I haven't gotten around to writing about the storm yet, but in the mean time here's the official report from the Ocean Institute weekly announcements:
As most of you know, Spirit of Dana Point departed Dana Point harbor Saturday morning for her month long stay in the City of Santa Barbara in order to conduct educational programs through the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. What was expected to be an uneventful 24-hour transit north turned into a rather exciting adventure for some of our TallShip Volunteers and sailing staff. Spirit departed Saturday morning under sunny skies and calm seas. She was scheduled to arrive early Sunday morning and commence educational programs Monday night. However, Spirit and her crew did not arrive until Monday evening - 52 hours later.
Shortly after her departure, warnings came in of a small craft advisory north of LA - nothing our fine Captain Wehan and hearty crew could not handle. Soon after passing LA harbor, the "small craft advisory" quickly turned into gale force winds accompanied by 15ft swells. "All Hands on Deck!" The adventure began and continued for the next two days.
Here's a brief account provided by some of the crew aboard:
The force of the wind and height of the seas made for a long, slow, turbulent, exhausting, exciting, and sometimes nerve-wracking sea voyage. For those attempting to sea furl the head gear it meant a hold-on-for-dear-life dunk into the ocean waves. Simply navigating the decks to get from on end to the other required full concentration to avoid from being quickly tossed from your feet. At one point, the outhaul for the spanker snapped, the small boat was jolted off its davits, and part of the pin rail was crushed. Waves continued to crash over the bow providing a constant wash of saltwater on the decks, into the forecastle and even cascading down into the hold. Bunks were drenched as well as all personal gear, paperwork, equipment, and provisions. There was no preparing of food, not even coffee, the seas too rough. Nothing was left untouched by the sea. No dry bunks for refuge, no dry anything. . .
"Our clothes were all wet through, and the only change was from wet to more wet." ~ Richard Henry Dana, Jr. (Two Years Before The Mast)
The ship was tossed throughout the night and into Sunday. By two p.m. next day, Spirit was finally within sight of
Santa Barbara [actually by this point we'd given up on SB and were trying unsuccessfully to make it to the nearest harbour, Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard]. With sails now double reefed the Captain commenced to tack the fine ship back and forth as she fought to reach her destination. Yet with all the crew's efforts and Captain's determination, Spirit of Dana Point could not make headway against the powerful winds and onslaught of water. Thus, after a long battle and only three miles from the harbor, Spirit was forced to turn back and head South 25 miles to rest at Paradise Cove in Malibu. At four a.m. Monday morning, the exhausted crew of Spirit of Dana Point, pulled up anchor and under renewed calm conditions finally pulled safely into Santa Barbara at 5:00p.m. Monday evening.
However, with all the lack of sleep, lack of food, frazzled nerves, and valiant work, the crew returned safe, exhausted, but excited for their adventure. Here is what some had to say:
Skip: That was the most fun I've ever had!
Casey: It was better than the best theme park ride (and lasted a lot longer too)!
Sarah B.: Best kind of sail training one could have - AWESOME!
Captain Peter: Yahoo!!! That's the real thing!
Thank you to the following volunteer crewmembers and staff for their perseverance and support during the long-trip north:
~ Ryon R.
~ Vince V.
~ Julie F.
~ Kris F. [that's me!]
~ Bruce H.
~ Jody W.
~ Captain Peter
~ Casey M.
~ Sarah B.
~ Art Z.
~ Jenn C.
And, of course our fine Captain, Jim Wehan! Thank you Skip for getting Spirit of Dana Point and her crew safely to Santa Barbara.
The educational programs finally began (to rave reviews) two days late, and we wish the staff and crew the very best in their month long stay.
"While at Santa Barbara, we encountered another cursed southeaster; and, like the first, it came on in the night; the gale had been so bad a one here . . . the seas actually broke over the Dead Man's Island." ~ Richard Henry Dana, Jr. (ibid.)
So we are taking sign ups for Spirit of Dana Point's return trip home end of October - anyone wanna go??
I'd sign up in a heartbeat! ...but I'll be in Egypt. ):
Related Picture of the Day
This picture I don't think really does it justice, but its hard to get a good picture of huge waves ... if for no other reason than when its coming you'll want to have your camera safely squirreled away deep in your coat and to be hanging on to something solid!!! But note that is NOT the horizon line in that picture, that's a wave.