We left Morro Bay at 5:30 in the morning, it was a mass exodus of almost all of the boats on the yacht club dock as we were all waiting for the weather window to either head north or south. For us, we were planning to make it around Conception also known as "The Cape Horn of the Pacific". It can get extremely nasty there during storms and as our kids are all fair weather sailors we were waiting for the lull which happened to be this last Saturday. It said the winds should be variable 5-15 but I think 5 was even an overestimate. We literally motored the whole way there without even the option of putting up a mainsail because the wind was on our nose down the coast. We had a following sea with 10-12 foot rollers that would come through every ten minutes or so. Just when you think it's calm, your world turns sideways. This is what took out my french press :( a major downer for this coffee lover, and also what sent a gallon of milk flying.
We arrived in Coho Bay where we stopped and anchored in the late afternoon. The little boys and Keith immediately threw on their wetsuits, booties and grabbed a surf board to head to the beach. Me, the nervous Nellie, stayed with the boat to make sure it's anchor was set. It really didn't help my "Nellie" habit that there were TWO sailboats up on the beach from some previous not nervous enough person! After a bit Keith came back and picked up Mason and I and we explored the beach, the creatures, the sand dune and the boats up on the beach. It felt great to get out and run and stretch our legs but I was anxious to get back to the boat to whip up dinner and call the day complete knowing we had another day of sailing ahead of us on Sunday.
Sunday we left a bit later, the distance being much shorter, and were anticipating light winds but again were treated to just about zero wind. We did get about an hours worth of true sailing in with both Jib and Main but then the wind died and we were relegated to motor-sailing with just the main the rest of the way. We pulled into Santa Barbara right around 2pm which turned out to perfect timing because a few boats had left and they actually had a slip for us available which they didn't when I called earlier in the day. So here we are in Santa Barbara for a bit, getting ready for the work/school week and, with a West Marine literally at the end of the dock, I suspect it will turn out to be a boat project week for Keith.
Call me a whiner but this next leg wasn't one I was particularly excited about. It is suppose to be quite pretty from the water but I also know it can get kind of crazy and there isn't any place to duck in out of the storm. So Saturday morning we started out into what we knew was a southerly, not ideal, but it was suppose to clock around to a westerly in the afternoon. We figured we were motoring in the morning anyway so not a big deal if a slight southerly was on our nose.
Coming out of Monterey it was a bit like a washing machine. Big rollers coming through and then the southerly wind going the opposite direction made for some chop but it wasn't too uncomfortable so we chugged on and around the point and headed south. Mason asleep in our bunk and the two little guys in the cockpit with us, it wasn't bad but it wasn't warm which I didn't care for. About halfway through the day Keith said we weren't making our speed to get into San Simeon before dark, in fact, it was going to be a really long day and we'd pull in around 9:30 or so. Ugh....was what I thought, but we could do it. Mentally I'd already set myself up for a long day of entertaining kids. Then the fog rolled in and the wind turned off and the water turned to glass. It was sort of surreal actually. About this time we saw Orcas, which is my first sighting and pretty exciting for the boys. We kept on heading south and the sun started to set. We were going through the Otter Sanctuary and saw dozens of them wrapped up in kelp patties. Soon it was full dark, thick fog and we still had another two hours to go. Thankfully the kids kept themselves pretty busy down below playing Lego's but every once in awhile a head would pop up and check it out. Mason said it was "Pretty Spooky" and it was! I kind of wanted to freak out...and in fact, had Keith shown even a glimpse of nervousness I probably would have lost it....but he didn't.
Soon it came time to turn into the anchorage and we couldn't find the marker, supposedly a green light buoy. We drove in circles and went right over where it was suppose to be but it wasn't there. Finally Keith decided to head into the cove using GPS and the depth gauge. We chugged in slowly and when the depth got to 30 we dropped anchor. All around us we could hear waves crashing and could smell campfires burning yet couldn't see a thing. We decided to take watches throughout the night which turned out to be Erika checking every 30 minutes and then kicking Keith out of a bed a couple times to make sure I was right, we were held tight. The fog burned off enough in the night for me to see the wharf and some lights on shore and determine that given the crazy fog we were in a pretty decent place.
Around 5am the boat started rocking like mad, a 15 swing from side to side which meant we were sitting parallel to the surf. Seems the swell had come up and our anchoring had us outside of the protected area so we tossed around the idea of moving the boat but ultimately exhaustion won and we opted to suffer through for more shut eye. Around 8am we pulled anchor and tucked way further into the cove where it was really deep still. Totally protected now I could see why it was popular. The little boys, Keith and I jumped into the dinghy and did the boys first beach landing in the surf in the inflatable, it was impressively smooth. Then we walked down to check out the tourist area with signs of history etc. After a short play time on the beach we all headed back to Steadfast to head south.
The wind to Morro Bay was directly behind us, and we made good speed on broad reaches, but Steadfast didn't like direct downwind. We dinked around with different sail positions and configurations but nothing seemed to work perfectly. In addition, the furler seems to need some changes as it really didn't want to furl or unfurl easily, so we'll need to figure that one out. The weather was pretty nice, though the swell was big it was manageable since we were going with it and the wind held at about 15 knots until the last hour or so when it built up to 20-25 and the troughs got a little big as well. Luckily we were close and managed to get Steadfast into the harbor at Morro Bay and raft up at the yacht club where we met up with my brother and his family. We'll be here a bit as we do school work, Erika work and probably a little boat work before heading on south. The next leg takes us past Point Conception...another snotty one if not timed correctly.
One of the concerns I've had with this endeavor of ours is how to manage living with kids with special needs when your home is constantly moving. The primary concern being access to doctors when needed and access to get medication. Today we managed through the second hurdle with a whole lot of legwork.
Yesterday I had noticed there was an Urgent Care very near the harbor here and since I needed to refill two prescriptions I popped in with the kids nearly empty medication bottles and asked if they would be able to give us a new prescription. They took one look at the type of prescription and said they wouldn't do it but that Doctor's on Duty would be able to do it. So I put it off for another day as this would be a brisk couple mile walk for the kids and I.
Today Keith and I with the two youngest in tow started out early and walked down to the Doctors on Duty where they proceeded to look at the medication and promptly said no, they wouldn't be able to refill them. So we hiked all the way back to the boat and I looked up where the nearest ER was to see if they could do it. Later in the afternoon all the kids and I walked to a nearby mall, thinking they had a transit to the hospital which was an hours walk away. Unfortunately the bus that we needed only came through a few times a day so I broke down and paid for a taxi to take us to the ER where they completely understood our position and proceeded to give us refills for our prescriptions.
Lesson learned here: #1 Yes, it will be an adventure just as expected. #2 Just focus on going to the big facilities where the doctors are comfortable writing prescriptions for strangers. The kids for all their hiking managed to earn themselves a smoothie and a sushi night so they were pretty happy. I earned a beer. ;)
After what seems like months of endless boat projects we are finally weighing anchor and heading south. Ok, well, not exactly 'anchor' this year as we've been spoiled on E dock. Perhaps we should say 'disconnecting our power and water' but then that is soooo not nautical.
We headed off to Monterey around 11am and were sent off by so many of our new E Dock friends wishing us well. It was sweet...especially when Loren kept telling everyone "I'll miss you!" and he surely will because the folks there are endlessly patient with his lengthy stories and boundless energy. When we left Santa Cruz little did we know that we would be heading into such a fabulous day on the bay!
We first spotted whales just past the mile buoy and we enjoyed the show for more then half of the six hour trip. The marine biologist on board said we were seeing humpbacks, and risso dolphins, not to mention the bazillion jellies and dozens and dozens of dancing sea lions. In all my years sailing in Monterey Bay I have never seen such a spectacular show. This helped us pass quite a bit of the time but as with any sail greater then one hour in length, the gang starts to get restless so we have to get creative.
The wind was very, very light at one point so Keith decided to launch the inflatable for a photo op with the new sails up. He and Mason jumped on board while the little guys and I hung out and trimmed sails. We ended up with some really great video and photos.
The boys all played Toss Up, a simple fun game that they got for Christmas last year and one of the very few games that Loren can play along with everyone else since the rules are so simple. They only had a slight challenge when the boat was heeling...dice wanted to travel a bit further then they wanted them too.
Elliot and I snuggled up for some quiet reading time while Loren hung out with Dad and watched for things with the binoculars and Mason played games on his phone.
Towards the end, when Mason got his internet back on his phone, he played DJ for awhile and we were able to dance away to some thumping dub step.
All in all...a really great start to our journey down the coast. We'll stay in Monterey for a bit while I work and the kids get some local education at the aquarium and such before we keep on moving.
I decided to do online school for all three of my children this year as all three have struggled in a traditional school environment. So far it's been more of an adventure (dare I say nightmare?) getting them registered then anything else.
Mason has been doing online school since sixth grade, with a small stint back at traditional last year to see if he liked it (he didn't) so I'm pretty accustomed to the program and the process. When we signed Mason up, way back when, the registration process and delivery of materials was, at most, a two week process. As we are in California now I've had to go with a state program and so far we are going on a six weeks with one child finally through the whole process, one half way and one totally screwed up. The only plus side to this is that the first one to get through the full registration process was Loren and so we've had more time to get him acclimated which is good because he's my kiddo with the most severe learning disability and needs.
Their favorite class so far? PE of course! This generally involves water or beach or both. Lately they have been having fun jumping off the dinghy offshore a bit and swimming while I row around them. For us PE also aligns with the 'witching hour' if at all possible. This is about 4 or 5 o'clock when they have more energy then focus and tend to get in a whole heck of a lot more trouble!
Elliot seems to be fully loving the independence of online school. I write up their schedules the night before and leave them on post-it notes for them to review in the morning. On Friday he was already started by 7:30 am and finished all of his classwork by 11:30 so was able to enjoy the rest of the day. We'll have to see how they all continue to do over the coming months but so far they seem to really like it, just like Mason has for the past few years.
Yes, we are still alive. I know that I've been pathetic at putting anything together lately but frankly I've been drowning in work and life and boat. Lots going on though and hopefully enough to get us on the way soon here. Today Keith and I worked on the engine, changing out the oil, oil filter and the fuel injector pump. Yes, fuel injector pump....I didn't know what that was yesterday or that our boat had one even! Kind of an adventure for us sailors who don't know too much about engines. Thankfully the old Lehman is a big old beauty that seems pretty simple. Plus there are lots of owners out there that have created blogs and websites with information which is greatly appreciated. I had this flashback today of being a kid and helping my dad with car stuff. I was a bit of a tomboy but it was great because I grew up knowing how to change my own oil, change a tire and I even changed my own brakes once....with dad's guidance, of course.
Last week Lisa from Samurai Seamstress delivered our main sail cover and the boat looks pretty nice with all its new matching canvas, I'll have to grab a photo here soon. We are just waiting for the new furling jib and those big projects will be complete. Lately we've been struggling again with the electrical, it seems our shore charger went kaput - and this is pretty frustrating. Just when we think we are making forward progress the rug gets pulled out and we are dropping money we didn't expect to on a new charger. Ah well......not much to do but grrrrrroooooowwwwllllll and move on. Keith is getting anxious to head down to the Channel Islands, I'm hoping to grab some time off to enjoy it fully with the gang before picking up more grind at work which has really, really had me hopping lately. I truly love my job and I'm a big big workaholic but even I need a need couple weeks mental break...and it's coming up soon.
Keith and I were reminded last week as to why we are doing this (yes we DO question ourselves on a regular basis!!!). The family headed down to the beach for some fresh air and exercise...it was one of those rare gorgeous warm evenings here in Santa Cruz not marred by fog. The boys started out with just getting their feet wet but quickly "accidentally" managed to fall in and were soon just having a grand old time. Having your family around you 24x7 can be stressful, especially our family, but it's moments like this we remember so well why we chose to live on our boat (which feels pretty small with five aboard it). I can't wait to share more moments in time like this with them before they are all grown up and off on their own.
I'm the wife of the captain, a mother of three boys and a PM in the corporate world. This blog is my view of life and activities related to our boat.