Monterey, CA to Morro Bay

Leaving Monterey midday (so I’d hit Big Sur (not a wrestler, rather a spit of land) at midnight when apparently it’s calmest there) and also arrive at Morro Bay in the morning, I slowly chugged my way south in 5 knots of wind from the North as the sun went down

I rounded big sur with no drama – although I saw it go from 3000+ feet to 150 foot and then back again – all in a mile. I can imagine the horror stories of this place in bad weather are justified – that’s one hell of a ridge.

I also started getting pumped about the water temperature, it started creeping up and got to just over 20c. Can you say TUNA?! (I didn’t catch any however but at least I’m now I’m getting closer.)

About two hours out of Morro Bay I had an experience which I’ve wanted for as long as I’ve been sailing – I had dolphins bowriding at night and showing up in the phosphorescence! The phosphorescence wasn’t super bright but more than enough to leave a 20 foot trail behind each dolphin as they whizzed around the boat – and you could see the hydrodynamics of the water around the dolphins.

I also think it was a species I’ve not seen before though it was way too dark to tell what – they seemed to be a bit bigger than the Pacific White-sided I’d seen before and I could also hear them I think – clicked and squealing (though this may just have been lack of sleep). Anyway – magical, surreal and one of those experiences that’s almost impossible to capture on film and you can only have from the deck of a small boat at night.

After all that excitement, I got to the entrance of Morro Bay as the sun came up

Morro Bay has Morro Rock – which is more like a very large hill and juts right out of the sea. It’s actually really impressive!

I really liked Morro Bay. People were friendly and there were tons of sea otters everywhere – which was a bit of a funny moment for me as in BC they are associated with the remote, desolate areas off the NW of Vancouver Island and I hadn’t seen any since I was north of cape caution, over a 1000 miles away. Apparently, this is the place they took them from to rebuild the BC population. They were definitely more friendly than the BC ones, and often cruised past the boat on their backs while I was tied up. SO CAH-UTE.

Less cute are the giant sea lions everywhere, which have a tendency to appear out of nowhere – kinda shocking when you are in a dinghy and an 8 foot monster suddenly appears a couple of feet away.

I tied up in front of the yacht club and everyone was very friendly – and I got to see a rescue after one of the boats on a mooring buoy had a man fall out of his dinghy. The water in the bay is only 16c, while not as cold as BC water it still wouldn’t take long for hypothermia and I started my engine on the dock when I saw him clinging to a mooring buoy. A lady attempted to rescue him in her dinghy, except he cut his foot on the prop and then his shorts got fouled in the prop (luckily for the dude not castrating him), meaning she had to row her inflatable (which do not row well). It was all very anxiety provoking and I could only really watch as my dinghy was broken down and stored below but luckily they got bailed out by a yacht club member in the yacht clubs race committee boat. Phew!

I also basically had a heart attack when I disturbed two herons at night under the dock ramp when I was walking to the bathroom. If you’ve never heard an angry heron, basically imagine a literal dinosaur and then turn the volume up – they are very prehistoric things!

I also did some boat working – changing where the reeflines tie to the boom from a bowline to a running bowline (fascinating stuff) and I made two more vanes for the windvane

I leave tomorrow to head to the channel islands – I have to pick up my friend Elizabeth in San Diago on November the 2nd and then we can cross the border to Mexico (she speaks Spanish so it’ll make everything easier). I’m only a couple hundred miles away at this point, so I need to find somewhere to hang out for a week or two and apparently the islands are lovely. So that’s where I’m going!



  1. Morro Bay is nice, and so are the Channel Islands. We have friends in Ventura if you pass a day or two there – Tammy owns a wine and beer bar in the main street called Grapes and Hops. She´d be delighted if you owned us.

  2. Awesome! I had the same bioluminescence dolphin experience somewhere around that area too, so magical! And yes, the sea lions can be scary. It isnt quite birthing season yet thankfully

  3. Stop saying basically twice in the same sentence, completely unnecessary. Otherwise good reading.

  4. Luminescent rockets! I think we saw our first ones coming into Morro as well. I look forward to your report on the Channel Islands as we skipped those. Get ready to strip off some layers 🙂

  5. Hit all the Channel Islands. They are super special. Especially the ones farther out. We spent 2 weeks there and was about our favorite on our one year trip. Swim with leopard sharks and elephant seals. Get into the nature there. It’s rare.

  6. I was looking for post about Hell’s Bay boats actually, but I am really glad that I have found your article. You have a real talent for writing. Keep going and thank you for your work!

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