Friday, 21 October 2011

south california: island style

Morro Bay, early morning
Morro Bay did not want us to go. I am not kidding. The day started off well enough: We got a gargantuan pile of laundry washed and dried at the local Laundromat, our cheapest ever: $6.75 for a quadruple load! (Apparently the owner can’t find the manual to change the price on the large washer. We did not mind.) We rowed back and stowed the boat. I warmed up the engine, and Rick went forward to raise the anchor. We were ready to go!

Anchors aweigh! Um…
Anchors aweigh. Uh huh.
Anchors aweigh? Nope. Sorry.

At the 60 foot mark, the anchor chain would not budge. I eventually called the Harbour Patrol, by then we had reached our quota for swearing. Dana came by. He and Rick tied a line to our chain and towed it in an attempt to dislodge the anchor. I could feel that we were caught on something metal. The clunking as Dana tugged with his work boat was a hint. He put us in contact with a diver. Eric said he would come at slack tide. All right. That wasn’t for a while, so I had a nap, while Rick puttered. Two and a half hours later Eric and his cohorts came by. They dove, only to discover our chain was wrapped around an old, abandoned mooring chain. Considering the strong current in the estuary, we had swung around a lot in the three days we were there. Our anchor chain that lay on the bottom had become very intimate with said mooring chain. Finally, they got us untangled, and we were free!

Home sweet home
Evening turned to night. We were able to sail with Wendy for a big part of the trip, but the rest of the time we had to motor and steer by hand. Yep, Beaker (our auto-pilot) bit the dust on that last trip. (We hope to revive him soon). Kyra’s skills at hand-steering by the stars are, um, entertaining to some… We won’t name any names. On night watches it helps us to stay alert by listening to audio books. is a site that hosts a variety of free audio books by many authors. We first heard of this site through our friend Darusha. She has three books on that site, all three worth a listen, especially if you like science fiction. Even if you don’t, give it a go. I never used to read (or listen to) sci-fi… and well, now I do.

This leg of the journey is when we rounded Point Conception. Oh the stories we had heard… There are considerations to make when going by there, the seas can indeed get nasty. A close observation of the weather and timing our journey in the evening (less wind), all made this leg rather uneventful. We have no horror stories to report!

When the sun came up, a pod of bottle-nose dolphins leapt into view. We took turns standing at the bow to watch them from above, I counted some 20 dolphins riding the bow wave at once. Like I said earlier, this never gets old. Eventually, we saw the outline of San Miguel Island. The dramatic landscape was worth the trip. There are cool sandstone cliffs, sand dunes, and sea lions, of course… We were not there for long, but we enjoyed the scenery, a simple dinner and listened to a podcast of This American Life. I think we were asleep by 21:00.

Cuyler Harbour, San Miguel Island

Different angle, same anchorage

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