San Simeon was really pleasant. The anchorage was calm and there was so much going on there! So many birds, otters and dolphins enjoying their seafood buffet. On Tuesday morning we took the dinghy to the beach and walked around for a while – this is part of the Hearst San Simeon State Park and near the southern boundary of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Hearst Castle is perched up on the hillside and is lit up at night. Just lovely.
We left San Simeon at around 2:30 a.m. yesterday morning. I admit to being a morning person, but I don’t think this qualifies as morning! If you were a fly on the sail around 4 a.m. you would have seen us sharing oatmeal out of the pan, trying to eat it fast enough that it was still warm. It was a cold (so, so cold), wet time of day and we were very glad to see the sunrise. I am not going to sign up for any arctic adventures, the California coast is cold enough for me. On the positive side, the moon was making a pretty sheen on the water, Venus was very bright, we could see so many stars and there was even some phosphorescence in the water.
The travel up the coast is pretty much straight into the wind and swells, so I could get repetitive in describing that. I will say that the wind was light, which was good. There were a lot of swells and we bounced and rolled all day long, probably the most we’ve ever rolled (30 degrees at times). Our stowage of items was surely tested – things were crashing around down below all day. Amazingly, nothing was broken, but we will have to do better in the future.
While it was still dark we both noticed an odor a few times that I will describe as like a dumpster of rotting fish. Although we didn’t see or hear them at that time, this was probably the smell of whale’s exhalations. I hope whale’s find each others breath appealing for their sakes. Later in the day we had a few whale sightings. We saw (and smelled!) a pair of Grey whales surfacing right in front of us and we changed course to avoid them. We also saw a Humback whale slapping the water with it’s fin, and many whale spouts. There were also a few dolphins along the way, which is always fun. I wish I had better photos of the whales. They are really hard to capture, but I keep trying.
We arrived in Monterey around 6:30 p.m. and tied up at the municipal docks. It was a long, tiring day, but once we are tied up to the dock and we have our celebratory beer in hand, life is great!