Discovery – Sailing Story by Dave Chamberlain

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by Dave Chamberlain
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Every time I push off from the dock I enter the magical world of discovery.  I learn something new of the weather, nature, my boat, the sea, and myself.  Discovery is the reason I sail.  There is always something new that causes me to wonder or smile.

Recently I prepared for a quick sail and overnighter to “Dave’s Harbor”.  Is it legal to discover and name your own anchorage?    Twin-keel sailors find new anchorages that only we use because other “normal draft”’ boats can’t  get into them.  I glided into “Dave’s Harbor” at high tide.  The anchorage is hidden deep in south San Diego Bay, behind a bird estuary. It is close to a power plant that causes the water temperature to rise a few degrees in the area.  Finally anchored behind the dike which protected me from the northwest breeze,  I settled in my easy chair while watching and listening to the nesting tern protect its eggs from the aggressive seagulls.  After a filling dinner, I grew tired early and crawled into my snug berth.

The dawn was ushered in with low gray clouds.  I warmed some water for hot chocolate.  An erie mist settled on the artificially warmed water.  Sliding open the hatch to peer out, I discovered a new type of animal fishing around my harbor.  Large green sea turtles were snatching fish.  Some of the heads were the size of my fist, while others were large and alien-shaped. Following the heads were three-foot shells casting a pronounced wake as they glided through the water.  I’ve lived here 26 years and had never seen them before. 

How did these wondrous creatures find themselves here in the cold waters of San Diego?  Early records from the late 1800’s show that a captain brought green sea turtles from the tropics to raise here, but they washed overboard during a storm.  Could these turtles be the offspring?  No one knows.  I’ve only seen them once, but there is supposed to be a family of 40 to 60 of them thriving in the south bay.

I could only sit back and take another sip of my hot chocolate, smiling at my discovery.

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