Point Conception/Cojo to Santa Barbara

Time is beginning to turn into that blur that happens to people without a schedule or appointments or plans in the real world. What day is it? How long have we been here? Didn’t you just post a blog entry? No, that was 6 days ago…

Figured I’d do another one before we head out to Santa Cruz Island tomorrow. I think we are going to try to circumnavigate it and then visit Anacapa Island before finally making serious efforts to get to San Diego. There seems to be a lot of anchorages around Santa Cruz Island (although we can’t go ashore in most of it without a permit, which we don’t have), so we will check them out and see what all the fuss is about with these Channel Islands.

Cojo View
View from Cojo Anchorage

We spent 3 nights in Cojo, just past Point Conception. It felt pretty remote but there was a world class wave there (Perko’s) that is only visited by people who live in the ranch area there. It wasn’t very crowded and Jonny just had to jump over board and paddle out to it. The first couple days were overcast and I wasn’t all that excited to be there. The cliffs looked sparse and kind of boring. The lack of sea life and birds made it all feel even more remote and dull. I spent much-needed time figuring out the SSB radio, making contacts and finally being able to send email and get weather information through it. This will be critical when we are out of cell range (tomorrow??). I asked Don, one of the Net Controllers on the InterCon net I check into if there was anyone who could help me with the set up of WinLink2000 (the Ham program available to me since I got my General Amateur license). He sent out word and finally found someone in Florida- Ron -and connected us. Ron talked to me on the phone and walked me through everything. It was amazingly helpful and both Don and Ron were so generous with their time in assisting me.   Quite a big part of this life change –I’m asking other people for and receiving their help!!! So grateful it’s out there

Cojo SunriseCojo Sunrise

The sun finally came out at Cojo and I was getting antsy from being on the boat so long. Jonny stuffed me into my wetsuit and threw me overboard with a surfboard and made me paddle to shore with him. (OK, he may have let me hold onto his leash and towed me most of the way…). As we approached shore I could see how big the breaking waves were. I may have gotten a little scared… Very weird to approach a beach from the water, having no idea what you’re coming onto. As the waves got bigger and scarier, Jonny suggested I get off the board and swim for it. Fast. Because “It would be safer that way”. Implying there was danger, either way. I saw a huge wave about to break on me and at least I knew enough to just dive back through it. I made it to shore quite out of breath (hyperventilating with panic? No, certainly not). Also not used to a wetsuit and I’m sure it was trying to strangle me. After I caught my breath we had a nice walk on the beach. There were 2 wrecked sailboats. One of them, “Gingerbread”, was torn in half – it’s bow end being a good 25 ft from it’s stern. Farther down, an Ericson 30 was beached, missing part of it’s keel and stripped of most everything else. When we first saw that one from shore, we thought maybe there would be some parts or something to scavenge off it. Walking around it and touching the hull, I felt some weird creepiness and sadness, like I was seeing a dead body.   I didn’t feel quite so detached from a wrecked sailboat on a beach as I once might have.


We walked a ways down the windswept coast, my eyes glued to the sand and shells, Jonny’s eyes glued to the amazing waves. Looking out at Summer on anchor from shore, she looked very tiny, just bobbing around in the big sea. After a brief rest in the sun we hopped on the boards and paddled back to Summer. She was waiting patiently. Unfortunately we were not able to get a good swim ladder before we left, so we had this crappy rope/plastic thing. Not easy to get back home with that! And the wind had picked up quite a bit and it was rocking and rolling (not in a good way). We got all safe and washed off. I managed to wash my hair over the side of the boat and have a freshwater rinse down. And the wind was so strong by this time, I stood out on the stern and got a “blow dry” for my hair.


The next day we decided to head down to another anchorage called Sacate, about 8 miles away. It was supposedly ‘more protected’ there with the kind of wind and swell we were expecting (Note to self and others – never trust that Brian Fagan guy…why are we still using his book??).   It was a beautiful and sunny day and our spot actually looked pretty to me. I think living in Santa Cruz has kind of spoiled me. I think I can safely say that Santa Cruz and Capitola are far and away the most beautiful spots on the CA coastline. We sailed off in a warm(ish) breeze to find anchorages unknown.   We overshot our target a bit (2 miles?) but eventually found the “ideal” anchorage, according to this book. We got right into position and dropped the hook. Lovely little place with a huge, long beach and a wave that got Jonny interested. There were a few big houses up in the hills, supposedly belonging to famous people. Whatever.   We had a very relaxing afternoon. Until….(cue ominous music).

The wind came up. Big time. Wild and crazy wind storm, shaking Summer from the tip of her mast down through the sole. We got the full meaning of “shakedown cruise”. Wondered if our anchor would hold, wondered if anything would break apart. We didn’t sleep much and Jonny was up and out checking on the anchor many times. We survived very well, not even the slightest drag. And the sun came out and the beautiful spot said “oh that wasn’t so bad, you want to staaaaaaaay one more niiiight…right??” So we did. And it blew even harder that night. The next morning we said “ENOUGH” and decided to get ourselves down to Santa Barbara.

The wind was right on our nose almost the entire way of the 33 mile trip. Why does this keep happening? I attempted my first gluten free bread recipe while we were sailing. I think it would’ve been great, but my yeast was dead…it never rose. I insisted we will eat it all no matter what. It actually tastes pretty good, for the dense puck it is.

Also, silicon baking pans are NOT good for an unstable environment
Also, silicon baking pans are NOT good for an unstable environment

It was warm and sunny and relatively pleasant, but, motorsailing the whole way. We saw several Borg ships looming on the horizon. Luckily they didn’t try to assimilate us. I think our radio signals might have caused too much interference for their scans. Or, there’s an off chance they were actually oil platforms.

Borg on Horizon

Much of the time the sea smelled of oily tar. Again we noted the serious lack of sea creatures and birds. We saw some scary slicks on the water, too – like what we saw in that fracking movie, Gasland (1 and 2). Kind of eerie.

The plan was to get to Santa Barbara and just anchor for the night and then splurge on a slip the next night. It was warm and we were happy to arrive.   A little disappointed to notice that Santa Barbara isn’t as pretty from the water as it is from land.

Santa Barbara And again, the sea lions on the red-white buoy were small, sparse and not at all barking. Something strange about the sea life down here, and so little of it. We were really that spoiled in Monterey Bay (and Morro Bay)? We enjoyed a nice dinner (our last steaks from El Salchichero!) and watched the full moon rise.

Enjoying a gorgeous moon rise
Enjoying a gorgeous moon rise

We were exhausted and looking forward to a wind-less sleep. And, it was not that windy here. BUT, OMG…ROLLY AS ALL GET OUT. By far the rolliest, rocking-est night EVER. Awful! We slept not one wink. Where did this come from??? It was so bad that we were just laughing about it. And almost crying. I tried sleeping at different angles in our giant romper-room bed, but nothing was comfortable. But 5:30 am I wanted nothing more than to just LEAVE that spot. We got up and by 7am we were pulling up anchor and heading to the harbor dock to get a slip as soon as the office opened.

Heading for harbor at 7am
Heading for harbor at 7am

We docked and wandered around until 8:00am when the office opened and we secured a nice slip. It’s been 3 weeks since we were tied up to a dock! I opted for the slip closest to the main walkway and bathrooms. Turns out there’s a trash and recycle can right there, too. And we can get full water tanks (the water we got from Morro Bay was horribly stinky – will be glad to get rid of all that). What luxury! And it’s even hot and sunny here. As soon as we docked I hit the showers. Hot water pouring out all over you is the most amazing thing ever.

SB Harbor

We saw this $300 million boat today
We saw this $300 million boat today

After cooking some breakfast (the Corralitos smoked bacon Laura Laura brought us is being doled out in a miserly fashion) and messing about with our anchor line and chain we were ready for the day. Our mission was to get groceries. Sounds simple enough. I had located the Whole Foods and the shuttles and busses we would need to get there. All in all getting our groceries was nearly a 4 hour undertaking. But we got to have a driving tour of beautiful Santa Barbara (and it IS a beautiful city!) and the fridge is fully packed (and I got fresh yeast, I will make a successful bread!). We are ready for whatever the next couple weeks brings us.

Very excited to be sleeping at a dock tonight. Jonny can put earplugs in and not have to worry about the anchor (he tends to worry far more than me…I put ear plugs in and sleep well most of the time anyway ;-)). AND I’m going to take ANOTHER shower in the morning.

For now I’m going to make our black bean and leftover steak burritos. Hope to have some island adventure stories for you next time.