We decided to join in the fun and celebrate the extended Labor Day weekend with another trip to the islands. We have to admit these Channel Islands are pretty sweet and offer quite a bit of variety for sailing, hiking, diving, snorkeling and fishing. Neighbors of ours were heading over to Santa Cruz early Friday morning and invited us to meet up with them. This would have been fun, except besides owning a boat and living on it full-time, we also have these things called jobs that wouldn’t allow both of us to also take leave on Friday. So we deferred our meet up for Saturday.
The wind was variable with 1-2 ft. waves. We motor sailed for a bit until we felt the wind build, then we brought out the jib and turned off the engine. Ahh! I’ll never get tired of experiencing that exact moment where we turn off the engine and let our sails do the work! Our speed? 4 knots. Not too bad for the light winds.
During my turn at the helm I saw something shiny floating in the water. A look through the binoculars confirmed they were a set of happy birthday mylar balloons. As you kid you often wonder what happens to balloons when those slippery strings manage to get away from you. Well, wonder no more! Unfortunately, looks like this bunch found their resting place in the Pacific.
As we neared the North Bound shipping lane we saw another ship. Darn the luck! Seems like we’ve had perfect timing the last couple of crossings with ships and have had to alter our course a bit. We changed course but the wind was such that we were now moving away from our destination. We gave the ship what seemed like sufficient time to pass towards our stern so we tacked around and we were greeted by a new sounding alarm inside our boat! Our newly added AIS (automatic identification system) was shrieking with delight to let us know if we continued on this path, we were on a collision course with the ship in the lane ahead of us. I guess we didn’t give him enough time, or he was moving especially slow. So, we turned off course again, and put away one of our sails. The ship gave us a friendly honk!
After altering course for the ship and then getting all situated again heading towards our destination, the wind died. The sails were all floppy and the captain was turning grouchy. Don’t tell him my secret, but I find food helps. Soon after, our AIS (Everything you need to know about AIS) got another workout when it picked up the approaching Island Packers ferry. We were delighted to know our new installation of this gear was working properly, minus an antenna malfunction which we have since resolved.
We headed to look for our friends, but saw they already had enough neighbors in their anchorage so we explored other areas. We finally rested in Platts. There was no one else there on Labor Day Weekend so we had the entire anchorage to ourselves. We soon speculated why. The general rule of thumb when anchoring is that you put out 5 to 1 scope, which means you take 5 and multiply it by the depth of the water you are anchoring in, to tell you how much of the anchor line to let out. Most boats only carry about 100 ft. of rode because they don’t plan on anchoring in water any deeper than 20 ft. We watched as a few boats came sounding through the anchorage but didn’t stick around. We anchored in 60 ft. of water with all 300 ft. of our chain anchor rode.
After anchoring we took some time to look at the water and our new surroundings. It was very pretty and the water was exceptionally clear. So clear, I could see little white squishy things floating in the water. Jelly fish? That sealed it for the both of us, we were not getting in the water anytime soon! Instead we had dinner, relaxed and went to sleep right after sunset.