MORRO BAY TO SANTA BARBARA


 

Our adventures began February 15, 2002.  Well, for me it started earlier in the week to pack and get food prepared to go.  Jamie left work early and picked Richard Sandvig up on the way home.  We were on the road at 1230.   Things were moving right along until I managed to allow the car to be sandwiched between a Volkswagen beetle and a van just past the San Onofree nuclear plant on I5N.  The Audi 5000 wagon needed a crowbar to pull fenders behind the tires and a hanger job on the muffler at a nearby auto shop to get home.  Yes, totallsville here we come!  We gave Rich a beer for his troubles and took him home.  For some reason we decided to continue this adventure in the morning (what were we thinking!)
Saturday started at 0500 for showers and coffee.  We picked up Rich and headed to Morro Bay again.  Since the car wreck was a precursor to our weekend, you can guess we had problems as soon as we got to the boat.  The batteries never charged under shore power.  We didn’t have a jump, so the guys went to marine store and bought battery to start engine and charge w/ alternator.  Assumption was that our A/C charger bit the dust.
Meanwhile, I stowed all and any objects, organized clothing and food and pumped up the inflatable.  Little did I know, the rollaway bottom should have been in the boat, before inflating the tubes.  Too late to redo, the guys mounted the boat and I put the hard bottom in the bag and stowed it.  Hmm, everything else worked, I had my nifty electronic pressure band (ok, expensive anti mal de mer device)… but my nerves were already shot after yesterday’s drive.
John and Nia came for a visit and picked up the car keys for a Santa Barbara delivery on Sunday – yeah!  No rental car this weekend!  We didn’t fuel up.  We were only down a few gallons and all the fuel docks in Morro Bay were of the piling type with no floating dock.  Ok, we chickened out for the sake of our boat cosmetics.  We’ll save that learning for more experienced days.
We motored out of Morro bay at 1430 and we put up headsail and mizzen just beyond the rock.  The genoa filled and we were moving right along.  I stayed on deck and enjoyed the warm afternoon and evening, bumping up the pulses on my wristband each time I felt queasy.  Things were absolutely uneventful until the rain began.   We were in for a good nights soaking.  Around 2200 I could no longer fight back seasickness at the helm.  Proof that expensive doesn’t mean it really works.  Jamie was below and Rich and I were switching off at the helm.  At about 2300 the winds began picking up.  We discussed changing the headsail with Jamie and it was “denied”.   The sail tore to shreds at 0145.  Called Jamie up on deck, the guys harnessed and tethered and I took the helm.  We started the engine to manage the boat and despite my seasickness I somehow managed to keep the boat headed up into the wind while the guys had a sail rodeo on the front deck.
We were only nine miles from Port San Luis Obispo and the cap’n decided we needed to get off the water in lieu of other poor decisions.  I was drenched and incapacitated on deck, so I crawled below and got in my bunk after a long episode of dry heaves while lying on the sole.  And through all of this, Adrian slept…
The men of the moments safely guided us to the wharf and anchored.


San Luis Wharf 

Entering San Luis Obispo was extremely tricky in dark since there were only two lighted buoys a long ways apart.  Once near the harbor entrance you MUST have a spotlight to find the marker buoys the lead you into the harbor, this is mainly an anchorage.  After all was quiet the harbormaster hailed us and said there was a sixty-foot floating dock in calmer waters.  Humph.  What were we thinking when we listened to him???  It was a comfortable bed to many sea lions.  They were frightened when we disturbed them and they all swam away.  At 4am we side tied and were in for a long screechy night (what was left of it), because the dock slopped with every wave and the metal screeched on the bumpers.  A night in the “calm” did nothing to ease my seasickness.  I felt as bad in the morning as I had felt at sea.  Any suggestions?  Anyone?


San Luis Sea lion 

On Sunday morning Jamie snapped some pictures of our snoozing mermaids, who returned to their dock, and began hanging wet clothes from the rigging.   The guys removed the torn sail, we were able to lay it out on the dock and fold it up.  We hanked on a storm trysail (it was the only spare sail that we could use to replace the genoa with).   I won’t mention how expensive our error in judgment and/or laziness was.  Like the saying goes, if you think you should change a sail, it should have already been done…I took a ride up the main mast in bosun’s chair to recover the halyard and checked rigging while in the area.  What was I thinking??  Rocking at the top of the mast did nothing for my constitution.  Let me add to this.  Adrian plugged the head because he used too much toilet paper.  YES!  Now we are reduced to using a bucket.  It’s not the same as when a kid plugs the toilet at home…  let’s just say we were all pretty damn surly by now.   It isn’t the same as camping when you can’t go for a walk away from it all.  But we can’t stay here.  It’s not good for the boat or for us.   Jamie has resigned himself to missing work on Monday.  It started raining again just as the clothes were dry so Adrian helped me get things below before they were soaked.  We were underway once again at 1100.   I made straight for my bunk.  Rich had given me a scopolamine patch and it knocked me out but good. 
I didn’t fully wake again until 1600 when I ate half a can of cold Ravioli.  What happened between those hours will have to be filled in by the guys.  I was stunned to go up on deck and see 15 to 20 foot rollers.  There were no wind waves.  It was nearly smooth as glass and we actually were motoring under sail since we left Port of St Louis.  I lasted 10 minutes and went back below.  I took a shot at steering between 1830 and 2000, but it went like this:  I steered from 1830 to 1900 and then lay on deck until 2000 when I was so cold I had to go back below to prevent the shakes.


San Luis Harbor 

We didn’t see much the first couple hours out from San Luis Obispo except those pesky crab traps every half-mile. Eventually we caught up with a school of dolphins that were feeding, and since we were going their way, some of them decided to tag along and show off for a while. Towards afternoon as we approached Point Arguello, we passed some curious looking structures that belong to the Air Force… We rounded Point Conception in the dark and had no troubles. There were many, many oilrigs along this stretch of the coast, at night they looked like little cities floating on the water.  The conditions were nice, we still had huge swells but the period was long and not much wind. About 1200 Rich heard our name announced over the hand held VHF that was in the cockpit “All vessels be on the lookout for Flying Cloud four souls on board…..” apparently neither I nor Eileen had called our friends in Morro Bay to let them know that we were going to be late coming into Santa Barbara! Whoops! (Sorry Guys) I promptly contacted our friends John and Nia and let them know that all was well. They were mighty relieved to hear from me and we were glad to know that someone was thinking of us. Our entrance to Santa Barbara was uneventful and one of our easier night entries to a harbor. 
I have no further recollection of the trip until the guys were hollering to each other on a loudly guided Santa Barbara Marina tour.  I shoed up and went on deck to help tie off.  When I got up there, one of the bumpers was still on deck.  I tied it off and plop, it fell in the water.   I dropped the lifeline and recovered the bumper.  Re-hooked the line, tied off the bumper again and plop, it floated away so fast this time I couldn’t get it.   Was I completely stoned on the scopolamine?   So I jumped onto dock with the stern line and held boat in place until someone pulled it close and tied it off.  Weak weak weak.    It was 0330.  Rich said the Coast Guard hailed us on the VHF and an alert was put out for all ships to watch for us.  We didn’t check in with the Schmitt’s before leaving St. Louis Obispo, and John contacted the Coast Guard “just in case”.  Thanks John.   Someone has to be vigilant. Jamie gave John a nice morning wakeup and everyone was relieved.  While Jamie was clearing us with the harbormaster, Rich went for a walk and recovered the elusive bumper.
Santa Barbara was so kind.  They said we had to be off their dock by 0500.  They gave us a slip assignment and our next fiasco began.  Tide was running and the wind was blowing.  The guys were tired and we were all low on good judgment.  This was only the second time Jamie’s maneuvered a boat into a slip.  When Jamie turned Flying Cloud hard to port and gave her more gas into the slip, the boat moved forward far enough to clip the bowsprit and anchor on a piling and we were now moving sideways down the marina towards the floating-dock walkway.  Somehow, he managed to get the bow pointed toward this dock and I climbed out on a bowsprit wire and jumped to the dock.  While I pushed her bow out so she made a comfortable side landing, Rich was ready with bumpers and stern line.  We tied off.  This is where we spent the night.  It was the captain’s mutiny.  He was willing to pay a fine not to wreck our boat.  To Rich’s chagrin, once again we had no A/C power for a heater and we couldn’t light a fire because the dinghy was too close to the chimney on deck.  He was in for a chilly night w/o the engine.


San Luis 

In the morning, Adrian woke Rich by tickling his nose and with a string and giggling until the rest of us awoke.   Jamie was not happy with our world; I was upset w/ Adrian for waking a much sleep deprived Rich.  I am sure Rich had the same thoughts.  I made use of the Santa Barbara shower facilities and Rich and Adrian went for a walk.  The bear stayed below for more hibernation.  After cleaning up, I deposited my stuff and went for a walk.  I found the “boys” at a café, so I treated them to a big hot breakfast.  It was so good, but I was only able to pick.  We combined leftovers for Jamie (nice, huh?).  Upon our return, it was slack tide and there was no wind.  We risked life and limb and roused the bear.  After his feeding, he dressed and willingly moved the boat.  This time we docked to perfection.  We tied off, added a spring line to keep the bowsprit behind the dock locker and started cleaning up.
We talked to John again around 0930.  He was already on the road with the car and predicted a one-hour arrival time.  We again made a clothesline of the rigging and boat.  Somewhere in the mix, we cleaned up below deck and the guys managed their showers.  We were a scrubbed and happy bunch when John arrived.  Chips and beer were the order for the day.  Jamie took John to the train station for a scenic trip home from Santa Barbara to Morro Bay.   We loaded up the car and left Flying Cloud behind with much relief.  And I drove home for a very tired, trusting bunch.
The rest of our sails should be gravy train.  All the marinas for the remaining length of the coast are 4-6 hours apart.  We will have nice short day sails and should enjoy our weekend visits to the new places we will experience.  I am still inclined to go sailing.  I have still convinced myself that my seasickness will subside over time (ok, so maybe I’m screwed).  If we can’t be hardcore sailors, at least we can be fair-weather day sailors.  Besides, the islands are close enough for me to handle on any given weekend.  In hindsight, we all should have stayed home.  It was by far our worst adventure.  But we learned oh so many things the hard way.
Our next destination is Ventura.  Transients can stay for up to 3 weeks and then must seek a new home.  We are considering hauling the boat here.  There is a reputable boat yard and it’s a short drive from home, three hours.
For more hindsight, we found out why the batteries weren’t charging on the A/C charger.  Jamie bought a new charger (now a spare) and took our new batteries to the boat the following weekend (Feb 23rd) with his folks.  Before installing the new equipment, he did some testing and discovered that a wire meant to go to positive on the port battery was on the negative.  Thus our starboard battery was acting as a resistor and the charger couldn’t overcome the resistance to charge anything (thank god!).   The alternator charges using a different set of leads, hence we were charging while motoring without trouble.  Another reason not to rush anything electrical or otherwise.   The next “ish” is the head.  I think we will be doing some fun plumbing upon moving the boat to Ventura.
 

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