Bobbing around Santa Cruz Island

So I got my alt fixed in Santa Barbara – when I say fixed I mean ‘remove the washer than somehow fell and got INSIDE the alternator, grounding out the stator coil’ which was a bit embarrassing, and fixed the weird thumping sound from the prop (it was as I had hoped, just the zinc coming loose).

I headed off the next day to Santa Cruz Island, which is one of the channel islands off the coast of California, pretty lumpy crossing with 4-6 foot waves hitting the beam all the way across and 20+ knot winds that picked up, but once in Smugglers Bay in the lee of the island it all dropped off.

I reconnected with another boat I’d seen earlier and had a beer with them and they fed me some halibut they caught recently.

So of course I got all gung ho and dropped a line right there in the anchorage and hooked what I was sure was a halibut. Alas, like last time this happened it turned out to be a member of the ray family, this time a Bat Ray

Man, it put up a fight. After watching it swim on the surface for a bit I cut the line and let it go. One day I’ll get a halibut…

There were also a TON of jack smelts, so I jigged up a bunch, ate the two largest and kept the rest for later use as bait.

first fish I’ve caught/eaten since the salmon up by Bella Bella!

Also some kind of plaice which wasn’t really big enough to keep

It was another really nice sunset

I stayed there for two nights and then heading back to the mainland to reactivate my phone, which I needed for San Diago.

On the way I saw a bunch of dolphins I didn’t recognise, way more acrobatic than the ones I’m used to. I think maybe spinner dolphins?

They didn’t want to come and play though :(.

Oxnard sucked to be honest – the first marina was $1.50 a foot a night (by far the most expensive so far), and wouldn’t give you access to the washrooms without paying a non-refundable $27 dollars for a keycard. Ridiculous.

I tried to switch marinas, but the second marina (Anacapa Isle Marina) said I had to book through their website (despite me standing in the office with my paperwork) and then in a Kafkaesque twist, said I couldn’t use their wifi to book through my phone as I wasn’t a customer… pretty outstanding stuff, and also wouldn’t let me borrow their phone to call my mobile company to reactivate my data plan. So I gave up and went back to the first marina and just put up with no facilities. Definitely NOT a recommended stop for anyone coming down the coast.

The next day I set sail for Catalina. I say ‘sail’ but there were a couple hours of thick fog, when I again thanked the heavens for radar

However the wind picked up, the fog lifted and I had an amazing sail and saw some more dolphins (short beaked common I think)

And with that, I arrived in Catalina Harbour.



  1. Thanks for posting about the wildlife and making the effort to identify them. You’d better get a halibut soon because you’ll be moving past their southernmost range! But consolation prize is moving into range of the many pelagics like dorado and tuna. Good luck!

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