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Sailing Valparaiso
"Searching for Paradise"
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Butch
09/13/2010, Santa Barbara

Wow a lot has happened since our last blog...I can't believe I haven't written since leaving San Fran. We are in Santa Barbara for a couple of nights and I'll try to bring you up to date.

Monday September 6th: We passed under the Golden Gate about 11am headed for Half Moon Bay and for the next couple of hours passed every boat head north after the Labor Day weekend. There must have been close to 75. We felt like salmon swimming upstream but it confirmed our plan to wait until after the weekend to continue. Half Moon Bay is probably the nicest anchorage on the west coast. Lots of room, nice beach access and plenty to do in town. We met a nice couple sailing south with their 17 year old son. We had them over for dinner and look forward to getting to know better the crew from S/V Jane'o.

We left HMB Wednesday morning for an anchorage just outside of Monterey Bay Marina. When we arrived we found this anchorage like we're finding most of the anchorages taken up with mooring buoys and permanently anchored derelict vessels so we decided to stay in the marina. It was a good thing and a bad thing. The good, we met four new boats headed for the Haha and ran into our friends from Portland Anne and Mitch West on S/V Varuna. The bad was the seals and sea lions climbing on everything...the smell and the noise, "AARR...AARR...AARR" all night long not the mention the fishermen coming and going all night. We were going to spend a few days but the lack of sleep pushed me on. Now this is where all great plans seem to go a rye...we decided to move around the peninsula to Stillwater Cove right at the base of the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course and just east of one of the most photographed trees on Cypress Point. As we motored around...the weather and seas where so nice that we made a last minute change and decided to continue south all night...destination Morro Bay. Ya startin' to see the picture! This would mean an all nighter and pass two of the most beautiful anchorages along the west coast. S/V Varuna and our new friends Jim and Connie Merritt from Seattle onboard S/V Sound Effect where also headed to Morro Bay...at least we would have company. As luck would have it about four hours after making this last minute decision the wind began to blow. And I mean blow...25 to 30 knots until around 1am. And the seas...well let's just say it was nice that it was dark out. I don't know how I get myself into these things? I'm here to tell you...Monterey Bay and it's smells and noise were looking pretty good about now. However there is always a positive...about the time we passed Point Sir the sky cleared off and the stars were incredible...no moon just rough seas. Joe said he had never seen the stars that bright...they actually reflected off the ocean. We made Morro Bay at twilight...found a place to anchor and slept the rest of the day.

Saturday we rode the bus over to San Simeon and toured the Hearst Castle. Like the Winchester house or Graceland this place is stuck in time. If you haven't had the chance to see this it is mind boggling. It is weird to me that with 5 sons the house didn't stay in the family and is still being used. If you visit California it's a must see.

Ok now we are to the final leg of this blog. One would think that by know we (ok I) would be making better sailing plans. We (I) decide to sail to an anchorage just around Point Conception the last major hurdle on the west coast. Like all the Major Capes or Points they create their own weather conditions or phenomenons like Point Sir in the previous paragraph. Point Conception is where the cold air and water of the North meet the warm air water of the South. Just like Oklahoma without the tornados. This anchorage is aptly named Cojo Anchorage...didn't they make a movie...it had a dog? Anyway we leave Morro Bay at 6am...the seas are flat...no wind...it's starting to look familiar...I've seen this somewhere...maybe it was that movie. You guessed it...about 3 hours from the Point the winds and seas begin to build. By the time we rounded the Point winds where well over 30 knots and the seas...well I (we) was glad that in a few minutes we would be safely anchored in the lea of the Point. Didn't I mention something about all good plans? As we came into the bay there where two sailboats washed ashore from previous storms or maybe like us planned to spend the night and ended up on shore...now if that wasn't foreboding nothing is. We laid out 200 feet of anchor chain in 20 feet of water and it didn't hold...it had fouled in the seaweed. Just before we crashed into the Coast Guard mooring buoy (which is the size of a small car) we were able to recover the anchor and I (we) made a decision to sail on to Santa Barbara...there's another story here but we'll just have to discuss it over a beer (or two) the next time we get together. Next stop Avalon on Catalina Island.

Aloha from Alameda
Butch
09/02/2010, Fortman Marina, Alameda, CA

Sunday 8-29-2010: Hey everyone...we're here in Alameda California. We spent 3 days anchored in Aquatic Park at the base of the famous Hyde Street Trolley Car. We had a good time and took all the bus tours. We all agree "none of us like San Francisco". It's dirty, ugly and the humanity...leaves a little bit to desire. A funny story however...on the second day when we returned from messing around, our dinghy was missing! We had been dragging it up on the beach and tying it to the pier. As we approached there was no dinghy to be seen. I mean Panic set in! Joe yells, "They cut the dock line", he could see the line going down from the pier to the sand. What we couldn't see was the dinghy pushed up under the pier, high and dry. A couple of scratches on the motor is a pretty cheap lesson in tidal changes.

Friday we sailed over to Alameda just west of Oakland. Lots of old Victorian homes and really nice people. Friday night the folks at the Alameda Yacht Club invited Susan and I over for drinks. Met many new friends and had a great time. These people really no how to party.

Sunday we drove down to San Jose and toured the Winchester House. We had seen and read a lot about it. I can honestly say it was worth the trip. The lady was a nut case but way ahead of her time.

We're leaving on Tuesday for Half Moon Bay then on to Monterey.

Ok it's Thursday and we still havent left...really enjoying ourselves. I repaired the generator...a project I've put off for 5 years. It's hot and I think I've finally thawed out...so long for now.

Bodega Bay
Butch
08/20/2010, Bodega Bay

Hi everyone...we left Eureka on Saturday for short sail down to Shelter Cove were we anchored in the ocean. It was rockin' and rollin' all night. Sunday we sailed down or planned to sail to Fort Bragg but we found out that it's not big enough for our boat. As we motored up the river which is lined with restraints and fish processing docks, everyone was starring at us like we where from some other planet. We decided later they hadn't seen a boat our size in the river before. About a ½ mile up we found a spot large enough for us to turn around (K turns) and head back out to sea. The problem was now we're faced with an additional 12 hour sail and we've been sailing for 8 hours already. A quick check of the weather revealed things where going to get rough...and they did. We pegged 30 knots on the wind, seas began to build...around 2 am in the morning we crossed the Bodega Bay bar in the fog. To say the least...we were exhausted. We spent Monday sleeping and recovering. By the way there is very little to do in Bodega Bay so we rented a car and went inland for a few days (story to follow).

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