Monday, May 24, 2010

Morro Bay

I made it to Morro Bay! I have one large leap to do before I will feel safe; Point Conception. Most people who have been out on the water will have heard of it, so fear it (like me) others respect, but all know of stories of winds that blow as if there were malice blowing from the ocean itself.
So I'm not passed it yet, but I'll probably go past it tomorrow, unless I decide to wait a day more, and then I'll be on Southern California.
The water has a blue color in some places that is just sparkly and wonderful. I can't help but smile at how deep and clear and blue it is. So last I posted I was in Santa Cruz, where there is free internet, free anchoring and its quite pretty, with the sound of surf breaking just 300 yards away... I almost went surfing, but was feeling cold, and it seemed sharky for some reason. Anyways, I crossed the beautiful Monterey Bay, and saw some Sea Otters, and went to Monterey. In Monterey, the Sea Lions laze around on the rocks, the tourists click, and everything is pay. I anchored inside the breakwater, and was accosted by a local who told me to go to the office and pay them some money. I was hesitant, but eventually tied up to a dock (since I COULD NOT anchor) and payed $9 for mooring for the night. But then, I realized, I was right next to this bar that stayed up late, and I got up early to do a big leg down Big Sur, so it was a bit irritating. I left the next morning at 5:00 am to continue southbound, and remarked through the day that driving down Big Sur and sailing down are about the same speed: in both you take a day to do the coast, and camp somewhere along the way, usually in the south section near San Simeon. I in fact anchored in San Simeon bay myself.
So I turn the corner from Monterey, just after reading about how Steinbeck did the same corner in The Log from the Sea of Cortez, and I noticed how the "point collects the waves" as he says in his book. Basically there are a lot of waves right before getting around a point, and afterwards, its calmer. The day was a beautiful day, there were a few species of whales that I saw. Dolphins, really. Big Risso's Dolphins, in groups of two or four, then Pacific Whiteside Dolphins, single, or in groups, its hard to tell because they move so fast, and finally there were these porpoises that are black, really long and thin, and have a small tail and no dorsal fin. I don't know their name, but they look a bit like the Dahl's porpoises, because they have some white on their underbelly. I couldn't get a good shot of one, but they are fun to watch. They come in flocks of 20 or more, and we played a lot together on the bow.
It was a long day, and I didn't get to San Simeon until 7:30. The wind did a funny thing. I was about 5 miles or less off the coast, and in the morning it was fairly calm, but it built until about 2:00, when it was most definately Small Craft Advisory winds, about 20-30 knots. Then it died down a lot, and I wondered at this, but the moment I kicked on the motor (I had to make distance that day) the winds started picking up again, and they built until just when I reached San Simeon. I rounded this point about 5 miles before San Simeon and the waves calmed down a lot, but the wind built to about 45 knots and blew the tops off the waves and spray right out of the sea. It was really impressive. I had to go upwind to get into the bay to anchor and it was downright difficult. There was another boat there to watch, and as I passed by he said some sly remark which the wind promptly snatched out of his mouth and flung away.
The wind was doing strange things to me. I felt a funny low pressure inside my nose from the wind, where it would snatch the breath out of me. It was blowing HARD.
But all that is just a taste of what I may have to endure in short order. I expect winds to be like that or even more, and hopefully they will permit my passage. Since I hope to be going downwind, that shouldn't be too bad, but sometimes you get into trouble even going with the wind.
Today was nothing too special, I went about 30 miles and it was really light winds, so I took my time getting up and getting moving. I still have yet to explore Morro Bay, but since I've been here before, I'm not in a hurry.

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