Are You Seeking Adventure?

Californian Sailing to Catalina

This sailing adventure is not for the faint of heart.  The four-day trip to Catalina and Santa Barbara Islands were nothing short of incredible and exhausting.

If you are looking for a relaxing, low-key vacation–this trip is NOT for you.  I repeat–this trip is NOT for you.  Only the determined, adventurous-spirited, up-for-a-challenge, curious, and explorer dare apply for this physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging trip.

Dolphins at Sunset

The challenges however are matched with the thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime rewards of sailing in the company of hundreds of dolphins, spotting an occasional whale, kayaking with baby seals and stingrays, exploring the caves around the islands, and learning to sail an authentic tall ship.

Guests are encouraged to become part of the crew, standing watch for four-hour increments (even at midnight), hauling lines, steering the ship, raising the anchor (which will get your heart pounding so fast you want to mutiny), eating together in the galley, and cleaning the ship.  Standing watch and raising the anchor are the least enjoyable portions of the trip, but they make sleep come easily and community grow strong.

The feel of the wind in your hair, nothing but ocean in sight for as far as the eye can see, thousands of stars illuminating the dark sky once the moon sets, and the constant slap of rope against sail create a serenity and meditative-like state that is a much needed change of pace from fast-paced city living.

Marge, our ship cook, provides delicious and well-earned meals three times a day along with snacks, tea, and coffee at all hours.  You definitely will not go hungry on this expedition and will be pleasantly surprised with treats each night.  You are welcome to bring aboard some of your favorite snacks as well.

The first day is spent learning ship basics, performing emergency tests, sailing out of San Diego Bay, and sailing to Catalina.  Rough seas equal drippy decks, so make sure to pack waterproof clothing and be prepared to hang your sheets out to dry in the morning.  The ship anchors off of Two Harbors early on the second day.

Kayaking Catalina

Day two involves kayaking and exploring around the island, sea lions, birds, the occasional dolphin, garibaldi, and caves.  I highly recommend bringing a GoPro or an underwater camera to film all of the beautiful wildlife.  Visibility along the shoreline is incredible and makes for some amazing pictures.  After lunch guests and crew are welcome to go ashore for a cold beer and a shower.  Make sure to bring quarters for the showers!  There are some paths to walk along the shore or over to the other side of the island to explore a bit on land as well.

Sea Lions at Santa Barbara Island

Day three we set sail for Santa Barbara Island, a remote island about a half-day sail from Catalina.  Bring snorkel gear and a wetsuit!  The snorkeling and kayaking along Santa Barbara is like nothing I have ever seen before!  Visibility is at least 50 feet deep, with perfect clarity.  I could see sea stars on the ocean floor as if I were right in front of them.  Baby sea lions playfully followed the kayaks as we paddled around the caves, and a stingray passed right under my kayak.  Snorkeling was a bit scary being so far out in the ocean, but the vivid colors and bright fish made me overcome my fear.  After kayaking the ship sets sail for home and sails through the night back toward San Diego.

Californian sunrise

Day four is spent leisurely sailing back into San Diego.  By the end of the trip you are completely exhausted but have a huge smile on your face.  A hot shower upon arriving at home never felt better!

In addition to the packing list the museum provides, make sure you bring: a waterproof camera, lanyards to attach your camera/important items to your clothing, water shoes in addition to flip flops for the showers, snorkel gear if you’d like to snorkel, a wetsuit if you will be getting in the water in October, every waterproof article of clothing you own, and lots of warm under layers.

If you’re interested in joining us on one of our three Catalina Kayak & Adventure Sails next summer check out our website: http://www.sdmaritime.org/catalina-adventure-sailing/ or give Robyn a call at: 619-234-9153 ext 123.

Hope you can make it!

Fair winds,

Erica Geary

Sailing on the Californian

What does it take to get you inspired—to get you fully engaged with life?  For me, it’s adventure.  Send me outside to explore and I will be fully present and having the time of my life.

Sailing on Californian

Why the grin from ear to ear?   Yesterday, aboard the Californian, I went on my very first sail ever!  It truly was an inspired afternoon—with the weather, the wind, and the waves all collaborating to make the experience unforgettable.

Chris Welton

It started off at 12pm with Captain Chris Welton familiarizing the guests with the ship’s rules and procedures.  The crew stood by awaiting orders and chatting warmly with the guests.  Two docents were on board, entertaining us with tidbits of sailing knowledge and historical trivia about the Californian.

Sailing aboard Californian

Once out a ways into the San Diego Bay, I volunteered to help the crew set the sails so the real fun could begin.  I got a crash course on the commands and hauled lines faster than my hands could move.  Before I used to find it comical when people would refer to ships as “she,” but seeing her sails set and full of wind, she sure looked beautiful.

Steering

Everyone seemed to be out on the water yesterday.  Countless sailboats, jet skis, and other vessels crossed paths through the shimmering water, Captain Chris, steering clear of them all!  He even let me steer for a minute—but he stood close by.

Topmen go aloft

Watching the topmen go aloft to put the square sails in their gear was like watching a scene from Cirque Du Soleil.  They scaled the ratlines with ease and only clipped in once they arrived at their work stations on the yard.  What an awesome job!

Once out in the open sea, the wind picked up and we were flying.  There is nothing like the wide-open ocean to calm the mind and bring a smile to my face.  I threw on my jacket, thankful to have packed one even though it was 80-something degrees in March.

As we headed back to dock, the crew prepared the guns and fired them toward the Star of India.  The boom reverberated off the many ships and buildings in the harbor, bouncing back loud and strong.  As we docked, we thanked the Captain and the crew and shook out our sea legs.  What an amazing journey!

Let us know if you would like to experience sailing for yourself.  I highly recommend it.

Fair winds,

Erica Geary