Arrived at Smuggler's Cove on Friday at around 2pm. Only 3 other boats anchored in the large cove. Sweet! Well, a few hours later the mainland armada began to show up. By the next morning, Saturday, there were over 25 boats of every size and shape lying to their picks in the sand. You can really see the effect of being a short 20 mile hop away from the population centers of the mainland. Happily the weather couldn't have been milder, so anchor dragging was not a worry. But there was a fair bit of ocean swell, and we deployed a "flopper stopper" to good effect. This is a gizmo like a pair of hinged doors. We hang it off the end of our spinnaker pole as far out from the boat as we can. The "doors" open as the boat rocks one way, and close, creating resistance, as the swell rocks us back the other. Really dampens the motion. We could see the boats with and without in the anchorage, and the difference in their motion (and comfort) was apparent.
Since Smuggler's Cove is in the Channel Islands National Park boundary, we launched the kayaks to explore, and go ashore for some hiking. Had a great 4 mile trail to the Yellow Cliff Overlook, with incredible views to the bay below. Then got in a bit of practice with our surf launches of the kayaks. Let's say our technique is a work in progress!!!
Smuggler's was a great anchorage, full of wildlife. Sea lions, pelicans everywhere, and the water was teeming with baitfish.
Yesterday we motored the 60 miles from Santa Cruz to Catalina Island in 0-3 knots of breeze. It remained flat calm until we arrived, when the wind piped up to around 20 as we tried to figure out the mooring system in Emerald Cove. Happily the harbormaster came by and helped us to an available mooring, where we are now. Over 100 moorings in this bay, but only a handful of boats here after the Sunday afternoon departure of the armada. Nice, we feel like we have the place nearly to ourselves. Today we'll go kayaking again, and take a hike over to Parson's Landing. Supposedly there we can pick up the cross island trail. It's all good! Especially the weather; we're finally experiencing the warm days and pleasant evenings that SoCal is famous for. Fleece is all being tucked away, at least for now!