A six-day-long National Geographic cruise from San Francisco to Long Beach was supposed to offer photo-worthy snapshots of the California coastline but weather and choppy ocean conditions kept passengers from stepping foot in Avila Beach Wednesday as planned.
“We had a pretty big swell this morning, a lot of movement in the ocean,” said Port San Luis Harbor Manager Andrea Lueker.
Lueker said ocean conditions when the ship arrived around 6 a.m. Wednesday were choppy and rough, making it unsafe for passengers to transfer from the ship to inflatable zodiac boats that would have taken visitors to shore.
“It’s unfortunate because a couple weeks ago it was wonderful and very calm,” Lueker said.
Silverado Stages Operations Manager Johnny Roselius waited to pick up the ship’s 77 passengers for a day of hiking, kayaking, and tours of both the Point San Luis Lighthouse and Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove but he too had to turn around.
“You can’t control Mother Nature and we do the best we can,” Roselius said.
There’s no rain-check for Avila Beach.
The newly-minted ship is headed south for its inaugural season in Baja. The line’s Director of Expedition Development, Craig Moylan, said this journey was a one-time experimental cruise offered out of convenience.
“(It was) very unique. I’ve heard of them stopping in Morro Bay, but not here,” Roselius said.
“This is the first time I’m aware that we’ve had a cruise ship stop in,” Lueker said. “I think it was exciting because it was new for Port San Luis and Avila, so it was disappointing that it didn’t happen.”