Sunday, November 22, 2009

Breathe in, breathe out... Move on...

Feeling slightly seasick and staying above deck to ease the urge to throw up, I looked over the horizon and noticed huge spouts of water only a few hundred feet out. Taking a second look, I watched a huge whale jump right out of the water and seconds later a tail flip up towards the sky. Instantly my sea sickness was gone and the camera (and Eric) were up on deck. We were only two hours ouside of Monterrey and already had a parade of whales to see us out."I'm slightly cold. And slightly seasick. But don't worry. If you need anything,
I'll be here."

The wind blew and blew all day and slowly died out through the evening. To both of our delight, our Norvane windvane was able to handle the tight-fitting rudder and worked so well we didn't even use the autopilot until sundown. Eric kept busy on deck changing sails and keeping himself entertained while I tried my best to stay out of the way and out of the smell of food... which triggered my sea sick stomach to rebel...

By the time the sun set, our drifter was flapping helplessly in less than 5 knots of wind and our main flopped around at the mercy of the waves. After rolling in the drifter, the main was short to follow, as was the engine. We motored through the early hours of morning and as dawn broke, the wind began again. As we tossed on our warmer clothes, a pod of around 20 dolphins welcomed us to the Morro Bay area.

The entrance to Morro Bay was described in our cruising manuals as "difficult," and we were nervous heading in. Breaking waves at the mouth of the estuary were common and the port captain had advised us of dredging. Regardless, we entered seamlessly and were awed by the cool scenery in the area.

Eric Navigating the entrance to Morro Bay anchorage.

We spent three days in Morro Bay. The weather was a welcome warm compared to the chillier northern areas and even our cockpit showers were fun! The fatty knees was a really fun mode of transportation and we explored further into the anchorage- right down into the marina that is tucked back past the mooring balls. Eric and I took turns on the tiller and I got a little more comfortable with the capabilities of the Fatty Knees.

Sailing the Fatty Knees to the end of Morro Bay Marina. The entrance was surprisingly shallow.

Morro Bay in all was like a tourist ghost town with some really stellar scenery. The streets you would have thought should be thronging with sunhat-topped tourists and flip-flops and ice cream cones. Instead, local surfers crossed the estuary to the surf on the other side fo the spit, and the bars and restaurants were karaoke-filled locals on a friday night. The streets were empty and the stores were filled with bored shopkeepers, eager to catch the odd sailor on a deal. The fishing industry took a hard hit here and then with the economy so slow, the tousists just hadn't come.

We went on a fish and chips misson one night and had a pumpkin ice cream finale (a goofy story for later!). Eric took me out for chinese food on Saturday night as a bit of a birthday dinner and we had coffee and turnovers at a local bakery. We fixed a hole in one of our spinnakers and I had a bit (okay, ALOT) of fun on one of the parks' playgrounds. Hey, hasn't everyone wanted to be a pirate at one time or another!?

I'm Captain Morgan! Harrrrrghhh!

We were very happy to have the ground tackle we had in the anchorage. The tide was so strong and the wind so strong that it was like being anchored in a river 24 hours a day!

The tide current in the anchorage often had us standing on Nanu's bow wondering how our anchor would hold.

We left Morro Bay this morning, and are now in Avila. The US Coast guard issued a gale warning for Point Conception and we decided to lay low until early tomorrow morning. Avila is quaint. Although right beside Pizmo Beach and other larger towns, it's quaint three-restaurant, one pier, a couple of fish markets and a set of public bathrooms is all that makes up this huge anchorage. As we pulled in, both of us scrunched up our noses to the familar smell of sea birds and sea lions...ew. Morro Bay was much nicer.
Tomorrow we plan on round Point Conception. The point is also known as "the Cape Horne of the Pacific," because of the often turbulent waters and strong winds off of the coast. It is (apparently) also alot warmer on the other side. We can't wait!

After rounding Point Conception we'll be anchoring in Cojo anchorage. It's notorious for awesome surf and is part of the Hollister Ranch, a beach accessible only by boat or with a key.

From there, we may do the channel islands... and... San Diego...

But don't hold your breath. We're planning on enjoying the warmer weather, so San Diego (hopefully) won't be too soon!

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