The Quest for Warmer Weather!
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Decision made! Tomorrow Mayaluga is going south, Nightide is going to Santa Barbara. We chatted about the strategy with Ian and Helen on VHF channel 79 and also on the HF SSB radio on 4.146Mhz. In broad terms we will meet up on Tuesday 11th at Dana Point. It gives them the opportunity to meet with friends in Santa Barbara, and it gives us an opportunity to visit the Channel Islands en’ route.
What a relief that there was no alarm at 5:30am! When I put coffee on at 7:30 I saw Nightide steaming east on a smooth sea with no wind. We had a leisurely start and pulled the anchor at 8:45am by which time there was a zephyr of wind to carry us out. We set a course of 185’ for the gap about 35 miles away between Santa Rosa Island and Santa Cruz Island. The wind favoured Mayaluga and we enjoyed glorious sailing in 10-15 knots on a relatively calm ocean.
Later in the afternoon we noticed a couple of sails in the distance also heading for the same gap. What a surprise to get a VHF call from another Canadian vessel, Muskoka. We had not seen Scott and Laurie since San Francisco. They had seen our “signature” on the Automatic Identification System (AIS). A few minutes later we also made radio contact with Harlequin who we recognized as fellow Bluewater Cruising Association (BCA) members, Hank and Lisa. The last time we had seen them was in Victoria at a great seminar “The Psychology of Voyaging” led by Rick Ellis and hosted by BCA. (possibly one of the very best seminars of so many we have attended in connection with cruising. Rick forced us to explore our partner compatability for the cruising lifestyle, risk averseness, or otherwise, and several other factors to prepare ourselves, rather than just our boats!) After all three vessels dropped anchor in Bechers Bay within yards of each other, we hosted both couples on board for a BYOB sun-downer. It was great to catch up on news from fellow cruisers. How amazing to meet up quite by chance at such a remote wilderness location. They were committed to explore Santa Rosa Island the next day, whilst we were heading off to Dana Point, south of Los Angeles.
Anchor was up at 0800hrs. Sailing distance between Santa Rosa and Dana Point is about 120 miles.
We figured on being able to do the trip in about 30 hours at an average speed of 4 knots due to wind forecasted of less than 10 knots over the next couple of days. Once again the wind favoured Mayaluga and after the first 12 hours our average speed was 4.3 knots. We were expecting the wind to drop after sunset but we continued breezing along at well over 4 knots, almost 6 on occasion right through the night. The not quite full moon lit the ocean surface and we marveled at the bright lights of Los Angeles over 50 miles away as we sailed down the coast and ducked all the large shipping traffic!
We made Dana Point just after lunch having sailed most of the way without using the engine. It was very peaceful with an almost flat sea, waves generally less than 5 feet. Well, we did have noise for about 4 hours from the water-maker. Getting the tanks full before reaching the next harbour is always a necessity, because harbour water is far too contaminated to put through or watermaker. We have now producted over 500 gallons since leaving Victoria! The Spectra 150 is definitely one of our most valuable pieces of equipment on board.
Dana Point is a small bedroom community to LA and Newport with an obviously high-end and very affluent retirement population. There is reputedly over 1,400 boats in this huge marina. We are swinging on our own trusty hook, a 25 kg Vulcan attached to 350 of chain, only 50 feet deployed as we are in just over 10 feet of water in the north basin protected by a stone breakwater. I mention the 1,400 boats, because they are generally VERY high-end expensive boats that dont leave their slips. The gossip here is that many of them leave their slips for a night and make the migration a few hundred yards north to the anchorage where we are. Thats it! Unbelievable! Inconceivable! Goodness gracious!!