September 10, 2006

Leaving Morro Bay

Hi everyone!

We've had a relaxed 10 days, getting back in the swing of cruising, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Heading to the sunshine.

It's really great that we have so much less stress than our first time down the coast. We're enjoying this a lot more and worrying a lot less.

We also posted some pictures of the start of our cruise at http://raptordance.com

If you've been following along with our position reports via the "Position Reporter" link on our website or directly at
http://www.winlink.org/positions/PosReportsDetail.aspx?callsign=WB6JAO You'll see that we've been progressing down the coast and are now in Morro Bay. Our latest position is the blue balloon. Be sure to click on it then zoom in with the "+" button and click the "Satellite" button for a view from space.

We Anchored in Half Moon Bay until Labor Day, the 4th, which was also our 8th wedding anniversary. Over the weekend we were joined by Jim and Sheila Goetsch on the Valiant 42 "Aurora" and Ed and Cornelia Gould on the Valiant 42 "A Cappella". Our friends Kim and Trish Casey on "Cheers" anchored not far away. We all had a lovely dinner Friday night at the local brew pub before things started getting crazy on Saturday.

It was an interesting sight with 3 Valiants rafted in a row. At one point a lady started taking lots of pictures of our boats. It turns out that she was from Scanmar - the company that makes Monitor wind vanes. Since all three of us have them it was an interesting picture. I'm sure we'll probably end up in one of their brochures in the future.

Saturday, was a literal boat parade with the majority of the boats arriving. There were literally hundreds of boats moored in Half Moon Bay, with 5 yacht clubs having major parties, BBQs, Pot Lucks, etc. Everyone had a great time.

We've started meeting many more cruising couples heading down the Mexico. Many will also be doing the Baja Ha-ha rally see http://www.baja-haha.com/ We'll talk more about some of the folks we meet along the way as we spend more time with them.

After most folks left on the 8th, we pulled into a slip in the Marina. Bruce Bongar, Karen Friday - of "Berkut" the Waterline 46 and Gordon and Vlasta Hanson of the Valiant 40 "Far Country" joined us for a great fish lunch in Princeton Seafood right in the Marina.

We left Half Moon Bay on Tuesday, the 5th at 630 AM on the 63 nautical mile trip to Monterey. It was totally uneventful, with little or no wind until we started crossing Monterey Bay. Then we benefited from a 15 knot tailwind that sped us along. We arrived in Monterey around 300 PM, in time for the Tuesday farmers' market.

On Wednesday, we re-visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This is one of the best aquaria in the world. They have a new juvenile Great White Shark in their open ocean tank. The only one in captivity. see http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/

On Thursday, we hiked up the hill to the Whole Foods and cleaned them out of Scharffen Berger 70% Cocoa Chocolate see http://www.scharffenberger.com/ This is our favorite and we now have a good stash in our chocolate locker. After lunching at Abalonetti Seafood Trattoria we retired to the boat to tidy up and retire early for the next leg of our trip.

We got up at midnight, Friday morning Sept 8th and left at 1220 PM on our 104 nautical mile leg to Morro Bay. It was a little lumpy with light winds until we passed Pt. Sur, then the seas calmed with just a 6 foot swell. As usual, what little wind we had was on the nose until we rounded Point Piedras Blancas, then the wind shifted to a close reach. We arrived in Morro Bay at 4 PM and tied up at the Morro Bay Yacht Club.

When we arrived, the dock was full, so we were asked to raft up to another boat. The owner of the boat stuck here head out of the hatch and said "They can't raft here" with a gleam in her eye. It turned out that we rafted next to Sarah and Daryl Erickson - our ex-neighbors from 2004 in Paradise Village in Alameda!

Since the club was having races on Saturday and Sunday and they have a small dock, we had to move to a mooring on Saturday morning.

That night we dined at the home of our friends John and Kay Semon of the Beneteau 473 "Semonship", who we met and befriended on the 2004 Ha-ha. We had a lovely dinner of BBQed Salmon. On Saturday, they joined us on Raptor Dance for a dinner of Roasted Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin and our first game of "Mexican Train" dominoes on this cruise.

Here in Morro Bay we also met the folks on the Peterson 46 "Liberty" Carl and Yvette Nichols and their sons Joel 12 and Kyle 11. They're from Friday Harbor, WA. They're going to join us today for a BBQ lunch on Raptor Dance along with Chris and Robyn Parker from the Island Packet 35 "Robyn's Nest".

Carl and Yvette were kind enough to let us use their dingy, so we didn't have to get ours out. After the BBQ, we'll wind down and get ready to leave again at midnight tonight (Monday morning, Sept 11th) for Santa Barbara.

You may recall that in 2004, we were dreading this section of the coast as our next leg takes us around Point Conception, "The Cape Horn of the Pacific Coast". It turns out that there are lot's of "Cape Horn's of ""X""" around. Just like the rapids in the Northwest - with due diligence and care, proper planning and due respect given to the weather, these rounding can delightfully boring. Our Valiant is a sea worthy boat that is capable of handling almost anything, so with our cautious nature, we have much less concern than in 2004.

That's the news from Raptor Dance!

Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary

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