Date: 07/02/04, Vacation 2004
Departure Port: Alameda
Mechanical…All good.We have started our trip to Catalina Island, California.It was a rather later departure than I had hoped but all is fine and we at least accomplished having a last dinner with Stephanie prior to leaving for the month.
We departed just after 2030 tonight, and have arrived in Clipper Cove at 2058.We motored slowly up the estuary taking in the sights and leaving Alameda slowly behind.As we reached the edge of the estuary the Fireworks at PacBell stadium began which made for a nice send off.
Tomorrow we will leave approx 0500 to catch the morning ebb tide to the gate and pass as the tide begins to die. Both Lisa and I have apprehensions about the true departure.It has been a long time since we have sailed on the open ocean so we are concerned that something was not prepared for.
For now we are content in the fact that the anchor is set in extremely sticky mud and the pressure pump for the deck wash down is working well.
Date: 3 July, 2004, Half Moon Bay Voyage
Departure Port: Clipper Cove, Treasure Island, San Francisco Bay
Lat: 37.48.916 Long: 122.21.955
We are preparing to depart. It is 0430 and I have made the final inspections. Added oil today for the first time. I will do well to always wipe the dipstick as the oil looked good this AM, but after a final check was actually down by 2 quarts (est). The stick now has oil to just below the first X.
Coffee is brewing and soon the anchor will rise. Departure will be at 0500 and I expect us to motor for the first hour or two as we catch the ebb out to the bridge and find slack approx 0900. This is not to be as we immediately came to the halt at the entrance to Treasure
Islands Clipper Cove.
We were 200 yards out from the pier, but luckily we were able to power through the mud and came free within a couple of minutes.
We ended up moving through the gate by 0600 and by 0830 had cleared the number 2 (outermost) buoy.
The wind was light from the South West, and not to our liking. We had the main up and in double reef position as a precaution to the 25 – 30 knot gust we were expecting. These never materialized and we found only one gust that even exceeded 16 knots. You would have thought that 16 was a good breeze, but it was not
The average wind for the day was approx 7 knots.
Just as we were making the turn south we spotted what may have been an old carcass of a dog or possibly a human. I didn’t’ want to investigate, as I figured that would be a bad omen, the dead person that is. If I don’t know what it is, it can’t hurt right.
Not long after turning south, Lisa became sick and my only teammate was sidelined for the rest of the trip to Half Moon Bay. This definitely had an impact on sailing, as changes to the sail where limited to trimming only as I did not want to be on deck for anything other than an emergency due to the swell which came from every angle.
By 1030 it looked like we could do a bit more sailing so I brought out the jib and the mizzen.We were soon doing 6-7 knots so the engine was cut off. This lasted for about 10 minutes, and then the wind went flat again.
Just as we were rounding (passing) the point at Montara, we began to see whales. Mostly just blowing bubbles, but occasionally they would show a fluke or tail. Even Lisa joined in the viewing. Also seen on in this area where Sunfish or Moonfish. They would just look at you with their cow eyes, and lay on the surface.
At approx 1200 we had a big surprise. We were passing a pod of whales and I swear we hit one, or they hit us. There was a loud noise against the hull and I quite literally thought we had broken a shaft or ran into a rock. We never did see any evidence, but we did a full check of the bilges to be sure we didn’t sustain a leak. All was ok.
The rest of the trip was uneventful till we came into the channel. I was pulling down sail and leaving the boat to autopilot (the channel is wide).
I nearly wiped out a Bayliner that had stopped to fish. I hadn’t noticed him earlier. As I was putting in the last of the gaskets for the sail, we heard another thunk, this time it was a crab line. The noise was just the floats hitting against the hull. Oh Well.
We arrived at 1430, and put 35 gallons of fuel in the starboard tank. I am not sure if it was full or not when we left, so we will take this as a starting point.
Date: 7/05/04, Santa CruzHarbor Voyage
Departure Port: Half Moon Bay,
Lat:37’28.650 Long: 122’28.900
Departed with Full tanks at 0500 today, the anchor raising was a pleasure as it was the first time that I hadn’t had to scrap 15 lbs of mud off the anchor and chain. The phospheresants created by the anchor coming up during the wee hours of the morning were gorgeous. We did pull up quite a bit of seaweed that stayed with us till Santa Cruz.
The fog was light and it was a simple task of either following the boat in front of us or visually guiding ones self out the bay.
Lisa didn’t feel well at first but quickly assimilated into her normal cocoon position on the port side of the cockpit. This is only a temporary position as she is evolving quickly and I expect tomorrow will be a splendid day.
Today’s sightings include Shamu style whale visuals, lots of moonfish and several porpoises. No catastrophes today. Wind was directly out of the south that did not help to move us along. The total distance for the trip today was approx 50 miles. Weadded quite a bit with the tacking we were doing to try and keep the sails full. It took a full 13-hour to complete, so figuring 50 miles that is an average of 3.84 knots. Certainly not blazing but getting there.
We are currently at Santa Cruz Harbor, 36’57.797 X 122’00’112. Will depart tomorrow for Monterey then either Still Water Cove or San Simion Harbor. Will see what the day brings.
Date: 7/06/04, Monterey Harbor Voyage
Departure Port: Santa Cruz Harbor California
Lat: 36’57.797 Long: 122’00.112
Departed this morning at 0900. We are planning a 21-mile passage through Monterey Bay and from the looks of it; we may possibly be able to really sail for the first time since our departure from San Francisco.
The wind is still light and out of the South, but our destination is on a heading of 151 degrees. I have bought a Salmon Fishing rig just in case this takes a little time.
Once all the sails were up, we were able to maintain at least 3 knots of “speed” in 7 knots of wind, so we left the engine off for the first time. How nice it is.
We thought we would have seen more wild life along the way, but the only new animals we saw were Otters and Brants (I think that the birds name).
Life was easy for the first 10 miles, then the winds started to pump in and we really started moving.
With only the last 5 miles to go till Monterey, we began to see winds in the twenty’s and I started reefing. This was all on a beat so I was impressed we were able to maintain the speed we did (6 knots).
We arrived Monterey approx 1300 and dropped the anchor in 40 feet of clear water. This was a good test of anchor chain as it was knotted up at the 150 feet mark.
Once anchored we pumped the dingy up and proceeded to shore to procure the foods we would need for the next couple of days. We hadn’t brought much from home, except beer, so we took the backpack with us to ease the burden.
Groceries were quickly secured and we retired to the boat for a very roily night.
The wave sets of course are still out of the west but there was a good bit of wind blowing over the hills from the south that set us fairly well broadside to the waves. Surprisingly I was either very tired or very content with the scope of chain, as I slept well.
Position 36’36.372, 121’53.229
Date: 7/07/04, Monterey California
Lat: 36.36.376 Long: 121.53.197
Latitude and Longitude have only changed due to the wind pressure from the south and the scope of the anchor chain. Weather report this morning was for South winds shifting to West this afternoon and NW winds in the AM.
At 1800 today it was blowing 27 in the anchorage. I don’t feel like we are suffering though since San Francisco is witnessing gale force winds today north of the bay bridge.
So we will hold for another day. Lisa is getting anxious and I know would like to leave now. I am holding for the right weather, as I do not want to create any adventure that is unwarranted.
We have lit the fireplace for the first time in 6 months today. Took a little learning to get the fire burning. With the wind coming down the pipe at a good clip, my first foray into ignition wound up sending billows of dark smoke into the cabin and a full evacuation nearly took place. I think I have it under control now. No need for cigars at this point.
Obviously we are not veterans at this sort of thing and all the lessons of learning to enjoy a rolly anchorage, drizzly, cool and counter efficient weather are starting to take a toll already.
I think Friday will make it all worthwhile as the winds should fill in correctly and hopefully the system that is creating the “all-day” fog will subside and let us be. As I write this today at 2230, the wind is still gusting from the south that puts us nearly beam to the sea. Luckily the swell has been moderate (1-3 feet) but obnoxiously annoying just the same.
The one thing we have been able to able to maintain on the trip has been the afternoon cocktail hour at 1800. Wind or no, the martinis and cosmos keep coming out of the bar. Such are the trials of vacation.
Date: July 8, 2004, Stranded in Monterey
Departure Port: None
We are stranded for another day in Monterey. We use the time wisely and go to an Italian Starbucks for coffee and a Super cuts to get Lisa’s hair trimmed. The weather looks good for tomorrow via the afternoon report.
We have been here long enough. If we had a slip I wouldn’t mind, but the south wind every night is just enough to frustrate you with the rolling.
Date: July 9, Monterey
Departure Port: Monterey
We are off at 0300 today. The wind is light and I hope that means it will soon change to NW. We make good time out the harbor, but soon find the wind on the nose.
I have decided to deploy the water generator and in haste tried to lower the propeller first and release line hand over hand. This worked well till I ran into a knot. The knot forced me to stop the upper end of the line from spinning, but the propeller continued to spin just the same and an incredible snarl ensued.
At 0430 after covering 9 miles to just West of the Cypress Point we are still in the chase. With the wind already building to 17 knots and the latest weather stating winds SW again, I am ready to turn back.
I confirm with Lisa and she says let’s go back in frustration. Lisa is not a fan of Monterey. It is nice to be going down wind (back to Monterey). The defeat does not play on me much as this is vacation and I don’t want to do what is not fun.
4 miles into the return trip, Lisa suggests going to Pebble Beaches, Still Water cove. Still Water is a NW wind protected area and not recommended for SW wind. We take the challenge anyway with the hopes of the weather changing.
This is a very challenging anchorage as it is split between two small coves. The western most cove is the most open and inviting, but is clogged with kelp. It is also very exposed to the wind from the south. The smaller of the two anchorages is more open and does have several permanent moorings. The entrance though is only 50 yards wide with kelp on the both sides.
We end up taking the anchorage and find the holding ground to be rock. After slipping our anchor for about 25 yards, we finally took hold and felt secure.
It is nice to be tied down with no swell. The anchorage is beautiful. We pumped up the dinghy and took leave to go to the beach for beers and tide pool observations.
The remainder of the day was pleasant with cool drinks, soft music and of course our typical Sundowners consisting of Cosmopolitans and Martini’s.
The sunset was beautiful though not spectacular. It was just nice to be out of the wind for the first in 4 days.
Date: 7/11/04, Journey to Point Sur and Beyond
Departure Port: Pebble Beach, Carmel California
Departed today at 0600 due to the light required to extract us from our Kelp paradise. The anchor came up remarkably easy. One item of note was a large 25 – 30 in starfish that was attached to the chain. I believe the starfish was actually a contributor to our staying put for the night.
The wind is coming from the NW like it is suppose to be and we are making terrific time down the coast to Point Sur. We pass the point approx 0900 and are lined up for a quick passage to San Simion and an arrival time of approx 1700. The distance is 80 miles.
Point Sur is gorgeous. The light is easily identified from 17 miles out. The winds at the point averaged 10 – 15 knots with the seas at the prescribe 4 – 6 feet that the weather forecast had called for.
By noon the Sun had come out and we were making 6 – 7.5 knots towards the destination.
You could feel that the wind might increase, but until we hit Point San Martin, we didn’t know that the size of the seas would increase to some as large as 12 – 15 feet and breaking. The intervals where less than 6 seconds.
By 1500 we were moving under reefed jib alone and still pulling high 5 knots with burst down the waves of 6 plus. I am ashamed to say we did not take any more pictures till the next morning. As we brought Point Peidras Blancas into sight, the seas have become so large I was nearly afraid to take my hands off the wheel. Wind increased to over 30 knots and although the boat was happily making way, I was increasingly anxious to get into anchor.
Once we rounded the point, things subsided quite a bit. Seas became regular and were not breaking the way they had been. Winds were still at 30 plus, but this was bay sailing conditions now, so we relaxed and Lisa took over while I plotted the final lay line.
We pulled into San Simion at 1800 and we anticipated a fine long shower and then barbeque on the boat. Our average speed this time was 6.666 knots.
The anchorage at San Simion looked good, with small surf at the beach so we pumped up the dingy and dropped in our clean clothes, shampoo and everything else accept the inflatable life preservers.
Not sure why things work out this way, but it turned out the surf line had a tremendous under-tow and as we made the beach the engine began to bog down. Unknown to me it was the outgoing current. I took it as the engine-hitting bottom, so I killed the engine and yelled to Lisa to get out of the boat as another wave was coming and I wanted to get the boat out of the water.
Turns out we were still in 4 feet of water and so when we bailed we got soaked and had little control of the dingy as the next wave thrashed us. Lisa was not happy and I was soaked. To add insult to injury, we did not find a shower and still had to put the dingy back in the water.
Lisa made a great observation regarding Surfers and the surf conditions that I will heed next time. When there are surfers it is best to not try and make a surf landing.
We did better at departing, but only slightly. I tested the engine before we put it in the water. The engine started first time. As we put the boat in the water, the engine started and we roared into an oncoming wave Mojo style.
Like a trooper Lisa moved to the front and kept the bow together. The engine ran just long enough to get us past the next wave, but then quite completely. I had to engage the paddles to make the next wave, and with a dinghy mostly full of water, sweated the next 500 yards to the boat.
Thinking the worst was over and looking forward to a warm shower on the boat, we picked up the dingy while the generator heated water. About this time the wind dropped down to calm and the boat began to take an attitude of lying against the swell that had created the waves on the shore, and we entered another dimension in rolling, all night.
Morning dawned early at 0600 and we were up and out of the bay. Though pretty, San Simion is a skip for me next time.
Date: 7/12/04, San Simion
Departure Port: San Simion
Lat: 35’37.800 Long: 121’11.350
When we woke up the anchorage was just as rolly as when we went to sleep. I was more than happy to depart at 0600. There wasn’t much wind when we departed, but just to be sure we raised the main and plodded up to the ocean buoy at a wallowing pace. When we reached the ocean buoy we set the course to Morro Bay.
The passage was foggy and overcast all along the way with limited visibility of ¼ mile or less. I should have heeded good reason and bought a good map before leaving Monterey as the one we had did not have good marking nor-good information on the buoys we would encounter along the way.
Once we found the entrance to Morro bay we called the dredge master on channel 12 and checked the inbound conditions. The dredge at Morro bay is continuously operated and we just needed to pass to the north of the dredge to clear.
We took up a berth at the Morro Bay Yacht club. The harbormaster and duty officer of the club seem more than friendly and we quickly acquainted our selves with the folks that were already on the dock. Of note were Dennis and Betty of Boomerang.
We spent a number of days in Morro Bay due to the fact that the locals were very accommodating and fun to hang with; we even had fun with the local Post Master.
On the 13th, Lisa and I took the afternoon to go down the estuary. Following a good tour we proceeded up the estuary and west to the dunes. It is interesting that the dunes are encroaching on the bay at a rate or 2-3 feet a year. It is a good thing that we are visiting now, as 40 years from now the bay will be much smaller.
The following day we went to the Internet café in town, the Two Dogs Café. We were able to email friends and family from the café, after which we explored the Museum of Natural History and then went to the store for Game Hens and briquettes.
Most of the displays at the museum were cool and interactive, but many were broken. I hope our $4 dollar donation helps.
The BBQ that we had expected to have on the dock was thwarted by one of the officers at the club. He said we were not able to use the grill sense they don’t let “others” use it. This completely incensed Lisa and I, so we decided to show our anger by going back to the boat and cooking up margaritas and Game Hens accompanied by loud music forced the way of the Morro Bay Yacht Club.
If it was good enough for Noriega, it is good enough for them as well.
Date: 7/14/04, Morro Bay
Departure Port: Morro Bay
Lat: 35’21.700 Long: 120’52.400
We departed without fan fare form the bay at 0600. The weather was clear and seas calm. We had just enough wind to raise the sails, but as has been our modus operandi, we ran the motor to charge the batteries and to get moving.
Port San Luis is mostly a commercial harbor, and when we arrived we through out the anchor not knowing that we were in the commercial section of the wharf.
Once the anchor was down, we were immediately reprimanded for being the wrong area, but fortunately the harbormaster was accommodating and allowed us to stay put till we had finished lunch.
After lunch, we pulled the plug and moved to the public wharf that was accompanied by some rolling, but it was reasonable. Knowing that we would by now attempt Point Conception, I went to sleep immediately and Lisa puttered about the boat.
During my nap, Lisa met some folks from Oregon (vessel GAI) who had been on the water for a year and were working south. I guess our schedule was not too slow.
After a quick visit to the town of San Louis Obispo, we decided we needed to eat then pull anchor for the second time that day and move to Santa Barbara.
For a midnight passage, I can’t recommend beans and Hot dogs enough. The gas I developed was enough to send us on our way and the discomfort was plenty to keep me up during the night.
Date: 7/14/04, Morro Bay to Santa Barbara
Departure Port: San Louis Obispo
Lat: 35’09.250 Long: 120’44.800
Let the games begin; this will be the longest of trips. I believe we are looking at 130 miles of water between Morro Bay and Santa Barbara or roughly 100 miles more to go. My original plan was to go to Cojo Anchorage following the Point Conception crossing, but after meeting with a fellow from the HCOA, he thought we would do well to come into Santa Barbara to replenish, OK.
We depart at 1800 and under full press of canvas find 10 knots of wind outside the harbor.
Without reefs we were blasting at nearly 7.5 knots toward Conception. This lasted for about 1 hour before the wind began to die and the seas to increase.
Once the seas became large, we had to drop most of the sails to keep the slating from becoming too much.
We made good time to Point Arguelo with only moderately annoying seas in the Diablo Canyon area.
We had heard earlier that Vandenberg AFB would be performing launches of missiles tonight, but were not sure what a treat it would become. Not long after passing our first oil terminal “Irene”, we were treated to an incredible light show as the night sky became as bright as day and soon a missile headed for Kwajalin islandin the south pacific.
The show lasted about 5 minutes after which we still heard the missile thunder away.
Once the missile noise finally faded, Lisa was back in bed and Conception lay 12 miles away.
Date: 7/15/04, In route to Santa Barbara
Departure Port: Underway
We reached Santa Barbara without incident today. Conception poised no problems. The seas were probably average, though in the dark of night that assumed a more aggressive stature. We passed the point just prior to sunrise, and the toughest part of all was that I was dealing with a one hour of sleep over a 24 hr period.
I had planned to celebrate with champagne or scotch and a cigar, but Lisa lay resting in bed at the time and the moment passed before I could in liven myself to celebrate on my own.
By 0700 the crew had awaken and to my great surprise came out with a great breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon and coffee. I was very happy.
Approximately 10 AM I realized how slow 5 knots could be and how frustrating wind on the nose is when you are trying to make way. We passed several of the terminals in the channel but had yet to raise Holly. Holly is one of the only singular terminals in the channel. She is 10 miles from Santa Barbara and 10 miles from the group of Hondo and Harmony that we passed much earlier.
We are finally welcomed by Holly with brown ooze (oil) that covered the lower section of the boat and even changed the clear color of my monofilament fishing line to black. Lisa and I are perplexed that this type of pollution could be going on in the channel and have given thought to calling the Coast Guard.
The spillage lasts for more than 2 miles. It is only later that we learn this is a natural leakage and Holly is actually in place to lighten the pressure on the earth.
When Lisa came back with our slip assignment she also has bad news that the police will be by to inspect our holding tanks. In a flash I go below to switch the valve, and as usual it is stuck. In a panic, I turn the knob harder than I normally would and it breaks off midway between “holding tank” and “Overboard discharge”.
The officer arrives immediately after my discovery and we discuss options. I figured it would be an immediate fine, but alternatively asked for directions to the nearest marine store for a new 3-way valve. 75 dollars, 1 hour and 2 poop drenched hands later, we are in business again.
Lisa suggests sandwiches for lunch, but I opt for bottles of beer instead as finger foods don’t sound so appetizing now.
The remaining time in Santa Barbara is spent finding groceries as we have been told that provisioning will be easy. On second thought Lisa has lost the directions to the nearest grocery store so instead we are on a wild goose chase that just keeps getting longer and longer. At final look I would say the Ralph’s market we found was roughly 15 blocks up State Street and then another 3 blocks over.
Good thing I brought my sandals for hiking.
Date: 7/16/04, Going to the Big Island
Departure Port: Santa Barbara
We depart at an eye awakening 10:00 today. Our plan is to sail without interruption regardless of wind conditions. The wind gods are trying us in the first hour but even with the SB buoy within casting range for more than an hour, we stay true to our quest.
I have set the fishing pole out for action and we steadily sink into the notion that we have made it to the islands and the weather is beautiful, 75 degrees, no clouds, no pressure and plenty of cold beer.
The Ocean is so blue here. I can’t describe the hue and Lisa goes on and on about it. This is the vacation we signed up for.
As the day progresses it only gets better.
By noon we are hopping along at nearly 6.5 knots on a close reach to the islands.There is no swell, all the sails are pulling in the right direction, shirts are off and the sun tan lotion is flowing like the Falls at Niagara; oh the beer is also.
Date: 7/17/04, Fry’s Anchorage, Big Island
Departure Port: Fry’s Anchorage
Ron and Ardis had not shown last night and I am curious if they will. It is odd to meet someone over the Internet then immediately plan a weekend, will see.
During the remainder of the afternoon we are invited to the Painted Caves by John/Nancy, Matt/ Jeanine. We accept and at 0600 7/17/04 we are off in Matt’s Balboa 26 with 6 people and 3 dinghies in tow.
The trip is fun to the caves. Everyone is in good spirits even though we are having trouble finding the caves. We have a GPS, but no one thought to note the Lat and Long of the caves themselves.
After several false finds, I slip into the dingy amongst 4-6 foot waves and begin scouting for the caves.
This would have been a good idea if I had ever seen them, but not knowing what I was looking for proved a bit of a problem, as the first cave I was sent to explore was actually the correct one, but I waved us off as I thought it would be bigger.
Oh well, 2 hours later we return and “find” the correct cave.
The Cave is fascinating and said to be the largest in the world. The opening could fit a large sailboat, but the actual cave portion only goes back a couple of hundred yards, so I was disappointed.
I believe the actual “non-navigable” portion goes in up to 1200 feet, but we couldn’t see that portion.
When we are done with the trip, Matt dropped us off at the boat and “Moni Lisa” a HC 43 was next to us.
It turns out this is actually “Rejoice” Ron and Ardis Johnson’s boat. Lisa and I sheepishly motor to their boat and make introductions and are relieved to find out that they are a normal couple of our ages and they do drink beer before 5 pm.
We make lunch plans then depart for our boat to “fix up”.
After lunch and beer we idle about with Ron and Ardis checking out the differences in boats and the different experiences we have had.
Ron made a suggestion to move to a different anchorage, but I am reluctant as this is the first time we have had to actually sit and not worry about moving or the next day’s journey.
Later in the day my mind is changed when a Catalina 36 came in to drop anchor. The skipper had asked permission to drop next to us, and we did not see any issue with this.
Following a 15 minute display of anchor dragging, he was able to cultivate my main anchor which had 250’ of chain attached and we sent out a rescue party to help the single handed 70 year old skipper.
Once we got him sorted out, I noticed that we had dragged closer to Ron than I felt comfortable with. Even though we were not dragging any more, we finally decided to pick up and move to Pelican Bay.
Date: 7/18/04, Pelican Bay
Departure Port: Relaxing in Pelican Bay
Today is a day to relax.
Ron is already into the beer before I can even finish up my coffee so I know this will be a good day for everyone.
It takes Lisa and I almost an hour and half to prepare. The dive gear was well stowed and even though the cockpit is large; most of the space is taken up by the gear so there is little room to dress.
When we finally get in the water, I leave Lisa for a bit to scuba on top and get herself organized while I grab a fish to eat for dinner. It doesn’t take long before I have completed the task and Lisa and I begin to explore together.
Ron, being the tour guide for this trip takes us to a spot with an underwater arch that we swim through. The scenery is gorgeous of course and we see many fishes (Sheephead, Opaleye, WhiteBass, perch, wrasses, sculpin and urchins). Lisa is most interested in the sea slugs and starfish, my interest lies in the mermaids, but there are none here.
Following our diving, we decide to visit the nearby Prisoners Cove where the Irving Johnson has dropped anchor. The Irving Johnson being a 70-foot square rigged schooner that has been in SF bay before held interest for Ron and I.
We load up both dinghies with Boat Drinks and beer and head off for the 20-minute dinghy ride. The swell is up so we have a ball barreling through forward waves. The temperature is near 80 and the water spray feels good.
Once in Prisoners we turn the engines off and watch as the mates aboard the Irving Johnson begin to make sail. We call this time “Drift and Drink”. We do so in good spirit and quite earnestly as well.
After an hour and no departure by the Irvin Johnson, we decide it is time to head for home and fire up the BBq’s for Fish Tacos.
The ride home is a little more boisterous than the trip in due to being against the waves and wind, but the fun is certainly not lost on us.
Following Tacos, we make plans for a Movie and Popcorn on the Rejoice and the day ends on a favorable if not tranquil night.
The winds are out of the west now, warm and pleasant from the inland valley of Santa Cruz Island.
Date: 7/19/04, Lay Day, Pelican Bay
Departure Port: None
Alone at last. Ron and Ardis have departed and it was sad to see them leave, they are truly a great couple and we seem to mesh with them very well.
After a small breakfast, Lisa and I begin to prepare the dive equipment and snorkel gear for a day on the water. If I were to continue to cruise I would certainly do something to make the gear more accessible, perhaps another treasure chest or something of the sort that would hold the wet suits.
After loading we went to a place we had seen earlier and tied the dingy up to kelp. Lisa is happy to follow for a while but then looses track of me and goes on her own. It is a simple matter of locating the correct size fish before I shoot my first White Sea Bass. From stories we were told before this will be the best eating fish in this neck of the woods.
In short order I get one of good size then proceed to find what I have learned to enjoy the most; Sheephead. The one I find will be the largest of any that I have shot before. Incredible it virtually runs into me as I am prying a nice Scallop from a rock.
Once completed with the capture of the Sheep Head, I head out with an Ab iron to see what damage I could do to the scallop population. The scallops are actually harder to find than the fish even though they don’t move. They are surprisingly difficult to pull off the rocks. Along with being tough you need to destroy the reef in order to get them out. I was not happy at the damage I created, but nature is resilient and within years she will repair my dinner cultivation efforts.
We finally finish our subsistence fishing and we retire to the boat. During the dinghy ride we were subjected to some fairly large rollers of nearly 4 feet coming through the pass. The waves did not affect the anchorage, but gave us a run in the dinghy anyway.
Once back we found we were no longer alone. John and Nancy from Valentine join us. Lisa does not care much for John, a former Ophthalmologist who is knowledgeable in many subjects so the moment is not cherished. We continue to clean fish and make ready for departure later the next morning. Relaxing as the day went by.
At one point the infamous doctor was on the way to our boat, so I loaded a CD by EZ-E and held it ready in case we needed it to deter the good doctor. When the time came I readied the CD player, but Lisa would not let me pull the trigger.
We visited with John for about 10 minutes before he departs to go explore the coastline. We spend the rest of the afternoon shinning chrome and getting Lisa to operate the dingy for the fist time by herself. Ever.
The day concluded with White Bass Tacos, Sundowners and an easy air of comfort.
Date: 7/20/04, Leaving the Big Island
Departure Port: Pelican Bay
We depart from the Big Island today.
We awoke early and began with breakfast of bacon and eggs. The dinghy held a surprise with a small anchovy that had jumped in during the night; apparently the gas and water mix did not approve with his biological clock and it stopped sometime prior to us arriving.
The anchor removal was relatively straight forward, with pulling the stern anchor in by hand and dinghy then bringing up the forward with the windlass. The only oddity was the crab that had traversed nearly 250 feet of chain to hang out at the top of the water.
Our exit was easy and we proceeded to motor and sail our way to Cojo anchorage: Just shy of Conception. Along the way there was not much action. We did manage to fill the sails after departure and sail approx 50% of the time.
Cojo is supposed to be easy to find, yet we had some difficulty determining exactly where it was. I imagine had I put in a waypoint, it would have been much easier.
The important fact about today was that we endured the winds that the canyons just south of Conception can produce.
Approximately 1600 as we were just 3 mile outside Cojo, we experience downdrafts in excess of 40 MPH. At the time we were double reefed, but the power of the down sloop was something to be experienced.
As we made out entrance into Cojo, we looked for the Culvert that Fagan talks about in his book but had a hard time finding it. The anchorage is chocked with Kelp and it is not helpful to have 30 knots of wind on the nose when trying to anchor,
We finally located a spot in 41 feet just to the east of a Yacht that we had met 1 year ago, Queen.
Turned out Dick Williams (the former owner) had sold Queen to a new owner and they had just been to San Diego for a shakedown cruise and would be headed North in the morning.
We made acquaintances and planned to check in in the morning for a final weather forecast and departure.
Although Cojo does not look like much the holding ground is good and the rolling is very minimal.
Date: 7/21/04, Cojo Anchorage
Departure Port: Cojo Anchorage
Today we leave for San Louis Obispo. We had approximated 10 hours to complete the trip, provided calm conditions persist.
I am shocked that Queen, who can average better than 8 knotsis not going to pull out due to the conditions they could see through binoculars. We are not so lucky and can only see clear conditions and pull anchor.
The anchor clearing takes nearly an hour, as there is much kelp though mostly just annoying clumps which are cleared by hand. We depart approx 0600 and raise just the double-reefed main for stabilization.
Conception looks clear and the wind and waves seem in check till we get just off the lighthouse.
A call from Queen is answered and we say we are pressing through as the 6-foot waves and 20-knot winds are OK for the moment. Just after sign-off we are hit with a series of larger waves and winds in excess of 35 knots. It appears that Conception will not let us through without a fight.
After 15 minutes of 30 plus winds, I conferred with Lisa to turn around and try again another day. Lisa concurred and we began to change course.
I have always said to wait 1 hour (or one beer) prior to making rash decisions, and just after completing a 180 and placing us on a smooth run towards Cojo, Lisa mentioned that the fog could have been creating the high winds. This immediately hit a cord and I swung the boat around again and pushed into the bay created by Arguelo and Conception.
This proved to be a valid decision as the winds subsided to 25 knots and the waves equalized into regular sets that could be easily negotiated. We continued and enjoyed the next hour or so before we reached Arguelo and the mixed wave trains she had to offer.
Arguelo was something we had not expected. Winds were only 16 knots and the waves were as expected; 6 feet and six seconds, but the mixed sets really set us up for trouble.
I considered turning around at this point but figured that the worst was over and this too would pass within the next hour or so, so we plugged on.
About the time we passed platform Hidalgo, the worst was over and we had made our second major mark. By noon, we had made both points (Conception and Arquelo) and were headed for San Louis Obispo some 33 miles ahead.
The hours passed relatively uneventfully with wind and waves coming in consistent patterns of 15 knots and 8 –10 feet evenly spaced. As we rolled up the final hours, San Louis became persistently evasive with winds decreasing, and wind angles changing so as not to allow headsails, and Fog, heavy Fog.
Our final hour was complete with ¼ mile or less visibility and complete radar navigation. By 1900 we had secured anchor and were in the company again of GAI and surprisingly Outrageous.
We finished the rest of our day old fish and enjoyed full batteries and compressed refrigeration.
Tomorrow we will try for Morro Bay, fill and run.
Date: 7/22/04, San Louis Obispo, Morning addendum (Outrageous)
I failed to input this story into any other timeline as the singular events failed to make an impression on me, but Lisa has reminded me to add this.
Back in early July, around the 10th, we were anchored in Monterey enjoy 27 knots of wind from the south and waves from the west which created a nice “Motion” to the boat. We had chosen to anchor due to most berths being filled and wanting to save the cash for other areas of the trip.
According to the Monterey Harbor Master the only anchorage was just east of the seasonal mooring fleet next to the beach. What we hadn’t anticipated this early in the voyage was the depth of water we would be anchoring in. For us the best spot was in nearly 40 feet of water as anything in the 30-foot range was nearly into the breakers rushing up to the shore.
Although deep, it didn’t really pose a problem and we dropped 225’ of chain into the deep and rolled along peacefully.
To get back on the story, we had just decided we would pull anchor in the AM so I had taken the dingy down and had it securely stored on deck. The drinks were poured for the evening and Lisa and I were watching a cross bay Laser race which was quite exciting in this breeze.
At one point we noticed a 25’ CAL coming down the bay without sails and laden with 2 kayaks tied port and starboard against the rails. There was nothing particularly impressive about the Cal that would cause one to notice, it just entered our field of view and appeared odd because it was coming at an angle that would have allowed them to at least put up the vertical stabilizer and draw some forward motion from the Dacron.
Instead of putting up the sails they wallowed from side to side and slowly entered the end of the bay that we had anchored in.
As they approached closer to Beyond Reason I noticed that were dragging anchor rode onto the deck (rope) and it did not appear to be in any great length. At this point their engine failed and they began to drift North East back towards Santa Cruz. They had not quite reached a point that they felt was adequate for dropping the anchor.
The driver, whom I assumed was a male, was wildly pulling the rope starter, urging the small outboard to start. As they continued to drift I thought perhaps I should get in the dinghy, but only then did I remember that it was put away and I really didn’t want to go through the motions of pumping it up again.
Realizing that if I did pump it up, I could do it just as easily when they had drifted out ½ mile as I could at this point, I casually asked (slightly raising my voice as the wind was up) if they needed help, or had everything under control.
The young lady on the front of the Cal, looking just a bit concerned began to say “yes” but quickly changed it to “No”, “he’s got it started”.
They again began to motor into the anchorage and as they came abreast of us (though, well off our port side, I said that the water was nearly 40 feet and asked about the amount of rode they had. The young lady on the front answered that they had “100 feet”, and began to lower the anchor.
You could see that the anchor dragged for sometime before the boat came to a slow halt, and with that they disappeared below deck and we retired to our drinks to discuss the event.
By the time we had gone to bed both Lisa and I figured they would drift out the anchorage by morning, but luck was with them and morning dawned calm and cool with the boat (as we left we saw the name Outrageous) still lying at anchor.
Without further event we sailed from Monterey and enjoyed our trip down the coast.
On the night of the 11th as we were nursing our pride from the dinghy incident at San Simeon, we heard a one-sided conversation between the coastguard(heard) a Tugboat or Professional fisherman (heard) and Outrageous (not heard).
The Coast Guard had named Outrageous specifically and was trying to advise of possible anchorages south of Point Sur.
Due to the distances involved and the nature of the emergency (overwhelming seas but nothing more) the Coast Guard put out a Pan Pan and advised dropping anchor in Sycamore coves near Pfeiffer Point.
The Chart book describes this as a possible anchorage between large rocks; it was nearly 0100 when we hear the call. There was lots of information passed by the mariner and he was actually able to guide them out of the coves later that night via his radar and I believe he gave them a tow into San Simeon the next morning, but the Coast Guard was reluctant to enter the cove or to offer a tow, and by morning there was nothing more to hear.
We sailed from San Simeon and into Morro Bay the next morning.
As we arrived, the story of Outrageous had preceded us to the fuel dock and after tying up and explaining were we had come from to the locals at the fuel dock, we were greeted with the statement “were you the guys who helped the girls that were giving it up”.
I was floored and Lisa wasn’t sure what she had heard. We asked for an explanation and the locals stated that some girls got in trouble off Point Sur the night before and they were “giving it up” to anyone who would help get them out of trouble.
As it turned out, the guy at the fuel dock revised the story to say that the Morro Bay and Monterey Coast Guard fought about who would deal with Outrageous, with Morro Bay CG finally taking the Outrageous into tow and helping them anchor at San Simeon on the same morning we had left.
The girls (?) had supposedly offered their boat to anyone who wanted it, as they were “giving up the trip and sailing”.
We etched the story in our minds and told it several times throughout the rest of the trip.
Outrageous was out of our minds as we returned from the big island, or at least until we pulled into San Louis Harbor. On 21 July 2004, as we pulled into San Louis Obispo, we noticed a small sailboat anchored in near the public pier.
Out of curiosity, we motored around the small sailboat and Outrageous appeared on it’s stern.
Behind the boat was an inflatable kayak, and another was tied against the public pier. Apparently they had continued down the coast just a bit further.
The young lady aboard asked if we needed any help as we anchored and we politely answered no and she disappeared below.
Several moments later her friend arrived and to our amazement (though we had heard before) it was another lady, larger, but young lady just the same.
With some controversy, we retired below.
We awoke the next morning and had a casual breakfast in the cockpit. After seeing the difficulty the ladies had getting out of their inflatable Kayaks the night before, I nodded to Lisa to watch as it appeared the larger of the ladies was about to insert herself into the kayak for a morning row.
To my surprise the lady pulled up her dress and yanked her underpants down, and calmly extended her bare bottom over the transom of the boat to take a morning bathroom break.
Lisa and I both stared in amazement as she finished and tidied herself up. The sun was up, the beaches had people on them and this lady calmly pooped or peed in the open. When she finished, she emptied what appeared to be a “night pan” directly into the water. This was Outrageous.
During the next 10 minutes we pulled anchor and left the anchorage.
Epilogue: It is 2000 hours, Friday, 6 August. A Mayday has just come over the VHF. The Coast Guard is now issuing a Pan Pan regarding a 25-foot Cal that is dragging anchor in Still Water Cove. I try to monitor the calls but can’t determine the name of the vessel.
Date: 7/22/04 Return to MorroBay
Departure Port: San Louis Obispo
We depart at approx 0630 today. The trip should be short and I do not expect any weather. Within an hour of our departure we have a fresh fish on the salmon lure. We must have picked it up while we were in the shallows as it is a Kelp Bass of about 1 pound.
We quickly fillet the fish and make a good mess out of the side walkway, but I am able to clean this up relatively quickly with the power wash.
We pass Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant around noon, and failed to hear the alarm that had been going off. Apparently a leak of some sort happened just as we were rounding the point.
The trip is uneventful and we pull into the Morro Bay Yacht Club early enough to walk to Albertson’s and get supplies. We spend the next day in Morro Bay, recouping from the Conception Trip.
I am able to make some small repairs to the VHF and AM/FM speakers and proudly celebrate with Lisa and cocktails in the cockpit prior to enjoying Happy Hour at the club.
On the 24th we will depart for San Simion prior to attempting Peidras Blancas and Point Sur on the 25th.
Date: 7/24/04, San Simion and the assault
We start the day early, 0500 and depart Morro Bay in-route to San Simion and hopefully Monterey if the weather holds. By 0600 we are out the mouth of the harbor and well into the bay with glassy seas and light winds. We make course for Piedras Blancas knowing it is only 7 miles to retreat to San Simion if we choose.
The White Pigs are kind today and we reach the point of No return, Cape San Martin by 1500. The day is going by beautifully, with light head winds, warm sun, good company and music.
We are inspired so I go below to make Chile for the evening meal. This will be the longest trip yet of nearly 100 miles from Morro Bay to Monterey. We can bail at Carmel if needed but I can’t see why we would.
The Chile is complete and we are drinking wine and eating by 1700. The Sun is just thinking of going down now and the fog is just building to our west. Winds continue to be in the 10-knot range so I am looking forward to Point Sur.
By 2000 the winds are beginning to increase and the sun has been shut out. We are seeing lots of Whales and porpoises in the area. We find some un-identifiable whale/porpoises that look like Pilot Whales but are gray in color and nearly 14 ft long with tall dorsals.
These are in packs of 5 and 10 but cause no trouble.
By 2300 Lisa has gone to bed and Point Sur light is clearly visible and approximately 12 miles out. We are blasting along at 5.5 knots with main and engine alone. The bioluminescence coming from the spray is exciting, and the underwater activity of the porpoises and whales is nearly enough to scare you to death.
On one instance a whale of 35 feet swam under the boat quite closely ansurfaced not more than 50 feet from the boat and snorted. In addition to the whales and porpoises, huge clouds of squid would surface next to the boat in glowing mats of 40 feet by 40 feet. The appearance made you think whales surrounded you.
Welcome to Northern California. It is 0130 in the morning and we have 25 miles to Monterey; Point Sur has been rounded!
Monterey is in cased in Fog at 0700, but we are familiar with the anchorage and quickly make anchor and go to bed. It has been a long day. By 1100 Lisa and I are ready for the town and get the dinghy moving towards the wharf. Lunch is British meat pies and ale. When we return home, we start the fire and read prior to fixing the dinner, which never does happen.
Both Lisa and I are passed out by 1800 on the settee and finally make it into bed by midnight.
Date: 7/26/04, Return to Santa Cruz
The trip today will be easy and we take our time getting out of the harbor and into Monterey Bay. Santa Cruz is a simple sail and we make anchor by 1400 directly in front of the Big Dipper Roller Coaster.
The anchorage is a bit roily, but we seam to be ok. We celebrate at Stagnero Bros. Restaurant with 2 over priced glasses of Kenwood wine returning to the boat for BBQ roast.
A simple day is complete.
Date: 7/27/04, Santa Cruz Hiking
Lisa is ready for a trip ashore. She needs this in a bad way so we’re off as soon as we can eat and clean up, 1100. Not so early, as we are still recovering from Point Sur.
We land the dinghy at the public ramp and tie up next to the “loading and Unloading” of boats only sign. Apparently there is some fine for leaving a boat tied up next to this dock, but the call of society is pulling us.
Our objective is Yarn, beer, eggs and toilet paper, in that order of importance.
We stop a nearby policeman and find him to be friendly but he says there are no grocery stores in Santa Cruz. It always surprises me how people think these days. They see we are walking and assume that anything over a quarter mile is much to far to walk.
We are lucky to find that his partner is a vegetarian and quickly directs us to the “Staff of Life” health food store. We don’t much care for the health food, but it did lead us downtown where we were quickly able to find outlets for Beer, eggs, anti-freeze and toilet paper.
We knew the yarn would be difficult to find so not finding it quickly did not deter us.
We visited the World Bizarre on Pacific Street. I believe the name is used to hide the fact that they are really a Head Shop. We asked the stoned girl behind the counter if she knew were to find yarn and after a few minutes pause to clear her head, she gave us some directions that would take us over the railroad tracks, through a barn and behind something. “Don’t forget to turn at the clock tower was the last thing we were told”
Sensing White Rabbit motives, we moved to the next store and were helped by a nice lady who gave us a map, phone number and direction to a place off the main thoroughfare in Santa Cruz. It was a hike, but Yarn was required.
As we hiked around SC trying to find the right store we passed numerous other stores that held everything we needed. We made mental notes so we would not have to carry the beer back for the 3 miles that we had traversed so far.
When at last we found the store, we were told they only carried fabric. Of course all the customers in the store recommended the Golden Fleece. The directions included railroad tracks, a barn, the clock tower etc. The Golden Fleece was very near our starting point. Touché’
On our return trip we did discover an alternative energy storethat carried Aladdin Lamps. On inspection we found just the lamp Lisa had wanted for the kitchen, so the 3-mile trip paid off when we discover the lamp was reasonably priced and available.
We eventually made it to the yarn store. I am sad to say that the directions given by the Stoned Girl were exactly correct and we could have been completed much earlier. No problem the walk was fun and we saw and met with many interesting people and places.
The dinghy was without ticket when we arrived back at the wharf so I guess the law is not strictly enforced, which is good, for we had no other way to return to the boat.
Date: 7/28/04, Return to Half Moon Bay
The weather outlook today is good. We are expecting to have light NW winds and small seas. Our departure today is 0500. I want to get a move on, as this will be the last long trip of the journey. We are looking at approx 50 miles from Santa Cruz to Half Moon Bay.
We are surprised to see that the fog has not set in today so the visibility is nearly 8-10 miles. With revs set at 2000 we are off at a blistering 5.5 knots, so turning the trip in less than 10 hours looks quite possible.
By 1000 we are still galloping along and have Ano Nuevo off the starboard side. We have picked up a SW wind which I took as just the morning off-shore flow, but it has continued with us for the last couple of hours and looks to be increasing.
The swell of Ano’ Nuevo is actually settling down now and moving north due to the winds and we are able to carrier both main and jib in 10 knots of breeze downwind. We are clipping along now at a steady 6 knots and no slowing in sight. Half Moon Bay looks to be attainable by 1400 today.
We arrive on 16 knots of breeze and sail into the channel and bay dropping anchor at 1400. The bay water is not it’s normal clear self today. Instead a Red Hue has taken over. I assume Red Tide, but am later informed it is due to oxygen depletion from the number of anchovies in the water.
It is ugly to see the water this color, I don’t even like the spray touching me as we cruise the bay in the dinghy.
At 1600 we begin dinner preparations and a shower to complete the voyage. Alas there is no water pressure, or only intermittent pressure, so another 15-minute job is about to begin.
I have had trouble with this Shurflow pump before and advise Lisa it is just the diaphragms that are loose, and 15 minutes should complete the job.
Lisa hears the phone ring just then and of course it is bad news, Mr. Murphy is calling to say we will have to replace the pump (of which we have two spares, though not identical) and prior to installation will have to figure out the wiring of the previous owner and then re-wire the pump, UV light and pressure system prior to finishing the installation.
By the time I have completed the job, both tool lockers and an under berth lazarette have been emptied and are on the floor. I am successful though and we once again have pressure water, and the second water tank is giving up the contents that the previous pump could not find.
Date: 7/29/04, Last full day of the journey
Departure Port: Half Moon Bay
Our daughter Stephanie will be joining us today. She is coming with her boyfriend Christopher and another friend from Germany, Sergei. We expect them for lunch but figure she will not wake till noon so a “Linner” is more in line.
Because we have the time, we have a slow breakfast then go out to explore the outer beach of the bay. The weather is comfortable, relatively clear, with a slight breeze. We are both relaxed and make easy talk to most everyone we meet.
After the beach we decide to go looking for fishing gear that we hadn’t been able to procure during the past 30 days. We meet up with a member of the HMBYC, Rebecca Lee.
Rebecca is the director of the Half Moon Bay Sailing School and was very helpful with directions to the only true chandlery in the city. It was interesting talking with Rebecca due to her credentials (a licensed Captain) but lack of real world experience in the open ocean.
Both Lisa and I were flattered that she was searching us for answers about boat size; weather conditions and advise on when to move from one port to the other. Our advice was “always wait one more day”. We based our advise on the fact that each time we had left port, the following day would have provided much more settled conditions.
As we were walking to the Gear Shop, Half Moon Bays only chandlery, we got the call from Steph and realized that she was just down the street.
We all met back at HMBYC, and after receiving the OK to use the BBQ’s, set off to get the meat and brew aboard Beyond Reason.
When we returned back to the shore, Steph, Christopher and Sergei all headed out in the dingy to explore. Although we had not had any issues with the dinghy engine over the last 5 years of ownership, they had difficulty with the engine. Eventually they were able to start it, but it was humorous to see the three of them pulling the starter to exhaustion.
Following there explore we enjoyed sausage, beer and coleslaw with the kids and said our goodbyes again.
Once the kids were gone and Lisa and I have cleaned up and showered, we checked the weather. Our original plans were to leave in the morning, but based on the tides, the settled and CLEAR weather tonight, we decided to pull anchor and head for home.
We had expected to motor the complete distance home, but were surprised to find a nice SE offshore wind flowing just off Montara Pt. With flat seas and the 15-knot breeze co-existing nicely with the incoming tide, we were in for a most excellent trip.
Just after Midnight, we rolled through the Golden Gate on a great flood tide. It took some coaxing to get Lisa to pop the bottle of champagne as the bridge passed overhead. It may have been the heavy ship traffic, but I would like to think she just didn’t want the trip to end.
With the lights shinning on the bay and reflections of the Skyscrapers reflecting off the water we could not have hoped for a better ending.
It had been some time since I had to back the boat into the slip, so there was a little tension as we made our tenth pass. Finally Lisa made the command decision to “lasso” the cleat on the dock and bring us home.