Days 12 and 13
October 8, 2008
We sailed from SB yesterday morning; was sunny & calm & smooth up to
point conception, then a headwind and big steep waves all night.
Trying to get a nap in the forward berth was like an amusement park
ride, I was catching air when we went over the biggest waves! We got
in to Port San Luis at 5 this morning, just beat and in need of rest
and food. It is incredibly warm, no wind. Will and I just got back
from getting fuel; the Coast Guard brought in a sailboat that got
clobbered today - reports are of 40-knot winds through Saturday! So,
(a) our choice to come up last night looks comparatively good, but (b)
now we have to play it day by day and see if there's a break in the
high winds. We'll definitely be here tonight, though.
Coming by Vandenberg air force base (on the coast just south Santa Maria) last night in the dark was interesting - they have numerous space & missile launch complexes all lit up, for miles along an otherwise desolate coast. I had the 10-2am watch, and enjoyed the brilliant stars and bioluminescent bow waves once the half-full moon set.
I woke this morning to find that the yummy organic nectarines I bought fresh in SB, and carefully stowed in the netting slings we use to keep all the produce, were dashed against the wall during the night's adventures and the juice proceeded to drip all over my sleeping bag… Bleah! Seems to have cleaned up nicely though.
October 7, 2008
Took care of chores today, walking many miles in the process… Got my first latte in 12 days (and oh, it was good!) at Red’s cafe. We found a new stainless steel air pot for the boat, to replace the glass one that fell and broke a few days ago; I got some shorts, Alan wanted an iPod, and we experienced full crowd immersion after 11 days of near solitude. We found a laundry that we could drop our stuff off at for $0.75/lb, which sounded like a bargain! After picking up groceries and the laundry, we went to Joe’s for dinner - a wonderfully old-fashioned place that serve traditionally delicious food, suitable for hungry sailor-types.
October 6, 2008
(Note: I re-organized a couple of the posts below – I somehow skipped Day 6, and then numbered the following days wrong. Maybe forgetting what day it is, is the sign of a good trip?)
We sailed from Santa Cruz Island over to Santa Barbara (about 25 nm) under delightful conditions – light wind, brilliant skies, balmy warmth. Had a perfect view of the lovely oil platforms cluttering up the coast… We got in to the Santa Barbara marina around 5, got a slip and tidied up the boat, and got our first showers in many days (oh, that felt sooooo good!) Went to dinner with Bradley. Back to the boat for a nightcap and conversation; we got to bed around 1 am.
October 6, 2008
We went explored around Cuevo Valdez a bit - this part of Santa Cruz
Island is owned by The Nature Conservancy, so some parts are posted
off limits as private property. We were able to see a marvelous hidden
waterfall, accessed through a sea-tunnel, as well as the sea-cave for
which the cove is named. It is interesting for its three entrances
into a central cave; we took the skiff into one of them.
The day was very nice and warm, and we even went for a swim after all our hiking around. Soon it was happy hour, and we enjoyed some snacks on deck and appreciated the calm air and pleasant sun. However, a breeze started coming up as the weather shifted around to the NW - pretty quickly, there was a stiff wind. We had put out both bow and stern anchors, to steady us against the previous night's swell, and now the anchor configuration caused the boat to turn sideways to the freshening wind. This caused the bow anchor to start dragging… We wouldn't be safe in the anchorage under these conditions, so we decided to pull up the anchors and go down to a more protected spot around the west end of the island.
Will started getting the skiff ready to go get the stern anchor picked up, as I motored Libertine to take the strain off the bow anchor. As Will cast off the skiff's stern line, the bow attachment fitting chose that moment to come undone… and the skiff started going rapidly downwind, much to our astonishment! Will dove in after it, and climbed aboard. Fortunately, we had left the oars on the skiff, so Will could get back to us… otherwise, he might still be on the island :-)
We eventually got both anchors, the skiff, and Will back on board and departed around 6 pm under increasing winds.
We made our way down the coast of the island, with big wind and following swell making for a wild ride; we finally made it to
Smuggler's Cove around 11 pm, wind blowing 30 knots but offshore.
There were at least a dozen other boats in the anchorage, not too bad
in the daylight but tricky to navigate in the dark. We put the anchor
out as close in to the beach as we could, and had some quick soup for
dinner and went to bed.
Days 7 and 8
October 4, 2008
We sailed under delightful conditions from Cuyler Cove northeast around the corner of Santa Rosa island (catching our 3rd albacore along the way) to anchor at Ford Point. Even in the shelter of the anchorage, by afternoon the wind was howling 40-50 knots, blowing the tops right off of the wave crests. Fortunately, it was blowing off shore, so we weren’t too concerned, but it sure was loud. We left the next morning and crossed over to the northern side of Santa Cruz island. We stopped to look at Painted Cave, a huge sea-cave over 150 ft high and 600 ft deep. Conditions were too rough to take the boat in the cave, though, so we continued on to Cueva Valdez, a pretty little cove at the foot of a wooded canyon. We have it to ourselves; it is quite calm this morning, a bit gray and drizzly at the moment but we’ll go ashore later and explore.