Saturday, 29 September 2012

Five Ports of Call and Sea Life Beyond Our Wildest Imagination

We were supposed to round Point Conception this morning.  The alarm went off at 6 am and Tony crawled out of bed to shut it off and turn on the VHF weather channel for a final check.  Point Conception can be a rotten place to be in the wrong conditions, and although we researched the weather a dozen times yesterday, it still needed to be confirmed before we would pull up anchor and head out this  morning.

Good thing we did check because the forecast was revised and now they were calling for 20 kts of wind off the point, with possible gusts to 30.  Oh………too bad… horrible.....we’d better go back to bed and think about going tomorrow instead!  Snzzzzzzzzzzzz..... Snzzzzzzzzzz.........

At the much more reasonable hour of 10 am, we were woken by the repeated sound of WHOOSH right beside our bedroom porthole.  This time Kathy dragged herself out of bed to see what could be making such an annoying sound and reached the salon just in time to get a text from Tarpan, which was anchored near by. “Look outside!”  Surrounding the boat were dozens and dozens of dolphins and sea lions, all trying to outdo each other in the speed swimming and crazy-jumping-out-of-the-water department.  Man, what a sight.

We have been to some wonderful places and seen so much sea life since leaving San Francisco, almost 2 weeks ago:

1.  Halfmoon Bay - about 3 hours, mostly down wind sailing, from San Fran.  It was still cold and the anchorage was super windy, but we tucked into a corner and enjoyed some nice hiking up on the bluffs.

2.  Monterey -  We had a great sail to our next anchorage in Monterey.  The trip took about 10 hours and although we tried very hard to catch Tarpan (even to the extent of flying a full main long after a reef was called for!) we never quite made it. We wish that we hadn't given them quite as much of a head start!  The town itself is very touristy, but beautifully laid out and we had a nice lunch out on Cannery Row.

3.  Stillwater Cove - Just around the corner from Monterey and the only real BC-like anchorage we've stayed in for a while.  The yacht club had vacant mooring balls and we were allowed to pick one up for free, which was really nice.  We were excited to be there as it is just a long iron shot from the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course.  We had in mind a walk along the golf course and into the town of Carmel by the Sea.  Sounds great, but by mid morning the next day we had huge swell in the anchorage and some surfer style breaking waves developing.  So, in pretty quick order, all three boats in the cove high tailed it out of there.

4.  Morro Bay - Our first solo overnighter took us about 110 nm to Morro Bay, mostly under power and in the fog.  We kept about 4--7 nm offshore and really had nothing too exciting go on.  Kathy had a nice long chat with a tug driver in the wee hours of the morning, but it was more out of boredom than for any real navigational issues.  We arrived mid morning, very tired but feeling proud of ourselves, and anchored in the harbour just a stones throw from a sea lion rookery.  Not even their constant barking, “singing”, and growling could keep either of us awake!

5. Port of San Luis - Three hours of motoring in light winds brought us into PSL and Avila Beach, where we are still waiting for a weather break to carry on.  We believe it will be tomorrow.  This is another great Californian Beach area with fabulous kayaking, walking, town touring and ice cream (only Kathy's second cone on the entire trip....honest!).  The sea life here has blown us away, with sea lions, sea otters, harbour seals, dolphins, and numerous types of sea birds checking out Vakasa.  We'll be sorry to leave here but are looking forward to getting to the Channel Islands!

Vakasa from the bluffs at Half Moon Bay

Lunch out in Monterey...we believe that's Smokey Robinson behind Tony, playing guitar

In some pretty swanky company in Monterey

The local surf club (all 20 of them) just had to paddle between Vakasa's hulls

Breaking waves coming into Stillwater Cover...not sure where they got the "still" from

Rizzo, the wonder dog, checking out the sunset by Morro Rock

Port of San Luis old lighthouse on the left (beautiful) high tech light on the right (not so nice)

Rizzo getting ready to ascend the ladder at the pier in Port San Luis...yes, she's in the pack.

Going back down the 25 ft ladder....the only way to get Rizzo to and from land...what a trooper!

Anja is now hooked on kayaking

A bit of a dunking getting to the beach in the soon as the first wave broke over the kayak, Rizzo jumped dog!

Anja and Bram....our friendly Tarpanians! 

Doesn't look that comfy, but he didn't seem to mind

Sea lion rookery just behind Vakasa in Morro Bay...noisy devils

Egret using a kelp bed as a fishing platform

Pelican and Cormorants parading down the beach 

Sammy the sea otter...wrapped in kelp and too lazy to be worried about us

Sorry there are no dolphin pics....we have hundreds of them, but none of them actually show a dolphin!  They all just show where the dolphins once were.  We just aren't quick enough to catch them on film!



  1. Hi you guys, glad to see you're enjoying some of the anchorages we visited... good for you.. and good for Rizzo. It looks like she's decided to really be a part of the crew. Excellent! We're following along with you... and looking forward to seeing you soon. Take good care.. and, enjoy.
    CJ and Kathy
    SV Shannon

  2. So excited to read this tonight...almost as exciting as your phone call a couple of weeks back! I loved hearing your voices. You do have quite the knack for storytelling and keeping a photo journal. Thanks for sharing. Will be checking regularly.