Tying up at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club’s guest dock for a couple nights, a welcome couldn’t have been more endearing. Firstly, ABYC member/ambassador and new friend, Yon, greeted us with an exuberant smile and two cold beers, making available his stand-up paddle board and surfing kayak. Within minutes of shutting down the engine, Bryce was paddling around the marina atop Yon’s paddleboard.
A former work colleague, Dave Terman, having videotaped our arrival, greeted us with gifts of fishing lures and rum. He explained all that was reachable by boat in Alamitos Bay.
I had no concept as to how much Alamitos Bay is a boater’s paradise, more a mini-Venice, Italy than a mini-Naples, the namesake of the island contained within the middle of the bay. Grocery stores and a farmer’s market, marine hardware stores, restaurants, movie theaters and live entertainment are all accessible by dinghy. There is even a canal reportedly teaming with jellyfish. For the active, there’s lots of open water space for small craft to explore: dinghies, outrigger canoes, kayaks, paddle bikes, paddleboards, sailboats, Jet-skis, and recreational fishing boats abound within and just outside the bay’s entrance. Outside the marina and along the beach thrive world-class surfing, sailing, and kite boarding. What an awesome discovery!!! We could hardly sleep.
The next morning, we woke Bryce and Trent up early to surf Seal Beach. Arriving at the nearly empty parking lot, we learned that the waves were small that day. Bryce felt he’d been lied to. I quickly explained the difference between a great surf spot and a great surf day–no spot, no matter how great, offers 24 hour, 365 day guaranteed excellent surf. Leslie declared that from now on, it would be his responsibility to investigate locations and conditions for great surf: wave height, frequency, and direction; wind speed and direction; tide height, ebb, and flow; and which way the beach faced. “Study these factors and you’ll have a better idea as to whether to wake up or not.” We suggested he keep a log of the factors, comparing it to the discovered reality of the circumstance, to develop his skill in surf conditions forecasting.
While the boys surfed, Leslie and I went to partake in a favorite Sunday morning ritual of mine . . . eggs benedict. A beachside breakfast café in the parking lot where we’d dropped Bryce and Trent off offered eggs Benedict, Caribbean-style with fresh-made Hollandaise—aaaaah . . . .
We returned to the ABYC with our surfers to find that a neighboring boat had sunk! In keeping up with a leaky thru-hole (remember, I replaced all of Kandu’s thru-hulls over the summer), the vessel’s bilge pump drained the boat’s battery before quitting. With nothing to counter the encroaching water, the boat succumbed to the forces of the sea, submerging completely her two large outboard motors. Only her dock lines kept her from resting on the sea floor. With help from a County Fire boat, she was raised, drained, and towed to safety, presumably to a trailer or boatlift.
With little time to spare, we cleaned up Kandu for that afternoon, my brother, Nick and his fiancé Gita planned a gathering of friends and family to bid us farewell. And we would provide the guests a tour of Kandu. Although in the midst of winter, it was a gorgeous summer day. It was encouraging to share with friends and family the result of 2 years hard work and the future plans for the voyage.
Making arrangements from Marina Del Rey, it was touch and go getting a slip in Alamitos Bay during the Valentine’s Day weekend, but somehow ABYC, the smaller of the marina’s managed to find us a place at their well maintained guest dock. Meeting Yon was the best part about landing at ABYC. His zest for life and generosity are infectious. The evening of my brother’s gathering, from Pretty Penny’s cockpit, Yon offered us sausages for barbequing and gave me a specialty ring, worn on a finger to pry open bottle caps—pretty cool. Yon even invited us to stay an additional day, stating that their club supports the sailing community and loved that we were leaving to sail around the world. Because of Yon’s hospitality, we spent an additional day at the ABYC guest dock, giving us time to deal with an unexpected repair.
We could have easily spent a fantastic week or more in Alamitos Bay and been thoroughly enthralled in the experience. But we must shove off if we are to be in French Polynesia by June. I hope for a next time. ‘Til then, here’s to the ABYC, Yon, and the yet-to-be-seen Alamitos Bay jellies.