While Morro Bay wasn’t even a thought on our initial trip South, it turned out to be a wonderful stopover… for TEN DAYS! Yeah, we kinda got stuck. Partly still unwinding from the craziness of preparing to go and the past few years of nonstop work. and partly waiting for swell and wind to turn a bit more in our favor, and partly due to the amazing comfort and easy life at anchor there. Protected and calm with unseasonably amazing weather. Jonny did some surfing on the other side of the rock, we explored the dunes, the bay and beaches as well and wandered about the town and I did a nice long bike ride. It was an easy dinghy ride to a number of public docks to tie up, and a fairly short walk to laundry and [REAL!] food shopping. And the skanky coin op showers were a welcome amenity, too.
Everyone we encountered was extremely friendly and helpful – especially the folks at the Morro Bay Yacht Club. We went there looking for a rigger or some one who could help us splice our anchor line (long story but something really weird happened to it – baffled everyone – started to come apart and fray near where it connected to the chain – brand new! Only used for 6 days…no one could figure out why). Anyway we got invited to burger night at the yacht club and they were sure someone would be able to help us get it to the rigging shop. Turns out a guy did it for us right there – and turns out that guy happened to be the captain on the Deep Water Horizon – the big disaster in 2000. We learned he wrote “Fire on the Horizon: The Untold Story of the Gulf Oil Disaster” – which I am looking forward to reading on my Kindle.
Did some good cooking and getting more used to the galley. We are eating pretty well.
The most exciting thing that happened in Morro Bay was that my dear friend Laura Laura took a spur of the moment road trip down to visit us! On what was supposed to be our last day there (more on that later) – as she astutely pointed out – “you aren’t getting any closer”. She drove 3 hours to help us do laundry, get groceries and she even took us to lunch! She left us with a bunch of great gifties and on surprise stow-away we didn’t find till after she left. Pierre is our newest crewmate. Apparently he is hoping to make it across the border undetected. He still refuses to talk. And I’m not sure who was more green on our last passage, me or him.
We planned to get water, propane, fuels, etc. before heading out for an overnight passage to our next destination. Unfortunately the propane tank at the docks was not working properly, and it being Labor Day, no other place was open. We were pretty low on propane (which we use for cooking) and the malfunctioning tank actually released even more of what was left. No choice but to wait till the next day and try to make our way to one of the other places (at least a mile away). We did all our other chores and even took Summer to the public dock to pump out and give her a bath (she was DIRTY!). Carrying a propane tank 2 miles did not sound like any fun…but strapping it on the back of my little folding bike with 10 inch wheels and peddling it a mile up hill?? Yeah!!! I took a bit of a ‘shortcut’ to the propane place, so Jonny managed to get there before me, walking… Got all filled up and safely made it back downhill on my 30 lb bike with my 20 lb propane tank (the brakes almost worked…luckily didn’t need to come to any full stops down the big hill).
We had a final coin-op shower and settled up with the harbor office (only the first 5 days anchoring are free – we had 4 extra, but only $7/day, so not too bad…where else can you vacation in a charming town with 360 degree water view for 10 nights for less than $30??). Had a nice big dinner of spaghetti and sausage (freezing and vacuum sealing my homemade spaghetti sauce seemed like a great idea – getting thawed sauce out of a plastic bag, not so great… but still, much appreciated having it!). By 7pm we were making our way out of Morro Bay, saying goodbye to the 3 stacks and that giant rock. It had been overcast and gloomy all day. I was bundled up in my foulies and hat, prepared for the worst. We were to pass Points Buchon, Arguello and Conception. Point Conception is know as “The Cape Horn of California”. Even when everywhere else is fine, it can have some of the roughest, wildest weather. Our plan to go by at night when it is usually calmest seemed like a good one. It actually wasn’t a bad passage, all things considered. We did get to sail a bit, although still had to motor more than we wanted. It was exciting to see it getting darker as the stacks and giant rock disappeared from view, and millions of whale spouts faded away.
Just around Point Buchon it started getting really rough. I went below to try and get some rest. I didn’t sleep a wink, being tossed and thrown about. When I finally came up to relieve Jonny, I wasn’t sure I was feeling so great… I managed to pull off a couple hours watch, but I did lose my dinner. I think it will be awhile before we enjoy that last bag of sauce… We sailed on, pitching and rolling. When Jonny came back up, I lost it again. He took over and sent me below where I hid under a sleeping bag until morning. I managed to get out to see Point Conception in the gloom and fog, and a few of the oil rigs we passed. But had to go back down to hide until we were almost ready to anchor.
We got in to Cojo Anchorage around 9:30am and found a decent spot. Didn’t look like much to me. But at least it’s not freezing cold – even tho it’s gloomy. I made soup and we napped and recovered from our long night. Several other boats came in to anchor – one cruising boat from Cape Cod and some bigger more commercial ones. We were exhausted and in bed by 8pm. I read more in “Two Years Before the Mast” written by Richard Dana in 1835 – his account of sailing up and down the CA coast back then. I just so happened to be at the part where he was describing being caught in gale around Point Conception. Almost every sail they had got shredded and they were blown over 2 weeks off course (and ended up in San Francisco instead of Monterey!). We sure have it easy compared to those guys. It was a pretty rolly night and also a grey and gloomy day today. But it is not very cold, the one saving grace…
We are slowly getting more South! Jonny jumped overboard and paddled ashore with his surfboard a few hours ago. I saw through the binoculars that he is catching waves with a couple of other guys out there. I was a little worried, knowing how territorial So. Cal is for surfing – but after a couple hours I heard dinghy motor – the guys were giving him a ride back to the boat. They were clearly impressed with what a great surfer Jonny is. Being a friendly guy and a humble but impressive surfer goes a long way, I guess.
Our current dilemma has to do with some big swell that may be coming up from the South from tropical storm Norbert. We want to leave here tomorrow and maybe go down the coast a bit – Jonny wants to check out more surf spots. But we will likely head out to San Miguel Island and begin exploring the Channel Islands a bit from here. There’s a lot to see out there, but our supplies of water will only hold out so long (probably just over a week?) so we’ll see what happens.
I’ve really been having fun with the Ham nets and learning from and connecting with people. One guy is even helping me get technical support – I still haven’t got email or weather info working through the radio to that *&^%! PC we had to buy… but feel I am close!!
Until next time…I wish you 73! (that’s hamspeak for ‘best regards’)