, but it's floor was also ripping off at the nose of the boat. It basically scooped up all the water we rowed over and put it in the boat with us. We had to take our shoes off and roll our pants up to row the 30 feet to the dinghy dock. And we had to row fast so it wouldn't sink before we got there. Then we had to dump out the water and cross our fingers that it'd be there after our outing.
After a little bit of wandering we headed back to the dinghy and hoped it would hold all four of us. It did! The girls took over rowing duties because the boys were terrible at it, and we made it back to the boat without being completely submerged or soaked. I put on warm socks and we ate some of the best veggie burgers ever made thanks to my awesome new birthday grill.
We had an awesome night's sleep. Well, WE did. Dave and Lena were the first to enjoy Kenutu's "sofa bed" and let us know that the cushions drift apart when you lay on them. Dave got to sleep with his arm in a crevice all night. The second day brought more cloudy skies... and a test I had to take. Not wanting to risk my laptop, I hitched a ride on the shore boat to the bar to use their wifi.
After my test, it was time for some Buffalo Milks and another delicious cocktail that I saw a bunch of dads pounding. I guess it was Dad-Daughter weekend at Two Harbors, and all the little girls were running around playing while the dads drank and tried to endure. I can't remember the name, but this drink was better than the Buffalo Milk. Also a million calories. Which is why I studied this hike map too.
Everybody eventually came to shore, probably to poop, and Dave went to look for climbing, Mack went back to have some private time with Kenutu, and Lena and I decided to walk along the leeward side of the island.
We found lots of other mooring balls in other coves, each managed by a special yacht club. And we got a beautiful look at Kenutu from above. Isn't she gorgeous? Romance, romance, romance.
The sun peaked out for about 8 minutes, so we headed back to Kenutu to do some swimming. Luckily, the dinghy was still there, mostly inflated, and only 1/3 full of water. We dumped her out and did our highly motivated rowing to get back on board. This is when I made my swim attempt and quickly regretted it. Dave showed up from his hike, so we rowed over, picked him up in style, and employed a new technique of holding up the vinyl at the nose of the boat to try to keep some water out. Look, we lived. Sometimes that's all you really need to accomplish.
Dave wasn't able to get enough of a climbing fix, so Mack coaxed him into going up the mast and changing out lightbulbs on the spreader. We rigged a ridiculous shopping bag containing screwdrivers and light bulbs, and Dave rigged his rigging and got hoisted up the mast. I laid down on the deck and watched the evening's performance.
For our last night, I made some linguine with clam sauce and toasty bread. It was amazing. We polished off a bottle of wine, and Mack devised an ingenious way to open another bottle using a screw, a drill, and some channel locks. Romance, romance, romance.
The trek home was infinitely better than the trip over. Everyone was drugged properly, and Dave kept us on an excellent course that gave us full sails and 6-7 knots of speed. We flew the first 15 miles before the wind gave out and we had to turn on Perky. It was just the type of sailing that makes you fall in love.
Two people dumb enough to think anything is possible and smart enough to bumble their way into discoveries.