Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Drake's Bay to Monterey and Carmel

Drake’s Bay 
Point Reyes Lighthouse

We left Bodega Bay at 9:30 am on September 28th, had the sails up by 10:30 am. and sailed most of the way to Drake’s Bay, 25 miles to the south.  Rounding Point Reyes is the Point Reyes Lighthouse perched way up on the rocky wall.

In the absence of haul-out rocks, every navigation buoy we’ve seen has been taken over by pinnipeds.  They are unaffected by the loud bells or horns intended as aids to mariners and bark like happy dogs as we go by. 

In 1579, Sir Francis Drake was the first European to visit the bay.  Some believe he spent five weeks in the protection of this bay repairing his ship.  The landscape in the bay looks like the prairies alongside the ocean and from the smell in the air, it’s clear that cattle ranching is nearby.  There are a few buildings in the bay but nothing that could be construed as a town.

The prairies meet the ocean

We stayed only the one night, and in the morning motored off at 7:00 am heading for Pillar Point Marina in Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay
Pillar Point Radar Base

On Pillar Point is the Pillar Point Air Force Station which is a minor, active-duty air force installation. It operates radar to track objects off the west coast.    I think they also communicate with extra-terrestrials on the weekends.

Funky House

 We anchored in the outer harbour and the next day dingyed in and walked along the beach and bike path that surrounds Half Moon Bay.  There was a cool breeze on the boat that disappeared once we were on land and we found ourselves somewhat overdressed.  Although we walked a few miles, we were nowhere near the end of the huge beach.  This interesting house was near the edge of town.

 Santa Cruz

Amusement Park at Santa Cruz
We left Half Moon Bay at 7:00 am on October 1st and motored to Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz was an overnight stop and we didn’t get off the boat.  We were anchored off of this Calaway-Park-like amusement park which, thankfully, shut down at around 8 pm.  The Santa Cruz Wharf offers seaside shopping, dining and recreation.  We gave it a miss.


Regatta at Monterey

We motored out of Santa Cruz the next morning with the intention refuelling in Monterey and anchoring off Pebble Beach that evening.  We left Santa Cruz early in the morning and arrived at Monterey at noon.  As we approached the Monterey harbour we could see a whole flotilla of small sailboats getting ready for a regatta.  

The breakwater at the end of the coast guard station is a seal and sea lion haul-out as is fenced off probably for people’s safety.  While modern cameras can record video and accompanying sound, the full experience should include the smell of this local attraction.

Cannery Row

 We arrived at the fuel dock right a noon and of course they close from 12 to one for lunch.  I made a quick grocery list and headed to the nearest store about a mile away and by the time I got back the boat had been refuelled and topped up with fresh water.   Cannery Row, originally the site of a sardine canning operation in the early 1900’s has now become upscale clothing stores, restaurants and art galleries.

Fishing boat off Monterey, CA

There were lots of fishing boats active in the bay just outside of Monterey.  The birds seemed to know that this one might have a meal for them.

Pebble Beach Golf Course

 Our intention was to go around the point and anchor off the Pebble Beach golf course but when we got there, we found it full of kelp.  We put up the headsail and sailed in so that we wouldn’t get the props tangled in kelp and were hoping that only the entrance held kelp but it was throughout the whole anchorage so we sailed out again and decided to go overnight to Morro Bay.

Just east of the golf course is Carmel which is beautiful, both the beach and the residential area. 

Carmel Beach

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