Morro Bay

After a wonderful week in Monterey, Cindy was itching to get back out onto the ocean.  Rick could have stayed in Monterey forever! Every place we go, we want to stay longer! But it was time.  Our excuse for waiting all week to leave, besides the fact that Monterey was so much fun, was that we were waiting for the south swell to clock around to the northwest.  But the swells were predicted to increase in size and become more frequent as they clocked, so we decided to go with the the smaller south swell. And on top of it, we discovered that using our Buoyweather Premium subscription as our primary weather source was limiting – other sources showed a NW swell as dominant and the south swell as secondary. So anyway, we decided to leave Saturday, September 20 for our first overnight at sea.

We prepared the boat all day, getting provisions together and double-checking all the hardware and cooking a meal in advance, etc. Here is what our sea-berths looked like. The green cloths on the inside of the settees are called lee-cloths; they keep you in your berth when the sea is rocking and rolling. They really turned out to be quite comfortable:

Inside Cool Change before our overnight passage Inside Cool Change before our overnight passage

And this was the stew recipe I used in our pressure cooker. I think we finally found a good stew recipe:

Excellent pressure cooker stew recipe Excellent pressure cooker stew recipe

Leaving Monterey at 8:00 a.m., we planned on arriving in Morro Bay about 10 a.m. the next morning, a distance as we sailed it of about 114 nm. It was a party cloudy and cool morning, and stayed that way for most of the voyage.

Cindy as we left  Monterey Cindy as we left Monterey

We were both a little nervous since this was our first overnight voyage with just the two of us, but it went beautifully. We thought we would both be so excited that we would both end up staying up all night, but as it turned out, we took two to three hour shifts each and did manage to get some sleep in.

The seas were fairly calm and we ended up motorsailing with the mainsail deployed on the preventer much of the way, averaging about 5 kts.

Our destination of Morro Bay is actually inside a much bigger bay called Estero. Morro Bay can be one of the most treacherous entrances on the California coast, since it is tucked away behind a huge monolith called Morro Rock, somewhat protected by a large breakwater. But if the swells are large enough, they crash over the breakwater and have been known to capsize even large mega yachts.

Approaching Morro Rock from sea on Sunday morning Approaching Morro Rock from sea on Sunday morning

Here is what the entrance would have looked like had we entered a week later! (The entrance is just left of the picture):

Morro Bay entrance a week later

Morro Bay entrance a week later

Fortunately, the entrance was calm the day we entered. We followed the channel buoys around the narrow channel on the other side of the sandbar that formed Morro Bay, and were directed by radio to the Morro Bay Yacht Club mooring balls. As we arrived, the Yacht Club was just about to start a youth sailing race, so we were assigned a mooring ball by loud speaker emanating from the Club, and tied up as quickly as we could.

We have become accustomed to being treated kindly by all the yacht clubs, and Morro Bay was no exception. The mooring ball was $20 per night, payable on the honor system, and afforded us a clean shower and laundry facilities.

The Morro Bay Yacht Club

The Morro Bay Yacht Club

We had a small mishap on the way to Morro Bay: when reefing the main, the halyard got ensnarled in the radar reflector. We released the radar reflector halyard to untangle it, and the next thing we knew, the radar reflector was on the deck and the end of its halyard was up at the spreader! I temporarily rigged the radar reflector on port for the remainder of the trip, but Rick had to go up the mast to retrieve the radar reflector halyard when we were safely on a mooring ball in Morro Bay:

image

The sun came out and we enjoyed touring the Embarcadero, with all it’s bayside restaurants and t-shirt shops and fishing boats. One of Rick’s favorite coworkers, Johnny, lives in Morro Bay. He came down to meet us for dinner and drove us up to the principal grocery store to reprovision.

Rick and Johnny Rick and JohnnyIconic Morro Rock. One of seven "sisters" lined up SE of Morro Bay as evidence of volcanic activity Iconic Morro Rock. One of seven “sisters” lined up SE of Morro Bay as evidence of volcanic activityHelpful landmark of the long-since closed coal power plant Helpful landmark of the long-since closed coal power plantRowing the dingy to the Yacht Club. At least we didn't need to mount the motor! But the current could be really strong! Rowing the dingy to the Yacht Club. At least we didn’t need to mount the motor! But the current could be really strong!Cute little cafés along the waterfront Cute little cafés along the waterfront The surfers' beach open to Estero Bay on the exposed side of Morro Rock The surfers’ beach open to Estero Bay on the exposed side of Morro Rock

Cool Change on the mooring ball in Morro Bay

Cool Change on the mooring ball in Morro Bay

Cool Change rafted up to another Pacific Seacraft at the Morro Bay Yacht Club so that Cindy could wash out our dinghy

Cool Change rafted up to another Pacific Seacraft at the Morro Bay Yacht Club so that Cindy could wash out our dinghy

Cool Change stern from above

Cool Change stern from above

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