We are in a wonderful different part of the world. The weather is the expected - warmer water and air, but the animals are really different. For example, we are used to seals and sealions in the northwest, but here they surf like dolfins! They are very acrobatic and jump out of the water, dart under the boat, reversing direction in huge clouds of cavitation bubbles, darting every which way and rolling the whole time. We can see them looking at us - they are curious - but when they see us looking at them they dive instantly and come up on the other side of the boat!
The dolfins are great fun to watch also. We've seen them nip at each other like playful dogs running in a pack. We only get them if we are sailing over 6 knots, if we slow down they go elsewhere.
The plants are different, too. I took this picture lying down in one of the seaberths on board. We are in a boat basin "Channel Islands Harbor" for reprovisioning. There are palm trees everywhere. The boat traffic is constant. There is a very active harbor patrol who gives lots of lectures and tickets to misbehaving boaters.
Crossing Santa Barbara Channel to the Harbor was a great long easy broad reach under spinnaker. We heard on the VHF that the Chumash native people were paddling a canoe to Santa Cruz, plotted their location, and realized that we could possibly intercept their intended course in midchannel. Our plotting was accurate enough, and we passed close by to take a picture. It was sobering to realize how close we had to be before we could even spot them, even though they had an escort flotilla.
Having the spinnaker up gave us enough speed to keep the dolfins interested. This sail really smooths out the motion. If we could do it over again, we might get a heavier one that we could fly more often. Then again, we've been told that it has been windier than usual recently here.
Another piece of equipment that has really proved itself is "Red Dogfish," our inflatable canoe. Compared to the Zodiac, it takes a fraction of the time to inflate, rig, and launch. We have even used it to set a stern anchor a couple of times, although it's a little squirrely for that service. It is big enough for both of us plus gear, but small enough to paddle alone. In Prisoner's Harbor, the "Irving Johnson" anchored near us, so I paddled over to chat.
I realize they won't ever have better conditions than this, because it has been quite sunny, but the panels pretty much have been able to take care of all of our needs. We only have started the motor twice to charge batteries, both times for about an hour one night of heavy power usage after a few grey days as we approached the Channel Islands. There was a lot of shipping traffic so we were using the radar a lot and wind conditions were such that we needed to use the autopilot as opposed to the windvane. Otherwise, all electrical needs have been handled by the panels. This includes sailing to and off anchorages (using anchor windlass too!) without running the motor whenever we can. We also have 12 volt refrigeration and have been using the HF radio often. Our solar voltage regulator, for some reason, works fine now. It shut down and would not reset, but after a couple of days of rest, I reconnected it and it has worked fine ever since.
Ginger does most of the anchor work, so I guess that makes it a pink job on Marcy.
She also does a lot of the radio stuff. The radio gear has worked out well, the only real problem being an incident of user error (I forgot to update our position on the propagation calcutator) that put us of touch on the HF rig for a couple of days. There were some experts who thought that a whip antenna would not work well, but it has been great for us even at lower frequencies.
Labels: 2006 - 08 - 10 USA W. Coast