Saturday, October 27, 2007

Ventura to San Diego

While we were at dockside in Ventura Isles Harbor our older son, Rodrigo, and his fiancĂ©e, Dianna, drove from nearby Camarillo to have dinner with us. We ate at the highly recommended Brophey Brothers in the Ventura Marina Village and it was all-around excellent; food, service, and atmosphere. Afterwards, the “kids” kindly drove us to a nearby Von’s so that we could buy a little fresh produce, bread, and a few other odds and ends.

It was sure good to see family! I'd love to have also seen my mom and dad, who live in Simi Valley, but my dad had recent surgery and I didn't want them to make the trip out. My mom has a hard enough time getting my dad to take it easy and allow his body to recuperate gradually without me tempting him to get out in the car for an evening! Hang in there, Dad, we'll see you soon! Love you both!!!
The next morning, Wednesday, October 24, we left Ventura headed for Santa Catalina Island. It was another day and night at sea, and yet another leg of our trip when the wind was practically non-existent. We hadn’t realized we’d be motoring most of the way to Mexico! During the night the wind came up nicely and we got a few hours of actual sailing in but then it died again so we were back to the “iron jib.” For me, it’s easier to be motoring when I have a night watch; I’m not the sailor Mike is, although I am learning, and I don’t have the confidence yet to be under sail when I’m on deck alone in the middle of the night. Perhaps by the time we are heading home it will be a different story; we can hope!

We approached Catalina from the northwest, as the sun was rising and casting a red glow on the sky and water, entering Catalina Island Harbor which is on the west side of the island, or its “back side” if you are looking at the island from the southern California mainland. This calm and sheltered harbor with few boats was the quietest and most peaceful anchorage we’ve had so far. Apparently the fishing there is excellent, too, because we were treated to scores of pelicans flying low over the water and diving after fish. At dusk the activity was at its peak with a pelican crashing into the water every couple of minutes. Seagulls chased and harassed the pelicans, trying to steal their catch, and creating a cacophony of screeches and shrieks. Quite entertaining!
Once we had anchored and made good with the harbor patrol Mike inflated our dinghy and we set off for shore. There was a tiny little town there called “Two Harbors,” so named for the two harbors, one of either side of it, that it serves. As the harbor patrol guy told us, there was “one of everything,” meaning one restaurant, one building for showers and rest rooms, one little grocery store, etc.

We found the Visitor’s Center and went in to see what information we could get. Not much, as it turned out. In fact, Mike and I were surprised at the cool reception we got when we went in. I asked if there was a bus to Avalon (about a 2.5 hour ride) and the woman said “yes, it leaves at noon.” I told Mike that sounded good, and then asked the woman what time it returned. “It doesn’t,” she said, “not until tomorrow.” I don’t know why that information wasn’t offered up front. What if we had taken that bus to Avalon, expecting to return the same day? Seems the bus only makes same-day round-trips during the summer peak season. In fact, we got a cool reception every place we went to the point that we wondered if the “locals” didn’t like tourists which would be strange since how else would their little island town survive? Get a clue you people in Two Harbors!

We took a long hike along the east side of the island, perhaps three or four miles in all, and the exercise felt great after so many sedentary days on the boat. Down in the water we could see several scuba diving and snorkeling classes going on and two groups of colorful kayaks. From our position up on the cliff we could see straight through the clear water to the coral and plants on the bottom.
On our way back to the boat we stopped for lunch at the only restaurant in town, where we met the ONLY nice person of the day, the young lady who took our order and waited on us, she was GREAT, and where we also enjoyed the company of two cats (one orange and white, the other grey and white) that came by begging for food. They got most of my chicken enchiladas! Later we saw a solid black cat who wasn’t at all interested in making our acquaintance but coolly allowed me to snap a quick photo. I do seem to find cats to make friends with just about everywhere I go; I really don't know why!
We also found a rope swing, which we had a wonderful time swinging on, and passed by the one-room schoolhouse where the kids and their teacher were enjoying their lunch outside. Ahhhh, a simpler life, eh?

Now, after another day and night at sea, we have finally arrived in San Diego. We’re now surrounded by boats that are flying the purple “Baja Ha-Ha” flag. There are nearly 180 in all, docked or anchored in several marinas. Tomorrow the rally activities begin with a skipper’s meeting then a barbecue and Halloween party. It’s overcast and rainy today but the paper says sunny tomorrow so I hope the forecast is correct. I’m exhausted today so we will go to bed early and try to catch up on sleep. But first, a walk into town to find internet access so I can post this update.

I'm not sure how soon I will be able to post again. We are due to enter Mexico on Monday, at which time all bets are off as far as where to get on-line. I hear that there are Starbucks there, though, so if I can find one of those I'm sure I'll be able to send off emails and or update my blog. So stay tuned, as always!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Searching for Dry Land . . .

. . . and Whales!
Internet access has not been as readily available as I had hoped but, finally, we are in a marina where I can get on-line. What an adventure we have had already and only a week into our two-month trip!

I last posted from Monterey Bay. We left there Friday morning, our destination Morrow Bay, some 100 or so miles south, by water. It was a beautiful, sunny day, with mild winds and just a few scattered clouds. In the afternoon we had enough wind to sail for a few hours, but the rest of the time we motor-sailed, even with the larger genoa that we had rigged in place of the regular jib (the front sail). Sea lions followed us out of the bay and played in our wake.

Heading into the night we readied everything for overnight sailing; we got our cold-weather gear handy, ate an early dinner, and moved into our two-on, two-off watch schedule. As the sun went down, however, the wind and seas began to rise. It got colder and darker and the seas rougher until I was scared enough to wake Mike a half-hour before my midnight-to-two a.m. watch was up.

Mike gradually reduced sail until we had no more than a small bit of the genoa no bigger than a baby’s blanket flying and still it seemed too much. We had a following sea with huge swells taller than our boat’s deck that often crested and broke behind us sending spray over the stern. The water was inky black with starkly contrasting whitecaps that nearly glowed under the half moon. The fierce wind gusted and changed directions almost constantly while howling through the rigging.

I huddled below terrified that any minute we’d be capsized, or something on the boat would fail -- like the engine -- and we’d be left floundering in the tossing waves or, worse, the wind would turn us broadside to the waves and the next big one would fill the cockpit & cabin with water. I didn’t forget my prayers that night!

To me the night was endless. Mike told me to try to sleep and I did lie down in the aft cabin but who can relax when in constant danger of being tossed out of the berth? And I had to watch the porthole constantly to make sure I could see Mike out in the cockpit. If I couldn’t see him I had to get up and go to the hatchway and peer out to make sure he hadn’t gone overboard. Wrapped up in multiple layers complete with balaclava (which covers the entire head except a small portion of face) and thick gloves he looked like an astronaut in a space capsule as he moved around checking the GPS, the wind-vane, and the sails.

Around 5 a.m. the wind finally began to calm a bit. I stood halfway up the ladder in the hatchway shrinking from the cold while Mike reported how well the boat had stood up to the rough conditions, the Monitor wind-vane hadn’t broken off and flown away in the wind, the engine hung in like a champ, and the genoa which is made of a lighter material than the regular jib hadn’t torn. He sent me below to look at the chart and see if there was a port closer than Morrow that we could duck into. Later that morning he wrote in his log, “Rough night. Enroute to Morrow but took refuge at San Simeon. Arrived 09:30 and slept.” I added my own note: “Deb terrified.”In San Simeon Bay there was no marina or other amenities for transient boaters so we anchored off-shore. I was able to use my cell phone to call my mom and check on my dad, who was still in the hospital but improving. We had a nice view of Hearst Castle high up on the hills.
The next day, Sunday, we left and day-sailed to San Luis Obispo Bay (skipping Morrow Bay entirely). Again we anchored off-shore and, although there was a water-taxi available to take boaters to shore, we were too late in the evening to use it so we simply stayed on-board. I called my mom again and as my dad had come home from the hospital that day I was able to talk to him. He sounded good! I also called my son, Rodrigo, and our housesitter, Richard, who said the cats are doing fine. Naturally, after talking to Richard and hearing the antics of the kitties I missed them more than ever.

We left San Luis Obispo Bay Monday a.m. and sailed all night around Point Arguello and Point Conception, also known as the “Cape Horn of the Pacific” for its notoriety in being a very difficult “crossing.” The Santa Ana winds, which are currently causing so much trouble and so many fires in southern California and northernmost Mexico, possibly helped produce the calmest seas in this area in recent history: gorgeous & calm mirror-like water, warm breezes until the deepest part of the night, and light winds. Not ideal for sailing, true, and we had to use our motor, but definitely my choice of conditions for standing night-watches. What a welcome difference from just two nights before!
All throughout the day on Monday we sighted whales, gangs of sea lions (many dozens at a time), and numerous dolphins which raced alongside of us and wove under and in front of our bow. At one point I lay down on the deck at the bow and dangled my arm over the side where a dolphin almost grazed my hand as it leapt above the surface of the water. I could clearly see them as they sped along under the water, sleek and shiny gray, and sometimes upside-down showing their white underbellies. What amazing, friendly, and playful creatures dolphins are.

We also saw a number of off-shore oil rigs – huge things they are, and lit up like Christmas trees at night. We located them on the chart and got a kick out of their names; “Irene,” “Gail,” “Hidalgo,” “Harvest,” “Hermosa,” and several standing all in a row are “Hellhouse A,” “B,” and “C.”
Now it’s Tuesday, October 23. We arrived at the Ventura Isle Marina in Ventura, CA, around noon, and it’s our first time on dry land since Monterey Bay – that’s five days. You can bet we have been happy with the amenities here; all the ones we’ve been anxious for: laundry facilities, a cute little marina shopping area with gift shops and restaurants (including one offering internet access), super-clean rest-rooms, and, best of all, showers. Ahhhhhhhh!

Dinner with Rodrigo and Dianna tonight (they live in nearby Camarillo), then tomorrow we head off to Catalina Island………check back in a few days for more of our adventures!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rain in Alameda . . . Sun in Monterey Bay

Our first 24-hour sail is completed. We left Alameda at 7:30 a.m. on Wed’day, October 17, 2007, and arrived in Monterey Bay Marina at about 9 a.m. Thursday, the 18th. Luckily for me, Mike is going easy on me with the non-stop, overnight sailing business. One, I’ve been sick and am still coughing and two, I was seasick all day the first day. Believe me, next time I’ll listen to the captain and take some preventive Dramamine! He was fine. Being seasick (sorry, Mom, but truly there is no better word) sucks. I was miserable. Mike says there are only two ways to combat the queasiness; stay up top where you can see the horizon and get fresh air, or go below but only to lay down with eyes shut and sleep. I tried the first and it was ok for awhile. Finally, I had to go below where I ended up sleeping most of the day.

Mike, meanwhile, got treated to a whale sighting. It came up and blew nearby, and he thought he also saw a youngster, but it may have been the dolphin that was accompanying the whale. The whale almost immediately flipped its fluke up and dove but the dolphin (or dolphins, it was hard to tell if there were multiple) played in our wake for a few minutes. I did get to see the dolphin(s) but missed the whale.

On the flipside Mike also got to experience the RAIN. Yep, it rained during our departure. Then it poured. Mike had a bucket up on deck and kept an eye on the level of water in it. He estimated at least two inches in just a few hours. He was in full foul-weather gear but I’m sure it was not pleasant. You have to really love sailing to stand at the helm of a sailboat in that kind of weather and still be able to smile!

I was finally up and around and a little better (though still eating nothing but saltines) at about 6 p.m., just in time to take my first “watch.” Mike had us on course and the Monitor wind vane keeping us there. All I had to do was watch out for other boats and anything else big enough to sink us, and make little adjustments to the wind vane if needed. The GPS was on and showed the route we were to follow. Mike went below and wrapped up in a quilt for some much needed rest.

I had nervously anticipated my first watch alone but it was actually really nice. I was dressed warmly in layers and the sun had not gone down yet but was low in the sky coloring the water and sky a gorgeous reddish-orange. We were motor-sailing (using the engine but also with the sails up) because the wind was too light for sails alone. Not the best wind for sailing but it made for a calm & easy night for me.

The first thing that happened was three sea lions surfaced near the back of the boat, blowing the water from their nostrils, and then they romped around like 10-year old boys. They only stayed a few minutes then were gone. I watched the sun go down and the stars come out. An almost-half moon had been up for hours already and it grew brighter. I tried to picture all the sea-life going on below the restless surface of the water. Then I began wondering why God covered so much of the surface of the earth with water – and the majority of it salt water, which we can’t even drink!

I noticed the bright green phosphorescence in the water to either side of the boat and in our wake. I could see why Mike is so fascinated with it; it’s mesmerizing. I was leaning over the railing at the stern staring into the wake when Mike quietly came up behind me and gave me a start. The two hours was up already. My turn to go below and get some shut-eye.

My subsequent watches got progressively tougher. Eight to midnight was not too bad. I got to see an awesome sunset. I tried wearing a headlamp to read but found it was better to just place it in my lap and train it on the book’s pages. I couldn’t do too much reading, though, it being a bit of a strain on my eyes. During Mike’s watch he had switched from the wind-vane to the auto-steering device that electronically adjusts the rudder to keep the boat on its prescribed course. It’s definitely better in light winds. Again, all I really had to do was keep an eye on it, and of course, watch for obstructions in our path. It still wasn’t too cold to stay up top so I did, using a small timer set at 15 minute intervals to remind me to get up and take a look around.

My next watch should have been at 2 a.m., but Mike let me sleep through that one and woke me at 4 a.m. He figured I needed the rest and he’d been able to tell by my frequent coughing that I hadn’t slept much during the first two hours. Four to 6 a.m. was much colder! Mike told me he’d been spending most of the time down below, going up every ten minutes to look around. I found he’d had the right idea and did the same. This third and final watch of the night was the hardest. I was bleary-eyed and cold and had a dull headache coming on. I sat on the settee across from the table with my head in my hands with the timer counting down the ten minutes. Then I’d quietly as possible climb the ladder into the cockpit and take a 360 degree look around, check the GPS, make a small adjustment if necessary then retreat below and start the timer again.

We’re spending today and tonight here in Monterey Bay. I’m happy to be in a cell phone service area because today my dad is having surgery to remove one of his kidneys and I’ll want to call my mom around noon or 1 p.m. to see how things are going. I didn’t like the thought that she wouldn’t be able to call me should anything go wrong. I don’t expect anything to go wrong, not with all the prayers on his behalf, and the blessing he received, but I still want to be reachable. Mike couldn’t have planned our schedule better. My dad has been on my mind all night and morning.

We had breakfast at Lulu’s, also known as The Griddle in the Middle (remember that place, Susan?) and as we were walking over there we remarked that the ground was rocking under our feet. Guess we got our sea-legs just in time to walk on solid ground again. We took a walk along Fisherman’s Wharf. I’ve been here many times but this is the prettiest I’ve seen it. Very few people are here yet, the sun is up, and everything looks so fresh. Sea lions are everywhere on the docks and buoys and are they ever noisy!
Don’t know how we are going to sleep tonight; I wonder if they quiet down when it gets dark?
There's so much more to tell....but I'm at Starbucks, on battery power (why I didn't bring my power cord I don't know) and I still need to check my e-mail so hopefully I'll have a chance to post again soon. I have already started my digital photo album for this trip. The title? "Two Months Before the Mast, or, Dragged Aboard the Baja Ha-Ha."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Departure Day !

Hard to believe this day has finally arrived! The boat is provisioned, the dinghy is on-board, the new genoa sail has been test-fitted, and, gulp, it's just about time to Go.

We're still at home at the moment. Mike is mowing the lawn. I'm doing some last-minute cleaning of floors, updating my blog, checking e-mail and, in a few minutes, I'm going to bake some cookies to welcome our housesitters. Around three Richard will arrive and it will be time to say good-bye to the cats. That will be the hardest part. I miss them already! They know something's up. Scout is stuck to me like glue, and Jack has been following me around the house head-butting me or biting my leg every chance he gets.

We're disappointed in the weather. It's overcast, gloomy, and rainy today. We will probably have rain tonight. I just hope it doesn't rain tomorrow night because that is when we will be doing our first overnight sail. We'll be taking turns through the night, one of us at the helm to keep the boat on course, the other sleeping. Every two hours we will switch. Mike calls it "two on, two off." I call it "two terror, two comatose." I'm not crazy about standing watch alone in the middle of the night. It's so dark! The moon is new right now, too, so there won't even be much moonlight. Well, you've heard the saying, "every day, do something that scares you." With experience I'll get braver. And the further south we go the warmer the weather will be.

I'm also a little disappointed in my current health status. I've had a bad cold w/cough for several days now, and today I'm feeling achey all over as though I'm coming down with the flu. So annoying, just when I need to be at my best. Well, I've got plenty of meds so will just have to battle it through and hope to feel a little better each day.

A friend from County of Napa, Nancy, asked me yesterday on the phone, "what are you going to do all day?" She is worried I will be bored. True, sailing can be boring -- we certainly won't be speeding along like in a speedboat. It's a very leisurely way to travel, and you have to be patient and just enjoy being out on the water. Mike loves that, as well as any sea life we come across, the phosphoresence of the water at night, even watching for changes in the weather. He is a born sailor even though he suffers from motion sickness! The first few days will be the worst for him, but he'll take dramamine and hang in there until he acclimates to the motion of the boat.

As for me, I have so many hobbies that I could fill the days four times over. I will be doing lots of digital scrapbooking on my laptop, as well as keeping a detailed journal of our trip, updating my blog whenever I can, photographing absolutely everything, knitting socks, reading, cross-stitching, and cooking meals. All of those things will keep me very busy during my leisure time, also known as any time that Captain Mike doesn't have me busy following his orders to 'swab the deck' or 'trim the sheets!'

We'll be thinking of you all during our trip. Enjoy the Fall, take care and, please, keep in touch!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Organizing Chaos

I've been trying to get my house ready (i.e., CLEANED UP) for the housesitters. Knowing someone else will be living in my home for two months, I want it to make a good impression, as well as be comfortable and clean. My house is usually fairly clean except when you start looking in cupboards and cabinets. At that point it's pretty clear that my usual method of cleaning up to have guests is to just shove everything into cupboards and drawers. That's usually fine as the casual dinner guest has no need to open them. The housesitters, however, will be living here full-time and needing access to everything. Yikes! Above is a photo of just one of my cupboards; it's a good example of what most of them look like!

Just coincidentally I came across a great website called The Eco-Organizer. This company will come into your home and organize your living spaces! How cool is that? And they are environmentally-friendly, too, always a plus. Well, I live in northern california and they operate in the Los Angeles area so I can't use their services. dang it. But the website shows lots of before and after pics, and gives tips on getting organized which gave me the motivation I needed to get busy myself.

Below is a photo of the same cupboard after I took everything out of it. My cats, Jack (bottom shelf) and Scout (top shelf) thought I had done it just for their entertainment and immediately took possession of the newly cleared space.

Once I got them out of there I swept it out with a broom, threw away a lot of the stuff (phone books from 2004, good grief!) and then neatly packed everything back in that was staying. Wow! I can go buy more stuff now!

This was highly encouraging, and I've gone on to clean out more cupboards, including the linen closet (always a disaster) and my walk-in closet, which requires a stepladder because the shelves go all the way to the ceiling. I've made a lot of progress in the last couple of days and feel great; I actually feel LIGHTER, as though I've shed some weight. And I didn't even have to diet.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Taking Time to Watch the Birds

Looks like Mike and I are finally gettin' into the swing of this semi-retirement stuff. Today we actually spent thirty minutes standing at a window watching this woodpecker in our backyard and trying to get a good picture of him. He was all the way against our back fence so he only showed up as a small speck in the photo, but I was able to use PhotoShop to enlarge the portion showing the bird.

We've never seen this particular bird here in Benicia so we looked it up in our Audubon Society Bird Guide and found it's a type of woodpecker called the Northern Flicker. In fact, after this guy was done pecking around on the ground (turns out their favorite food is ants), he flew up into one of our pine trees and hammered away at the trunk in true woodpecker style. I love seeing new birds in our yard. Last month a bright orange oriole came to our hummingbird feeder. Incredible!

I think I'm going to love Life at this slower pace. . .

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Layout by Susan, and Provisioning the Mirage

Yesterday my friend, Susan, and her husband, Jim, stopped by while Mike and I were in Alameda provisioning the Mirage for our trip. Susan took some photos of us on the boat and, as soon as she got home, created this digital scrapbook layout. Isn't it great? I just love it, and plan to include it when I create a photo album of our Baja Ha Ha cruise. Susan also took the photo of the water that she used as a background. Check out more of her work at her website She has incredible talent as a digital scrapbooker, and specializes in travel photos.

It was a very productive day all around. Before we even reached the boat around noon, we had stopped at West Marine to buy a wide-brimmed hat for me (very necessary in Mexico!), Trader Joe's to stock up on the dried fruit/nut trail mixes that we love to snack on, and Svendsen's Boatworks to buy detailed charts of the west coast of Mexico. Mike had ordered a new sail, a genoa, which arrived on Friday, so we had that with us, too, AND 8 or so large boxes of food. We hauled all that to the boat and began the process of figuring out where to put everything. Storage space is at a premium onboard a sailboat, and ours is only 34 feet long to begin with. We separated out several days worth of meals which we stored in the galley area. The rest went into lockers under the bed in the bow. To get to that food we'll have to lift up the foam mattress we sleep on and rummage around for what we need. I did make a list of which foods are in which lockers (there are three) so we won't have to look through all of them to find what we want. We'll restock the galley from the lockers every few days or so.

Our "staples," which we hope will last approximately 30 days or so. We will be traveling without benefit of refrigeration, so we will eat mainly from boxed meals, canned meats, soups, instant oatmeal, and instant beverages. We can't carry enough food for the full 60 days so we'll shop along the way, as we are able. We'll also buy fresh meat and produce when we can, but obviously, we'll only be able to purchase as much as we can eat in one day (especially when we are in the warmer climes of Mexico). I'm particularly looking forward to buying fresh fish from the local fishermen there.

Here's our little galley with provisions stored. We have a two-burner propane stove, and an Easy-Bake Oven-size oven that I just love to bake brownies in. We can make toast in it, too. Just to the left of the blue basket that is full of spices is a small "icebox" that we can put block or cubed ice in if we want, to keep things cold. We've just found it's usually more trouble than it's worth to keep replacing the ice. We do keep water and 2-liter bottles of soda and ice tea in there, but we generally just drink them at "boat" temp; it's surprising how quickly you get used to that.

And....when all else fails....and there's just nothing in the galley that appeals to me....there's my old standby, crackers and peanut butter. YUM!

Let's go sailing!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Sailing Vessel "Mirage" & The Sock

As promised earlier, here is a photo of the Mirage. It's not the best photo because, as you can see, she was in dry-dock in the Napa Marina, up on props, and with no sails set, and everyone knows sailboats are at their prettiest in the water with all sails flying. Hard to get a photo like that, though, when the photographer (me) is onboard! Isn't she a pretty boat, though? All that "stuff" on her stern, partially covering her name, is our self-steering windvane. The blade of the windvane is not attached, but am sure I'll be getting photos of that during our cruise. It's a great device which frees us up to do other things, when we are on a set course, but needless to say we can't just go below and take a nap! The self-steering device may keep us on course (or close to it) but it can't recognize an obstacle in our path, or tell us when we're venturing too close to a rocky shore. Still, it's nice not to have to stand at the wheel every second while we're under way.

When we were settling our bill with the Napa Marina, I looked at the total and said, "I could fly to Italy and back for that!" Mike didn't bat an eye since he already knew what to expect. After awhile, a special truck trundled over, lifted Mirage and put back in the water. Mike and I sailed her to Angel Island that afternoon/early evening and then anchored off China Beach for the night. The next day we docked at the Alameda Marina. Mike says she's much faster now that she's got a just-cleaned and painted bottom.

Here is a photo of the San Francisco Bay as we were nearing Angel Island.

What a gorgeous evening. There's just nothing like a full moon when you're out on a sailboat.

Ok, now for the Sock Update: It's DONE! ONE sock is done! Of course, as my sister Karen would say, now I'm faced with knitting another one exactly like it when I might rather go on to a new project. Actually, I'm quite looking forward to knitting the same sock again...the practice will be good for me, and now that I know how to execute the heel and toe, it's not so scary.

When I tried to lay the sock out on my desk and take a picture of it my cat, Scout, decided it was HER sock. If I tried to get it away from her she sunk her claws into it. So I just let her have it (or think I was letting her have it). Later, she wandered off and I took the opportunity to hide it!

It looks blue in the photo, but actually it's purple, as the photos in previous posts show. I tried it on, too. It's just a tad big. It would probably fit my husband (though a little snugly) but he didn't seem too enthusiastic about the colors so I'm going to keep them for myself. I used natural fibers so I will block them to make them a little more snug on my feet. Can't wait to wear these on a cold night on the boat!