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“and the tiny ship was tossed…if not for the courage of the fearless crew…”

10 September 2017

Sea foam as we are leaving Morro Rock.

It was eerily quiet leaving the volcanic plug known as Morro Rock and Morro Bay.  Just a few slow thudding flaps of the pelicans, the mommy otters have hidden with their babies.  The sea foam coming in from the Pacific is tan and brown, and thick like baked meringue.  Bella seemingly cuts through it easily, pushing it away long enough for the boat to pass before it begins closing back in. The radar indicated something ahead.  We looked and looked again . Nothing appeared on the AIS (commercial and many private ships broadcast on AIS for identification) and that was disconcerting.  We continued to look as the radar was inconsistent but trustworthy.  At least a few miles off shore, in the morning fog, were five paddle type fishing boats, each with a single fisherman. As they would fall behind and below a wave peak, the radar would lose sight of them but pick them up again when they crested the wave.  These guys had to be committed to fishing to be this far offshore and in the fog, in something that is paddled. The fog continued to battle ruling the day.  It sneaks closer and then retreats multiple times during the day.  It isn’t cold outside and the wind isn’t blowing. It is not that wetness like the earlier passages down, where it rains inside the protective canvas.  It’s very quiet except the drone of the motor as we attempt to move closer to our destination. Our next overnight will happen.  

Our silent travel companions.

I am hoping to have another wonderful dolphin encounter.  The whales have now made me a bit nervous as so plentiful and I have heard “the stories” of boats colliding with whales. Neither are happy with the outcome, I might add.  No whales that we could hear or see. John always seems to hear them before seeing them.  Usually before I do.  It was difficult to see with the ever changing fog but finally I heard a splash behind me.  John saw it.  “Run up to the front!”  John orders! Wait, I have to grab my phone (camera), as I trip over my own feet in my haste.  John always finds something to adjust, fix, fine tune, you name it. He is more focused on the boat running smoothly.   I keep the mantra “it’s a boat” in my head but my heart is in seeing something else alive out here!  We had a quick visit of a couple of Dall’s porpoise again.  Those are always fun! These did not stay long.  Well, not long enough to suit me I guess.  A little while later, off in the distance another pod of Pacific White Side dolphin appeared.  Again, not close enough to play in the bow wake but at least gave us some pleasure from afar.  I am sure the whales were out there somewhere too. Maybe.  Unless they don’t like fog either.  I wouldn’t blame them. 

The sun tried it’s hardest to come out all day.

30-36 hours to Los Angeles.  The City of Angels.  We just didn’t know that we have to go through hell to get to the angels.  The sun tried its darnedest to break through the foggy coating of the day but in the end, it just couldn’t quite do it.  When does the fog end?!?!  Past Santa Barbara they say.  I have to trust that “they” know this area better than I.  After all, I grew up in a land locked state.  As the day moved on, we planned for our dinner.  We eat okay. Nothing fancy but then we never really have unless it was socially with friends. John is quite happy with Ramen.  A throw back to my college days that I will pass on unless the moment is right.  Nice to know you can still get the same ramen noodles for ten cents a pack.  Of course, it is probably that old too and no one would know it. I suspect that twinkles and ramen have much in common in the way of preservatives.  Soup and sandwiches are often a meal.  We do snack a lot, and I find I am snacking healthier, if you call Brie Cheese healthy.  I am like that preschooler with an apple and cheese.  Instead of a pasteurized skim mozzarella cheese stick, it is slices of brie on my apple slices.

the only photo I dared to take my phone out of the Faraday cage (oven).

Normally, I take my “nap” around 2000 (8 pm) until midnight. I often wake at 2300 or 2330 to make hot tea, maybe a snack, and get all bundled up in my “foulies”.  Foulies consists of getting dressed as if I were going to go snowmobiling in the mountains.  Galoshes, waterproof, insulated bibs, and a waterproof, insulated coat that my mom would have been proud of- covering past the hips.  I prefer a head band with ear coverings over a hat. My mittens, however, are painfully inadequate.  No, the chemical hand warmers don’t help the mittens from absorbing moisture. That won’t matter tonight.  It seems that Mother Nature has different plans for tonight.  The wind picked up substantially.  We use Predictwind which is mostly accurate. Sailors often use several models to plan their routes with.  John is fairly adept at following safe weather guidelines.  Wind is normally good for a sailboat. It was coming from the stern and we do not the fore and aft guides for wing on wing set up yet. Not that it would matter, the gusts were upwards of 35kn and not consistent from either side of the stern. The sea state was capricious. The waves were moving with Bella so we had the appearance of “surfing” the waves and moving rather quickly.  John hauled in the sail except the main which was reefed, to keep some balance to the boat and the passage.  Then we both heard it.  I asked out loud, “what was that rumble?”.  “Airplanes” he thought out loud but was more like wishful thinking. Before long, the nature of the rumbling became very clear.  The older radar system that we have showed a changing glob of blackness that moved to and fro and was not the usual ship pattern!  It was HUGE and coming straight for us! Like a ghost, it hovered in front of us, growing larger in size as it approached us until finally it devoured us.   An old story recites a young child smiling in a lightning storm.  When asked why, the child replied the flash was from God’s camera and  the child was smiling for the photo.  At this point, if I could have called for Uber or Lyft, I would have! Especially if I knew this  would be an eight hour photo shoot that night.  Once again, neither of us rested longer than an hour during the entire night, as the cockpit was lit up like daylight every minute or so.  The intensity and brightness was literally momentarily blinding. Our pupils couldn’t dilate quickly enough before another crack would light up the sky…..and our cockpit.  Old mandates such as staying away from tall objects, stay away from metal buildings, stay away from water during a lightening storm ran through my head with each blast of light.  Really? Really?  Here I am, surfing 1500ft waters with a 65 foot  metal pole and steel cables and bars around me.  If this isn’t the biggest test of faith.  Off go most of the electronics, everything in to the oven as a faraday cage.  While I worried about the lightening, John worried about the winds and the waves.  I didn’t have enough worry left over to cover that area.  I vaguely recall that he said we had greater risk of [something] than we did of lightening strike.  I didn’t hear what that something was as the thunder crack drowned it out.  For anything unrelated to lightening, I had the mantra of “trust the boat”.  Oddly enough, in spite of my heightened anxiety, the boat took the following seas, and the wind gusts from either side with no apparent pattern, quite well.  He managed the traveler and main sail one direction, soon the other, and back again.  He made it look rather uncomplicated. This went on for eight hours, covering both of our watches. When things finally settled and he opted to take a quick nap around 0400, I snuck my phone out to capture the night of madness.  A photo now seemed pointless.  At this point, the less threatening storms seemed to be ahead of us moving inland.  Well, and behind us too. The lightening was no longer every one to two minutes an immediately above us. Could a stray strike still be above us?  Sure, and that would be an awful ending for what we endured.   I felt like I needed something to prove we went through this.  I felt like I had lived the intro to Gilligan’s Island!

11 September 2017

I had to laugh when the USCG called out the weather report as “isolated thunderstorms”.  I think we found every darn one of them.  Once we had cell phone coverage, we were able to see that San Francisco, San Jose, and other areas of California were getting knocked about by unusual high winds and lightening storms that they have not experienced in many, many years.  I know that storm(s) well as it was the storm(s) that we experienced through the night!  The sea state is gentle now and the sun has taken its rightful place in the sky and doing a fabulous job.   We were now past Santa Barbara.  Go figure.

Sshhhh…. don’t scare it away- it’s called “the sun!”
Under the bow.
By the bow.
It’s a race!

I like to imagine that we suffered so much that the dolphins we encountered next were some sore of apology from Mother Nature.  Sailing lore has it that having dolphins swim along with your boat is good luck.  Bella indeed, was filled with luck as we had these happy creatures entertain us.  I am not boasting nor bored when I say there came a point when I no longer took a camera up with me but simply watched them.  Then again, maybe I was too tired.

Here’s what we are looking for.  Blue sky! Blue water! Warm air!

The excitement of the dolphins was enough to take away the stress of the previous night’s storm but not the fatigue.  We texted our friend, Tony, to let him know we were on target for a 1600 arrival.  He graciously helped us procure a slip in his marina, just a few slips away from his beautiful Hans Christian 39 MKII.   He offered to meet us at Port of Call restaurant dock so he could lead us into this menagerie of obfuscated marinas and to our slip and eventual rest.  So onward- to the City of Angels!

Click on the Dolphins at the bow for a quick 15 second video!

Dolphins at the bow

To (MORRO), To(MORRO), it’s only a day away…..

7 September 2017

I think there is something exciting about seeing your own boat adventuring to new places.
Hey look! No foulies (foul weather gear) on! Normal shirt!

To Morro Bay. Our next travel with an overnight.  We are fueled up, the weather (yes, foggy at the bridge) seems to be slightly warmer and promises to get better yet.  Morro Bay is a nice 24-34 hour trip which seems to fit our style.  We have met cruisers who, for their own reasons, choose to do the whole passage down to San Francisco without stopping.  This may involve 6-8 days/nights.  Others may spend several days on multiple stops, and a few may not even do over nights, but simply short hops all the way down.  This is the beauty of your own schedule.  While we have anxiously pursued warmer weather and more sunshine, we have had to learn a balance.  This has to be fun for both of us otherwise it won’t work.  It can be very stressful.  You are on a boat with just two people that at any other time, if you disagree you can get away from each other.  On the boat, you can’t really get away and you must still depend upon each other and trust each other.  So, you can disagree but how you present or respond may now be different.  When you are tired, your sleep hasn’t been restful due to conditions, or simply being broken up into 3 hours segments, you can be overly sensitive to responses.  So for us, since we have made the commitment to change our lifestyle, we have decided that until we have to do a longer passage, we prefer to break this trip up into smaller segments.  We haven’t really fallen into the typical three hour division of night watches. Four hour seems more doable at this time and if conditions are right, even possibly a five hour might be feasible for Debbie.  As she is typically up later, a nap early in the evening and she is ready to take over at midnight until 0400.  John has historically been a very early riser, so for him, taking the helm at 0400 isn’t a problem.  We think this has worked itself out, knowing that there may be times in the future where we have to adjust the watches according to weather.

Taking my morning cup of coffee on the road

Whales.  Whales, whales, whales.  Everywhere. Who knew! Deb was starting to think that she had a natural repellant for whales as we did not have the frequency of seeing them as other cruisers had on the way down the coast.  Today changed that.  SV Bella Nave had become a whale magnet!! To the right, to the left, ahead of us, behind us.  It seems we couldn’t go an hour without seeing another.  Grab the phone, grab the camera.  This is what we were hoping to see!

It seems we were barely on our way when 2 humpback whales happened.

The sun was out, long sleeve t-shirt weather!  And whales!  The winds were less than 10kn which made sailing difficult for our boat so we motored along happily, watching for the next spout of spray and blow sounds.  Soon, the sun after working so hard, began its setting journey to rest.  The gold in the sunset was reflective of the richness of our day, and the calm sea state was comparable to our moods.  We reflected in how truly blessed and fortunate that we are to see and be a part of this.

While we are on our journey, we gave considerable thought to those whose sailing journey took a different path, not a wanted path, as at Category 5 hurricane named Irma shook her wrath in a swath that would cover the state of Florida as she began her fury over the BVI/USVI and almost every island to Florida.  Everyone felt something of her violent winds. Some would lose everything.

8 September 2017

Our night shift went well, and best part was nightfall with no fog, waking up for night watch and no fog, and morning shift with, you guessed it!  NO FOG! As we continued our way to Morro Bay, we were continuing to be entertained with humpback whales everywhere.  We even had a treat of several sea lions moving quickly through the water, giving an appearance of dolphins as they kept out of the water.  Their agility and speed was amazing and we were left wondering if they were on the hunt or being hunted!

You know when you are near or at Morro Bay because of Morro Rock.  Much like the geology near Canon Beach, you will find a large rock just sitting out in the water. While it is a rather interesting geological feature, it also means “we have arrived!” which means getting off the boat, rest from the previous night travel and some say it is a quaint little coastal town.

Here is our marina for the next two nights- Morro Bay Yacht Club.  We read about this volunteer yacht club and its friendliness, but we had no idea.  An 80ft yacht had passed us at the entrance and pulled up to the dock, leaving only enough room for Capt’n John to park Bella Nave, but expertly, he brought it in and kissed the dock lightly as both the Port Captain Lynn and the yacht captain took our lines. Lynn is an absolute doll, friendly and knowledgeable.  We arrived on Friday and they were having their monthly Friday evening meeting/get together.  Before we knew it, several members had herded us up to the community area and bar where we were able to dine on good old fashioned home cooking!  Several of the members or member’s wives made pulled pork sandwiches and salads.  We enjoyed conversation with the members and felt like we were part of their family. We found the showers and settled in for the night.  

9 September 2017

It’s the weekend!  Oh wait, every day is the weekend when you are unemployed.  Deb told John one morning, how she felt being retired.  His response to her was “you are not retired, you are unemployed!”. Hmmm…. still feels like every day is a weekend anyway.  John had plans for working on the boat that he felt was a “one man show” and his words to Deb were “go, get out of my hair oh, and don’t buy anything or bring back anything alive”.  Now this is really rather funny, as you know, John doesn’t have hair.  What could Deb possibly bring back that was alive?! So off she went, like a squirrel up a tree. Lo and behold, this weekend is their Margarita and Avocado Festival!  The entire Main Street was barricaded so that if you wanted to be on the street, in the festival, you had to purchase your $7 pink wristband to visit the vendors.  All the shops along the street, however, had plenty of access by simply staying on the sidewalk. There are a ton of shops that are interesting and fun to look into, from the usual kitsch to local artists.  Plenty of restaurants and eateries abound, most have something with fish in their name.  All these shops are tempting and the smells from the eateries is deliciously alluring.  Deb was focused on walking to Morro Rock.  You see, when we pulled into the bay, next to the rock, the entrance was littered with sea otters. Momma sea otters and babies to be exact! Now that was something she would bring back!! Except it was part of the parting admonishment by John.  Damn. Double damn.  Her own baby sea otter, to love and cuddle and could keep on a boat! Triple damn.  They all looked so cute, with their little mommas holding them and floating. The ground squirrels were used to humans and food given voluntarily or dropped. So much so that when kneeling in order to take a steady photograph, she would feel one’s breath on her ankle before she would startle causing the furry creature to retreat a few inches. The seagulls merely guffawed at passerby’s and would only take flight if you reached out and almost touched them. Even then, it was a half hearted flight as they would only relocate within ten yards. Morro Rock was much larger in person than what we saw coming in.  The pacific waves were crashing on the other side of the break wall and yet the bay was as calm as could be.  The sunshine!

Reminder of the past, 3 coal towers stand vacant.
If they get any closer, they might as well take pose in a selfie with you.

Debbie and Morro Rock with the pacific behind her.

After making the walk to The Rock, her failed attempt to bring home her very own otter to hug and love, and not quite having met her fifteen thousand step goal, she walked back into town and then uphill to Albertsons for some groceries for the boat.  It would be a long trek back carrying groceries, however this is a part of the boating lifestyle.  The cruising lifestyle has its own physical requirements but unless you go out of your way to creatively come up with something, walking when you are off the boat is your best form of exercise.  It was now around 4:30pm and having not had breakfast or lunch, Deb was now feeling pretty hungry. The deli looked great, the salad bar looked fine, the Starbucks looked, what? Starbucks? Really?  It has been two weeks? Longer? Okay, just a tall or a grande.  Yes, it is a lame excuse for fighting hunger pains but she did walk at least eleven thousand steps, and the last five blocks were uphill!  The rotisserie chicken kept whispering her name, and the Starbucks was yelling.  Both would be satisfied by the end of this experience.  With the chicken tucked safely in wrap, and some fruit and brie cheese atop, the bag was carried in one hand, a Starbucks coffee in the other hand and now it is downhill most of the way!  Yummy! We are having chicken and mashed potatoes tonite!

Showers and laundry.  This wonderful little yacht club has it all and of course, we made use one more time.  While waiting for the laundry, Debbie could hear the sounds of cat cries. What? Cats? We didn’t see any cats! The cries were mixed in with clickity-clack, clickity-clack. Ahhh, it isn’t cats!  It’s the sea otters!  Funny little creatures.  There are evidently a population of 3,000 sea otters as they are considered endangered and starting to make a comeback after being hunted for their pelts. Well, they have found sanctuary in this little fishing town. During the night, Deb could continue to hear them call out as they cracked their clam shells.

9 September 2017

At the fuel dock. 10-12 foot hand over at this point, then across the boat for one of the fuel tanks.

It’s Sunday morning and time to continue to work our way towards Long Beach, California. We promised Lynn, the Port Captain that we would be gone by 0900 as they had a race event that day and would be needing the dock.  Anyone who knows Capt’n John, knows that punctuality is hallmark. “Plan to leave at 0800”.  Ready or not, at 0759, the engine was running and the last line was tossed on deck as Debbie and her coffee turn the boat to head out. We could hear the flump-flump of the pelicans as they do their low fly by’s.  A few sea otters floated by with clams or pups on their chest. Hmmm….what’s this affecting my visibility? Fog? Say it isn’t so. Please.

 

Back in Sausalito…

Last sunset on Aquatic Park – no filter! (J) 1 September 2017

You just have to see this photo of the sunset captured by John on the land camera.  Yes, I know, it is of the Aquatic Park.  One more way we would like to remember it when we sleep in a non rolling boat……

Or so we thought.  We left the Aquatic Park’s rolling anchorage to return to our docile Richardson Bay and a decent night rest on Sunday, August 3rd.  John ran an errand in to Sausalito for parts and spent some time with Sarah and Will while Deb caught up on posts.  They would be taking off for another anchorage as part of their journey and we would hope to catch up with them again.  We downloaded weather and anticipated a possible Thursday departure but would wait and see what the morning would bring.  Little did we know….

The last of the Boudin Sourdough bread – clam chowder bowls!
Sausalito Firework display

Thank goodness the Boudin Sourdough is gone.  The Chocolate Volcano is an addiction Deb doesn’t need!  It was a nice little memoir of our recent stop.  The Sausalito Art Festival had come to a close and soon loud pops outside indicated that they also have a fireworks display.  By 10pm, John was ready for bed. His snoring confirmed that he was out for the night.  Deb continued on with the computer.  This has always been our norm. His quiet time is in the morning and hers is after he snores. Around 11pm, the boat began to sway a little more at anchor, a stiffer breeze came through the hatch.  It was about 11:30pm when it hit.  The winds which were silent during the day had decided to make their presence known! The anemometer showed 20+ knot winds.  White caps started to kick up around the boat.  John jumped out of bed, dressed, and was topside in a flash.  Soon the 20’s didn’t seem to be so bad as the 30+ knot winds became sustained. The howling always seems more atrocious when you are below as the winds are cut by the mast and the rigging. We could feel the pull on the boat and the anchor tackle as gusts of 41-45kn were visualized on the instruments when we would pass by the navigation station.  Outside, John secured the dingy even further during the lighter 30kn winds. We could hear people on other boats as they were checking their ground tackle.  One boat behind us broke free and drifted off with the wind, we were unsure if anyone was on that boat or where it might have eventually stopped.   We were unable nor would it be safe at that time to attempt to reset the anchor.  Another boat near us broke free of its holding and the occupants were struggling to re- anchor when it appeared they may have caught another boat’s anchor line.  They circled between two boats over and over before returning to their original ground. We could hear them trying to communicate to each other, yelling as the wind was voracious. We watched a boat ahead of us closely as it seemed to be closer and we were unsure if it too, wasn’t starting to drag.  Our boat continued to heave to and fro, dancing right and left, hopping a little in the wind. This went until 2:30am, then the winds calmed back down into the teens and we could attempt to return to sleep.

Smoke from recent fires, wind and waves. A good stay on the boat day.

4 September 2017

The winds kept blowing throughout the day, the our boat continued to sway.  The boat that drifted off into the night had caught anchor some distance away but the anchor was now able to hold.  It was safe for now.  The neighbors who battled their lost anchorage during the night had left early this morning, perhaps they were done with the winds.  (I have to say- if this is the norm then I would agree with them!) John worked on batteries and determined one of our batteries may be an issue of our not holding a charge.  Do we really need a third solar panel?  While John looked, and calculated, and monitored – Deb vacuumed the boat which also allowed us to see how the batteries were faring.  The neighbors boat that had drifted now was stable as its anchor had dug in.  It was safe.  The wind and the waves however kept us from wanting to make the dingy trek into Sausalito.  This is okay as there are plenty of things for Deb to avoid doing here on the boat.

Sausalito lights from the Bay.

It’s now dark thirty.  Okay, 8:30pm or so.  John has his earbuds in and binge watching a series on his iPad.  Deb is amusing herself by catching up with Facebook posts and texting after having made a filling dinner of Jambalaya chicken over rice.  Dishes are done and we are just enjoying the now quiet motion of the boat.  Deb heard a small motor come close but as many boats motor in and out of here, did not give it much thought.  KNOCK KNOCK. “Hello?”  Deb jumped up thinking it might have been Will and Sarah having returned sooner than expected.  “What’s up?” as she raced up the companionway.  In a dingy, stood a young man and his dog.  “Hey, I am, or was, your neighbor here (pointing behind our boat) last night.  You didn’t happen to see where my boat went, if somebody came by and took it?”.  Oh geez.  Dude!  We found out his name is Reid and his sailboat is a Landfall 39 that he brought down from the Columbia River.  His boat was the boat that broke anchorage and slipped off slowly into the abyss of the night, traveling with the wind and waves before resetting its anchor in the shallower water of Richardson Bay. He had left for the weekend to take care of a family member and when he returned, his house (sailboat) was…gone!  He searched for it with his dingy and with it no where to be seen, knocked on our door in hope of information.  We pointed out where we last saw it less than an hour ago and where we anticipated it to be.  He thanked us and he and his dog went searching into the darkness.  KNOCK KNOCK.  Within thirty minutes he returned, with no luck in the direction he thought we were pointing.  John knew where it was, his distance vision still strong. He saw it this afternoon, he saw it less than an hour ago.  We commented on it.  He was sure he saw the anchor light which had been left on. The guy (Reid) and Deb chatted a bit about his story.  This is his home, his second boat to own, while he is attending college at SF studying natural sciences.   “No worries, man.  Let’s go find it.” said John as he threw on a jacket and grabbed the car (dingy) Keys.  Two small motors whirred off into the darkness.  They could be heard for several minutes as they grew quieter and quieter and then nothing.  Fifteen minutes went by.  Twenty minutes. A boat motor sound and it’s coming closer. Nope, it passed by our boat.  Soon, you could hear our car (dingy) as the engine sound became increasingly louder and then stopped, with a light bouncing around our deck from John’s infamous headlamp.  “Did you find it?  Did you find the nice young guy and his nice dog’s boat?” inquired Deb.  Now of course, John wants to know why Deb thinks the dog is nice.  Maybe because it is warm and has fur?  No, it’s because he didn’t bark or growl when he came up to our boat.  People can learn a lot about how to act from nice dogs….  Sorry, that was a digression. John replied “Yes, we found it . It was close to where I saw it.  However some guy had just grabbed it within the past hour.  Now he is giving the young guy/owner grief about getting the boat back.  I don’t know why people have to be like that. There was nothing that could be done last night. The boat was fine where it was today.  It had reset its anchor”   “Is he bringing it back out here? Is the boat okay?” Deb continued.  “I don’t know, I let the young guy take over with the crusty old guy.” John replied once more before taking off his jacket, putting in his ear buds and returning to his series.  As Deb flittered about in the world wide web, she could hear an anchor being set.  She popped out the companionway once more.  “He’s back with his boat!”.  A barely audible reply of “uh huh”.  However, when Deb opened the little bag of chocolates…”Hey, what do you have there?  Can I have one?”  Right.  Selective hearing.  Let’s hope the wind is also quiet tonight.  It’s midnight and it sounds like it might have other plans again.

5 September 2017

Our friends on SV TQT have secured a marina and slip.  YAY! you know what that means, right?  Laundry and SHOWERS.  This one is not a quarter-op shower either.  Well, won’t likely see Deb for an hour.  Again, John was able to shower and grab some beers as a gift offering for use of the shower key!  SV TQT had a new guest! Two actually.  A very nice dog and it’s owner, none other than Reed from the other night!  That’s right, SV TQT and Reid (and his little black dog- Ellie) had the same type of boat.  We had discussed it briefly that night he came back and found it missing.  When he said what type of boat he had, something clicked in Deb’s head (that happens once in awhile) and she told him about our new friends coming in within the next day or so. Now he had found them.  He was enjoying going through their boat and systems as boats may share the same name but often are customized by the original customer or different plans by the designer.  Sometimes the plans are altered by builder.  That’s what’s really cool about older sailboats; while they might look similar on the outside, they can be very different on the inside.  He recounted how the remaining evening went in his attempt to get his boat back from the towing guy.  Short story is that a homeowner with waterfront property did not want a boat in his “front yard” and called to have it towed.  Since the anchor was set and had been for over 36 hours in a public bay, a case could be made against the tow person for stealing his boat.  The fee was extravagant.  The outcome to that story remains to be seen.  And yes, his dog Ellie, whom he found in La Paz, is a very nice dog.

Cousins little (Deb and Molly)
Cousins grown up (Deb and Molly) spouses: John on left and Nick on right

Ahhh. Endless hot water.  Nice facilities and we were happy.  As another wonderful opportunity- Deb’s only girl cousin from her father’s side, Molly, lives in San Jose!  While a mere forty miles, it is a two hour drive in traffic!  She and her husband, Nick, made the drive to come see us and have dinner with us.  It was a nice night in town as opposed to our rolling anchorage out in the bay. We enjoyed each other’s company and as darkness set in and we would each have our travels back in the dark.

Our home, as the night settles in and we return.

It’s dark again and time to get back to the boat, our tummies are full and we are content even if we are a little damp from the ride. Ahhh…. bedtime.  The winds have picked up again, not to the extent they were the other night but just enough. The boat swung, and jumped, and this is when you wonder if the wind gods hate you.  After all, this is why we left the Aquatic Park earlier than anticipated.

We have watched the wind reports and almost thought to wait until Saturday, however it looks like Thursday is still going to work.  We have been in Sausalito/San Francisco almost a week now and are ready to move on down the line.  Thank you San Fran for letting us be there for your record breaking heat day and yet all the fog we have experienced.  Thank you for the rolling anchorages.  Yes, we are ready.  Tomorrow we are on to the dock to fill up the water tanks (yes, we have the ability to make our own water but this is not done in the murky anchorage waters) and then to the fuel dock to top off the tanks.  John has done the calculations and we typical use about 0.9gal of diesel when we motor.  We will also spend one night there and hopefully, it won’t be rolling.  We are going to go to the seminar held by Latitude 38 for Baja ja ja folks and possibly stay for the meet and greet with hors de ouvres after.

6 September 2017

We pulled up anchor so we could stop at the dock to fill up with water and then head over to the fuel dock.  We tied up in front of  our friends on SV Three Quarter Time. The Empress, a very large power yacht was at the dock and this would likely take awhile.  Not to mention, the winds were pretty steady pushing off the fuel dock.  The fuel dock is wedged in a small triangular area and yes, the yacht has many bow thrusters etc., but it is still impressive to watch a good captain maneuver the boat in a tiny area.  As he came off after filling up with fuel, even he had the wind push him afoul, and he ended up doing a pirouette right there in front of the dock in order to get to his dock just a short distance away.  Since we could wait for fuel we would.  We would take our chances that the wind would be a little less in the morning and as we decided a night at the marina if they had room, would be just fine by us.  We met SV Lorien who is also on their way south.  We noticed their sailboat in Newport, OR on the same dock as us.  Now we have met another cruising couple!  Everyone’s story starts off uniquely, yet there is always that common thread of getting off the ‘fast track’.  It is also interesting to talk  “shop” or boats, as each boat is unique and so are its systems. There is always ample opportunity to learn something new!  Deb attended the free informational gathering with SV TQT and SV Lorien while John worked on the amperage and planned to join us later.  The informational setting was enjoyable and informative even if difficult to hear many of the questions.  Soon more people began to gather outside for the paid portion of the program- the meet and greet.  We learned this was primarily a networking event for captains to find crew and for those interested in sailing, to find a boat to crew on.  We left to the nearest grocery store ( still in sticker shock!) and used our entrance fee towards our own dinner that night. Money well spent.  Our last night in Sausalito and hopefully a non-rolling night!  Tomorrow we are southbound!!!

 

“When the lights go down in the city and the sun shines on the bay, I want to be there in my city…” (Journey)

The Rock. Alcatraz.
Alcatraz
Alcatraz

We left Richardson Bay today for the Aquatic Park.  As we traversed San Francisco Bay, dodged ferries, tour boats, cargo ships, motorboats as well as other sailboats, we were able to circle “The Rock”.  Alcatraz. Another one of San Francisco’s highlights from another era.  Tickets to this now national park are often sold out 2-3 weeks in advance.  Only one company takes you on to the island tour, while many sub-operators can sell tickets for that one company.

This was pretty cool to float around the island in our own boat. Yes, Alcatraz has a pretty cool history too but you can read about that somewhere else.  One of the things about Alcatraz that we did not know, was that the families of the guards also lived there.  So there were buildings and services for the families needs such as schools, not just those needs of the inmates.  Okay onward to the Aquatic Park.  Oh- and a birthday shout out to our son, Tucker, who turns 21 today! It is August 31st!

An aerial view of the park.
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. The historic ships at Hyde Street Pier are on the left. The Historic District contains the Maritime Museum ( large, white building), grassy area, bleachers, beach and cove. Municipal pier is in the foreground helping to create the protected waters of the cove.
NPS

Woohoo!! We have a permit for the Aquatic Park of San Francisco!  What is this you might ask? Why would we be so excited?  This is right on Fisherman’s Wharf!  We have heard from several sailors that this was an awesome anchorage, close to everything, great views  AND this park is also a free anchorage!  There are some requirements such as your sailboat must be 40 feet or less, you must have a permit (the permit number we have has used each of the alpha-numeric characters at least twice with multiple dashes sprinkled in!) and any dinghy motor must be 5hp or less, your stay is limited to five days, there is required amount of time between visits, and maximum amount of visits per year.  Oh yes,  you do not anchor near the historic ships. What an opportunity, right?

Seriously! Check out this million dollar view!

This nugget could either be coal or a diamond.  There are so many possibilities for this anchorage that will likely not materialize for years due to local politics.  Two swim clubs access the beach nearest the maritime ships. There is no real dinghy space and they do not want you to secure your dinghy to the dock.  The swim clubs do not allow dinghies. The remainder of the beach is almost always filled with people – kids running and playing in the water, couples basking on the sand, families day out. The opportunity to dinghy from your boat to the beach and secure it to explore this electrified area is near impossible.  According to  a swim club member – people swim in this bay constantly hence the 5hp motor and slow speeds to avoid swimmers- the swim clubs were grandfathered in before the park and therefore there has been friction since.  During our entire stay of four days and three nights, there were only two other boats that anchored for one night and this was on a major holiday weekend. Most sailboaters would be willing to pay a $5 dinghy/day/parking to enjoy the wharf. There is an opportunity for the sail club to offer showers similar to gym services.  This would be easy money as there is limited boats in the park, however, it does not seem to be an interest for that. We did not let that stand in our way of enjoying the San Francisco waterfront.

Pier 39

Ahhh!! Pier 39!  It has all the sights and smells of a pier and so much more!! Restaurants, fruit stands, souvenir stores of all types.  Sneak around back and you will find a free comedy show as boisterous sea lions battle their way to the best spot on the platform, whatever the best spot might be.  Who knows, I’m not a sea lion!

Debbie B met up with Debbie and Paul of S/V Three Quarter Time and continued the walkabout.  They have been staying at a different marina. We entered an obscure building which houses the largest collection of coin operated displays and fortune tellers.  As macabre as it sounds, yes, we did put quarters in to see a French execution and an English execution. (It was for historical value!)  The days have been warming up and it is nice to be out of the rain.  One of the things on Deb’s shopping list has been a fly swatter.  These pesky things are getting brazen about coming onboard and sitting on you for company.  Deb walked to two drugs stores and a grocery store before finding two to bring back to the boat.  The war on flies is on!

The sun sets at the Aquatic Park beach.

Time for bed. Hmmm… This is interesting. As the night begins to settle in, the water traffic stills, and there is no whisper of wind.  Then why is the boat rocking side to side so? This would be a good time for you to revisit our “Welcome Aboard” page for the configuration of our pullman berth. This is quickly becoming reminiscent of the time we moored on the “wrong” side of Blake Island.  The rollers (waves) from the ferries and cargo ships had us bracing ourselves for a ride throughout the night.  Not restful.  What the heck?! All night long we would be teased with waves slowing down and stopping….for a minute.  Every time you thought it was safe to let go….  As John sleeps on the outside of the berth, his fear of falling out won out – he finished his night on the settee.  Hmmm…. must be something about tonight.

Various buildings and home fronts along the tour.
One of the Victorian painted ladies.

1 September 2017

Not that we are counting or anything… but is Deb on day four of her trip recovery? John always has a morning chore list of boat maintenance or clever ideas to enhance boat features. Mornings are his sanctuary time and Deb is careful to not interrupt by staying tucked in bed until the aroma of coffee is too tempting. Since we weren’t able to arrange tickets for Alcatraz, we did decide to treat ourselves to a double decker red bus tour that allows you to hop on and hop off near sites of interest as well as see the majority of sites with a guide.  Since we were settled into the Aquatic Park, we did not look at the anticipated weather for today… 106 degrees! Yes, San Francisco broke a record on the day we decided to visit the concrete jungle. There was no respite from this heat, cellphones were going off everywhere with notifications of heat warnings.  Many places in San Francisco do not have air conditioning, led to believe that the temperature here is moderate and AC isn’t necessary.   We are wondering if anyone has re-thought that idea after today.  Deb picked out two places that she wanted to return to tomorrow, however, all we can think of is getting back to the boat today.  No time like the present to try out the shower system…

No, you won’t find any photos of this yet. Yes, with it so hot and we were sweaty, a shower was necessary.  All the fresh salty water you want up front (bow of the boat) and the hot fresh water rinse will be waiting for you at the back of the boat.  Although we really thought we would be doing this in warmer water, here we were. Just us and hundreds of beach goers. Swimmers were cruising by, walkers on the pier, and kids with their families on the beach. Let’s hope there are less rollers tonight.  Again, who could disagree with this view for the night!

Ghiradelli Square from our Aquatic Park water view.

 

2 September 2017

This is how the day started off. Two old Salts.

“Blew out my flip flops, stepped on a pop top” – okay, wrong coastline, and it wasn’t his flip flops.  We were on a mission to save his Keen’s (favorite shoes) in which the stitching had started to come apart.    John had found a shoe repair person near the grocery store and we dropped them off yesterday and planned on picking them up today as well as following up on the other two points of interest Deb wanted.  It was 99 degrees today.  Dripping with sweat, heat alerts still going off on the cell phones, Deb reminded John of all the steps we were getting in this new lifestyle. Okay, where is this other place?  Two miles away?  Surely this place would be something to interest John.  Do you know where the term “shanghaied” came from?

Outside the new “Old Ship Saloon”.
The cleat from the old ‘Old Ship Saloon’.
The bronze plaque.

Old Ship Saloon.  Well, now it is the New ‘Old Ship Saloon’.  Evidently the ‘Old Ship Saloon’ was also a victim to the earthquake damage.  The original bar maintained parts of the hull from the demised ship.  The new bar only has the bronze plaque and the large ship cleat out front.  We were the first in today.  A shot and an ale. The bartender was a great conversationalist, offering information that we were looking for in the history of the building but also as a wanderer and traveler in life and sharing what it was like to live here in the city.  And he kept our water glasses filled.  And no one was “shanghaied”!

Ran into an old friend at Madame Tussaud’s.

We meandered our way back, starting around Pier 2!  The Aquatic Park is somewhere around Pier 42! Next stop however, would be near Pier 39 for some famous Bodouin Sourdough bread!  And an In-n-Out burger.  We were spent.

Pier 39
Boudin Sourdough Bakery
You didn’t! Yes, yes I did! and the round one? Called a Chocolate Volcano! Sourdough bread filled with chocolate. I think I have died and gone to heaven.

We picked up anchor after returning from shore.  As delightful as our view is, we are ready to head back to Richardson Bay and to sleep at night.

 

 

The bridge that was “impossible” to build.

Sunset on the Golden Gate Bridge- Battery Kirby, Vista Point
It’s been awhile since he has handled the ‘land camera’! I think he is enjoying it!
Ships heading out.

Having seen the iconic1937 bridge from the underside, as we came in during the wet semi fog cover, was exhilarating from a sailor’s perspective.  Now it is time to see it from above. It was late afternoon as we hoped to be at Vista Point for the sunset with vivid colors lighting up the International Orange color used for the bridge.  We took our bikes on to our “water car” dingy and motored into town.  We were a sight to see- 2 bicycles and two people riding up to the dock. We went from water travel to land travel.  Sausalito is a very bike friendly city. It would be a relatively easy ride to Vista Point where we would be afforded the best views.  We brought both our bicycles with us since the beginning of this journey, with the intention of using them much more than we have.  John cleverly designed and manufactured a carrier for both bikes on the outside railing. They have travelled everywhere the boat has travelled, sadly with not near the use we expected.  Even with fresh water rinses, the salty water spray and sea air eventually takes its toll on everything metal. The love John bestowed on them just a week ago has already begun to wear off as Deb’s gears began to slip on the uphill climb. Eventually we made it to Vista Point with plenty of time to spare for the incredible view.

The area is perfect for that money shot! Getting there by bicycle was the smartest way to get there. Second would be  hiking up the hill.  For all the rest of the tourists who chose to drive – it was madness.  There is very little parking to be had and it was interesting to watch how impatient and rude humans can be.  Honking, yelling, and cars pulling in at weird angles.  This  and the fact that it was all downhill from here, made bicycling up here the best choice.

We returned into town and caught up with our new friends Sarah and Will at one of their favorite restaurants – A Taste of Rome. They are such a positive and upbeat couple and have great stories to share.  Soon, it was time to head back to the boat again.

This was day two of our recovery days!!  Yes, we know this is a very short post.  Go back and enjoy the photos. And yes, we  took those photos.  Photo cred: us!

 

 

Down in Sausalito, across the street where Chet Baker used to play…according to Van Morrison

View of Alcatraz and San Francisco from Richardson Bay.

Huh, what? Why no. No, I don’t know what day it is. Funny thing, this lifestyle.  All of our daily routines have been cast off to the wind, this time literally as well as figuratively speaking. We had our days and nights chopped into 3-4 hour sessions, awake during the night and sleeping during the day. Hmmmm…. now why exactly would someone jump at that proposition? Add darkness, fog so heavy that it water spontaneously appears everywhere and you have the making of a great proposal! The crew (Deb) was led to believe by all the sailing websites, magazines, books, and by the captain (John) that sailing is only 10-15% and the remaining 85-90% is seeing new places.  Okay/ so there has been six days of sailing. I should have 54 days of relaxing coming…….

We took a day to recover ourselves.  That seems crazy, what did we do that was so difficult that we needed to recover? The biggest recovery need was for a complete sleep  – not frequent abbreviated ones or rolling ones, or the semi-vigilant ones. The second was to review the boat and make sure there were no pending areas needing attention.  Seeing none, now we could focus on our desires.  A hot shower is one of those.  Depending on the type of boat, age of boat etc., you may or may not have a shower set up inside the boat.  In warmer climes, it is often not necessary.  You simply bathe on the deck with unlimited saltwater (and you can make use of the time and clean the boat while you are at it if so inclined!) and then you do a freshwater rinse using your boat’s stored but precious fresh water.  If you are in a marina, then you can use their facilities for tenants.  So, a 64F degree shower is not appealing to me, no matter how much you tell me there is a hot freshwater rinse after. Since we are anchored out, and do not belong to a yacht club (although it is sounding appealing now), we are left to using such places as gyms to borrow a shower.  For a fee.  In this particular situation, we found a gym that is familiar with a sailor’s situation and is set up for $7/shower/person.  There was no fancy shower head, no beautiful tile, or even private shower stalls! Makes you appreciate your shower at home, now doesn’t it!  Deb luxuriated in that seven dollar shower, meanwhile John was able to have his shower and make his errand run and still have time to wait. Our dingy is our water car. We use it to travel back and forth while anchored out.  It has a nice little outboard engine that we can travel both leisurely and quickly as our needs determine. As we were in no great hurry, we looked at some of the boats in the marina, and yes, a house boat. Now this is a house boat!

One of these things does not look like the others.

Waterfront property! I cannot imagine what the slip fee might be but we are sure with this houseboat (floating home), it is not an issue.

Homes along the Main Street.
Sausalito store front.

Sausalito is a busy place but retains a certain charm allocated when you as many bicyclists, bike paths, trees, row houses, and artists.  We also found out that it is a very expensive charming town.  It seems that many employees commute at least an hour each way, from “expensive but less expensive” cities. When explaining what we are doing, one person said that would be the only way to afford to live in Sausalito.  Interestingly enough, there are several boats of various types, anchored out that are those homes.  Old trawlers, tugboats, sailboats, etc. have become floating homes.  That being said, there are also many that have not faired so well.  Florida has had this issue in recent years.  Because of so many derelict boats, left behind to sit and rot, no longer moving and becoming eye sores as well as potential dangers, the sailing community such as ourselves pay the price.  Many communities no longer allow anchorage.  The costly efforts, both legal and physical to remove a boat, if you can find a place to take it to, is prohibitive.

Once the bell of the ball, now she has a full size swimming pool in her lower quarters.
Time for sun and drying out those wings.
For the umpteenth time, No Deb! We cannot have one on the boat. I don’t care how soft and cute it looks!

We tried to capture a few of the locals, and John knew as soon as he saw the seal and prepared himself for the “If I could just rub his nose, I know we would be the best of friends…” please, sigh. Some things never change.  Except the date. By the way, it is Tuesday. August 29, 2017!

Back to our home.

 

 

 

 

 

“Everything should be easy from here” and other silly notions.

We left Crescent City, CA in the afternoon. Night shift went very well. Deb did a longer night shift again and surprisingly, did well. It looked like another calm day on the water. John and Paul  (now it makes me wonder if there shouldn’t be a “Ringo” in our group!) have been keeping in contact through our journey. We can see our friends Will and Sarah also on our route but they have moved ahead of us.  Soon we hear Paul on the radio with another sailboat. The S/V Flight, who was one of the boats in the Crescent City Marina and had taken off earlier than us, was now having transmission issues. They were unable to engage into forward. Seeing our two boats on radar, they were calling out for assistance and and a tow.  It’s always easy to play ‘armchair quarterback’, especially when you have a full visual of field and of time, however, when a sailboat needs assist then you offer assist.  Captain Paul was the first one to arrive alongside S/V Flight. From our position viewing the two ships masts as they went along sides and transferred line to begin towing, the masts appear to come dangerously close as waves rocked each boat separately to and fro. Thankfully, there was no wind to speak of that would make this situation even more dangerous. Soon Captains Paul and Debbie (yes! Both are Captains) began towing S/V Flight.  Again, from our vantage point, we could see S/V Three Quarter Time’s engine pulling hard.  We really didn’t want to see another engine have issues.  Paul dropped the tow line and Captain John picked up to make the hand off and start the tow of S/V Flight.  John processed the transmission in his mind, as you know he is quite fond of diesel engines/transmissions and their marvel. At this point it would be difficult to get him on S/V Flight to evaluate and fix. The sailors explained everything that they had already checked. Fort Bragg would be the closest marina for repairs. There is no BoatUS close bye and the Coast Guard is not a personal boat towing company so on we continued towing. We anticipated 40nm or about 8 hours delay from our original course. Four hours marched by as S/V Three Quarter Time buddied along with us.  Soon a radio call out by S/V Flight – they were able to get the cone into forward, they have fixed the issue at least temporarorly and now are able to move on their own! Yay all the way around.  It is also a reminder that it is important to know more than just what angle the sails have to be.  Sailors tend to be a hardy sort and this is not a sport or lifestyle for the lazy.  So S/V Three Quarter Time and S/V Bella Nave were back on course to San Francisco.

With wishes for fair winds and when asked if they could pay us back, it’s simple. Pay it forward man, pay it forward.

The humpback that swam beneath our boat, feeding in a more ‘comfortable’ distance for both of us!

Rewards come in all packages.  We are out for a lifestyle change, seeing sea life has always brought excitement. We were giving the motor a chance to cool down, Deb looked over to John but her attention slid to the right of him.  There it was, shiny and wet, dark grey and growing larger quickly.  She was speechless, rapidly hitting John in the leg – the body came out from deep below our boat!  A humpback whale! It was crazy as we realize the excitement of a whale and the reality of hitting a whale with the boat.  We watched the whale for awhile, in a feeding pattern before we returned on our route.

Deb just wants to bring everything on to the boat with her and keep as a pet! (Much to John’s chagrin!)

Before long, Deb heard something over her shoulder.  There were loud splashing noises just off the boat but whatever it was moved so quickly, she couldn’t discern what it could be.  A trip up to the bow and there they were!  A pod of Dall’s porpoises!  Cute little fellas! Look identical to an Orca (killer whale) but much smaller and quicker than lightening as they played in the wake of the bow!  Squeals of delight from Deb.  This is the reward for being a Good Samaritan.  Thank you Neptune!

We kept our route, watching for the occasional unattended crab pot.  Captain John threw out a line and lure and for a minute we thought he actually caught a crab pot! Then he realized he missed it but had a very interested sea lion following it!  We haven’t googled any sea lion recipes (just kidding) so he reeled it in and just thought we would attempt at another time.

Soon it would be another golden sunset and time to begin preparing for the night watch.

A very wet and tired captain.

Deb woke up at midnight, ready to begin her watch. She found John regaling her about the pod of whales he encountered, and later when looking outside the cockpit, had a whale exhale less than forty feet from the boat and startled him.  While she was listening she also noted he was in full foulie gear…..and it was cold, and very very wet outside. Everything was wet. Under the dodger, under the bridge, the cushions, everything was WET!  The fog was so thick that it was virtually raining inside the canvas enclosure! Yes, this is an adventure however where is the sunshine and warmth that was listed on the ‘Adventure Brochure’?  Bella was again handling the surfing of the waves but John just could not settle in to sleep.  We were both awake until 5am when he shuffled her off to sleep stating at least someone should get some rest.

Still so wet…..

At 8am when she awoke, he was still sitting in the cockpit, and of course, saw more whales. Is this fog ever going to let up? It wasn’t to long after (at this point, what’s a few hours when you have been up for over forty hours!) that through the fog we could make out ……a bridge!  The famous Golden Gate Bridge! As we drew closer and Deb went below for a camera, John once again spotted a whale.  This time he saw the largest tail he has ever seen and with the Golden Gate Bridge as its backdrop!

Finally! Even draped in fog, what a cool site to see! And to see it from our very own boat!
A wet but happy captain!
Port view of GG Bridge.
A wet, happy and slightly better rested first mate!

Blustery winds greeted us as soon as we passed under the bridge and we doused the sail that we had up.  Big cargo boats, people moving boats, little sailboats and kite surfers everywhere.  We arrived in to Richardson Bay around 1630 ish and anchored out in the bay.  Our friends, S/V Three Quarter Time ventured to another marina to catch up with friends there. Our friends, Will and Sarah on S/V Kaiquest were also anchored here.  A quick hello by text and extended offer to meet later if our stamina would allow it.  After the boat was readied for the evening and stay, it appeared that a short night was in order.  I think the captain started sleep talking and sleep walking shortly before retiring to an actual bed.

Goodnight from Richardson Bay, outside Sausalito, California!

It’s off to bed and we are excited to see what the next few days will bring! Cheers!

From ground zero to Crescent City!

Evening at the Port of Newport Marina. Yes- the wind is blowing and the clouds move quickly across the sky.

Good morning from Ground Zero in the Pathway of Totality.  Speaking with some locals, I received mixed reviews on the profitability of being in such a strategic location.  Dry RV spots were being taken at $80/night. A local higher end hotel who normally charges $250/night was charging $1,000 and minimum 3 night stay was however, not doing as well as hoped. We were here for a night’s rest and did not plan for a viewing. We knew there would be many amazing photos posted online so we chose to watch and timelapse a video of the eclipse shadow over the boat. Appreciation shout out to the front desk gentleman who gave Deb a pair of viewing glasses to keep and take back to the boat with her.

Of course it would be that upon leaving the slip, the wind would begin gusting up to the low 20’s again. The brief respite from wind during the lunar eclipse was exactly that. Brief. Carefully maneuvering over two shallow bars even at the best of tides was important. We had heard from several locals that there have been many boats grounded by those two bars. One is at the entrance to our fairway.

Once we passed the breakers, we put up sails and and the rolling sea state was much calmer. We continued on our way, waiting for the fog to clear. We moved further offshore and the marine layer stayed strong. We averaged around 6kn and at least felt more comfortable about less crab pots.  At Newport, another boat had seen several whales on their trip down.  With our current visibility of 200 feet or less, an unexpected whale sighting would be both exciting but unnerving to have so close to the boat without our ability to have some control for safety.

Underway again with a plan to reach Crescent City before dark.  Several CoHo Ho Ho boats are heading out today.

The captain out on deck, always mindful of every detail.

2nd night travel of this voyage. We still haven’t honed in our routine for watches yet but this night went much better than the previous. Yes, it was cold and wet. How could you tell?

“Can I keep him, can I keep him?!?” As we passed by Brookings, OR  Deb could smell something burning and her sniffer sent John scurrying like surprised rat! He checked everything down below and determined it was in the air outside, likely cause was wildfires. Once his heart rate slowed to normal, they discussed his love/hate relationship with her sniffer.  Our little friend, a Common Green Darner dragonfly was most like trying to escape the smoke, which even 5-10 miles offshore still made the eyes burn. Deb wanted something more from the dragonfly. Read the children’s story called Water Bugs and Dragonflies.

Yay!! It’s still daylight! Sort of!  1900-1930 we passed by this rock ladenwith seagull guana. Soon we could hear the happy hellos from nearby sea lions.

What?!? A beautiful buoy and no sea lions? Well, that is a first! We can’t tell you how happy we were to be out of the pea soup (or as another sailor dubbed it “sea poop!”) and into the marina BEFORE dark.  Imagine pulling into flat, calm water and seeing this massive quiet dock with only two boats tied up. Easy to hand off lines, no rush and do everything by the book. Wait…why is that dock so white… by the looks of the seagull encampment it can only be one thing. You guessed where our tie up number is,  smack in the middle of it….. or not! We moved ahead a space or two so we did not have to step into it each time entering or exiting the boat.

4 sailboats sit quietly at the guest dock.

As the fisherman clean their catch, the impatient  seagulls wait for their scraps.

Tide is out. In the far distance, sits a lighthouse.

When does the wind stop?

Welcome to Newport, Oregon! The city is preparing as it is part of the “Pathway to Totality” or the 100 year eclipse. Thousands of spectators have filled the RV parks and hotels. Business appears to be booming or at least we hope so!  We have our (t)rusty bikes with us and with some “John luvin’ “, we were able to ride off to explore.

Our poor bikes- brought from Colorado and have been living on a custom designed bike rack affixed to the boat sailing. Our best intentions were to use them frequently while living in Tacoma. Needless to say, they have gone everywhere with the boat but rarely used.

The wind just doesn’t stop here. A ride over the bridge was challenging as we were either on a narrow path into 20-25kn winds or on the return had the same pushing us down the narrow path.  The sky so amazingly blue but it was the wind that kept the sky clear of any clouds. If any clouds appeared, they moved through quickly.  The photos look lovely but that’s because you can’t feel the constant wind  I recollect in the wee hours of the morning that the wind did abate long enough where I could hear one of the singing buoys. And the sea lions….
Newport Bay Marina from the bridge. Rogue brewery is home to the Dead Guy Ale and assorted other brews.

A flight? Of course, when eating in a brewery, it’s only the polite and right thing to do!  The Bay front street is all about the crabbing’ and fishin’. The very loud nonstop chatter of the sea lions bring in as much of the onlookers as do the fisherman. Right off the docks, you can throw your pots out and try to catch your limits. By the looks of the filled ice containers, your odds are way better here than in Vegas!  Now Deb is getting that itch again. Crab is one of her favorites!  You see a trap and lines around the crab in the photo below but all she sees is it on a plate with hot drawn butter!  Some of the commercials pots appeared to have sat long enough where they became a holding ground for barnacles. Now paper thin and delicate, these little dickens can be a scourge of damage if the work their way into the wrong places. Capt’n worked on splicing more lines and as the wind blew all day (really all dang day!), caught up on little boat stuff. We met some very nice folks from SV Three Quarter Time (Sid, Debra, and Paul) who are planning the same departure and destination.  It sounds like a few more sailboats have the same idea.  Winds checked again and tomorrow is a window of opportunity to head towards Crescent City- out next destination.  This will be a long jaunt again. 27 hours.  Bring on the coffee….I’m hoping the wind doesn’t blow constantly.