Since our first attempt to leave Monterey was less than successful we decided to try again at 10:00 PM, Friday, September 7 and to head for Morro Bay which is about 20 miles further than our original destination of San Simeon. This time we had no headwinds and unfortunately no wind at all so it was motor sail all the way. Although we’ve done a number of overnight trips on other people’s boats this was a first for us on our own. Everything went well on a beautiful star lit moonless night with the Milky Way shining brightly above. At one point our trusty Yanmar diesel engine began to sound like it was not happy with the fuel filter so we switched to another and all else was fine for the rest of the trip.
The clear weather enabled us to see the famous Morro Rock from some distance away and we arrived at the harbor entrance at 3:00 PM under calm conditions. We took on fuel from a dock clearly designed for commercial vessels only with Gilly doing a great job of keeping Destiny from getting scratched up while John tried to wrestle with a filler hose big enough for the Queen Mary II. We then proceeded to the Morro Bay YC where we enjoyed showers and later a super fish and chips dinner at one of the nearby restaurants. A great night’s sleep for both of us that night.
Morro Bay to Santa Barbara
We departed Morro Bay on September 9 at 3:00PM hoping for the right amount of northwesterly breeze to help push us along but it was not meant to be, so it was another fantastically beautiful night of motoring under a brightly lit sky. Gilly saw a number of whales just before sunset including a full out of the water breach. During the night we both saw a number of dolphin shooting toward the boat leaving a big phosphorescent trail. Really looked like torpedoes coming right for us. We rounded the very famous Pt. Conception at midnight in only 4 knots of wind and then headed east for Santa Barbara arriving there at 8:00 AM and secured a slip in the marina . Four other boats scheduled to participate with us in the Baja Ha-Ha were already there so we quickly made friends with them.
John discovered a damaged belt on the engine and further found that our spares were a bit too large. He made a trip to Pep Boys to secure proper replacements. Since it was his birthday Gilly treated him to a great dinner at Chuck’s Steak House located right a the marina. The next day we provisioned the boat and generally enjoyed just being in Santa Barbara which has a lovely climate and overall atmosphere.
Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz Island
On September 12 we departed Santa Barbara at noon in calm conditions headed to Pelican Bay which is just over 20 miles away. Ever since John was a boy he’d heard nothing but great things about Santa Cruz Island so our expectations were quite high. We’d heard about “Windy Lane” which must be transited on the way to the island so we started out with a reefed main and were prepared to reef our new big jib if the wind started to howl. The wind did build to 31 knots so we were flying along at 8.3 knots with the jib reefed to about 80% and it did not abate until we were within a quarter mile of the island. We found that Pelican Bay was crowded with only a few boats and the anchoring looked difficult so we headed east to Prisoner’s Harbor just a short distance away. It was lovely when we arrived and easily anchored under a cliff to the west so we could enjoy a cocktail and pat ourselves on the back for surviving “Windy Lane”. Unfortunately during the night it became very rolly so we scratched Prisoner’s off our list of places we want to revisit.
Prisoners to Smugglers
On September 13 we departed Prisoners for Smugglers on the SE corner of the island hoping for an anchorage with much better conditions than we were leaving behind. The wind still had not laid down from the day before and since we knew our trip would be way off the wind, we sailed with just a reefed main and had a fast trip to our next destination. Smugglers proved to be a much better anchorage and quickly filled up with other boats including two of our new Ha-Ha friends. In the late afternoon the wind started to come up off the hills built to a steady 27 knots with gusts to 30. A great way to test our new oversized anchor and it came through like a champ. Fortunately by 10:00 PM the wind died down to about 15 knots so we scrapped our anchor watch rotation which could have gone on all night. We’ve had enough of Santa Cruz Island which we still think must a nice place but so far it has eluded us. We plan an early morning departure for Cherry Cove, Catalina Island which is only 62 miles away.
Santa Cruz Island to Catalina Island
We departed Smugglers for Cherry Cove as planned at 5:00 AM on September 15. Since we were anxious to leave it wasn’t difficult to get up and underway. The sun rose to clear skies with good visibility but no wind so our trusty Yanmar pushed us along at 7 knots but right into a ¾ knot current. For a long while it seemed like we were back dealing with the currents in S.F. Bay. About half way through our 10 hour trip the fog closed in to ¼ mile visibility. As we approached Catalina we never saw it except on the radar right where it was suppose to be. We arrived at Cherry Cove to find bright sunshine and perfectly clear emerald green water. A true delight to be back to the same location where John spent so much time during his youth. We plan to stay here relaxing until early October when we’ll fly back to Colorado Springs to see Scott, Hillary and the grandkids. In the meantime we’ll be using our solar panels and small generator to make power for our water-maker and other goodies on board, and enjoying the true delights of this island paradise that is so close to one of the world’s major population centers.
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