back to Isthmus Harbor, 75NM, 13.5 hrs (2.5 hrs sailing)

About 2 hours out, I had gone below to take a little nap, and I was awoken by my crewmate shouting "Patrick .... come check this out!". When I got some pants on, and my wits about me, there was a helicopter hovering off our port beam about 100 ft away. And someone kept calling for a sailing vessel on channel 16. I finally put two and two together and picked up the radio and responded to their hail. It was a Navy Patrol Helicopter (sorry no pictures!), but it wasn't grey ... it looked like a private helicopter, but there was no mistaking their intent.

They asked us what our plan was, and after I told them, they asked us to divert our course so as to avoid a live-fire exercize that was to be taking place some 5 miles or so ahead of us. We, of course, immediately took their suggestion and headed into shore east about 5 miles so as to avoid the area they had indicated. They then flew off and warned another boat out of the area. They flew back over us about an hour later, presumably to make sure that we were on the right course, and at about noon, came on the radio and told everyone the exercize was over. I asked for permission to resume our original course, was granted it, and we proceeded without further ado to Catalina Island.

We finally arrived in Isthmus Harbor at about 9:30 p.m. where we were able to take a mooring. It was very busy due to a large-motor-boat reunion (the annual 'Silverton' reunion).

As we had arrived in Isthmus Harbor late Thursday night and taken our mooring in the dark, we could tell that Isthmus Harbor was busy, but when we awoke on Friday, we were still surprised by the number of boats in the harbor. Nearly every one of the 400 or so moorings were taken, as were the hundreds in the two little side coves, 4th of July and China cove.

It turned out that there was a rendevuous for Silverton Yachts. They are these rather large (40-50-60 ft) 2 and 3 story motor yachts. Like expensive RV's, they were all gathered here, having meetings and sales pitches and what not. The boat next to ours had an open house (dinghies coming and going all day long) as it was one of the "official" Silverton Yachts for sale. They sure are big.

Friday morning, on the advice of the harbor patrol guy, we got in our snorkeling gear and went to the nearby Harbor Reef. In the middle of Isthmus Harbor, there's a reef marked by a light. He told us to just tie the dinghy off to the light buoy and dive right there. We did and it was really nice.

After lunch, we went for another dive, taking the dinghy to the east side of the Harbor to an underwater wildlife preserve. We spent about 40 minutes in the water and still had plenty of time to cruise around the harbor in the dinghy afterwards. In the front rows of boats by the beach we and found Wind Hunter and another boat that we had made friends with in Channel Islands Harbor and chatted with them for a while. Then back to Mandala an into shore for showers, drinks, and dinner at the restaurant. We returned to Mandala at sunset, sleeping the night snug on the mooring.