Tag Archives: San Diego
Well, it appears that the time has come to shove off the lovely dock of the San Diego Yacht Club and once again (and for the last time), head west. Hawaii, our destination, is 2300 miles distant. The wind looks perfect for the next few days; ~15 knots from the beam. The passage should be a little over two weeks, and we’re all excited to make land-fall. Continue reading
Speaking at more Southern California Schools
On May 30th we visited Carlsbad Secondary School in Carlsbad, just north of San Diego. Wow, what a school. I thought I went to a big high school, but Carlsbad has over 3000 students, a massive football stadium, and full size auditorium. We gave 3 presentations over the day at Carlsbad, speaking to a totol 10 different classes, somewhere over 300 students! It felt pretty intimidating being up on a big stage with a booming mic, but the students had some great questions and we really felt like we had a dialogue with them. Continue reading
San Diego. Every day that goes by I mean to get an update out, and when every day passes the list of things to update about on grows…
Well, firstly, our odd decision to do the exact thing everyone recommends against has paid off in spades. When we told other sailors that we were going to bash our way up the coast of the Baja just so we could chat to some schools, surf some waves and catch up with some friends, they were sure we had gone batty. “Just leave for Hawaii from here!” everyone said, “That is ridiculous”, was another often heard remark, “Why go up, just to come down?” Why would we sail against the wind for 800nm, just to sail back down the coast on our way to Hawaii? Well…. To talk to some schools, catch a few waves and see some friends… Continue reading
After a couple of days in San Diego we were itching to get to La Paz and on to Khulula, our boat. So much driving hanging over our heads it was time to go. On Sunday morning we said good-bye to Janike and Chad and headed south.Our first challenge lay only a few miles away at the border to Tijuana. Old Wilfred was carrying more than a few thousand dollars worth of boat parts, camera equipment, tools, surfboards, an outboard engine and a dingy.
We had heard too many stories from numerous boat owners that getting across the border can be very tricky. Apparently, you can be stopped and forced to pay upwards of 30% import duty on parts that the authorities deemed “new” and able to be resold. An extra 30% on our gear we did not want to pay! (or could afford to pay) We also heard that ‘original’ receipts would help get you through. So armed with doctored receipts for most of the big-ticket items listed at 10% of their value, we drove south. Well, as we would soon learn, a dirty $150 matt black truck with plywood paneling is excellent camouflage in Mexico; we cruised into Tijuana hassle free under the radar. Just another couple of ragtag surfers heading over the weekend…
I would love to tell you that the drive south from Tijuana to La Paz was a magical journey of self-discovery and compelling scenery, but it was not. It was long and hot. It was long and dusty. It was long. The most exciting part came at sunset in the middle of the desert on the first day, when Wilfred decided that he would take the Mexican camouflage a step further. Due to the lack of air conditioning, we were forced to drive with the windows open and the music turned to loud so we can hear it. All of a sudden it seemed Wilfred was a little louder than before. We were hard pressed to notice the difference in volume or tone of the noise the truck was making, but the evidence that lay spread out behind us on the highway was irrefutable; we had lost the muffler. No worries, pick it up, strap it to the roof and continue. It just increased our cover at the army or “federali” check points. We cruised through every single one without even a second look.
After 2 days and over 1100 km’s of roads in the Baja, we arrived in La Paz. It was pretty exciting walking down the dock to the boat that is going to be our home for 3 years… pretty scary too.
Bryson’s Note: Perhaps it was just my mental state after driving for 6 days, but I thought the boat looked bad. Really bad. Why had I given all my money to Hugh to purchase this “thing”, was all I could think? It was covered with dust and looked haggard. After a wash down with the hose and a Fanta things started looking up.
Wilfred is my $150 CAN Nissan pick-up that I purchased numerous years ago just to get me through till the end of winter. I never expected the truck to last any longer but Wilfred has tenacity and the ability to stand the test of time.
On April 30th, Hugh drove over to my house with everything he thought he would need for this trip in the back of his fathers pick-up (He no longer owns any mode of transportation – except half a sailboat!). We piled everything in the backyard to sort through all the gear we had compiled over the past numerous years. This included the 9 brand new Sitka surfboards we had picked up early in the morning.
It was a gigantic pile, even bigger when we drove poor Wilfred up next to the pile. Everything had to fit, one way or another… And we had to leave space for the zodiac, cameras and other gear we were picking up on the way down. Well, this turned into a game of 3D Tetris to fit it all in. Things were fitted for size, then returned to the lawn, others were tried until the best combo was found. After a couple hours, we got it all in and the shocks on Wilfred seemed to be bending the wrong way.
Slowly and carefully we pulled out of the driveway and started for the border. We grimaced and winched as we drove over each and every bump, half expecting the car to break in half, literally. Despite the new wooden windows, the matt black paint and generally unkempt nature of the drivers, we somehow managed to pass through the border without a hitch. First stop: Blaine, WA for drinks and gas. Distance: 0.5 km from the border.
Blaine, Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene… We stopped in Eugene for the evening to meet up with a good old friend, Cara, who had very kindly been storing another load of gear for us. Unpack, play 3D Tetris to fit it all in again, and back on the road headed for San Francisco this time.
Well, San Francisco is far away from Eugene. Especially when your truck can only go about 100km/hr. We had to stop a couple times just to re-tie the board racks, as there seemed to be a small problem with our initial effort. Then we discovered that a bridge in San Francisco had melted due to a fire and now we were being routed all over the city. (Side Note: Buy a map of San Francisco if you are planning on trying to find anything. I am sure it will help)
After a slow morning and an amazing cup of Java overlooking the bay, off we headed to Monterey to meet up with a Surfrider Foundation Group. Off to the closest gas station to fill up again and check why the brakes felt “mushy”. Gas was easy. “Mushy” brakes were a little more difficult. We discovered that our brake line had rusted through and needed to be replaced. Local mechanic? 2 Days, not quick enough. We were going to have to do this ourselves. Fortunately we had the tools somewhat accessible in the bede of the truck, so we drove to the closest auto parts store, parked outside and started removing brake lines. 2 Hours, 2 litres of brake fluid, 3 brake lines, 2 new wrenches, and 2/3 of the cost of the truck, we were on our way again.
After meeting with some truly inspiring people from Surfrider in Monterrey, we were back on the road south. Destination? Malibu. Trevor of Livity Outernational had kindly offered us a place to stay, despite the fact that we were going to be pulling in hours late due to the brake issue. We were immediately taken in and made to feel right at home. The next morning we did it up SoCal style with a relaxed breakfast on the Malibu strip. With full bellies we headed up the beautiful canyon to visit the Livity HQ. We checked out the latest super-cool fashions made from organic and recycled materials.
Now armed with a map, and our sights set on San Diego that night, we could afford a bit slower pace. The folks up on Monterrey had suggested that we drop by the Surfrider National office in San Clemente and chat to the folks there. With little notice, Ed was kind enough to make some time to talk to us about the trip and find ways for Surfrider to use the data and findings we will come back with. Also a great learning experience for us to see all the work that Surfrider does.
There was plenty of time for reflection on the drive down, and one of things that both Hugh and I constantly came back to was how lucky we were to call Vancouver home. From the scenery, the people, and the lifestyle, it is an amazing place. Driving on 12-Lane highways LA rush hour was one more reminder that things are pretty good up north. However, with the HOV lane working in our favour we made good time for the last stretch into San Diego.
Our plan was to spend a couple of days getting a few last bits of gear and meeting with some more folks interested in our adventure. Through a friend of a friend, we found some folks willing to put up two weary travelers and a truck full of gear. Chad and Janike were incredible hosts. It really fueled our fire to hang out with folks who had done so much traveling and understood what our trip was all about. After we had shared a drink we found out they had spent 3 months on a boat cruising in eastern Indonesia… a definite destination for us. So we got out the electronic charts for them to point out beaches and islands to visit. A couple epic spots out of the tourist route have been mapped.
After a couple more relaxed days we headed off for the Mexican border and beyond… Check the next posting for more details.