Things That Go Bump in the Daylight

After a couple of days at sea, we have made it to Santa Barbara. Yes it's true, we are officially in Southern California. It's warm, it's sunny, and if I look out our window towards shore, I can see a beautiful sandy beach with palm trees lining the shore. I'm pretty sure that if you look up the definition of “we've made it”, palm trees lining the shore of a sunny and warm sandy beach come up in the description.

We had a mixed bag of conditions on our trip here from Monterey - everything from warm sun as we left, to cold and damp fog within a half hour of leaving, to 20 knots of breeze on the nose, to flat calm, and even 30 knots of wind and a steep 10 foot confused swell as we rounded Point Conception. But right after we rounded Point Conception, everything changed.

It is said that the Point is the dividing line between central and southern California. North of that line, it's common for the coast to be shrouded in fog, temperatures are cooler, and sun tans are less prevalent. South of that line, the climate warms significantly, the ocean swell and sailing conditions tend to be milder, and everyone is walking around with a real and golden sun tan while wearing much less clothing than would be humanly possible in my home town of Seattle. I'm pretty sure puffy coats aren't sold anywhere within the city limits of Santa Barbara.

After our couple of days at sea, we anchored in what could be the most uncomfortable anchorage of our sailing career. The swell off the ocean rolled directly into the Santa Barbara anchorage which had the boat rocking and rolling from side to side worse than when we were at sea on our trip south. It was violent. Standing, sitting, eating, and sleeping were almost impossible, so after one night of torture, we pulled up the anchor and brought the boat into the city marina, where we could tie up to a dock, safe and secure, and where we could finally get a peaceful nights sleep.

You would think that nothing could go wrong while you are tied up to a dock - safe and secure in a marina. Well, you are wrong. Before a couple of days ago, we had been run into by 2 different boats on 2 different occasions. Both times were hit and runs and both times there was enough damage done to our boat to know that someone had hit us pretty hard. Now, our hit and run tally goes up to 3.

That's not a statistic I'm very excited about. 3 hit and runs isn't something to be proud of, it's not something to aspire to, and it's not something that I'm hoping to improve on by making it to 4 someday.

I had been down below working on some doo-dad or another, because like always, there is a non-stop slew of things to tinker with. While I was hanging upside down, reaching my arms in some compartment that is too small for me to reach into, someone slammed into the side of our boat. They hit us hard enough that it knocked me out of the hole I was upside down in and I landed right side up. When I got my bearings and jumped outside to see what had happened, a sailboat was doing their best to sail away from the scene of the crime.

The boat had been sailing up the main channel of the marina and had misjudged their speed and how much room they needed to make a turn, which meant they T-boned the boat that was tied to a dock in front of them...and yes that boat they hit was us. They gouged out a hole in our fiberglass, ripped off our anchor, and left behind streaks of their torn fiberglass and gelcoat as souvenirs on our boat. Luckily for us, multiple people saw the incident and made sure I knew who it was that was playing bumper boats.

As the offending boat was sailing away, I yelled across the marina the only thing that came to mind. “Uh, Dude! You just hit my boat!”

His response was a friendly wave and a “Uh, Sorry!?!?” as he made his getaway.

I made a few phone calls and found the owner who eventually came over to assess the damage. He assured me that he would take care of the newly made hole and gouges in our boat by having a repair man come over in the morning to get the repairs started.

When the “repair man” showed up the next morning with a can of gray filler to stuff in the hole and gouges, I was a little bit annoyed to say the least. While I was explaining to the “repair man” that although I appreciated him coming over so quickly, gray bondo isn't how you fix a hole in fiberglass, he was trying to explain to me that the repair would be great because that can of bondo “cost like almost a hundred bucks, so yeah, it's gonna work real good.” All I could say to his logic was, “well, even if it is gonna work real good, my boat isn't gray. It's beige. And even though my old boat isn't perfect, I still don't want a big gray patch on my beige boat.” The “repair man” didn't understand 2 important things. First, bondo isn't how you fix a hole in fiberglass, and 2nd, even if bondo was the proper way to fix a hole in our boat, gray and beige aren't the same color. We were getting no where.

He was adamant that he was going to fix the hole and gouges with his gray putty and I was adamant that he wasn't. As I was talking to the owner of the boat that hit us over the phone, trying to explain our dilemma, Brenda was trying to shoo away our friendly “repair man” before he slathered on a bunch of gray goop.

During my “discussion” with the owner of the boat that hit us, I was pretty clear that I didn't hit him, he hit us, and we expected our boat to look like it never happened after a proper repair has been made. After a much longer “discussion” than I would have thought should have been necessary, he agreed to have an actual professional repair made. I was sort of shocked and offended that I would even have to describe in detail the ethics of why you would repair someones boat that you hit, or why jamming some putty in a hole doesn't constitute a repair, or why it wasn't our fault we were hit because we were tied to a dock.

So, after our “discussion”, our boat is getting repaired by an actual professional who actually knows what he is doing. The repair has kept us in Santa Barbara for a couple of days longer than expected, but should be completed sometime this morning and then we'll be on our way and moving farther south.

As you can see, it's very important to be fashion conscious while paddle boarding.
Oil platforms are everywhere down here.  They look like something out of an alien sci-fi movie.

Anchored for the night.


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