Out of Oceanside and a swell ride to Dana Point
I hadn't slept much because of the noise the fender, a foot or so from my ear, made all night. I did manage a few hours in the early part of the morning after texting some family in the mid-west to check in with them as they were getting up to start their day.
The sun came up and the clouds had cleared away during the night. There was fog off the coast but not a cloud in the sky. I drank a breakfast drink and ate an apple for breakfast, dressed and wandered up to the harbor office to pay my slip fees for the night. The woman running the front desk was very nice and the $26 I paid her was very well worth it.
I went down to the boat and began to prepare things for the day. Because I knew it should only take a few hours, and after the drama I had the day before when I lowered the jib, I kept the sail tied down onto the bow and vowed to leave it there unless I really needed it.
A couple appeared from the nearby hotel and entered the Cape Dory. Fortunately they had not been present as I dodged their beautiful boat in my rodeo the night before. They said hello, got into their boat and fired up the inboard. I watched foamy waves splashing against the breakwater and decided to watch the Dory leave and see how rough it would be getting out of the harbor. They left the harbor under power only and I watched their mast slowly make way out of the harbor while moving way up and then way down every ten seconds or so.
I didn't want a repeat of the morning before but figured that if they made it out in a full keel cruiser, there should be enough water depth for me. I raised the main, started the outboard and pushed away from the dock. The tiller didn't feel right and was not reacting to my commands as it should. It moved clearly one way but banged against the stops to the other. In the meantime, I was in the middle of the harbor and not heading where I wanted to go. I unlashed the outboard and used it steer me back to the dock. When the dock lines were secure, I looked in the engine well and did not see the rudder at all. At first I thought I lost the rudder. In my tired state, it took me a minute to realize that I had secured the tiller out of phase and had turned it backwards towards the bow.
Two mornings, two dumb mistakes. It was easy to correct and I pushed off the dock and headed back to the harbor opening. When I reached the mouth I expected to see six foot breaking monsters coming into the channel. There were large swells working their way into the harbor, but they were not breaking and I while the Tohatsu labored over each wave, I made steady progress out of the harbor and in a few minutes was steering to a heading of 310 towards Dana Point.
The seas were smooth but had sets and sets of big rolling swells. There were deep and tall but round on top and spaced out every fifteen to twenty seconds and did not give me any trouble.
There was pod after pod of dolphin. While on Wednesday I probably saw about 100 dolphins, on Thursday between Oceanside and Dana Point I saw about 1000. They were everywhere and kept me entertained all the way up the coast. Many swam within my reach off each side of the Excalibur.
I passed San Onofre and before I knew it, I could see the details of the hills around Dana Point. The swells remained but the seas were calm and the sky was clear and winds light and crisp. I lowered the main outside of the harbor and idled into Dana Point.
As dramatically as each morning started, Thursday afternoon was calm and the boat gently coasted into my slip and allowed me to step off the deck and casually set the dock lines.