Southern California Summer Cruise

This year everyone in the crew was looking forward to our extended summer cruise to the Channel Islands! We planned a great adventure to Santa Catalina, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz. So we were off! We headed towards Isthmus Harbor on Catalina Island in our two boats, a 41 foot ketch and a 35 foot sloop. Because of some difficulties Windward Spirit, the ketch, had getting out of the harbor, they hit major swells averaging at 8 foot every minute. Luckily the sloop had already made it to the harbor before these swells became so treacherous. This led to a decision by Windward Spirit’s crew to moor at Avalon Harbor because it was 3 hours closer.

So the next day as the Seeker (the sloop) crew waited for Windward Spirit, we swam to one of the beaches and went to the park, appreciating the scenery. Finally! Windward arrived and we were all so ecstatic to be together, first thing first, a celebratory volleyball was played against tourists on the island. It is ship tradition to play as much volleyball as possible on long cruise. As Delana Stoica stated after a game “We should stop being a Sea Scout ship and become a professional volleyball team!” Other members of the crew, such as myself and Bridget Steiner enjoy going on hikes and exploring much more than playing volleyball. Some crew members switch off what they want to do, while others stay faithful to their favorite pastimes.

The following day we were underway to Santa Barbara where we anchored. On the way there, we saw pods of porpoises just off the island and a dolphin swam towards our bow, following us on our voyage. Once we arrived at the island, we took the first chance we could to go ashore. There was probably around 700 stairs just to get to the flat part of the island, but the crew agreed that it was most certainly worth it. In the visitor center, we were all surprised and pleased to see Sea Scout ships entered into the visitors’ log book. Such ships included MSS Mystic Yankee, SSS Conquest, and SSS Del Mar. We even looked back several pages and saw old crew mates of Del Mar from back in 2005 and 2007. We met a flock of seagulls while on the island, who strangely enough, all faced the same way. As perplexing as it was, we had to go back to our boats before the sun went down, as beautiful and cool as the island was.

The next day we were planning on going to Santa Cruz; however, plans had to be adjusted when our main boat, Windward Spirit had a coolant leak, making it nearly impossible to go long distances without fear we’d be utterly helpless. The whole crew was very open-minded when we decided to stay on Catalina Island at Isthmus Harbor for the last five days of cruise. We enjoyed several on the beach BBQs and celebrated one of our adult leader’s birthday! Bridget, myself, and a few fellow scouts went on numerous hikes around the island. Believe me, by the end of that week we had explored every hill and trail on that side of the island, going as far as Emerald Bay one day! The rest of the crew had some winning and losing moments on the volleyball court, but they always held their heads high and enjoyed the games for the experience of it all. As the cruise came to an end, we were all sad to have it go. By the end of it all, its safe to say we are all closer and more family like than ever. I’m so excited to see what next year’s summer cruise entails!

Yours in Scouting,

Shane Gill

Boatswain of SSS Triton 1767

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