I always hope to learn a bit of cultural or scientific dirt during our brief sojourns landward. And Long Beach did not disappoint. Less than 3000 feet from our marina was the Aquarium of the Pacific. Lets just say our new, annual membership to the aquarium was well used during the six days we were docked in LB. After tearing me away from the aquarium, Ren and Elliot insisted we tour the cruise ship I've been looking at out of my porthole for the past week (Left: My porthole and the RMS Queen Mary, aka the "Grey Ghost"). All week the kids got a kick out of the timely, and loud, blast of Queen Mary's horn every morning, afternoon and evening.
Saturday, October 12th marked the end of Steadfast's week-long stay at Anacapa Isle Marina in Oxnard and the beginning of another adventure down the California coast. We cast off at 7:05 a.m., a reasonable hour considering our next stop was roughly 66 nautical miles away. Travelling at a rate of 6.5 knots we would make the Port of Long Beach in 10 hours. Plotting a course parallel to the shipping lane was the most direct route to the busiest port in the U.S...who would've guessed! After a day of container ship spotting, reading, eating and sight-seeing we pulled into Shoreline Marina by 5pm, just in time to check-in and get a gate key from the harbor office.
Steadfast's next stop was to be a sort of homecoming. It was at the marina pictured above, over three years ago, that I found and purchased Steadfast. Approx. a week later, my brother-in-law Todd and I sailed her up to Morro Bay in exactly twenty hours, almost to the second. From there I attempted to single-hand her to Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, off the coast of Big Sur Steadfast's transmission failed. After the breakdown sailing into the wind was slow, to say the least, and after 40 hours without a wink of sleep I hailed Vessel Assist for a hand the rest of the way. I happily digress. Back to the here and now.
Slipping from Santa Barbara on Sunday, Oct. 6th at 1130 a.m. was a leisurely time. Casting off the dock lines in the middle of the night has its advantages but sleep isn't one of them. So it was a nice departure from our normal departure. With a sufficient slumber the night before and only 28 nautical miles to our next port-o-call spirits were steep aboard Steadfast. A 1/2 mile into our trip we were met by a lone dolphin who performed a single porpoise off our bow. It's message was construed as a sendoff but was more likely an introduction to what was to come. For over the course of the next few hours we were greeted with 100's of pacific Common dolphins, dozens of Risso dolphins and a group of breaching Humpback whales. A light to moderate nor' westerly followed us out of Santa Barbara allowing us to sail past the numerous oil platforms that dotted the coastal waters nearby, represented by the small blue circles on the chart to the left. Within a couple of hours the winds dwindled necessitating the motor to bolster our plan to be in Oxnard before sunset. And from the looks of the picture above, we made it. Top picture taken moments after tying up the boat.
Located at the southern end of Santa Barbara Channel, the Channel Islands Harbor began as a wetland/estuary and dredged out in the 1960's to create (not unlike Santa Cruz Harbor) a man-made marina. About a mile southeast is the Navy controlled commercial deep water port of Hueneme (wy-nee-mee). The Channel Islands Harbor boasts over 2500 berths verses Santa Cruz's 1000 "coveted" spots. Oxnard's surplus of berthing wasn't brimming with boats. Our particular dock, Anacapa Isle Marina, had numerous vacancies - likely a by-product of the economy. The red arrow on the picture to the right indicates Steadfast's slip location for the week. The black arrow pinpoints the well-kept clubhouse and heated pool/spa. We put on some walking miles while grocery shopping, filling medications, ordering smoothies at Jamba Juice or buying a few boat parts at the local West Marine marked by the green arrow to the right. The blue arrow shows the spot where Elliot, Ren and I enjoyed a barren stretch of beach during the "off-season"
A UCSC graduate in Marine Biology, Keith holds a 100 ton USCG Capt. License and is an ASA/US sailing certified instructor.