This song was written an hour after arriving on shore and experiencing a Blue Whale swimming under my small kayak on the Transparentsea Voyage.
Link to new song about Will’s Blue Whale experience on the Transparentsea Voyage.
17 hours at sea, finally we arrive!
Im sure a lot will be said about the 17 hrs we spent at sea crossing the South bay. This is what happened to me. We decided to do our first night sail. A beautiful evening with small swell, light winds and a billion stars over head. We launched from Leo Carrillo at 11pm and planned on coming in at Point Dume about 7 miles down the coast. We all stayed together and encountered amazing shooting stars in a huge moon filled night sky. Phosphorous everywhere turned a seal into a glowing underwater missile. Beauty everywhere. The reality of cold and wet started setting in as we arrived around our destination at about 3am. At this point I will introduce the pairs on our two person Kayaks. 1) Dave & Lauren 2) Hilton & katherine 3) Chris & OJ 4) Oliver & Patrick 5) Will & Troy. So just off shore we grouped and made the decision to not go in as planned, and to continue to take advantage of the current breeze and do our best to get some miles under our belt. We really wanted to get past what looks like a bay of cities from my perspective and get ourselves into the Palos Verdes area.
We discussed the lack of water and food and how tired we were. Each of us main crew members made the decision to go and felt our guests on that leg were able to continue with us. So at the exact time of 3:33, Dave gave us the star Canis Minor (Dog Star) as a heading so we lined up our sails and headed into the night. We really needed sleep but kept awake for the most part and kept our heading. I asked Troy to take over so I could get fifteen minutes sleep and do my best to curl up and fend off the early morning cold before the dawn. This is where I get a little hazy the following may seem a little odd to some people and particular timing of events may be out of order but this is how my mind remembers the next 11 hours… I watched the beautiful red moon setting behind me and as it disappeared below the horizon, some how the moon light was still present, but then in a quick flash the light went out and our surroundings were very dark and even colder. At some point soon after I woke up and Troy must have fallen asleep also, we were facing North instead of South and I was really startled and disorientated. All of my bearings were backwards and to top that off, we were alone! How did that happen? In reality we both fell asleep and the others crew didn’t notice… Bad move at sea, this really woke me up in all ways and I was determined no other mistake would be made. Troy and I watched the sun rise in front of us and since most of the land was covered in fog I just knew South East was a good direction to make it across this 30 mile bay and we would eventually hit land. Using the sun as my bearing we continued. Also the swell direction was a comfort to me all day, knowing I could follow that to land if it became necessary before dark. Every sense was on heightened alert and I tried to run through every scenario just to be prepared. I finally got in touch with Dave who was with Chris and Hilton and learned they were in thick fog and were using compasses to head South East. Oliver & Patrick were missing and they didn’t have any form of communication. I was at least 8 miles off shore which put Dave and crew another 2-3 miles out in the thick fog. I tried to give them a land mark but it was hard with the marine layer covering the shore. Very weird to be in clear sun in a cocoon of fog. I felt a little better after contact but not having any view of the rest of the crew for 10 hours was strange. As the hours continued we could see the fog bank closing in on us. Along with the ominous fog came a welcomed wind. Luckily I could still use the sun as a bearing through the fog and I had my trusty swell direction as a back up to keep me headed in the correct direction. Also at this point our hearing became really sensitive to the point of us hearing voices. We could not make out what was being said at all but we really could hear people speaking. At one point Troy swears he heard a dog barking! On we sailed voices and all…. at some point hours into fog the time warp we heard an actual fog horn, over and over again it sounded its lonely call. Soon after I was distracted by a Seal that looked in distress, flipper up and floating in a strange way with seagulls closing in to peck at it. We took a pass and it was tangled in seaweed and floating and just sticking it’s snoot out to breath. We made a pass to try to grab some of the weed and un tangle it, luckily the keel caught a hold of the weed and freed it. It was so happy and followed us with its family for quite a while. Troy and I both felt great to have that interaction and did our good ocean deed for the day. I knew this was a good sign and at this point decided to make our way to shore. I had a feeling it was time and followed some Dolphins towards the fog horn sound. As we approached the sound we could make out a shape which looked like an oil platform. My heart dropped as I thought we were still miles out to sea but then elation as I saw people and realized it was a pier, then finally LAND! I was so excited and relieved and re energized. I got hold of our ground crew by phone and they happened to be just north of us at Redondo beach. We sailed up the shore line and came in to meet Howie, Blake, and Garry. They gave me water! Coconut water and and avocado and corn chips which I devoured. Troy decided to call it a Day/Night and I invited Gazza to finish the last of what was to be 4 hours of sailing up the coast. I was on shore for about 20 minutes all up, great to stretch my legs. Later I joked about stopping off at a cafe while everyone was lost out at sea in the fog. So back out I went with Gazza, we had to tack for hours to avoid the Kelp and get around the angle of the coast we were in and out of fog and finally at the 17th hour I spotted 3 other crew boats. I was really happy to see they were safe and I was also informed via phone that Oliver and patrick came in at Redondo a few hours after me and had seen a Blue Whale. I asked Garry to take over so I could finally get 15 minutes of sleep knowing everyone was safe and imagined what crazy stories the rest of the crew would be telling tonight …. sleep beautiful sleep….. never felt so good, will update more soon, Will
Each day of the voyage we create a song to help tell the story. We all sit in a bus and record live. Our guest on day 3 was Denny Aaberg who is an amazing musician and also wrote the surf movie “Big Wednesday” also featured are my good friends Band of Frequencies and Angus Stone on harmonica.
Will joins the crew of the TransparentSea Voyage set to kick off October 1st.
TransparentSea is an awareness campaign aimed at highlighting coastal environmental issues, with particular attention given to cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and the waters they inhabit.
The first journey (Byron Bay to Bondi, Australia, 2009) successfully highlighted the plight of humpback whales and the threat faced by Japanese whaling fleets.
The second (California, October, 2011) traces the southern migration of the California Grey Whale from Santa Barbara to Baja, Mexico with an emphasis on engaging key coastal community groups and drawing awareness to the causes they support.
Will Conner live at Byron Bay Community Center - Smile
Will Conner live at Byron Bay Community Center - Home (w/ Jack Johnson & Rusty)
Will Conner live at Byron Bay Community Center - Plastic Jesus/Fall Line (w/ Jack Johnson)
Will Conner live at Byron Bay Community Center - Lucky (w/ Jack Johnson)