Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On the Pacfic bird flyway

We left Monterey Bay at 3am. It was clear and calm. We rounded Point Pinos on the Monterey Peninsula in the dark about a mile offshore. It must have been low tide, as you could smell the decaying seal poop on the beach. The smell was strong enough that it set off our propane warning sensor on the boat. we motored along in glassy conditions until about 1pm. Then had a good sail down Big Sur all the way to San Simion bay.
Big Sur from the water side
Piedra Blancas toward the end of Big Sur.No one has cleaned off the guano from that rock since it was named 400 years ago.
Hearst Castle viewed from the anchorage
We headed into San Simeon bay for the night. It was foggy heading in but cleared up once we got inside. There's a small pier inside built by Hearst's father. The castle is on the top of the hills. The bay is small and basically an open roadstead behind a small point with breaking surf. Feliz was the only other boat in the anchorage. We anchored nearby. It is a little unnerving as the surf is breaking only few 100 yards away and it is the predominate sound. After dinner we went to bed and things seemed OK. Shortly afterward the insistent boat roll from the swells sneaking around the point started. Between the roll and the sound of the surf close by, I didn't much sleep at all. We left early in the morning to head to Morro Bay in the fog. I needed to get their by 1pm to do a work  call. It was motor boat ride. As we approached the outside sea buoy at Morro Bay we thought the fog was going to lift enough so we could do a VFR (Visual Flight Rules) landing.  Just as we got close enough in to see the surf breaking at the entrance, the fog closed in again. It was clearly going to be an IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) landing. The entrance to Morro Bay is tricky because of the swells that tend to break in the near by sandbars and because they do not put the buoys on the charts, per the normal practice. This is because as the sand bars shift, the channel moves with it and the buoys are moved around accordingly. This is nice in clear weather, as you can see them and they guide you to the right place. In pea soup fog when you aren't a local, you don't know how many buoys are gong to be there or where they are. We hung around the sea buoy for awhile waiting to see if the fog would lift some. We spotted a target on the radar coming toward the sea buoy and clearly setting up to head into Morro Bay. It turned out to be a small commercial work boat. We figured he was a local, so we followed him. Just inside the  breakwaters are two small markers. He passed close by the green starboard side marker just inside the north breakwater. Much closer than I would have, as it was near the breaking waves on the breakwater. We followed him in closely, almost like we knew what we were doing.
This is all we could see of the Morro Bay rock coming in.
The Rock with its top
We tied up on the long dock at the Morro Bay Yacht Club. Great place for $20 a night (or $15 if you take a mooring ball). And, Feliz showed up awhile later. They got to the sea buoy and called into the Morro Bay Coast Guard for an entrance report. The coasties told them to stay put and they would go out and escort them in. They got an easy escort in all the way to the yacht club.  Then they got boarded for the standard CG inspection.The kids on board were stoked and proudly showed the coasties all their toys.
Morro Bay is on the Pacific Flyway and has an amazing amount and variety of birds. Chris had her birding binocs out while we were doing a dinghy cruise around the bay. The white pelicans were the hit of the tour!
White Pelicans on the spit at Morro Bay
And to stay PC, here's the brown pelicans, with a heron in the background
We visited Chris' nephew Christopher (aka: Chris, he's the tall good looking one). He's up in San Luis Obispo doing well. He has 3 more years, assuming good behavior.

We've covered over a 1,000 miles since we left Seattle -- the water temperature is still only 54*. Too cold for swimming still...


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like the risk of a CG inspection might be well worth the escort in. Think we might follow Feliz' example. Thanks for the heads-up. It's great having you out there ahead of us but not too far ahead.