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Old 21-09-2013, 11:40   #16
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

Depends on what you want to do for fun, Julie... we lived aboard in San Diego with a couple of year off cruising Mexico which we really enjoyed. Costs of living aboard in CA are high and tax folks, both county and state, are total dickheads which is the main reason we do not live in or buy anything from CA.
I'm from the PNW originally and would consider living aboard there again as long as I wasn't close to highly populated areas like Vancouver or southern Vanc. Island.
East coast is great for anchorages but weather becomes problematic in winter except in the south.
There are many great spots to settle outside the US if you can do that. NZ North Island and parts of OZ are great as well.
I've never lived in the South Pacific but have visited and think it would be a great spot to settle if you had independent income.
Good luck with your search... Phil
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Old 22-09-2013, 18:38   #17
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

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Given the conversation we've had in another thread about sailing through lots of commercial traffic, how is it in San Diego Bay, where you have naval as well?

And what about Long Beach? Or would pleasure craft be faced with a lot of commercial traffic in a more confined space? I haven't been there in several decades.
San Diego is pretty big and most of the traffic is from professional operators so it's not that bad. The thing that makes San Diego a tough bay, sometimes, is the pleasure craft. Lots of idiots who don't know their ass from a hole in the ground are buzzing around in sailboats, power boats, jet skis, paddleboards, kayaks, and assorted other craft.

Warships generally have naval security escort boats running ahead of them making sure no dumb-dumbs try to sail across the bow of an aircraft carrier (it happens).

Long Beach is sort of the same, but less traffic overall from what I've seen. You're out of San Pedro bay pretty quickly and around terminal island there's a decent amount of sea room. Long Beach might be a busier harbor as far as commercial traffic is concerned but San Diego has way more vessels on the water on a Saturday afternoon.
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Old 22-09-2013, 18:39   #18
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

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There are many great spots to settle outside the US if you can do that. NZ North Island and parts of OZ are great as well.
I've never lived in the South Pacific but have visited and think it would be a great spot to settle if you had independent income.
Good luck with your search... Phil
That's nice to hear, my wife is dead-set on us being there for a year or so. I'm kind of apprehensive about getting out of the sunny tropics.
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Old 22-09-2013, 19:15   #19
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

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San Diego is pretty big and most of the traffic is from professional operators so it's not that bad. The thing that makes San Diego a tough bay, sometimes, is the pleasure craft. Lots of idiots who don't know their ass from a hole in the ground are buzzing around in sailboats, power boats, jet skis, paddleboards, kayaks, and assorted other craft.

Warships generally have naval security escort boats running ahead of them making sure no dumb-dumbs try to sail across the bow of an aircraft carrier (it happens).

Long Beach is sort of the same, but less traffic overall from what I've seen. You're out of San Pedro bay pretty quickly and around terminal island there's a decent amount of sea room. Long Beach might be a busier harbor as far as commercial traffic is concerned but San Diego has way more vessels on the water on a Saturday afternoon.

Seems to me then that it would be possible to cruise the southern part of California. I'm pretty sure that north of San Fransisco there may not be many places to stop until Petaluma, and I don't think that would be a "fun sail" going north. Could be wrong. I wasn't sailing when I was there.
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Old 22-09-2013, 19:25   #20
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

cruising the southern part of kali-- many folks do that--channel islands and catalina--how many times can one do that--i stopped after 5 years as it is always the same drunks on the same boats on the same ,,,yada yada yada..
as for distances---look on your favorite map for distances between these points you decide you want to cruise---- check your weather constantly--if no w ind--ok no sailing... ok then too much wind==lol---i go out in prefrontal systems as those are comfortable for my boat. cali has calm, prefrontal, fronts and post frontal--look on your computer at passage weather for wind speeds and swells and lows--i think you will find it isnt the picnic you figger it to being, as this is a loong lee shore an d there are few barrier islands to explore.
one is able to anchor in many places for as long as 72 hours.
and that is why folks cruise mexico--there are places to go and anchor without harrassment, there are bays and seafoods in water, fruits on trees--it is awesome here--but ye have to get south of banderas bay for good mexico scenery and cruising. unless you enjoy high prices in deserts in HOT air and HOT golfo water.
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Old 22-09-2013, 19:33   #21
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

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Seems to me then that it would be possible to cruise the southern part of California. I'm pretty sure that north of San Fransisco there may not be many places to stop until Petaluma, and I don't think that would be a "fun sail" going north. Could be wrong. I wasn't sailing when I was there.
You can "cruise" Southern California, but from Point Conception to the border all of the harbors have a general tone of "have a slip or get the hell out". People are always (rightfully) complaining about the general unfriendliness to anchoring and visiting sailors in general.

The Channel Islands are a very large exception to that and they are definitely the premier destination in Southern California. If you want a store, a mooring, mini-city, you can find it on Santa Catalina. If you want to deal with a multi day offshore route and arrive somewhere unsheltered from the Pacific, San Miguel is there.

It's a nice place to be, but the gunkholing and <75nm places you have to anchor between on the east coast (and PNW) is a lot friendlier in many respects.

All that being said, I'd be more than happy in San Diego again. The Channel Islands give you offshore experience without ocean passages and the weather is benign minus the winter storms.
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Old 22-09-2013, 20:19   #22
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

My take. I love CA, I love the weather, the culture, the mountains and the sea and more. But it's not cheap, definitely not for boating, and cruising options are very limited. Basically go north to WA, south to MX or out to the channel islands.

East coast the sailing is much more mellow and many, many more options. You could spend many summers just cruising New England and LI Sound. When it gets cold join the exodus south to FL and the Bahamas and you can occupy many winters. In general east coast is much cheaper than CA (New England and Miami/Ft Lauderdale excepted).

Sounds like the CA delta is very nice but in my trips on the east coast I've found lots of places that you can anchor and hear not a single sound of civilization.

Downsides, outside of the metro areas food and culture is more limited than most anywhere on the west coast. Summers you do need to watch the hurricane tracks, even up north. Also, in some areas you may occasionally run into some folks who might be shall I say, socially conservative.
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Old 23-09-2013, 08:52   #23
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

The replies thus far are pretty much what I had read on the net, but it's better hearing it from sailors. Thank you!

If we actually ever did a liveaboard, we'd need to have one foot on the boat and one onshore. By that I mean, we'd need to have places to go and enjoy when docked. We both grew up in Chicago and big populations don't bother us. I'd saw we probably prefer it. We've been to LA twice, and I found myself surprised the traffic congestion didn't bother me. But then again, I wasn't driving to work every day.

But for me, the big thing that might get to me is sitting in the harbor while my SO goes to work every day. That could be worse than cabin fever here in the winters. And, at least for now, there's little chance we'd be able to get away for more than one two-week trip a year. So those weekend hops would be really important to me.

Lots to think about...
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Old 23-09-2013, 09:44   #24
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

So, get a bike or a motorcycle (or a Vespa) and you'll fit right in. Actually, the choice of sunglasses might be more challenging, since everyone is so cool here. Mass transit is the one thing that really sucks.

The trip north from SoCal can be actually pretty cool, as long as you're not in a particular hurry, and you aren't trying to do it in the wintery months. I've done it several times, and you have to have a good engine because the wind and waves will be on your nose much of the time. There are any number of small harbors within a day's travel, so you won't necessarily be stuck out at night at sea. Night time, though, is a great time to travel through some of the more notorious sections, particularly rounding Point Conception to Morro Bay. Radar and AIS will be appreciated by those who have them. You MUST, however, have a great appreciation for fresh seafood, since some of the best hangouts for foodies occur in those small harbors of the North California, Oregon and Washington coasts. Maybe that's a topic for another time: favorite bars and diners up the coast.

Weather permitting, you can do the trip to Seattle in a couple weeks, with time out to visit San Francisco and Portland. Just take it easy and don't push yourselves or the boat.
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Old 23-09-2013, 09:58   #25
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

If your SO will be tied to a 9-5 that puts a different spin on things. Will eliminate the option of joining the seasonal exodus up and down the east coast following the nice weather (unless she can easily transfer jobs or locations within a company twice a year). And that kind of kills New England as an option since it's a beautiful place to live and cruise in the summer but winters can be nasty and certainly will be cold.

Then not so sure about south FL as a year round live aboard home. It will be nice in the winter but HOT in the summer (and muggy, very muggy). Traffic not as bad as LA or SF but winter when the snowbirds all arrive can be busy. Also Miami/Ft Lauderdale area is nice enough but definitely not the options for shows, museums, music and such compared to CA. BUT, if you want to do weekend cruises and occasional 2-3 weeks or more then S FL has way more options than CA.

Then it gets down to whether you prefer to risk earthquakes and tsunamis in CA or hurricanes in FL.
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Old 23-09-2013, 10:16   #26
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

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Actually, the choice of sunglasses might be more challenging, since everyone is so cool here.
You mean like this?


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You MUST, however, have a great appreciation for fresh seafood, since some of the best hangouts for foodies occur in those small harbors of the North California, Oregon and Washington coasts. Maybe that's a topic for another time: favorite bars and diners up the coast.
Oh no, please feel free to hijack the thread! I LOVE seafood!
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Old 23-09-2013, 10:21   #27
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

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You mean like this?
Too cool. I might not be cool enough to wear glasses like that. On the other hand, I would look better over-sunglassed in these than walking around with zinc oxide on my nose.


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Oh no, please feel free to hijack the thread! I LOVE seafood!
Don't know about CA seafood but New England does pretty well in that area.
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Old 23-09-2013, 10:27   #28
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

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Then not so sure about south FL as a year round live aboard home. It will be nice in the winter but HOT in the summer (and muggy, very muggy). Traffic not as bad as LA or SF but winter when the snowbirds all arrive can be busy. Also Miami/Ft Lauderdale area is nice enough but definitely not the options for shows, museums, music and such compared to CA. BUT, if you want to do weekend cruises and occasional 2-3 weeks or more then S FL has way more options than CA.
I know FL pretty well. My SO, not much. My dad sailed down there in '84 and after a year living aboard bought a home in Juno Isles. With a dock for his boat, a swimming pool and not a single snow shovel in his garage, he had a nice little slice of paradise there. We visited him almost every year and I got to know the Palm Beach area fairly well. We were as early as February and as late as July so I got a pretty good dose of the weather too. There's no way I'd do a liveaboard there without AC on the boat!

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Then it gets down to whether you prefer to risk earthquakes and tsunamis in CA or hurricanes in FL.
Yeah... why is it always that way?

Oh, and you forgot the Burmese python in FL. My SO hates snakes!
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Old 23-09-2013, 12:52   #29
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

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...If we actually ever did a liveaboard, we'd need to have one foot on the boat and one onshore. By that I mean, we'd need to have places to go and enjoy when docked...But for me, the big thing that might get to me is sitting in the harbor while my SO goes to work every day. That could be worse than cabin fever here in the winters. And, at least for now, there's little chance we'd be able to get away for more than one two-week trip a year. So those weekend hops would be really important to me.

Lots to think about...
The SF Bay might be good for you, particularly for weekend sailing mixed with cuisine and culture. I am in Marina Bay (not a liveaboard) and there are lots of places you can sail to in one, two hours or a day with varying degrees of culture and cuisine. Marina Bay (Richmond, CA) where my boat is berthed seems to have the ideal climate with 60-70F temperatures in the summer and little to no fog. The subway and the major highways ringing the Bay are just a mile or two away.

Access to Angel Island (hiking and history) and Marin County (Belvedere, Tiburon, Sausalito, San Rafael, Golden Gate Bridge...) is one to two hours away by sail (depending on tide). Day docking is available. There are plenty of spots to anchor for a quiet picnic.

San Francisco is maybe two hours with docking all along the waterfront from Pier 39 to South Beach.

Overnight docking and anchoring is also possible at the above spots so you can make an evening at any of these places and then return to sleep on your boat before heading home.

Then there is Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Alameda in the East Bay. and the broad expanses of the bay south of the Bay Bridge. Going north there is Petaluma, Benicia, Vallejo and the Sacramento Delta.

If you get out on the Pacific Ocean then to the south there is Half Moon Bay which is a good overnighter. Santa Cruz and Monterey are more like 3 to 5 day trips with Morro Bay and the Channel Islands further to the south.

To the north along the coast up the Bonita Channel there is Drakes Bay which is a quiet overnight anchorage (in the prevailing winds) off Point Reyes National Seashore just a few hours from the Golden Gate with not much nearby civilization.

For a quick thrill there is always a day trip to the Farallon Islands 30 miles out to sea perhaps coupled with an overnight at Drakes Bay.

Lots to see and do.
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Old 23-09-2013, 12:52   #30
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Re: Cali Liveaboard Reality...

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I know FL pretty well. My SO, not much. My dad sailed down there in '84 and after a year living aboard bought a home in Juno Isles. With a dock for his boat, a swimming pool and not a single snow shovel in his garage, he had a nice little slice of paradise there. We visited him almost every year and I got to know the Palm Beach area fairly well. We were as early as February and as late as July so I got a pretty good dose of the weather too. There's no way I'd do a liveaboard there without AC on the boat!
West Palm is where I started my boating career so have a found place in my heart for the area.

Certainly AC on board would make S FL livable. I always thought of FL summers as going from one air conditioned place to another. The worst part was getting in the car after it had been sitting a couple of hours in the midday sun. Do NOT sit on a vinyl or leather seat wearing shorts.



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Oh, and you forgot the Burmese python in FL. My SO hates snakes!
Pythons? Well they're new since I last lived in S FL so no first hand experience but I think they stay mostly in the Everglades. I would worry more about the gators. They have gotten fairly common even in the canals and drainage ditches around the suburbs. Maybe I shouldn't mention this but in 2006 a gator grabbed a jogger dangling her feet off a small bridge over a canal in Sunrise. Think I would rather take my chances with the snake.
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