After an unexpected long weekend in Monterey, we were antsy to keep moving south as soon as the swells and wind died down along the coast. Not sure if it was the barking sea lions, who sounded like wild dogs circling the boat waiting to attack. Or the surge in the marina, which kept us bouncing against the dock. Or the motor yacht next next door, shading us from all sun and making the boat too frigid to be comfortable. Hard to say.
We talked about different routes that could help us make up some lost time. Sailing straight to Santa Barbara from Monterey was low on the list, as it would involve sailing overnight. We weren’t anticipating an overnight until further south when it was unavoidable. John has a lot of experience with overnight passages, but this would be new to me and we had an unspoken understanding that we would wait until it was necessary.
As the forecast began showing an ideal weather window from Monday night until Wednesday morning, our departure time was set.
On Monday afternoon, John asked, “Have you thought any more about sailing all the way to Santa Barbara?”
There it was. In his own gentle, yet suggestive way, he told me what he thought we should do.
Motivation was very high to be in sunny, warm Southern California, so I agreed. I was filled with nervous excitement, the feeling where you are about to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and while you can back down, you know you are not going to. I was ready, and everything was going to be great.
So John worked on a plan for our passage south, and Lady Guinny supervised.
We left at 5am on Tuesday. The sunrise and some majestic coastline highlighted our morning.
But once the marine layer settled in, we lost sight of land and the rest of the trip was rather uneventful—even boring at times. We resorted to taking a selfie to keep it interesting.
And there was rarely anything to see on the radar.
The sunset gave us some brilliant purples and oranges to take in while we ate dinner.
We scheduled three-hour watches, planned around John being awake to round Point Conception.
My first watch was from 11pm to 2am. Just as I stepped into the cockpit, and John retreated for some rest, the moon rose over the hills. The beauty of the scene forced me to take a deep breath and remember to enjoy the next few hours. And I mostly did!
It was much easier to see the horizon than I had feared. Fortunately, it was a clear night, so it was easy to reassure myself that nothing was there as I looked around. I listened to Pod Save America with one earbud and set a timer to remember to check the radar and the charts every 10 minutes. The time passed quickly (extreme boredom was another fear).
The sun rose on my second watch, and by 9am we were both up, removing extra layers and feeling relieved to be approaching Santa Barbara.
And the cats? They were great sports. Guinny finally found her underway spot and purred when I stopped to say “hi.” Chase was thrilled to have his humans up and moving around the boat every few hours during the night. During watches he stood next to the person sleeping below and watching for the person in the cockpit to return. He was as exhausted as us by the time we arrived in Santa Barbara.
Guinny loves sitting in the cockpit watching boats pass by, and we are also enjoying the view until we leave again tomorrow.
Distance: 207 nautical miles
Duration: 29.5 hours
Average speed: 7 knots
Largest vessel spotted: 132-foot motoryacht Mangusta
Number of oil rigs passed: 8
Michelle your blog is like my new favorite book. From you guy’s backstory to John’s career and the daily blog and pictures, I love it keep them coming!
Thanks for the encouraging words, Nick! Glad you are enjoying!!
Congrats! Rounding Conception on a calm night is good- in fact I think I’ve checked Conception off my list for good! Where to next?
I’ve had very good luck with Pt Conception—or maybe it’s just the luxury of time! I think this was #5 for me.
Tomorrow we leave for LA via Santa Cruz island, most likely.
Loving your exciting journey!
Chase seems to be becoming quite the beatnik
I’m so impressed with your overnight passage! Love following your travels!!
Thanks Tamar!! We’ll need your Spanish skills very soon! Miss you!
What a well written and sweet description of overcoming your fear. I love witnessing you two as writers, adventurers, partners and, as always, cat lovers.
Thanks Miranda! We miss you guys!
What did you have for dinner while watching the sunset?