Ready, Set, Go! Err, I mean, wait.
After a month of trouble-shooting the problem of our exhaust leak, after multiple wins and defeats, after weeks of not being able to move under power (in the event of dragging anchor, to dump our holding tank, to fill our water tanks, etc), we found the problem, found the one guy in San Diego who could fix it, put it all back together, repeatedly flushed the fresh water system of all its sludge, turned the key and… YES! IT WORKS! It works better than ever! Time to CELEBRATE and, more importantly, time to head to Mexico! We made the call to head out two days later.
We fired her up and spent the day sprucing her and ourselves up. We moseyed over to the cop dock to pump the holding tank, wash the decks, which were blackened with coolant sludge and dust from the airport and highway, and use the showers. We visited the fuel dock to fill up the water tanks and were heading back to our anchorage all shiny and in high spirits when we got a surprise call from some of our best buds, who were on a road trip down to Baja and wanted to stop and visit. Yay! Ivan, Karla, and their one year old, Nahuel, dinghied out to join our happy crew.
We decided to sail out the next morning to the tip of Point Loma with our friends to enjoy the remote surf break and isolated setting the location offered. It was a beautiful, sunny day as we anchored in the calm lee of the cliffs. We took turns taking the dinghy out to the surf break so that Nahuel always had caretakers. The girls surfed first and the guys second, and a great time was had by all.
By the time the guys were heading out the wind had really picked up and the anchorage was getting pretty rolly. It being Sunday there were TONS of sailboats out taking advantage of the conditions and illustrating what a boating epicenter San Diego is. Karla and I were down below relaxing out of the wind when we began to hear yelling and screaming nearby. This was unexpected in our secluded locale so I headed up on deck to check it out. As my head popped up out of the companionway I saw, to my horror, a sailboat completely out-of-control, heading straight for our beam… fast! Before I could get my feet on the deck it smashed into Orion bow first, with a loud BANG, and I saw it’s anchor takes pieces of fiberglass with it as it fell away. I was stunned as the crew of 5 and I took each other in. The trouble was not over though. As they were quickly drifting astern, with their headsail and sheets whipping violently, a line got caught around our solar panel and began to really tug on it and the railing it was attached to. It took quite a bit of mustered strength and a toll on my hand to get the line off the panel, but it was saved with only a slightly bent pushpit railing to show for the trouble. A survey of the damage showed a hole through both sides of the fiberglass bulwark. Amazingly they just missed a stanchion and a shroud and hit a good few inches above the hull, so the damage was merely cosmetic and not structural.
All I could think was “we are not going anywhere anytime soon.” Orion’s aggressor turned out to be a rental sailboat with a very apologetic crew. Once they gained control, dousing their sails, they motored over and we exchanged info. Everyone was pretty shaken up and just… well, sad. Somehow it seemed fitting that the boat’s name was Changes in Attitude.
Let me be clear, however, that this was the absolute best place in the world to get hit, best part of the boat to get a hole in, and best boat to be hit by. The rental company had insurance and professional employees who evaluated the damage the very next day and reserved us a spot at a boat yard for the following day. This was really just a setback in time… which we were accustomed to at this point.
And so began our three week stay at Driscoll Boat Works….