We pulled out of Emery Cove Marina on September 10th and headed out of the shallow waters that are San Francisco Bay towards the Golden Gate Bridge.
Passing Alcatraz, Bloom pushed forward towards dozens of other sailboats gliding across the bay. Under the bridge we went, weaving around the other boats until we got into the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. We pointed Bloom’s bow South and continued on our journey- light wind on the nose meant a few hours of motoring for us to get to our next destination- Half Moon Bay. We arrived in about five hours and decided to hook onto one of the marina’s several mooring buoys for the night.
After a hearty meal and a good night’s rest, we rose early the next day to push further South to Santa Cruz. It was about a 10 hour trek and we wanted to get in during daylight hours. Another day of light winds on the nose and we were greeted at Santa Cruz by a Sea Otter, floating on it’s back outside the harbour entrance. Santa Cruz’s entrance was an interesting one- with huge breaking waves on the other side of the jetty as you come in.
A super funky surf town, Santa Cruz offers miles of a sandy beaches with gorgeous, crashing waves and a true ‘California’ vibe. The Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbour offers several restaurants- including the ‘El Palomar’ Mexican Restaurant, which we enjoyed eating at on Lisa’s Birthday while we were there.
About a 15 minute walk from the marina, you will find Santa Cruz’s unique Beach Boardwalk with roller coasters, carnival rides and more. Unfortunately, this entire area of Santa Cruz was not very pet friendly (no dogs allowed on the beach boardwalk at all) so we did not explore this area very much. The beach near the marina is called ‘Twin Lakes Beach’ and it was fantastic AND pet-friendly (dogs on leash welcomed). There were beach volleyball courts, fire pits and a sandy-toes wash-down station all available for use on the beach. The only downside to this marina, we found, was the price for moorage (about $50/night USD, which is around $65 CAD) They also charge you $25 for a key fob to access the shower and restroom if you want it and you ‘get’ to keep it (obviously most guests don’t use it again, so we kinda felt this was a cash grab). The shower was really icky as well- for sure flip flops for these ones!
We stayed in Santa Cruz for three nights before heading out to venture South across Monterey Bay to Monterey. It was one of our best days on the water yet (despite more light winds on the nose!) We were graced with dozens and dozens of Risso’s Dolphins all around our boat for ages! As if that wasn’t enough, a massive male Killer Whale went by shortly after, about 10 meters away from our boat! Wow. Monterey Bay is known for its amazing sea life and it did not disappoint.
We planned to haul Bloom out in Monterey, as she had a bit of sea water leaking into the oil in her saildrive leg and needed an oil change and seal replacement. We cannot say enough kind things about the service received from Monterey Boat Works at the Breakwater Cove Marina. They were friendly and helpful, provided great service and did a wonderful job with Bloom’s saildrive. If you are in Northern California and you are in need of a haul out, talk to Erik at Monterey Boat Works. What a fantastic guy! He and his wife even took us out for lunch as they wanted to hear all about our adventures, which was so cool! What a fantastic couple! Another reason we love cruising- you meet so many awesome people. We keep in touch with dozens of other cruisers that we’ve befriended over the years and just love it.
Monterey was one of our favourite stops ever! This city boasts so many gorgeous beaches, restaurants, shops and AMAZING marine wildlife, we stayed for over a week. If you visit, be sure not to miss Fisherman’s Wharf where you can sample chowder all the way down the pier or Cannery Row- a seemingly-endless street of restaurants and shops with a lot of beautiful hotels and fountains along the way.
We were initially placed in a slip at Breakwater Cove Marina that was RIGHT beside a massive sea lion colony. At first it was kinda cool and we even had a dock visitor- a female sea lion who we nicknamed ‘Suzy’ decided to set up shop on our dock and block off the entrance to our boat.
We had to scare her away with a spray from the hose, but she only moved to the end of the dock so we could board. She later shimmied back over to her initial spot and proceeded to finish her nap for an hour….
After three nights of constant barking from the sea lions and no sleep, we decided to move to the marina next door. We got a lovely end slip, right by the seawall on the shore. We set up shop and inflated our double kayak and paddleboard as the weather for the week looked too windy to leave anyhow. This allowed for lots more Monterey explorations and lots of provisioning as the Trader Joes there is about a 10 minute walk from the marina! We highly recommend kayaking in Monterey- there is so much to see from harbour seals to sea lions to sea otters (our favourite!)
The next leg is a long one- 125 nautical miles to San Luis Obispo, so stay tuned for more!