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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
It’s off to bed and we are excited to see what the next few days will bring! Cheers!
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.
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.
So many song lyrics in my head- from songs about CB radio calls to disco and “Ring My Bell”. Go ahead, come up with a couple yourselves. I also have “Surfin” USA” in my head too. Remember the bar we had to cross to come in? There is only one way out and that was back through the crashing waves of destruction. It also didn’t help that small craft warnings were explicit that 32ft and under boats do not attempt to cross (restricted). Warnings for all boats larger than 32ft due to flood (tide), current, wave height. Breaker height was broadcasted at 8-10 feet or more on north side. As we approached and carefully plotted our strategy for crossing (mostly holding our breath and forcing our hand to increase throttle!) small fishing craft zoomed by us! Like a bunch of little kids jumping into the pool- running when the lifeguard had just told them not to! Not just one or two, but at least 9-10 boats came rushing out from the fog behind us. I have no photos of the next several minutes, unfortunately, as I was holding on for dear life! We inched forward and then suddenly thrust the boat straight into the first wave. The bow shot up 10ft and we were launched into the air- 40 feet of 26k pounds- just to see the bow go straight down as we landed and surfed up the next wave with less than 10-15ft spread. Had this been a water ride at an amusement park- we would have laughed. With each fast surf down the backside, I have only a recollection of our ship’s bell clanging. I do believe a few fishing boats did wait as they were wondering if we would make it.
We quickly made way offshore a couple of miles before turning south again. The pacific waves were again large and rolling, far more docile than our exit out of Garibaldi Bay. This time we noticed that we did not have our usual hot water provided by the heat exchanger. The radiator cap always leaked if not seated just right. Finally took all the covers off the engine compartment and notice the lip that holds the cap down on the heat exchanger was bent up. Tap, Tap, Tap and all straight again. Now all we had to do was sit back for the ride…..and avoid the crab pots!
It is amazing how blue the sky can be and is reflection in the water is a perfect compliment. Add the sun’s rays and it appears like a million diamonds sparkling on the water.
Our arrival into Newport at 4pm gave us a trip time of nine hours. We attempted calling the marina twice and sent to voicemail each time with no return call. Knowing the “Pathway of Totality” was causing increased everything as hordes of people were descending upon this quaint but touristy fishing city, we wanted to make sure that there would be room for us. We did actually speak with a live person after calling the “after business hours” number (during business hours mind you…) who was unsure but said “J dock, any slip without a red flag”. Alrighty then! We have a plan. Winds were still gusting up to 22kn on our stern as the Pacific pushed us past the breaker wall again. Still windy however the water no longer crashed around us. What a beautiful bridge against the blue sky. Have I said yet how happy I am to come into a new port DURING the day?? As we had mostly motored out of the damp and foggy PNW, we knew we would need some fuel. The fuel dock attendant was an hour after the normal close time of 3pm waiting for a fishing boat. We snuck in and were immediately greeted by the most inquisitive large white dog. While he appeared to be looking for a treat, he quickly became disinterested by us and soon became excited when the fishing vessel came in. Hmm… a fish loving dog then. Nope! Per the owner, the dog gets excited as it loves to find rats! AND it found one yesterday when this boat came in! They are pretty sure there is another rat onboard. By the looks of this dogs excitement and wagging tail- I would agree!! We waited to leave the fuel dock until the winds abated again. Even in the marina, the winds were frequently gusting 22kn making docking challenging. Not to mention the bar between the two docks was also shallow…. Finally staying around 9-12kn, tide coming in, we decided to make our move. With a prop walk to port, Capt’n John easily backed into the slip. The wrong slip. Oh well, he does well enough with it that doing it one more time is no big thing.
Ahhh!!! A dinner and nice hot shower after the trash was unloaded and boat picked up. All was right in our world again. $1.50 for 6 minutes. Okay- $3.00 for Deb to splurge. Go nuts in there!
We settled back in our floating nest- hearing the constant, and I do mean constant, barking of the sea lions across the jetty. Channel 16 caught our attention as another sailboat was struggling to come in. 57ft sailboat with 2 people on board, the fog had one in again and they were unsure if they could make it in. It was interesting to hear the first Coast Guard personnel’s responses as opposed to a more seasoned CG personnel who came on shortly after. CG could not give bearings legally but could offer bar report. The vessel and its occupants are always the responsibility of the captain and the captain’s decisions. They did ask the vessels occupants to don their life vests and they would remain in 15 minute contacts with them and provide vessel assist if absolutely needed. Before long, they were brought in by the CG and placed on the end of our dock. John walked down and offered assist in tying off lines to the family of 4. They seemed appreciative as I am sure the had a grueling evening. I always like to hear what went wrong as well as what went right as we can always learn from each other. Sailing, it seems, is like much of the rest of life where there isn’t always “black and white” answers. Shortly after we went to bed, a CoHo Ho Ho arrival was made. Then it was time to let the sea lions bark is to sleep with their idea of a lullaby. For future reference- it sounds just like their good morning chatter, afternoon kvetching and evening recounting of the day’s activities.
Well- you kinda did. You see, we met Leslee in Port Townsend where she took possession of our precious cargo- Ivan- and we enjoyed a quick bite at the Port Marina. Off to bed for Tuesday’s early rise (6 bells – which IS early for Deb! ?) We left in the fog, barely able to see the pilings or breakwall. Soon after we had ‘no service’ flashing on our phone. Now for John, this isn’t a great deal however poor Deb was going to develop carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitively pressing keys to check for service! This would now mean “quality time” on the boat!
The fog remained dense and it definitely has the feeling of the change of seasons. Our goal was to leave early before the winds began kicking up at us, coming in on the nose from the Pacific Ocean. We motored forever it seemed, trying hard not to hit stuff like crab pots or private ships carrying their own helicopter. Yeah, I know, they were watching us with envy….. We arrive late (as usual) into Neah Bay. As there is only one mooring and it had already been occupied, we were left to anchor, have a quick bite to eat and off to bed!
Wednesday morning we left Neah Bay around 6 bells again. Deb was beginning to wonder about this lifestyle but little did she know…. our original plan was to go from Neah Bay to Newport, Oregon. This would involve two overnight travels including our first “watches”. Hmmmm… okay, remembering how she did night shifts earlier in her nursing career, this should be doable. Never mind that a couple decades have passed her since then.
Motoring with the engine on is loud. Being next to the engine, on the settee in a lee cloth was almost impossible. Add the 10 foot seas and it was impossible! We tried timing the waves, boat position in relation to angles of the waves, finally with the jib out only- the engine was cut. We dropped from 9kn to 5kn in speed but it was so much quieter. We were finally graced with the first clear skies with hints of blue around 6-7pm. Up until this time it has been more like 50 shades of grey….
Okay, I’m not going to glorify this- we did not sleep well enough to be rested for our watches. It did not stop Deb’s aversion to unknown smells to point out that there was a strong diesel smell below. Hmmm. John and his trusty headlamp were on it. Our diesel heater, affectionately known as R2D2, had its regulator bumped. It had been slowly filling with diesel. As it was contained, it made sense to burn it off. Which we did. However, that incipient tiny leak still ever so present gave us quite a surprise when it blew the top cover off! Once everything was corrected, cleaned and passed inspection -John tried to encourage the sleep fairy. He was not successful and then found Deb about to engage in a lively conversation with a commercial fishing boat captain about what her intentions were!
Daylight broke and with it came blue skies, 8-10 foot rolling waves about 50-100ft apart. Oh- and all the other commercial fishing boats! Now we are playing Frogger with bleary eyes and no sleep. Once the game was over (and we won!) we were able to nap on deck, which surprisingly was easier than below. The day kept getting better. It is amazing how a couple hours rest and blue sky can improve ones attitude. Today we re-evaluated the journey thus far. We had heard this trip was a beating, and for us it is more about a quick migration away from the cold. Sailing was dodgy at best. We decided to stay in Garibaldi Bay for the night, after all, there would be a hot shower, wi-fi, fuel, and a restful night….. or so we thought.
What is all that white up there?Those would be breakers…. big BIG breakers. Big breaking breakers!! Holy breaking breakers Batman! We entered the bar with a whisper in our heads of Ivan saying “fly by, if it doesn’t look good, fly by!”. With 25kn winds on our stern, 10-15ft seas, coming in on a 2kn current. We vaguely recalled a flashing red light as we flew by. Upon arrival we found that sailboats aren’t often seen in this Bay….. all commercial fishing boats, some smaller fishing boats, and small recreational boats. Hmmm…. fuel dock says open until 7p on website. Door sign says closed. Gasoline only anyway. A quick phone call to the website number and a nice gentleman who let us know that no, there is no diesel available, no wifi, and a only a shower that the commercial fisherman use. Thank you no, we will anchor out and save the fee that allowed us to tie up to a rickety old dock. We made dinner and had a couple of phone calls. One for the guy we call “Tony Adventure” who shared his high speed car/boat chase. We look forward to meeting up with him as he refits “Magic”, a 39ft Hans Christian destined for Fiji. You can look at his Facebook page on Adventure Project or his dive shop- Anthony Wiley’s Scuba Locker. Of course, our night wouldn’t be complete without talking to our ground control who is working on Predictwinds issue of showing us off the coast of Nigeria. Trust me, it was a surprise to us too! ?