Monday, August 30, 2010

Too Late for the Gold Rush

We made it to California, not yet sunny and the water temperature is still  50 degrees; when's summer?
We left Newport, OR on what we thought would be some strong NW winds, hoping to round Cape Blanco without getting spanked (e've got that t-shirt!). One we got outside of the harbor entrance and outside the fog, it was a light downwind sail for the rest of the day. On the way out we saw the Coast Guard towing someone in over the bar. I gracefully offered to give them hand.

Turned out they were practicing towing each other in.

Our down wind sail out of Newport
All that day, we heard many CG calls over the VHF looking for any report on the 26ft red hulled sailing vessel Jolly Roger, now over due on a passage from Newport to Bodega Bay. We'd seen the boat fuel up in Newport. It was small boat with monitor wind vane and two kayaks on deck. Looked a little on the overloaded side. There was no way this thing was over due in Bodega Bay already; it would take them 3 or 4 days to get that far! I called the CG on the VHF and told of our sighting an that they couldn't be over due. The CG gal told they were over due in not checking with someone on shore, not over due in Bodega Bay. That evening we hear a CG C-130 aircraft overhead talking to the skipper of the Jolly Roger. He is telling him that his mother is worried about him as his 'Spot' position report didn't show up for yesterday. (Spot is a low cost satellite communications device that allows position reports and short messages to be sent, but is known to commonly miss reports.)  Clearly a waste of tax payers money to send out CG resources on something like this. Hopefully this sailor will start monitoring channel 16 while underway and save us all another such episode. (To our family: NEVER assume there is a problem if we fail to put out our position reports on Yotreps  or if we stop putting them up there altogether. There are a thousand reasons that a report won't get posted. 999 of them are benign.)

The rest of the trip down to Eureka was chilly but uneventful, sailing during the day until early evening each day, and motoring most of the night when then the wind died. The whole trip was about 46 hours.
Me, being diligent on watch
Coast Guard Life Boat station, Humboldt Bay,  Eureka
We crossed the bar entrance into Humbolt Bay around 7:05am. There was a 4-6 ft swell running along with some ebb tide. The river mouth bars tend to be on the dangerous side in southern Oregon and Northern Cal. The swells come in on the sand bars, peak and can make crossings difficult. When the ebb current hits the incoming waves the seas can get very steep and sometimes break - not where you want to be. All along the coast you hear continuous CG VHF radio reports on the various bar conditions and which bars are closed for what type of craft. I called the Eureka CG station last night when we were near Crescent City to see what the bar conditions were for Eureka. We didn't want to go all  night and find out in the morning that bar was closed. The CG'sman said "No, we never close this bar". Sounded like my kind of place.  The Eureka bar crossing was really easy today for us.
Woodley Island Marina greeter
We got a cheap slip for the night at the Woodley Island Marina in Eureka - $15 a night. Nice marina with hot 50 cent showers. If the weathers good, we'll head out in the morning for Drakes Bay near Point Reyes -- another couple of days run; this time around Cape Mendicino, another place sailors are frequently humbled... stay tuned!


Friday, August 27, 2010

Not everything on the todo list got done

We left Neah Bay after paying the dock enforcer below for our slip. Saying the marina here is run pretty loosely is a major understatement.
The Enforcer
Sail Rock, leaving Neah Bay
We left Neah Bay around 11am (Wednesday) bound for Yaquina Bay, Newport,  OR. It was bumpy and foggy on the way out to round Cape Flattery. We cut through Tatoosh Is and Duntze Rocks to get into the Pacific. I really wanted to grab a cool picture of the Tatoosh Light but it was nowhere to be seen.
Chris with Tatoosh Light inside a fog bank
 We motored for about 10 miles past Tatoosh and we were starting to think it was going to be a motor boat trip south. Then wind picked up and we had the beginnings of a nice northwesterly breeze... 30  minutes later we were doing 7 knots in the right direction in sunshine. This went on for the next 30 hours or so. That night, the winds picked up to about 15 knots or so with swells coming from west to northwest, so we got in some surfing too. The sky stayed crystal clear with a big bright full moon. Really  fine south bound sailing.
Catching some sleep after a night watch

About mid-night on the second night out the wind died and this morning we motored in fog to the entrance to Yaquina Bay. As we approached the mouth of the river bar there were about a 100 small boats coming through the fog trying to center punch us to get at the fish. Around sunrise the fog let up some and we headed into the Newport Marina and hot showers!
The bridge over Newport harbor entrance

All in all the boat and crew ran well for this passage. We had a small hiccup when the propane ran out last night. Oh yea, that was on the to do list before we left... It meant having to live with gourmet salad for dinner last night rather than homemde enchiladas..
If the weather looks good, we'll be off tomorrow for Eureka, or perhaps all the way to San Francisco.

Our friends on Saben, also travelling south from Edmonds, pulled into the dock shortly after we did.

Fair winds- Chris & Paul

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sometimes the Moon just lines up for you.

Moon set over the Olympic mountains on our way out the Puget Sound

We left Edmonds early Tuesday morning and covered did the 100 miles to Neah Bay in record time, about 15 hours.  We got about 3 hours of SE winds in the central straits that gave us some slow sailing but mostly motored. Because of the full moon and a lot of luck, we had the currents with us for nearly the whole day. Something almost impossible to plan. In a slow going sailboat, a couple of knots of current pushing makes lot of difference.  
Mount Rainier a 1/2 hour after we left Edmonds
This is the log that our friends Steve, Maria and Owen on Saben ran into off of Port Angeles the day before. They will be traveling down the coast with us to San Fran. It was nice to show up in Neah Bay at night and have some friendly hands to grab the dock lines.

The incoming freighters and container ships traveling in the Straits of Juan de Fuca are really impressive - both their size and their speed. You see them coming from way off and stand way clear.

Late arrival at Neah Bay
We'll leave Neah Bay today. Tentative plan is to sail for a couple of days, probbly to Newport, OR. Then wait out some expected winds before heading south again San Fran is about 650-700 miles from where we are now.
Fair winds-
Chris & Paul


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Where's Jeorgia?

We got out of Dodge at 4:30am. Did a long long day to make it to Neah Bay. Here's a link where we will try to keep our position updated on the tip south.

More to come latter.


Monday, August 23, 2010

A few more mantainance items to get past - then we can leave

First there was the rod rig inspection that our insurer required.
Kent from Yacht Masters did a thorough job doing a Navtec Level B inspection. Always interesting to hear the riggers perspective.

Then there was the stanchion repair. Kind of an ugly crack in the base.

The new base s prettier
Eclectic selection of available woods

We turned a hanging locker into shelves for better space utilization. Having access to my friend Steve's shop really helped on this one.

Chris and I and my son Derrek stopped by to my Mom at her adult home today.


Boat Electric Rocks!!!

After a week and half of drama on trying to get batteries back in our boat, Jeff and Lori at Boat Electric came through. Jeff put a bunch of time into testing our old batts and working with the manufacture. In the end, with time running out, they came through with two 200 amp-hour batteries that fit -- barely. Boat Electric stands behind what they sell, has decent pricing and a lot of knowledge. Definitely two thumbs up from us.
Performing battery Voodoo rights


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hay, when are you guys leaving?

Here's a cool picture of my son Derrek at Mt.Hood this summer - yes, summer. It showed up on the Snowboard Mag site too.
We've got a bunch of stuff done while waiting to straighten out the batteries. Chris is almost done with the sewing projects and I've fixed the leak in the pressure water system 3 times now. We should know in the morning the 'final' result on the batts.  Then hopefully be on the road by Sunday or Monday.
Had a nice dinner with my baby sister tonight. And my daughter Meghan dropped off some dive lights and a new wetsuit for Chis tonight. We have a few more good-byes and fairly-wells to do.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bac k in the USS -- A

We're back in our slip in Edmonds. We need to work out a few issues with our batteries and get through the 36 items on our to do list. Then its down the coast. to San Francisco.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Gotta love those freebie reciprocals

We headed into Vancouver city to spend a few days playing in the big city. Yacht clubs offer each other reciprocal moorage when you are traveling. The Vancouver Rowing Club is right in downtown Van, on the edge of  Stanley Park. They offer guests 2 nights free. Its been a club since the 1890's. Considering the trophy room is covered with pictures and letters from British royalty, it is not nearly as pretentious as it seems. Lots of Canadian hospitality.
The VRC- a gorgeous grand old place
Afternoon rowing practice
Working in the VRC Trophy Room- lots of history here!
VRC's always present and grumpy guard

The last time we were in Vancouver was for our friends' Seung and Zahra's wedding. We stayed across the harbor near here.

Busy incoming and outgoing seaplanes and geese in Vancouver harbor

Our sailing and wind luck ran out after we left Vancouver. We motored in the forest fire induced smog back to the Gulf Is. then through Active Pass and spent the night in Montague Harbor.
Chris rowing over to the floating bakery in the morning at Montague to spend the our remaining Canadian coins on some delicious blueberry scones.

Anyone now what kind of rig this is?



Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A little fuel miscalculation excitement

We spent another lazy day in quiet False Harbor, Lasqueti Is.
Saw the latest in brick boat design in the bay while on an evening row about.

We headed out for a close hauled sail to Hornby Island. Took us past Sisters Island Lighthouse that stands on a couple of lone rocks in the middle of the Straits of Georgia. It doesn't look it from this photo, but we had a nice little blow, about 15 knots on a close hauled tack.

Bull Passage

Tribune Bay on Hornby has a gorgeous 1/2 mile long beach and was packed with locals enjoying the sunshine when we arrived. The water temperature had not made my mandated minimum temperature of 70*, so I didn't go swimming with the locals. (It was only up to 67*.) After a night in Hornby we dead on reach sail back across the Straits of Georgia, over the top of Laasqueti Is and down Bull Passage on the back side of the island then across the straits to Pender Harbor on the mainland.

Pender is a completely enclosed group of bays with a small town and a lot of high end housing.We went into the town of Pender Harbor to pick up some of that delicious cider they make here, while there we did some car shopping on Pender for our friends Di & Ken. We found the Vanagon you've been looking for (that's Canadian $)
BC is pretty liberal in a lot of ways. Take a look at this boat anchored in Pender Harbor. Looks like they updated the Canadian maple leaf flag!

Passing the Merry Island Lighthouse
We hit 19knot winds on the nose coming out of Pender the next day and scurried into Secret Cove. The next day however we had a nice all-day downwind sail to Howe Sound. Were we anchored in the unfortunately named Plumper Cove.
Sunset over Plumper Sound, with smoke from the BC wildfires

Next day our sailing luck ran out. No wind. We motored for about an hour through Howe Sound and under Bowen Is. The night before I'd checked our fuel gauge and saw 1/4 tank. As we sounded the bottom of Bowen Is going up toward the busy ferry lane into Horseshoe Bay the engine did a short, mournful stagger and quit. We quickly set the main and drifted. I went below, lifted the engine cover and looked. Looked god to me. I checked the fuel gauge. This time I got a flash light and looked a little closer. It was on E. We had listened derisively on the VHF to so many calls to the Coast Guard on this trip declaring emergencies from power boats that had run out of fuel, there was no way we were going not get ourselves out of this predicament.

First plan was to use the really light wins to sail into Snug Harbor on Bowen Is, anchor under sail and take the dink in for fuel. A quick call to Snug Haarbor harbormaster determined there's no diesel there. The closest fuel stop is Horseshoe Bay. This is a medium sized bay that is a major stop for BC Ferries (big ones) and has a small marina. Three years ago a giant BC Ferry lost control and drove the boat through the marina to slow it down. Took awhile to actually slow down.     

This incident was on our minds... Next plan was to go into Horseshoe Bay under sail, pull on the north side of the marina and drop the hook. As we got close to the steep land near the harbor the light winds got really fluky. It seemed a little unwise to be sailing at 0.2 knots in front of ferries. We turned and slowly sailed back out of the harbor mouth. Finally, the ultimate plan was hatched. We put the outboard on the dinghy. Tied the dink fore and aft to the side of the boat. This way we can use the dink as power but steer with the boat's rudder. The only rub to this plan was that the dink engine only wanted to run close full on. It would stall anytime we slowed  it own. After getting a head of steam on Jeorgia was moving at close to 3 knots.
Here's the errand boy in Horseshoe Bay bringing back the vital, life giving nectar for our engine.
We headed into the harbor and found out that the anchorage area didn't exist anymore, being covered with mooring chains for very large, sail boat eating barges. We spotted an open outside dock behind the seaplane dock. It looked pretty straight forward t get into. The only issue was controlling the boat speed. We were moving to fast, so at some point we'll need to kill the dinghy engine ad drift.  On the approach Chris jumped into the dinghy and killed the engine. Then she leaped out to grab dock lines.  I swung the rudder back and forth to burn off speed. In the end, we landed a little on the fast side and some hard pull ups on the dock lines to avoid ending up half way down the dock and harming innocent boats, a la BC ferry style.

Apollo Ono entering the harbor (see him skating on the side of the ferry?)
We used our magic $4 automatic siphon to empty the jerry jug into our tank.

Then it was a motor into Vancouver city.