Posted by: Sailing Camelot | September 17, 2010

Santa Cruz Island & Channel Island Harbor

Anacapa Island

On Monday morning, 9-13-10, we sailed from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the North Channel Islands. We sailed around to the south side the Island, passing Anacapa Island and anchored over night in Smuggler’s Cove. The next day we motored around the north end of the island and anchored in Pelican Bay, a favorite spot of the locals. On Thursday, 9-16-10, we pulled the anchor and motored to the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard, CA, where we plan to stay until Saturday. The weather in Southern California has been unusually cool all summer.  As a result the ocean water is cold and we can’t swim without wet suits. Currently, it is cloudy and in the low 60’s through next week. Saturday we head out for Marina Del Rey, Redondo Beach (King Harbor) and Santa Catalina Island. For more details see below:

Camelot at Smuggler's Cove

On Monday, at 9:30 am we left Santa Barbara harbor and motor sailed south towards Santa Cruz Island. After about one hour the wind filled in and we began to sail. The wind increased and we were making between 7-8 knots for the duration of the trip. At 2:30 pm, we arrived in Smuggler’s Cove and anchored in about 45 feet of water.

Smuggler's Cove

 This is a large anchorage with beautiful views of the south side of Santa Cruz. The weather was beautiful, light wind and warm sun. Just above the harbor were a large grove of olive trees and another grove of eucalyptus trees. We had a nice dinghy ride along the western coast. On our return, we realized that we could see Camelot’s bottom and keel. We did a check around the water line and discovered that the whale that violated Camelot in Monterey Bay left some battle scars.

Camelot's Battle Scares

There is a scratch from the boot stripe running down about two feet into the bottom paint. There is also a chip in the top sides about amidships. It looks like the barnacles on the whale did the damage, since the scratches are thin. I think it makes Camelot look kind of cool, but Lori is ready to buy a harpoon gun.

On Tuesday, we weighed anchor at 9:30 am and motored around the east end of the island. The wind was already

 about 15-17 knots and straight on our nose. Soon we rounded the northern end of the island and we were able to sail for several hours towards Pelican Harbor.

Dolphins swimming with Camelot

Along the way the dolphins began playing around our bow. At 2:30 pm we arrived at Pelican Bay. This is a favorite anchorage of the locals and I can see why. The cove has 100’ cliffs on the north and south side providing a great shelter from the Northwest and Westerly winds. We anchored in 60 feet of clear blue water with a sand bottom. We used our stern anchor for the first time and it held well.

Pelican Bay

The weather was even better here with no wind and nice warm sun. There were six other boats in the cove the first night, including another sailboat we had previously met at Smuggler’s, a Jeanneau named Pura Vida. That evening their crew -Mike, Brian and George-, came over for a chat and drinks.

On Wednesday, we took the dinghy out early and went over to Prisoner’s Harbor, the main point of entry to the island. The water there was so clear we could see the bottom

North coast Santa Cruz Is.

Caves along Santa Cruz Island

and looked for local nurse sharks and rays that frequent the area. This side of the island is weather beaten and the rocks have many caves and beautiful formations. By noon the wind was up and we returned to our boat for a relaxing day of doing nothing. This was another beautiful day of sun and light winds. We hosted some of the other boaters from Long Beach Yacht Club that evening.

Camelot at the Pacific Corinthian Yacht CLub

On Thursday, we woke to thick fog and decided to head out to Channel Islands Harbor. We got the anchors up with no problems and began motoring east at 9:30 am. Visibility was poor, down to ¼ mile at times. We saw radar targets several times pass us within ¾ mile and never saw or heard them. Along the way we were frequently visited by dolphins, who would dance around the bow to Lori’s great enjoyment. She gets as excited as a child every time she spots dolphins! About 12 miles into the trip, the fog finally lifted, but the marine layer was stubborn and the sun never came out. We got a little sailing in, but the wind died after about twenty minutes. At 1:30, we arrived at the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club. They have a large guest dock and even sent someone out to help us tie up. We felt really welcome here. The Club House is beautiful and the people are great.

The weather reports call for more clouds and cooler weather for the next couple of days. Saturday we will head for Marina Del Rey and then on to King Harbor in Redondo Beach.  In the meantime, we’ll take in our surroundings and explore the neighborhood. Lori is compiling the never ending list of groceries, and is hell-bent on visiting the closest shopping mall. Dutiful husband that I am, I’ll escort her in her errands.

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