We arrived in San Diego at the end of March, two days after tearing ourselves away from beautiful Catalina Island. Upon entering the San Diego channel, a Navy RIB abruptly sped toward us as one of the men called out to us over the loud speaker asking us very kindly, but very directly to exit the channel we had just moments ago entered. Unsure and slightly apprehensive, we thought to ourselves, “Less than a minute into San Diego, could we really be getting boarded already?” Without question we promptly did what we were told, having left our rebellious spirits slain on the shores of Twin Harbors. From our vantage point outside the channel the reason for their request quickly became apparent as an enormous partially submerged submarine filled our view to the north. At the top of the submarine a large American flag flew and several uniformed men stood waving. Impressed and in awe of such a marvel of human invention Erik and I stood gawking and giddily waving like two children at a parade. Once the submarine and its entourage of RIBs passed we proceeded back into the channel, on our way to the police docks. We were required to undergo an inspection which would mean the difference between permission to stay at the cruiser’s anchorage for free for up to 30 days, or tie up at the transient docks for a maximum of 14 days shelling out 36 dollars per day. Suffice it to say we wanted to pass that inspection. We motored back and forth through the channel attacking the difficult task of locating all of our non-expired flares and doing our best to make Resolute presentable down below. Turns out we had little to worry about and we passed with flying colors, dropping the hook at the cruiser’s anchorage just in time to see the last of the sun retreat below the horizon. While still on deck buttoning up Resolute for the night we watched, transfixed, as three large military crafts soundlessly motored past and stop a short distance off. All but two of the men from each vessel slid quickly into the frigid water and even in the darkness our eyes followed them as they swam below the surface out of the tiny cove, their little red lights floating above them as they swam. Later we learned that we had most likely witnessed a Navy Seal practice dive, common in the area because of the proximity to Naval Base San Diego, the largest US Navy base on the west coast of the United States.
Although access to the cruiser’s anchorage as well as the incessant noise and swell caused by a constant barrage of boats coming and going through the channel was at times almost unbearable, even looking back now the view still takes my breath away. To the east the city skyline stretched out before us in an unobstructed view of sharp angles and twinkling lights. Above the cityscape planes lined up for their final descent into San Diego airport and from our bobbing paradise we could follow their descent all the way to their landing strip less than a mile to the north. During the day the view included navy war ships, commercial barges, and a plethora of various types of sailboats from schooners to racing trimarans, including a surprising number of restored tall ships.
My mom flew in from Florida on the second day to help us with some provisioning. She rented a 19 foot RV for the week and we put her to work. We loaded the RV with a craigslist outboard, ten foot paddle boards, Costco bulk items, and a million other odds and ends. It was quite impressive to see her managing that RV on the city streets of San Diego. Both of us were unfamiliar with the town and although she had my help navigating, I was recently separated from my smart phone and cherished google maps app for the first time in over 6 years and at times was so lost in a clutter of scribbled directions and small scale paper maps I was of little help. Even when the craigslist outboard we were hauling spilled a gallon of gasoline in the RV bathroom I never heard her complain. The fumes were so bad by the time we drove back to the dingy docks we were feeling pretty woosy and well on our way to substantial headaches. That night she had to stay with us on Resolute to give the RV a chance to air out. (Thanks Mom!)
After my mom left and we took care of some of our “real life” duties like taxes and fishing licenses we hung out with more family and friends. Erik’s cousin Dana lives in San Diego and our friends Dalon and Heidi, from Marina Village in Alameda moved back down to San Diego a few months ago. We all spent an amazing Easter weekend in Coronado which involved a lot of good food and some extreme paddle boarding. We may have looked crazy doing it, but we had a great time, all of us lined up behind their Boston Whaler, grasping at the tow line and trying desperately to balance on top of our partially inflated paddle boards while Coronado Bay whizzed past at 5 knots! There was rarely a night we spent in San Diego that we did not enjoy a soak in the hot tub of Dalon and Heidi’s marina. Yes, their marina has a hot tub and yes, it was fantastic. I know what we will be looking for in the list of amenities next time we decide to forego the anchor for a set of dock lines.