This week I took a dinghy cruise around the harbor and a bike ride around the Back Bay with the idea of just taking in the sights, sounds and thoughts of the harbor.
I started on the east end of the harbor heading south and navigating under the Balboa Island bridge. It was last Sunday, when there was a slight chill in the air but it wasn't yet cold enough to call winter. The smile on my face was caused by the thought that the days are starting to get longer.
My smiled brightened when I noticed Rob and Haden McIntosh. Rob was dressed like Santa Claus and Haden, who appeared to be about 7 years old, was dressed like an elf. They had brought in their paddleboards from Riverside to paddle around our harbor and spread good cheer.
With holiday music booming from a sound system attached to the back of Rob's board and holiday wishes being extended to people walking around Balboa Island, it could not get any better.
My cruise continued down the north side of Balboa Island, heading west into the Five Points area of the harbor. I had to laugh again because another father-son team, dressed as Santa and an elf, was just making the turn around Harbor Island.
As I entered the widest point in our harbor, I started to notice all the boat owners who were cleaning up from the previous night's Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and getting ready for the upcoming night's. The decorations were all deflated and looked like misplaced boat covers hanging over the side of the boats.
Thoughts of the parade the night before ran through my mind. So often, I do not feel like fighting the traffic, the cold and the parking and then working my way back home. But once I become surrounded with friends and my teenage son loses the attitude, parade evenings always become priceless. I always try to take a step away from the boat and bank the moment like an extra minute of sunlight.
Some thought the parade to be to short this year, but I thought it was perfect. I always enjoy the big boats like the 100-foot Nordland called Victorious and WildThing, the 58-foot Jeanneau. But the ones that grab my attention are the small boats, like the guy on that 8-foot Boston whaler named NS Para Sailor — that guy had to be cold and wet in all that boat wake.
Big shoutout again to all the boat owners, chairman David Beck and his crew at the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce for providing the 105th year of this holiday tradition and making it so memorable.
Continuing on my cruise, I worked my way toward the south side of Lido Isle going under the flight path of departing jets. At a lower altitude, a flock of Marbled Godwits flew overhead with their high-pitched sounds and quick direction changes.
My thoughts were then directed toward the recent tidelands management meeting, where the topic of derelict boats was brought up again. I hope that all the mooring permit holders understand that on a shore mooring or deep water mooring you do not have to keep a boat tied up to your mooring. I started to notice that most of the derelict boats are now attached to the shore moorings.
What a derelict boat is and how a boat might not reach city code policy will be defined in the upcoming months by the Harbor Commission. How the city can help dispose of these boats is by providing the owners an inexpensive way of disposing of them, and that's what the Harbor Resources Department along with the Harbor Commission will be working on this next year. There will be much more to talk about, so stay tuned.
On my cruise or bike ride around the Back Bay, two things came to mind. On top of Castaways Park is one of the best views of all our harbor. You have to walk up a hill, but it's worth it and it might make you feel better after New Year's Eve.
I am also going to try and keep in mind, for that next time I need to be a little creative, to bring my wife, Jennifer, up to Vista Point off of Eastbluff. There is a bench there behind the Vista Point sign that is perfect for viewing the upper bay.
Sea ya next year!
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.