October 18th - Home again - for a while…
We made it - after spending the summer in California and Mexico, the little red truck is now sitting under a slight blanket of snow up here at the lake. After all our concerns about winter coming early to the Pacific Northwest, the drive North was actually quite beautiful. It was incredibly windy at times, (headwind of course) and the leaves were donning their fall colours rather spectacularly further up into Oregon and Washington -
but we didn’t have to worry about winter conditions until we actually got home. Which makes the prospect of flying back to San Diego and cruising to the Baja that much more pleasant! Waking up to a drizzle of snow and zero degrees… brrr! (at least we have chains, thanks to the Highwayman again! Another trip to El Cajon and we were good to go!)
Snow on the firewood that needs stacking... ready for the winter
We are pretty much ready for the trip south, boat wise. We have had a couple of opportunities to take the boat out for some little shakedown cruises, but not very far unfortunately. We have anchored two weekends in La Playa, an anchorage just off of the San Diego Yacht Club and very close to our friends Christy and Ken Donnelly ( Varnebank) so it's a good place to get organized as there are lots of maritime type stores around and of course great restaurants.. though the best times are always to be had on the boat! However we may not have had much long range practice, but we sure have had lots of close-in maneuvering practice... which is pretty important too.
Anchored out in San Diego....
Dinners aboard are always fun!
There are a few things that still need attending to, and when we return we will hopefully get them done: Inmarsat should be installed and up and working, and the radios
( especially the SSB) will hopefully get a tune up and we will have a crash course in how to contact the rest of the world. I had a VERY pleasant surprise when I contacted the Canadian licensing division ( Spectrum)… I immediately received a reply ( wow!) and found out that yes, I still have an active Ham License after all these years, and a new copy of said license will be in the mail right away. WOW!
Long story short… I took the Ham course and received my license when my Dad and Mom were still alive … with small kids and our summer long-distance boat travels, they wanted to be able to stay in touch with us and Ham radio was the best way. Dad had been a radio operator since the war so it was a no-brainer that I get my license. One of the hardest things I ever did (that part was NOT a no-brainer!) but the timing was perfect. After I received my license the powers that be changed the regulations and you had to go through several licenses to get the really good one. I was grandfathered ( mothered?) to the really good one - and I got my choice of call signs. VE7 HPT.. Happy Penny Talbot… because I was. And throughout our travels up the coast, as long as there was a repeater nearby I was able to talk to Dad and Mom, or find someone who could relay messages to and sometimes from them. They would listen to me in the morning before they got out of bed…. and in the evening when Dad had a sked with his cronies. While I attempted to cook dinner and monitor two toddlers…and he and his cronies had a scotch or a sherry or something like that at hand. It was always a bit frantic but it was a great way to keep in touch)
The late, great radio mentors...Art and my dad.... and a very young Christopher!
and me showing off my mad morse skills... 10 wpm?? or was it 12???
Memory Lane.. living aboard a boat meant lots of netting...
Life aboard a boat with kids... always fun...
Same boat, same kids... a few years later. Starting to think a bigger boat is in order..
Sorry. that wasn’t short was it??? anyway - so not only am I licensed for Ham, ( and for all you naysayers out there who scoff at Ham radio … don’t get me started) but I still have my original call sign. Happy Penny Talbot Indeed! Here’s looking at you dad! 88’s and all that good stuff!
One of the issues with the Cubar two years ago, (and honestly there is nothing you can do about the weather so it was really no one’s fault) was that we all quite quickly got split up. Being one of the slowest in the group, even though we left early and ended up missing some of the parties, we were eventually passed and left behind. Even just a knot’s difference adds up when you are travelling for several days without stopping. VHF being line of sight, we lost touch with everyone pretty quickly.
This time around, there will hopefully be multiple ways for people to check in, keep in touch, relay messages, and generally be part of a group. SSB and Ham radio are just one of the tools that can allow us to span a lot of miles to contact someone. Cel phones, and internet, emails, Delorme, Satellite phones - with the multiple ways of reaching out and touching someone, hopefully lack of communication won’t be an issue. And as for us - we will with any luck at all and the lord of the seas on our side, be one of the faster boats. Something I look forward to! The most fun I had on Cubar 2015 was the one night we all were running together, from Mag Bay to Cabo - at night, with the ladies all on their various boats on watch, dodging cruise ships and Mexican fish boats and actually talking to each other. Seeing their AIS signals on the chart plotter in front of me made me feel very secure indeed!
Hard to feel lonely surrounded by so many friends! totally excited about doing this trip again!