As we left Santa Cruz I was pretty excited and nervous. We had only left on our official trip the day before from Half Moon Bay, and the sail to Santa Cruz had felt almost like a false start. We had sailed to Santa Cruz before and we knew the route, as well as the area. It didn’t quite feel like a new beginning or start, more like – more prep. It felt like we had been preparing forever. The longest prep, the longest goodbye. In many ways I guess that was true. It had been 4 years since a small seed of an idea and 3 years since the decision was made to stop our normal routine and become a family that sailed for a year. 3.5 years to prep and lots of small intervals in which we started telling our family and friends we were going to leave. I said to one friend – I feel like I told people too soon, I’ve been saying goodbye for months. He replied that we all needed the time to process. I suppose that’s what this entire trip will be about. Time to process. I can’t know what’s coming, that’s truly the best part but I have a sense for what’s going to happen – a lot! And we will all be slightly altered after. We won’t know now where we end up or how we live after, I mean even at the start of this plan 4 years ago when we took a sailing class I would never really have guessed we would end up sailing for a year. It’s the curiosity that is keeping me going and the interest in seeing what’s to come. There is truly so much I don’t know about everything.
Enough about the musings of the recently undistracted, how was the sail to Santa Barbara? We left Santa Cruz with the goal of getting to San Luis Obispo. This would have been our first overnight sail which we expected to take 24 hours. We started to prep for it and spirits were high going into the first shifts. Upon looking at wind, weather and waves we realized that the safest course was to push through to Santa Barbara so we could cross Point Conception (a highly discussed potentially tricky section of ocean) while the wind was low and waves were good. This meant our first real day of voyage turned into 40 + hours. The crew was totally up for it and we started on. I have always been curious about how it I would feel to be in motion and underway for several days. I couldn’t imagine that it would feel cozy, comfortable, restful or … in any way routine. Luckily, I was slightly right and mostly wrong. Being underway had it’s ups and downs. It was hard to sleep between night watches with the boat noises and overall extreme feeling of needing to sleep. If you ever need to stay awake, try stressing about going to sleep! However on the second night, for me, it was easier to sleep and our shifts felt better. Point Conception went very well and I was really proud to have completed that section on my shift and didn’t require calling up any other crew. It was busy but safe and easy to come around the point. We had a lot of big gusts of 30+ knot wind leading up to it and after but mostly I spent time ensuring we kept away from oil rigs and buoys, along with one other vessel making the same course as us.
A few times as the wind howled outside and I observed the boats movements I was astonished at how smooth and strong Pandion is. This boat such a graceful tank I’m so grateful it is what we are on. For sure our best decision was choosing her for our journey. After turning slightly east to make way to Santa Barbara I passed the helm over and found myself quickly passing out for a good 6 hours. I slept through more exciting gusts, oil rigs and cluttered channel dodging.
Getting to Santa Barbara we anchored in a busy anchorage and felt a momentary relief. Hey! We made it! 2 days and 2 nights! It was about 8 am as we anchored in the early morning light. Patrick and I both wanted to immediately take a nap but after laying down we were almost too excited to sleep. Go to shore? Take a nap? DO IT ALL! The most immediate feeling I had was, where to next? Let’s try again! I think I can do better! There has been a slight crisis of confidence for me and Everest as we try to determine if we are good enough to be doing this trip. I think overall we have tons of skills, and we are learning more quickly. It will take time and I look forward to reporting that we are doing amazing and feeling great within a few days!