Big day! Today is the day that Steel Away finally left San Diego for the first time in 29 years! We left the Chula Vista Marina a few minutes after 5 PM and headed to the fuel dock in Harbor Island to top off our tank. We are headed to Catalina for approximately 4 weeks to do a shakedown of the boat. We plan on trying to test absolutely everything we can think of. We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time, since Catalina was closed to visitors due to the pandemic for a while and Brent and I both had surgeries to recover from that prevented us from being able to lift things or get around on a boat.

We left the fuel dock around 7:30 and headed out of the bay at sunset, full of excited anticipation. As we left the bay on auto pilot, we ate leftover pizza and sat in our deck chairs and watched the city scenery go by. Initially, Brent had an issue getting the autopilot to respond to a course, but he eventually figured out a work-around. Our Zeus 3 chart plotter will definitely take some more time to study-up on.

The seas were much more rollie than we were anticipating. I wondered if they’d make me seasick, but I was fine. I get sleepy at sea, and I laid down to take a nap in the saloon at 10:00 until 12:30. Typically, getting sleepy is a precursor to getting seasick, but that is thankfully not the case for me.

The Perseid meteor shower was supposed to be very visible tonight between midnight and 3:00 AM. Upon coming back outside, Brent told me he’d seen 3 good ones so far. The sky was so clear, and black and full of stars. Pretty magical. He also told me that a warship over 600 ft long had crossed our path, but never hailed us, so he figured he saw us and we weren’t a problem. Having AIS is very helpful to be able to see the stats of every boat, or ship around us. We can also see the direction vessels are headed, which takes most of the worry out of being in the path of a freighter, or other large ship.

I stared at the heavens trying to spot a meteor for myself. After 30 mins. Then, at 1:15 AM I saw a meteor streak across the sky from the port side of the boat to the West of us. It wasn’t that dramatic, but it counted.

I slept from 3:30 to 5:30 and when I woke up the sky had a faint, pre-dawn light. I came back up to the cockpit and a pod of about 10 dolphins passed off the starboard side of the boat, just feet away from us! Brent went to take a nap and the water was almost glassy, with an ethereal fogginess ahead as the sky was starting to turn pink in the East signaling that the sun was coming up. I couldn’t remember watching the sunrise since I was 9 years old, while we were moving from Milwaukee to San Diego. We stopped at the Grand Canyon and one of my mom’s must-do things was to watch the sunrise. It was very memorable, and so was this morning.

The faint outline of Catalina Island came into focus just before 6:00. Nice to be able to see land! As the sky grew brighter, we could see it was going to be a beautiful day.

We pulled into 4th of July Cove around the corner from the Isthmus at about 10:00 and got a mooring ball. Our crossing took about 15 hours. So far, so good.

2 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Karl February 5, 2022 at 6:34 am - Reply

    Congratulations, you are doing it right! I wish you the best for the upcoming time and also that you do not run out of energy to maintain the website. I would like to travel with you. Virtually. All the best

    • Beth
      Beth February 12, 2022 at 3:58 pm - Reply

      Hi Karl,
      We’re getting ready to leave the US in early March, which will be here before we know it! I am really going to do my best to keep up our website for you and anyone else who is interested. Hope you enjoy it!

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