sailing homepage : trip reports : 1: sf to sd : oxnard to redondo

Oct 19: Passage from Oxnard to Redondo Beach

We were up with the sun in Oxnard, made a quick stop at the fuel dock right when they opened at 7AM, and were off down the coast to Redondo Beach.

Bleary eyed helmsman


Beautiful morning

The fuel dock experience was great. We had traveled some 50nm in two days, and we filled the tank with three gallons of diesel. The bill was $7.29. How awesome is that? It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, it's great.

Sean with the diesel spigot


Sara enjoying her coffee

We motored out of the marina breakwater and hoisted the sails in the light winds. We had been running with the 100% jib all the way from San Francisco - we were nervous about being overpowered - but reality set in and we decided to swap it out for the larger 150% genoa.

Sara helmed while Sean and I dropped the jib, folded it on the foredeck, and hoisted the genoa. The bigger sail is much bigger, much lighter, and really made a huge difference. In the light winds we were cooking at 6 knots! Awesome.

Nice sail trim


Look at that Genoa

We had one or two hours of light winds, but as we turned further Southeast to follow the coast the winds dropped and we fired the motor back up. Rolling up the awesome larger headsail was hard. I guess we're not proud, we just want to get to Mexico! Bring on the motor!

Just as we were using the last of our wind we passed a large military base on the coast. We thought the jets and cargo planes taking off were cool, and we wondered about the occasional cracks, snaps, and dull thuds we heard. We had the handheld VHF in the cockpit, and someone came on channel 16 and advised there was a live-fire rifle range at Pt. Mugu and everyone should stay 3 miles offshore.

We were right in the danger zone and only 0.5 miles offshore! Whoops. We tried calling them back on the radio and received no answer; we ended up just keeping our heads down for the rest of the time we were near the base. We weren't about to turn and head out to sea - we couldn't abandon the wind!

Mountainous coastline


LA smog on the horizon

As we got closer to Los Angeles we all noticed the layer of smog in the basin. I've seen about the smog before, it's really apparent when flying into LAX, but I wasn't really ready for the cloud of mustard-coloured pollution. It encompassed (enveloped?) the entire basin. Yuck. When you see something like this you can maybe understand why California has such crazy environmental protection laws.

Sara curled up with book


A small whale?

It was a relaxing day. The weather was beautiful: sunny, cloudless, and warm. We all chilled out and the boat droned South on autopilot. I got some webpage work in and Sean and Sara both read. Sometime during the day we think we saw whales off our starboard beam, and I got a blurry picture of something big swimming underneath us. It didn't look or act like the dolphins we had seen earlier!

Sean and Will jump in


Sara showing perfect form

We were all getting hotter, and when the wind finally went away completely, we decided to take a swim. We checked the depth guage: "---", we checked the charts: "2900ft", perfect.

The backflip dive


Yep, Olympian-calibre

Swimming in water thousands of feet deep feels different from swimming in water 50ft deep. I don't know why. You can't touch the bottom in either spot, the water temperature is the same, but it just feels funny knowing that the water you're in goes down a loooooooong way.

It was also a little nerve-wracking to swim off the boat. The motor was off, the sails were down, and we had drifted to a 'stop', but the boat was still moving slowly. When you came up from a long deep dive, you couldn't help but notice how far away Wanderlust was!

The water was a bit cold, but very refreshing. We were all feeling so much better! We had a quick freshwater shower with the sprayer. Just as we were about to get underway again, we noticed a large seal had noticed the commotion and was swimming over to check us out!

Sean swimming around


Seal under the keel

The seal swam over, spent two or three minutes swimming around under the boat, around the rudder, and then took off. Maybe he wanted to play! Maybe he was hungry for human flesh and hadn't noticed we had already pulled up the swim ladder. Either way, the seal went away unhappy.

We continued on and arrived in Redondo Beach just before 5PM. It was a full day, but we were meeting one of Sean's old friends from McMaster University in Canada. We talked to the harbour master and arranged to anchor outside the marina, but inside the huge breakwater. Free is good.

It was the first time we used our Danforth stern anchor, and of course we learned that the way we wanted things to work just wasn't going to happen. The chain and rope were meant to feed up from the steering quadrant area below the aft locker, but it turns out they wouldn't feed smoothly. We had to open up the locker, pull everything out, disassemble the locker, haul up the chain and line, put the locker back together, feed the chain and line into the locker, repack everything, THEN set the anchor.

We didn't put out enough scope out for the anchor to really do anything, and the water was so dead calm it looked like glass, but it's always cool to do new stuff on the boat. That Danforth is a huge anchor, and if we ever do really need it, it's ready to go. We launched Purpeat, picked up Duncan and dropped him and Sean off on Wanderlust for drinks, then Sara and I tooled around the marina.

We met Jill, Evan and their lab Monk on their 40' ketch whose name escapes me. These guys were in the San Luis lightning storm, were next to us at Cojo Anchorage, saw us at Santa Barbara and maybe Oxnard, and were docked within sight of Wanderlust at Redondo Beach. It's a small world. Nice folks planning on doing the Baja haha too.

Redondo Beach


Wonderful dinner out

Back to Wanderlust, everyone into the dinghy, and out for a great dinner at the local waterfront restaurant. Sean and Duncan went off to LA-proper for the evening, while Sara and I went back to the boat and had a relaxing night alone.