Thursday, September 29, 2011

Anchored in Morro Bay

Lat/Lon: 35 22.113N, 120 51.400W

Sorry, no pictures.

My momentum has really taken a hit this week. I left Monterey on Sunday, arrived in San Simeon on Monday, left there for Morro Bay where I am now on Thursday. Morro bay is 22 miles south of my last stop. When I was in San Simeon calling around to the possible next stops I discovered there was a festival here this coming weekend. Music, food, drink and so on. So I decided to check it out. I may leave here on Sunday or Monday.

There was no wind today so I motored over this morning, four hours, timing my arrival with high water slack as there is a bar at the entrance. A sand bar crossing the entrance, not the drinks kind. The bar was fine, the swell is dying down today.

I have a little list of projects to do while I'm here. My knot meter has stopped working so I'll remove it and clean it out. There is probably some growth on the paddle wheel messing it up. I'd like to sail after leaving here and having the knot meter working is convenient but not essential - the instruments can give you true wind speed and direction if they know the boat speed which is where the knot meter comes in. Besides, it's useful to know how fast I'm going.

As people cruise I suspect one of the most common stories they gather are anchoring stories. Like that time I was in San Simeon... I arrived and there was one boat already anchored so I positioned myself between them and a dock, splitting the distance perhaps 500 feet on each side of me. There was a W wind, blowing off the beach which was 1000 feet away. The two cruising guides suggest anchoring much nearer the beach to avoid swell and wind but I was close enough I thought. Then another boat arrives, single handed (which is cool) and captain holding beer in hand (less so). He ends up moving between me and the dock with my thinking he was going to continue forward toward the beach - but he throws his anchor over with a little chain and the rest nylon about two boat lengths to my side and four or five forward. By the time things settle down and he sets the anchor he is pretty much parallel to me a couple boat lengths over. It's a big anchorage. So at first I just think that this is good practice for later crowded anchorages, but not feeling very comfortable. I tend to make an assumption that other people are more experienced than I am, although I'm getting over this. I like the situation less and less and I realize I probably won't sleep well. If we get a shift in the wind to the forecast NW we may well bump as I'm all chain and his upwind boat will move faster and farther than me, toward me. So I move. I go toward the beach making a triangle out of the three boats, 450 feet on a side. "Nice!" I think.

The next morning I get up, he moves on south and by 6pm that night the wind starts changing direction. By 7pm, sunset, the wind is a weak S to SE, making the shore a lee shore. But the shore is far away and the winds are weak. I thought about moving but didn't. I get up several times that night to check things out. By morning the swell is increasing, the winds are increasing and there is fog so dense I can't see my neighbor 450 feet away. I can hear the waves crashing on the shore behind me but can't see it. So I move the boat again, this time relying on my radar. I go back to almost my original location where I stay until I leave.

Still working out the moral of that story. Maybe there isn't one. I could have asked the boat arriving after me to move - but as it turned out it would have been fine as the winds didn't shift. I was happier each time after I moved. Perhaps the moral is that "if you think you should raise anchor and reposition the boat then you should do it". Similar to if you think it's time to reef the sails then it is time to reef them.

I realize that as anchoring stories go, that one is pretty dull. I sincerely hope that I do not end up with Really Exciting anchoring stories!

Heavily overcast here, and cool. I miss the hot Monterey days I had although it's cooled down there too. Looking forward to more heat as I move south.

Sent from my iPhone


  1. Hi Craig - we have a new plan. Leaving Monterey for the Channel Islands tomorrow (Saturday). Hope to get to San Miguel Island on Monday. Hope you are enjoying Moro Bay. Jim and Karen on Sockdolager

  2. I have enjoyed reading of your many adventures, especially as you have sailed down the west coast. I too have stopped in Morro Bay on various occasions and have found the people to be warm and friendly, particularly the great folks in the Harbor Master's Office. However, Morro Bay is not great town to break down in. It is difficult, if not impossible, to find parts or a good diesel mechanic. And a word of warning – do not go to Morro Bay RV and Marine. They have a reputation of gouging transients. I speak from experience! Good luck and keep the stories coming.