|Topic Review (Newest First)|
|01-25-2012 08:41 PM|
Originally Posted by EGLLaw View Post
|11-03-2011 02:53 PM|
|rgscpat||Glad to hear it went well except for the foggy drama bit and hope you have more time in the future for exploring the isthmus and other places.|
|11-03-2011 11:42 AM|
To all - Thanks for your posts. Hopefully, this thread will serve as a resource for others planning such a trip.
To Geoff - thanks for your insights. My wife and I did the charter October 19-22 (aboard Lynn Lee) - for my 45th. It was a long motor sail from MDR to Avalon (36nm) - departure at 5AM. If we had more time, it would have been nice to break it up into shorter sails and to see more of the island. Avalon was nice mid-week and off-season. Not sure what to expect during the summer months, but I am sure it can get crowded and crazy. By Friday afternoon the harbor was almost completely full. It was also my first encounter with their mooring system which I liked, but it is "tight" maneuvering. While on the island, we did the new zip line (open less than a year) and that was great. We had great dinners at Ristorante Villa Portifino and Avalon Grille. We also spent several late hours at Luau Larry's.
On the trip back to MDR it was very foggy (at least to me) with visibility less than 1/2 mile the whole way and many times less than 1/4 mile - even less when entering MDR harbor. That made it stressful for me when crossing the shipping lanes. However, I used an AIS (Shipfinder) app on my IPad and that seemed to be accurate. It was still stressful as we encountered several motorboats and a few sail boats that we did not see until ... well, until they were right there.
My experience with Blue Pacific Boating was great. They were very friendly and I had no issues with the boat (out of the Prestige fleet). I recommend them.
All in all the trip was great and an adventure for a landlocked sailor that does not get out on the ocean that often. The winds were very light so "sailing" left a little bit to be desired - I don't like to listen to the motor much.
|11-01-2011 05:54 AM|
Perhaps this is the greatest threat to mariners at Two Harbors....
at the Harbor Reef. Here's one version from the Internet:
A local favorite on Catalina island.
¼ shot dark creme de cacao
¼ shot white creme de cacao
½ shot kahlua
1 shot vodka
½ shot cream
½ piece banana
1 sprinkle nutmeg
a glass filled with ice
Fill a tall glass with ice. Blend ice with cream, banana and alcohol until smooth. Top with whipped cream, sprinkle with nutmeg, serve and enjoy.
|11-01-2011 05:16 AM|
Blue Pacific Boating.
As promised, here is my experience with Blue Pacific.
Sea Mist Skippers became Blue Pacific Boating. Up until 2009/2010 (ish) they were run (owned?) by a lady named Suzanne (if I remember correctly). I only knew her by reputation and the only reason that I mention her is that I’ve seen some really bad reviews from when she was in charge. The name is the same now but I don’t think much else is.
Secondly, my contact with them was a year ago while there appeared to be some reorganization going on - things could be better or worse now.
Here's the story.
I had been off the water for a while, mostly because I scared the **** out of my partner with some heavy weather sailing in Australia. Domestic peace won out but after that relationship ended I wanting to get back into sailing and decided to take a class with BPB as a refresher, followed by a nine-day charter. There were some issues arranging the class and BPB was less than helpful but the class itself was very good. I got to sail Teacher’s Pet (Benetau 37) and Lynn Lee (Beneteau 40) both from their Prestige Fleet and both nice boats in great shape.
I then had a couple of days ashore followed by nine days on French Made (Benateau 350) from the Value Fleet. Fortunately a couple of people from the class were staying on French Made so I got an advanced look at it – lets be polite and say that it had issues. I spoke with Byron at the office and was given the keys to take a look at two similar boats that were available. I can’t remember one but the other was Boo Pacific, a Jeanneau thirty something which was fine – older and well used but in good shape. Then Greg, Blue Pacific’s owner, or maybe one of the owners (I’m not quite sure), stepped in and said that they weren’t available after all. I was later told that they belonged to the previous owner and were for sale. I suspect that they just didn’t want to risk there being any problems with those boats. To cut a long story short, I ended up paying more but not full price for Altaire, a Jeanneau 42i from the Prestige fleet– very well equipped and very easy to sail short handed (autohelm, power winches, roller main etc.) and nicely maintained.
I’ve tried to be factual and let you draw your own conclusions but personally, I would charter one of their Prestige boats without hesitation. I would be wary of a Value boat unless I could check it out in advance. Once again, don’t forget that this was a year ago - things can change for better or worse and this is only one experience out of many customers (anyone else want to pitch in?). And just in case anyone thinks that I’m only satisfied with new boats, I have chartered from Conch Charters and think that they are great.
Lastly, go to the Blue Pacific Boating web site and read the cancellation policy – it’s just a little bit strict, with strategic use of CAPITAL LETTERS! I have no idea if they actually enforce it or not.
May your keel bolts never corrode.
|11-01-2011 05:09 AM|
Ok I suppose that I should have preceded my post with, “in my opinion”.
Djodenta, I will agree with you that 20 years ago Avalon was a charming place and some of the charm might still exist midweek in winter but I challenge you to take a look on a summer weekend when the ferries disgorge God knows how many people in the morning and huge lines form to get back on the last ferries at night. I should also say that I gave up on Avalon in the early 2000s – maybe things have changed since then. A lot of people go there, so obviously not everyone shares my opinion. I don’t know if you can still rent a golf cart but if you can, it used to be fun to get out of Avalon itself and visit the Botanical Gardens or just drive up the hill for the view. In the early eighties it wasn’t a golf cart but a Mini Moke – anybody remember them? Catalina is the only place I have ever seen one outside of Europe.
Not sure about the Buffalo milk, rgscpat. I think CARB banned it for exceeding the California VOC levels. There are submerged rocks along the coast to watch out for but I’ve never seen bovines on any of them.
|10-31-2011 04:32 PM|
DO watch out for the Buffalo Milk. It is one of the recognized hazards to navigation at Two Harbors.
It's possible that you might be directed to your mooring via VHF rather than the boat meeting you.
Something we didn't get around to several years ago when we were there was a kayak rental/tour.
|10-31-2011 10:06 AM|
I haven't been there in 20 years, but Avalon is pretty cool, and a nice stop in the winter as it is more "civilized".. Kind of nice to hide from a cold evening in the Casino Theater..
I guess if you have never been, you shouldn't miss Avalon. Santa Anas aren't very common, and relatively predictable.
If you have the time, you can do both. But personally, If I could only go to one harbor, it would be Avalon.
Very different than Lake Keystone...Definitely better restaurants!
|10-31-2011 01:20 AM|
Some Local Info.
I realize that this reply is a little late but if you’re not planning to go until 2012 maybe it will be of some help. I have sailed from MDR to Catalina multiple times and also sailed several of the Blue Pacific boats so I hope this will be useful. Although I’m no longer there, I lived in that area for 20+ years.
The sail from MDR to Isthmus Cove (the nearest harbor on Catalina) can be a long day, depending on the boat, the wind and if/how much you are willing to motor-sail. While I have arrived at Isthmus Cove after dark, I don’t really recommend it and if you arrive late there may not be a mooring available ( either there or nearby). If you want a nice relaxed sail and have the time, consider splitting the trip by picking up an overnight end-tie at Alamitos Bay which is just South of the Port of Long Beach. You can reserve in advance on (562) 570-3215 City of Long Beach, CA - Alamitos Bay Marina but they won’t take a reservation without seeing the insurance for the boat – Blue Pacific (or whoever) should be able to fax one for you. There’s a fun restaurant right on the edge of the water – I can’t think of the name right now but you can’t miss it. It’s then an easy sail to Catalina. On the way back, entering MDR after dark is easy - just keep well clear of the shoals which tend to form at the entrances - they are are well marked.
Whether you go via Alamitos Bay or directly to Catalina you will usually sail South West along the cost so that you stay inside the shipping lanes (if going direct, you then turn South East so that you can cross the shipping lanes at right angles). Take a close look at the chart, there is a shallow underwater pipeline from the El Segundo refinery to the huge tanker moorings offshore. Make sure you stay far enough offshore if you like the idea of getting your damage deposit back.
Catalina moorings are a little different to most (see Mooring Information, Boating - Visit Two Harbors, Catalina Island) and were always first-come first-served but I guess some can now be reserved. Somewhere between Bird Rock and the entrance to the moorings, the Harbor Master’s boat usually appears like magic to take your money (or you can pay by credit card at the office), otherwise circle just outside the moorings and hail him on channel 9. If you are not sure, don’t be shy about asking him to show you where your mooring is and if you should be facing in or out – mostly you will face out but it varies. The moorings on the North side of the bay face inwards, are more sheltered and often less noisy. Also, if you haven’t paid for the next night as well, you have to be off the mooring by 8:00 am and they do come around just after 8:00 and ask you to leave. If you are in Isthmus Cove or one of the other close in coves and you want to have a few beers or can’t be bothered with the dingy, there is a water taxi, hail “shoreboat” on channel 9 - luxury
Speaking of drunkenness, you should find out about the “events” before you go. If you like to party, the beer festival, wine festival and Buccaneer days will suit you fine – if you want peace and quiet then it’s better to avoid them. Catalina Harbor (the other half of Two Harbors) is on the other side of the island and is much quieter. It is an easy walk from Isthmus Cove if you want to have a look before sailing all the way round (sailing takes longer than you think because you usually have to go a fair way out to stay out of the lee of the island and catch the wind). Avalon, at the other end of the island, is much more developed and “touristy” and if you pick up a mooring in Avalon Bay, make sure your holding tanks are empty – they drop in a dye tablet and if you pollute the harbor (even an accidental overflow out of the breather) there is a fine and the boat is banned for a year – doesn’t make anyone happy. There is a ferry from Two Harbors to Avalon if you want to have a look without the hassle.
I guess I’ve rambled on a bit. I’ll tell you about my experiences with Blue Pacific in the next couple of days but if you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them if I can but I travel a lot so don’t expect me to be very prompt.
|08-06-2011 11:24 AM|
I suggest getting there on Thursday. If you arrive on Friday you will find all the good moorings taken.
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