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Calmer Seas for exploring Santa Cruz Island

The seas finally calmed down a bit and we left the protection of the south end of Santa Cruz to see new things. We pulled anchor and headed around the back side of the island to the north end. We found many caves, but the largest of them is painted cave. I thought I would stick the nose of Coda into the mouth of Painted Cave before we anchored and brought the dinghy over. Matt decided to drive the drone into the cave and get a shot of me entering the cave with Coda. It turns out the drone is dependent upon GPS satellites to maintain stable flight and as it entered the cave it lost connection with the satellites and decided the right course of action was to fly directly into the wall of the cave and fall into the ocean. That was a bit disappointing.

The picture does not convey the size of the cave. I drove the Coda into the entrance.

We poked along the east coast of the island and stopped at Cuevas Valdaze cove and we anchored there for the night. To my surprise, this was the sight of another cave I had clear memories of from my childhood.

This cave was open to the sea and had a beach inside. Once inside the cave on the beach, one can walk out on the beach outside the cave. Here is a picture.

This is the opening to the sea.

Once in the cave you can walk out onto the beach. -- Look at light entering from the upper left of the picture.

And here is Coda in the cove in front of the cave.

After exploring the area, we decided to go deep into Painted Cave which was a short distance away. Barb donned her bathing suit and volunteered to dive for the drone in the cave. We loaded up in the dinghy and headed out.

Here we are in the entrance to the cave. The cave is over 600 feet deep and pitch black in the back so we have no pictures from the back.

We had a good idea where the drone was and in fact we could see it in the clear water of the cave. Barb went into the water and struggled with her buoyancy getting deep enough to get the drone. We solved that problem by having her hold the dinghy anchor and chain. She then grabbed the drone and it was saved. The drone was insured against water damage so our plan was to send the drone back to the insurance company and tell them that there was slight water damage and we would like it repaired or replaced. Just to be thorough, Matt tested the drone after the recovery. It did not work.

Here is a video of us leaving the cave after exploring all the way to the end.

That was a really fun day. We headed back to Coda for a nice evening in the very small cove. Sorry -- no drone shots.

My favorite picture from the day:

Technical Data:

Smugglers cove to Cuevas Vladaze

Time: 4 h 52 m ( 08:29 to 13:21 ) Distance: 32.39 nm

Fuel: 7.63 Gallons Fuel Rate: 1.57 GPH Fuel Economy: 4.24 NM/G

Avg Speed: 6.78 kn Max Speed: 8.22 kn

Engine Runtime Start: 3134.35 Hours Runtime End: 3139.20 Hours Fuel: 7.63 Gallons Fuel Rate: 1.57 GPH Fuel Rate Max: 8.90 GPH Avg RPM: 1111.79 Max RPM: 1490.50 Avg Oil Pressure: 50.54 Low Oil Pressure: 31.91 Avg Temperature: 180.15 Max Temperature: 192.20

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I loved the video going thru the cave. And, I think that picture of Cota out of the cave could actually win a photo contest. It is awesome and I wish I could print it. I am so happy for both of you enjoying exploring and almost home.

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