|A view of LA from Topanga Park|
|So many wildflowers!!|
I didn't instantly fall in love with California though. My first impression of LA was sullied by the foul Rainbow Harbor - complete with dead birds, old nitrile gloves, and all manner of trash you can imagine - where the A. Pride was docked in Long Beach and the horrendous traffic everywhere around LA - it took me about 2 hours to go thirty miles today.... The harbor where I am now in San Pedro isn't much better but I've had more time to get out and explore the area and I've found that there are some really beautiful places and things. Like the surfing spots and the surf culture, the incredible coastlines just minutes from the harbor, the wilderness areas just outside of the city, sailing on square-riggers, and the awesome people I work with. I still have yet to actually see downtown LA and there are lots of other places on my list to see while I'm here.
I don't have an end-date in mind but I'd like to stay around for the summer. Summer is the voyage season at LAMI. We usually go to Catalina Island which is about a 4-hour sail from San Pedro but a totally different environment. Much of it is untouched and the island is reminiscent of Jurassic Park. We've seen leopard sharks, sea lions, a juvenile bald eagle, rays, crabs, and a variety of fish. I still have yet to see one of the iconic bison though! We take middle, high school, and college students on multi-day voyages and it is an exhausting but fun and rewarding time. This week has all been day-sails but we have two five-day voyages coming up over the next two weeks! The ships at LAMI are named the Exy Johnson and the Irving Johnson and I'm on Exy (the better one of course ;) ). They are brigantines which means that they have square sails!! Instead of only triangular and parallelogram-shaped sails set fore and aft they have square or rectangular sails set perpendicular to the masts. That means we get to go aloft to prep and furl sails, which is awesome. So even if this wasn't want I intended to do in California, I'd say it's pretty great. (More pictures to come because I'm having technical difficulties)