Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Meeting old friends

At 08:00, we in arrived San Diego after an uneventful evening and morning. We checked in with Customs and docked at the Harbor Police Mooring Slips (N32°42.573' W117°14.047') - should be safe here!

Later in the evening, we heard a knock on the boat and Holly and Denis of SV Tango were also here. We had met Holly and Denis through our Ham radio course in Victoria a couple of years ago. The four of us caught up on adventures over Happy Hour and snacks.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Santa Catalina...

We continued to motorsail until 06:30 when we raised our sails. The temperature got a bit brisk. Two hours later - no wind, nada, zilch, zero. Motorsailed again. The temperature came back up again - hot and sunny.

Arrived at noon at Santa Catalina on the 17th - 1 of the southern Channel Islands which is 40 kilometres from the mainland. We dropped anchor in front of the Avalon Casino (N33°20.972' W118°19.368') which, by the way, is not a gambling casino but a huge gathering/meeting place built by the chewing gum millionaire William Wrigley Jr. It was closed so we were not able to tour it.

Catalina is reminiscent of a Mediterranean-type town and has very colourful tiles all over town that are made right in Catalina. Check the Photo Gallery in Past San Francisco for a few photos.

Weighed anchor at 17:00 for an overnighter to San Diego and motorsailed once again, although we always prefer wind and sailing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Night lightshow

Night-time...still sailing from Morro Bay towards Santa Catalina (USA). Jordan noticed that the phosphorescence made the breaking waves very visible and we saw streaks of it moving through the water like erratic torpedoes and realized it was dolphins (N34°19.20' W120°36.85')! It was the most spectacular phenomenon that left 23-metre illuminated trails, and as about a dozen dolphins then played on our bow wave, the luminescence was so bright you could clearly make out their bodies, tails, and fins - crisscrossing, coming in pairs, jumping out of the water!

We watched in awe for about 1/2 an hour when we rounded Point Conception at 04:00 in very favourable conditions, and being escorted by these magical dolphins. Wish we could have captured it on film and shared the amazing sights with you.

The wind died out after rounding the Point and we began to motorsail. At about noon, we had another dozen dolphins playing in our bow wave again. As it was daylight, we took several pictures, and a video that is in our Photo Gallery in the folder entitled Past San Francisco.

Even without night-time phosphorescence, it was still an awesome sight!

This time, they were escorting us into Fry's Harbor (N34°03.235' W119°45.265'). The Channel Islands consist of the north islands: San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, and Anacapa - and the south islands: Santa Barbara, San Nicolas, Santa Catalina, and San Clemente.

Fry's Harbor is located on the north coast of Santa Cruz Island where we anchored at 13:30 for a short break after travelling all night - the water was so clear that we could see the anchor 11 metres below. We had the area to ourselves, and after lunch, Jordan put the dinghy in the water and we explored some more neat caves.

Coming out of one of the caves in the dinghy

We saw an abundance of orange starfish, purple sea urchins, clams and mussels, seals or sea lions, and schools of fish. And crab buoys everywhere...we hope our friend Max is getting a lot of use with the crab trap we left in Victoria!

We left at 16:45 to continue south to Santa Catalina Island, with thoughts of what a glorious day it had been - had a great sail through the night and early morning, experienced dolphins not once but twice, stopped at a desolate anchorage, made an awesome supper under sail, and laid back and watched the falling stars with warm wind on our faces.

We motorsailed, but at 22:00 raised the main as wind had picked up. Beautiful warm evening with bright stars but no moon again tonight. A couple of hours later, the wind completely died once again...back to motorsailing.

"They" say that after rounding Point Conception there is a change where temperature is warmer and the colder north climate is gone. We have found this to be true!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Leaving Morro Bay

We did a weather check once again before leaving Morro Bay at 13:30 on November 14th and found favourable conditions for bypassing Point Conception, which can be very hazardous due to unusually strong winds and large seas.

We sailed at 6.5 knots in strong NW winds all through the night - after so much motoring it was enjoyable to finally have a great sail.

Two hours out of Morro Bay, we passed by the nuclear plant (N35°13.15' W120°56.15' - GPS co-ordinates from the boat) at Diablo Canyon which was clearly visible on shore with its 2 distinctive round dome buildings.

Enjoying Morro Bay

When crossing the sandbar and coming into Morro Bay on November 11th from San Simeon (California USA), we passed the landmarks of the huge dacite rock and the 3 tall stacks that supply power. The rock, a volcanic rock similar to granite, provided building materials for several breakwaters but is now an Ecological and Natural Preserve.

Sea Turtle IV in the centre in front of Morro Rock

Dredging the channel in front of the 3 stacks

We spent the first night tied up at the Morro Bay Yacht Club dock and then anchored for the rest of our stay at this beautiful town. There are very strong currents in the Bay so one day Jordan towed the motorless dinghy of Rick and Rosie of SV Abraham (they are from San Francisco and heading for Hawaii). They very kindly reciprocated by inviting us for homemade spaghetti!

We had been told by previous sailors to Morro Bay to visit the Yacht Club because of the great hospitality, so on Friday evening, we went in for Happy Hour. And they were right - the hospitality, free appetizers, and liquid refreshments were all great. Their bar is made to look like the hull of a particular boat (but we cannot remember which boat) and is very unusual - never seen a bar like it.

Morro Bay has many eclectic shops and galleries and is a very active boating community, getting 300+ transient boats each year.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jordan's creative side

I Am Drawn
(written by Jordan)

I'm drawn with every beat. Is it blood or is salt?
With every ebb a yonder callng, I'm drawn, it's not my fault.
I'm drawn.

Who's there? What's there? Is it a swirling current that draws to the beyond?
Or is it the moon, I've noticed the urge in the quiet shone?
I'm drawn.

On shore steadfast I can stand against the wind from the brine.
But why do I bend and sway when the wind then comes from behind?
I'm drawn.

I must, for best or worst, ride the mighty crests from dawn to dawn.
I relent and set sail for the unknown to realize the imagined,
for I am drawn.

Copyright 2009 Jordan, SV Sea Turtle IV

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On to Morro Bay

We left at noon on November 9th for an overnighter from Monterey Bay to San Simeon (N35°38.382' W121°11.449'), and arrived at 07:10 the next morning. Under sunny skies, we headed off to see the Hearst Castle. Views from the Castle were fantastic - looking over grassy, rolling hills down to beautiful views of ocean. Apparently, William Randolph Hearst loved to buy things, and the castles and grounds are filled with his many varied purchases from all over the world, including a 3,500 year old statue from Egypt.

View of Hearst Castle on top of the hill taken from Sea Turtle (note the surf)

When we returned to Sea Turtle in the dinghy, we were swamped by the surf and got absolutely soaked from head to foot...good thing we were heading back to the boat instead of going to the Castle!

The next morning we took the dinghy through some caves in the windward shore, then pulled anchor at 11:15 for an approximate 5-hour voyage to our next destination of Morro Bay (N35°21.766' W120°51.173'), arriving at 17:00 on November 11th.

Friday, November 06, 2009

At Monterey Bay

We left Sausalito (California USA) at 16:30 and motored all night and day as wind was on the nose; some fog. Arrived at Santa Cruz the next morning at 08:00 (N36°57.33' W122°00.14'). It was not as warm as San Francisco. We took a bus to Capitola, a quaint little village by the ocean and about 15 minutes away from Santa Cruz.

After spending the day in Capitola, we then left Santa Cruz and once again motored all the way to Monterey Bay (N36°36.34' W121°53.50') as there was next to no wind. On the way, we encountered hundreds of jellyfish! Arrived in the dark and anchored out. There are hundreds of seals and sea lions all around the boats feasting on the influx of sardines.

The next day we walked to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and spent about 3 hours viewing all the sights. The aquarium was awesome! Our favourites were all the sea horse and jellyfish displays. The sea horse exhibitions only just opened in April of this year. We saw marine species that we did not even know existed, such as the sea dragons (check out video in Photo Gallery).

Translucent jellyfish...

...and coloured jellyfish.

Not a feather pen, but a sea pen that emits a bright greenish light when touched...

Beautiful, amazing sea dragon!

We will be spending the next couple of nights at the marina as there are 15 to 20-foot swells with 3 to 4-foot waves predicted which would be a very uncomfortable anchorage.

Too bad we spent so many dollars to buy a dinghy - we could have built ourselves one just like this little beauty...

Another day, we took a bus to Carmel and viewed the sights - found it to be a rather pretty but very expensive town.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Still hanging out

We are back in Sausalito (California USA) after a fruitful excursion to Victoria (British Columbia Canada) - time went by too fast and not able to see everyone and do everything.

We spent the last couple of days with friends from Victoria as they were in San Francisco on a short holiday. We drove out to Sonoma and Napa Valley with them to do a bit of wine tasting. Fun times, hot weather, and great friends.

We are now awaiting a part for the outboard motor which should arrive tomorrow. Spent the day in the hot 26°C sun (80°F) running errands and Jordan made further adjustments to the RVG. Planning on heading out tomorrow after the impeller arrives.