Date: Wednesday Oct 5th
34° 09.822' N 119° 13.553' W
Log 1784.8, Engine Hours 1248.6, Batteries %100
First, a couple photos that belong to earlier posts.
|Sailing between Monterey and San Simeon|
|Light playing on the water toward sunset|
|San Simeon sunset|
Morro Bay exceeded my somewhat low expectations by a comfortable margin. It is a small town and everybody I met was super friendly. The weekend festival was pretty small, though there were two music stages and plenty of wine and beer to sample. There was also lots of food to choose from, stuff to buy or not, art to judge, and so on. It was a good time, enjoying a beer or three in the sun while mingling with the people. I arrived on Thursday the 29th at 11:30am and anchored. The anchorage area in Morro Bay is between the red nun markers 10 and 12 toward shore, and I dropped anchor close to the #10 marker. There is a fairly strong tidal exchange in the bay and I ended up staying aboard for all of Thursday watching while the boat swung back and forth with the tide. I ended fairly close to the #10 marker on an ebb, fairly close to what looked like an abandoned boat to my south on a flood, fairly close to the shore with east wind at slack, but my anchor seemed well set and I didn't see any need to adjust anything. After watching the boat swing around for the day, I was ready to set out on Friday and start exploring.
|Looking at Morro Rock from Luckness at anchor near sunrise|
|Same time as above, more east, toward the power stacks|
|Sand sculpture at Morro Bay festival, Oct 1st|
|From the beach north of Morro rock, looking back at it|
|From Morro rock, looking back at the town across the entrance channel|
After leaving Monterey and thinking about it, I summed up my visit with: "I could live here." Morro bay was interesting and friendly, but its not a place where I could live. Its too small for me, I like to have more facilities, services and variety that a larger city offers. But its a fine place to visit.
Leaving Morro Bay on Monday the winds were light, S 1 to 3 knots, so I motored toward Point Conception. Point Conception is known as the last of the major capes in the trek south toward San Diego. It has a reputation for having strong winds every day as the land heats up and you get a strong onshore breeze. So I had a desire to round this point at around midnight, reducing the possibility of gale force onshore winds to a minimum. As I was motoring toward the point I realized that I would arrive very early but that since the winds were so light, the chance of their increasing dramatically seemed slight. At 12:40pm the winds increased to SW 6 knots and I started sailing on a close reach to beam reach toward the point - it was sweet. The longer I sailed the later I would arrive at the cape and the more enjoyable my trip would be. It was a win/win situation. The winds varied between 6 and 8 knots until 5pm with the boat doing a little more than half the wind speed. I could sail in these conditions all day, for weeks on end. Its a dry ride, no salt spray across the decks. The seas were calm, with the swell small and widely spaced. It was mostly sunny and warm, and there was very little traffic to contend with. At 5pm the wind diminished to 2.5 knots, and as the boat was barely moving I felt I needed to take action and started to motor. Unfortunately I didn't sail again for the rest of the trip. As I was approaching Point Conception after 10pm I was considering whether or not to stop in Cojo anchorage or to continue toward Oxnard. In the end I decided to anchor for a while. Cojo Anchorage is just around the corner from Point Conception, and entering it on a dark night was a little strange. I had a GPS waypoint from a cruising guide I headed toward, avoiding kelp beds I had read about. There was a offshore oil platform tender at the waypoint I could see visually as well as on radar, and I cleared him and avoided two other boats to anchor 1000 feet from shore. I could hear the surf line toward shore from where I was strongly, but I never saw it in my stay. I ended up anchored in Cojo Anchorage (lat/lon: 34 26.8N, 120 26.5W) with the winds varying between 2 and 5 knots mainly from the NW at 10:45pm and was asleep by 11:30pm after adding 10 gallons of diesel to the tank from my gerry jugs, the last of the diesel on deck. The strong onshore breeze I thought might appear at Point Conception never appeared, although I think I would pass this cape in a similar manner if I cross it again.
I wanted to arrive at Oxnard on Tuesday, as if the weather matched the forecast I didn't want to be contending with entering a new marina and docking the boat in 25 to 35 knot winds. Tuesday the winds were forecast as being benign for entering the marina all day. Since it was 62 miles from Cojo anchorage to Oxnard, the longer I stayed sleeping the later I would arrive. The marina office closed at 5pm. I can motor at approximately 6 knots.
I got up at 4:15am as the swell started to increase and the boat started rocking. My plan was to get up at 4:30 so I beat it by a little, and was underway by 4:45am. As I was leaving the anchorage I came across a freighter that was rounding the point and was a little surprised by see me appear - we made passing arrangements on the VHF and everything was fine. Heading toward Oxnard that morning I had another of those moments of peace that seem to occur fairly frequently on this trip, where everything seemed right with the world - motoring along in my boat watching a light show erupt around me as the sun started to rise and while I was heading off to a new harbor to explore. Sailing would have been better, but the winds were 5 knots at my back. I ended up motoring the whole way in order to get to the marina in time. Toward the end of the trip the winds started to increase, eventually to 10 to 15 knots from the west - these were fine sailing conditions, but my agenda and schedule interfered and I continued to motor to my destination.
|After sunrise, heading to Oxnard. No wind!|
Before leaving Morro Bay I was phoning around the area trying to find a good place to visit next. I had wanted to visit Santa Barbara as I have heard lots of good things about it. However after speaking with the marina office I learned that they were starting a major construction project on Wednesday (today as I write) and were evicting all their transient moorage customers. They are doing work on a finger pier and need to move all those long term customers to the transient slips. I was offered a nights stay, but no more. The next marina along the coast was Ventura and that sounded good as well. One marina was full and the other offered me a slip at $1.50 per foot, $60 per day. My slip at Oxnard is $35 and is 46 feet long, with plenty of availability here. I realize that I'm applying a different scale to what I pay for a night's moorage. When traveling by car and looking for a hotel - given the choice between a $35 room or a $60 room, I would definitely choose the more expensive as $35 for a room in america just doesn't buy you a very good experience. But my dock space in Monterey was $28 and it was an incredible location. More on Oxnard in a later post. Oxnard wasn't my first choice so I had low expectations coming in. But Oxnard seemed to be a good distance along the coast and I have a bit of a schedule to keep to now, leading up to the end of October.
On a technical note, the alternative energy solutions I have onboard continue to please me. The solar panels continue to be the main provider of power, aside from the alternator when I'm motoring. One night while at anchor I was watching the last few DVDs of a TV series and got absorbed by it and ended up watching 'TV' from 7pm to 1am. By 1am my batteries were down 61Ah, so roughly 10 amps per hour to run the boat (lights, anchor light, hand held VHF scanning and plugged in, inverter, computer, AIS and anchor watch, stray devices being charged.) The next day, while still at anchor, it was cloudy part of the day and that evening at sunset the boat was still down 20Ah. By the following day the batteries were at 100% by the early afternoon. I continue to be able to, within reason, consume power without regard to its being a limited resource. This will likely change as it gets warmer and my fridge consumes more power each day.
On a navigational note - I've now fallen down the coast by 14° 15'. Since its 60 nm per degree of latitude, that translates to my being 855 nm south of Neah Bay. The great circle distance between where I am now and Neah Bay is 880 nm, which is a route across land. My boat has traveled 1087.5 nm since leaving Seattle. I left Seattle 35 days ago and since then I've sailed on 20 days. I've spent my nights: 15 days at anchor, 8 days in a marina, 12 nights at sea.
I slightly regret passing the Northern Channel Islands by. I have this built in assumption that I'll be doing this coast again in the future and the next time I'll have more time to spend visiting more of these islands and ports. This may or may not be the way it works out. All I know is that I'm here now, enjoying life and looking forward to the islands and ports to come.
Luckness signing off, for now.