Journal 2     -      San Francisco to San Diego along the California Coast



    So, we finally made it off the dock.    “ya just gotta go, you’ll never be ready…” they
    say.  And we weren’t… entirely, but we slipped the dock-lines and took off out of the
    Golden Gate on September 28th.  It was a cold, grey, windless San Francisco
    morning and as we made the “left turn” to migrate south.   An emotional time for both of
    us and we both had our hands on the helm as DREAMCATCHER slipped quietly
    under the Gate…. It’s been a long time coming.

    Our passage – all 12 hours of it – baby steps, first, right?..... was uneventful.  From 3
    miles offshore I felt we were in one of those dull 18th century paintings – the ocean and
    coastline were simply different shades of grey, and didn’t change till mid afternoon
    when the sun appeared, bringing a little wind with it.    Essentially, we motor-sailed all
    the way to Santa Cruz,  and entered the harbour at sundown.  A positive day with
    “Jack”(our autopilot) doing the driving, giving us a chance to put all our autopilot and
    navigational systems and processes through their paces.   A quick meal at the local
    pub, then the start of  4 days “down time” in Santa Cruz.    We had both been working
    hard, 14 hour days to ready the boat for departure: more on that later – I believe
    getting ready to go cruising is one of the hardest things one can possibly do.  You’ll
    read in Cruising World and other journals of the joys of cruising – and they’re right.  But
    there’s not too many chronicles on the months of  daily grind, the two steps forward
    one step back (or sometimes 1 forward 2 back) back- breaking, frustrating work to
    prepare for a world cruise.  We’re both managers, and thankfully that combined 5
    decades of process, operational management and delegation came to the fore and
    we were able to pull this off in less time than many, with a little help from our friends.   
    But we both realized we were about an ‘11’ on the richter scale of “tired” when we
    arrived at Santa Cruz.    So, day one was simply about being here, and the major
    achievement chalked up was getting the laundry done….on foot.   Working towards
    being low achievers!!  At least for the time being…..

    Santa Cruz harbour is a buzz!  It’s exciting to be in a working harbour rather than a
    residential marina – and on the end of the dock, we see plenty of action in the comings
    and goings of the fishing boats, kayaks, outrigger canoes, sailing races and of course,
    the wildlife.  I allowed myself the luxury of spending nearly half an hour just watching a
    beautiful blue heron elegantly picking his way along the dock, and was an unwitting
    spectator to the death of a big salmon in the jaws of a 200lb seal just 10 feet from the
    boat:   it was brutal: blood & guts flying everywhere – watching the food chain
    dynamics up close and personal.

    Our boat neighbours are cordial: 30 seconds into our initial conversation one of them
    offered to give us her car to use.  Another loaned us his boat steps, and yet another
    drove me to the supermarket, picked me up and helped carry the groceries to the
    boat: you could live for years in any city and never experience the helpfulness of the
    cruiser community – oh that the rest of society could be this way.

    We finally prised DREAMCATCHER off the dock after 4 days of visits from friends
    and family, and launched ourselves back out into the Pacific with intent to anchor at
    idyllic San Simeon  with an estimated arrival time of mid morning – well
    DREAMCATCHER got the bit in her teeth and powered down the coast with the aid of
    following winds & seas and a nippy 2 knot current,  at a surprising speed, blowing past
    said idyllic anchorage about 1.00am.  We decided to be prudent and not approach it
    at night, so continued on down the coast, staying about 3 miles offshore, to arrive in
    San Luis Harbour at dawn – the boat put in a 160 mile day – what a gal  !!!!  It was a
    lively ride, and we incurred just a little damage to a couple of ties on the mainsail, but
    nothing  too harrowing.  We took off the sail and enjoyed a couple of days swinging on
    a mooring ball in the Harbour, watching the seals and getting some small jobs done
    aboard.  San Luis wouldn’t get the award for the prettiest harbour on the west coast,
    but it was a welcome respite and the locals who approached the boat were friendly.  

    We embarked upon our third leg at sunset.  This was infamous west coast leg,
    rounding Point Conception.  For the folks who don’t live in California, this point has
    been sometimes referred to as the “Horn of the Pacific”.  It’s known for rough seas and
    high winds, and something all passaging sailors approach with not a little trepidation.  
    We prepared well with a good dinner and all necessary precautions.  We needn’t have

    Cost of a mooring ball in San Luis : $10 a night (which they never collected!)
    Cost of  sail repairs in Santa Barbara – not much.
    Cost of rounding Point Conception at midnight in a light  breeze, escorted by dolphins
    under a clear starry sky?  Priceless !

    Thus we transitted into the magic kingdom of Southern California – the home of
    “Arnie”, cosmetic surgery, Hollywood and other fun foibles.  

    More later………………..

    Glen & Henry, aboard DREAMCATCHER in stylish Santa Barbara.

    photos are the same for journal 2 and 3
    Click on link to VIEW PHOTOS FOR JOURNAL 2 and 3
Location and Sail Plan