Yesterday I rowed 19 nautical miles (about 22 regular miles) from Dume Cove to Marina del Rey. Part of a 50 mile row from Channel Islands Harbor, this one took me 3 days. The first day I rowed about 20 miles from Channel Islands Harbor to just south of Point Magu where I stopped for the night. As there were no decent places to anchor in the area I put out my para anchor for the night and hoped for the least amount of drift as possible. I was in an area which was only a mile or so offshore, and one which had lots of rocks, so I was very cautious about the amount of drift I was going to get. The para anchor would slow it down, but I still did not want to be drifting towards the rocks, so that night was spent “on alert”. I did sleep but set the alarm for every hour so I could get up and check where I was. I am not bad at sleeping in one hour increments but it was a bit of a pain after rowing all day and fighting currents most of the way. The other concern was other boats – although I had not seen many. Needless to say the navigation lights were on all night just in case.
Day 2 was a shorter row of 11 miles to Dume Cove. I did want to get further than the cove, but when I rounded Dume Point the seas turned choppy and wind and currents were going against me again. It was quite the struggle to even get into the cove, but when you have no choice you just do it. I made it into the cove avoiding as much kelp as possible and found a suitable anchoring spot. Now for the next challenge – how to anchor. I have never actually had to anchor this boat before so there I was bobbing around in the cove trying to remember what I had learned in seamanship classes about anchoring. Do you let out 5 times the line you need, 7 or 10? Oh man what was that number? Well I figured that too much was better than not enough, so I dropped the anchor and let out all the line. Seemed to work – at least while I was watching. Lucky for me though I had been told about an anchor alarm setting on the GPS which would set off an alarm if you drifted a certain distance from an anchor point. So I found the setting, set it for 0.1 nautical mile and then calmly got a good nights rest. No alarms during the night. Bonus!
And for the final leg it was a 20 mile row from Dume Cove to Marina del Rey. I had woke up early in the morning so decided to head out while the seas were still calm and glassy. At least I would be able to get out of the cove easier than I got in. I managed to get the anchor on board although I did have to fight a lot of kelp to do it. It was tangled all around the line so as I heaved the line on board I cut off all the kelp. Just glad the anchor came up relatively easily as pulling on the line was not doing much for my blistered hands – even with gloves! So anchor up and off I go across the bay to Marina del Rey. I made good time in the morning but then of course around noon the seas came up again and made for some hard rowing. Of the 20 miles the last 7 were the most difficult with the boat rocking around and rowing against everything again. In what seemed like the slowest row ever past Santa Monica I was treated to several pods of dolphins jumping through the water which made the row a little more pleasant but still this was hard.
Finally I could see the breakwater entrance to Marina del Rey and was so relieved that I would soon be inside the breakwater and the hard rowing for the day would be done. When you are rowing with everything you have got and you are going less than one knot while not every stroke makes it in the water it is a little disheartening, but the breakwater was just ahead. Now to get in there.
Getting into the marina was quite the challenge. Not only was I being pushed to shore where I did not want to be, but I tend to attract some attention when I am rowing in. People out on the yachts and powerboats come by to ask where I came from which is great – happy to talk – but they also bring with them extra swell which means I have to row even harder. I was literally standing on the footplates to get the extra power I needed to get in the breakwater and not end up on the rocks. All was good though and I made it into the marina ready for a well deserved night of rest.
In the marina and the first task was finding a store to get some more Diet Coke. I swear this habit will be with me for life. Found a Ralphs and got my fix so the next stop was the showers. After 3 days rowing I was looking forward to a real shower rather than the baby wipes I have on board, and I have to say that this shower was one of the best I have ever had. Makes you appreciate what you would normally have every day. Oh a warm shower – the best thing since sliced bread.
So the next stop will be Redondo Beach and today I planned out that row. It’s a shorter row but it will be a good stop before I have to negotiate the shipping lanes of Long Beach. Now that will be the real challenge.