5:20 am awake
5:50 am off dock
It’s an early start and the sun has barely begun to show us its intentions to provide some light. We cast off Sea Esta and then follow suit in the shadowy darkness. The narrow channel is a challenge but not as bad as it was when we came in. I light up the buoys with a flashlight as we head out into the bay. I doubt Tim needed it with his eagle-eye vision but it gave me something to do.
It is calm with hardly any swell; much smoother than our entrance a couple of days ago. As we get out into the bay the swell height increases but the swell period is really long, so it is a gentle rise and fall; really quite comfortable and relaxing. It’s slow going at 5.2 to 5.5 knots.
36° 38.4126′ N,121° 57.8335′ W
Still calm. We are just exiting Monterey Bay. Carmel and Pebble Beach Golf Course are just ahead. There is a beautiful sunrise over the coastal hills with crashing waves and layered clouds. It’s incredible beautiful but the dozen or so pictures I tried to take failed to capture it. So I give up and just enjoy it.
The seas calm to glassy smooth water although the swell frequency returns to normal, with 8′ plus swells making the ride more like it’s been on previous days.
Donna is baking bread and sundry loaves and it smells great. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing although I guess anticipation has its rewards later. Still, I’m an eat-the-marshmallow-now kind of fellow and happy to be so.
The houses up on the hills are mostly mansions and some have some very castle-like silhouettes. There are at least 6 golf courses on the peninsula here, one of those being the famous Pebble Beach. We can’t see it though as it’s hidden behind a point as we pass by.
36° 25.8671′ N,121° 57.9889′ W
The sun is finally out. It’s been trying all morning but the clouds and mist were not cooperating. Things warm up substantially. Still no wind.
We just passed a lovely cutter-rigged ketch going the other way, but other than that it is pretty lonely out here. We are cruising about 3 nm offshore and the terrain is very hilly, small mountains really, with rocky shores and crashing waves. The highway winds its way along the hillsides following the shoreline; that must of been quite the project to build.
36° 18.6396′ N,121° 56.1934′ W
We are just off Point Sur. It’s a big, big rock attached to the mainland by a narrow penninsula. Up top is a big light house and a meteorological station that look more like a fort than anything else. Around the corner from here is Big Sur, but frankly I have no idea what Big Sur is. Or, for that matter what a Sur is. Things to Look Up Later for $500 Alec…
We’ve rolled out the jenny and have picked up almost another knot of speed. But we are having to head off our rhumb line and it’s hard to say if the extra speed is helping in the end or not.
We spot 2 humpbacks. The far one is breaching, launching himself out of the water and hitting the surface with a massive splash. He does this half a dozen times although often we just catch the splash. The other is quite close and we are treated to a few blows before he arches his back, flips his massive tail and disappears below.
36° 7.3893′ N,121° 48.8849′ W
Still motor-sailing making 6-6.5 knots. Still cloudy/foggy. We’ve long since lost sight of Sea Esta.
We heard a whale blow and then spotted him about 200 feet off the starboard quarter. He just hung out there surfacing several times as we slowly motored away. They are so so big.
Visibility is still less than 2 miles but it is warming up again. So that’s good.
Another whale ahead. Donna and I spotted a big splash and then saw him blow a few times before he showed us his tail and dove. Lots of whales in this country it seems. Always a pleasure.
A mountain top suddenly appears through a break in clouds. It’s a startling sight in an otherwise unbroken wall of white and gray where the shoreline is impossible to distinguish. And then out of nowhere this short range of mountain top appears shining in the sunlight like an unfinished painting on a dirty gray canvas.
35° 59.8863′ N,121° 34.3089′ W
We move in closer and spend some time gybing back and forth near the coast. We are only half way through today’s trip plan but it’s already been a long day. At least this close we can see some of the sights. The hills are definitely small mountains now.
We give up on having jib out. It’s not getting us anywhere and keeps our stern on the most uncomfortable angle to the waves. The sun is out again. For now.
35° 53.7100′ N,121° 29.5260′ W
It is colder. The wind has a definite bite to it and it’s from the back so we can’t even huddle behind the dodger to get out of it.
Two more humpbacks appear close off the port side. They are finally close enough to try and get a picture so I snap a bunch with my phone. Still blurry though. Stupid whales.
Dusk. We talked to Sea Esta On the radio. It looks like they are 4 or 5 miles ahead of us — almost an hour at the speeds we are doing now. We raise the possibility of heading to San Simeon which is an anchorage 3 hours away rather than sticking it out for the 7 hours we have left to get to Morro Bay. But everyone is afraid of getting caught in the upcoming winds tomorrow if we dawdle so we decide to press on.
I was chatting to L via text, thinking I would go below to rest, when Tim decides he will take the first rest shift. 3 hours each will bring us just about to our destination. So Tim heads below and I settle in.
There is no moon and the Milky Way is ablaze in all its glory. There so many stars which just never see. The air is warm now that winds have died a bit. I was a proponent for trying for San Simeon mostly because it had been getting so cold, but now that it’s pleasant I don’t mind getting this leg over with tonight.
I read for a bit then chatted with Donna when she came up to keep me company. Oh so slowly the clouds inexorably creep back and the mists begin to form around us. The stars won’t last too much longer.
35° 31.9591′ N,121° 12.8419′ W
Dolphins. Silver streaks in the water racing in from the blackness and leaving a sparkling trail behind them. As they come alongside their smooth backs and fins trail phosphorescent lines of bubbles that seem to make every surface glow. Then they surface, grab a loud breathe and streak off towards the bow.
It’s rough enough I don’t want to head out on the forward deck to watch even though I’m tethered to the jack lines, but I crowd the life lines and call the dolphins encouragingly as they zoom by. They accommodate me by falling back and catching up. Or maybe it’s just new dolphins.
It’s indescribably magnificent watching them in the dark.
Mow it’s starting to get even more misty and there won’t be much to see by the time Tim comes on shift.
I’m heading down to try and catch some sleep for 3 hours or so. But before I do we are treated to even more dolphins. Really a highlight of the trip for me.
2:00 am awake
35° 22.2062′ N,120° 53.7692′ W
I got the alarm wrong. Again. I set it for 2pm. Luckily I wasn’t sleeping well and checked my phone at 2:01.
It’s foggy but calm and we are almost there. Sea Esta has arrived and have decided to just anchor for the night rather than mess round in the dark looking for a spot to tie up.
Tim says the dolphins (they could actually be porpoises for all I know–just another thing to research later) came back and stayed with him most of the time I was below. Donna had caught some sleep before going back up and they saw up to 20 at one point. I guess he’s the dolphin whisperer on board, but I’m plenty satisfied with the few I saw.
35° 21.9461′ N,120° 51.2719′ W
We came in the narrow channel in the fog and darkness with no issues and, after we spotted Sea Esta anchored, tied up to the mooring ball beside them. It’s of a Caribbean style mooring with a heavy line and a short pennant you can snag to drag in the line. Makes it much easier to grab but it’s way more slimy. But at almost 3 in the morning I will take ease of convenience every time.
Having just got up I am now back in bed. The floating dock of sea lions just a few hundred feet away are loudly serenading us but I’m not going to let that keep me awake.
What is keeping me awake is the nagging doubt that I actually finished tying up the mooring line. I’m sure I would have finished it but for some reason I just can’t remember doing it. So eventually I grab a shirt, pop the forward hatch and proceed to double check.
And of course it’s all fine. I duck back down my hatch, crawl under my blankets and fall asleep to the not-so-dulcet tones of irate sea lions.
8:40 am awake
It’s all calm and serene as I head out on deck with my coffee.
There’s a big rock here. A big rock. It’s called Morro Rock and I saw portions of it in the mist last night when we came in but thought it was a hillside. Turns out it’s a big honking rocky outcropping that guards the entrance to the bay.
It’s a bit of a kayak heaven here; there are kayaks galore with paddlers heading across the channel to the sandy point that protects us from the Pacific. Tons of sea otters as well, although not as many as at the last place we were at. Wherever the hell that was. I’m getting damned confused.
We cast off our mooring ball to go for a look-see. The Harbour Patrol slide by in their boat and ask if we needed a spot to moor. We let them know we are looking for fuel and they point out the fuel pier and then the yacht club docks for later.
As we slide by the yacht club, Paradisea is tied up and they say the spot immediately aft of them, marked off limits, should be ok for a few days.
So we swing around and head for fuel. Once again it’s a pier rather than a dock and we have to rely on the sketchy plastic bumpers that are haphazardly attaches to the oil-soaked pylons. But there is no wind so Tim manages to bring us to a gentle stop inches away and hopefully we won’t rub too much while we are here. I scramble up the ladder and tie is off.
They’ve got propane here so we unship the one empty bottle (it only lasted 2 weeks, Donna does a lot of baking) and haul it up the ladder to the pier.
The fuel attendant is super friendly but obviously new at his job. Either that or all his regular clientele are super anal about every nit and dot because he was making a lot of rote statements and repeating a lot of obvious information. But, as I said, a friendly guy. Costs for deisel and propane were pretty damn high though, but then it’s California.
Five minutes later we were tied up at Morro Bay Yacht Club behind right behind Paradisea. There’s another boat, Harlequin who is also Baja Haha bound and a third who isn’t. After Sea Esta fuels and then rafts to us that makes five boats tied up to Morrow Bay Yacht Club’s docks. We should be good to stay until Saturday morning when they have their dinghy races, which fits the current schedule.
Most everyone hits the showers but I decided to wait a bit and relax. I write a bit for the blog and decide to install Donna’s new all-in-one HP printer on her Mac. They have wifi here so I can download the drivers And other software. That’s the problem with these new laptops: no cd drives. The printer has got a wireless feature that allows her to connect without a network and after a bit, I have it humming along.
Then I try it on Tim’s Windows 10 laptop. Oh Windows…you make the simplest things so complicated. Oddly enough I get the ad hoc wireless printing going after a minimal amount of effort but do you think I can get it to print using a usb cable? I broke out some of the swear words I haven’t used since last time I was doing IT.
Eventually I gave up in an attempt to lull the laptop into complacency. Laptops are foolish that way. I’d be back.
After a bit I headed out for a walk. The road along the shore is crowded with art galleries, kayak and surfboard places and tons of restaurants. There are scruffy palm trees and succulent gardens filled with the same succulents I have growing in my little clay pots–except they are taller than I am. Not too crowded with tourists, although I guess it’s late in the season.
I grab a coffee and an apple strudel-like thing at a quaint yet slightly ramshackle cafe staffed by giggly high school girls, so I can use the wifi and catch up with Leslie. Of course I can’t get the wifi to work. But since I had a date, I fired up the data roaming and ended up having a lovely visit, catching up on all the gossip from home.
Donna (and Tim) have been spending a bunch of time trying to replace me. They have their nephew joining them for the Haha but he’s only 16 or so and now they are thinking they want at least one more crew since it involves several overnight passages.
It’s kinda weird hearing them describe your current situation to someone else in anticipation of your absence. They assure me I am welcome to stay, but since the Haha doesn’t leave until after Halloween, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be very welcome back home afterwards. Or at the very least I would pay for it for a long time 🙂
The boat is empty when I return and Sea Esta is locked up tight as well. So I hung out until it occurred to me that I hadn’t restarted Tim laptop after installing the new drivers: rookie mistake. So I tried restarting Windows and it turns out Tim has his login password protected. Aaargh. Now I have to wait to see if that fixed it. I hate waiting. And Windows. And unnecessary passwords.
So I read. I might actually get some books done on this trip but it does look like my September totals will be kind of dismal. Oh the first world problems.
Eventually the gang come piling back to the boats. Turns out they were guzzling happy hour wine two boats down and getting to know all the neighbours. That’s a lot of socializing — I think I’m glad I missed it. Harlequin, out of Sidney, although the owners live in Point Grey, is apparently a highly customized job with lots of high tech everything. Seems like half of Canada is heading to Mexico.
Dinner is around 8, then after some chit chat and general lazing about, its time to hit the bunk and drift off with a book in my hand.
A note about my bunk. Tim added a connector piece so the two singles in the vberth are now one big double. Very spacious and comfie. But the connector piece covers a small step. In order to climb in, I have to jump–not too high so as to not smash my head into the ceiling, but with enough gusto to actually clear the lip with my knees. The height is slightly higher than my hip bone and seems custom designed to be perfect for maximum awkwardness. Of course short people using the space would probably look less awkward and more comedic, so maybe that was the intent all along. Anything for some entertainment on these long voyages.
So I just went to sleep.