Prism's Blog

San Simeon – Santa Barbara- Santa Cruz Island-Ventura- New Crew member and 1 stow-away- Catalina Island- San Diego

Oh man have we been busy. Where to start…. how about some pictures from the party and a little more….

Getting started


Jon, Dawn and I


so much food!

So much LOVE!!


Coming into Capatola


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Bruce and Dawns boat “Lady Jane” anchored out near the surf


Our sail down to San Simeon Cove was not nearly as exciting at our last adventure sailing around Point Sur. We got about… I would say maybe 8  hours of sailing in, out of the 17 it took us to get to our destination. We left Stillwater cove around 6pm, sailed/ motored throughout the night with annoying swell and a wet cold dense fog that would not leave us alone. The night watches were cold and long, dressed in full foul weather gear, scarfs, gloves, wool socks, and our huge mexican blankets to keep us warm. When morning broke we still had  A LOT of fog, Jon had mentioned that we were getting close to the cove, and warned me to pay close attention to the chart and radar. Once I was dressed and on deck I could see why he needed me up there! I asked him where we were and he answered back ” In the Cove”. Oh man, you would have had NO IDEA where land was if it was not for GPS and Radar. WOW! We Slowly crept in keeping a sharp look out for any other boats that might be anchored here as well, until we located the pier. The radar showed no other boat in the cove so we dropped the hook about 150 yards off from the pier. Not the best place to drop the hook as the wind and swell is more intense on this side of the cove. But because we could not see anything we figured we would just wait a little till the fog cleared and we could see the kelp and cliffs that hug the north side of the cove (where we anchored last time on TARA).

As soon as we were set in, Jon headed down stairs to take a nap and I sat on deck in the cold fog reading a book. Around 2 pm we launched the dinghy, and the fog was just lifting as my aunt Rita came into the cove to pick us up.

For anyone who has ever been to San Simeon you will know that the beach break is always entertaining. We rowed in timing the sets and made a break for it. Rita was on the beach waving us in, we made it with only a few splashes on our shirts.  We went back to Rita’s, had lunch and hung out in the nest in her back yard.

Rita lent us her car for the week so we could come and go into town as we needed. On our way back to the cove, Jon and I stopped to pick up some eggs and bread for breakfast the next morning. We did not bring shoes, (people looked at us like were crazy in the market) and we did not bring a dry bag to put our food into to get past the surf in the dinghy.

Needless to say we made a break for it, tried timing the swell, we ALMOST made it. We went up and over, dinghy filled, then flipped. Once Jon and I were back on our feet, the next task at hand was to get the dinghy out of the surf break and collect our groceries that were floating (and yes, I do literally mean floating) by us. Amazingly we only had 18 casualties in the dinghy /swell/ beach break misjudgment, and that would be eggs, everything else made it somehow. We loaded back into the dinghy again and waited for our chance……we almost didn’t make it that time either…we had taken on some water in the walker bay and she does not like to row when filled with water. The row back to Prism was very funny, Jon and I both were laughing the whole way. HA what a way to start our week in the cove.

The weather was not perfect in the cove. We had very heavy fog every morning that stuck around till after noon. Then there are the flies…. not as bad as last time, but still the flies will drive you nuts! But once the fog did burn off the sun would come out to play for a little. We did not get off the boat for the next 2 days, finishing project and getting the aft cabin ready for my bother Sean who will would be joining us in Ventura. We would come into town and hang with my family, My aunt Elly and uncle Kelly (same ones who came to the BVI with us) had us over for dinner and drinks. It’s always so great to see them.  We talked to Kelly about Baja ( he has spent a lot of time down there). The last day we were there  my brother, William help put together a little BBQ with friends and family to come to the beach and check out the boat…..

That last morning that we were in the cove we both woke up in bad moods due to lack of sleep. The swell had picked up through out the night and we were rocking ear to ear even with the flopper stopper out. We pulled anchor and decided the check out the other side of the cove, hoping it would have a little more protection from this very very annoying swell. It didn’t.

We spent more than a hour deciding on what to do. It had gotten to the point where we were ready to head to Morro Bay, however the entrance can be very tricky there when the swell is high. I gave the Morro Bay harbor patrol a call to ask them the status of the entrance. He told me that he advise against coming in unless you had strong engines to get you past the breakers. .. So that was out of the running. We decided that the swell was “tolerable”  but we needed to set a stern anchor to keep us facing into the swell. During all this madness I had set my phone on top of the dodger (a big no-no) and sure enough a big swell came though and Bloop! into the drink it went. DAMN.  We were due to have Bon Voyage Massages from my aunt Rita, without a phone I couldn’t tell her we were not going to make it. So we geared up, wearing bathing suites and with all of our stuff in dry bag upon dry bag and headed for the beach with a “We know we are going to get wet” attitude. We were timing the 10 foot swells and we thought we in the clear. But no, that was not the case. Jon had his GoPro on his head as we see a large swell coming our way fast. Jon yelled ROW! I said we would not make it and it would break right on us, and that we should “surf” it in like we had been doing on some of the smaller waves during the week…..

Lets just say Jon is calling all shots when we are in the dinghy from now on. We got our asses handed to us coming in. We had taken care to avoid a large log that was on the beach so we didn’t hit it in the surf. Little did we know that when the huge swell picked us us and make a chopped salad out of us, it deposited us right onto another submerged log. The dinghy came up and over landing on top of both Jon and I. We found the log with our legs, Jon split his shin open and I did something to my knee to cause a lot of pain. When we popped our heads out of the water we quickly saw the next set coming and and we knew we had to act quick. We got the dinghy out of the surf and tied up hi on the beach. During our dinghies attempted murder scheme the GoPro was washed off Jon’s head and taken out to sea or pounded into the sand. We looked in the surf for a little with little to no hope that we would find it. We let a few people know who saw our whole shindig go down that the camera was missing and if they could please keep an eye out.

And with that we headed to Elly’s. She made us some breakfast, gave us some pain pills for our boo-boos. We made some phone calls to family members to let them know we no longer had a phone and not to worry if they didn’t hear from us. Jon worked on the computer and I found myself in the spa soaking and almost falling asleep.

We had agreed to have the BBQ at the cove starting at 2pm. Well during our crazy morning and lack of sleep from the night before we knew that 2 pm was not going to happen. We called William and asked to move it to 3 or 4. Jon and I made our way back to the cove getting there around 3:45pm and were welcomed with many friendly faces. Come to find out they had all been there since noon. Needless to say they all gave us hard time for showing up late to our own party. HA. We talked, played some games, ate amazing BBQ curtsy of my brother. When it started to get dark we had a crew to help us get past the crazy beach break swell. It took 6 people watching, timing and pushing us out to make it. Sure enough we made it past the surf with no problem. What a relief that was! When we  got to the boat we turned on our anchor and spreader lights and heard screams whistles and whoo hoos from the beach. We prepped the boat for our departure and hit the sack.




I woke at 4 am to wind funneling in through the cowl located above our bunk. I woke Jon and we remembered that the wind was going to start coming from the south later that day, We dressed and headed out on deck. Sure enough.. South wind.. EARLY. Damn! We are in a spot that you do no want to be in with south winds. We go back down below and put heavier clothes on to shelter us from the brisk wet morning. We decide that we need to do  something about this ASAP, which  is a down fall as we were not planning on leaving for another 6 hours. It started with  getting our stern anchor up, that was a task that should have been easy… it wasn’t.

By 7:45 am after hours of fighting with our stern anchor that had fouled itself on some very old heavy 3/4”  rode, we had both our anchors up and we were on our way. I was feeling nervous about this passage after listening to the weather channel that was forecasting 20+ knots from the south around Pt. Conception (not ideal conditions)  I was getting mad at Jon that we were heading out to go around the most nasty part of the California coast with 20 knots on the nose. He pointed out that we could not stay in the cove as it had become a HUGE lee shore and the swell was still very annoying. Jon talked me down and assured me that this was our weather window and it was not going to be bad. I took a breath and put my faith in my captain. Once we were out of the cove  the wind died and the swell became bearable.  We motored along looking at the coast line that we didn’t get to see on our last passage (cause we did it at night) and enjoyed the warming of the sun. The wind would pick up, then die, pick up and then die through out our whole passage. Once we were closer to the point the wind did stay with us at about 7 knots. It was perfect weather for our drifter. We passed the  point in the middle of the night, dodging all the fishing boats. We had perfect visibility, which NEVER happens, we were stoked.  By day break we were moving right along at about 3 knots with about 5 knots of wind.  Around 9 ish we got  drive by from a helicopter. Shortly after we were hailed on the radio. Fleet control asked us to change our course to 320 degrees and to follow that for the next 25 miles as we were sailing right into a live firing exercise.  Once we changed our course we hailed fleet control again to let them know that their provided course would send us right into the cliffs and shore line just above Santa Barbara in about 5 miles. OOPS! When they got back to us and gave us a new course we laughed as it was our same course we were on before they did their drive by. What a mess that was. We read in the guides that you should call to check for safe passage through theses waters, but we did not have a phone and there were no directions on what channel to hail them or who even to hail. HA. Once we were out of the danger zone we killed the engine and started to sail again. We Had decided the night before to head to Santa Barbara before the channel islands as we wanted to re-activate my old iPhone  so we could have a cell for the rest of the time we were in the states.





“wait.. i need to focus more..”


dinner of champs



Midnight shift


Jon on the radio with fleet control





getting the iPhone back up and running


I always have to stop and pet the dock cats

We sailed in SB and opted to get a slip knowing how annoying the anchorage can be in SB and we truly wanted a 100% worry free nights sleep. The SB marina was so helpful and welcoming. We pulled into our slip and headed into town to look for an AT&T store. The streets were busy with a huge farmers market! I was tempted to buy some fresh veggies but the price were up there with buying from Whole Foods and we really didn’t need anything. We found the store, and after some confusion of who was on the account and bla bla bla we had a phone again. Jon and I stopped to get some tacos and then made our way back to the boat. We took showers and went to sleep.

We did not have to check out till noon from the marina, so we made good use of the water, power and dock space. We gave Prism a fresh water bath, did laundry, and vacuumed the inside. Ah! a clean boat again!  We packed up and hit the seas again, this time set for Santa Cruz Island. We had light winds so we motored sailed to make sure we got to the anchorage before night fall. When we pulled into smugglers cove we were the only boat there. We dropped the hook, made dinner and enjoyed one of our very nice wines as we drank in our surroundings.

heading to Santa Cruz Island






the water was 75 degrees!!

We stayed in smugglers for 3 days with amazing weather. We had boats come and go, with little to no visits from neighboring boaters.  Jon and I hopped into the dinghy and rowed out to some boats who were flying the Baja HA HA flags. They were all from the bay area. We chatted with them for a while, but they were tired as they just arrived  there after a 2 day rough sail from Santa Cruz.  When Jon and I went back to the boat it was hot and we needed to adjust the pitch of the prop any ways. In we went! the water was 70+ degrees and with visibility over 50 feet. AMAZING! I should have gone diving, but was just a little to lazy… so not like me 🙂

We did have a pain free boarding from the Coast Guard, who were super friendly and way cool about everything.  The woman who did the safety inspection asked about our story and was stoked for us, as she wishes she could do something like this some day.

We left the anchorage at 5 am on saturday morning, making way to Ventura to meet up with family and friends to celebrate Jon’s 25th birthday.

We pulled into a huge 65ft slip at Ventura Isle Marina and started on our stack pack project.  We worked away till family showed up. We helped Jons 89 year old Grandma make it down to the boat (which was a long walk), it was such a joy to have her see the boat and to be there with us.  I busted out the Champagne and shared a cheers with Jon, Mom, Grandma and Chris. Jon and Chris headed to REI to pick up a GoPro as we didn’t have one anymore, while the girls finished off the bubbly and Troy (our nephew) made hearts cut outs from our scrap sunbrella. We headed to Costco to pick up food for Jon’s birthday with the plan that the boys were going to meet us there. The plan fell threw and it was just me, mom and Troy fighting though the saturday crowd at Costco as we picked up hamburger stuff and booze.

The family: Tess (Jon’s Sister), Jason (Tess’s husband) their kids Troy and Truman, Mom, Grandma, and Chris rented a house on Ventura Beach just down the street from the marina. We were joined by our dear friends Joseph and Marci (SVHorizon), my brother Sean and a few of his friends who had become our friends while we lived in Ventura 2 years ago. We ate till we were all fat and happy. Ending the night with a bonfire, songs and good ole’ Dark and Stormys.

The next day Jon, Sean and I headed over to the house to have breakfast. Once we were done Sean had some last minute things to do, while the rest of us went out for a day sail.

The weather was perfect and there was infact wind for once. We had almost the full family out, which included baby Truman (7 months old) for his very first sail!( Grandma stayed at the house as getting on and off the boat would not be easy for her). We farted around for about 3 hours having lunch while making way. Troy (6 years old) was the first to say he wanted to go back to land…  Once back we all went back to the house, packed up and said our goodbye to Mom, Chris and Grandma.. there were tears and laughter in all the good byes. Its hard to think that we will most likely not see them for a while.

Jon and I stayed to have dinner with the remaining family. We had a lovely time, once again ending with drinks around the bonfire. Jason gave us a ride home, Jon and I were pooped from the day and hit the sack knowing it was the last night having Prism all to our selves.

The next day we had coffee with Joseph, he gave us more tips about cruising, and some more of his stories of his favorite places. After he left, my brother and Eric(aka Dover) came to the boat to help with the final projects and provisioning. Dover stayed to help Jon finish the stack pack while Sean and I hit the town to get last minute supplies.

I left my phone with Jon thinking we could just use Sean to call if we had any questions about the stuff Jon sent us out to buy. Well Sean’s phone did not have internet/ 3G or whatever so we had to such for these shops the old fashion way. We drove around for hours looking for auto part stories and a post office. Luckily we knew where the Costco was.

When Sean and I got back to the boat Jon and Dover were doing the finishing touches on the stack pack. I set out to load and pack the provisions away in the galley while the boys loaded their stuff, stowed the dinghy and surf boards, and prepped the decks for our over night passage to Catalina Island.

We left Ventura Harbor around 9 pm. The wind was light and the sky was clear. I make a quick dinner, and we started our watches. We have 4 people on board, but this is both Sean’s and Dover’s first over night passage… and their first passage general. Both have been out for day sails and have very limited sailing experience. Sean and Jon took the first shift. The swells were big and annoying, the wind picked up for about 30 min, so they did set the sails for that and the ride became much more enjoyable, but it was short lived. Dover and I took the second shift, we had zero wind and just motored along letting the auto pilot keep us going in the right direction. We had wonderful clear skies and could see all the stars. Jon and Sean took the last shift till day break, at which we were all on deck and watching Catalina Island come into view. Wow, so amazing to be coming to Catalina island, where I had spent almost every weekend growing up on my parents boat, and to be coming on my own boat…. I don’t know.. it’s a magical feeling and plus it was Jon’s 25th birthday! The seas calmed down as we made our way to the west side of the island (the back side). We found the entrance to Cat Harbor, which looks like your going to be turning into the cliffs, but you keep going and it opens to the large harbor. It was tuesday morning, and the place is empty well almost there are a few boats on moorings and a few anchored out. We looked for a spot to drop the hook but the only spots avabile were in 50-60 feet of water… meaning we would have to let out all of our 300 feet in order to be ready for the gale warnings that were going. So we came to the decision that split between 4 people it was roughly $10 a person to grab a mooring for the night, knowing well enough that the night was going to turn into a party for the Birthday Boy.

Getting ready to leave Ventura



Catalina Coming into view


Sean doing some early morning fishing


Dover out in in the dinghy


Sean out in the dinghy


The day kept getting warmer and the drinks were now flowing. I fed the hungry boys, we went swimming, then headed into Two Harbors. The little town with one dirt road, a few homes, and some very dirty cars welcoming us in, taking me back down memory lane. The same tree swings where in the same place that my sister Karen and I would play on with our friends. Once we made it to the little bar and restrauant we sat and ordered a round of buffalo milks…. its a gown-ups milk shake. SO GOOD. We had a few more rounds with toppers of rum shots we brought along with us. We played dominoes till we realized we had to get back to the other harbor to pay for our mooring ball. We had less than 10 min to make it to the building to pay… we knew we were not going to make it, so we slowed down and busted out the frisbee and the rum. There was a frisbee golf course that we made good use of. There were lots of laughs, cheers, slow-mo filming, and even a drunken track race between Jon and Sean.  We loaded into the dinghy, besides Sean who swam to the boat; and made our way back to the boat. We ate BBQ tri-tip, potatoes, and more rum for dinner. Jon and I hit the sack  while Dover and Sean stayed up fishing for the mackerel that were all around the boat. They were so entertaining to listen to as the liquor hit them harder and harder.

Drinks and Dominoes


Cat Harbor behind us


Funny boys



The following morning I woke to a knock on the hull, Cat Harbor Harbor Patrol is here to collect. I said sorry for not making it yesterday and told them we had a birthday on board and couldn’t make it in time to pay yesterday. The man was so kind and said it was no problem, and asked if we wanted to stay another night. I didn’t know as the rest of the crew were still sleeping off their hangovers. Normally you have to be off the mooring by 9 am but he said because it was not busy we could stay as long as we wanted and if we were going to stay another night just to hail him.

Once the boys were up and fed we decided to sail over to Little Harbor. Well we wanted to sail… seriously where is the wind?!? We took our time with lines in the water hoping to catch some fresh fish for dinner. We pulled into Little Harbor and we can not believe that more that 2 boats could safely anchor in here. We dropped the hook in 14 feet and backed it down deep. Score! we all jumped in to cool off from the hot afternoon sun. We had read that the snorkeling and fishing were excellent in this harbor. We tried fishing off the boat a little, soaking in the sun and had no luck. Dover and Sean kept eyeing the swell that was breaking over the reef that protects the anchorage, hoping that they might see something surf-able. Dover took the dinghy in search of good fishing while Sean, Jon and I jumped in to check out the snorkeling. The water was so murky that we could not even see 4 feet. Damn, so no luck with the fishing or the snorkeling, we think it was because of the large swells  breaking over the reef, causing the the harbor to be turned up.

on the beach at Little Harbor


Prism anchored in Little Harbor


the boys looking at surf in Shark Harbor



Group shot!



We went to shore, played some smash ball and frisbee, along with some snacks and more rum. We hiked up to the rock cliffs that separate Little Harbor from Shark Harbor and took in the view. It was very pretty. When we went back to the boat we had a quick dinner and called it an early night. The anchorage became very roll-ie throughout the night, with a wind shifts that made our anchor re-set twice. When we woke in the morning we were much closer to the reef and were not happy about it what so ever. Now we see why they recommend  setting a stern anchor… Noted.

We pulled up the anchor and set out for Avalon or any of the bays along they way.. pretty much what ever looked good and welcoming. We fished along the way catching 3 (what we think were Skipjack) Tuna’s. We were all laughs and smiles as we pulled in the fish and I pepped them for lunch.

We rounded the south point of the island and welcomed Avalon harbor into our view. There is an anchorage just outside the dive park next to the casino, but once again that is in 60-80 feet…. if not more. We opted once more to grab a ball and just have some worry free good times. We were stoked to here about their winter deal- buy 2 night and get 5 free. I mean how can you turn that down? We were only planning on staying the night, and then heading to Mexico the following morning.

Our mooring was right next to the dinghy dock and beach with a clear view of Avalon’s main street. We were very excited when a cursing boat pulled into the mooring next to us. They came over for some drinks, come to find out there were 2 couples on board, one who owned the boat and others who were friends visiting. Their friends were very excited that we had a Hans Christian 33 as they also have a HC33. S/v Privateer. Jon had read about them before in latitude 38, we tend to know about the other people who are cruising HC33’s. Their friends who had cruised a lot in their Westsail 32 for years and are now heading to Mexico on there “new to them” Rafiki 37′. We had a blast shooting the shit with them, and can not wait to see them again in other ports!



Dover left us the following morning after a night on the town with Sean. Those 2 together are a crack up. Dover made the 10 am ferry back to the mainland not before leaving without his go pro and ferry ticket that Dean had to track him down for. Now we are back down to 3. The last few days have been so relaxing, with a few projects here and there, including a new coat of clear cetol, installed the water maker (still working out the kinks) and installed a cockpit shower. The weather is beyond perfect, we are spending our days: eating, reading, swimming, snorkeling, walking about town and doing more little things to the boat.

Nope not to much to complain about here. We would have to say ” We are living the Dream”

Avalons week came a went. We decided to make the trip to San Diego for some last minute updates to the boat. While at Avalon I found out by experience that the water maker puts a lot more stain on our house bank of batteries. We usually had no problems keeping the batteries around 12.5v (90%) though out the night. Running the water maker for  few hours a day had our you batteries at 12.3 when waking up the following day. After talking-to Shannon we decided that our current solar array was not going to cut it. Even with our super efficient refrigeration we where going to need more. Our battery bank is old, circa 2007 to be exact. From the tests I have done they are still in serviceable shape. We decided to spend some of our kitty on a new panel and new MPPT controller to get the most out of our solar. As of tomorrow we will have a total of 270watts of solar which should be plenty. I plan on installing the new controller first to see how much more efficiency we will be getting out of our current two 85watt panels that are currently only pumping out 6 amps combined under direct light, which is about 2-3 amps under what is should be. The new panel is a 100watt flexible monocristile panel that should produce around 5.5 amps alone. I hope our energy crunching days are behind us for a while. Meanwhile on our cruise we received a letter for the BOE (bureau of equalization ) wanting sales tax for our boat. I was hoping to get out of California before they required us to pay but it looks like we overstayed. Tomorrow I am going to call them a figure out how much we truly owe and try to widdle it down as much as possible and pay them to get them off my back. I believe in tax, but we are leaving cali with no intentions to ever come back with the boat, so its a bit frustrating to write such a big check to a state that I will no longer be using any of  the services of. We pulled anchor from A-9 anchorage in SD today and motored up to the fuel dock in Americas cup cove. While I was topping off the fuel tank Sean and Shannon went and got Mexican fishing licenses and some more lures to catch that massive 40lb wahoo that I see in my dreams. With topped up tanks we set the drifter and sailed back to A-9. We set the hook and proceed to clean the boat. Aunt Rita and uncle Rob are in SD this week and we plan on meeting up with them on tuesday. Weather is looking good for leaving thursday. Hopefully by then we have the business taken care of with the BOE. Other than that the boat has been treating us great! No gear breakages of any kind, the water maker is working great now minus a rocky start. Been loving our change to hank on sails and the feathering kiwi prop is working great! We have gained .5-1 knt of boat speed when the wind is 5knts and under. Our projects before we leave for Ensenada are; Finish fine fit of stack pack. Recut forestay so its a bit shorter. Finish deck pump out for holding tank so we can pump out all of our excrement of the lest couple of weeks. Install new solar panel and controller. -Jon

Wish us fair winds and following seas as we leave the USA and start our Mexican Adventure!

sunrise heading to San Diego




Sub heading out from SD harbor


Laundry day!


Jon passing the time in the Harbor



Looks like we will be staying in San Diego for a few more days, as we just found out that our credit cards were breached and cancelled. So we are waiting for new cards to be sent to us, we are finding out how much we  have to pay to the BOE cause they are very vague.  We have walked pretty much all of SD and found a starbucks that was next to a few other places we wanted to stop.  We found $50 gift cards for Olive Garden, so we are on the hunt for that. SD is beautiful and the weather doesn’t get any better! -Shannon

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