We picked up papers once ashore telling us of where to hike and where not to and set off up the road to see what we could see from the hills(pictures later). The water was a beautiful shade of blue from on high. The boat that brings hikers showed up and let off a group to take pictures and see the sights. We headed back for Zephyr to shut off our Honda generator before taking off for Potato Cove several miles to the east. Once back aboard Zephyr, the weather and winds changed in just a matter of minutes from lovely to cloudy and 15-20 knots of wind. We decided(wisely) to stay right where we were as the wind continued to build through the afternoon.
About 1600, I turned on the VHF radio for a weather update from the National Weather Service and found that a Santa Ana wind was beginning to built over the mainland and was expected to hit the Santa Barbara coast and the islands later that night and through out Wednesday and into Thursday. Just before this, another sailboat showed up and dropped his anchor. Actually, he dropped two of them and snugged them into the bottom. He then took off in a kayak to visit the island. Hearing that big winds were coming, we dug out our back up anchor(same as our normal anchor)from down in the bilge. We stored lots of bottles of wine around it(with bubble wrap for protection of course-never waste wine silly)so it took a while to get it out and put together as we stow it in parts for easier storage.
Next, we dug out the spare anchor line in the bow locker as well as the extra chain from beside the engine(where previous owner Bill had stowed it) and started getting ready to take it out in the dingy for deployment. Only problem was that we couldn't find a shackle that fit over the end of the anchor to attach to chain to. I finally "jury rigged" an attachment and I was set to take it out and drop it over the side of our dingy. Tracy handed me each piece of the gear down the stern ladder and fed me the line from the bow so I could attach it to the chain after pulling Puff around to the front. Once that was done, I took off in Puff and once at the end of the anchor line, dropped it over the side. Tracy pulled in on the end of the line till the line went firm and we were set.
Once back on board, we rechecked the forecast and found that they were now expecting gusts of up to 50 miles per hour by midnight with more scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. It was going to be a long night. Oh, I forgot to add in that they were also talking about the tsunami that was due to hit the Santa Barbara coast shortly after 2100. This was the remnants of the tsunami that hit the Samoa Island chain earlier in the day. So here we are, in this beautiful harbor with gust of 50 miles per hour expected and the NOAA was throwing in swells of unknown height from a tsunami at the same time. We were just waiting for the forecast for locusts, plagues, and dust storms to announced. Wherever we go, strange weather is sure to follow.
By 2100, the winds were up in the mid 20 knot range but no tsunami swells other than those the wind was creating were felt throughout the rest of the evening. It was a Y2K event all over again. We listened on the AM radio as announcers were interviewing folks down on the beach as to what they were expecting. As it turns out, nothing. We on the other hand were about to experience a long night in the cockpit. With the big winds still to come, I turned on a alarm that is built into our Garmin GPS to tell me if Zephyr changes her position. I can set the distance so simply swinging at anchor won't set it off. With the alarm set at 100 feet, I settled in for the night. About 2200, man on the only other boat in the anchorage(the one that dropped two anchors) came on deck to check his position with a flashlight and went below for a good night sleep. Tracy went below for a restless night of trying to sleep and I stayed in the cockpit just waiting for the alarm to go off. I poked my head up regularly to see how we were doing and laid back down for a while. The winds never got about 33 knots. With two anchors out, we were just fine. Our primary anchor did most of the work by never slipping one inch. We have a CQR anchor and she has proven herself to be a champ every time we have used her.
I finally got up at 0630 and watched the sunrise. According to our GPS, we had traveled over two miles during the night. It was somewhat cloudy but a beautiful morning knowing that we had come through the night without any harm befalling Zephyr. I'd hate to loose our home after we have done so much to her. By 0730, Tracy was up after getting about an hour of sleep and we stowed Puff back on board. We'd loaded Dragon(our outboard motor) the night before thinking that Puff might flip if the wind got too big. Even with no motor to hold her down, Puff came through the night just fine.
With Puff was back on board, we started raising our second anchor. I took off our primary anchor off the windlass at the bow and tied it to a cleat to hold Zephyr in place. We then put the second anchors line on the windlass and started pulling it in. Zephyr swung in position as tension was put on the line and the second anchor came right on up. Amazingly, the chain was all tied in knots around the anchor yet it held us in place and kept us from swinging. I lifted it up over the life lines as Tracy coiled the line and piled up the chain. Once done, we started the engine and took off after the primary anchor that had done such a great job for us. With my foot on the switch, up she came and we were off for Ventura to stay at a marina till the Santa Ana winds passed.
As we got closer, I called one of the marinas in Ventura to make a reservation and was told that the fee for staying there was $1.50 per foot per night. For us, that puts the fee at $69.00 per night. By far the most expensive marina we've ever been in. We changed course for Santa Barbara. They are only .90 per foot per night. Lots cheaper. An extra 11 miles longer, but much cheaper. It would give us a place to hide out from the up coming Santa Ana winds the National Weather Service was call for. Hey, guess what? They never showed up!!! The big blow was to be here by this evening and it's dead calm out side!!! Gee, the National Weather Service getting a forecast wrong? What are the chances of that? If we had known it was to be nice and calm like this, we would have stayed at Santa Cruz for a while longer. But hey, now we have a chance to get the laundry done and do some more shopping for supplies and food that we forgot. A two edged sword.
We'll be here till Friday and then head back to Santa Cruz Island. With luck, our permit to actually visit the island will be here by then. It should have been emailed to us a few days ago. Tonight, we will both catch up on some missed sleep. Yeah!!