The first thing I want to mention today, is the fact that we have left Santa Barbara after being stuck there for a handful of extra days while we had our boat repaired from our little hit and run experience. As nice of a place Santa Barbara is, the last few days of our time there left a bad taste in our mouth. It's unfortunate because before our little accident, we were absolutely in love with the place.

I have been debating with myself whether or not I should tell you all about our experience dealing with the owner of the boat that hit us. It was such a shocking and depressing bunch of interactions that I almost feel like the story should be shared, because it's almost unbelievable in the boating community. Most boaters are a great bunch of people. Nearly every boater I have ever met would bend over backwards and give you the shirt off their back if needed. Yes, even power boaters (and yes John, that was directed at're not half bad). But I don't want to go that route, mainly because I want to be over it, but also, I have a feeling things will catch up with him in the long run.

I'm not upset in the slightest about being hit by another boat. It didn't ruin my day and I didn't lose any sleep over it.  Accidents happen. I get it. Would I have preferred it didn't happen? Of course. But it did and we can't change that fact. What did upset me was that the guy sped away after the hit, the interactions with the owner were trying, and the repair process at every turn had me giving a speech about what it means to be ethical, responsible, and a decent human being. I felt like I was dealing with a 2 year old who couldn't figure out that punching another kid in the throat isn't the way you are supposed to treat other people.

The first and second round of the repair process didn't go well. After round two, when the repair guys told me it was the best they could do, after I showed them that there was still a big divot in the side of our boat, and after I pointed out the color they sprayed over the fiberglass scar was yellow and not beige, they said “if you insist, we'll try again, but it's probably not going to get any better.” Well, I insist and what do you know? It got better. It's still not perfect, but at least it doesn't look like that same 2 year old who was punching other kids in the throat filled the holes with his play-doh. Someday, when we are basking in the Mexican sun, after we are good and tired of looking at the patch job, we'll spend a little bit of time and fix it like it should have been done in the first place. But for now, it's done enough for us to move on.

And move on we have. We have made another hop farther down the coast of California and are currently anchored at Dana Point. We had heard that the ocean conditions this time of year in Southern California can be pretty mellow, and the 2 days it took us to get here from Santa Barbara proved it. Things were as benign as could be. We had wondered if we made a wrong turn at some point and ended up on a lake. There was no typical ocean swell that we had gotten so used to and zero wind to speak of. Other than all of the dolphin sightings along the way, it was a relatively boring couple of days. We just sat and listened to the rattle of the diesel engine push us along our merry way.

Dana Point isn't a stop we had talked about making while we were planning our trip south to Mexico. There really wasn't any reason we would have originally stopped here unless weather was severe and we needed to duck in for cover. But now, long after our original plans have fallen apart, we needed to come here for a specific reason. And that reason is for toys.

Dana Point just happens to have the largest manufacturer of Stand Up Paddle Boards in the world within a few miles of the harbor, and that manufacturer just happens to be having a year end closeout sale which was just too good for us to pass up. So, we made a slight detour on our way south and grabbed us a 2 for 1 deal on some paddle boards.

If you have been following along on our adventure, you may know that we've had paddle boards for years. You may also be wondering why on earth we would get some new ones when we already have a couple of them on the boat. Well, the short answer is that I'm a sucker for some good advertising and a sale. The longer answer is this.

We currently have inflatable paddle boards that have a lot of great qualities. They are great for just lazy cruising around. They deflate and roll up and fit in a compartment under our bed. They even fit in a backpack for the times we've wanted to paddle around a remote mountain lake. All good things.

But the downside of the inflatables is the fact that we have to inflate them. And because of that, it means we don't really use them that much. And yes it also means we are lazy. The other big downside is that they just aren't as good or efficient as the hard ones. They don't track as well and the biggest downside of all - they don't surf a wave.

As we were waiting for our repair job to take place in Santa Barbara, we were out paddling around on our trusty inflatable paddle boards. As we rounded the breakwater to the marina, my eyes feasted upon one of the greatest sets of peeling waves I've ever seen. They were clean, glassy smooth, and with just the right amount barrel. They were perfect. Without thinking, I excitedly started paddling my inflatable out to join the line up. Luckily for me, Brenda yelled “Jeff! What are you thinking??? You can't surf on that thing!” Ugh, she was right. I can't surf on that thing. I was devastated, but more than anything, I was deflated.

Back in my younger years, I spent quite a bit of time surfing, so it's not like I was going out into the epic surf willy-nilly. We've had non-inflatable paddle boards in the past that were a pure joy to surf on. So, when my eyes gazed upon perfect waves, my body had the instant reaction of “I'm on a board, so let's do this”. The problem lies in the fact that these inflatable's that we have just don't surf. It's hard for me to explain, but they don't seem to want to release from the face of the wave and turn, so, when the wave starts to steepen and break, I go end over end. I've tried multiple times, with different techniques, on different size waves, all with the end result of me cleaning lots of sand out of places that sand shouldn't be.

There are lots of reasons why we are cruising the world by sailboat. I've gone over some of those reasons before so I won't get into them all now, but one of the top reasons is for fun. And surfing is fun. One of my big dreams is to be anchored in some tropical foreign country, with crystal clear warm water, and a surf break I can paddle to from my boat. To be able to jump off the boat into the warm water and catch a morning surf session before breakfast just sounds heavenly. And these new paddle boards we are picking up in Dana Point are going to get us one step closer to making that dream a reality.

When we told the salesperson at the paddle board shop we had sailed down from Seattle and pulled into Dana Point for one reason only – to get paddle boards, he was pretty excited about the whole thing. And since we don't have a car anymore, he even offered to drop them off at the harbor for us in the morning.

We'll probably hang out here in Dana Point for one more day so I can catch some waves just outside of the anchorage, and then make one final jump south to San Diego. And then, after the official end of hurricane season (November 1st), we'll head into Mexico. Woo Hoo!!!

I'm pretty sure Brenda is busy thinking she should be in charge of that pirate ship!  Aaaaaaarrrrrggg!!!

I don't care how many times I've seen it, a sunrise over the ocean is still one of my favorite things.

Brenda got so bored on this little hop south that she took to polishing the stainless.


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