Sunday, October 09, 2011

Santa Barbara and Channel Islands Harbor and Marina Del Rey(September 29-October 8)

We unfortunately had to leave Santa Cruz Island, but luckily our next stop was Santa Barbara. Bob didn't get much time here as he needed to go to work. He had a three day trip so we girls hung out in Santa Barbara in the meantime. While there we did a lot of the necessary jobs like laundry and grocery shopping. Sydney and Annie really enjoyed the plentiful shopping along State St.. It was all fun, but we were more than ready to get to a slower paced location. We had hoped to head back to Santa Cruz Island (North side) and spend a few nights, but due to an incoming storm our plans changed. We ended up ducking into Channel Islands Harbor. Our 14th wedding anniversary fell on our first night at Channel Is. Harbor. We ended up treating ourselves to the most wonderful dinner at the local Brazilian restaurant, Moqueca. We highly recommend it! After that first night, the storm rolled in and with it rain and a strong gale. We were so happy to be sitting snug and safe in a slip at the harbor. Luckily the storm abated and we were able to head south once again. This time to Marina Del Rey. Bob once again had to leave on a trip. Thankfully this is his last one before his 6.5 month leave! Yahoooo!

Santa Cruz Island (September 25-29)

Santa Cruz Island was a favorite stop for us. What an amazing anchorage. We were on the south side in a small anchorage. We had the beach all to ourselves! The water was the most beautiful aqua color and clear as can be. We were able to see our anchor set in 35ft of water. The water was fairly warm too. Bob got a lot of experience beaching the dinghy in surf. We all got wet a time or two (or 3 or 4).

Passage south past Pt. Conception (September 23-25)

We departed Monterey Harbor in the afternoon of the 23rd. We started out in fog and little wind, but fortunately a little before midnight we were able to raise the sails. We originally had planned to pull into Morro Bay before going around Pt. Conception, but the conditions were perfect and we were anxious to get south. We were so fortunate to still have our faithful extra crewmember, Marcy, with us, which made this passage so much easier. The girls also helped out with watches. Sydney was on the 9pm till midnight watch with Bob and Annie did the "dawn watch" with Shari and then Bob. We continued on and had an uneventful passage. We were excited to visit the Channel Islands, and it worked perfectly for us to continue on to Santa Cruz Island.
Bob and Sydney on watch. Just joking! They're just resting before their watch.

Monterey (September 19-23)

We had a fantastic sail to Monterey. The winds were perfect! We ended up getting a slip there to enable us to provision a little easier. This was another favorite stop for us. The beach next to the marina was perfect. The girls and Salty had a great time playing in the ocean (it was a little too cold for Bob and I!). The sand was so soft. It felt like sifted flour.

Another favorite at this stop was the proximity of Trader Joe's. It was a short walk away so we were able to stock up on our favorite TJ supplies. We adults also took turns renting bikes and checking out the area. The biking trails around here are fantastic.

Of coarse, no stop to Monterey is complete without a trip to the aquarium. We all had a great time there. Definitely one of the best aquariums we've ever been to.

The sea horse exhibition was wonderful. The girls took over the camera and had a blast taking oodles of pictures.
Our unanimous favorite at the aquarium was the bat rays. We all had the chance to feed and or pet the rays. What an amazing experience.

We were docked right next to the Wharf for our stay in Monterey.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Santa Cruz (September 15-19)

Our passage from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz started a little rough with some of us feeling seasick but turned out great with a nice spinnaker run south.

We pulled into Santa Cruz in the early evening and anchored near the pier. The anchorage was very comfortable, but quite loud. The hundreds of sea lions under the pier barked continuously! While at anchor we had many curious sea lions and otters swim by us to "check us out". Salty was so interested in making friends with all of them. To get to shore it was a long dinghy ride. On the way to one of Salty's walks, Bob and Salty were escorted by dolphins. We came to find out just how much sea life there was in this bay. We saw dolphins, sea lions, seals, otters, and pelicans up close numerous times per day. We decided to move to the marina for a couple of nights to make accessing the shore easier. Our first outing after docking was the amusement park at the pier. The girls had a blast on a bunch of the rides. They even got Bob and I on a couple of roller coasters-yeehawww! We all had an absolute blast at the park!

While in Santa Cruz the weather was spectacular. Everyone seemed to be on the water while we were there. I've never seen so many people enjoying water activities (sailing, paddle boarding, surfing, boogie boarding, swimming, kayaking, fishing). This has been our favorite stop thus far.

Before moving onto Monterey, we briefly sailed over to Capitola which is just around the corner from Santa Cruz. We anchored out and dinghied ashore to enjoy the beach. Once on shore we saw the big signs saying "NO DOGS ON BEACH". Of course, this never sits well with us, but we made it work. We checked out the town (very quaint and cute) and then relaxed at the beach (Bob took Salty back to the boat). The wind picked up and the seas became a little sloppy so we chose to get back to the boat and hang out there for the rest of the time. Bob had to take Salty for his last walk of the day, so he dinghied to shore where Salty proceeded to heckle a sea lion (not the smartest dog). Eventually Bob got the dog to come back to him and they departed the beach.

Next stop...Monterey!

Half Moon Bay (September 12-15)

We were blessed with a full moon at Half Moon Bay. It was a bit foggy/overcast during our stay, but that didn't stop us from enjoying the beach and town.

We didn't spend too much time here as we were very anxious to get south and to warmer, less overcast skies. Next stop...Santa Cruz.