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Santa Cruz

Monday 11th November 2013

Up to have breakfast in the open air in company at Aldo's (with Suzy, John, Brian), before heading over to the fuel dock with Brian for some circling around, while waiting to tie up and top up with diesel - lots more motoring is likely in the light winds expected during the 2-day passage to Marina del Rey - in between Santa Monica and Los Angeles.

It's been a busy 3-day stay in Santa Cruz with at least one good job done - I finally fixed the rod-kicker/vang firmly in place onto the boom with three machine-screws on Saturday - two were completely missing and the third had come completely loose, so the mainsheet was just holding down the boom, whose end was rather high. A nearby boater kindly helped pull out the split pin and knock out the clevis pin holding the kicker connection onto the boom and the rest was straightforward.

That was done in between lots of visitors - it's been delightful to have had so many people coming by when they realized I was tied up in the harbour - some had read of my travels in 'Latitude 38', others via my website logs, but all were friendly and it was lovely of them to take the time to stop by to welcome me to Santa Cruz. Brian Beers and his wife Louisa have been great - as well as dining together, laundry was dealt with and wholesome soups and snacks, as well as a big bag of 'long-term goodies', were left with me - I'm going to have to ration my intake if my waist is to remain intact!

It was great to watch some of the local Junior sailors rig up their Lasers before going out on Sunday in light airs.... to be among pelicans, gulls and sealions in a feeding frenzy inside and outside the harbour entance, where a large shoal of anchovies have been present for quite some time - and are being fed on by whales as well. (I kept hearing that two whales, at least, were just off the breakwater nearby, but missed seeing them.) Big 'aerators' have been installed in the river to try to prevent a recurrence of the recent mass 'die-off' of the anchovies - there were so many of them in the water, they were starved of oxygen.

Ham friends came by both to chat and to help ... We all had lunch and Jim, K9YC, came back two days later and spent quite a time with a view to reducing RF noise on the radio using big ferrites - I'd had to empty out the aft cabin (again ..... no mean feat!) to access wiring and was able to add a 'noise silencer' to the coax lead at the tuner. I later had help from Ray Millard, with his sailing grand-daughter Lilly and family, who'd driven over to visit from Monterey, with putting the cabin back together so I could sleep there Sunday night....

Suzy C. came by and took me out to the 'surfing hotspot' (calm sea, NO surf ...!) close to the green O'Neill house overlooking the sea, after we'd first walked out to the light-house to watch the dive-bombing pelicans, excited terns and gulls and the well-organized sealions working the anchovies in groups - a good photo-opportunity! I chatted to cruisers on two visiting boats - sturdy aluminium 'Perpetua' from Bellingham is headed S (I tried to help them with their radio/emailing set-up) and wooden 'Morning Star' was headed N, back home to Alameda - they were lucky to have light S winds to help that passage yesterday.

Very many thanks to everyone (including Greg at SCYC), especially Brian & Jim. I enjoyed my stay and would have liked to have stayed a bit longer.

As I've been writing this, darkness has been falling and we've just rounded Point Sur,with its light-house flashing a bright white light every 1 in 15 seconds on a coast otherwise almost devoid of lights. I had a short sleep earlier and have set the radar on alarm, as well as the usual AIS. But I'll still have to grab just very short naps overnight- we're not offshore enough to do anything else. The wind is light northerly, our course is SSE and we're having to motor to maintain 5kt with mainsail set, but doing very little.

Written by : Jeanne Socrates

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