It’s been a fun ride today, the wind filled in gradually throughout the crossing from Point Sal to Point Arguello, and Beetle trundled along. The breeze usually increases at points, and today was no exception; 15 miles out we had 12-18 knots from the NW, and at the compression area off Point Arguello the wind was running a solid 25 gusting 30. At least the sea state and swell remained down, though there was a large cross swell coming in from the west, and when it met up with the NW swell things stacked up a bit and made the Alpha pilot work extra hard to keep Beetle on course.
It was fun to come through here with clear skies – the number of stars was amazing, milky way all lit up in a band across the sky, Venus was super bright after Mr. Sun settled down for the night, the Mr. Moon climbed up over the hills all orange and mysterious.
The missile launch sites at Vandenberg AFB are substantial and spread along a lot of coast line. During daylight hours you can see the various launch pads and associated rocket hangers, and they look somewhat barren and sporadically spread about. At night all the other buildings are lighted and suddenly you realize just how enormous a complex the whole place is.
We made the turn east off Arguello about 7:15PM, which isn’t bad for departing San Francisco some 32 hours previously. There wasn’t much traffic out today north or south bound. One power boat went by around Morro Bay, apparently southbound. And currently the 37 meter Silverado is following in behind, also southbound. A tug and tow was headed north, and that’s about it.
A nifty thing was to have the appearance of a half-dozen porpoise that joined the boat immediately after the turn east at Arguello. Wind was in the 25-30 knot range and with the swell giving Beetle a push we were bombing along, and the porpoise liked that – they came shooting over and hung out in the green glow from the bow light and were popping around the bow, playing chase boat. A second set of porpoise came over a bit later, all were fun to watch, and it’s especially funny to hear their ‘pop-blow’ and see their wake that is out of sync with the prevailing wind waves.
We rounded Pt. Conception at 9:26pm, and are now on a course to run down the Santa Barbara Channel and play dodge-em oil platforms. The first platform you come to is Irene, situated northwest from Arguello – they are really out in an exposed area. Irene is a convenient point to take to port when southbound, as this keeps you off Arguello a couple of miles and the platform is enormously bright with lights, easy to see 12 miles out. Next up are three more platforms offshore, and the turn down the channel that I’m on puts platform Heritage directly in front – another easy marker to find and avoid.
So Beetle is now in Southern California, the wind is dying away abruptly as we get east towards Santa Barbara, the swell should back off the further into the protected SoCal waters we get, and hopefully this will be a tad warmer than San Francisco.
Plan is to be in Marina del Rey come Sunday evening.