Location and Moorage: Newport Harbor, Lido Isle Anchorage, four nights at anchor
Even though we probably would have laid over in Newport again on the way back to San Diego regardless, we made this stop specifically so we could attend the memorial service for the Mom of our dear friend Debbie, up in LA. Sadly, Deb lost her Mom and best friend to cancer at the beginning of July. While, based on our blog, it appears we have been footloose and fancy free, our time on the Shakedown hasn’t been without some challenges — such as working through logistical issues associated with being at sea and technical issues with da boat, as well as some interpersonal hiccups involving communication. We’re getting through all of it without much strife (although we do have a long list of things to take care of once we get back to SD), but one of the hardest things to get through for Jody has been the loss of her own Mom in January (2016). Overall, the grief has not overwhelmed her to the point of being paralyzed, hence going on the Shakedown, but attending the very touching memorial for Deb’s Mom brought a lot of the raw emotions and pain back to the surface. There have been tough days over the course of the last couple of months — the absence of her Mom on all the texts, phone calls, and Facebook posts, and just not being able to share the joys and challenges with her has been difficult. Occasionally this would bubble up unexpectedly and intensely. Mostly, missing Mom makes being away from the family that much harder, but with only a week left on the Shakedown, Jody will be reunited with family and friends sooner than later. Thanks, Deb, for letting us be a part of the celebration of your dear Mom’s life. It meant the world to us to be there to support you and your family, and a good cry is always so cleansing.
Beyond that, Newport has been quite entertaining and the sail down was fun, yet a tad, um, annoying. We started out with She’s No Lady about a mile behind us, but they reeled us in and blew by us as we were deploying our spinnaker in hopes of gaining a bit more speed. But the wind seemed to die (at least for Free Luff) and we were barely making between 2-3 kts! Meanwhile, She’s No Lady turned into a dot on the horizon — ahead of us — so of course our assumption was they were motor-sailing because their speed over ground exceeded the wind speed. What?! So, we made a video (see Shakedown Vid #6) in which we (wrongly) accused She’s No Lady of a motor assist. This made us feel much better for the time being; we lazily made our way to Newport and even skinny-dipped along the way (by trailing a line behind da boat while in neutral — may not be prudent, but it was fun and refreshing!). That evening, we found out the truth — She’s No Lady made her way to the harbor under sail alone. Dammit!! We apologize, Thad and Kristin, for the errant accusation. It’s simply time we acknowledge and accept that She’s No Lady is just faster than Free Luff (gulp). Lots of fun regardless.
Newport Harbor has to be the busiest, craziest harbor we’ve spent any time in. It’s huge, and people are impatient, so the 5 mph speed limit is routinely ignored. Channels are narrow, choked with boats on moorings, and boats, kayaks, and SUPs zigging and zagging everywhere. Boats under full sail and electric Duffys piloted by first-time boat renters are at odds constantly, with huge power boats zooming between. The sounds of laughter, loud club music, partying, and the “Woo” girls are constant on the weekends and even most week nights, especially when it’s been this warm. The Lido Anchorage is right in the middle of all of this, and loads up with boats like it’s Fourth of July every Saturday and Sunday; it also serves as the hub of nearly all the small boat regattas run by area yacht clubs on Saturday afternoons, Sunday afternoon and evening, Monday mid-morning — well, actually pretty much all day every day. It’s a wild scene, but provides a lot of entertainment.
Other notables: Rand went surfing a couple times; we discovered a fabulous little cafe called Alta Coffee Co.; scoured the nooks and crannies at Minney’s (an overwhelmingly jam-packed mariner’s thrift store here in Newport); met up with Fleas’s sister, Bitsy and her fiancé and friends; walked many miles; played a lot of euchre (of course); drove a car for the first time in months (to get to LA — it was a breeze); did laundry (again); and took in all of the shenanigans that go on during the summer in a huge harbor like Newport. Not a shabby place to hang out for a few days.