We're getting the boat ready to sail again, so its time to update the plan. Three years ago we planned to make the Marshall Islands our first stop, but after talking (and drinking) with other cruisers we've changed our minds. We're going South instead of West because there are more options and places to visit if we go south first and then west. Fanning Island (Kiribati), American Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, New Caledonia, and Australia are the destinations we have in mind. We probably won't be able to sail to all these places in one season but we can do it in two if, and that's a big if, we can get the money to stretch.
The safe sailing season in the southern hemisphere begins now and ends in November. Our departure depends on closely watching the hurricanes in the Northern Pacific and getting South as quick as possible.
Our departure is also highly dependent on getting the rest of the boat projects completed - at least the essential ones. We were able to get the engine work completed last weekend. Now we're waiting on the new sails - we ordered them in February with the promise they'd be ready in 8 to 12 weeks. The sailmaker promises to deliver them this week. We've re-bedded much of the deck hardware and replaced all the hatch gaskets to (hopefully) minimize the leaks. Once we get the new sails and have a successful day sail, we'll verify the navigation lights work, tune up the windvane, and load her with food and water and we'll be ready to go.
Our new goal for departure is June 9.
We're in Hawaii and we're approaching the end of cruising season - when the north swell picks up in September, many of the good anchorages become unusable. Its time to start thinking about our plan again.
We're really happy about the way this 15-month San Diego-San Francisco-Puerto Vallarta-Hawaii cruise has worked out and we're ready to start planning for the next one which we would like to start in Spring of 2017. That gives us about 30 months to refund the cruising kitty and complete a list of boat chores a mile long. The first destination on the list is the Republic of the Marshall Islands in Micronesia. We haven't planned much after that but we'll update this page when we figure it out.
For short term plans...The slip situation in Hawaii hasn't been nearly as bad as we feared. We were able to get slips when we wanted to. We got lucky a few times and other times it was just painful, but we did spend more than six weeks this summer in a slip or at least tied to a dock of some sort.
We've talked to a lot of local boaters about the slip situation. We know which marinas are good, which are bad, and which have availability. We've called marinas to confirm they have available slips. At least two have slips available as of recently. The process of getting a slip isn't easy though.
Hawaii has a problem with derelict boats. Somehow or another, crappy, less than seaworthy boats make their way into the marinas and they never leave. They don't pay and they take up space that other boats could use. Because of this the marinas make it difficult to bring a boat in. To get a slip we have to have a survey, provide proof of income, and have $500,000 of liability insurance. Yikes.
The two marinas we're looking at right now are Ke'ehi Marine and Ko Olina. We have been to neither marina, but we've heard good things about both. We've talked to the managers at both marinas and they have space available for Crazy Love. Ko Olina is more expensive and farther away from Honolulu, so we would prefer Ke'ehi Marine. We'll be looking to get into a permanent slip in mid-September. Until then, we plan to continue our cruise on Kauai and then use the rest of our time as transients at the Ala Wai. While we're in Ala Wai Harbor we will do whatever paperwork needed to get a slip somewhere.
Once we find a permanent slip for the boat, or maybe in parallel, we'll be looking for an apartment. We're looking for little 1 bedroom/1 bathroom with a bit of outdoor space so we can have a little garden and build our new plywood/epoxy nesting dinghy. Carolyn browses Craigslist on a regular basis and there seem to be options that fit our requirements for about $1500/month.
If we're able to find a comfy place, we'll probably have our stuff in storage shipped over from San Diego. If we collect that stuff and the things we left with various friends and family, we will have all our worldly possessions with us in Hawaii. That will accomplish several things for us: eliminate the monthly expense of storage, allow us to purge more junk that didn't get pitched last time, and give us some nice furniture to use until our next cruise. Another nice side effect is that we'll be able to donate/sell/throw away everything we own that doesn't fit on the boat before our next cruise. That will be a nice feeling of freedom; everything we own will be with us on the boat with no physical possessions tying us down (except our real estate in San Diego).
We're not sure if we'll get a car yet. The bus system on Oahu is excellent, so we might be able to get by with public transportation.
For jobs, we will start with local part time work. Carolyn has talked about picking up catering gigs - the local caterers always have postings on Craigslist. We'll also apply at the West Marine in Honolulu. We spend so much money there, we might as well work there just for the employee discount which I've heard is pretty epic. Both of us will also be looking for remote work in our "real" careers at the same time. We're hoping at least one of us will get a "real" job by the New Year.
Anyway, that's the long version of it. We talk a lot about future cruising plans and are excited to get back out as soon as possible. On the other hand we're also looking forward to a land based life for a little while. You know, a real bed, a hot shower, a real kitchen with a refrigerator and oven. That kind of stuff. We're looking forward to it. Can you blame us?
The initial plan is to depart San Diego and head North. Our first goal is a lofty one...Mission Bay. It might only be a 15 minute drive from our current home on Harbor Island, but we'll make it an adventurous 20 mile sail. Going 4 knots, and having to tack against the wind and the waves, it will take us most of a day.
We will spend a few days anchored in Mission Bay and then we will head 25 or so miles up the coast to Oceanside Harbor. There is no anchorage in Oceanside, so we will rent a guest slip for the princely sum of thirty-some-odd bucks a night. I think two nights in Oceanside will be enough to resupply, rest up and plan the next leg of our journey to Dana Point.
The trek from Oceanside to Dana Point is about 30 miles, again into the prevailing wind and waves. After 72 hours anchored in Dana Point we will depart so we aren't arrested for overstaying our welcome. I'm not kidding about the arrest part, seriously, read the "Dana Point" section here.
Upon leaving Dana Point, we will attempt our first offshore destination. Catalina Island is where Carolyn and I were married and we've always dreamed of sailing there. We would love to make it to Avalon Harbor and stay on a mooring ball for Summer Solstice, but we'll see how that works out.
After Catalina, our plan is not set. We might stay in the Channel Islands, stopping at whichever anchorages suit the weather and our mood, or we might return to the mainland and continue our journey North. By the end of the summer I would like to get to San Francisco and anchor in McCovey Cove for a Giants game, but we'll see how that works out.
By the end of August or early September we will be heading back to San Diego to prepare for the next big leg of our journey, Mexico. Carolyn and I think we will need about a month to prepare ourselves and the boat to make the trip South for the Winter. We will need to be more self-sufficient in Mexico so we will need to answer a lot more what-if questions than we will sailing in California. For instance, "What if the engine doesn't start?" In California, we can call SeaTow or BoatUS for a tow, but in Mexico, those services might not be available so we have to be able to help ourselves. Fortunately, the systems on our boat are simple and a small cache of spares and tools should (fingers crossed) suffice. We'll see about this...