I Stand Corrected!!

Air temp: 76 degrees
Humidity: 62% Barometer: 1026 mb and steady
Speed: 3 knots Course: 060 degrees True
Noon to noon distance made in nautical miles for the last 24 hours: 70 miles
Point of Sail: Port close reach
Wind speed: North at 8 knots
Swells: North at 3-4 ft.
Noon Latitude: 40 deg 57′ N (Same latitude as Eureka, CA, but 1500 miles west of it) Noon Longitude: 146 deg 25′ W
Camanoe’s fish count since Maui: Flying fish – 7 Squid – 0
Breakfast today: Blueberry pancakes!
Lunch today: Leftover spaghetti with extra garlic
Dinner tonight: Grilled cheese ham sandwich before the cheese turns completely black from mold

I stand corrected, as per my post from yesterday about not being in the high. I received the latest weather fax surface analysis for my area this morning. I’m definitely in the northeast quadrant of the Pacific High at 1028 mb. It wasn’t anywhere near here two days ago. Hence the reason for the light winds. We drifted for the better part of last night. Today has been light winds under five knots. We motored until noon just so we could record 70 miles made good in the last 24 hours. I don’t see any reason to motor for any longer than it takes to top off the ship’s batteries. It’s not like I’m going to motor into an area with more wind since the high moves faster than I can motor. The high is moving southeast and should be slightly below my position by tomorrow, placing me in the north quadrant. This should give me some winds from the west to northwest, but probably not strong enough except to ghost along. Since I no longer have a spinnaker on board, I have been using my lightest three ounce staysail. It is the only sail I have that doesn’t completely collapse as the boat rolls in four foot seas and light winds. With just this sail up I can at least point in the correct direction with a little headway, maybe a knot or two.

Even with light winds, today has been great. The sun was out for the better part of the afternoon and the seas were less than three feet thanks to the high. I sat on deck reading and enjoying the sunshine. I finally started “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. I even had the opportunity to run the Shop-Vac while the engine was running and clean up the cabin some. Who keeps shedding everywhere?



No Wind!!!

Air temp: 84 degrees
Humidity: 57% Barometer: 1023 mb and steady
Speed: 4.0 knots Course: 030 degrees magnetic
Noon to noon distance made in nautical miles for the last 24 hours: 81 miles
Point of Sail: Port Close reach with Genoa and single reefed main for balance
Wind speed: Northeast at 8 knots
Swells: East at 4 ft.
Noon Latitude: 34 deg 11′ N (Same latitude as Los Angeles) Noon Longitude: 154 deg 52′ W Camanoe’s fish count since Maui: Flying fish – 5 Squid – 0
Breakfast today: 2 intstant oatmeal packets strawberry and creme and 3 fistfull’s of crackers
Lunch today: 1 Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, 1 Tangerine, and 3 handfulls of mini pretzels
Dinner tonight: Steak, corn, and a deliciously cold mango

Today was mostly windless. The day started around 0200 in the morning with the sails flopping. I vaguely remember coaxing the boat back into the light wind and getting the speed up enough for Windy the wind vane to steer. I also vaguely remember the refrigeration compressor running at that time. Just after I crawled back into the bunk, slat, slat, bang, goes the windless sails again. After another 45 minutes, I find the lightest trace of wind and get the boat going again. Then I realized, “Hey, the reefer is still running. Wait a second, the temperature should be much colder than 20 degrees in the freezer after all this time.” After careful inspection, half asleep, at 0400 in the morning, I realize there is no refrigerant going through the sight glass. I think, “Shit, there goes all my food. I must have a refrigerant leak.” The inlet and outlet refrigerant lines weren’t even cool or hot. Next logical step, I turn off the breaker to the compressor. “I must have hit the wrong breaker, the compressor is still running. Nope, that was the correct breaker. Screw it, I will trip the main power breaker for the whole system and deal with it later. I need sleep.” With the reefer shut off I crawl back in bed, thinking, “I will have to eat a lot of steak today before it thaws out and goes bad.” Before I shut my eyes, bang bang slat goes the sails. “That’s it, I’m dropping the sails, it’s time to drift around.” Ten minutes later I have the sails dropped. Five minutes after that, the wind picks up. So up goes the sails again. Once they are up and trimmed, the winds starts to build; great! By then I can just barely see the sun coming up on the distant horizon. “I’m up now, lets make some coffee and look at the reefer system.” Like an idiot, I stared at the system for 10 minutes until it dawned on me the compressor breaker only controls a 12-volt solenoid for the compressor. Two taps with a wrench on the solenoid and all is fixed; at least temporarily. If the solenoid stuck once, it will stick again and kill my batteries. I will have to replace it. Good thing I have a spare on board. Basically, the compressor was running when it should have been off thanks to a frozen stuck solenoid; so no refrigerant was flowing through it. Refrigerant is now flowing through the sight glass with no bubbles and the compressor is half full of oil, so no damage done, hopefully. I’m still having steak for dinner though!

Five minutes later I hear a slat slat bang bang. I try to coax the wind into the sails for an hour, but no luck. I eventually gave up and began motoring for several hours. Just long enough to charge the batteries to 100%. Since then I have just bearly been ghosting along at 1-2 knots, hand steering, trying to follow the light light winds. I HATE MOTORING! With in the last hour the wind has come up and we are close-hauled once again, even if only for a little while. Camanoe is just to the southeast of the Pacific High so I expect light winds for the next few days, if not the next week.

Today was still awesome. It’s beautiful out here. I read for several hours. I went swimming several times while the boat was stopped. The water is still beautifully blue and full of trash.

While motoring I saw something few people have ever seen!!!! A swordfish, possibly a Marlin, but I don’t think so. It was at least six feet long following the boat for an hour. It would stay 2-3 feet behind the boat lunging underneath it every minute or so to try and grab the smaller fish underneath Camanoe. Then it would angle itself on it’s side and drift/swim back behind the boat. It was at least four feet underneath the surface the whole time. I had my pole in the water with the lure about 200 feet behind the boat. I’m glad it didn’t take a crack at that. According to what I have read, many a fisherman have lost their boats due to swordfish ramming the boat with their snouts while being reeled in. Apparently they are prized fish because they put up such a fight, and they taste great, like pizza or chicken mcnuggets.


Cojo, Santa Cruz Island, Pt. Dume

(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. 

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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!!  🙂

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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. 


San Simeon to Pt. Conception/Cojo Anchorage

(Sept 22) After a couple of days in San Simeon in one of the worst anchorages, we were happy to head south toward Morro Bay.  The Morro Bay Yacht Club let us tie up to their dock for $20, which was well worth it to me so we didn’t have to spend another night rolling around like we did in San Simeon.  We were also able to do some laundry at the yacht club and take a short walk over to the Cookie Crock grocery store.  We were docked next to our new cruising friends that we met up in Monterey and saw again in San Simeon; Bob and Camelia on “Navigo” and Wayne and Sheila on “Way She Goes.”  They’ve been cruising down from Canada and plan to head to Cabo and then up into the Sea of Cortez just like we plan (although, they’re not doing the Ha-Ha Rally).  It’s been very nice getting to meet other cruisers and talking about travel plans and sailing woes.

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Morro Bay rock – Entrance into Morro Bay Harbor.  Dave calls it “Bird Poop Rock.”

The next morning (Sept 23) we headed towards Port San Luis about 17 miles down the coast.  Another motoring day unfortunately. We were happy for the sunshine, but the winds were so light that it made more sense to motor.  Took us about 4 1/2 hours.  Dave fiddled with the watermaker all the way down trying to figure out why we’re getting a plastic taste and bad smell when we use it (our tanks were topped off at Morro Bay, so we had plenty of drinking water, but we will really need the watermaker in Mexico, so best to fix it now).

We rowed to the San Luis Obispo Pier for an ice cream cone and we found that they were having a farmer’s market with lots of food booths and a live band called the California Celts.  Dave and I are having a disagreement about how to say the band’s name.  I think they’re going for the alliteration of California Celts (with a hard K sound on Celts) and Dave thinks it’s Celts with an S sound like Selts.  We’re open to opinions on this one.  Anyway, it was very entertaining and we walked up one of the cliffside drives to admire the houses and the great view of the ocean.

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Bright and early the next morning (Sept 24) we continued our journey south towards Pt. Conception where we planned to anchor just around the bend at Cojo,  Dave has sailed around the point three other times and always had crappy weather and massive waves to deal with…this time around was oddly flat with no winds and no waves, so we motored around the point.  This was one of our first times pulling out the auto pilot…we’re calling him Robby.  He did well, but I still sat out and watched the horizon a majority of the day to keeps us from running over random kelp beds.