Monday, October 02, 2006

We are now in Santa Barbara, it is sunny and warm and we are going to explore the city today. We figured we would take a city bus and just see where it takes us. It gives you a good idea of what the city is like, showing you the architecture, the neighbourhoods and you can see quite a bit for very little money.
We had two pretty wild nights at anchor in the Channel Islands. The anchorages were protected from the direct wind, but it would funnel over the hills and just scream down over the water. It was hard to get back to sleep once you had been woken listening to the howling, banging and flapping that was going on above you on the deck and wondering if the anchor would hold. The anchor was a brick, did it’s job, no questions asked, we had a lot of chain out but it would still pull off the bottom so was a little dicey.
After the first night we were headed back across the Santa Barbara Channel when the winds dropped and Barry relented and we went back to the islands to a different anchorage to try another night. We went ashore on Santa Rosa Island, some of which is a National Park, which means that some isn’t. The part that isn’t allows hunting on it, I guess they hunt for stocked deer.
We had our first surf landing on Santa Rosa. The surf wasn’t too bad and I just got my pants a little wet. You have to time your arrival with a wave surge and then jump out and pull the dinghy up onto the sand before the next wave arrives, tricky but fun. I imagine it gets trickier the larger the surf. The rock formations along the shore were really fascinating.
The islands are all very dry, it is like stepping onto a part of southwestern Sask. or southern Alberta. There are grasses and thistles and everything is dry and dusty, but it had that wonderful sage smell to it. The smells brought back memories of a ranch we know in southern Sask. There are few trees, the one there are, are all bent over and misshapen due to the prevailing winds. They had all sorts of fencing up for horse or cattle paddocks, the fencing was broken down in parts and all the boards had moss and lichen growing all over them. I went for a walk to see if I could see what the campground was like and a plane dropped in on the island. It was quite unbelievable to see that plane in the middle of nowhere, as I watched it land I could see the pilot battling the winds, his wings were waggling much more than he would have liked I am sure. As I got closer I could see them loading deer horns on the plane, they were huge horns and I imagine the hunters were very pleased.
At our first anchorage we were the only souls around and there was one other boat at the second anchorage. There were about 5 small sailing kayaks, which were rigged as trimarans scooting around the bay, they were really moving and it looked like a whole wack of fun. We had our first rain since we have left Vancouver Island on our sail over to Santa Barbara. By the time we arrived here I was ready for a nice hot shower and to tied up in a nice safe marina.