We snuck out of Monterey before first light on June 3rd. It was my first time leaving in the dark and it sure felt sneaky. We quietly motored out of the marina, past the old Monterey commercial pier with our navigation lights shining bright. I was on the bow of the boat, making sure our path was clear. Fishing boats headed out into the bay with us as the sun came up through the grey clouds. It wasn’t really a sunrise, more of a change from dark grey to lighter grey. But we had finally left Monterey, heading in the right direction.
The conditions were light on the water, we stayed about 3-5 miles offshore and motored due to the lack of wind. The coast was absolutely beautiful, even if it was still cold and cloudy.
And then, lo and behold, the clouds parted and the sun came out! We were so happy to feel the sun on our faces out on the water. We went to the net with the autopilot remote and drank it in. We even took off our coats! It was glorious.
A few hours outside of Morro Bay, we called the Yacht Club and asked if they had space for us for a few nights. Sure enough, they said we could stay on their side tie. So after a 14 hour passage and 102 nautical miles, we pulled into the Morro Bay channel, passed the big rock on the left and tied up at the Morro Bay Yacht Club. We had made it! It was our first real passage; we were exhausted and exhilarated all at the same time.
We looked up and saw two smiling faces waving hello and asking if we needed anything. Our very own welcoming committee! They came down to the boat and we met our first cruising friends and fellow sailors, Judi and Terry. We had such a nice time chatting with them, we saw them a couple more times for dinner while we were in town. We had a wonderful time with Judi and Terry and we look forward to more fun times in the future.
While we were docked at the yacht club, Damien was checking out a monohull on one of the mooring balls. He said, “You know what? That race boat looks like High 5.” We dinghied over to take a look and it was! High 5 is the boat that Damien first raced on and solidified his love of sailing. Without that racing experience, I think sailing might have become a passing interest for him. But he crewed on High 5 during the Rolex Big Boat Series in 2011 and that was it. The high intensity and possibility of catastrophe had him hooked. That year was especially bad for knockdowns; ambulances were rushing by me as I drove up to the yacht club to meet Damien and I’m thinking, “what the hell is this?” But for Damien, it was true love and in 2016, we raced with our own awesome crew on our own boat in the Big Boat Series.
We spent a week in Morro Bay, hanging out and exploring the town. Our friend Jason and his mom came to see us and enjoy the make your own burger night at the Morro Bay Yacht Club. We had a great time and met a lot of nice people. We headed to the free anchorage after 3 days at the yacht club’s dock. The anchorage was well protected with a beautiful view, a few quiet otters and some rambunctious sea lions for neighbors. Mainly, we just hung out, practiced being cruisers and watched the otters float by.