Our first day for this particular cruise brought us uneventfully from Redwood City to Richardson Bay. We anchored and hit the hay early, with apprehension as to what the great Pacific had in store for us.
Awaking the next morning, we had our coffee while admiring the cascade of fog enveloping Sausalito. It’s one of my favorite views in the Bay Area. Finishing our morning beverages, we started off, unable to avoid what was obviously going to be a rough passage.
I already covered how horrendous this first trip out of the Golden Gate was. (See the Buckets on Board post). Once we turned south, we were hoping the grey that had descended oppressively upon us would lift. Alas, a sunny, pleasant sail down the coast of the Golden State was not in our future.
We sailed on to Half Moon Bay and were greeted by a large, safe anchorage. As we saw it, we could burn a day exploring on land, or gain a day and maybe find some decent weather further south. The final decision was made: get a good night’s sleep and sail on!
After breakfast the next morning we started to pull up the anchor. Unfortunately, we had anchored in a kelp bed. A normally five minute job stretched to over half an hour.
The wind and waves were semi-cooperative on this day three, but our DDs were still plagued with seasickness. So far, this “vacation” was sorely lacking in anything remotely approaching fun.
That was when Daddy pointed out whales off our port side. Those who have little girls will understand without description the squealing, shrieks of happiness, and general mayhem that ensued. Even from our distance, these things were obviously huge and they put on a fabulous show. Though outside it was still horribly grey and cloudy, this experience lightened our mood and felt like the official start to our vacation.
We made it to Santa Cruz, anchoring in the dark. Unfortunately, we woke a sleeping pair of sea otters all tucked into their floating kelp bed. They didn’t seem bitter to share their magical location with us. What great little neighbors!
In the morning, we moved and anchored on the other side of the pier to give my youngest a view of her beloved Boardwalk. It’s basically a carnival. If you haven’t been, you should. Blue skies were still in short supply, but we decided to go adventuring anyway.
We took the dinghy over to the Santa Cruz marina, left it there in a dinghy dock with approval of the very kind Harbor Master, and hoofed the length and breadth of the beach town. It’s a little touristy for me, but still a fun little place to explore.
On our way back to the dinghy, the girls kindly asked if they could go fishing. We found a nearby bait shop and made the necessary purchases. That was a great incentive for them to walk quicker!
After getting back aboard Reverie, I started grilling an early dinner. “Dolphins!” I heard yelled on the starboard deck. I looked over, and there were certainly a number of dolphins swimming right next to our boat. As we watched, they started swimming in large circles. The circles became tighter and tighter, until the fish were actually flopping at the surface. Seabirds suddenly arrived enmass, picking off the poor fish at the top of the water, while periodically, one of the dolphins would zoom through the middle of the bait ball. What an exciting show!
That’s when we decided to do as the dolphins were doing and try our hand at some fishing. We’ve tried before but never been successful. This time was going to be different. I gave it a go first and very quickly caught my first fish! It was about a four inch long anchovy. I turned to my husband and ask “What do I do now?” The poor creature was flopping around while I received instructions on how to dehook the unfortunate fish. Eventually I was successful, but took to long. It sank into the water. Oh dear. I told the kids that it was in shock and will probably start swimming in a minute. I handed the pole to my youngest daughter.
No sooner did the hook land in the water than she was reeling in another fish. She proudly pulled it onto the boat and I dehooked it more gracefully than the previous go. Now it was my oldest daughter’s turn. She had to wait for a while. All of a sudden, she was reeling in not one, but TWO fish! I dehooked one, but couldn’t find the hook in the other one. Calling out to my husband, he took one look and informed me that it needed to be cut free. Ok, that just seemed mean to me. I tried harder to dehook the fish, but it had swallowed the hook. As soon as the blood started to show, the kids stared freaking out. Great, we were not doing well with catch and release. Finally deciding my efforts were futile, I cut the fish free and watched it sink into the water. Santa Cruz had been amazing, but we were looking for more adventure.