After spending a year in LA, I've decided that the culture just doesn't suit me any more. I've lived in such quality places during my 27-year absence....Denver/Vail, Reno/Tahoe, Scottsdale (in the winter ;-) and several sailboats masquerading as second homes in San Francisco and St. Lucia (that's in the West Indies in the windward islands that dot the southern Caribbean) and lots of domestic and international travel, that the congestion and other things about LA just don't appeal to me much any more. So during early December, I plan to relocate to the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard. I have some dear friends that have moved or spend time there and they all, to a person, rave about it. I think it's the best of both worlds...far enough from LA to have a slower-paced, more real culture of its own, yet close enough that I can still easily drive into LA for social, cultural and other enjoyment. Can I have my cake and eat it too...I guess only time will tell. The pic is what my view will be. I'll try to post some better pics after my next trip up there. There's more to this story than I want to post online, but I have some interesting insights and opportunities, so email or call if you're curious. I'm very excited...it's like starting a new life...yet again!!
Here's some recent history. I returned to SoCal in August 2012 and spent a year in Marina del Rey. I had a ball, reconnected with lots of old friends, went to a high school reunion and discovered all the cultural venues that LA sprouted during my 27-year absense. I also made frequent day sails and trips to Catalina...the picture is at White's Landing about 3 miles from Avalon in March. I can now scratch long-range cruising off my bucket list and plan to settle down in California and pursue other dreams. I did enjoy all the cultural opportunities Los Angeles has to offer. It was great to go back "home" and catch up with all my old friends here.
CLICK ON THE CHART BELOW TO SEE MY CURRENT POSITION.
Once you click on the chart to the right, you will be redirected to the
Winlink position reporting system. Once there, you can do some cool
things, like zoom way in and click the HYBRID tab to see a satellite
view of my location, indicated by the blue icon. The green icon(s)
indicate previous positions. If you click on the icon(s) you will find
detailed information about my position!
I'm happy to report that I graduated from the Spanish language school
with a good understanding of the Spanish language. Now...to remember the
vocabulary! They say it's good to learn a language to keep your brain
cells active. Let me tell you, I surely exercised mine. The ball's now
in my court to make myself speak Spanish with anyone and everyone who'll
I have to say that studying Spanish was one of the highlights of the
trip, so far. Of course, wherever you travel, it's the people that make
the experience memorable. Bonni (left) and Andrea (right), were just two
of my classmates. Bonni has been a professional captain and sailing
instructor for her entire career and Andrea, together with her
boyfriend, has traveled from Europe to discover the Americas in a motor
home. I love meeting adventurous people with big dreams and the
where-with-all to fulfill them!
And speaking of the friends you meet along the way, here's a picture of
Harry and his girlfriend Becca. Harry is a young Brit who's traveling in
the USA and Mexico. If he looks like royalty to you, you'll think so if
you ever have the good fortune to meet him. Harry is the perfect prince
to his princess, Becca, a wonderful woman who's temporarily dropped out
of the corporate world to pursue her dreams, currently working at NOLS
(the National Outdoor Leadership School....best known for their work with the NASA moon-landing astronauts), located in the northern Sea of Cortez.
I studied Spanish at "Se habla....La Paz," one of the best respected
international immersion-type language schools in Mexico. The entire
experience is one I will never forget, primarily due to the quality of
the staff and faculty. Here I am on graduation day with my teachers, all
anxiously awaiting the opportunity to gobble up some cake.
When I wasn't busy studying, I did manage to enjoy the scenery in La Paz and the marina. Here's a shot from my dock. Last Resort
is tucked behind these other boats, so you can't really make her out,
but suffice to say it was a wonderful place to "live" for a month.
You may recall, when I left you last, I was off to try my hand at
swimming with the whale sharks that call Bahia de La Paz their home. BELIEVE IT OR NOT,
this is one fish, and only a small juvenile at that. It was really a
photographic challenge to get these behemoths in the frame. Just to help
you visualize this, the head is to the left, the dorsal fin center
frame and the tail fin to the far right. This young whaleshark was about
22' in length. Not a lot is known about these creatures, some of the
largest on the planet. It is believed that the area around La Paz is a
nursury of sorts, providing safe harbor and ample nutrients to support
about a dozen young whale sharks. Beyone that, not much information is
available. Attempts to tag and track these beautiful sharks have all
failed because they dive so deep that the radio transmitters simply
implode with the pressure.
It was virtually impossible, using a rented underwater camera in limited
visibilty, to capture more than a small portion of this gigantic whale
shark in a single frame. But you get the idea! Now there's a mouth that
could easily have swallowed Captain Ahab, so while these animals are
gentle, they are also huge. Fortunately, they swim in a predictable
pattern as they feed, making the experience of swimming with them pretty
non-threatening. My biggest fear was that something might spook this
giant fish and that a sudden thrust of the tail could catch me off
guard....not a great prospect given the massive power this 22' juvenile
Because I elected to stay in La Paz to study Spanish, I was lucky enough
to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with my old friends Joe and Sharon. They
sailed to La Paz five or six years ago and never left. I guess that's a
testimonial to the warm, comfortable life-style that Mexico affords.
Inspired by the experience of swimming and photographing...or trying
to...the whale sharks, I couldn't resist the urge to buy an underwater
camera. When in the tropics....one of the great pleasures is to swim
along with the colorful reef fish in 70° - 80° water.
Okay, I'm gonna shut up now and just let you enjoy a few underwater pics. So here goes
Here, a member of Last Resort's crew immerses herself in the waters off Isla Gallo in the Sea of Cortez.
In case you're wondering where all these spectacular pictures were
taken, it was diving here, off Isla Gallo, a small islet just off the
coast of Isla Espíritu Santo, not too far from La Paz.
There is another islet not far from Isla Gallo, so after diving the reef
and taking the pictures of the marine life, I decided to make a quick
detour on the way back to the mother ship to photograph Isla Gallina.
These cormorants call Isla Gallina home. Food sources abound in the Sea
of Cortez, so it's not surprising to see such a healthy marine
After a short return trip to La Paz to deal with a failure of the
refrigeration, I headed to Balandra Bay. The dinghy landing, as you can
see, was pretty interesting, because the little cove shoals about a
football field's length from the beach, making it necessary to leave the
dinghy in the shallows and wade ashore. There's a real danger here in
the Sea of Cortez from sting rays, which live in shallow water just like
this. The key to being safe and not getting one of their nasty stingers
in your foot or ankle is to shuffle your feet as you wade through the
shallows. It's tiring, but necessary.
Balandra Bay is known for Mushroom Rock. This unusual landmark was
destroyed by a hurricane several years ago, but some clever engineering
and volunteer work restored it to its place of honor along the shore.
Here's Last Resort anchored just off the shoal.
After the long, almost 200 nautical mile passage from the coast of Baja
to Mazatlan, on mainland Mexico, it's nice to see pelicans. These
soaring birds harken the imminent landfall in Mazatan.
But if the soaring pelicans weren't enough to alert an approaching
mariner that Mazatlan was close, the SOARING TOURISTS surely did!
The 189 mile crossing from Los Muertos (a favorite staging anchorage
for boats preparing to make the "southern crossing" of the Sea of
Cortez) was pretty exciting. Between the strong 20± knot winds and 8 -
10 foot following seas, I saw speeds in excess of 10 knots on the
knotmeter. The lighthouse at El Cid Marina, situated within a five star
resort, was a welcome sight after a long night at sea.
Where Has Last Resort Been?
Last Resort has sailed almost 20,000 nautical miles in the last 6 years. This map shows you all the places I have visited.