Marina Del Rey is a weird marina—we already knew this because we used to live there as sneakaboards on a 34-foot ’49 Stevens. It is chock full of ginormous yachts that never leave the dock and the guys who do live aboard legally flaunt their status with potted plants, bikes, and general debris stacked all over the place. We pulled up to the transient dock and found out that the overnight fee was $15 and so we figured it was worth it for the showers (aaahhh, more showers) and electricity and water. We also called up our friend Kurt and showed him the meaning of excitement doing things like laundry and grocery shopping. We needed a computer cable so we ordered it to be Fedexed to the nearby Fedex location. All was well.
The next day began with coffee at the Cow’s End on Washington St. and then a ten million-mile walk trying to figure out where the Fedex place was and if we would ever get our package because it turns out that it was shipped UPS to the Fedex office and Fedex will refuse UPS packages (well, oops). We figured our only hope was to chase down a UPS truck and get the package off him in person. In LA. We did too: turns out our package was on Ed’s truck and he just happened to be the best UPS delivery truck driver on the planet.
We get back to the marina, pretty much ready to take off and there’s a shouting match going on between Ann, the marina lady, and a guy named Brian, who is towing in some funky-looking boats with a beat-to-hell Whaler and tying them up at the transient dock. Supposedly the coast guard just announced a “Red flag” day, which presumably meant the weather was going to be bad, and he could bring in the boats (they were anchored just outside the breakwater) until it calmed down. Within a couple of hours, Brian had towed and secured his entire “fleet” (derelicts that others had given him to “restore”) to the transient dock and was busy hosing them off and recharging his batteries.
Brian gave us the scoop: “Hey! You guys lawyers? Any family members lawyers? Anyway Red Flag. Means I can come in here and tie up and the day’s free—did you know that? So don’t pay for today ‘cause it’s free. Red Flag day. They don’t like me in here—all these boats are mine, people give them to me to fix up and I let these homeless cats live on them and they help me fix them up. See I got kicked out because they are trying to weed out the little guys; you know, guys like you and me with boats smaller than 100 feet, there’s no room for us. I got two boats they repoed but they won’t give me a trial—now I know there’s a little slip of paper nailed to a wall in DC called the “Bill of Rights” says I am entitled to a trial but they refuse a trial here. That’s illegal. Blatant. Names Brian, by the way. They have a shortage of slips and were supposed to put in 3000 more slips but they instead—and see this is the logic around here; it’s all moneymoneymoney—take out 2000 slips, make room for only five 200-foot megayachts and then when they can’t fill those slips, make a big deal how there’s no demand for slip space in Marina Del Rey and fill it in to build a 15-story luxury apartment building ‘cause that’s where all the big bucks are. You sure none of you aren’t lawyers or anything? You know they say you can work on your boat while at the dock, but they are not so smart you see. They interpret it to mean you can do work, but it has to be ON the boat. Like physically ON THE BOAT. Like, you’re in a car part shop and you tell the guy ‘I’m working on my car,’ but it doesn’t mean you’re working on top of your car, see? But here, they don’t want the work on the dock—they want you to work ON YOUR BOAT. You in publishing? Magazine? Journalist? Any of you? Well, this story is big and it’s getting out…”
Ann gave us the scoop: “This guy here is my biggest headache. Brian and all his boats. I don’t know, they said it was a Red Flag day and every time that happens, he hauls all those boats in here and takes up all my dock space. He’s a warm person, really, but he’s got like ten other people inside his head and you never know which one is going to come out.”
Brian: “Hey Ann! Want to buy a boat? Which name do you want to call it—“Bill of Rights” or “Civil Disobedience?”
We drank some wine that night, had a Kinkos experience that nearly caused Joshua’s head to explode getting some color printouts made, and went to bed early. We got up at 5 and took off just as it was getting light.
It was some mellow sailing:
Wind was light (“Red Flag!”) out of Marina Del Rey and we headed on to San Diego. During the day we tried out some of our fishing gear and learned that while fish were not forthcoming, we were in fact remarkably adept at catching sea kelp. The intrepid kelp fishermen of the Time Machine. We caught kelp all day long and finally pulled in the line after it got dark because you know how that kelp is particularly active at sunset—good time to catch some kelp. I had first watch again and tried to keep from totally losing my shit every time I saw another ship way way off in the distance. We hadn’t seen too many ships after leaving the area around San Francisco and suddenly they were everywhere. We were getting close to San Diego too so the radio was full of teenaged voices saying stuff like “This is US Navy Warship 48 running some artillery drills and requesting all vessels to stay clear of my vessel” and basically hailing themselves over and over all night long. Kids.