There’s nothing quite like a sunrise after an overnight passage. The seas are remarkably calm and peaceful; it’s difficult to not get a sense of ease at being one with the ocean. It’s 6am on our passage from Morro Bay around Point Arguello and Point Conception, a 20-hour 110 mile voyage known for rough seas as a last farewell to the torrential Northern California waters. But if you time it just right, waiting for that perfect weather window (there is rarely a forecast for Point Conception with less than 20 knots of wind) and time it perfectly to be rounding Point Arguello around midnight when the wind calms and waves relax, it can be glass as it was for us. We have been motoring since 11pm which means we planned just right! And now my morning shift involves a thermos of hot Tevana tea and a gorgeous sunrise over the Santa Barbara Mountains. There is no way to capture the beautiful silhouette, orange skies, dimming city lights, and thin outline of the nearby Santa Cruz Island in a picture. The seas even smell different than a night before. It’s as if the southern California dew has its own thermostat, warming the salt and seaweed to welcome Ellie to forever humid climates. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m so happy to finally push on toward lower latitudes.
I started a log for our passages which I fill in every hour (or when I remember) which can be quite tedious. But overall it’s good practice in case your instruments for some reason stop working, you have your coordinates and can use good’ol paper charts. Lewis only loves this chore because he sees the latitude degrees tick down as we near the tropics. There’s something to say about the cold and how much more complicated it makes some things on the boat. For example, a heater requires a generator, which requires gas and breaks the peace in an anchorage to run the loud motor, so does the water heater and blow dryer. Also, nothing dries EVER including your fowlies (fowl weather gear) so it’s freezing to get dressed to go into the freezing cockpit. On the other hand, the water and air is unbelievably clear (when there’s no fog), and the beer is always cold since the fridge doesn’t have to work hard! Lewis and I make a little fun out of it and put on Christmas music while drinking hot apple tea the second night we were anchored in Half Moon Bay. Either way, in cold weather or warmer climates, it’s easy to make Ellie feel like home. Here’s to you, Ellie, keeping us safe, warm and giving us a home, even around Point Conception.