A Mixed Bag -- The Channel Islands

I was concerned about this segment. I'll be honest. I recall rounding point conception when I was young and with my Dad and it was rough. It has always been in the back of my mind that this may be a bit tough. We departed Morro Bay at 5:00 AM so we could arrive at our anchorage in daylight.


Leaving Morro Bay in the total darkness was a bit of an challenge but with the radar and the spotlight we made it with no issues and the seas seemed pretty calm. I felt lucky. As we headed out into open ocean the seas got rougher and I was even morea anxious knowing that Point Conception was a few hours away. We pressed on past Estero Bay and into deeper water and things calmed down. We had 10-12 foot seas but they were following and with a long period. The wind was a nice 10-12 knots from behind as well. As we moved on, the coast guard started to announce small craft advisories and we just could not understand why. The requisite 20-30 Knots of wind was not there. We pressed on and the seas stayed the same reasonable comfortable level. As we approached Point Conception everything stayed the same and we headed for Cuyler Harbor on San Miguel Island. We were all relived that the passage went well. We arrived earlier than expected and we were in for a surprise. Cuyler Harbor is really the only one on San Miguel Island but it is a small not well protected cove, especially from Northwest swells. The 10-12 foot swells made the harbor complete whitewater with breaking waves in the anchorage and along the beaches. This was a no-go as an anchorage so we made the decision to go to plan B. We needed a plan B quickly as it was already after 4:00 PM. We needed to move to the south end of the island to protect us from the full brunt of the swells. We followed some fishermen into Beachers Bay at the south end of Santa Rosa Island. This is the next island down and was a good 3 hours additional run. We made it after dark but we were pleased to see several fishing boats hunkered down in this harbor. It is not well protected and fairly rough, but good enough. We just laid the anchor and went to bed.


The next morning we got up and decided to get to a calmer anchorage by days end. Santa Cruz is more protected than Santa Rosa or San Miguel so we just headed there to have a look. We slowly wandered down the east side of the island where the caves and anchorages are located but they were all affected by the surge from the sea swells. We finally decided it would be best to stay on the south side of the island so we headed for Smugglers cove. It is again not a well protected cove, but much calmer than the last. The weather report indicated we needed to stay for 2 nights before attempting to try other coves again. We did stop for lunch in Frys harbor. It was a bit dicey so I was not comfortable staying the night but it was a really fun few hours there.



The wind was calm and the sun was out, but as you can see in the picture, big waves breaking on the shore and a good deal of surge in the harbor.


Later that evening we moved around to Smugglers Cove and settled in for a couple of days to allow the surge to subside. It was reasonably calm there.





It may seem like we are anchored in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in an unprotected area. We were.


Technical Data:


Morro Bay to Santa Barbara County

Time: 13 h 42 m ( 05:07 to 18:50 ) Distance: 110.46 nm

Fuel: 48.09 Gallons Fuel Rate: 3.51 GPH Fuel Economy: 2.30 NM/G

Avg Speed: 8.22 kn Max Speed: 10.57 kn

Engine Runtime Start: 3115.55 Hours Runtime End: 3129.25 Hours Fuel: 48.09 Gallons Fuel Rate: 3.51 GPH Fuel Rate Max: 5.55 GPH Avg RPM: 1327.87 Max RPM: 1477.75 Avg Oil Pressure: 52.45 Low Oil Pressure: 31.33 Avg Temperature: 179.59 Max Temperature: 192.20



Santa Barbara County to Santa Barbara County

Time: 3 h 2 m ( 08:05 to 11:08 ) Distance: 18.47 nm

Fuel: 5.01 Gallons Fuel Rate: 1.64 GPH Fuel Economy: 3.69 NM/G

Avg Speed: 6.68 kn Max Speed: 8.59 kn

Engine Runtime Start: 3129.25 Hours Runtime End: 3132.30 Hours Fuel: 5.01 Gallons Fuel Rate: 1.64 GPH Fuel Rate Max: 4.41 GPH Avg RPM: 1009.50 Max RPM: 1362.00 Avg Oil Pressure: 48.92 Low Oil Pressure: 31.33 Avg Temperature: 184.18 Max Temperature: 192.20




Santa Barbara County to Santa Barbara County

Time: 2 h 2 m ( 13:53 to 15:56 ) Distance: 13.89 nm

Fuel: 4.03 Gallons Fuel Rate: 1.97 GPH Fuel Economy: 3.45 NM/G

Avg Speed: 7.25 kn Max Speed: 8.30 kn

Engine Runtime Start: 3132.30 Hours Runtime End: 3134.35 Hours Fuel: 4.03 Gallons Fuel Rate: 1.97 GPH Fuel Rate Max: 3.62 GPH Avg RPM: 1137.17 Max RPM: 1270.50 Avg Oil Pressure: 50.88 Low Oil Pressure: 31.33 Avg Temperature: 183.06 Max Temperature: 192.20




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