Velella's Drift

An account of Velella's voyage from Seattle to New York via Panama, 2009-2011

Please can we live in Monterey?

Velella at anchor in front of a rollercoaster. So wierd.

Velella at anchor in front of a rollercoaster. So wierd.

Sunrise in the cockpit

Sunrise in the cockpit

Today was actually the paradise we strive so hard for. After an early morning driving tour of sundrenched Santa Cruz by my college girlfriend, Libby, we met up with her boyfriend Caleb (yet another UPS alum) for the most organic veggie surftown breakfast imaginable. And tons of coffee we didn’t have to make ourselves. When Caleb dropped us back off at the wharf at 10am (in his truck that runs on vegetable oil!), the dinghy was right where it was supposed to be, and the sea lions looked warily at Prescott before jumping in. That’s right, we apparently won the territory.

I’ve grown to prefer anchoring out at night to sleeping on the dock for a couple of reasons. Of course it’s quieter and cheaper, but it’s also a whole lot easier to get underway in the morning. When we’re on the dock, Prescott usually takes the helm while I untie all the dock lines, push the boat out, jump on, remove all the dock lines, neatly coil them up, remove all the fenders and secure them on deck, then hoist the sails. When we’re at anchor, Prescott is also usually at the helm, but there’s no fender/dockline business to bother with. I just crank up the chain on the windlass with a manual lever (and it’s really easy), Prescott uses the boat’s weight to unhook the anchor from the bottom, and I roll it the rest of the way up. Done.

Today, with clear blue skies, sweet breeze, and sparkling water, we were happy to be sailing within ten minutes of climbing up from the dinghy. The short 25-mile trip across Monterey Bay to the city of Monterey should have been featured in the glossy pages of Sailing Magazine. With the 15-knot breeze on our beam from the West, we picked a course of 150 degrees and stayed on it comfortably doing 6-7 knots the entire way. We left the engine running a bit longer than normal as we left Santa Cruz in order to fill up a large tank of engine-hot water. My new favorite way to have a deck shower now is under full sail!

With a towel wrapped around my wet hair and clean clothes on, I sat for a long time on the bowsprit with my feet almost skimming the waves below. The water turned from the color of an exotic indigo feather in Santa Cruz to a Robin’s egg turquoise as we approached Monterey. Spouting whales, sea lions, dolphins, sea otters, and enormous jellyfish skimmed across the gradient of color as Velella passed through it. Monterey Bay is a very rich and diverse protected marine sanctuary, and even from the surface it’s obvious why. We plan to spend the day tomorrow touring the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium (featuring a brand new Great White Shark exhibit in open water).

Tonight we decided to tie alongside for the first time in awhile, and the marina is cheaper than usual and better than usual. We strolled through “downtown” Monterey’s farmer’s market in the late evening, and ate fresh, fleshy artichokes for dinner. Prescott is making me get off the computer now so he can drop the table and settees into one big bed for us to watch a movie on “in the living room.” All in all, this day more than made up for the saltwater-swimming, laundry-lugging,  exhaustion-inducing, relatively impecunious lifestyle we’ve embarked upon. Every once in a while, we get go a whole day with no saltiness at all, just freshness and sweetness and pride.

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3 Comments»

  Bonnie wrote @

Ah, sounds like the life of Mrs. O’Riley. We are having snow showers in Duluth today. We’re thinking of getting the snow shovels out of the shed. We enjoy your short stories about the life on the open seas. Thanks

  webecomeus wrote @

i want to come visit now.

  janice reid wrote @

impecunious, love it, great word. looking forward to meeting you soon, Meghan.
Prescott, so sorry about your Granpere.
love, aunt janice


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