(Sept 25) We were a little unsure where we wanted to head after Cojo. I needed to be back in the Bay Area by Oct 1st for a friend’s wedding and Dave would need to find a place to anchor the boat where it was both cheap (or free) to stay and where it would be calm enough for him to work on the boat while anchored. We had originally thought Santa Barbara would be a good idea, except Dave had prior experience anchored in Santa Barbara and it had always been a rough and rolling place to stay. Not exactly ideal.
Our Canadian friends were heading to San Miguel Island in the Santa Barbara channel. Dave had never been there before and wanted to go but we decided that maybe we would sail to Santa Barbara for the night and then head towards Redondo Beach where Dave could anchor for free and I could easily rent a car and head home for a few days. Thus, we’d be missing all of the Santa Barbara Islands.
However, part way towards Santa Barbara, the winds shifted from the west to the southeast, so we altered course and headed towards Santa Cruz Island is the hopes that we could sail and not listen to the motor for another eight hours. Everything was quite lovely until the winds really picked up halfway through us crossing the shipping channel. We went from about 10-15 kts of wind to 25-30 kts. We reefed the mainsail and only put out a tiny bit of the headsail (jib). I couldn’t keep up with the weatherhelm (makes the boat hard to steer), so Dave took over. Even though I wasn’t keen on the high winds and the large waves hitting us on our beam, I had to admit we were making good time sailing across the channel; that was, until a large tanker called us on the radio and requested that we change course since he was heading straight for us (miles away still, but they move fast!). We thought we’d head down wind and let him pass us on the starboard side, but after Dave hung up he realized we’d be losing a lot of ground, so we sailed into the wind and Dave took the mainsail down completely and once the tanker passed we motored the remaining five miles into Forney’s Cove (west side of Santa Cruz Island). Believe me, that last sentence doesn’t really describe the struggle we had to get the sail down. This is not the fun part of sailing.
Even though we were motoring and five miles doesn’t seem like much, we still had another couple of hours ahead of us at least. At 7pm I was praying for the sun to give us 30 more minutes of light so we could get around the point of the island and into the anchorage. Between the winds and the waves and the tanker and coming into an unknown anchorage at dusk, I was pretty much done. Even with the promise of mac n’ cheese from the Capt (my favorite), I was still unhappy with the day and couldn’t wait to get somewhere calm and sunny.
Thank goodness the next two days were smooth. I think Dave was afraid I was going to get to the mainland, head home and never return.
Santa Cruz Island is completely uninhabited and unless you have a special permit, you can’t go ashore. Which was fine by us, because we were ready to leave the rolling in Forney’s Cove and head along the south side of the island towards Smuggler’s Cove on the east side of the island. The sun was out for the entire sail. Dave and I even spent some time sun bathing on the bow of the boat and just enjoyed the quiet sail. M seasickness had subsided enough that I was even able to play some board games on deck with the Capt and finish up the second volume of the Harry Potter books (thanks to Boomie for letting me borrow all seven books for the trip!). Eventually there wasn’t enough wind to keep the headsail full, so Dave tried the spinnaker for a while. He attempted to use our boat hook pole as a whisker pole to keep the spinnaker out and filled with wind, but it kept working its way free.
Boat Hook as a whisker pole for the spinnaker (L); Boat hook NOT working as a whisker pole for the spinnaker (R).
Smuggler’s Cove is a super, well—protected anchorage, so we had an excellent, and much-needed, full night’s rest.
(Sept 27) We headed out of Smuggler’s around 7:30am and into the blinding sunlight towards the mainland. Our goal was to hit Malibu/Pt. Dume about 40 NM away before sundown. We had to pass along the coast of Anacapa Island and got to see the famous Arch Rock. Although we motored about 90% of our trip past the island and towards Malibu, it was still a lovely day. Lots of sunshine…more sun bathing. THIS is what I had expected more of our trip to be like! I know we’re not in Mexico yet, but you gotta give a girl SOME sunshine every once in a while!! 🙂
Santa Cruz Island scenery (top Left); Capt Dave relaxing at anchor in Smuggler’s Cove (top Right); Anacapa Island’s Arch Rock (bottom)
We made it to Pt. Dume/Paradise Cove by 4:30pm and contemplated going ashore, but then decided we’d just make dinner and hang out up top in the cockpit and enjoy the sunset.