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Arriving in Catalina…

October 19, 2012

We left Santa Barbara on October 10 and headed back out to the islands.  The “big” storm that hit SoCal was slow in coming so we crossed the windy channel ahead of the rain and funnel clouds.  Three miles out we were met by a pair of whales that were feeding.  One curious whale spied us several times as we passed by.  Then the dolphins joined us for about 20 minutes playing on our bow wake as we motored along.


Whale keeping an eye on us.


Dolphins joining us on our way to Santa Cruz Is.

We anchored in Twin Harbors on Santa Cruz Island with a spectacular view of the island’s coast.  We could also look across the channel at the thunder heads on the mainland, but we only saw some light rain.  It was mid-week with a stormy forecast so we literally had the island to ourselves and the lobster fishermen.


The view from Twin Harbors on Santa Cruz Is.

We spent one night at Little Scorpion anchorage where Brian did some diving and came up with a prehistoric crab that turned out to have very little meat.  The anchorage was very peaceful and a far cry from our last visit in 1975 when Sandie was pregnant with Jenn.  The anchorage was very rough back then which hadn’t helped the morning sickness.


This big crab didn’t offer much meat.

We spent one night at Smugglers where Brian gave it his best shot to get halibut or yellow tail tuna but came up empty.  Then we set sail for Santa Barbara Island which lies 42 miles from Santa Cruz.  We lost our wind half way there and had to motor.  Several pods of dolphins joined us on our crossing.

Santa Barbara Island is one of the smaller of the Channel Islands sitting 50 miles off the coast with an exposed anchorage.  But unlike our visit in 1986, the weather was calm and we enjoyed several days of diving, hiking, and visiting with other boaters sharing the anchorage.  The three-masted schooner Tole Mour out of Catalina joined us with its complement of 36 guests.  It looked like a pirate ship when we first saw her ghosting out of the marine haze.








Schooner at Santa Barbara Is.








White Barn Owl on SBI.








The windward side of SBI.








Finally get to use the spinnaker.

We met Holly who invited all of the boats to a party at her yacht club’s anchorage on Catalina.  So we set sail in light winds for the 28 mile crossing.  Conditions were perfect for flying our spinnaker, but half way there the winds died and the fog set in so we motored.  We anchored in front of Holly’s yacht club were we had a pot luck on the beach at sunset.  Conditions were perfect until we were awaken at 4:00 AM by winds in excess of 30 kts off the island.  Our stern anchor had dragged and we were 30 feet from a rocky reef.  We spent over an hour retrieving our stern anchor and resetting it to seaward.  This kept us off the rocks until sunrise when we moved to Two Harbors at the Catalina Isthmus where we now sit on solid moorings.  Sandie immediately went to bed and slept until noon.








Potluck on the beach at Big Geiger.

We plan to stay at the Isthmus through Sunday and enjoy Cruisers Weekend with live music, free tri-tip and beer, and seminars.  Holly is presenting a seminar on anchoring and she plans to use us and our Fortress stern anchor as an example of what doesn’t work.  We will probably show up and look suitably shammed.

Our next stop will be Long Beach were we plan to have friends visit us and continue the serious business of fitting out the boat for Mexico.


From → Travel

  1. Jan permalink

    Great story/pictures. How old was that crab? I mean, what made it prehistoric? Older than we are? Not sure all these stories of chafing anchor guards and dragging until 4 AM are convincing us to bring Serenity out into the big blue ocean again but looking forward to when we can spend time with you guys on Persephone!

  2. Tim Ross permalink

    Spinnaker sailing…yeah! That is the best kind. Wind light and at your back, leaning back on the rail, foot holding the helm…nothin like spinnaker sailing!

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