Monday, October 31, 2016

On to the Channel Islands

[Kyle]I knew the wind was forecast to be all over the place, so I tried my best to be philosophical about it when it wouldn't behave as I liked. After leaving Morro Bay, we crept along so slowly that we had only made it to Point Arguello (fifty miles or so down the coast) by the next morning. The wind filled in reliably from dead ahead and we spent the whole day making long tacks back and forth, slowly making ten miles or so each time.

In the planning phase, I had originally thought that it may be necessary for us to slow down and wait for daylight before arriving at our planned anchorage at Santa Cruz island in the Channel Islands. By noon, we were still tacking across the Santa Barbara shipping channels and it was apparent we were in for another night of sailing.

The wind was calming down enough that I changed our plan to the more accessible open roadstead anchorage at Bechers Bay off Santa Rosa island. It is bigger and posed fewer hazards to entering in the dark. We crept in on a flat sea and found a lot of kelp in our chosen spot. We gingerly searched around using spotlights for a clear spot to drop the anchor. While doing so, I got some wrapped around the starboard prop and it stalled the engine. I was able to restart the engine and unwind it with reverse.

We found a spot and were able to get the anchor down, but it was necessary to find a path through a few small kelp patches in order to lay out enough chain to set it. Wile doing so, I discovered that with just a little power, the fronds were no match for the machinery. Sorry, kelp.

Bechers Bay, Santa Rosa Island

We awoke in the morning to find we had the whole bay to ourselves, with the sound of the waves lapping the beach. I went outside to find Begonia resting in the middle of a big patch of kelp. I was able to avoid starting an engine by pulling up most of our anchor chain by hand to pull Begonia away. While leaving the anchor set, I was able to dump the chain in a big pile nearby. In flat conditions, the weight alone should be enough to keep us in place without needing to pull on the anchor. This left us free to enjoy the views and the birds and the sky and the fish and even the kelp as we readjusted to a more normal diurnal sleep pattern.

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