Oh god you devil
14 November 2006 | 40 48'N:124 10'W
After several nasty lows, bringing floods of rain, followed by wind, we had a weather opening long enough to sail to Humboldt, CA. Departing at 0400 Pacific Cloud and us, set sail in the early morning darkness. Mandy and Vianne slept during the early hours while I navigated out of the harbor and set our course south. I was very pleased to see that all our hard work refitting Boreas in Crescent City has paid off. She is much more trimmed out and handled the seas beautifully. We encountered a large westerly swell, as predicted by the weather service, however it wasn't a violent motion on the boat. As the sun rose over the mountains I could see that the swells were about twelve feet. Mandy woke and relieved me at the helm. Vianne had been sick. However, when Mandy brought her up from below, she was smiling as usual and happy to be up. We motor-sailed all morning, averaged five knots. By the afternoon, we passed Trinidad Head. About 1600 we crossed the bar to Eureka. Though a bumpy ride, Pacific Cloud followed shortly behind. Unfortunately we missed the high tide and were forced to fight an ebbing current, making only a couple knots up the channel to Humboldt. The sun set about five PM and was beautiful, and we found a spot to moor on the outside wall of the Public Marina, after sticking the keel into the mud trying to enter the main Marina. Upon tying up we were joyfully greeted by Tracy and Cathleen from Magic, whom had made their transit a couple weeks earlier. Tracy found a spot for Pacific Cloud, and I called Bill and Lori on the Radio. By this time we could see their mast lights approaching. Come to find out later, Lori has said that I was taking on "a god-like status". Apparently, with reduced visibility Bill and Lori were just asking each other where they were supposed to go? About then I was calling on the Radio instructing them to move "toward the bright light" which Tracy was so kindly providing with his flashlight.
The following morning Mandy and I checked into the harbormaster. We've had a wonderful time here getting to know several of the live-aboard and fellow cruisers. However the weather here has been fluky to say the least. Our second night in the harbor, the wind rose to gale forces out of the North; whipping the bay into a frothy mess. Boreas was pounded against the dock, flattening the fenders completely. About the same time we realized the keel was also pounding on the bottom, in the mud. Mandy and I jumped to action. She ran to Magic, to get more fenders. I double-checked the tides, fearing it was still going down and we would suffer damage at the dock. Fortunately, the tide had just turned and was on its way back up, and we only touched the bottom. Upon returning with more fenders, Mandy and I with Bill and his son Billy secured Boreas with more fenders and doubled the lines. After a while, completely soaked, we went below to weather the remainder of the gale. It calmed after a short while and we went to bed for a restless night. Vianne however, slept through the whole event. Oh, to be seven months old!
On Wednesday there was a tsunami that came from Japan and hit Crescent City with a six-foot wave causing damage to the piers there. I'm thankful we left in time! However I'm not sure what it means to have a Tsunami hit the marina we just left? Humboldt Bay Police decided to take the opportunity and have evacuation drills for the marina and forced everyone to leave their boats. Unfortunately, the nearest high land is five miles away, and I was left standing on the beach with the crews from Pacific Cloud and Magic! Mandy and Vianne were already in town checking E-mail, and I knew they were safe. If the tsunami had been significant enough to cause damage to Humboldt, we would have been safer on our own boat in the channel then on the beach. On Thursday we departed and made way for the entrance channel, with Pacific Cloud and Aquila, a 42ft Mariner ketch. The USCG called Pacific Cloud on the VHF giving a warning for hazardous sea conditions. Aboard Boreas, we decided to take a look and see if it was doable. Making our way into the entrance channel, the sea conditions were worse then those we arrived in, so we decided to wait a couple hours and let the tide change, hoping it would calm down a bit. All three boats, Pacific Cloud, Aquila, and Boreas anchored north of the USCG station and waited for the day. It actually wound up being a nice day of relaxation and reading. I was starting to get a sore throat and felt a cold coming on, so it was good to get some rest.
We hoisted anchor at 1700 and headed out. At the channel bar we found the seas to be quite high, yet the roll pattern was very long and made for a comfortable ride. After sun set and across the bar, we had good wind and set sail for San Francisco.