In an effort to improve my column, I have signed up for the Dorothy Spirus Creative Writing Class at the OASIS Senior Center in Corona del Mar. Talk about great value, this is even better than the price of a cocktail at the American Legion!
At the end of my first lesson, a fellow student suggested that "writers should broaden their scope of topics." This idea raised my eyebrows and off I went.
My first stop was Swales Anchorage, at the southwest corner of the Coast Highway bridge. The Swales apartments and marina have been managed by the Farwell family for 52 years. I just found out that their lease is expiring June 30. This is not good news, because the Farwell family has been extremely kind to me over the years.
When I arrived at the dock, I was greeted with an old-school, "Hello, Len," from my good friend, Steve Farwell. He now manages the property for the family.
"Steve, what's up?" I replied.
I wanted to get a grip on what he has been observing from his view on the harbor. Steve first brought up how much he enjoys this time of year with all the local activity returning to the harbor.
First noted was the return of the one-knee Olympic paddlers starting their workouts. One of the most interesting groups to watch is the stand-up paddle yoga class.
"They start with a sprint from the bridge to the Linda Isle lagoon, where they then form a circle and go into their routine," he said. "You see some very interesting poses. I still am waiting for someone to fall into the water."
Steve also brought up the topic of the large amount of water going by, and that he had not seen much flotsam this year. Also noted was the amount of times he has seen the Harbor Patrol patrolling the Back Bay.
"I had not noticed the Harbor Patrol in this part of the harbor for quite some time," he said. "It's good seeing them again."
When I asked Steve about the recent thefts that have plagued the harbor, he informed me that one of his tenants had lost a large amount of fishing gear and everyone on the dock had been placed on high alert.
Before I left, Steve wanted to make sure I mentioned how much his family appreciated the new guest docks in town.
"I took my mom out for a harbor cruise for her birthday and we were able to take Colnett to the public dock in the Rhine and go to dinner at the Bluewater Grill," Steve said. "It was just what my mom wanted for her birthday."
My next stop was the Balboa Yacht Club, where I talked to dockmaster Matt Stanley. I asked him about what he has noticed on the harbor.
"Well, Len, the sea lion activity is down, and so are the powerboaters," he replied. "Over the last two weeks, we have only filled up the main dock with sailboats. The docks are normally much more active this time of year."
When I asked him about the recent thefts, Matt informed me that the marina had been hit a couple times, and, again, a large amount of fishing gear was stolen. I then asked about some of the winter storms that have rolled though over the last couple of weeks.
"We had a squall come through the other night with 45-mph winds behind it," he said. "Fortunately, we had gone through the mooring field and inspected everyone's mooring lines the day before, so we rode that one out with no damage."
And had he noticed any interesting marine life in the harbor?
"No. Well, maybe a couple of dolphins taking a bay cruise, and I have noticed some lobsters under the dock," he replied.
Matt should be busy this weekend.
The first race of the 66 Series is on Saturday. It's the second race in the Newport Harbor's Hi-Point Series, and then the Border Run and Ensenada race will follow.
In my effort to broaden my scope of the harbor, I would like to invite a comical captain to contact me.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.