The Swell Will Die Down, To Morro

We left Monterey at 6:30pm Monday night, for our first overnight passage. The sun was setting as we motored by Cannery Row and the aquarium, and I was sorry to be leaving so soon. But Capn Bligh had made the call: we were headed for Morro Bay! I made a thermos of cocoa and was tempted to spike it with bourbon, but the last thing I need is Koiya slurping down my precious Woodford Reserve!

There was hardly any wind, so we motored. I took the helm and Todd and Koiya went below to watch an episode of Hornblower. After an hour or so, Capn Lager poked his head up to see how things were going. He had a beer in his hand! It was just like being back at home.

The waxing moon set early, and the sky was filled with stars. Our wake created bioluminesence, the sea glowing around us. It was so romantic that I left Todd on watch and headed below for some sleep.

The boat rolled in the swell, but I snuggled in to the lee cloth with my trusty sleeping bag and soon fell asleep. The wind picked up from directly behind us, and Todd flew the jib and killed the motor. At around 2:30am I woke and headed up to take my watch. The wind was increasing, so Todd decided to bring in the jib. Just as he did, a strong gust blew from the north east, and backed the jib! We got everything under control quickly, but Todd was worried about the increasing wind and swells, and my ability to steer the boat downwind in those conditions. He sat around in the cockpit for a while, then went below to lie down, but never really got any sleep.

Once Capn Worrywart was out of my way, I got into the rhythm and enjoyed my time at the helm. Steering was challenging enough to be interesting, but not so difficult as to feel dangerous. I was surprised when Todd came up and told me it was almost 6am; the time had flown by!

A little after 6am, I went below again for more sleep. When I awoke a little after 8am, I really wanted to stay in bed. I drifted back to sleep for a bit, but the boat was really rocking. “Hey, hold it steady!” I yelled. “Don’t you know I’m trying to sleep down here!” I made a mental note: next time, book passage on one of those big ass Carnival ships; I bet those people sleep like babies!

Well, the rocking continued, so I realized I would have to go above to yell at Todd to his face. I was met with a truly sorry sight. Poor Todd was clinging to the helm, drowsily watching the wind vane at the top of the mast, mumbling, “I’m fine honey, you get some sleep… I can stay up for 36 hours, no problem.” The wind was dying, and we were doing only about 3.5 kt, which made for a very rolly ride. No wonder I couldn’t sleep! Someone was in for a serious tongue lashing!

“For gods’ sakes!” I shouted, “Start the motor and douse the jib! Then go below and get some sleep! I don’t want to see you up here!” The yelling wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped; it’s no fun when the recipient is incoherent.

Todd went below, and Koiya and I motored along for a bit, before she decided to go back to bed too. Right after she went below, I saw a sunfish; much smaller than those in the aquarium, but I was still thrilled! I yelled to Koiya but she couldn’t hear me over the motor. What could be cooler than seeing a sunfish in the open ocean? I congratulated myself, and couldn’t wait to gloat to the losers who missed it.

Capn Ambien came back up around 10:30am, and wow, what a difference! He was a man reborn, bright-eyed and ready to go! I was so relieved to have the old Todd back, and quickly started in, complaining about how I was hungry, didn’t have any sunscreen on, and badly needed to pee.

As we approached Morro Bay, Koiya was oddly uninterested in riding the bowsprit, and I was fooling with the GPS, when Todd yelled “Oh my god!” I looked up in time to see a huge splash. Koiya was standing right next to me, so it couldn’t have been a Koiya Bomb. A humpback had whale breeched right in front of us, and Todd saw the whole thing! We saw spouts nearby, so I changed course to avoid them. We saw them surface and spout a couple more times.

Then, as we entered the channel into Morro Bay, I saw dolphins on our port side. “Koiya, dolphins!” I yelled. She was on the bowsprit within seconds, and got to see a bottlenose dolphin ride our bow wave! I was really happy. I would have felt a little bad complaining when Koiya had seen neither the sunfish nor the humpback; now that my sunfish was the least cool thing, I was free to bitch openly!

Anyone ever heard of Morro Bay? We knew nothing about the place until we arrived here Tuesday, but it is a great little seaside town near San Luis Obispo. We’re tied up at the Morro Bay Yacht Club, for a mere $20/night. The bathrooms are spotless, the wireless is smokin’, and we’re in easy walking distance to many restaurants and cafes. Todd keeps telling me the swell is too big or the winds are too strong for us to leave, but I’m starting to get suspicious, as a number of boats have come and gone.

Wednesday, we took the local bus to Hearst Castle up in San Simeon, so we got to see a couple of small towns on the way up, and tour the “castle”. We all agreed that if we could add one of the rooms to our house on Douglass Street, we’d take the indoor swimming pool.

Yesterday Koiya and I inflated our kayak and went for a paddle in the estuary, while Todd did man’s work: he stayed home and sewed. Then we had a great Thai food lunch and went for a walk to Morro Rock. Koiya commented that she’s getting used to seeing sea lions and cormorants every day, but she still cooed over the six sea otters napping in the kelp.

For dinner, I made split pea soup in my pressure cooker, to go with the rice from my solar cooker. After dinner, we enjoyed a visit from Barrie, a Canadian who is cruising with his wife Sandra in a boat similarly-built to ours. You can tell Barrie is a true cruiser, because he showed up with his own pepsi, rum, and glass! Koiya was a little disappointed that she didn’t get to impress him with her considerable bartending skills, which are really coming along due to Todd’s contribution to her homeschooling curriculum.

And, since Todd tells me there could be a gale offshore, it looks like we’ll be spending another day here. I was going to push Capn Big Girl Panties to take us further south, but then I read Marcus’ warning to never leave port on a Friday. So.. Koiya is reading in her berth, Todd is making me a coffee, and I’m off to cut my toenails. Morro Bay rules!

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5 Responses to “The Swell Will Die Down, To Morro”

  1. Ross says:

    Capn Manly was sewing???
    *raises fist in air*

  2. Clas, Ulla & Raisin says:

    Hey what a great way to get to SOB. We been there and it’s a great town.
    We love to read about what you are up to. Tell that girly man Captn of your to put on the joke strap and take off the thong.

  3. Hannah says:

    I bet mom & Paul’s boat isn’t rocking too much…but then again, I doubt they’re seeing whales on the Danube! Catching any good opera?

  4. LARRY & TRISH says:


    Attention ‘Officers and Crew of the SUGATA,
    Ahoy maties.
    Slober me timbers, but we landlubbers surely enjoy reading your on-line ships log. Sounds like the crew is melding into one well oiled machine.
    Keep up the fine display of seaman and seawoman ship. Hope you continue to experience the wild life on the ‘high’ seas.
    Oh’ to be so young and sprited…continuied smooth sailing.
    Landlocked in Kentucky were the Woodford Reserve flows in great rivers.
    Love, Larry and Trish

  5. Marcus Anderson ex-Restless says:

    Hunger and need to pee during a watch are no good. When you are motoring it is one thing but if the sea is up you need to have systems in place to take care of these needs as your watch passes. We tried to make sure that the on-watch person had something quick to grab if the hungries hit.
    Tell Todd to take off his girly thong and cinch things up and get out an play in the waves. Restless will take it. Err sorry Sugata will take it.