WhooHoo! We have completed our first passage. As with all undertakings, there are big steps and there are small ones. For us this was one of the BIG ones.
We left Moss Landing on 9/22/15 @ 12:20 pm. The first twelve hours was a bumpy, downhill slide past the Big Sur coast. We had winds and rolling seas from behind that literally pushed us along, resulting in a very uncomfortable ride. However, at about 4am the seas calmed and the winds shifted making the rest of the passage calm and pleasant. What a joy it was to be on the 3-6am watch and see bio luminescence in our wake and the green silouette of dolphins as they were darting and playing about the boat. We had a beautiful moon set and a blanket of stars that made you feel like you could sail right into the sky. It was magical!
We arrived at Morro Bay on 9/23/15 @ 10:50am and with the help of a friendly guy named Tom tied up to the guest dock at the Morro Bay Yacht Club. The facilities were great! We took badly needed showers, we walked to a local restruant and inhaled some food, then returned to the boat and promptly passed out, enjoying a five hour nap. By nightfall we were discussing plans for the next leg of our journey. Weather forecasts were showing some high winds around Point Conception (further south) to begin on Friday and stay around for about five days. That would have us sitting in Morro Bay for a week,which was not what we wished to do. We could clearly see a small 36 hour window that would have us rounding the fabled Point in calm conditions.
Although we would have enjoyed staying for a few days, we still had some work to be done on the boat and we really wanted to get those things done further south were we had access to better facilities and resources. We knew when we left Moss landing that one of our battery banks stopped giving any output, and that our new refrigeration and solar system was not working correctly. These items have to be addressed before leaving the country. I know some people may be wondering why we would leave Moss Landing if we knew we still had items to be repaired. The truth is there will always be things to fix and if you wait for it all to be perfect you will never leave. So we made sure the boat was sound and that all our safety gear was in place and working properly, set a date, stowed the boat and left the dock. All that being said, here we were needing to move on to our next destination so we set a departure time for 1:30 on 9/24/15.
We spent the morning of getting ourselves resorted and Pablo re-stowed. I made some soup for the journey, cooked up some boiled eggs, sliced up some cheese and salami, got snacks organized and we were off the dock by 1:50. At first the swell made for an uncomfortable passage, but soon we changed course and were moving with the swell. Unfortunately, we had zero wind. We did however see a million different dolphin pods, witnessed a fantastic sunset, and enjoy comfortable sea conditions for the first 10 hours. In contrast, by midnight we had NE winds of 10-15 knots and 3-4 foot swells at 8 seconds giving us a big push past point Sal and point Aguello. We reached occasional speeds of 10 knots during that stretch as we surfed down the swells. Shortly before Point Conception the winds calmed a bit and we passed without much ado. However, once around the bend we hit a head wind that was so strong we had to tack back and forth across our course line for about an hour. There were actually times when I thought we were going backward even though my instruments told me we were doing 3-4 knots.
After passing the famous Point Conception, AKA the cape horn of California, we spent 10 LOOOONG hours motoring in zero wind on flat seas all the way to Channel Island harbor. As before, we were exhausted. We took showers, ate some food, zoned out on the internet and crashed around 8pm, sleeping soundly through the night.
I believe we will be here for a week as we finish up these last few things. Then we will go offshore to the Santa Cruz Islands for a while. Once there we will anchor, swim, explore and relax (I hope).
Not once did Pablo shutter during our passage. Our mighty boat took it all in stride. Steve and I never once feared or had concern for our safety or the reliability of our sailing vessel. We chose this boat specifically for this task and it holds true to its sturdy reputation. In the beginning of this whole adventure, when comparing our abilities to those folks who cruise the oceans, Steve and I would always say “they don’t seem like super heros”.Well, they aren’t and neither are we, but I have to say when the passage was complete I sure felt like a Rock Star.