After receiving our mail and visiting with Dan’s cousin Lori, we made ready to depart Half Moon Bay on Saturday morning bound for Monterey. Light west winds were forecast, with 7-8 ft west swells which were being generated from a storm in the Gulf of Alaska. We motored out to the harbor entrance in light fog, and made our way out from the breakwater, where we were immediately hit with huge west swells which rocked us gunnel to gunnel. We broke a few plates – plastic plates, and decided then that it was not a good day to leave after all. After we got re-anchored and the fog cleared, we noticed all the cars parked along the highway. A quick look with the binoculars confirmed they were surfers here for the big swells. Apparently Half Moon Bay is home to the Mavericks, a surf break renowned for big swells. Who knew? Three days later we motored out in glassy, flat seas and proceeded south.
It was only 45 miles to Santa Cruz, any easy day hop. We arrived at Santa Cruz and dropped the hook next the pier just time to enjoy a nice sunset and a glass of wine.
We woke early after a restless night and got under way early. Always a little disconcerting to hear breakers on the shore not to mention the constant swell which enters the anchorage. Another motorboat ride, but the monotony was broken by the appearance of fish no. 3, a nice little bonito (tuna).
Got to Monterey around noon and took a slip at the public marina. We learned our lesson last time we were here when we spent 10 days anchored outside in the bay. That’s when we coined the phrase “plate chaser” to describe a bad anchorage. This means that you literally need to hold on to your plate to keep it from sliding off the table due to the motion. Monterey is very nice – I could live here. Folks are friendly, the weather is awesome, and I can clearly see the bottom in our slip where the water is 16 ft deep. Too bad there is a 15 YEAR WAITING LIST for a slip! Marina staff are friendly and helpful, and everything a cruiser needs is near – Costco, Trader Joe’s and West Marine. We were pretty excited to find eggs for only $2.69 a dozen at TJ’s after paying $5.00 for medium eggs (not even organic free-range!) at Safeway in Half Moon Bay. Oh, and the cruiser favorite, Charles Shaw wine is only $2.49 here!
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a world class facility, however I think the Oregon Coast Aquarium is just as nice – although they don’t have the giant clam…
We also took a stroll along the self-guided walking tour of the Path of History. Monterey has a large number of historic buildings dating back to Spanish colonial days. Under Spanish rule, Monterey was the capital of Alta California. In 1822 Mexico gained independence from Spain, and Monterey remained an important trading center. In 1846 the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ceded California and other Mexican territories to the US.
Looks like we will head south again Tuesday – provided Monday’s repair goes well. We noticed the raw water pump was leaking, and Dan was going to put the rebuild kit in it, but once he got it out he noticed the shaft was pitted – probably why it leaked. It is after all over 30 years old – probably better to replace it now while parts can be easily obtained.