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Sunday - Cat Harbor & Isthmus Cove Mon - to Oxnard

Sunday - A good mix of relaxation and some useful boat work ... !

Morning was sunny in Isthmus Cove. Went with Harbor Master Jeff's daughter Hayley in the 'shore boat' (a.k.a. 'water-taxi'!) to have breakfast (a burrito!), followed by a walk over to Cat Hbr where I climbed up to a high viewpoint overlooking the entrance, from where I could also see over to San Clemente Island on the S. horizon.

Cactus flowers were in bloom but the wind blowing N over the high peaks on the island caused cloud to form there which hid the sun and made the air cool. I heard that it was quite usual for Cat Hbr to be overcast when Isthmus Cove is in sun. Buffalo and foxes were introduced here a long time ago - the buffalo mainly stay on the wild high ground but occasionally wander down this way.

I finished half the burrito for lunch in sunny Isthmus Cove - busy with lots of hikers and campers, just arrived on the midday ferry from L.A.. This is a popular destination or people wanting to get away from the busy city into the remote, wild mountain areas of Catalina.

Back to the boat - to check on the old wind transducer - dead! - and try to find the grub screw I'd been told must have come loose on the Hydrovane windsteering mechanism - sure enough, there it was ...A simple, quick fix with Loctite being used on the grub screw before re-inserting it and tightening up. No Loctite was seen on the grub screw so, presumably, that's why it had come loose and allowed the pin it was holding in place to come loose also.

By now, a S. wind was blowing strongly (around 15kt) in the Cove - Jeff told me that it was usual in the summer afternoons and fanned out over the cove to give different wind directions depending where you were. Being tied fore and aft in the mooring field, it felt odd for the bow not to be facing into the wind.

The busy mooring field became a lot less so, as boats returned to the mainland after a weekend away.

No good sunset - the sun was partly hidden in the low cloud layer that was forming as the temperature dropped towards evening.


Up early to let go the mooring lines and make for the mainland, planning to arrive in Oxnard around 5 pm.

Flat calm, overcast, cold... the usual California coast morning weather...! I raised the mainsail in the remote hope I might get a chance to use it - but knew that was unlikely...

We motored NW, diverting to make a quick passage across the Traffic Separation System leading SE towards and past L.A.

Just before we did that, I got excited thinking I could see some whale flukes astern - went over that way - a small group of dolphins were leaping as they headed SW... Oh well!

There had been a warning put out on VHF 16 by the Coast Guard that some Blue/Fin (?) Whales had been spotted in the Santa Barbara Channel, just north of the Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Islands. They requested ships in the area to reduce speed to 10 knots. (We usually make 6 knots maximum!) I'll be passing that way on Wed, so maybe I'll see them if they're still around, as could be possible - they are known to stay in that area.

Looks as though we should make Oxnard before 5pm - it's now (1.30pm) only 17 miles away. Still only 2-5 knots of S wind...smooth sea.... Murky conditions and poor visibility (radar on) all day long - ugh!

Written by : Jeanne Socrates