Skip to main content

California: Little Boat, Big Boat

Well, you got a little break there, due to Toby putting the laptop out of commission and Graham having his hip replaced.  The laptop is now better and the husband is getting better, so on with the saga!

We thought it would be kind of nice to venture out on to the Pacific Ocean, rather than just look at it from the shore, so we investigated our options.  The Channel Islands seemed like a pretty manageable trip, even with a one-year-old, so we booked a boat and hoped for fine weather.  The Channel Islands National Park encompasses five islands and the ocean around them, just off the coast of California.  Like many islands, they have some pretty incredible biodiversity, with many unique plants and animals.  It would have been great to stop off and see it close up, but actually staying on the island entails taking everything you might want with you.  With a toddler this always seems to involve everything bar the kitchen sink (actually, that could be handy too), so we decided to stick to the wildlife tour boat.

Dolphins and birds following the boat

The rock of Anacapa Island is liberally coated in guano
Sea arch and pillar behind, on Anacapa Island
This took us out to the closest of the islands, Anacapa Island, where we admired the rock formations and spotted sea lions basking on the shore.  We would have been very lucky to spot a whale, as they usually feed at the other end of the islands, but we were delighted to have dolphins jumping around us.

 
 

Graham enjoyed the scenery somewhat more than I, as, despite calm seas, I rapidly discovered that I get seasick!  I spent most of the three hour trip staring fixedly at the horizon and trying to persuade Toby that butting his head into my tummy wasn't the best thing to do right now.  He didn't seem affected by the motion, fortunately, and enjoyed splashing through the waves.  All that sea air tired him out, though!
 
Tired baby and mother

So that was the little boat.  The big boat really was at the other end of the scale!  For our final two nights in California we had got a good deal to stay on the Queen Mary, a 1930s cruise ship now permanently docked in Long Beach.  I have to say we were beginning to wonder about the wisdom of it - it would be our fourth lodging that holiday and offered none of the conveniences of your average cheapo Best Western.  No fridge, free breakfast, free wi-fi or free parking, and a suggestion that the room would be tiny.  Would we survive?

No, that's not a giant sun behind the Queen Mary, it's a dome which used to house the Spruce Goose flying boat.

On British territory (or at least British-built!)
But the moment we walked into our cabin, we were smitten.  There were actual portholes to look out of, and a 1950s style bathroom with big chunky taps, and plenty of space, and you could even, occasionally, feel the ship moving ever so slightly underneath you.

Ahoy there!

OK, so we had the car park view, but still - a porthole!

Endless corridors

Best of all, we had free rein to roam about all of the ship's public areas.  We happily explored from the heights of the bridge to the depths of the engine room, walking the long corridors which felt like being inside a hall of mirrors, pressing buttons in the walnut-paneled elevators, and imagining ourselves relaxing on the sun deck with no land in sight.  After my seasickness, though, you can imagine I was glad to remain firmly moored to terra firma!



One of the grand reception rooms


Long Beach lights from the Queen Mary
In the engine room.  Graham said it was a lot more complicated than a modern aero engine, because it was so many separate systems.

Hard a-port!

Comments

John Evens said…
Interesting, I didn't think I suffered from motion sickness too badly either, but a couple of recent experiences on boats and rollercoasters have convinced me otherwise. I'll be taking a pill from now on - it's not a fun feeling.
Martha said…
No, I never got seasick before, but the last time I was out of sight of land was probably crossing the channel in what? 1995 or something? It's been a while!

Popular posts from this blog

Advent 2022

It's the first Sunday of Advent coming up, and for once I feel fairly well prepared! Of course, the proof is in the (Christmas) pudding - whether I actually do all this remains to be seen. If you haven't even thought about Advent yet, do grab an idea to join in with. None of them require any advance preparation except for downloading, printing or book ordering - and one of them doesn't even start until 20 December. Something to do I recently went to a Mindful Advent workshop, run by the lovely Stacey and Ella from Create and Connect . We spent a happy couple of hours folding origami envelopes to make our own Advent calendars, with a few mince pies to nibble as the November rain poured down outside. I'm filling my envelopes with a short activity for each day, a Bible verse from the Christmas story, and a tiny treat for each of us. Thinking of 24 different activities was harder than folding 24 origami envelopes! Mine range from "listen to your favourite Christmas car

Catching up

I know some of you appreciate the family news I post on here, so here's a quick summary of what each of us has been up to over the last couple of months. Toby - went to his first Cubs meeting on a night when they were eating hot dogs and marshmallows, loved it, and was very proudly invested as a member just before Christmas. - spends his spare time writing stories, designing vehicles, and playing Super Mario Bros. - has a large collection of beer bottle caps (any donations welcome, as his primary provider was an ex-work-colleague of Graham's). - plucked up courage to go on a zipwire at the playground, and discovered it was great fun. - enjoyed Lego, lots of books, penguin pajamas and a remote control car for Christmas. Theo - likes playing on the bikes and in the home corner at school. - is now right at home with phonics: "I can spell cat!  Cuh, Ah, Tuh."  He's also been telling us about digraphs, at which point Graha

Matcha Green Tea Cake Mix

Some blogs are full of posts which start: Recently, *big company* sent me three pairs of expensive shoes / five bars of delicious chocolate / a free holiday ... This is not one of those blogs. But, recently, a company so small I'm not sure it really exists yet sent me a free cake mix, on the condition that I filled in a survey about it and took a few photos.  Blogging about it was not a condition, but just in case the owner makes it to the big time, you heard it here first! So the Hope Makes It Easy Matcha Cake Mix popped through my letterbox on my birthday (good timing to start) and the rather pretty package sat on my counter for a few days until I'd assembled the ingredients.  Most cake mixes require a few extra ingredients, but this one needed milk, eggs and butter, plus cream and possibly white chocolate for the icing.  Not exactly all-inclusive.  On the plus side, it helpfully provided a cute origami cup for measuring the milk, a line to show you how much butter