1. an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and colour.
2. the tones or sounds employed, occurring in single line (melody) or multiple lines (harmony), and sounded or to be sounded by one or more voices or instruments, or both.

This is what long distant cruising is all about. Not the sounds from the stereo but rather the collection of sounds created as the boat moves through the water or lies at anchor. We constantly have an ear open for the different noises we hear and expect to hear. (While Barb has both open, I only have one that just barely works.)

All the sounds mean something. The snap of the flags gives you an idea of wind speeds, the slap of water on the hull indicates size and direction of the waves, hum and vibration of the engines, if they are on, and so on. There is an odd sort of harmony to it all.

When the music changes or there is a new sound, it generally has a meaning and a required course of action. Like the conductor of a band we try to keep the melody of the boat on track. When it all comes together it is just like a symphony as the boat glides across the water. When the sounds are out of synch its about as much fun as listening to someone pick up a violin for the first time.

We have experienced both since our last update.

We left Monterey at 4 am as it was going to be a long day to San Simeon our next port of call. We were buddy boating with Sedna and as much as we plan for the weather your never really know what you’re in for till you get there.
Just out of the marina and while still in shallow waters, suddenly there are silver streaks and splashing water directly in front of the boat. Reef! is my first thought even though I have plotted the course and know there should be nothing here. Turns out it was just a pod of dolphins that came to pay a visit. Their racing bodies creating lines of bioluminescence and splashes when they surfaced. Very cool once the heart beat got back to normal.

Not to be out done shortly after this event, Sedna radios to tell us a bat has flown into there cockpit enclosure and Ken was trying to get it out. (Apparently Cheryl was busy elsewhere in the boat 😊)

From San Simeon it was off to Port San Luis our staging spot for our Point Conception transit. The next morning  was another 3 am start as we wanted to round Point Conception early in the morning as it has a nasty reputation for steep waves and high winds that build during the day. This start time would see us around the point in the morning and on into Santa Barbara in the afternoon. The transit  was even better than we anticipated, with calm seas and light winds. Easy button for this one! As a side note a boat that tied to the dock beside us later that evening rounded the point in 30 plus knots of wind and 9 to 12-foot seas. Glad we missed that!

We enjoyed a couple of days exploring Santa Barbara’s beaches, shops and even a nice dinner out. It was our reward for making it past all the milestone crossings and officially being in Southern California.

Santa Barbara harbor
View from our dock

From Santa Barbara it was over to Santa Cruz the largest of the Channel Islands. We stayed in three spots on Santa Cruz, Pelican Bay, Cueva Valdez, and Coches Prietos. All of these are considered anchorages here but compared to what we are used to in the Pacific North West they are just indentations of the coast line with limited protection. If I may continue with my music analogy, we spent 3 nights rock and rolling with waves from one direction and swell from another. Not the most comfortable nights we have had, to put it mildly.

We did take the dinghy over and into the Painted Caves. About 600 feet of caves you can boat into and around. Take a flash light as it’s pitch black. The rooms inside are about 20 to 40 feet high and the eyes of the sea lions will scare the crap out of you the first time you see them. Not to mention the sound of them echoing around us once the lights had woken them up.

Painted Cave entry
Sedna and Stray Cat at anchor
Sedna in a Santa Cruz anchorage

From Santa Cruz Island it was across the channel and back to the mainland. Our first thought was a stop at Ventura, but the marinas were full and there was no anchorage so its off to Oxnard.

South Bound Again

We left Half Moon Bay early in the morning, our destination of Santa Cruz was 50 kn (nautical miles).  The winds are typically light in the morning and pickup in the afternoon. The forecast was for 10 to 20 knot winds for the day. They were almost right. As we thought, the winds were light when we left and about 11, just off Pigeon Point, we raised the spinnaker and enjoyed a nice downwind cruise for about an hour and a half, then the winds started to pick up. By pick up, I mean gusting to 30 knots. We ran with a reefed main sail and triple reefed genoa and had a “lively” sail the rest of the way down to Santa Cruz, arriving at 3 pm and taking space at the municipal dock.

Our friends on Sedna were sailing with us and so were our new friends on board Blossom. We were all happy to have made it without incident and enjoyed a well-deserved “happy hour” onboard Sedna that evening.

We spent a couple of days exploring Santa Cruz, its beach and famous boardwalk close after the Labour Day weekend, so we did not get to ride the roller coaster. Not that any of us really wanted to after our sail down.

Santa Cruz Harbor
World Famous Boardwalk
Beach Volleyball
Sandcastle Construction

We left Santa Cruz and made the short hop (20kn) across Monterey Bay to Monterey. We have spent 4 days here exploring Monterey.  We checked out Cannery Row, rented a car and did the 17 Mile Scenic Drive around Carmel and several of the scenic stops along the way. We looked at the golf courses, the mansions, and stopped to take in the views of the ocean. (Huh did we really stop the car to look at the ocean? Yah, we did)

Fisherman’s Wharf – Monterey


Pedal Boat on Pond


Carmel was cool. A short walk will take you through its trendy shops and galleries and of course there is a beautiful sandy beach.

Carmel Shop
Carmel Alley
Carmel Beach

We caught up with our friends on Salish Dragon in Monterey as well. We are all looking at weather and hoping to leave early Thursday morning for the long (85 kn) run to San Simeon Bay. San Simeon will be our staging area for the transit around Point Conception and on to the Channel Islands. Point Conception has a bit of a reputation so picking a good weather window is important.

Till Next Time

San Fran Tourists

So, we have spent almost 2 weeks just kind of hanging out in the Bay area. One of the advantages of our lifestyle is that whenever we want to, we can up and move and change the view. We spent six days in Berkeley, then moved to Emeryville, Sausalito, Richmond and then downtown San Fran at Pier 39.

Sausalito Waterfront
Floating Home Community

While the other areas we visited we quiet “suburbs” of San Francisco, Pier 39 is in the tourist centre. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, street performers and of course the famous sea lions. Noisy and smelly and yet still draw a crowd of people to watch them. Fortunately, we were on the other side of the docks. Our friends onboard Sedna had to listen to them day and night. We only had to convince this one to move so we could get back to the boat.

Pier 39 Sea Lions
Not Happy About Moving

We mix in a bit of tourist stuff with a bit of boat projects, an occasional day sail on the bay, sprinkle in a bit of reading, card playing and relaxing and poof the day is gone. I’m starting to realize how much work got in the way of having fun.

Speaking of boat projects. It still amazes me that we have so much stuff packed into this small boat. It never fails that whatever I need, even for a quick 5-minute fix, is buried under the bed and several storage containers. It usually takes longer to dig the part out than it does to do the repair.

Found it

After a couple of weeks, we felt we had spent enough time in San Fran and it was time to get a move on. So, we left early in the morning and headed south 25 miles, destination Half Moon Bay. Its about half way between San Francisco and Monterey Bay. I’m finally feeling like I’m in California. It’s the first place we have stayed that has a big sandy beach and surfers.

San Francisco Sun Rise
Golden Gate at Sunrise
Marina Sign
Half Moon Bay Beach

We have lots of time to harbour hop down the coast. The Baja HaHa cruising rally we have joined, leaves from San Diego at the end of Oct, so we are planning for San Diego mid Oct.

Stay tuned for our next episode 😊