I may have charted us a course to the wrong island

Last weekend, we continued our school work to become sailors and this was our 104 Bareboat Charter course. The intent of this class is to give us the learning and confidence to rent a bareboat (a boat without provisions, i.e., food, water, and fuel, etc.) and chart a course to a destination, get there (not somewhere else), anchor safely, then chart a course back and arrive without crashing.

Side note: my guy wakes up the first morning after sleeping on the boat and he’s brushing his teeth and humming the theme to Gilligan’s Island. He’s so funny. He hums Christmas songs in December too.

The weather for our weekend looked perfect and it was a big fat liar:


We had to travel the entire way across the channel, including through the shipping lanes, in fog. Not super dense fog, but cold, wet, dreary fog. It wasn’t perfectly horrible, after all we were on a boat and technically playing, but it wasn’t much fun. I was also very seasick. I had taken the seasick pills the night before and in the morning – a trick from our instructor who also gets terribly seasick on mono-hull boats, i.e., not catamarans – and yet, I was ill. I was cold, damp, and seasick. Not a good combo.

A short recap of what we did/saw throughout the weekend:

  • We anchored bow and stern (that was a new one for me to have a stern anchor).
  • We plotted our course and used the auto pilot – that was really nice. No one stuck at the helm.
  • We did crew overboard drills – no actual crew had to get wet, we used a dummy.
  • I worked on my sail trim techniques – I needed practice.
  • Steve got more practice with the lines (I usually do a lot of that).
  • We practiced heaving-to (a method of stopping safely on the water).
  • We heated water and spaghetti sauce and drank wine under a massive number of stars.
  • We saw the bio luminescence!

Once we arrived, there was little fog on the island. In fact, the island sort of emerged from the fog as we got closer. Eerie effect in movies – even more eerie when you see it for yourself.

We anchored at Pelican Bay, which is a very deep bay and really not big. There are no mooring balls, so you have to anchor out. There were tons of seals playing in the bay, swirling all around the boats. Here’s a picture of part of the bay.

Pelican Bay, Santa Cruz

Once we arrived, and got both anchors set, Steve and our instructor – Captain Larry – had a glass of wine. I stuck with a diet coke, trying to finally settle my stomach. Then, Steve and I took the dinghy around to another bay around the corner and tied it off and went ashore to see what we could see. I didn’t take my camera (sorry!).

Then, it was time for some snacks. Captain Larry likes to quiz you and we really worked him with questions, but at the end of the day, Captain Larry says, it’s good to remember why you’re doing all this work.

Why we learn to sail

It’s so you can get yourself to lovely quiet natural places and enjoy life!

A photo of the galley – after we cleaned up:

Try cooking in this tiny space!

It’s a tiny space, but you have everything you need. It sure makes the tiny kitchen in my tiny house look big.

We slept and woke to more light fog rolling around in the bay with us and the seals came out to play too.

Pelican Bay, Santa Cruz Island

The fog burned off a little while later as we charted our course for Santa Barbara, but we had no wind so we were motoring it again. Steve took us out of the bay.

Steve at the helm

On the way back, we encountered a ship in the shipping lane – a big one.

Shipping lane

We steered clear and after the ship passed, we saw a huge dolphin pod. There were dolphins everywhere and Captain Larry told us to go to the bow with our cameras and he would get us closer. He took the helm and we got pictures of the dolphins – you can see his reflection in the water and a big splash farther in the distance. (hey, I’m no nature photographer).


I’ll post the video we took tomorrow.

At the end of the weekend: Steve’s super good at the charting, but I really struggled with it and I need more practice. I also struggled with the calculation of fuel consumption, but we passed the course. It was a lot harder than the other classes and taking the test at the end of the day after all the work and the sun and wind … we got home super exhausted.


fourteenergirl Written by:

A mother, sister, wife, and daughter who writes, knits, hikes, and practices yoga on the west coast. Loves a zippy chardonnay or a tart margarita!

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