We have so much to catch you up on, so we figured the easiest way would be to share excerpts from log entries we've made in the past month or so, providing you with a quick life update and details from our trip to the Channel Islands. Currently, we are in Oxnard, CA waiting out weather to begin the trek back North to San Francisco Bay. In the meantime, we want to bring you all up to speed and share some of the highlights (and lowlights) of our island adventuring. ENJOY!
LOG ENTRY, SEPT 13:
First off, I know it’s been more than a while since we’ve released a new episode - we truly apologize! The fact is, when it comes to priorities, editing and releasing new videos falls below health, work commitments and cruising goals. To be fair, we have had a ton of exciting things happening which are the main reasons why we’ve been MIA on the YouTube front.
For starters, it took us a while to get back into the swing of real life after I (Sonya) got Covid mid July. Luckily I had a very mild case (thank you vaccine!) and no serious long lasting symptoms. It did take us a while to jump back into full-fledged work like we are normally so good at.
With time off to go to the Delta and then our time off with Covid, we had a lot of work related things to catch up on, but we were grateful for the time we had to rest and reflect - which brought me to the decision that it was time to quit my part time job at the Berkeley Marine Center boatyard. I’ve never been one to quit a job or commitment until I’m absolutely know that it has run its course and that I’m ready for something new, having plans somewhat set for my next money making endeavor. While soaking up the heat in the Delta, I realized that I had a knack for social media and I could potentially work remotely helping manage social media accounts for people or businesses. That being said, I knew from day one I would only succeed and enjoy my new business venture if I was truly interested in the accounts I was managing.
So, I came up with a couple of businesses in the marine industry (big surprise, that was the area that I felt drawn to) who were in desperate need of someone to maintain their online presence. Not only was I interested in working with yet another facet of the boating/sailing industry, there were a great deal of businesses doing great at their main job, but their social media was forgotten or nonexistent. I drafted up a handful of emails to some of these companies, with no set expectations. Luckily, I received an overwhelming response from most, expressing that they desperately needed someone like me, they just hadn’t realized it until I offered. In the span of one week, I had 4 new clients. It quickly became a whirlwind of figuring out all the logistics and formalities I needed to set up with each customer, all the while Jack was holding down the fort of our own marine business, keeping the income flowing and our clients tended to.
Somewhere within the whirlwind, we got a call from a fellow boatwork client and friend, Joe, asking if either of us were available to help deliver his boat from SF Bay to Blaine, WA. He was moving up there and his 3rd crew member had suddenly gotten cold feet just a couple weeks before his departure date. Jack and I chatted about the possibility, coming to the conclusion that with being gone so much in the past months that we couldn’t stand to have Jack put our boat business on hold yet again, although it was a tempting offer. I, on the other hand, had just quit my job at BMC and could possibly manage join on the delivery. The offer was especially tempting because it would be a perfect trial run of the same stretch of coast that Jack and I will be navigating next Summer when we go North to circumnavigate Vancouver Island. Joe estimated the trip would be roughly 10 days and after a couple of conversations with him outlining the details and logistics (as well as daily rate for my commitment) we were feeling good about having me join on the trip.
That same week, I accepted the offer to join as the 3rd crew member, all the while continuing to set up my newly created business. I won’t go into details about the trip right now, but it was a great trip overall. I did film a ton the whole way going North, so expect to see a video coming soon all about the 12 day long adventure at sea.
Before the offer to hop on to do this delivery came about, we had been planning (for months) to sail to the Channel Islands like we had the year before, as our reward for another year of working our butts off and accomplishing lofty goals. So, while I was on the delivery, Jack continued to kick butt tending to all of our clients, as well as setting up our employee whom we hired this year to help tackle the continuous monthly tasks for our clients. In his “free time” he made us new cockpit cushions and a new dinghy seat/bag for all of our dinghy adventures. He also spent countless hours researching, ordering and installing some new electronics upgrades including an IridiumGo satellite weather and communications unit, and a WeBoost cellphone service booster antenna. The trip to the islands would be the perfect shakedown cruise to try out all our new systems and see how feasible it is to work remotely while traveling and living at anchor.
When I returned, we went into over drive: prepping the boat, organizing our workload to hand over the reigns to Ana, our employee, and I spent lots of time getting ahead of the game with my new social media client work. Before we knew it, we were topping off fuel and water tanks, stocking up on provisions and untying the dock lines for a month long adventure.
LOG ENTRY, Sept 15:
We’ve arrived to our first island destination, Cuyler Harbor at San Miguel Island! The complete trip down the coast was 2 days almost on the dot, we had wind to sail for the first day and then motor-sailed the rest of the way South. We saw lots of whales along the way, and had 2 pods of dolphins come to visit us, playing in our bow wake. Gemini performed beautifully, as expected. We only had one minor breakage, the boom bang shackle exploded under too much shock load while we were sailing downwind. Of course, it happened at about 2 am which had us jumping out of the cockpit startled at the incredibly loud noise it made. It was a super easy fix, a simple Dyneema shackle worked like a charm!
Since our Channel Islands trip last year, we have completed tons of significant upgrades, including a roller furler jib, stack pack, dinghy/solar arch, satellite communication, radar and cellphone booster just to make a few. So far, we have been very happy with these upgrades and we look forward to continuing to get acquainted with the new systems as we explore the islands.
LOG ENTRY, Sept 16:
We had a great day and a half in Cuyler Harbor, resting up after our passage and taking in the beauty of the large protected cove. We lucked out the first evening and caught 4 fish - 2 rockfish and 2 ocean white fish and were able to share them with one of our anchorage neighbors, who had come by earlier and told us that they knew us from our YouTube channel! They were up in the area for a couple weeks from their home base in San Diego and they said they really appreciated watching last year’s Channel Islands videos in preparation for their visit. Meeting people like Shelly & Rodd makes all the work making videos worth it! We were happy to be able to share our ocean bounties with them.
We woke up this morning well rested and we had delicious oatmeal with tons of fruit and seeds with coffee, hanging out for a while in the cockpit. Once our bellies were full, we flew the drone to fully capture the beauty of the anchorage and its incredibly clear, blue waters. San Miguel Island is a haven for Elephant seals who come to the desolate beaches to mate and raise their young - they have claimed one corner of the cove as their own and their snorting noises can be heard from afar.
We paddled around and went to shore for a quick walk, before heading back to prep the boat to set off towards Santa Cruz Island. We tidied up, hoisting the dinghy onto the davits and bringing our new-to-us roll stabilizer back onboard and securing the spinnaker pole used to deploy it over the side. While we completed these tasks, we ran the watermaker for the second time EVER! We both had taken showers (thank goodness!) and had done enough dishes that we didn’t want our tanks to get low. It worked just as expected - it still feels like magic watching our water tank gauge go up, making water from the ocean!
Once ready to raise the anchor, we decided to practice sailing off the anchor since the wide, open cove was a perfect practice ground. We did so successfully and we enjoyed a super serene sail downwind towards Santa Cruz. We had 10-14kts most of the way before it calmed down as forecasted, leaving us to motor the rest of the way to make it to our next anchorage before sundown.
We had hoped to anchor at Cueva Valdez, one of the many anchorages on the North side of Santa Cruz Island, but when we arrived there were 2 boats in the tiny tucked in cove. One of the boats only had a bow anchor, which meant he was free to swing a full 360 degrees - thus taking up more than half of the cove. We tried to squeeze ourselves in but decided the prudent thing to do was to find a different anchorage. Our cruising guide mentioned a nearby spot called Hazards anchorage which was a good fair weather spot, but it was not marked on our charts. We set our bow and stern hook tucked into this little dugout with a tiny beach between rock faces. Once we were settled and taking in our surroundings, we realized that this was not the Hazards Anchorage mentioned, it was further on around the next corner. We had very benign weather forecasted for the night so we feel good about sticking with our newly named “Gemini Anchorage”, when we can scope out nearby spots and reassess where we want to go next. We made it here just in time for sunset and a quick drone flight to take in our surroundings!
The main reason for coming to this area of Santa Cruz Island is to be close to Painted Cave, a 150’ tall cave that is said to be an incredible sight to see, but it is only accessible by dinghy with no good anchorage right by it. We missed out on this famous cave last year so we really wanted to check it out this year. Tomorrow we will decide whether or not we stay here at this newly discovered anchorage or if we will move to another spot before taking a quick dinghy ride to see the cave.
THAT'S ALL, FOLKS!
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more log entries coming soon about the rest of our Channel Islands sailing adventures!
Want to know more about sailing the Channel Islands? We released a video series of our sailing trip to the islands last year, check them out here!