So, last weekend Steve and I took the ASA 106 course which is a relatively advanced course involving a number of things that turned out to be quite harrowing. The idea was to prove to ourselves that we were ready to take a boat – perhaps one packed with precious friends – out to the Channel Islands off the Santa Barbara coast.
Just in case you’re curious, you can read about the Channel Islands on Wikipedia.
Our trip entailed a multi-day sail and Steve was actually taking the course – I was a ride-along. I did not have time to study for the course and wan’t keen about the timing, so we compromised. He takes the course and the test, and I get some experience without all the pressure. Cool beans.
There were 5 people total: 1 captain (our teacher), two other male students, Steve and me. Yep, once again I’m the only damn woman on a life-endangering trip with a bunch of guys. (Here we are – me at the wheel, teacher Ken on the left, Rob on the right.)
That said, everyone was completely polite and kind. The guys even provisioned the boat all by themselves and no, I did not have to do all the cooking – just my fair share. I didn’t even have to do many dishes. It was really nice and low-key, very adult.
We took the 50-foot boat, the Jenny Lane aka the Stinky Boat. I do not like this boat. It’s too big and a bit tubby. She also stinks because it takes a couple of days and plenty of pumping at the head to get the lines cleared of human waste. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Otherwise, the boat is perfect for bigger groups – 4 cabins each with their own head (bathroom) and it’s reliable. After a few days, it doesn’t stink and I’ve found that a few drops of lavender oil on the pillows helps a lot. You can get an idea of the size by this photo with me in it for reference.
Yep, it’s big.
The trip started out well. The weather was clear and we had plenty of wind and sunshine. As we headed toward the farthest island, San Miguel, we realized we did not load the safety harnesses and jacklines (more on that to come). The wind was kicking up pretty well by that time – gusts of 20 mph and rising swells. It was to be a long weekend, so safety was needed and we turned back to get the safety gear. We bailed on San Miguel and opted for the larger, closer island of Santa Cruz.
So, here’s where things start to get a little hairy. Swells of 5-6 feet, serious heeling on both sides of the boat, and me very sick despite plenty of Dramamine. It’s hard to get a good image of the scene and it got much darker and stormier after this, but here you have one image.
Things got calmer as we got closer to the island and out of the channel. We set anchor, cooked dinner, cleaned up and crashed for the first night … more to come tomorrow.