Know when to keep moving

We’ve been without reliable internet for a tad, so we’re a little behind our blog posts.  Bear with us – we’ll catch up.

Chris and Michelle: If you can read this, yes that is the inflatable kitty on deck.

When we left the Bay Area, the next logical anchorage was Half Moon Bay, which was about a day’s sail south.  It was foggy when we departed and it remained foggy all the way to Half Moon Bay.  We arrived during nighttime (9pm’ish?) and the fog was so thick that we had about 50 feet of visibility in front of us.  As this was our first time in this anchorage, we knew that we had to be on our game.

As you can see from the picture above,  there is a very small entrance into the breakwater.  On our charts it said that the breakwater would have a flashing red buoy to show the ends of the breakwater – so that is what we were looking for.  I was driving and Lauren B. was watching the charts and providing lookout through the fog.  As we neared the entrance, we knew we should be seeing the entrance light but did not see anything.  To add to the mix, we were now in breaking waves and I had quite a time handling the boat as we were getting thrown side to side.  Suddenly, Lauren B. shouted “Turn to starboard! Turn to starboard!”

I quickly turned the wheel hard to starboard and looked over my shoulder to our port side just in time to see that we would have run aground on the breakwater.  How?  The entrance light was out!  Luckily he was able to make out the breakwater rocks through the fog without the light to give me enough warning.

We avoided the rocks and thought we made it through the breakwater and into the harbor.  Next step was to find a place to drop anchor.  Heart attacks aside, we watched our GPS and headed towards where we thought the anchorage would be.  But we were still getting thrown around by breaking waves – which was very odd since we were supposed to be inside breakwater!  It was then that Lauren B. realized that our Garmin GPS was not showing it on the charts.  Oh man – here we were – first time in a new anchorage, pitch black, pea soup fog with 50 ft. visibility and our charts are not showing the breakwater right now.   We needed to get the heck out of dodge.

Lauren B. retrieved his IPhone which had  <$20 charting software on it called NavionicsLike a good little soldier, err…software, it’s charts actually had the breakwater on it so we could see where we were and how to avoid it going out.  Novel concept!

We were tired, but out of safety, we decided to go onto a watch schedule, sail through the night and head straight for Santa Cruz.  Sometimes you need to know when to keep moving.

“Dear Apple IPhone, I love you.  I know you love me too because you just saved my butt.  Yours, Lauren”



Categories: California Cruising, Cruising: Western US | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Know when to keep moving

  1. gordon sims

    holy toledo, glad y’all made it through that! yer shipmate, shackle

  2. gordon sims

    ps that radar can be pretty durn useful in the soup! shackle again….


    I’m amazed at your skill and knowledge – my body would be lying battered on the rocks! Bon Chance!

  4. kevin

    lauren –

    this is super last minute

    but i am in san diego –
    checking out marinas

    in case i get a job here

    which one are you at?

    i am around this weekend

    call me – 206 790 3211

    kevin curran

  5. Sam

    Glad it all ended well. Your story brought my stomach to my ears, like a few near misses of my own. I also just found AIS on my phone. Now that’s cool too!

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