Frolic visited Santa Cruz Island in January and February. Both trips were cut short by the threat of Santa Ana winds, but we still had a lot of fun!
On a clear sunny day in January, I sailed with my daughter, her husband and their eldest son (5 years old) to Coches Prietos. We had light winds and anchored in the calm afternoon. I was happy that Frolic’s diesel had whirred without a hitch – this was the first time I had relied on it since having the motor mounts and transmission seals replaced. Once Frolic was secured, we rowed to shore and hiked up the hill above the anchorage, east toward Albert’s.
After our shore excursion, we enjoyed a lovely sunset pizza meal, and a good night’s sleep. It was nice to see my grandson sleeping in the same bunk his mother had slept in when she was a young girl (26 years ago, good grief!). In the morning, we were greeted by an offshore breeze that increased in intensity as we breakfasted. We were planning to go ashore again, but the wind was too strong to row, so we waited, and I considered setting up the outboard. But as I hesitated, Katherine, a lobster boat, pulled alongside and let us know that strong NE winds were predicted for the evening, and expected to last for more than a day. This was much sooner than the forecast when I checked the day before we left. There is no VHF reception in Coches so this was a kind and welcome gesture. Frolic is now berthed in Ventura, and making our return there in strong NE winds was not something I wanted to do. We considered waiting it out, but my daughter had plans for the weekend, so we made the decision to head back before the blow began. We motored to San Pedro where we picked up a steady Westerly breeze and had a fast and fun afternoon sail back to the harbor.
About a month later, in mid-February, P/C Susan and I did it again. It is so easy to get to Santa Cruz’s backside from Ventura! We had a pleasant motor-sail across, and anchored in Coches in the early afternoon. We kayaked to the beach and admired the flowers and shells there. We enjoyed a lovely sunset evening, and were awed by the night sky. Jupiter overhead, then Mars, and setting Venus. Orion marched across our meridian, and the dog star Sirius made the ocean sparkle.
The morning dawned calm, and the sunrise was magnificent! After breakfast, we kayaked ashore ready to hike. We walked north then west on the old road out of the anchorage for several hours, and made it back to Coches in early afternoon. Susan wanted to swim, so I towed her kayak back to Frolic and she swam. Even with the abundant sunshine, the water was too cold for me! While Susan enjoyed a warm sun shower, I kayaked west toward Willows. There was one power boat anchored there and her crew was sunbathing on the foredeck. No farmer’s tans on that boat!
As I paddled back to Frolic I decided to listen to the channel 3 weather on my handheld VHF and, while happy to have reception, I was disappointed to hear (another) dire forecast for very strong NE winds. Back on Frolic, Susan and I discussed the situation and decided to head back. Discretion is the better part of valor! We’d enjoyed many night crossings, and hadn’t done one in a while, so why not? We departed just after sunset, and enjoyed another beautiful night sky as we motored east along Santa Cruz’s south side, and then, giving Sandstone Pt and its extensive kelp patch a wide berth, turned NE for Ventura. Except for the very busy shipping lanes, the trip across the channel was uneventful. Platform Gail makes navigating from San Pedro Point to Ventura easy: just aim head for the platform, keeping it to starboard. Our new radar (Furuno 1815), interfaced with our AIS and OpenCPN chart plotter, worked really well, and made threading through the numerous east- and west-bound ships on a dark night less stressful. We tied off in our slip in the wee hours and slept well. We were happy to be in our slip when the NE winds started the next morning!