After a fun night we groggily waddled into action in the morning, provisioning at the local grocery (a bit high-end, but good food), reducing all the packaging, getting rid of trash and recycles, and getting off the dock at the crack of noon. Just in time for the end of the ebb tide under the Golden Gate. A scraggily curtain of fog attempted to hide the bridge, and a pair of tankers coming and going simultaneously while we were crossing the shipping lanes made it very interesting for Kristin as she white-knuckled the wheel through the swirling currents. Our friend called us from the base of the Presidio on her daily run so she could wave so-long and take a few pictures- a happy surprise!
The rest of the afternoon was a straightforward but somewhat dreary motor to Half Moon Bay with only six knots of wind from directly behind us, where we set the anchor and were greeted by our Coho Hoho friend Brandt on Priya. We made plans to meet for dinner and Kristin and I motored ashore in the dinghy to do a quick jog-a-hike out to the end of the point to see the famous Maverick’s surf break. Nice to get some more exercise- we are slacking in that regard! Dinner and catching up with Brandt on the local brewpub’s patio was fun and we all slowly motored out to the motherships with our dinghy lights on. We love our removable Navisafe dinghy lights!
Daybreak found us pulling the anchor in light fog, the chain coated in a sticky mud that did not want to wash off even with the washdown hose. The anchor had so much mud on it that after spraying it for 10 minutes we gave up. Motoring out into almost no wind we encountered surprisingly large swells after two days of calm weather. Must be from the big low pressure system off the coast. Three miles out we were surprised by a HUGE whale that spouted and crossed directly in front of the boat! We jumped to go into neutral and luckily it crossed quickly and no others appeared. Not long after our heart rates returned to normal the engine died. Again. This is getting frustrating. It was an excess vacuum on the main tank line again, so we switched to the port tank and tried to restart, only to have the recurring starter issue (ie no electric juice) jump in the clown car for the ride. Oh boy! By now we were sideways to the swells and rolling like crazy. I am beginning to believe it’s a ground or connection issue, but can’t find where it is to fix it, so we just flipped the engine battery switch to “1 & 2”, which means it borrows from the house battery bank too- in this case not for power but rather for the ground, and so far it works every time… Another thing added to the “shit to do soon” list. Safely motoring along again in our sailboat we came in close around Ano Nuevo, a beautiful point north of Santa Cruz. No elephant seals yet (they arrive for winter breeding), but the point was beautiful as it reclaimed a few buildings from another era amid the smashing breakers all around the sides.
We anchored east of the pier in Santa Cruz, greeted by the dozens of Sea Lions on the cross-struts underneath it- their barks reverberating under the wooden planks. The beachfront amusement park is not operating during these times of Covid, but it is still a fun backdrop to the anchorage. We kayaked to a small dinghy dock alongside the pier, climbed the sketchy ladder to the steps to get to the top and had a nice walk along it, checking out all the surfers catching the break off the point. That evening we noticed some changing weather approaching the coast, so we altered our plans to skip staying for a second day in Santa Cruz and instead jump a day sooner to Monterey so we could be a day ahead reaching Morro Bay down the coast to ride out a blow there. The blow was clearing from the south so by going one day early we would save 3 days of waiting. Worth it!
So morning found us moving again, this time across Monterey Bay to historic Cannery Row, the Aquarium, and all the rest the little seaside city has to offer. As we neared the harbor our friends from Arvonna saw us from the Aquarium lookout deck and called us to let us know they were in the harbor- woohoo! What are the chances? They happened to be at the aquarium looking through the telescope right when we sailed in! We arrived and took a slip rather than anchoring for two nights because we wanted to make it easier for friends to visit and also easier to use our bikes. They are a bit difficult to shlep around in the dinghy. First up was a ride out around Point Pinos and down to 17 Mile Drive. It is beautiful, hugging the coast past beaches, waves smashing on the rocks, through three of the most iconic golf courses in the nation (Spyglass, Pebble Beach, and Cypress), to the picturesque Lone Cypress. Kristin noticed that the view from the lowly driving range at Cypress Hill was better than any golf course she has ever seen! After that little 30 mile jaunt we quickly showered and hosted an old friend for dinner on the boat, mini pizzas and homemade ice cream!
The next day we spent the morning doing boat chores (including clearing the main fuel line again), met Kevin and Deb from Arvonna for lunch, went to the Aquarium for the afternoon, and then went out to dinner at a nice open-air brewpub with our friends, which was super tasty! No moss grows on us, lol!
We had discussed with the Arvonna crew the coming winds and we decided to ride it out together in Morro Bay. We left at 5:00 am so we could stop in San Simeon for the night, they chose to leave midday and sail overnight straight to Morro Bay. We don’t mind sailing overnight, but prefer to sail in daylight and sleep at night in a secure spot when possible. By starting two hours before daylight we would be able to make it to the San Simeon anchorage before dark, and leaving an anchorage in the dark is never as difficult as coming into one at night. You have your inbound track to follow out, and in Monterey’s case it is very straightforward anyway. So for 14 hours we motored again- wind weak and directly on our butts, so we couldn’t even motor sail. Along the way we saw Albacore Tuna chasing smaller fish, all of them leaping clear out of the water in their quest for escape and lunch, respectively. We also saw a group of what looked from a distance like Minke whales near Point Sur light. Way too large for porpoises! One of the advantages of having Sirius XM is that we can listen to the live play-by-play for all the major sports’ games, so of course we listened to the Patriots broadcast versus the Saints. Almost wish we hadn’t….but at least it kept our attention for a few hours of a very long day. San Simeon was very pretty, and Hearst Castle up on its hill looked nice, but was not open. So we looked at pictures of it online instead! LOL! The swells somehow managed to wrap nearly 180 degrees around the point and made for a very rolly night, but we slept well for the few hours before the alarm went off at 6:00 to get up and make the final push to Morro Bay.
Another early morning. Looking forward to sleeping in with no alarm clock tomorrow! The engine start played its little game and we had to borrow the ground from the house bank again, but then we were off on a relatively short 4-hour jaunt to Morro Bay. Once again, no wind at all, which is ironic when thinking about the fact that we are a sailboat motoring into a safe harbor to avoid too much wind. As we neared Morro Rock (have fun with that all of you Spanish speakers!) we saw whales and more whales! Tail flukes and flippers slapping the water, spouts all over the place. Fun! The entrance to Morro can be nasty, but it was nice and settled when we arrived and we settled into a spot right next to Arvonna and another Coho Hoho boat, Delfin. So nice to keep seeing people we already know as we hopscotch each other down the coast! We were anchored just ahead of the floating sea lion colony, and immediately to our port side was where the sea otters wrapped themselves in seaweed to sleep (so they won’t drift away), including the mothers who carried their youngsters on their bellies to sleep. So dang cute!!
Morro Bay is so well protected that we didn’t even feel the brunt of the big blow happening just on the other side of the peninsula. The town is a really interesting mix of working fishing vessels and tourism. They have done a great job mixing the two. The harbor is clean and well taken care of. We were met by Harbor Patrol, the two nice guys welcomed us and explained the rules and gave us a pamphlet. We puttered around the boat putting stuff away, cleaning up, and went out for early dinner with the Arvonna crew. The next day we went crazy on the “shit to do later” list. It felt good to get a few items crossed off! The morning of our final day in the Bay we had a fun adventure going to the fuel dock. We could see the sign with the prices on it but couldn’t see where to tie up to get the fuel. Bill called the fuel dock number and they answered “Giovanni’s Fish Market”. Uhhhhh is this the fuel dock? It turns out the fuel place doesn’t have a phone so the fish market answers for them. The gal said to just pull up to the 15 foot high pilings and climb up the ladder, another slippery contraption made from welded rebar which leaned a little backward over the water. We wondered where the tie up cleats were, we will figure it out when we get there. We carefully, slowly edged up to the encrusted pilings looking for a way to secure ourselves. Bill finally saw the cleats at the TOP of the pier. Looking like he was going to jump rope with the mooring line, Bill lassoed one of the high cleats on the second try, impressive! He tied the stern line off to a piling strut and took the bow line with him as he climbed the sketchy ladder to tie it off to the other cleat. Whew! The friendly old guy with a long, grey beard and well worn plaid flannel shirt handed down the nozzle. Did we hear a banjo playing? Successful fuel adventure complete! We re-anchored in our same spot and went for a kayak in the estuary. So beautiful! There were all kinds of critters in the sea grass and birds galore fishing in the shallows. We pulled the kayak up onto the dinghy dock and walked the bike path to the rock. It is huge! Almost 800 feet high! On the way to the rock we saw a little restaurant serving fresh catch, oysters, and beer. Inside they had a fish market as well. We had a wonderful late lunch and brought back a tuna steak for dinner!
We showered, made sure we were prepped to go in the morning, and met for sundowners on Arvonna. We brought homemade sourdough olive bread, and turns out they had made enough amazing appetizers for 6 people, so that wound up being dinner. Seared Ahi for dinner tomorrow night, lol! We returned to Sacagawea after sunset, thankful for our stern arch lights. What a perfect day! Tomorrow we have a long sail to Cojo Anchorage, the jumping off point to the northern Channel Islands we plan to explore for most of a week!