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Santa Cruz to Monterey Trip Log 2010
|Author||Topic: Santa Cruz to Monterey Trip Log 2010|
posted 10-15-2010 12:14 AM ET (US)
Over the Columbus Day weekend, Nancy and I cruised our 1989 Outrage 22 Cuddy from it's home port of Santa Cruz, CA to Monterey where we spent a relaxing weekend. This is the first installment of the trip log.
This is a cruise we've done before, and our last overnight trip there was chronicled in a trip log published here: http://home.earthlink.net/~andygere/triplog/ A lot has changed in our lives since 2004, but we love the destination and when an offer of babysitting came our way, we jumped at the chance to head across the bay and enjoy a tiny slice of the yachting lifestyle. Our Outrage Cuddy is certainly no liveaboard, but it's comfortable enough for the two of us for a few nights. For us, a trip to Monterey makes for a relatively inexpensive weekend away from home, and one that doesn't involve any trailering, which mean more time boating and relaxing.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
The weather can be quite variable this time of year, ranging from warm and sunny to cold and foggy, and the possibility of rain begins to enter the equation. We departed under warm, clear skies, and enjoyed the sunshine while waiting our turn for fuel.
After topping off the tank, we motored out of the harbor to find glassy seas, virtually no wind and very few boats on the water. We put the hammer down and headed south, enjoying the unusually smooth conditions on the bay.
This crossing was a bit unusual in that we could see the entire shoreline of the bay as we crossed, and could practically navigate by sight as we clicked off the miles toward Cannery Row. We settled in at a cruising speed of 27 mph, which is quite a bit faster than normal on this usually turbulent body of water. In less than an hour we were approaching the harbor, with the spectacular coastline in view. The waterfront in and around Monterey is quite scenic, and we slowed down as we approached to take a few photos.
Here's the scene of John Steinbeck's famous 1945 novel, as seen from the bay.
Tourism has largely replaced commercial fishing as the primary industry, as the Little Mermaid demonstrates.
Although it's now home to hotels, restaurants and a fine aquarium, there are still plenty of vestiges to it's salty roots built around the sardine fishery. These days the squidders have replaced the sardiners, but there's still a few surviving salmon fisherman and another handful of groundfisherman as well.
All of them are outnumbered by the yachts, and the steady winds and deep water attracts a lot of sailors.
We idled by a few million dollars of fiberglass, aluminum and canvas as we headed to our slip assignment, which we'd received by phone when we were a few miles away.
Monterey is a friendly place and the local chamber of commerce pays these guys to greet visiting yachtsman as they enter the harbor.
The reality is that the sea lions can be a real problem in this harbor, boarding boats and docks, causing a lot of damage and even sinking a few boats on moorings that were not equipped to defend against the stinky intruders. http://www.monterey.org/harbor/pdf/sealions.pdf We didn't find any of that while we were there, and outside of some late night barking the big pinnepeds were well behaved.
A big part of the fun of visiting another harbor is checking out the boats. In addition to the salty and the posh, Monterey harbor is also home to the funky, including this vintage commuter, just back from a picnic cruise.
The facilities in the Monterey Municipal Harbor are quite nice. The slips are well arranged and equipped with floating finger docks, power and water. One thing that always amazes me about this place is how crystal clear the water is. My sounder was showing 10 feet of water under my keel, and I could look over the side and see sea shells on the bottom. It has a rich blue color that you'd expect to see in the tropics, and it really gives it something of an exotic quality. After checking in with the harbormaster, I did what every classic Whaler owner would do: I took some pictures of the boat.
As we settled in to our new surroundings, our weekend neighbors arrived in their vintage Skipjack. They were spending a weekend aboard in the harbor just as we were, but had towed their sharp looking 25 footer down from Marin County. We enjoyed a snack and a cold beer, marveling at the warm weather and pleasant surroundings, while chatting with our new friends about boating and fishing in California.
Please check back here soon for the next installment
posted 10-20-2010 01:13 AM ET (US)
Afternoon, Saturday October 9, 2010
After eating lunch, we decided to take Namequoit around to Lover's Point to see if the white sea bass bite was still on. We motored out of the harbor under sunny skies, but found lumpy seas and a brisk wind greeting us as we exited the outer breakwater. We headed around the peninsula despite the less than promising conditions to see if things looked a little better around the bend. We circled through the fishing grounds, checking out the few remaining boats trying for one of the enormous but fickle fish. The wind was honking, the seas white capping and those still fishing were on a fast drift, all of them pitching and rolling in the confused seas. We called it before getting any gear in the water, and headed back to the warmth and calm of the harbor.
The weather inside the harbor was completely different, and it was a lot better. We admired some of Monterey's famous sport diving fleet on the way back to our slip, and watched a friendly sea otter munching on a squid dinner just off our transom.
As we sipped cold beers under the late afternoon sun, we were joined by our friends and fellow Whaler enthusiasts Chuck and Linda (Chuck Tribolet and Adm. Linda) who were in the area enjoying their new weekend dive headquarters. As the sun descended towards the horizon, we walked along the shoreline trail to the Cannery Row Brewing Company. http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff212/brewedforthought/Other/ Cannery%20Row%20Brewing%20Co/CRBC003.jpg Located a block off the water on Cannery Row, the old brick building looked inviting to a group with burgers and brews on the brain. It didn't disappoint. Inside we found 73 craft brews on draft, and a bustling and lively pub. We were seated on the outside deck overlooking the Row, but were kept toasty warm by the radiant heaters mounted overhead. Around the corner from our table were the popular outdoor fire pits, surrounded by comfy looking sofas. We all ordered burgers of one sort or another off the extensive menu, and found them juicy, cooked perfectly and loaded with great toppings. Washed down with a hoppy ale, it was the ideal way to finish off a great day of Boston Whaler boating. After dinner we strolled back to the harbor, saying goodbye to our friends before retiring for the night in Namequoit's cozy cuddy.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
We fished hard, drifting whole squid, trying to find the fish without much luck. The birds were all set down in the thick fog, taking away our guide to the schools of squid that the sea bass were feeding on. Despite the conditions and slow fishing we enjoyed the morning. Nancy, who is usually my good luck charm, couldn't seem to work her usual magic with the sea bass.
By early afternoon, the swell and wind were on the rise, and we saw nothing but jellyfish on our lines despite our efforts. We decided to enjoy the rest of the day relaxing in the harbor while rooting for the Giants in the National League Playoffs. Before the game started, we spent some time walking the docks, checking out the local fleet. this little skiff was a favorite among the gulls:
This 27 foot Whaler just across the dock caught my eye, having spent some time in my home harbor across the bay. After a night in the tiny cabin on our Outrage 22, I pointed out to Nancy how comfortable the accommodations must be.
She wasn't buying it, but it was worth a try.
This decal tells the story; The skipper of Chance calls it like he sees it.
This photo is sure to fuel the next debate on DFI vs. carbureted 2-strokes.
I've always liked the salty looks of these Skipjacks. This one was well cared for by its owner.
Nancy and I had originally planned to watch the Giants game in the harborside pub, but the weather was so nice we opted to listen to the game on Namequoit's radio instead. The game was exciting, and were were on the edge of our [reverse pilot] seats as it unfolded. Nancy is the confident fan, sure that the men in orange and black will turn things around and prevail.
I, on the other hand, believe in the power of the rally cap. Shortly after installing it, the Giants mounted their unlikely late-inning comeback and defeated the Braves.
After the game we were in great spirits. Nancy and I walked around the harbor to enjoy our anniversary dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Massaro and Santos. http://www.massaroandsantos.com/ We sat on the deck, marveling at the fabulous sunset while dining on (what else) white sea bass, washed down with a nice chardonnay. After a leisurely dinner, we returned to the boat and watched a movie in the cabin before turning in.
Please check back for the final installment
posted 10-20-2010 09:56 AM ET (US)
Great narrative. Keep the installments coming...
posted 10-20-2010 11:28 AM ET (US)
Ditto Dave's sentiment, Andy, I've really enjoyed these narratives.
Your weekend reads exactly as I like to take these harbor trips, mine to Door Co. most often. Walking the docks and eyeing other's beautiful boats, relaxing in a Pub with a snack and beer and generally enjoying a slow holiday pace. All sandwiching as much boating as is reasonable.
One very impressive comment that I caught:
"Heading out of the harbor just as the sun rose,..."
Thats more patience than I exhibit, Nancy must have trained you well!
posted 10-20-2010 01:47 PM ET (US)
Great narrative & photos, I've never been on the Ocean in a Whaler.....you're Whaler trips, surfing, paddle boarding expeditions sure set the standard...thanks for posting, I await the exciting final chapter of this trip.
posted 10-20-2010 03:19 PM ET (US)
Thanks for the narrative and the great pictures. Sounds like a great weekend.
We will be visiting San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Monterey and Yosemite in late March/early April. There will be no time alotted for boating, but we are looking forward to taking in the sights.
posted 10-20-2010 03:28 PM ET (US)
Looks like you picked a great day for the trip. I wish I could have been out there.
I haven't been out in the salt water the past 2 month due to crummy water conditions on the weekends. I hate south winds.
Thanks for the pictures and narrative. It's almost as good as being out on the water. :-)
posted 10-22-2010 12:36 AM ET (US)
Thanks for this report! Your writing and photos are vivid. Sounds like you and Nancy had a wonderful weekend away. Hope you're all thriving!
And thanks for the memories. Rich and I honeymooned in Monterey and enjoyed a fine meal at Massaro and Santos. :)
posted 10-22-2010 08:43 AM ET (US)
It was good to have dinner with you guys.
Andy didn't mention that we timed our exit from dinner
When the Little Mermaid (it's the local glass-bottom boat, BTW)
posted 10-23-2010 12:07 PM ET (US)
More, please, Andy. You may remember that my "little" girl attends UCSC, and I've been planning a similar trip for a couple of years but just haven't pulled it off yet. I look forward to your next installment, and I know you'll take it right (especially since your trip is over) when I say that I hope it kicked up a little on the way back, just so I'm able to learn about the more common sea conditions in that huge, beautiful bay.
I join with my boat partner Warren/WT in saying that your report is almost as good as being there...almost ;-)
posted 10-25-2010 03:15 AM ET (US)
Monday, October 11, 2010
Nancy and I woke up to sunny skies on a chilly Columbus Day morning.
We made plans for a reasonably early departure, knowing that a significant NW swell was filling in, and that the typical NW winds would be up by mid day. Despite the confidence we have in our 22 foot Whaler, that combination makes for an unpleasant 22 mile crossing, and we were determined to get underway in enough time to be back in our home waters before the wind came up. Our first order of business was breakfast, and we had to go no farther than the Municipal Wharf #2, which frames in the north side of the harbor. We had our choice of booths (there are only a half dozen) at LuLu's Griddle in the Middle, our favorite little breakfast place in Monterey.
We soon had steaming cups of French roast coffee in front of us, which we sipped as we pondered our choice of fuel for our voyage home. I settled on a hearty plate of eggs, linguica and Lou Lou's famous home fries, while Nancy went for the thick cut French toast.
After breakfast, we strolled the wharf and enjoyed our last morning in the harbor. We stopped to watch the 58 foot seiner Mineo Bros. steam into the harbor, and pull into a tight slip with no more effort than parking a Mini Cooper at the shopping mall. It was amazing to watch the skipper deftly maneuvering 73 tons of steel without so much as kissing the fenders against the dock.
On the opposite side of the wharf, tiny swells were wrapping in along the bulkhead, perhaps forewarning us of what lay ahead in the outer bay. Here, they look gentle and harmless, lapping peacefully onto Del Monte beach.
In the anchorage just beyond, we saw where the world's ugliest dinghy had gone the night before. As I was getting ready to settle in to the cuddy for the night, a boisterous group of people were paddling past B dock in what I can only describe as a plywood box with an apparently non-functioning Force outboard on the transom. At the time I half wondered if it was "borrowed" from the dinghy dock for a late night harbor tour after an evening of drinking. Now it was tied alongside a shabby looking sailboat that was anchored outside the harbor in the lee of the Wharf, its crew having made it safely to the mother ship the night before. We later saw 4 guys and one gal returning to the dock in the plywood tender, all of them somehow overnighting on the small sailboat.
We soaked in the scenery and the morning sun for a few more minutes before heading to the harbor office to check out.
By 8:45 we had cast off our docklines and made our way out out of the inner harbor on course for our home port of Santa Cruz.
Once outside the breakwater, the idyllic scene pictured above quickly faded from memory. The forecasted groundswell was in full effect, and less than a mile out of Monterey we were climbing 10 to 12 foot swells, which were steep, closely spaced and just heaving. I was astounded by how steep the swells were, requiring me to head off to port and climb the bigger ones head on, throttling back as we coasted down their backs. Many of them looked as though they were about to break, and my surfer's instincts were on high alert, not wanting to get caught inside. The swell had a short period, less than 10 seconds, and many of the swells had secondary waves on their faces, making for some interesting conditions. We remained under sunny skies (although the fog appeared to be looming ahead) and were ever grateful that wind was not yet up, and ever hopeful that it would remain that way until we made it across. For the most part we stayed on plane at around 15 miles per hour, turning and slowing as needed for the really big ones. Once I got over the initial surprise about the steepness of the swells, we fell into an almost comfortable rhythm, climbing and coasting, and correcting our course in between the big sets. As always we had our PFDs on, and before leaving I went over the basic safety drill with Nancy. She had our waterproof handheld VHF in her jacket pocket, and she looked a little concerned for the first few minutes of the trip. I expected the size and steepness of the swells to diminish as we got closer to Santa Cruz and into the shadow of the North Coast. In the meantime, we clicked of the miles one by one and enjoyed the ride. The Outrage handled it all with ease, keeping us dry and comfortable and without pounding. I am continually amazed at the good manners of this boat in sloppy seas.
A little beyond the halfway point, we slowed to watch a pod of Risso's Dolphins swimming on the surface. http://www.acsonline.org/factpack/RissosDolphin.htm These big dolphins are easy to identify by their large dorsal fins and distinctive markings. Like most marine mammals, they are difficult to photograph from the pitching deck of a small boat, so we just watched the show until they swam out of sight. As we continued on, the fog always seemed to be just ahead of us, which made me a bit nervous in terms of being able to see the bigger waves coming. The seas were still big, but the faces of the swells were not nearly as steep, and we were able to run at 20 mph in comfort. About 20 minutes later, I saw a spout to the north of us, and steered in that direction to have a look. A gray whale was making time in a southerly direction, surfacing now and then to give us a few fleeting glances. http://www.acsonline.org/factpack/graywhl.htm It seemed early in the fall to be seeing grays, but I later read that there are some resident grays in California waters, and perhaps this was one of them. Whale watching seemingly done for the day, I put the throttle down, ever mindful of the looming northwest winds that still had plenty of time to batter us if we didn't get a move on. Not 5 minutes later, I saw the distinctive profile of a pair of humpback whales just ahead. http://www.acsonline.org/factpack/humpback.htm Again we slowed to an idle and watched the show as we approached, marveling at the beauty and grace of these gentle giants. As if on cue, the larger of the two treated us to a magnificent tail breach before they sounded and disappeared from sight. A cetacean hat trick enjoyed from the cockpit of my Boston Whaler--an unexpected treat.
The sea state steadily improved as we crossed the Soquel Canyon http://scienceblogs.com/deepseanews/upload/2007/05/ mbay_fierstein_crop_pp.jpg (Soquel Hole to Salmon fishers like me) and we picked up speed, now motoring with ease at 25-28 mph. The ever looming fog was lifting, and the day was getting warmer. The Santa Cruz coast was growing off our bow, and we would be in with a few hours to spare before we needed to pick the kids up from school. We spent an hour halfheartedly soaking some bait on a few of the inshore reefs, enjoyed a leisurely lunch, and basked in our remaining time aboard without the kids. Soon enough we headed for the barn, motoring past the jetties as the expected northwesterlies began to howl.
I hailed the harbor office and let them know I was back in port per my float plan, and we idled up the channel to Namequoit's berth. A great weekend of boating now drawing to a close, Nancy readied the fenders and dock lines as we pulled into our dock. We scurried around unloading the boat, organizing our gear and loading the truck, our trip now over and the business of unpacking and cleaning upon us.
Back in the harbor it was hot, and we soaked in the warmth as we hosed down the boat and tucked Namequoit under her mooring cover, another fall cruise complete.
This concludes the final installment, thanks for reading my trip log.
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