Log #19—Santa Cruz Island
Sunday October 10th
Sunday morning we said our goodbye's to Ed Vaughan and Santa Barbara. The three of us--Chris Thomerson, Jenny Marstaller, and I--then sailed south across the Santa Barbara Channel, looking forward to some gunk holing around Santa Cruz Island. We anchored in Pelican Bay for the evening, deploying the stern anchor to keep us bow-out to Santa Barbara Channel, stern-to the island, and aligned with our other boating neighbors.
Monday October 11
Departed Pelican Bay at 1130 in an attempt to find Painted Cave to the north. Rumor has it that Painted Cave is a 200-foot high cave, tall enough to motor in with your sailboat. We thoroughly explored the shore where the chart indicated Painted Cave's location, all without success, partially due to the thick fog which restricted visibility to about 50-feet throughout the entire day.
We did find a dense dark patch of fog along the rock cliff shore where we thought Painted Cave might be located. Chris rowed the dinghy in, on a mission of exploration, until he disappeared deep within the obscurity of the fog, and then the darkness of the small cavern. (Unfortunately, it was not Painted Cave.) Jenny and I lost sight of him for several long minutes. I'm disappointed that Chris didn't hear me call on the battery-operated megaphone: "We know you're in there Thomerson," I called, the words reverberating off the damp cliff walls. "You'll never get away with this. Come out with your hands up." I thought for sure that the amplified sound would carry deep within the cave. But he never heard a thing. The only ones to get a chuckle were Jenny and me, along with a few puzzled seagulls.
Having explored vast segments of Santa Cruz's northwestern coast with no signs of a 200-foot high cave, we turned east toward Smuggler's Cove. The fog refused to lift, even late in the day.
As we turned south around the northeastern corner of Santa Cruz Island, we came out of the fog curtain; its ceiling floated 100 feet above us. Safely anchored in Smuggler's Cove on the eastern shore of Santa Cruz Island, we could see the thick walls of fog on the northern and southern sides of the island. The fog, combined with the setting sun, cast delicate shades of purple and lavender on Anacapa Island, and inside Smuggler's Cove.
Tuesday October 12
Tempted by the opportunity to explore a sun-drenched olive orchard rising on a hill above Smuggler's Cove, Jenny and I set out in the dinghy to attempt a landing. Although we could see breakers all along the beach, we thought it might be possible to land the dinghy--with careful timing. As we approached, we realized that the swells rolling underneath us were 4-5 feet high, with breaking whitewater 30-40 feet out from shore. Allowing self-preservation to suppress our curiosity, we reluctantly turned back to the boat, not wanting to capsize the dinghy in breaking shore waves.
1130 - Back aboard Andanté, we motored back to the northeastern corner of the island to anchor and explore Scorpion's Landing. As the log correctly notes: "Crew practiced rowing the skipper wherever he demanded."
1630 - Exhausted by rigorous rowing exercises, everyone settled down for a nap.
1940 - After dinner, we set sail for Santa Catalina Island, about 80 miles distant to the southeast, sharing watches throughout the night. I had 2100-2400. Chris followed next from 2400-0300, and Jenny held her favorite watch from 0300-0600. I was the only one to enjoy wind and sailing time. The wind died on Chris's and Jenny's watch, requiring engine power most of the night.
Up Next ...