Well it was an interesting row yesterday. 15, hours, 30 miles from Santa Barbara, CA to Ventura, CA. It was always going to be a long row, but I wanted to make it in one day so off I went at 6.30am from Santa Barbara Harbor. The sea was like glass all morning which was a refreshing change to the conditions I had faced in Monterey. Hey I could actually row out of the bay without circling around for days on end! The only downfall to glassy water with no winds is that I get to do all the hard work. I didn’t do too bad though – 1.6 knots on average.
At lunchtime the winds and currents picked up and while it was harder to stay on course I was now getting 2.6 – 3 knots and surfing the waves. I have to say that wave surfing is kind of fun not to mention that I go faster for the same amount of effort on my part. I did find it kind of amusing though that the winds were pushing me west when I really wanted to go southeast. When I was in Monterey Bay I was wanting to be sucked out to sea, but no such luck. Now here I was wanting to stay within a few miles of land and I was being sucked out to sea. Just can’t win sometimes.
But I rowed against wind and made it to the entrance of the Ventura harbor at about 8.30pm – only one more mile to go. Right as I was turning to enter the harbor I saw a boat coming directly for me and I am thinking gee I hope they see me. I had the navigation light on but still I am a small boat which is almost invisible to others in a swell. All was ok though because it was Harbor Patrol coming out to find out what on earth I was. Was I a capsized boat, or was I the ocean rowing boat which a fellow rower Daryl was searching for? They were not quite sure.
So Harbor Patrol pull up beside me and realize there is someone on board and they were stunned that I was rowing into their harbor. Where was I going to stay they asked? Well I don’t know I said. I need to find a slip. No problem they said. Just row into the marina and come to the Harbor Patrol dock. I could tie up there. Awesome!
About an hour later I arrived at the Harbor Patrol dock and they were there waiting for me. They helped me tie the bow and stern lines and then out of the boat. I’d been rocking all day so I had my sea legs, so the minute I got out of the boat I almost fell over. Amazing how fast that happens. Anyway it’s 9.30pm, I’ve just arrived and the two guys from Harbor Patrol had come back to shore and apparently prepared for my arrival. They had been out and got food (they had got one vegetarian meal as well – just in case – good choice), had antibiotic ointment ready for the blisters I would likely have (again a good choice), showed me where the showers and bathroom were, and gave me a space to use my laptop. Did I look that much like a castaway? Wow – I have been adopted! Who would have thought? All of this was perfect though because I had not eaten much as I had rowed for 15 hours straight, I needed a shower and yes I had some lovely blisters from the day’s rowing. Amazing. Only thing I needed now was some of that precious Diet Coke I love so much. How close is the 7-Eleven? Oh too far for you to walk at 11pm at night. Let us drive you up there. And off we went.
I can not believe the amazing welcome I received at Harbor Patrol in Ventura and quite honestly I feel like a bit of a castaway. I have food on board, albeit dehydrated food, and I was going to have to use a makeshift shower anyway going across the Pacific, but this is just wonderful. After a long row it was so nice to come in and everything was just there. There are some good people in this world and sometimes you find them in the most unexpected places.