Wednesday, December 9, 2015

November 12- November 16, 2015 Alamitos Bay, CA

We left Santa Barbara with thoughts of returning someday.  Not sure if it was the beaches, stucco houses with red-tiled roofs, palm trees along with citrus fruit trees in neighborhoods, or the weather.  It's hard to pin-point the reason but it was certainly an enjoyable stop over.

We knew our next passage to Alamitos Bay would include an overnight passage.  We waited until early afternoon to set out so that we would arrive in daylight, and it turned out to be a good thing we did.  We raised our sails in calm seas with 10 knot breeze.  With days getting noticeably shorter evening soon arrived.  But despite a new moon the night was a bright one, with city lights blazing all along the coast.

Look Ma! No hands!   The Hydrovane takes over as we sail out of Santa Barbara with a 10-15 kt tailwind, leaving us with more time to admire the oil rigs.
At dawn we approached Port of Los Angeles- another major commercial marine traffic area- and made it through without too much stress.  Then there was an endless rock jetty that eventually opened up to allow us passage into Alamitos Bay... which is where we suddenly found ourselves in a sea of blue crab pot buoys.  Nice color choice!  Wouldn't have had a chance with these in the dark.  At the Alamitos entrance markers dolphins welcomed us in.

We pulled into a nice end tie guest slip among beautiful mega yachts.  I think our boat of 44' was smallest at the dock.  We immediately received a warm welcome from the owners of the 61' Starbuck, a sailing vessel, as they came out of their cockpit to help us tie up.  We have been in fishing marinas and resort marinas but Alamitos was of a different variety.  This was a marina for pristine mega yachts, mostly 50' or more.  And we soon found out why they are so pristine.  Most of the boats had hired help cleaning and doing maintenance on their boats.

I know it's hard for many non-Asians to tell apart which Asian countries some of us are from.  People usually guess wrong about my Asian heritage.  It's OK if you get it wrong.  I don't know and guess wrong most of the time myself.  So, when I saw Isabelle who came out of Starbuck to help us tie up, I wasn't sure if she was Japanese or Korean.  She confirmed that I had guessed wrong- she too is Korean.  I was happy to chat her up in my unpracticed Korean mother tongue.  But why did she just stare back without a sound? Was my Korean that bad? After a half a second of insecurity about my Korean, I was relieved to know that the delayed response was due to the sudden unexpected demand to speak Korean. What was clear though was that we were happy to learn that we had something in common.  Isabelle lives on Starbuck with her husband Bill, and I of course am cruising with my family down south along the West Coast.  Let me elaborate here.  I've never run across another Korean doing what Isabelle or I do.  Koreans own boats but they don't live on it as their home or go cruising.  So, we immediately became friends and Isabelle lavished us with a delicious Korean dinner.  It turns out that Bill had Starbuck custom-built after having previously sailed and cruised another boat down to Mexico.

I finally get my fix for Korean food.  That chicken dish was really yummy. I should have asked her how she made it.  
Through Bill's many boating connections, we were able to get good discounts on some boat equipment, numerous advice on boat systems, plus stories and tips on cruising.  Their friends Ramer and Fay joined us another evening for more useful advice and lots of laughs too.  Jeff and I have been told more than once that cruising community is really friendly.  People are eager to help and share knowledge.  We can attest to that.

Seal Beach 

Girls are content after getting their fix at the beach.
Miss Muffet Cutip, a rare picture of Cutip almost smiling. 
We found this lion statue near the entrance of a Chinese restaurant as we walked around town.  Jeff has almost an exact picture of this when he was a boy travelling with his family in Thailand.  Both Jeff and Anna tried to pry the rolling ball out of the lion's mouth without success. 

Newport, CA

The stay at Alamitos Bay was especially pleasant because our family was able to meet up with my brother's family from Arizona in Newport.  It was a nice break to get away from our boat for a couple days, plus Tony brought along some special requests, like a 50 lb bag of Korean rice.  The way we go through rice the 50 lb bag is not going to last very long.  Tony's family was recently blessed with a new member, Christopher, just 5 months old. We love chubby babies and he had a lot of chubs to love.
Chloe and Anna were happy to be playing together again.  They are the same age and when Chloe lived in Seattle these girls played together often.  We missed those days when 2 year old Chloe and Anna would run through our house screaming and giggling as Uncle Tony tried to teach them the robot dance. 

Chloe is a talented gymnast. Check out her abs! Her sister, Clare, looks on.

Christopher, you are so chubby and such an easy baby, unlike your sisters and cousins. 

Cross girls and Koo girls. Why not call them Koo-Cross girls! Claire, now that you are the middle child we can exchange notes once you have a few more years as the middle child. 

The whole gang. Thanks Becca and Tony for hosting us at the villa. We had so much fun. 
It nurtured our souls to see family again.  I have never been particularly dependent on my community or family before. As I get older, however, the meaning of life sinks in a little deeper every year.
It's really important to surround oneself with a close knit network of family and friends. We are really blessed to have wonderful people in our lives, though not close by.

One dish that I have been waiting to try was this fried chicken recipe.  I don't enjoy frying food but love eating it. I wasn't ready to try this on the boat, so I waited until we met up with the Koos at the villa's kitchen.
Extra crispy chicken.  It was good despite having forgotten the chili peppers. 

We said good-bye to our new friends at Alamitos Bay. It's easy to get sucked into these stop-overs especially when there are friends and nice weather.
We hope to meet up with the Clutes again in our journey. 

Leaving LA in a nice orange haze sunset, on our way to San Diego. 

1 comment:

  1. Inspiring post and photos as usual! Great to see so many smiles-- including Cutip's!