So we ended up hanging out at Half Moon Bay for quite a while – the anchorage was lovely and sheltered, the yacht club people were incredibly welcoming and friendly (shout out to Karen and Ben) and there was a bunch of crappy swell outside so we thought it best to just wait it out. Around the second day or so, Quinn came and rafted up to me which was really nice, as it was like living in the same apartment building as your mates.
There was also fishing outside the breakwater – I took my boat out a couple of days after arriving with Geoff to do some jigging and FINALLY CAUGHT A HALIBUT (long time readers will know this has been my goal in like forever, the previous closest I had come turned out to be a big ol’ skate)
Ok, it was a California halibut and not a Pacific one but it was 3 foot long and still counts! We both were shocked. I handed the rod to Geoff, did (if I say so) a perfect gaffing job and got it on the deck. I then took my razor sharp filleting knife, and in a flash of genius, decided to unsheathe it with the blade against my finger, cutting it really really deeply. And I mean DEEP – I took one look at it, was like ‘oh god’ and ran for the first aid kit, leaving the halibut on the deck. I managed to press some gauze on it while Geoff riffled through the first aid kit (shout out to KT who did an excellent job making this) and got even more gauze and taped it up inexpertly.
After fussing around with this for a few minutes we remembered we had a 3′ long angry flatfish on the deck and went to deal with it – I killed it humanly by stabbing it in the brain and then we bled it over the side, watching out for sealions.
Next a quick google search on ‘how to fillet a halibut’ and we were in business.
It actually went very well and we successfully got all the fillets off and returned the rest to the ocean with thanks.
Once back tied to Quinn, Holley came to look at my finger as she is a nurse in real life. Apparently I really should have got stitches as it was ‘very meaty’ (barf) but knowing the stories of the costs of American healthcare, and not being 100% sure what my travel insurance would cover (is stupidity a pre-existing condition?) I declined to go to the hospital and she patched it up as best she could with steri-strips and a clean bandage. Boating!
Holley got to use her nurse skills even more in the next few days as Geoff managed to drill a hole through his hand (lol) and Cass got her finger caught under a loaded line and ripped part of it off. Good going everyone!
The next day was my birthday, which last time I was out cruising on my birthday was when I was being sick on my engine crossing over a foggy Eureka bar so this was way nicer. In the morning I opened my presents from KT and her parents that they had really kindly given me before I left and spent most of the day eating candy and sugar-crash-napping. In the evening Quinn’s crew came over, the girls had made me a cake and a card and then we all had halibut burgers. Fantastic.
As already mentioned the yacht club was awesome and we could get showers and cheap beer from their bar – the only tricky part was laundry. We had to catch an uber to town to do it, which went fine, but then getting one back seemed almost impossible. Finally after 90 mins one came to pick us up, saw Geoff, Hollies and my bags of laundry and did a drive by without stopping while yelling out the window that ‘we had too much stuff’. Hollies laugh of disbelief was then immediately mocked by some teenagers driving to add to the general mood. We had to get the bus back so the entire trip back took almost 3 hours. I’d hoped to be back earlier so I could be there when Phil and Ally on Sliver (Phil being the guy who got me into sailing in the first place) turned up. They had left several weeks later than I did but moved a lot faster so I was stoked to see them!
They were already in the bay when we got back and I rowed over to catch up before letting them get an early night. The next few days were a fun mix of hiking, going to a show and just generally carousing with buds. However, eventually it was time to go and we all left for Morro Bay, 160 miles away.
I was a bit nervous, this was my first solo overnight on Sooner and my first one for five years (the last time had been on Gudge!). As it went, it was, well, fine. Solo overnights kinda suck still, but nothing major happened and it went by fairly fast. The worst part was it was foggy that night and so wet and cold. Here is a nice 3am shot reflecting my mood
It took most of two days and the night, and I managed to slip into Morro Bay just before dark. Motoring in, I was greeted by Allie and Phil mooning me from the entrance sand bar, and they took a couple nice pics of me coming in.
Then it was just a matter of anchoring in a strong current and time for some sleep!