Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Adios San Francisco, hellllllooooo Santa Barbara (and points in between...)

330am came pretty early, but never more welcome, we had been losing sleep over anticipation of this alarm clock for several days and we were ready.  Properly provisioned, packed, equipment working well, tides and currents working for us, weather looking favorable, we threw off the lines around 430am with our close dock friend Ramona there to see us off.  Away we went into the night...

Tides and currents working for us

New Bay Bridge to the left, SF to the right

Approaching the gate, under sail, little did we know how much at the time to appreciate the wind

Sailing out of San Francisco video:

Adios San Francisco!

Out the Gate we had some moderate winds, maybe 8-10kts but enough to keep us moving, albeit not in the best of directions.  Wind was coming from the southwest so we had some trouble pointing south so we decided to head out to deeper waters in hopes of better wind.  We never did find the wind (more below) but we did find exploding bombs.....or dynamite fishermen.....no.....it was breaching HUMPBACKS!!  As they breached and splashed down it sounded like a bomb going off!

And the next day we took some video of the sea life about 25 miles offshore from Monterrey:

The sun eventually came out and we were accepting our slow sailing conditions and even enjoyed some wine with dinner.

Monica working out to keep the blood flowing

Night number one dinner, delicious enchiladas and wine!
Got to fly the turtle asym for the first time

As night fell and we started our first outer water nighttime sailing experience, we were taken aback by just how dark it can get, I mean so dark that the reflection from stars added light.  Sometime around midnight we gave up on the dying wind and turned on the engine.  The next 36 hours we'd see no wind and glassy seas, just too bad they weren't flat seas for the poor Hesitant Half.  By midday on the second day she was fighting mal de mar and the motoring conditions weren't helping.

Calm winds off Monterrey, sunrise day 2
Monica never missed a watch, but when she could she was asleep in her coccoon
After motoring for about 36 straight hours we pulled into El Morro to top off the fuel tanks.  We had probably burned about 30g of diesel since last filling up in Alameda (meaning one of our tanks was less than half full which is about the time we start considering filling back up) and we carry two 50g tanks but not knowing how much more we may need to motor and Monica still not over her mal de mar, we figured it was a good time to take a pit stop, maybe even stay the night.

Every corner we turn presented a new experience and the fuel dock at El Morro was certainly that.  Tide was on the lower side and the fuel station was, well....not accommodating.  With nothing to tie off to we just pulled in and stopped SeaGlub any way we could.

Fuel dock in El Morro
Once we figured out how to tie up without losing the BBQ on the rail or the wind generator which flirted with dislodging itself against the pilings, we filled up the tanks...or spilled everything into the water, take your pick.  Our overflow valve almost immediately began to spill out when we started the fill hose.  I knew this tank was the empty one so the wtf?  Turns out this fuel station (the only one in town) is used primarily for fishing boats, and since most sailboats actually get to sail all the way to El Morro, the kid at the pump wasn't familiar with sailboats' smaller fittings, thus he was using a 3 inch hose at full throttle and dumping so much fuel into our 2 inch hoses that they couldn't keep up.  This took about 15 minutes to figure out and probably a half gallon of fuel.  Overall, mission accomplished and just as we pulled away the winds came up so the Hesitant Half decided she wanted to continue on and thus off we went.

Entering El Morro

Of course once we got there we lost the wind about 4 hours later and were barely around the point south of El Morro.  Engines back on throughout the night until just before rounding Point Conception at sunrise.
Rounding Point Conception, sunrise day 

Point Conception lighthouse

And while it wasn't the threatening winds of Point Conception we had heard so much about, the winds did come up with the sun and we were able to sail around the Point.  And what did we find on the other side.... a first class point break!  YES!

Government Point (eerily similar to one of my favorite spots in northern Baja)
We dropped anchor and I jumped into my wetsuit and paddled off.  This was the true realization of the dreams I've held for so long, pulling up to a firing point break, anchoring and jumping off the boat to surf.  The waves were about a foot overhead on the sets and fun in between.

Lending Club trimaran doing better time than we did coming do the coast
We had a bit of anchoring troubles here due to the thick kelp on the bottom.  We anchored in 30 feet, set the anchor, and dropped 150 feet of chain.  Late evening the wind picked up to greater than 20kts, but all that was going to happen was us getting blown out to sea and since we didn't see any evidence of us dragging, we went to bed but with a half hour anchor watch on the iPhone.  Glad we had this app as it was so dark at night there was nothing to visually measure how we were doing.  Around 230am we were dragging, we laid out another 100' of chain and woke up every half hour.  Around 5am the winds calmed, I watched the sun rise and and set out for another surf.  As the winds came back up, I returned to the boat, we hauled anchor and tried to reset with no success on the first try and now we were feeling some not-so-good vibes and hoisted the sails and took off. We were able to get in a pretty good sail from Government Point to Santa Barbara, and we arrived just at sunset to complete our first passage!

Sailing to Santa Barbara

Arrival in Santa Barbara, just before drinks and food at Brophy's

Now that we're in Santa Barbara, we've already said what an amazing place this and how we could definitely see this as potential future home (wonder how many times we'll be saying that?).  Checking in here was pretty easy, just hailed Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol on ch12.  They don't take reservations so you just need to check ahead, worst case the anchorage east of Stearn's Wharf looks very manageable.

Monica has her tummy back and SeaGlub has been given a spa day, decks and waterline scrubbed and oil changed.
SeaGlub in her Santa Barbara slip

Monica and her wagon on our grocery day

deserved cocktails!

Yep, she's over her mal de mar!!

And relaxing in style!

Yep, I said in style!

Santa Barbara marina
We're off to Santa Cruz island tomorrow (Wednesday) for 4-5 days and 2-3 anchorages then Two Harbors Catalina and Avalon where we'll write the next update.  Remember you can follow our movements on AIS by going to Where Are We