Setting Sail: Our Maiden Voyage from Marina Del Rey to Catalina Island

The whirlwind of emotions swirled as we untied the lines from the dock and realized that we are finally embarking on the adventure we dreamed up 2 years ago on the docks of Puerto Escondido in Baja Mexico. We were feeling all the emotions, excitement to be underway, disbelief that our dream was actually happening, exhaustion from the previous 6 weeks of travel, moving and helping the kids adjust to life on a boat, apprehension because who in their right minds sells their dream home, cars, pulls their kids out of school and travels the world on a boat but most of all I think we were all feeling the freedom that cruising brings.

The first stop was the fuel dock in San Pedro just a short couple hour cruise where we topped off the fuel tanks and propane. All in all things were going smoothly, the boat which had been expertly cared for by it’s previous owners Peter and Connie Webster (also just the sweetest people we had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know during our time in Marina del Rey), was running well, our spirits were high and our wallets were soon to take the soon to be reoccurring hit of “fuel day”.

We reached the anchorage of Catalina Island and decided to spent the first night at Anchor in two harbors, just around the corner from Avalon. Setting the anchor went smoothly and we were feeling the confidence of “we still got it” and Chris and Shawna quickly fell back into the groove of working together on a boat. The sun set, we had dinner, tucked the kids into bed and basically high fived each other on how awesome our first day our had been.

Then, the rolling started… about 10pm the boat went from a gentle sway to a violent roll that just wouldn’t stop! Our calm, peaceful night at anchor had turned in to a very uncomfortable roller coaster ride where the boat was the coaster car and we were the passengers who were stuck on the ride. Shawna spent the night worrying the kids would wake up and feel seasickness set in, Chris quickly popped up to the galley (kitchen) and saloon (living room) and stowed our countertop belonging away as they were sliding and being tossed around the cabin. We made it through the night and decided to head to Avalon and pick up a mooring in hopes we would have a much nicer night.

With each nautical mile we covered, anticipation mounted among our crew. Lexi and Jake busied themselves with spotting playful dolphins leaping in our wake, their laughter echoing across the deck. Meanwhile, Shawna and Chris exchanged knowing glances, their shared excitement palpable as we drew nearer to our destination.

As Catalina Island came into view on the horizon, bathed in the warm glow of the afternoon sun, a sense of awe washed over us. The rugged cliffs and emerald hillsides beckoned us ashore, promising adventures waiting to be uncovered. With Chris expertly maneuvering the yacht into Avalon Harbor, we marveled at the bustling activity of boats and sailors, a vibrant tapestry against the backdrop of the island’s natural beauty.

As we dropped anchor and stepped onto the shores of Catalina Island, a sense of accomplishment washed over us. Our maiden voyage had been a resounding success, filled with moments of joy, laughter, and the shared bond of family. With Catalina Island as our playground and our Selene 53 Trawler as our trusty vessel, we knew that countless adventures awaited us on the horizon, ready to be explored in the chapters yet to come.

Ahoy there, mates! I'm Chris Dutton, a proud father to two adventurous souls and the fortunate husband of my incredible wife, Shawna. Life has taken me on a whirlwind journey, but no matter where the winds blow, the sea has always been my true north. In my younger days, I sailed the rugged waters of Southeast Alaska and the mystical passages of the Inside Passage as a seasoned maritime captain. From wrestling with stubborn currents to sharing laughs with fellow sailors under the starry skies, those were the days that shaped me into the man I am today. Although I've since traded my captain's hat for a programmer's cap, the saltwater still courses through my veins. As a freelance contractor in the digital realm, I navigate the virtual waves with the same determination and gusto that I once did on the open sea. Yet, amidst the ebb and flow of work, my heart finds solace in the moments spent with my beloved family. Whether we're setting sail on our Selene 53 Trawler, exploring hidden coves and forgotten shores, or simply enjoying a quiet evening at home, the laughter and love we share are the compass that guides us through life's greatest adventures. So come aboard as we navigate the unpredictable seas of life, weaving tales of love, laughter, and the timeless allure of the ocean. Fair winds and following seas to all who dare to dream alongside us!

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