Beetle is in Channel Islands Harbor

Beetle is happily back in the slip in the harbor – and we made it here just before dark despite the time lost to clearing seaweed from the raw water strainer. Beetle does have legs, powering along comfortably at 7 knots through the light air and flat water. Along the way we came across a good size Ocean Sunfish, maybe four feet nose to rear of body, that was lazing on the surface. Sunfish like to float on their side at the surface and that presents a curious white blob floating in the blue-green sea, so I disconnected the autopilot and went over to investigate. The fish let us get quite close, you could see its eye looking about as it inspected the boat. Eventually I got too close and the fish made some fairly strong flaps with its two large fins and it went down a couple of feet and turned to a more normal fish swimming style of dorsal side up and it swam along slowly. I expect the moment we we departed it was back at the surface floating along happily. Neat to see one of them.

While running along towards Port Hueneme I had the VHF radio on and the USCG would periodically pop up to invite everyone to switch to VHF 22A and listen to a National Weather Service announcement regarding patchy dense fog along the coast. We were in bright sun and decided NWS must be thinking of some other coast than here. Visbility was at least 28 miles based on chart distances to shore.

Off Point Dume Kristen and I heard a loud scraping sound from under the boat and we slowed down three quarters of a knot. I looked aft to observe a large batch of kelp float back to the surface behind the boat – we had just motored straight over a good wide pile of the kelp and some had likely wrapped around the leading edge of the keel or the rudder (or the kelp had damanged the speedo paddle wheel as we slid over it). We stopped the boat, could see kelp wrapped on the rudder, spent ten minutes motoring backwards and forwards in circles, and a fair bit of kelp chunks floated out from under. And then we were back up to speed an on our way. Large algae has probably been a problem out here ever since people invented boats.

As we passed Point Mugu a long horizontal band of thick fog became visible to the west, Santa Cruz Island disappeared into it, and then the oil rigs started to disappear as the fog rolled towards us. We scurried into the harbor, cleared the breakwater, and just was we had the boat tied up the fog rolled in and visibility shut down – clearly the fog had patched.

A good run up the coast from Catalina Island, a week there that sort of feels like three separate trips rolled into one as we had completely different weather and locations: two days in town at Avalon, then 30-45 knot Santa Anas through Isthmus as we hunkered down in Cat Harbor, followed up by perfect Southern California conditions around in Emerald Bay. Fun!

– rob

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