Monday, October 24, 2016

Morro Bay Area

[Kyle]From San Simeon, we spent the day making the short hop to Morro Bay. We left at first light, put up the sails, and went rocketing down the coast, propelled by a warm tailwind coming off of the hills.

That lasted for just about a mile before we sailed into light headwinds. As soon as we changed all of the sails around, the wind died completely, then came from it's original direction. We'd put the sails back again and the wind would come from some third direction. This repeated itself about every thirty seconds for hours as the current pushed us down the coast while we rolled and slatted our way along. When we finally couldn't take it any more, we yanked everything down and started an engine.

About ten miles from the Morro Bay entrance, the wind came back and seemed to stay put. We put the sails back up and shut down the noisy motor. The wind speed increased and increased. We reefed and reefed again in an attempt to keep our speed out of the scary range. By the time we turned into the entrance, it was howling and we were glad it was time to pull all of the sail down.

An early departure
and before long Morro Bay greeted us with its famous rock
.. and yet more Sea lions and Sea Otters

Since the current is very strong in the estuary and reverses four times a day, we opted to pay the nominal fee for a sturdy mooring ball rather than have to go to the trouble of setting two anchors and being worried they would hold.

Ten bucks a day got us a spot right in the middle of the waterfront right next to a dock that had been set aside as a raft for the sea lions.

We deployed the dinghy and went ashore to meet the harbor master and pay our fees. Afterward, one thing led to another and we found ourselves pretty much exploring the whole town before returning to Begonia. We had planned a day for it later on, but Morro Bay is charming, but it's also not a very big town, so we crossed that one off the list early.

Morro Bay waterfront, full of fishing boats and tourist opportunities
the beginnings of a Maritime Museum, and Begonia at sunset

While Begonia stayed moored in Morro Bay, we spent our second day taking busses out of town.

Morro Bay has the coolest bus stop ever!

Our first stop was the slightly larger town of San Luis Obispo. I had been there once for the day many years ago as a freight pilot and remembered it as being nice. It still is.

We started at the mission, which served as one in a chain of missions running up and down the coast. The associated museum had some interesting displays, particularly about the indigenous population before the mission's intervention.

We then left to wander the streets, navigation by going in the direction that seemed most interesting at the time. After a while, we found a tourist office and popped in to see what we may have missed. It turned out to be not much. The guy laid out a walking tour of the sights that took in pretty much everywhere we had already been, and then suggested we went shopping.

St Luis Obispo - famed for the Spanish Mission,
it also has a picturesque creek walk
and (for some reason) Bubblegum Alley!

Since it was still early, we decided to go back to the main bus stop and get a ride further afield to Pismo Beach, with a goal of getting a late lunch there.

We walked along the crowded streets and along the beach. We browsed several menus, but nothing really jumped out at us. We took a long walk along a boardwalk through a state park connecting Pismo Beach with the next town, Grover Beach. By then, it was getting hot and we were getting pretty hungry. A quick search on the internet turned up a highly reviewed Mexican restaurant just up the street. It turned out to be not so much a restaurant as an order-at-the-window kind of place with a couple of plastic tables out front. We ordered and were given so much food that even I had a hard time finishing it all. I liked mine better than Maryanne did, so I finished hers as well. Not bad for food out of a window.

Pismo Beach and the boardwalk on to Grover Beach

We checked the bus times for the trip back to Morro Bay and discovered we would either have to get stuck for an hour at an outlet mall on the way or we could just skip the first bus and part walk/part run all of the way to the mall and just make it. Oh, yes, running on a full stomach on a hot day! We just made it, giving us our extra hour in Morro Bay instead.

That gave us enough time for a tour of the harbor in the dinghy. We passed by the sea lions (which are best viewed from upwind) and went in search of some sea otters doing cute things, which is pretty much every thing they do.

On the way back, we stopped by a Gemini that we had seen when we paid our fees the day before. Sitting on the dock enjoying the sunset were the owners, Kevin and Karen. We introduced ourselves and mentioned that we used to have a Gemini. They invited us to join them. We swapped stories for a bit. When they asked us what the name of our boat was, a flash of recognition came across their faces, "You're THE Kyle and Maryanne, from Footprint! We're have your checklist!"

How funny. That's the third time we've been recognized by people who were previously strangers. We may be bordering on micro famous. Kevin invited me aboard to get my opinion of his latest drive leg repair. It seemed good as new to me.

How strange it was to be on that boat. I haven't been on a Gemini for a while, but I found that my feet and hands automatically knew where to go without my having to think about it. I kept having to remind myself that it wasn't Footprint and to not get weirded out by the fact that the knives are in the wrong place or some such thing.

We stayed until is was good and dark and then made plans for Kevin and Karen to come to Begonia for dinner the next night. They sent us back with home made pumpkin cake (delicious).

A dinghy trip to the Sand Spit to see the birds

We were up reasonably early the next morning to take the dinghy to the beach opposite the town for a walk around to the harbor entrance. We then crossed over to the town via a tour of the mooring field (Maryanne had been keen to see the skateboard museum). We had a long walk on that side and then returned to Begonia to prepare for both dinner and our next sail.

On on for a tour of the southern end of Morro Bay town (and the skateboard Museum)

Kevin and Karen arrived and then the whole harbor promptly disappeared behind thick fog. We all ate in the cockpit while listening to the sounds of a waterfront we could all only occasionally see. Some of the noise was from a band they knew. They had promised to make an appearance, so they left us to prepare for our next day's departure, and to finish off the last of the carrot cake they had kindly brought along for desert.

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