Thursday, October 23, 2008

Seagulls, Dolphins and Whales...oh my!

Ok, so I had pictures of the "Perfect Storm" rounding Point Conception from all of the tales I have heard....I mean...the Cape Horn of California???? What else would you expect? In all fairness, I guess it can be that crazy, but our new friend and mentor on Kemira insisted that we go to Cojo yesterday and he was sooooooo right! Sure, the swells were bigger than I've ever seen but they were far enough apart that it wasn't scary. There was no wind for most of the trip so these big swells were glassy. When the wind did come up, we already had the main up for stability and it added 1.5 kts to our over the ground time! Perfect! And not a storm!

Since I didn't sleep so well in the "cradle anchorage" last night, Paul stood watch for the daylight hours and I tried to nap. We had the usual array of sea birds scurrying away on this daytrip, but then whales! Yippie! WaaHoo! I almost ran over them! First it was two, then later two more, and two more. (Whales always go two by two?) Then it was pretty much business-as-usual-boring-old-motoring North for the next 25 hrs.... But, weird things happen in the dark, no moon, no fog, just radar, AIS and really cold eyes. After I relieved Paul from watch at about 10:30 pm things started happening. It took a while to get acclimated to the darkness before the sliver moon came up, but from the corner of my eye I spotted an irridescent, white, bubbly, torpedo stream streaking towards the side of the boat..then there were two..... then they veered off dramatically towards the bow and in one jubilant move, leaped from the water in sheer glee! Dolphins! Playing in Wind Spirit's bow wake! How cool is that???? Then from the other side, then from the first side..... then, as quickly as they came, they were gone....and I could breathe again. (Did I say that weird things happen in the dark?) Later, when the moon came up I saw the glowing globs of the jellyfish drifting by....eeerie...must be heading to a Halloween gig!

Of course there were the heart-stopping encounters with the AIS ships....I move one way to avoid them and they mirror my move so we're still about to collide (in an hour). Finally, we have a close encounter in the darkness 1/2 mile away and I can relax again. There is really nothing but total darkness between San Simeon and Pt. Sur except many hours of solitude.

By morning, my eyes were losing focus, circling in different directions and Paul took us in to Monterey.....thoroughly exhausted and stinky. 25 hrs after departing Cojo Anchorage, we were finally tied up to a dock, next to the fuel dock, with the toxic paints and boat-working smells wafting overhead, and by the barking seals.... not that we were complaining or anything....we really just needed sleep! ZZZZzzzzzzz.........

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