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  • Writer's pictureJaclyn

Let’s Get Moving! Sailing Down the West Coast (Part 6)

September 21, 2023


After an incredible 10 days of eating, walking and more eating, it was time to go. We had slightly less than a month to pull into Ensenada, and we thought we'd just take short hops along the coast to get there with time to spare.


So, at 5:30 am, we made some coffee and headed off under the Golden Gate with a favourable tide. We shot out of San Fransisco Bay on an outgoing tide, and we're lucky it wasn't too foggy. We set our sights on Santa Cruz, some 60 miles away. What started as a day sail quickly became a leisurely, nearly 2-day sail to Avila Beach.


A clear exit from San Fransisco

Somewhere outside Half Moon Bay, just outside San Fransisco, we spied our friends Counting Stars and Cariba on the radar. We chatted about what the wind was doing, as we weren't getting much where we were. We heard there were 10 knots just aft of the beam up ahead. So we hoisted the spinnaker in the hope of getting some sailing in. It worked, and we ghosted along for a while before the wind started moving forward, and we couldn't keep the spinnaker full.


"Your sail wouldn't flog so bad if you were out here," came over the radio from Cariba. After a quick chat, they convinced us to keep sailing with them since the wind was so lovely. We never headed out to sea where they were. We dropped the spinnaker and continued sailing with them.


The flapping spinnaker

After 42 hours, we turned to cruise into Avila Beach's anchorage. As we made the turn, the bioluminescence was wild. Streaks of bright blue followed the boat and the fish that darted beside us. At one point, we were in a cloud of bright blue from the bait ball we sailed through. It was pretty dark, but the anchorage only had one other boat, so we quickly found a place to drop the anchor.


The following day, we dropped the dinghy to explore. First up is landing the dinghy. There was a tall pier with mooring balls along the bottom…and ladders. We needed to tie the dinghy's stern to the mooring ball, tie the bow to the pier, and then scale a 15-foot ladder up to the dock. This made for quite the challenge with the dog. Thankfully, there was a water taxi pier where Mark could drop the dog and me off before the whole production dinghy tie-up.

Sprocket enjoyed his first California beach and made sure he rolled, swam and chased sticks all over it. After a walk to stretch everyone's legs, we returned to the boat as the wind picked up quite a bit. We settled in for a windy afternoon, ticked some boat projects off, and made a list of things we needed to do.


More sand than dog

Since we planned to spend a few days in Santa Cruz, we had some things to tackle there - groceries and laundry. So, we planned to tackle those chores before moving on. The next day, we loaded the dog up and headed out again. Turns out there are no groceries in Avila Beach. Not even a convenience store that sells anything other than beer and pop. Whatever. We'd make do with what we had. Up next was laundry. We found the laundromat and loaded them up. That was a bust since I'm sure the clothes returned dirtier than they went in back to the boat.


Beach time

We talked to our friends who had shown up and decided we'd head out the next day and round the next cape that would take us into Southern California. Cariba gifted us some soup and cookies for the ride.


We set out again in a tiny flotilla of 3 boats, Cariba, Malaya and us. We slowly ghosted along up and down the big swells until the wind died as the sun went down. We, I (it's always me around these capes), motored around Point Conception and around the oil platforms. We caught up to Malaya and hovered outside the Santa Barbara bay, waiting for daylight to drop the anchor.


Cariba enroute

Finally, the sun rose, and we dropped the anchor and went to sleep. We're slowly inching our way south and closer to Mexico.


Sunsets at sea

NM Sailed: 298.5

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