Sunday, December 28, 2008

Feliz Navidad de Lola

With Love from Lola... Here are some very special photo moments for Lola's family. The first photo is of Lola in her special Pirate Christmas dress from her mom (not her dad... he doesn't believe in dressing up dogs). In case you weren't already aware, Lola is a treasured granddogter of her Grandparents Richardson and Steichen. She is posing next to her Disney Christmas tree in her Navy Peacoat from Grandma and Bumpoo Richardson and then again in her fancy coat made by Grandma and Pock Steichen (or maybe just Grandma, but sent with love from both!). She would like to pawsonally thank all of her grandparents and wish them a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

San Diego Christmas Parade of Lights

Here are some pics from the Christmas Parade of Lights. Ben, Lola and I dinghied out to edge of our mooring field with some of our neighbor-friends to catch an unobstructed view of the parade. The pictures are a little blurry because we were floating on the water and it was nearly impossible to hold my camera still! (The parade also included powerboats but they came out a lot blurrier than the sailboats... maybe because they were going faster or causing a bigger wake... so I didn't bother to include any of those shots.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What's Up

Since we got back from the Grand Canyon, we haven’t done any sailing. There are some things we need to accomplish before we head out again, so we’ve been working toward those goals.

The trim on our roller furling (headsail- or the one that goes in the front [bow] of the boat) is very torn so we took it down and brought it to a sail shop to be repaired. We have some alternate sails which we brought to a park and unrolled to check the condition of. In the interim, we’ll probably try using one of those sails the next time we go out.

Since we aren’t experienced sailors, we’d be foolish to sail without the security of a working engine (that has the proper amount of oil). We’ve been brainstorming how to check the oil level in the Atomic 4 engine (it seems the engine is lacking a dipstick). We will most likely research how much oil the engine should hold, drain the oil, fill it with the proper amount of new oil, and create a dipstick of our own. And when I say “we”, I mean Ben. My knowledge of engines is very limited. In January, I plan to enroll in an introductory class on automotive engines to better my knowledge. (Yes, I realize this is a marine engine, but I have to start somewhere).

Other than that, we’re just waiting for winter to hit. We’ve had the pleasure of experiencing our first two rain storms on the water (and I use the term “storm” loosely here in San Diego). The sound of rain hitting the deck is soothing, just as it was in Tater. However, the sensation of a sneakered foot stepping into 3 inches of water in the dinghy (not to mention sitting in soaking clothes while rowing from the dock to the boat) is much less soothing. We’ve each got a raincoat. I’m sure after a couple more rain storms, I’ll be hitting up West Marine for a pair of foul-weather pants, some rubber boots, and a waterproof bag for my belongings.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Road Trip: Arizona

The three of us took a road trip to Arizona last week. We stayed in Scottsdale for three days while Ben attended a convention for work. Then we visited the Grand Canyon for a couple days before driving back to San Diego. Here are some pictures:


The 3 of us @ the Grand Canyon

Lola @ the Campground

Ben meditating on the edge of the Canyon

Lola & I @ the Canyon

A Cool Bug We Spotted

Trying to keep warm in 31 degrees

Another view of the Canyon

A view from the hiking trail

Ben & Lola hiking down the Canyon

Another view from the trail

We started hiking down from that highest point

Lola and the Gnarly Tree

Sunset over the Canyon

A Buck feeding on the side of the path


Old Town Scottsdale

A View from Camelback Mountain

Another View from Camelback Mountain

A Castle/House on Camelback Mountain

Ben & I at the Waterfront in Tempe

Bridges over the Waterfront

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sailing Pics

Here are some pics from our last sailing journey. We sailed toward the south end of the bay and under the Coronado Bridge. We had a chance to play around with the sails and learn more about how they work with the wind. There is a lot of water traffic (often in the form of giant military ships) coming from that area of the bay so we also got some practice in getting out of the way... FAST!

The Convention Center

Some Crazy Navy Ship

Me @ the tiller

Lola Chillin'

Getting Ready to Sail Under the the Bridge

Under the Bridge

A View in the Other Direction

Ben & Lola Taking a Break

The Aircraft Carrier that came up behind us... FAST!

Me in my Foul Weather Gear

The Mainsail

Ben in his Foul Weather Gear

Lord Hornblower

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dipping the Rail

There are a few reasons it has taken me so long to post this blog:
1) The photo upload process on this blogger is slow and therefore a deterrent.
2) Most of the photos we take while sailing look exactly like all of the other photos we've taken while sailing. (Hopefully this will change someday.)
3) Our sailing experience a few weeks ago scared the $%!# out of me and left me deep in thought (and therefore speechless) for a period of time.

Here's what happened:

I believe it was a Wednesday, about three weeks ago. After two successful SOLO sailing expeditions around San Diego Bay, we decided we were ready for the ocean. The wind was working in our favor. On a normal day, we'd have to tack (zigzag) back and forth across the bay for 2+ hours before crossing into the Pacific. On this particular day, the wind was pulling us straight down the middle of the bay toward the ocean. We were cruising fast... and we knew we'd be there before long. Suddenly, as we cleared the corner of Coronado Island, the wind shifted and knocked Mother Culture on her side (eloquently referred to as "dipping the rail"). Everything in the cabin began crashing to the floor. I zipped Lola into her Pup Tent for fear she would tumble overboard. That day, the words "batten down the hatches" took on real meaning for us. In addition to battening down the hatches, it appears we must batten down the books, batten down the dishes and batten down everything else, including Lola (and, honestly, I may even batten down myself).

Not only did everything go flying around the cabin, but the boat herself was fast that, after careful consideration (or perhaps panic) we turned the boat around, rolled in the jib, and took a relaxing cruise back to the mooring ball under mainsail alone. Let's just say we sailed faster that day than we've sailed to date. So fast that I had to give some serious thought to this sailing thing.

What did we learn?

1) Always, ALWAYS batten everything down. No matter what the weather looks like and no matter where we are going.
2) When the wind is knocking you down on your side, let out the mainsail. (This we learned from some of our good neighbors).

The following pictures were taken on our journey back to the ball. (Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment, I forgot to snap some shots of the boat on her side and everything crashing down below.)