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Adesso - Not Lost, Just Wandering
Ah! Finally some rest
08/28/2011, Eureka, Ca

After a calm night at dock, and the sleep deprivation overcome,the Vicki's rest on Adesso's dinghy.

Back on Land
08/28/2011, Eureka, CA

The Port of Eureka directed us to the Bonnie Gool dock, the "mega-yacht dock," where we enjoyed the entire dock all to ourselves. Apparently, the marina was full so they sent us to a different location. It is located at a very popular public park near the heart of Eureka. Very popular, that is, with the homeless population of the town. As we were settling in for the evening we heard a very screaming argument between a woman and someone whose voice we couldn't heard. The next day we found out why we had only heard one screaming voice in this argument, when we found a blonde haired woman walking around town screaming loudly at the voices in her head. Later we learned that the blonde screamer took turns at the public park with a curly-haired brunette screamer, equally disturbed. Local assured us that they are harmless and they soon became part of the sad backdrop to an otherwise delightful town.

Be Careful What You Wish For
08/28/2011, Eureka, California

After three days of motoring slowly because of a lack of wind, I began to complain. Apparently Neptune heard me and by late afternoon, we had 35 knot winds, swell from two different directions, and wind waves from a third direction. These conditions are pretty common off the coast of Washington and Oregon, and are called "Washing Machine Seas," because it feels like the agitation cycle of a washing machine. Here is a picture of Vicki at the helm in bumpy conditions after 3 days of sleep deprivation.

Since we were only 25 miles from the coast, we could get NOAA weather forecasts, which told us to expect several more days of the same uncomfortable weather. ( From Vicki S: this was the first time I felt a little unsettled in my stomach. It's really hard to sleep when the boat is rocking and pitching, but I was able to find a little nest to settle into and managed to get my 4 hours of sleep. During my time at the helm, the waves were coming behind me and the boat was surfing. I can understand why people like to surf. It's is exciting.)

So to escape a few more days in the "washing machine" we altered course for Eureka, California, in Humboldt Bay. After 3 days of trying to sleep, alone, in our "waterbed", in 4 hour increments, cuddling up with a warm body for 8 whole hours of blissful sleep was beginning to sound very appealing. To enter Humboldt Bay, we first had to cross the river bar, which has wave patterns of its own. We called the Coast Guard who gave us a forecast of modest winds, 6 foot ocean swell and 2-3 foot wind waves on top of the swell. With Vicki S at the helm, it was a bumpy but uneventful bar crossing and soon we were tied up to the in Eureka.

Albacore Alley - August 14, 2011
08/28/2011, Off the Oregon Coast

By the next morning we were just west of Grays Harbor. We passed the Columbia Bar without incident. In northern Oregon we began seeing tuna trollers, so we put out 2 hand lines and over the next few hours lost 4 expensive lures. I put longer and "stretchier" bungy cords on the lines to absorb the shock of the strike and soon hooked a 15 pound "Big Eye" tuna. Without a fish cleaning table, we cleaned and filleted the tuna on deck, with fish blood running everywhere. Lare's expensive jacket was covered in blood (Vicki Byers later found that she couldn't get the blood out of the jacket.) (This is Vicki S: I tried to ignore what was going on the deck. I've never seen a fish that big cleaned and gutted. But they did a great cleaning job. You can't even tell a fish was cleaned on the deck.)

Now the tally - 13 small tuna steaks
Cost: 4 lost lures ($40) + 1 sailing jacket ($150)

By nightfall we found that we had found the mother lode of Albacore tuna, as indicated by a gathering of the every tuna troller in the Pacific Ocean. We were surrounded by tuna trollers in the dark. At one time we counted 15 radar targets surrounding us, in a small patch of ocean, and navigating through them was a challenge. Apparently Albacore Alley was a small area, because the boats trolled back and forth in short zig-zags. As soon as we set a course to avoid a troller, it changed course.
We soon found that it is difficult to judge distance at night. The boats all illuminate the working deck with lights of varying intensity. Through optical illusion, boats with bright deck lights appeared close and those with dim lights appeared to be far away. We found ourselves trying to avoid a collision with a brightly lit boat that the radar showed to be a mile away, while getting too close to a dimly lit boat that was very near. Eventually we cleared Albacore Alley and found ourselves out in open ocean with no other boats within the 36 mile radius of the radar.

Into the "Big Ocean"
08/28/2011, Neah Bay

On Friday the 12th, we were ready to take off - or so we thought. Lare noticed a fine spray of some liquid on the engine. Close examination showed that there was a stream of coolant spraying from one of the engine hoses through a large hole in the hose. If you've ever ventured to Neah Bay you'll know that there isn't much there. Certainly no marine stores carrying a supply of hoses. So Lare and I went over to a tug boat to talk to the Chief Engineer. He cut off a section of hose and gave it to us, refusing payment. Oops, the hose was too big. Now what? Do I go back to the tug engineer and say, "Whoops. I'm an idiot. I really need 5/8" hose, not the ¾" inch hose that you already gave me. The Vicki's saved us from humiliation by recalling seeing some engine hoses at the local general store down the street, so off we went. Fortunately, the store had the right size and we quickly made a repair. We intended to take the slack tide out to the ocean, but the repair put us behind schedule. We left anyway, after a visit to the fuel dock. Fortunately, the seas were pretty calm.

With a short weather window, we were eager to leave as soon as possible, with our opinions about Neah Bay's dismal ambience intact. But, we found people to be exceptionally friendly and helpful. The local connections even seemed genuine, not just the welcoming smile that we sometimes see in people dependent upon tourist dollars. People stopped on the dock to talk. One fisherman offered to show us his weather software predictions and gave us a detailed forecast. Others offered local knowledge about currents, locations of crab pots, etc. By the time we left, I was feeling pretty positive about the place - but I still do not want to live there.

At 1:00 pm, with excitement and trepidation, we entered the Pacific Ocean. The sky was overcast and winds were calm, so we motored hour after hour at 7 knots - a slow way to see the world.

12/15/2012 | Livia
Hello Adesso,

I'm the founder of the Interview With A Cruiser Project and I also run the Newly Salted interview site. Are you interested in participating?

Info and directions are here:

And you can email me at [email protected] if you have any questions or to let me know you've posted your interview on your blog.

Cheers, Livia
Off the Dock - August 10, 2011
08/28/2011, Neah Bay

After months of preparation, Adesso finally left the dock on schedule, on August 10th. Departure was in mid-afternoon, following hours of frantic packing and stowing. Our friends Vicki and Lare Byers, from Rocinante, joined us on the passage to San Francisco. Vicki B and Lare left their sailboat in El Salvador and returned home for a few months. We really appreciate having experienced friends on the passage, especially since they did the same passage two years ago.

Sailors have told us for many years that the hardest part about cruising is leaving the dock. The boat is never ready. The economics are never secure, etc. I was surprised to find this to be true. The stock market was on a determined slide. The economy was threatening a "double dip" recession ( I prefer a double dip ice cream). Cruiser wannabes are urged to set and date and leave, because they will never be ready. So - we just left. We stuffed last minute tools, spares and supplies into any available nook or crannie, hugged friends and family, and cast off.

With light winds, we motored to Port Townsend and dropped anchor right next to the ferry. That was a different experience. The ferry blasting its horn loudly at every departure certainly caught our attention. We arose at 4 am the next morning for a 12 hour slog into wind and waves to arrive at Neah Bay. Just after leaving Port Townsend, we heard the engine alarm sounding and, upon checking, found the coolant level low. We stopped in the busy shipping lanes and refilled the coolant, wondering why it was low.

Twelve hours later we we arrived at Neah Bay, and I was ready to nominate it as the most dreary place on this planet. Foggy, cold and dismal. The marina offered free wi-fi and Vicki S looked up some information on Neah Bay. The 2000 census showed 700+ people. After a decade of "growth" the 2010 census showed a gain of 35 people. Like many native American communities alcoholism has been a serious problem, to which the Makahs' responded by becoming a "dry" reservation. We were told that locals have to drive 6 miles to an off-reservation liquor store.

In our explorations we found a man working to restore a totem pole. We found the native art to be intriguing. But wait, we learned that the totem pole was not made by a native American. Apparently, several decades ago a couple of Norwegian-Americans became the local experts in native totem poles and studied the technology. The totem pole was actually built by the Caucasian enthusiasts and had been brought from the fish & chip restaurant that was located for many decades by the Ballard Locks. The restaurant became a victim of the recession and the totem pole was brought to the Makah reservation for restoration. Apparently, the fish & chip restaurant will re-open as a burger joint, without a totem pole. My impression from talking to the restoration person, was that he isn't native American either. It is a shame that the local and ancient, tradition was lost.

You may recall that he Makah nation fought with the US for years for the right to resume their tradition of whale hunting, finally succeeding a few years ago. They killed a whale once and celebrated on national news. I suspect the experience was so traumatic that they never (as far as I know) did it again.

Neah Bay is on the Makah reservation and is the last stop before entering the Pacific Ocean. Our grandson, Aidan, describes the Pacific as the "Big Ocean" as opposed to the Little Ocean called Puget Sound. We spent a day hoisting the dinghy on deck, and generally getting ready for the sea. We downloaded "GRIB" files to forecast the weather and sea conditions. GRIB files are maps overlaid with symbols indicated wind speed & direction, currents, wave height, etc. The forecast indicated ocean swell from the wrong direction, but with minimal height, so we decided to go.

08/29/2011 | Rick Chandler
Good for you guys! I wish that we were right there with you. I still dream of doing exactly what you are doing.
Be safe, and we hope to see you in Puerto Vallarta this winter

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