HALF MOON BAY TO PORT SAN LUIS

October 10, 2003

We are now continuing our journey...next leg San Diego. We had spent Saturday night anchored in Sausalito. The view from there of San Francisco is fabulous. At night you get a panoramic view of the downtown area and fisherman's wharf all lit up and reflected in the ocean waters. We had the most terrific send-off...a magnificent display of fireworks right over the cityscape!

We set sail the next morning but the weather was a little unsettled so we decided to just go as far as Half Moon Bay, about 25 miles south of San Francisco. On our way out of the SF Bay we sailed right beside a fleet of naval warships. A little intimidating to say the least, with their machine guns on deck and hundreds of naval personnel standing officiously on guard. The destroyers were simply "parked" 6 in a row. I don't know why.

HALF MOON BAY - Thanksgiving

The winds were starting to pick up just as we arrived at Half Moon Bay to set anchor. Much to our delight we anchored beside the friends (Mira & Adelante) that we had met and spent time with in Alameda. We caught up on the news via radio as, like ours, their dinghies were also stowed away. A short time later 2 other Canadian boats, one couple from Edmonton on Sowleu, that were anchored beside us in Sausalito, also set the hook beside us.

This morning we awoke to very dense fog and now the winds are howling at 25 knots so we ended up remaining in Half Moon Bay waiting for ideal weather conditions for 3 days.  We decided to join Mira and Adelante to sail to Monterey. Our 3 boats left at midnight and mainly motor-sailed on lumpy seas the whole way which took about 12 hours. Kathy on Adelante was somewhat seasick  but I managed to remain okay. 


Arrived about noon, entered the harbor motoring through a playground of California Sea Lions. These silly animals have absolutely no fear and nudged right up to the boat giving us a sassy look, then as if to show off, darted away jumping and twisting in the air like trained seals. All around us were groups of 5 to 10 sea lions frolicking clear out of the water in perfect formation.

I call Monterey the "Sea Lion City" because the harbor was packed with literally thousands of California Sea Lions. What appears to be a break wall in the photo above is actually thousands of sea lions! 


These pinnipeds differ from the seals we are used to seeing on the West Coast. Although the same size (about 7 ft) and color (deep brown) they are distinguished by their noticeable little ears and the fact that they are very athletic. These are the animals featured in circus acts, aquariums and zoos because they are easily trained and have an excellent memory. They are also used for military purposes.

I think that these sea lions are protected and this is a sanctuary for them. However, their numbers have gotten out of control in this harbor. The sea lions are so prolific that you cannot leave your dinghy unattended because they will climb right in and claim it as their new home. Boats anchored in the harbor were covered with sea lions. We had heard that no less than 7 boats had to be hauled out within the past several months as the sea lions had totally destroyed the boats, even getting inside somehow! 

ascension-under-sail.jpg (26276 bytes)After refueling the boat, we proceeded to the anchorage on the outside of the break wall. However, even with a stern anchor out, the anchorage was very rolly as the result of the swell and current that flowed into the harbor. Our friends obtained a berth at the Marina but we are trying to conserve our funds and have decided that we will anchor out whenever possible. We were very tired from our all night sail to Monterey and badly needed some sleep. However in addition to the constant movement of the boat, the "symphony of the Sea Lions" made sleeping impossible. The larger old male baritone barking accompanied by the off key staccato yelping of a chorus of thousands of seals, continuing all day and all night, was just too much to bear. At morning light, I realized that I was very seasick from the motion and lack of sleep. Here I had endured stormy seas and rough passages only to end up seasick in an anchorage! So we decided to bypass a city tour of the Spanish-style town of Monterey and pull anchor to set sail for Morrow Bay, another overnight sail.


We left at daylight and  started out motoring but by mid-day the winds were filling the sails and we were making good time at about 6.5 knots. We hadn't seen any other boats for quite some time when I suddenly noticed a strange looking craft on our port side. It didn't show up on radar and we kept getting closer and closer. We were under sail on starboard so had right of way, but this other vessel was not changing course. We came within about 10 feet of the strangest looking watercraft we have ever seen. Way out in the middle of the ocean, bobbing around was a trimaran, no mast or sail. Tied all over the craft were kayaks, canoes, rafts, and general junk. The stern carried a garden of what looked like tomato plants. A very peculiar looking fellow was just wandering around the deck and nonchalantly waved to us as we had to alter course at the last minute to prevent a collision. Looked like something from "Water World." We were to later see this contraption at our next anchorages...Morrow Bay, Port San Luis and who knows where.


Just before dusk, rounding Big Sur, the winds and seas were building furiously and the barometer was dropping at an alarming rate. We were obviously in for an unforecasted gale. As darkness fell the winds built to 40-45 knots and the waves were staring to break. We couldn't believe that this was happening to us AGAIN!! The bottom clew on our foresail blew apart and Gord had to go forward and set up the storm sail in those big waves. He put a third reef in the main and we eventually ended up taking it down altogether. Since there is absolutely no place to get refuge along that section of the coast, we were forced to ride it out.


Fortunately, it blew itself out without getting any worse after about 5 hours. Suddenly, we were motoring again with no wind and we arrived in early light at Morrow Bay, a beautiful little fishing village, very well protected.


October 18

The anchorage is marked by a very large rock, appropriately called "Morrow Rock." The setting was absolutely beautiful and as we approached the very well protected calm anchorage, we realized that all our Canadian friends that we met in Sausalito were here! What a thrill to have caught up with them! 

Canadians-in-Morrow.jpg (25153 bytes)

We set the anchor and crashed. A few hours later, Shirley and Russ from Wandering Star came over to visit. We got the latest news of the whereabouts of the other cruisers in the group.

As you go traveling you leave your community behind and re-establish a new one as you go. It's a dance of hellos and good-byes. Although the friends you make come from all walks of life,  the bond that you share is special regardless of professions, age or size of boat. There is such a feeling of camaraderie to belong to this cruising family. ...saying hello, checking in about plans, how the weather is looking or happy hour.

Morrow Rock

We could have remained happily in Morrow Bay indefinitely, with its peaceful anchorage, quaint town and fantastic beaches. I could have spent hours watching the silly pelicans recklessly dive bomb for fish.

As some of our friends left the anchorage, new ones arrived. We had a fire on the beach one night with the couple from Epic 5 (EJ & Rick), Andrew & Eileen and their kids from Vancouver and fellow Beneteau owners, Donna & Ralph from Ocean Girl.



October 19 

We decided to head to Port San Luis, a 5 hours sail down the coast. We buddy boated with Ocean Girl and had a wonderful relaxing trip motor-sailing all the way. We anchored at Avila Beach, which has recently been in the news due to it being the beach where the Great White shark chomped a lady swimming in the bay. A fishing boat anchored beside us had a sighting of the shark yesterday despite attempts being made with the shark trap set up just behind our boat.

We spent happy hour on Ocean Girl which turned into happy 4 hour. Also in the Bay are Mira (Jan & Dwight) and Adelante (Jan & Kathy) whom we had last seen at Monterey. We made plans to travel the next leg of our journey together, leaving the next day at 6 pm, and heading for Santa Barbara.