5.5 knots apparent wind and we are going 4.5… dead downwind… this will be so worth it…
This came in the mail today.
Caroline is a My Little Pony nut. India is too but she’ll never admit to it.
I’m glad ponies and dinghys don’t mix or Rover would have a friend:
Ryan is a morning person and I am not. Left to my own devices I would stay awake until 2AM and roll out of bed around 11AM. Ryan, on the other hand, is one of those people who is awake and ready to start the day at 6AM… every day. This made working out a watch schedule between the two of us pretty easy. He would go to bed around 8PM and I would stand watch until around 3:30AM. This worked pretty well between Santa Cruz and Morro Bay, so we decided to use this schedule as we proceeded south.
We rounded Point Conception shortly after sunset on the first night out of Morro Bay. The light pollution of Los Angeles was too far away to dampen the stars set out in a clear, moonless sky. I could see countless constellations twinkling as they wound their way through the Milky Way. A scattering of offshore oil rigs and my masthead were the only signs of artificial light. Ryan and I had just finished putting in reef in the main* when he told me to come look at our wake. It was glowing.
Behind us and below us was a glowing blue trail of bio-luminescence. As we glided through the water, we were disturbing the bio-luminescent phytoplankton causing them to glow. From bow to stern our waterline was lit up like ground effects. The sea was calm with one to two foot swells and the apparent wind was light behind us. I didn’t think it could get much better when in my peripheral vision I saw a streak of light through the water on our starboard beam.
I thought maybe it was just the swell hitting our beam at an odd angle. Then it happened again a little further off. The third time, I heard them breathe. Dolphins. I counted seven of them at one point. Each time they neared the surface they left a trail of bio-luminescence. Above me were the stars while dolphin comets surrounded me below.
I don’t have any pictures. I didn’t try to take any pictures. To photograph that moment would have required me to get out my nice gear, set up my low light lens and then, maybe, I might have captured a good image. The scene before me lasted a mere twenty minutes. It was magic.
We made a straight sail from Morro Bay to San Diego over 48 hours.
Our watches work like this.
- 8PM: I go to bed.
- 8P – 3:30AM: Caroline is a night owl so she stays up late on watch. (I think she likes this)
- 3:30A – Sometime around noon: Caroline wakes me up at 3:30, just 30 minutes earlier than my un-natural trained wake time of 4AM and I keep watch.
- Noonish-8PM: We both keep watch.
At night it is complete darkness. There is no light pollution. The Waponi Woo is the only thing creating light. We have red lights in the cockpit to see by and everything else is turned down as low as it will go. A few things happen at night that are a little odd:
- You cannot see the waves that are lifting the boat into the air and setting it down. This wave action gives you an odd feeling of being in an elevator or having ‘the hand of god’ lift you up and set you back down.
- You can hear the waves break but cannot see them. You quickly learn to accept that nature is really just going to do what it is going to do and you have zero input in the larger scheme of things.
- You can hear ‘fish’ jumping near the boat but you cannot see them.
- The fish are taking breaths… OH MY GOD DOLPHINS! (I do not advise spotlighting dolphins mid-jump with the 2Million candlepower light. They get pissy and run off.
The other thing you see in this part of the coast is bioluminescent algae. When it is disturbed it glows for quite a while. The result of our hull passing through it causes dual tracer wakes and a diamond pattern between the wakes behind us.
Our hull also glows like some souped up car on the strip. Overall it is pretty neat.
Our trip from Morro Bay to San Diego.
We had been hearing about all the fires in Southern California and I was really excited to possible see glowing hills on fire at Vandenberg AFB. Caroline woke me up around 11PM and very excitedly drug me out to see the base ON FIRE! I groggily looked at the fire and announced that the setting red Waning crescent moon was beautiful, but was not a fire.
I guess it was payback for a fire I called in many years ago at dusk that turned out to be a porch light across the valley. (Sorry Colin Wilson!)
At night On the second night Caroline woke me up as we were just East of Ventura, CA.
I came on watch and Caroline pointed out the crazy star-filled night sky. There is almost zero light pollution and every star just glows so bright. Caroline then told me the dolphins sneak up on the Waponi Woo… hang out for a bit leaping around the cockpit checking her out and then SHOOT OFF in random directions leaving what she calls dolphin comets.
I really think dolphins are like Cirque du Soleil clowns, awesomely talented – complete screwballs.