Two of the McNish Classic Yacht Race Adventure
Day Two was a sail to Smugglers Cove on the south east side of Santa
Santa Cruz Island is the larger island to the right and Smugglers Cove
is barely visible hard to the east facing the Anacapa Passage.
The sail had is own series of events too. A few miles out of
Paradise we happened to look to the windward side of the boat
(offshore) and I'll be damned - its a shark easing southerly - no
pictures but still. First time I saw a shark in the wild.
And it got better. We were all in the cockpit when Captain bolted
upright at the helm... huh? Captain said somethings wierd
up ahead and we all looked around and sure enough - there was an odd
"yellowish" blob in the water directly ahead of the boat - kind of like
a reef just under the water - but we were way off shore in deep
water. Captain screamed WHALE!
And sure enough the Dirigo II eased ahead as we closed in on the blob
which moved to starboard. We crowded the leeward rail and sure
enough - the blobs crested and blew spouts. It turned out to be
two Blue Whales. The long backs of the whales eased across the
top of the ocean as they finished their breath and again eased below
the surface. I was stunned. Now I had seen a Blue Whale in
the wild. What a great day at sea.
We began to settle in by pulling the sails down. That's me in the
below ready to pull down one of the jibs.
I wish I had a picture of us approaching Santa Cruz Island but I
dont. Still, you can see the Dirigo II anchored a few hundred
yards off shore. We went ashore for a look around.
Time to introduce an new player. Mr. Len D. Len needs a bit
of introduction. Len is the owner of Horizons West Adventures and
he is our host on this trip. Len is an exceptional host.
Len cooked all the meals aboard ship, made all the arrangements for the
yacht race, arranged for the captain, arranged for the crew, and did a
perfect job in each case. Len is on the left in the picture below
with Susanne on the beach at Smugglers Cove on Santa Cruz Island.
Len is explaining to Susanne that the beach at this location is
actually the remnants of an Indian Mound containing centurys of the
discarded debris from the Chumash Indians that previously lived on
Santa Cruz Island.
Len has first hand knowledge of this region of Santa Cruz Island.
I understand that he lived here for a few years and has operated
adventure trips to the island for several years. Len gave us a
tour of the area and told us that a treat awaited us after a short walk
off the beach - we were curious about what was up the road????
Incredible. A beautiful home was back in the canyon.
Apparently the house was plenty old having been built in the
1800's. I wish I could tell you the whole story but it is to
intreaguing to get it wrong - we need to go with Len again to get the
story right. Suffice to say - its old, its nice, and Len has a
lot of history here.
We had a chance to walk all around the house peering into the
windows. The rooms inside were clean and ready to use. The
history according to Len was fascinating.
And as usual - all good things
must come to an end. Len toured us around the site pointing out
interesting things as we walked back to the beach. Mike resued us
from the surf in the skiff as we waded back offshore.
While we were onshore we had a visitor pull up for the evening. I
wonder if she is racing in the McNish race on Saturday?
Spent - I kicked back in the cockpit
of the Dirigo II soaking up the days events.
Overwhelming... started the day in a rolly anchorage, powered
across the Santa Barbara Channel to Santa Cruz Island, saw a shark
headed south, saw a blue whale, landed on a beach just like a Navy
Seal, toured a great historic spot on a seldom visited island.
Can this adventure get any better?
Click Here to go to Day Three