7 September 2017
To Morro Bay. Our next travel with an overnight. We are fueled up, the weather (yes, foggy at the bridge) seems to be slightly warmer and promises to get better yet. Morro Bay is a nice 24-34 hour trip which seems to fit our style. We have met cruisers who, for their own reasons, choose to do the whole passage down to San Francisco without stopping. This may involve 6-8 days/nights. Others may spend several days on multiple stops, and a few may not even do over nights, but simply short hops all the way down. This is the beauty of your own schedule. While we have anxiously pursued warmer weather and more sunshine, we have had to learn a balance. This has to be fun for both of us otherwise it won’t work. It can be very stressful. You are on a boat with just two people that at any other time, if you disagree you can get away from each other. On the boat, you can’t really get away and you must still depend upon each other and trust each other. So, you can disagree but how you present or respond may now be different. When you are tired, your sleep hasn’t been restful due to conditions, or simply being broken up into 3 hours segments, you can be overly sensitive to responses. So for us, since we have made the commitment to change our lifestyle, we have decided that until we have to do a longer passage, we prefer to break this trip up into smaller segments. We haven’t really fallen into the typical three hour division of night watches. Four hour seems more doable at this time and if conditions are right, even possibly a five hour might be feasible for Debbie. As she is typically up later, a nap early in the evening and she is ready to take over at midnight until 0400. John has historically been a very early riser, so for him, taking the helm at 0400 isn’t a problem. We think this has worked itself out, knowing that there may be times in the future where we have to adjust the watches according to weather.
Whales. Whales, whales, whales. Everywhere. Who knew! Deb was starting to think that she had a natural repellant for whales as we did not have the frequency of seeing them as other cruisers had on the way down the coast. Today changed that. SV Bella Nave had become a whale magnet!! To the right, to the left, ahead of us, behind us. It seems we couldn’t go an hour without seeing another. Grab the phone, grab the camera. This is what we were hoping to see!
The sun was out, long sleeve t-shirt weather! And whales! The winds were less than 10kn which made sailing difficult for our boat so we motored along happily, watching for the next spout of spray and blow sounds. Soon, the sun after working so hard, began its setting journey to rest. The gold in the sunset was reflective of the richness of our day, and the calm sea state was comparable to our moods. We reflected in how truly blessed and fortunate that we are to see and be a part of this.
While we are on our journey, we gave considerable thought to those whose sailing journey took a different path, not a wanted path, as at Category 5 hurricane named Irma shook her wrath in a swath that would cover the state of Florida as she began her fury over the BVI/USVI and almost every island to Florida. Everyone felt something of her violent winds. Some would lose everything.
8 September 2017
Our night shift went well, and best part was nightfall with no fog, waking up for night watch and no fog, and morning shift with, you guessed it! NO FOG! As we continued our way to Morro Bay, we were continuing to be entertained with humpback whales everywhere. We even had a treat of several sea lions moving quickly through the water, giving an appearance of dolphins as they kept out of the water. Their agility and speed was amazing and we were left wondering if they were on the hunt or being hunted!
You know when you are near or at Morro Bay because of Morro Rock. Much like the geology near Canon Beach, you will find a large rock just sitting out in the water. While it is a rather interesting geological feature, it also means “we have arrived!” which means getting off the boat, rest from the previous night travel and some say it is a quaint little coastal town.
Here is our marina for the next two nights- Morro Bay Yacht Club. We read about this volunteer yacht club and its friendliness, but we had no idea. An 80ft yacht had passed us at the entrance and pulled up to the dock, leaving only enough room for Capt’n John to park Bella Nave, but expertly, he brought it in and kissed the dock lightly as both the Port Captain Lynn and the yacht captain took our lines. Lynn is an absolute doll, friendly and knowledgeable. We arrived on Friday and they were having their monthly Friday evening meeting/get together. Before we knew it, several members had herded us up to the community area and bar where we were able to dine on good old fashioned home cooking! Several of the members or member’s wives made pulled pork sandwiches and salads. We enjoyed conversation with the members and felt like we were part of their family. We found the showers and settled in for the night.
9 September 2017
It’s the weekend! Oh wait, every day is the weekend when you are unemployed. Deb told John one morning, how she felt being retired. His response to her was “you are not retired, you are unemployed!”. Hmmm…. still feels like every day is a weekend anyway. John had plans for working on the boat that he felt was a “one man show” and his words to Deb were “go, get out of my hair oh, and don’t buy anything or bring back anything alive”. Now this is really rather funny, as you know, John doesn’t have hair. What could Deb possibly bring back that was alive?! So off she went, like a squirrel up a tree. Lo and behold, this weekend is their Margarita and Avocado Festival! The entire Main Street was barricaded so that if you wanted to be on the street, in the festival, you had to purchase your $7 pink wristband to visit the vendors. All the shops along the street, however, had plenty of access by simply staying on the sidewalk. There are a ton of shops that are interesting and fun to look into, from the usual kitsch to local artists. Plenty of restaurants and eateries abound, most have something with fish in their name. All these shops are tempting and the smells from the eateries is deliciously alluring. Deb was focused on walking to Morro Rock. You see, when we pulled into the bay, next to the rock, the entrance was littered with sea otters. Momma sea otters and babies to be exact! Now that was something she would bring back!! Except it was part of the parting admonishment by John. Damn. Double damn. Her own baby sea otter, to love and cuddle and could keep on a boat! Triple damn. They all looked so cute, with their little mommas holding them and floating. The ground squirrels were used to humans and food given voluntarily or dropped. So much so that when kneeling in order to take a steady photograph, she would feel one’s breath on her ankle before she would startle causing the furry creature to retreat a few inches. The seagulls merely guffawed at passerby’s and would only take flight if you reached out and almost touched them. Even then, it was a half hearted flight as they would only relocate within ten yards. Morro Rock was much larger in person than what we saw coming in. The pacific waves were crashing on the other side of the break wall and yet the bay was as calm as could be. The sunshine!
After making the walk to The Rock, her failed attempt to bring home her very own otter to hug and love, and not quite having met her fifteen thousand step goal, she walked back into town and then uphill to Albertsons for some groceries for the boat. It would be a long trek back carrying groceries, however this is a part of the boating lifestyle. The cruising lifestyle has its own physical requirements but unless you go out of your way to creatively come up with something, walking when you are off the boat is your best form of exercise. It was now around 4:30pm and having not had breakfast or lunch, Deb was now feeling pretty hungry. The deli looked great, the salad bar looked fine, the Starbucks looked, what? Starbucks? Really? It has been two weeks? Longer? Okay, just a tall or a grande. Yes, it is a lame excuse for fighting hunger pains but she did walk at least eleven thousand steps, and the last five blocks were uphill! The rotisserie chicken kept whispering her name, and the Starbucks was yelling. Both would be satisfied by the end of this experience. With the chicken tucked safely in wrap, and some fruit and brie cheese atop, the bag was carried in one hand, a Starbucks coffee in the other hand and now it is downhill most of the way! Yummy! We are having chicken and mashed potatoes tonite!
Showers and laundry. This wonderful little yacht club has it all and of course, we made use one more time. While waiting for the laundry, Debbie could hear the sounds of cat cries. What? Cats? We didn’t see any cats! The cries were mixed in with clickity-clack, clickity-clack. Ahhh, it isn’t cats! It’s the sea otters! Funny little creatures. There are evidently a population of 3,000 sea otters as they are considered endangered and starting to make a comeback after being hunted for their pelts. Well, they have found sanctuary in this little fishing town. During the night, Deb could continue to hear them call out as they cracked their clam shells.
9 September 2017
It’s Sunday morning and time to continue to work our way towards Long Beach, California. We promised Lynn, the Port Captain that we would be gone by 0900 as they had a race event that day and would be needing the dock. Anyone who knows Capt’n John, knows that punctuality is hallmark. “Plan to leave at 0800”. Ready or not, at 0759, the engine was running and the last line was tossed on deck as Debbie and her coffee turn the boat to head out. We could hear the flump-flump of the pelicans as they do their low fly by’s. A few sea otters floated by with clams or pups on their chest. Hmmm….what’s this affecting my visibility? Fog? Say it isn’t so. Please.