Morro Bay to San Diego

We have been trying to sail as much as possible rather than just motoring or motor sailing. Bill has been figuring out our whisker pole and got the genoa poled out (so it won’t flop back and forth) and we had a good run overnight. Caught a mooring buoy in Morro Bay around noon.

There were familiar boats in the harbor and we finally got to meet some of their people. Raven was at the Morro Bay Yacht Club, Charelle, the boat that was moored next to them in Monterey was on a mooring ball next to us. We met Andy from Spruce. Both Charelle and Spruce have been out for about 10 years, Charelle from Australia and Spruce from the UK.

Looking down at the anchorage at Morro Bay.
Excaliber out of Newport, OR. We kept seeing them on AIS at night as we were coming down the coast. They were heading into San Francisco as we were leaving. When we went in to pay for the mooring ball , one of the crew from Excaliber was there. It turns out they are a NOAA research vessel conducting ocean surveys. Each leg has a new group of scientists aboard and they are headed down to around Santa Barbara before heading back to Newport, Oregon.
The mural on the Morro Bay Library. It’s a mosaic. The library itself is nice and we bought a library book bag.
Bill in front of the mural.

Next stop, Channel Islands. We do have pictures for this part of the trip, we just haven’t had time to load them.

We landed in Cuyler Bay on San Miguel Island and anchored down from Spruce. The folks from the other sailboat, Aikane, stopped by to say hi and asked if our dinghy was a chameleon. He had one with his previous boat but sold it with the boat. He now has a really nice nesting peapod that he built. Nina had serious oar envy, as they were spoons. They let us know about a hike the next morning from the ranger station.

The hike started at 9:00. The ranger station was over a mile from the beach and up a steep narrow path. We had to row over, clamber over a bunch of rocks because Bill decided to haul up the dinghy next to Aikane’s dinghy, get to the trail head on the beach and then hike up the trail. Somehow we made it in time. There were eight of us on the hike lead by Inga, a volunteer who has been coming to the island for twenty years. All the sailboat crews were there plus Brian, who was camping on the island, and Mike, a photographer. It was a nice hike out to Cardwell Point. The island at one time was used by the Navy as a bombing range so you have to stay on the trails. There is still unexploded ordinance on the island. It was also a sheep ranch for a while, with up to 6,000 sheep on the island. They pretty much destroyed the island’s native plant population, but the park service has been working to get it back.

Spruce gave us a ride back to our dinghy, and Nina mistimed her steps out and landed on her bottom in the water. If there’s a way for her to get dunked, it happens. We rowed back to Gypsy into a 20 kt wind with the resident gray whale surfacing nearby.

Another gusty night. Stowed the dinghy and headed for Santa Rosa Island. We got to Johnson’s Lee on the south side of the island and found Spruce anchored there. They were planning on leaving around midnight. The wind was still gusty, around 20 knots. The bay looked calm and sheltered. And festooned with lobster floats. We enjoyed a couple of days in Johnson’s and then the wind picked up around 10:30 pm. Seas were building and out of the east creating really rolly conditions. Not really conducive to sleep. Around 2:30 am we decided it was time to move. The anchor was holding but it was really uncomfortable. Bill tried to start the engine and the starter motor was stuck. Tried fiddling with it but nothing worked. In the morning, Bill worked on it some more. We emptied out the starboard locker in the cockpit and Nina climbed inside to take the panel off the back of the engine instruments. Still bouncing around. Bill finally got the engine going, but where to go? East to Santa Cruz Island was out of the question as the wind would be 20 knots on our nose. We decided to kill time by motoring up the west side of Santa Rosa and then back down again until the winds would drop in the afternoon. Hugged the shore as we headed east to Santa Cruz Island. We dropped anchor in Forney Cove in the afternoon. Everything on deck was covered with salt. Time for a rinse.

We had a quiet night and woke up to water on the floor in the galley. We discovered our foot pump was leaking so found the back up and installed it. The intake and outtakes were reversed so it wasn’t going to work. These were corrected and in the taking it off and realized that the pump was not quite sitting on the floor. It was up just enough that each pump flexed the housing until it finally began to leak. The replacement is now shimmed up.

Oxnard was next. It was not at all what Nina thought it would look like. Coming in from the ocean, the channel had houses and palm trees along both sides. It was quite pretty. Spent a couple of nights there, caught up on groceries, washing and filling water tanks. We decided to try to get a reciprocal moorage in Marina del Rey and ended up at the Del Rey Yacht Club for a couple of nights. Raven was also there. We were invited to their Monday Night Football event and assured that we really didn’t need to be football fans to enjoy. We were made to feel very welcome and had a fun evening. Hit the town the next day and walked up to Venice Beach. Woke up the next morning to find Tracy Edwards’ boat Maiden tied up next to us.

Off to Catalina Island. Two Harbors. It’s slower at Catalina than in the summer, but the harbors are full of mooring balls, really closely spaced. The harbor patrol walked us through how to get ourselves properly moored, fore and aft, and we were in. Met the crew from Blue Sugar, also on their way to the Haha. A couple of familiar boats are also here – Sundance and Gargoyle. We motored over to Avalon and found out what a mooring field really looks like and were really glad the it wasn’t the middle of the summer and a weekend. And that we missed the Santa Anas, which are strong NE winds. The highlight of Avalon was walking up through the Wrigley Botanical Gardens.

We left Avalon for Palisades, an anchorage around the island on the south side. Spent a day catching up on boat chores. Left mid-afternoon for an overnight motor sail to San Diego. We made it through the hundreds of lobster pots just outside the channel without any mishaps and arrived at the Police Dock on Shelter Island. We tied up next to Raven.

3 thoughts on “Morro Bay to San Diego”

  1. Fantastic. You’re in the thick of it and making the most of it all. We didn’t stop at Morrow Bay, and are glad to see that you did. Good on Gypsy. We’re now in Port Denarau, Fiji, preparing to depart for the passage to NZ. After the outer islands of Fiji, Port Denarau is a bit of a zoo, or a Disneyland, what with a Hard Rock bar and all such things. But it’s a good jumping off point and the marina staff are excellent.


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