Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sept 24: Monterey to Napa

We get up a little early today as we do have an expected 8 hour trip today.  We are all looking forward to crossing under the Golden Gate Bridge today.  Lots of pictures expected today.

Approaching the Golden Gate Bridge

Vickie at the helm as we cross under the bridge

Video Link: Kevin and Les Selfie

Video Link: Crew Selfie after sailing into the SF Bay

We are all anxious to get home today.  It has been an amazing trip.  Our team has dealt with multiple engine failures, the lost of two sails, and leaks which caused wet clothes and beds, but we have all handled like champs.   Our weather couldn't have been better.   Shorts and t-shirts were the normal attire for 3/4 of the trip, and the waters were warm.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sept 23: Monterey to Half Moon Bay

We are leaving at a more normal time as we are expecting a to make Half Moon Bay in the late afternoon.   However, we hit gale force winds (up to 38MPH) in our face for a few hours and our speed slipped from 6-7 MPH to 1-2 MPH.  More whales and dolphins were seen during our day.  We entered Half Moon Bay after it was dark and finding the harbor was certainly a challenge.   Our slip is amongst a bevy of fishing boats.  We lost our mizzen sail early as it ripped out.   We use the mizzen to help stabilize the boat as we are rocked by swells and waves.   We now have a blown out main and mizzen sails.  Both seem to be repairable.

Kevin is now at the helm....notice the rough seas.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sept 22: San Simeon to Monterey

We again got up early today at 3am as we have a 17 hour sail to Monterey.   As we took off you could see the light moving away in waves from the boat and one could see fish lit up as the moved away from the boat.  This is caused by plankton phosphorescence.  Really cool.

We had many dolphin sightings and a few whale sightings as well.   The dolphins are fun to watch as they will swim along side and would jump all the time.  The seas were pretty rough as we moved into the late morning hours.

We had some nice size swells most of the day.

Dolphins approaching

Here they are.

Captain checking the next heading to take to Monterey

Les at the helm.  I think he is enjoying this.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sept 21: Morro Bay to San Simeon

Everybody seem to have no problems sleeping last night.  Les and I headed off around 8am to get groceries for the next few days.  Oh, it was no coincidence that I had seen a shop that had great looking cinnamon rolls. which opened at 8 also.  However the rolls do not compare to the rolls found at a little shop on Maui.

The goal for the day is to leave around noon and travel to San Simeon (Hearst Castle is located there), and then leave from there to make the 17+ hour trip to Monterey.  Before we left Morro Bay, we had lunch at Abri Waterfront Restaurant where the owner told they serve the best Fish&Chips in the world.  We will hold judgement on that.

The day was pretty rough as the waves and winds (up to 31MPH) were up.  We made it to San Simeon about 5.  The waters are very calm in the cove where we are staying.  We practice using the anchor for the first time. We pulled the anchor out a few times just to make sure we weren't too close to shore.  We are getting pretty good at this.  Since the depth gauge was not working, we used a string attached to a lead weight and threw it overboard to manually measure the depth to determine if we could set the anchor.  We can see Hearst Castle from our anchorage. Unfortunately within a few hours fog has covered the castle so we won't be able be able to see the lights at the castle.

We have decided to postpone our departure here to 4 am due to wave and wind conditions earlier in the morning.  No one is complaining too much as it means more sleep for us.  We are hoping that we can still get into Monterey by 6pm tomorrow.

One can barely see Hearst Castle at the top of the hill.

Sept 20: Coho Anchorage to Morro Bay

Boy, it was difficult sleeping with the seals babbling on and anticipating a 1:30 wakeup alarm.  I probably got maybe an hour sleep, but the seaman's life must go on.  I awoke Dennis and we off within a half hour.  It is strange to be traveling at night.  We are using red led lights to get around as white light opens the pupils and it is more difficult to pull all night images that one must be at watch for at night.  The only light we see are the stars which are tremendous and a few oil rigs. There is not much and the waves are low, so we are expecting fairly easy sailing around Point Conception.   Indeed that was the case.  In a couple hours we are joined by Vickie and Les to take over for us.  All of us attempted to nap during the next 12 hours trip.

Video Link: Passing a lighted oil rig in early morning hours.

We had many visitors joining us on this leg during the morning hours.  We couldn't keep count of the number of dolphins who came by the boat.  Some seem to follow the boat jumping along side, others were going in other directions.   We did see a handful of whales, but all were away from the boat and most were just spouting off, getting air and heading down.   We were hoping to get a closer up view, but hopefully later.  We did talk to one sailor at the dock in Morro Bay who saw about 10 humpback whales, all breaching around him.  That is what we hope to find.

We past Morro Rock at the head of Morro Bay about 2pm.  Morro Rock is actually a volcanic plug formed 10's of thousands of years ago.  It is part of a series of volcanic plugs called the Nine Sisters.

The Nine Sisters (Volcanic Plugs)

We made it into the harbor, but had to wait for the dock to be free as the Morro Bay Yacht Club was having a kids' regatta.  Once docked, we had an early dinner and showers.   Les and I both felt like the bathroom was rocking even though we were on dry land. Later we walked along the harbor which is a major tourist area.  Everyone went to bed early, but I stayed up to watch the Packers beat the Seahawks(Yea!).

Windhorse resting at the dock.

Morro Bay with Windhorse in the foreground and Morro Rock in the background.

More pictures and videos to come. 

Sept 19: Santa Barbara to Coho Anchorage

We are off to fairly smooth waves and winds to have dinner and nap at Coho Anchorage on our way to Morro Bay.  We arrived at the achorage around 4pm and found an mooring ball so that we could connect the Windhorse.  Of course, there are are about 6-8 seals sharing the mooring ball and as we found out they keep talking all night long. One seemed to be sick or lost in love, as his voice so annoying.   We were the first in the bay and the only one using the mooring ball. Four other sailboats arrived after we did.  We found out later that that the mooring ball is privately owned and we could get knocked off at any time.  Fortunately, that didn't happen.   We had steak, zucchini, and salad for dinner and headed off to bed early.   Dennis is sleeping on deck and I will awake at 1:30am, at which time he and I will start our trek to Morro Bay.

Video Link: Kevin rocking out as the waves rock the boat.

Oil Rig in the Santa Barbara Channel

Our trusty owl watching sunset at the Coho Anchorage

Our friendly seals using our mooring ball.   They made quite a racket all though the night. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sept 18: Santa Barbara Day 3

There have been numerous updates to the blog today, adding new pictures and links.  Go back and check out the all the previous entries for new pictures and links to new videos.  Most all the pictures have been enlarged.  Don't forget to look for the links to videos which have been posted to youtube.  It may be a few days before we will be able to update the blogs, but stay tune.

Most of the day will be spent preparing for our assault on Point Conception.   We have to load up on the food as we may not be able to get to a grocery store on the way up north.

Oh no, I think we bought out the store!
Good thing they have carts for us to transport the groceries as it is a 7 minute walk to the boat.

Some of us went to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum just off the docks.  Inside they had the original lighthouse light beacon.   This beacon used no electricity and used manpower to rotate it.  It was used from the mid 1800's to the 1920's.   We also learned that in the 1920's seven US Naval Destroyers were shipwrecked in the Santa Barbara Channel.  They were part of a group of 14 destroyer group.  They also had an area dedicated to surfing since that was big here in the 50's and 60's, and later.

This is the original Point Conception lighthouse beacon.

Les swears this is the marlin that he and Vickie saw earlier in our trip. 

Excellent shot from Les's vantage point on the mast looking down onto the boat.

Shot from high on the mast of part of the Santa Barbara Harbo

Ahoy there matey.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sept 17: Santa Barbara - Day 2

Everyone probably heard about the 8.3 earthquake in Chile which generated a tsunami.  The tsunami was to hit Santa Barbara at 5:06am.   Dennis got up to see if there would be any problems as the tsunami hit Santa Barbara.  Nothing really happened here, except everyone had to hear the radio alerts come hourly during the night.

Depiction of wide spread effect of the Chile Earthquake Tsunami

Tsunami Warning already at the beach.
Still calm in the harbor in Santa Barbara
Morning of the Tsunami

Based upon weather outlook today, it looks like we will be staying in Santa Barbara three nights.  I have found a wonderful place to update the blog today at the Santa Barbara Yacht Club; it has such a wonderful view and they have the windows open so you can hear the waves near by (see picture).

Moving boat to new dock...handsome crew, huh?

My view where I am updating the blog.

Some one this out of seaweed next the pier.
Les up high checking the light on the mast.

Sept 16: Oxnard to Santa Barbara

We have woken to a beautiful day in Oxnard.   We will make a short sail to Santa Barbara today, only about 6 hours.  We are staying at Santa Barbara Yacht Club for one night and then will shift to a municipal pier.  The winds are not as strong and surf is only 1-3 feet, so we raised both the mizzen and staysail jib today.

After arriving, we all take showers and head out for dinner.  We walked along the beachwalk to State Street and found a pub to have dinner.  Found a beautiful old Moreton Fig Tree which is almost 150 years old (see picture below).  We talked about the weather ahead and when things look best to tackle Point Conception.  We were originally planning on spending one night at Coho Anchorage (which is just below Point Conception). We have decided to stay in Santa Barbara until the weather is the best for heading North.  We will then head to Coho Anchorage, drop anchor, eat a good dinner, sleep for a few hours and then leave at 2am to make the 14 hour trip around Point Conception to Morro Bay.

Early morning Sea Urchin catch at Oxnard Docks

Video Link:  Sailing from Oxnard to Santa Barbara

Oil Rigs off the coast of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara's Landmark Moreton Fig Tree

Santa Barbara's Landmark Moreton Fig Tree Description

At the Landmark Fig Tree after dinner

Sept 15: Marina Del Rey to Oxnard (Channel Islands Harbor)

After having rain just about all night, we awoke to only a light mist as we got ready to leave Marina Del Rey and head to Oxnard.  Our day would not be perfect, but what day is.  One the davits which is used to raise and lower the motorized rafts broke, and one side of the raft was now dragging in the water.  Fortunately we hadn't moved from the harbor to the ocean. After idling the sailboat, we had to lower the raft, remove the heavy stuff (engine, etc) and then we used the mizzen boom to help raise the raft along with the remaining working davit.  Les and I later were able to reuse what was remaining of the broken davit to help hold the raft, and we could now release the mizzen boom.

It may be had to see the broken davit on the right side, but there it is.

We could now make our way out to the ocean where we found 5-8 foot swells and up to 25mph winds.  Everyone kind of enjoyed the challenge of the mastering the waves as we went up and down.   At one point, Les and Dennis had to go to the bow of the boat to stuff the staysail jib into it's storage bag.  As they were stuffing the sail into the bag, we hit a major swell; I think the bow went thru a 10 foot swing and Les and Dennis swear they went weight-less for a second.   They both were laughing as they returned to the cockpit.

Don't know how Dennis is able to sleep in this surf, but one must catch winks when one can.

Sept 14: Marina Del Rey

Well, the day here is a time for repairs and other things.  Les went to work on the outboard motor on the raft.  Dennis went to work on fixing up the boom to better support the reefed sail.  Vicki spent time cleaning clothes and I worked on updated the blog.   Not having transportation certainly hampers doing things quickly.  Les and Dennis had to walk over 5 miles getting the things they needed.   They went from one shop to another getting a carb rebuilt kit.  Finally, by the end of the day everything was completed.   We then headed off to find an Italian restaurant as Les said he needed carbs (surprising to none).  Well, after walking most of Venice area (3-4 miles), we finally found THE place.  Everybody enjoyed their food before we made our long walk home.

Panoramic view from our dock in Marina Del Rey

Les trying to get the outboard engine working.

Les trying out the repaired motor for the first time. (actually a re-creation) 

Les and Vickie trying out the raft.

Dennis's attempt at a 360 panoramic selfie at the Italian restaurant.

Much better group picture at the restaurant.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sept 13: Avalon to Marina Del Rey

We were hoping to get underway today by 9am.  We are off to Marina Del Rey where we will be docked (no swells...yeah) and can get showers and wash clothes.  Well, we seemed to have crossed the "engine gods" in our lifetime.  Yesterday it was the outboard motor to the dingy which caused us problems.  Today the Windhorse would not start.   Les and Dennis tried many different things. Battery issue?  No.   Solenoid issue?  No.  Starter? Well, it happen that Dennis found that the previous owner had left what looked like a brand new Starter.  Les crammed himself into the engine compartment and got the old starter out and the new one in.  And "thank you engine gods", it started.  We got underway before 11am.   We had good winds so we raised the mizzen and jib stay sails.  We had even cut the engine.  It was so quiet and beautiful to be under just sail power!  Les and Vickie saw a marlin jumping out of the water; Dennis said he saw a large blob which might have been a whale  We were making good time and since we had good consistent winds we decided to raise the main sail.  This would be the first time that we would have all three sails up.  The main sail is the one that Dennis and Vickie had sewed and repaired, and one that Dennis and I had used around the San Diego Harbor. We were feeling lucky!   Well guess what happens next.  After Dennis and I raised the sail, it rips out within 2 minutes.  It ripped on a seam that they couldn't get to with the sewing machine.  It turns out that when Dennis and I had taken the sails to a sail repair shop to have the sail inspected and possibly improved, the person was poking his finger through the fabric to show how it was weak. He said it could work fine or it might blow out.  Well, it appears that it  ripped where he had created a small gap at the seam.  Oh well, this does not deter us 'veteran' sailors; we reefed the sail so that we still could sail with a smaller main sail.   We made it into Marina Del Rey while it was still light, got showers and dinner.

All three sails up for the first time (main blew out about 5 minutes later)

Sleeping already?

Evening at the dock in Marina Del Rey

Sept 12: Day around Avalon

The day didn't start out the best as the outboard motor in our dingy wouldn't start.   So, we had to row a long way to get to the harbor.  Did I say that it was a long way, the oars felt like they kept getting shorter and shorter.   We did find someone knowledgeable about the motor who suggested an approach to get it to work.  We had lunch and then split up.  Les went for a hike to the top of the mountains, Dennis and Vicki took a glass bottom boat ride to see a protected underwater area, and I tooled around the town.  We later met up at a sports bar to watch some football and then had a quick dinner before heading back to the boat.  Les had returned to the boat early to try out the suggestions on the motor to no avail, but he did talk a couple of chaps to tow us to our boat.   We were so very glad to not have to row back as it had gotten dark and the seas were angry!   Well, it turned out that the two chaps had a little too much too drink.  I think I realized this when one of them just jumped from the dock splattering himself onto his boat.  Well, we were making out of the harbor when they thought it was getting too rough for them to take us and they suggested that the harbor boat which was nearby could complete the task.   The harbor boat captain indulged us after first joking by asking us if we were refugees.   It was great to be taken back to our boat safely and quickly.

We all headed off to sleep, but that was only the beginning for me.   We had large and frequent swells which tossed the boat every which way.   I had the most difficulty sleeping that night.   It seemed like I was going to roll off my bed.  I eventually moved to the couch in the galley to read for a while.   Oh, I forgot to mention that the boat motion caused this large cracking sound around the galley steps every 30 seconds or so. And then there is always the rolling of objects and tinkling of glass.   Anyway, I did manage a couple of hours of sleep, and I think the others were a little sleep deprived as well.

Les took some lovely videos of his hike (See links to videos below).

Even though the beach and harbor seems crowded, we were told that things are down
The was a women's outrigger race from Avalon to Newport Beach this weekend.

Where is our raft?

Notice the 10 piece band on the wall.  We ate lunch here.

Les's overlook of Avalon

Les conquers the peaks above Avalon

Video Link: View from Conservatory Lookout above Avalon