After a really enjoyable six weeks in the Bay Area, it was time to head south. We had been in Sausalito for several days wrapping up some potential business for Risto. On September 27 we untied our lines for the last time (for now) in SF and caught the morning ebb out under the Golden Gate in nearly complete solitude. There were only three boats to be seen as we passed under the iconic orange landmark.
As we headed out along the shipping channel with the wind directly behind us, we had the opportunity to try out or ‘twin’ head sail set up. We have brought our old 155% genoa from our last boat (Islander 28) to fly as a ‘pseudo-drifter’. With the regular genoa poled out to starboard, we can raise the ‘drifter’ on the spinnaker halyard and and let it fly with a loose luff. It worked really well and gained us 2kts. Now for you non-sailor types, that may not mean much, but it made the difference between a casual walk and a jog! Quite thrilling to us sailors.
William F. Buckley, who was a renowned sailor wrote in his dry way, “It is fascinating that doing something that is scarcely faster than a brisk walk can be so exhilarating!”
As we turned south, we were able to enjoy a broad reach. Before reaching Half Moon Bay, we saw a group of Humpback whales breaching which is such a thrill. Eventually the wind died and we relied on our trusty diesel to get us the rest of the way to Half Moon Bay where we anchored for the night.
As with so many other things along this journey, it was poetic that we were anchored in Half Moon Bay under a beautiful half moon!
We decided to get up early for our next leg to Santa Cruz. at 5:30 am we awoke to moderately thick fog. After a quick breakfast of coffee and hard boiled eggs we weighed anchor in the pre-dawn darkness and groped our way our through the opening in the breakwater. We had a bit of excitement as we tried to identify the other vessels in the harbor on radar, when a large purse seine boat came in through the channel with it’s bright spot light right in our eyes. It did not show up on AIS and I missed it as a radar target as it blended in with the break water. We passed a bit close for comfort. Once out of the harbor we were able to keep the radar dialed in to keep track of the various fishing vessels close by while working out past the reef into open water as the light improved. Although the fog persisted for most of the trip to Santa Cruz, it wasn’t ‘pea soup’ and we had 1/4 mile visibility, radar and AIS to give us ‘eyes’.
We motored most of the way to Santa Cruz as the wind was variable. as we turned into the north end of Monterey Bay and towards Santa Cruz, the wind filled in and we had a great beam reach into the long wharf off of the beach in SC. We anchored in 25′ off the pier that we discovered is the home of about a million sea lions! It was something like trying to sleep near a kennel for insane dogs! Those critters do make a racket…
The next morning we got a leisurely start across Monterey Bay in very light fog and no wind. We motored about half way and across the Monterey Canyon where the bottom drops off from 300 feet to over 3000 feet in less than a mile. We watched it on the depth sounder. Really very cool.
We stayed in Monterey for three days waiting for a ‘wind event’ to abate. It was fairly calm in Monterey but blowing 35 kts offshore with large seas.
While in Monterey we went to the Monterey Aquarium where we spent the better part of a day taking it all in. I was extra special for us since our good friend Lowell had done much of the the engineering for several of the features that make it such a successful aquarium. Of note is the ‘kelp forest’ that is contained in an enormous sea water tank nearly three stories tall. This is the first aquarium to successfully grow kelp. Lowell designed the ‘wave machine’ that replicates the waves through a kelp forest and gives a very realistic view of the kelp swaying in the current.
Our stay in Monterey was absolutely fantastic. Such a beautiful town, rich with history. we had not realized that Monterey had play such a pivotal roll. Everything from the first capital to the incredible fishery that created Cannery Row which Steinbeck wrote about.