Monday, October 24, 2016

San Simeon

[Kyle]After Monterey, we left for the overnight sail to San Simeon. We untied from the dock and were accompanied out of the harbor by sea lions and kayakers while curious sea otters watched from the water and curious tourists watched from Fisherman's Wharf.

As we headed north in the bay towards Point Pinos, we were surrounded by so many sea lions and sea otters that it was hard to know where to look. Joining them were harbor seals and a few small pods of dolphins. Several tour boats were milling about. It occurred to me that this was the perfect place for such enterprises as they hardly needed to leave the dock before being able to produce views of all of the animals people bought tickets to see.

As we rounded the point and entered the open Pacific, the sea lions and otters thinned out and we started to see humpback whales.. and the fish of which Monterey Bay has the second highest proportion of in the world: Great White sharks. They're around almost everywhere in pretty scarce numbers, but I had never seen one in the wild until now. Now I've seen about a dozen! They were mostly minding their own business. At first, we thought they were more dolphins until they got closer and we could see their tails. Falling in is always bad, especially in water this cold, but with these guys around, you may not make it that long.

We turned south along the coast and shut down the engines. About a minute after that, the wind decreased until it was just enough to push us. That would have been fine, but the storm we had ridden out in Monterey left a long swell behind. As our mast swayed back and forth as we rolled over them, the sails would fill, collapse and back, over and over again. We were still moving, so they were helping more often than not, but the banging and shaking did a real number on my nerves as I sequentially worried about every single piece of the boat until I got to the end of my list. Then I would start all over again...

As we crossed Carmel Bay, we came apron several large rafts of kelp that had broken free in the storm and drifted into deep water. We alternated between dodging patches that we could see and using a boat hook to free ourselves from those we didn't. Night came, which freed Maryanne from being able to see any kelp as she took the first watch.

Sailing South along this wild coast and enjoying the sunrise

By the time she woke me, the wind was up, the sails were quiet, and we were moving smartly. We arrived at San Simeon just after daybreak and set our anchor right in front of the winery in the middle of the little cove between the point and the pier. Hearst Castle could be seen atop the hill above. Only a little of the swell was making it around the point to Begonia. There was just enough for a gentle rocking on board, although, by the time it got to the beach, it would have been too much of the dinghy. We contented ourselves with a day in and simply enjoyed the views.

Views of Hearst Castle while we rested in the Bay

No comments: