South Down the West Coast

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We have arrived in San Diego. All crew accounted for and in good spirits, and Samadhi is still floating upright. I would say that that is mission accomplished. We are at the dock in San Diego at a Marina called Chula Vista Marina. This place is absolutely beautiful. The docks are very clean and well built. The grounds are immaculate. The facilities such as laundry room, workout room, bathroom, showers, and restaurants are all close by and are very well kept. There is a pool and playground for Alexander and Victoria. There are running and biking paths immediately outside the marina. The town of Chula Vista is within walking distance. The marina staff is extremely friendly, helpful and has welcomed us with open arms. Within 24 hours Ashley and I were wondering why we did not move here a long time ago. Our trip was relatively uneventful other than a 15 hour high wind and wave period. The trip was a total of 14 days with four stops from Neah Bay (the northern tip of Washington) to San Diego. Below is the account of our passage. 

Our crew for the trip to San Diego consisted of me (Dan), Ashley, Dan’s parents (Dorothy and Dennis), Victoria, Alexander and our sailing friend Steve Coombes (Seattle’s best Realtor). We also had Ranger the dog and Sony the cat along for the ride. We left Port Angeles at 5pm on Monday September 9th.

We had a 60 mile run to Neah Bay which is the northwestern tip of Washington State and the Pacific Coast of the U.S. Our plan was to top off our fuel tanks and then just continue onthrough the night. The website of the Neah Bay fuel dock says they are open 24hrs but in reality they do not fuel boats after dark. So we spent Monday night at the fuel dock. Tuesday morning we topped off our fuel tanks and headed out. We made the big left turn south under a thick layer of fog with little to no wind. So we motored south with slightly rolling seas but otherwise calm. It was not the conditions we would have chosen but none of us were complaining, after all we had 150 gallons of fuel in our primary tanks and an addition 24 gallons in reserve tanks on the deck. We figured if we had to motor for a while it would not be a problem. As it turned out we did not see even a breath of wind for 48 hours. So for two days and two nights we just motored through theocean steadily along at 7.5 knots. The seas remained fairly calm with steady rolling waves that required us to be conscientious when moving about on the boat. Ashley and Dennis worked the day shift from 8am to 8pm alternating 1 hour on and 1 hour off watch. Dan and Steve did the same for the night shift. Dorothy’s job was to man the galley and keep Victoria and Alexander occupied. This setup worked perfectly and none of us ever got overly tired. Thursday Sept 12th we were about 40 miles offshore of Coos Bay Oregon when we finally found wind. We put up the sails and everyone cheered when we were able to turn off the engine. The wind was light and coming out of the southwest which again was not perfect but, hey, the motor was off and we were heading southno one was complaining. We continued our watch schedule as everyone felt that it was working well. Victoria and Alexander both did amazing. There was no seasickness or asking to stop or go to shore. When they felt that they needed to get fresh air to ward of any seasickness they put on their harnesses and lifejackets and join the on watch crew on deck. They spent the trip doing the same things they would do during a rainy Seattle week. They read books, played with their toys, practiced Spanish, played board games, played card games, watched movies, and helped cook and clean. They only difference was the boat was constantly rolling and they adapted to that like the champions that they are. On Friday September 13th late morning the weather began to deteriorate and our weather reports told us that it was the same all the way to the bay area. Our plan was to make our first stop in Monterey Bay. So we continued south choosing to head further offshore to avoid some unpredictable weather near Cape Mendocino just north of San Francisco. The winds were forecasted to be 20-25knots. By early afternoon we were in just those winds with the seas building steadily. By the time Steve and I got up to begin our shifts the winds were steadily at 25knots and gusting to just under 30knots. As the night continued the winds increased steadily at times reaching 40+knots. The average wind speed throughout the night was in the mid 30s with seas between 8ft to 15ft in height. It was a lot of work keeping the boat on course through the seas and gusty winds but we worked through it and by the time the sun was up the next morning the winds had dropped to 15 knots again and we had beautiful blue skies above. Overnight Steve and I had gotten used to sailing at speeds around 12 knots so when we were back to normal it almost made us wish for the high winds again. Almost. Saturday we received a call that made us stop in San Francisco instead of Monterey Bay so we spent three days in Sausalito CA. Ashley and I took that time to do laundry and top off our fresh fruits and vegetables. Steve visited family and my parents explored San Francisco. Victoria and Alexander were able to play at the beach in the harbor. Ranger was very happy to be on solid ground again.

Starting odometer
Captain sleeping during his off shift
Whole-lotta drinking beverage vessels
Approaching San Francisco
Golden gate bridge
Headed to Sausalito for some beach time
Dolphin escort
Spanish practice
Ashley steering

We left Sausalito on Tuesday Sept 17th at 7pm the weather reports were conflicting so we headed out hoping for the windy version to be the winner. Nope, we motored all night and through the morning to Monterey Bay. We first stopped at the fuel dock to top off the tanks and after learning that we can be at a dock for only $38 a night we found a spot at the marina for a few days. Ashley wanted to spend some time here due to the large population of Sea Otters in Monterey Bay. I had been reading Steinbeck lately so I was happy to take the chance to see CanneryRow. After a few days of exploring the town of Monterey, kayaking near Sea Otters, and working on the boat we again headed south.

Early on the morning of Saturday September 21st we motor sailed south to “Southern California”. We motor sailed all day Saturday and all Saturday night. We arrived at Santa Cruz Island in the early afternoon on Sunday. We went ashore for a short period of time to see the island and play in the surf. However, the surf was a little too strong and as it turns out Ranger was not allowed on the island. So we headed back to Samadhi to get to sleep for an early start the next day.

Monday morning we motored and then we sailed and then we motored to Catalina Island. We definitely felt that we were now in Southern California. The wind was blowingand yet we were all in shorts and tee shirts and Ranger was always searching or shade. We got to Catalina Island in the early evening. The next day we met our friends Annika and Craig on S/V Descanso in town for a play date with their two boys. Alexander was ecstatic to be able to play not only in warm water on a sandy beach but with his two friends Max and Jasper. That evening we left for San Diego.

Avalon harbor on Catalina Island
Friends we haven’t seen since June!

We sailed and then we motored and then we sailed and then we motored all through the night. We arrived off San Diego Bay at 6 am just as we planned. We motored through the bay and parked Samadhi in her slip at 8am. We did it Seattle (ish) to San Diego.

San Diego Bay
1,200 miles later
Coronado bridge

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