Once again I find myself behind in writing and updating you all on what’s been going on aboard Dakota. And so much has happened since we left Avila Beach! We spent nearly a week in Santa Barbara – not necessarily by design, but happy to have the respite as it was sorely needed….
Passage down to Santa Barbara
We arrived in Santa Barbara about 9pm September 30 after a 12-hour sail/motor from Avila. This was the passage we had been preparing for since we left our home point– watching the weather and hoping for the best possible weather window to round Point Conception (a finicky and can-be treacherous point northwest of Santa Barbara) and making sure we had sufficient provisions and had prepared ourselves to stop short of our Santa Barbara arrival should conditions dictate. Luckily, despite the low dense local fog we encountered outside of Avila Beach (it took a couple hours, but we finally got some sun poking through the fog), we had the perfect weather for making our way, officially, into Southern California. The winds were light, but enough to sail a good portion of the way, and the passage around Point Conception seemed that it would be uneventful. Nonetheless, we preemptively touched base with the Coast Guard to make sure there wasn’t any military activity we needed to know about (there is an active missile range a few miles down the coast from Point Conception)… phew! Nothing that day.
Surprised by the lack of any apparent danger, as we neared the Point, I turned to hubby and asked “Is this it?” In all the books and blogs I had read about this, the war stories and horror stories of boats thrashing into rocks, the sudden change in winds and unpredictability of Point Conception that could force even seasoned sailors to wash up in pieces on the shore, in my mind’s eye, the Point loomed dark as the devil. But, at least on our passage, it was serene and lovely, with only a simple lighthouse on a jutted little point to mark the spot, and we sailed by easily.
Woo hoo!! We had made it, officially, to Southern California! And true to other sailor’s reports, we started feeling those warmer winds right away. Sweet!
The rest of the sail/motor to Santa Barbara continued on peacefully. We saw a HUGE pod of dolphins and then a big pod (we counted at least 5-6) of humpback whales, an amazing experience for all aboard. By nightfall, Dakota’s crew was a little weary and glad for a strong California current and good winds that had given us a little boost in getting to Santa Barbara quicker.