The interesting thought of the morning was will the Santa Ana wind affect us at sea. Last night warnings came in about this dessert wind, which was expected to pick up in the early mornings of today and which was going to make the life of everybody living in the canyons and deserts a bit challenging. Most of the hills around San Diego run north south following the coast line and that should mean that we are well shielded. Only when we passed Ensenada there was suddenly a 30 knots strong wind coming from the landside through the mountain gaps there. It was only for 45 minutes and then the wind died down to zero again. Out in the open, off the coast, the wind was still fiercely blowing but was forecast to die down during the day.
San Diego Bay was quiet, but the cold winds from the days before had left a temporary legacy, the extended propagation of the radio waves. When you have cold weather, it improves the reach of the radio waves and that can result in some unusual situations. So this morning when the Officer of the Watch called San Diego Coastguard to get permission to enter the coastal area, it was USCG Los Angeles who answered by mistake. We could also hear Long Beach Pilots and Domino’s Pizza interfering on our UHF Walkie Talkies. The nice thing is that it makes it possible to reach the pilot station earlier, but you have to insure that you are very clear in your message of who you are exactly calling. I think Domino’s Pizza’s might have had a few issues during the morning with unusual messages coming in about ropes, spare parts and security babble.
We docked today at the B street Pier the North side. The favorite dock for all cruise ships captains, as there is more room to approach as there is plenty of room to drift on wind and current. Plus for the Statendam is has a setup that we can dock all the way inside the pier, while at the other terminal we are sticking out. That is not unsafe, but there is not a single captain in the whole wide world who likes his ship sticking out from the pier. There is always the feeling that something has to hit the ship, let it hit the dock first.
Due to the cold air, we had a glorious arrival. San Diego Bay looked picture perfect when we sailed in, and then the sun rose in an explosion of orange colors over the city sky line. I do not find skyscrapers particularly attractive but this morning, they even looked nice, surrounded by the rays of the sun. After arrival, all romantic scenery was quickly forgotten as the humdrum of a changeover day started again. As I mentioned before, that day is normally my quiet day, clearing up paperwork and reviewing schedules for the coming cruise. This time I had to be on standby to collect the big boss as my wife was joining me today. It would not do, not to be waiting especially as Lesley does not travel light and men are always handy for carrying suitcases.
Now for the coming days, I will be told umpteen times, that the cabin is not big enough, the electric sockets are in the wrong location and that I have taken up too much cupboard space. Such are the delights of a married captain with spouse on board. She will stay with me until I go home on 21 Dec. and will of course be a great help with all the public functions that are coming up, especially during the month long pacific cruise.
We left on time and sailed out of the Bay with San Diego harbor police and the USCG boats racing ahead of us to keep the Sunday sailors out of our path. It being Friday night, it was quite busy with sailing boats, including a few who of course deemed it necessary to start crossing the channel the moment we were approaching. The two patrol boats must have had a real good time telling everybody off who was in the way or planning to get in the way.
The nasty wind from yesterday blew itself out during the day and the Santa Ana never bothered us. It should be a smooth ride all the way to Puerto Vallarta.
Corinto: To Mr & Mrs. Art & Loralee Page-Otez. Thank you for your kind gift. Your cheque came in yesterday and I have added it to the fund. We will start buying items again when I rejoin the Statendam in March. 2013 in the meantime the money is safe in the safe.