(Sept 19) After a couple of days in Monterey to get the engine running properly again, we thought we’d head directly to San Simeon, but the distance to travel (80 nautical miles (NM))meant either we leave the night before and sail through the night or leave in the morning and definitely enter the harbor after dark. Neither option sounded very appealing to me, so the Capt agreed to do a short hop over to the Carmel/Pebble Beach anchorage only 13NM so we could make a dent in the trip and have a rest before the long jaunt to San Simeon.
We arrived in Carmel just before 4pm, just in time for the fog to roll in. As the Capt took a few minutes to set the anchor and I snapped some pics of the Pebble Beach Golf Course and surrounding estates from the cockpit, the fog not only rolled in, it completely blanketed the anchorage and the cliffside. We were very glad to have gotten in before the pea soup.
We decided to row to shore and it didn’t take log before Camanoe completely disappeared in the mist. We found a small path up to the golf course and wandered around the fifth tee before heading back to the boat before we lost all light. One of the coolest moments so far was on our dinghy ride back to the boat; a very curious harbor seal followed closely behind us from the shore back to Camanoe. Usually we’ll see the seals (or sea lions or sea otters) from afar and they’ll duck into the water as we row past, but this little guy was practically popping up underneath my seat. I would have taken a picture of him but I hate using it in the dinghy since we’re so close to water and the camera is so new and pretty.
Pictures to come of Camanoe in the fog and a cool shot of a faint rainbow over the boat as we rowed away.
At first light the next day (Sept 20) we were motoring out of Carmel Bay and into the mist towards San Simeon. We assumed the fog would lift with the sun and as the winds picked up later in the morning, but we were wrong on both accounts. The fog only got worse throughout the day and the winds never amounted to much (by the way, the NOAA weather service mariners listen to in order to know sailing conditions has been wrong about 95% of the time…that’s not annoying or anything). So our plan to avoid coming into San Simeon at night was completely busted. We motored the entire 70 NMs. But lets look on the bright side: I was NOT seasick on this leg. Yay. Also, the chart plotter and depth sounder AND engine did NOT break down. Yay.
But regardless, this was not a fun leg. Although we’d had no actual sunshine, there had been some light throughout the day and once that dropped around 7:30pm, there was nothing we could do but turn on our running lights (red & green lights on the bow, white light on our stern) and keep the radar on in case another ship crossed in our way.
Dave made us some hot chocolate and took our blow horn and our hand held radio up to the bow and stood watch through the fog. Not only were we looking out for other ships and the channel bouys leading us into San Simeon, but we also had to watch for crab pots and kelp beds that litter this area of the Pacific (really bad to run either of those over while the engine is going). Dave would radio to me any time he saw something ahead (granted he could only see about 15 feet in front of us). He also just kept checking in on our progress as I manned the chart plotter at the helm. I kept us on course and pretty much sang every song I know to keep myself from going crazy.
After two hours of this hell we finally saw the light from the San Simeon bouy. We steered into the anchorage as best we could based on where the bouy was and what the chart plotter showed but in the morning we realized we had anchored on the wrong side of the San Simeon pier and about a 1/2 mile away from the anchorage! We figured being on the the wrong side of the pier was why we’d had such a rollie night, but we stayed an extra day to rest and explore the area and even on the correct side of the anchorage we had a bad night of rolling and rocking and things falling all over the place inside the cabin at 2am. We spoke with some neighbors the next morning and they agreed that San Simeon has the worst anchorage. We were very glad to sail away.