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Day 15: Monday28thNov2016 Strong winds over Sunday night, on final leg to SD

7.40pm Sun PST/0340 Mon GMT

Just checked in to the Pacific Sefarers' Net - heard nothing at all on frequency yesterday so it was good to make contact with Jane, NH7TZ, on Kauai, who was just about able to take my report. Propagation is particularly bad on 20m at present.

I'd been hoping that the strong winds forecast for tonight wouldn't arrive - but they did - with a vengeance! .... Just to remind me, as if I hadn't already found out several times recently, what winds in the N. Pacific can be like!

We're presently getting 33-44kt of wind, frequently gusting up, and with accompanying 4-5m seas to match, with steep faces fairly close together, making for an uncomfortable ride.

With just 115 n.mls to San Diego harbour entrance, arrival is expected after sunset tomorrow (Monday evening LT).

The good news is that these conditions are supposed to ease somewhat shortly, this being the peak period - let's hope the forecast has got that right!

10.30pm Sun PST/ 0630 Mon GMT Wind only up to mid-30s now... not mid-40s... Great!

San Clemente Island 40 mls off. Seas pretty rough. Will make sure I'm awake as we near the island... a Navy Base.

5am Monday PST/1300 Mon GMT Passing 8 ml south of San Clemente Island. Just changed course slightly to round the island and make for San Diego, 60 miles off.

Beautiful, clear, starry sky... Pleiades astern, high up in West, a bright planet (?) high ahead in East

Wind died down nicely a while ago - to around NW 25kt now - unfurled most of genoa to speed us along - making 5.6 kt in 4m swell. Expecting wind to die more as we close the coast.

Spoke to radio friends on East coast - from Florida to Maine - was great to speak to a few of them that I've not made contact with for some time. All very sympathetic.

7.30 am Back to my bunk for an hour or two of sleep after some brief contacts with West coast radio friends...

12.45pm Enjoyed a late brunch of a very nice onion omelette, followed by fresh coffee and brown bread with home-made marmalade (thanks, Susan - lovely!).

Wind is up and down but slowly dying - presently WNW 15 kt, giving SOG ~5 kt. Sky getting quite cloudy but glimpses of the sun still.

Seas are also down, to 2-3m, so we're ambling gently towards SD, keeping an eye out for frequent shipping - Golden Energy (tanker) just crossed our bow a mile off half an hour ago, on its way to the Panama Canal, and the motor vessel Sally Ride is off to port. (Later: I thought she was on a pleasure jaunt of some kind, out of SD, but it seems she's a very well-equipped scientific research vessel!)

Not long now to having to break the engine seal so we can motor in to Shelter Island's Police Dock for our Clearance procedure to take place - a 24 ml actual passage from here but only 19 ml away as the crow flies - the N-S SD harbour entrance channel to the east of Pt Loma is very long.

2.20pm Time to furl in genoa, break that engine seal & turn on - making less than 3 kt in dying wind of 7 kt from astern... We're not getting very far like this! 19 n.ml.from San Diego.  Must break engine seal & motor rest of the way - very loathe to do that.

3pm Cut the seal with a bit of effort... Started motoring at 2.30pm. Point Loma has been in sight for a time. Slight drizzle now...

Fairway buoy to entrance channel is 11 miles away. Seas still rolly, with 2.5m or so swell, wind W 6 kt .

4.40pm Mon PST/0040 Tues GMT 2.5 ml off main channel entrance and 7 miles to Police Dock. Grey and murky - very restricted visibility - radar on plus AIS - all helpful to see what's ahead... ETA at Police Dock for Clearance into US still around 6pm, possibly slightly later. Must hoist yellow 'Q' flag for international clearance in...

Arrived Police Dock in San Diego Hbr well after nightfall - stressful entrance in darkness and rain, following the long, lit main channel and then turning to port to make the final entrance inside Shelter Island, avoiding a shoal area to starboard.  With plenty of open water beyond the Dock, I was able to take my time preparing for coming alongside but it was a very difficult final approach, due to a strong current pushing our stern out as we tried to come alongside gently...  More speed ahead was the only answer, in the end, but that made things a bit fraught with an unhelpful kick to starboard in astern and Police boats moored up not far ahead!  Luckily, I just managed to secure the lines ... no-one around, of course...

Took a long time for two very friendly officers to arrive to do paperwork but finally got away and motored over to San Diego Y.C. where a convenient berth, with plenty of water for manoeuvring, had been arranged by friend Rod.  Ed came down with his flashlight to help make sure I knew where to head for and then helped tie up - many thanks to both for their welcome help...   I cooked a late meal and had a very good sleep!

Many thanks for the supportive messages. I'll get repairs done & figure out my options.

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