Journey to wind and isolation
Departure was 1600 July 26, from San Diego Harbor. Ken, Joe, Kaya, Sharon and I motored with a double-reefed main on the rhumb line to San Miguel Island with an average of 4.5 knots in 41 hours, and arrived Friday morning around 1000.
We monitored weather, and encountered winds gusting to 28 knots on our final night in the passage between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands, slowing our speeds down to 2 – 3 knots. Nearing San Miguel, the marine layer began to break, and we could easily identify Prince Island and Harris Point. Motoring closer to the shore we spotted a group of large elephant seals lounging on the white sandy beach!
We set anchor close to the west beach in about 15 feet. A second boat, SV Rapture, was already in the anchorage.
Beautiful white sandy beaches, elephant seals and calm water characterized our surroundings. We went ashore and hiked to the Caliche Forest with George our Nature Guide and Gregory and Susan from SV Rapture.
My first time to make it to the Caliche Forest and a sight not to miss.
After our 3-hour hike, we grilled chicken, ate and slept. Saturday morning we plotted our course to Santa Cruz Island and made it in time to explore the Painted Caves. Incredible.
We anchored bow and stern in Fry’s Harbor in time for an afternoon swim and a hike.
After another good night’s sleep, we hauled anchor early Sunday morning 0600 to voyage 22 nm across to Santa Barbara town for our crew change.
We arrived Santa Barbara at 1100, cleaned the boat, filled fuel and pumped out the head.
Joe, Ken and Kaya departed, and Cheryl and Mora arrived. After a yummy lunch of sushi, we departed at 1300 and sailed across to Prisoners Anchorage, Chinese Harbor on Santa Cruz Island.
Great swim and dinner of pasta and chicken. The anchorage was more roilly than we liked. The next day we hiked, swam. John, a friend of Cheryl’s, arrived on his boat. Our fridge was not working, and we had lost our meat. Fortunately, John gave us hamburger patties, and we were able to eat for one more day.
Departing after dinner with a weather report of small craft advisories, we headed out at 1800 with two hours of daylight which helped us navigate the passage between Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands.
We motored around the east end of Santa Cruz, into the wind and waves. It felt like victory at sea. After we turned the corner, we sailed downwind at 6 to 7 knots, enjoying the hearty winds off our stern on the way to Catalina, about 70 nm away.
We picked up a mooring the next morning at Fourth of July Cove. Later we met up with Captain Barb Keeler and had a tour of her 110-foot motor yacht before dinner. The next morning, we motored to White’s Landing and checked out all the anchorages along the way. We were able to shower at San Diego’s YC facility on Buffalo Beach. Thank you Cheryl, SDYC member!
We stopped in Avalon for the afternoon and went ashore for dinner. We returned to the boat at 2100 hours, dropped our mooring and motor sailed the 70 nm to San Diego harbor, arriving at 1100 on Thursday. Great trip, great crew!
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