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Voyages of SV Ponderosa
Ponderosa in Eureka, her crew in San Francisco
07/28/2012, Eureka, CA

July 27, 2012: We decided to spend at least a week here and took the opportunity to rent a car and drive back down to San Francisco to visit family. The other lure was to watch the beginning of the Olympics and for me some couch potato time. I am tired and I need a break. Heaven forbid, if Bob was willing to admit he needs a break but he sure jumped on the idea of a road trip. He didn't blink at the cost of the only vehicle left to rent ... an SUV. The rental car companies love to charge a high rate for these cars. Oh well, its only money Bob stated. I think he has been on the water too long.

San Francisco

July 26, 2012: Our next hurdle is Cape Mendocino. Two years ago going southbound the Cape was a non-issue. Today I wasn't quite as confident. So far it was a good stomach morning so that helps along with sneaking back to bed for a couple hours after we leave the anchorage. "LeRoy" starts driving and Bob is on watch.

I took over and Bob went below to rest. He must have been tired since he slept thru rounding the Cape. Not sure why he didn't get bucked out of bed since it was quite rough. I finally relieved "LeRoy" and started hand steering as it was easier to navigate thru the waves and swell. The unruly seas only lasted for a short period and then it was back to manageable conditions.

We arrived in Eureka late afternoon riding the flood tide into the bay; a little early for high water slack but close enough. It was nice to be tied up in flat calm water. Eureka is known for being foggy and today was no exception; but at least it was a high ceiling and we had good visibility.

Eureka 40° 48.434N 124° 09.822W

July 25, 2012: Cruiser bedtime last night was 8:30 pm for me. I was thrashed and we had to get up early again today. At least the sea state was better and I made it thru the day queasy but under control. It was only a 50 mile day (geez!) as we made our way to Shelter Cove. We have been making good time with a SW to SE winds and no adverse current. The fishermen were out in force as dodged around them trying to figure out the path and logic to fishing.

Shelter Cove 47° 01.380N 124° 03.647W

July 24, 2012: Our window wasn't great but we could drag our feet forever and get stuck here even longer. It wasn't a good stomach morning for me and I paid for it all day long. I really hate being sea sick. It totally destroys the journey and I start hoping for the destination. I managed to pull myself together as we got closer to our anchor site just to be very nervous about the kelp, surf and rocks. The folks walking the beach sure were entertained (or thought we were nuts) as we slowly pulled into the sheltered cove for the evening. It was a very long 12 hour day!

Little River 39° 16.350N 123° 473W

July 21 - 23, 2012: Our whole focus here in Bodega Bay has been watching the weather. We have about 4 weather sites we check on a consistent basis as we try to analyze each step of our passage. Other than weather watching we have not accomplished much else but laundry. Hey unless you are a commercial or sports fisherman there is nothing else to do here. We did buy a fresh 8 lb king salmon and boy was it good.

07/28/2012 | Ellen and Ian
We are following your progress north and so far so good it seems. Your making good time and we wish you more of the same (without the seasickness parts). We are in BC enjoying the cooler temps ourselves. Cheers
sv Kasasa
08/04/2012 | Scott and Donna Hansen
Had to check in and say hi, now that we're back on the boat and I'm updating our sailblog. Let me know if you see the pictures I posted. Hawaii is so easy to photograph! That's cute that you named the auto pilot LeRoy. My dad was Ramon (Ray) LeRoy and he died shortly before we left for Hawaii in 1983 so we name our auto pilot Ray--he worked hard and never complained.

I can't remember. Are you just taking it easy but going south again? We may do the coast again winter of 2013. Going to enjoy Hawaii for now! Write when you can.
We Kept on Trucking
07/20/2012, Bodega Bay

July 20, 2012: We were bushed after travelling 235 miles in three days. Neither one of us had any problem going to bed early and sleeping in the next day. The morning was spent looking at all the weather sites and there was no question we will be enjoying Bodega Bay thru Monday at the earliest. There is a small craft advisory for several days in a row with wind gusts up to 35 knots and seas close to 12 feet.

When we finally got motivated to move off the boat, we entertained ourselves by watching all the small sport fishing boats come into the dock. I cannot believe the poor seamanship we witnessed. However, I was impressed with the way each driver could back the boat trailers into the water. I never got the hang of it but then again Bob never let me drive the pickup attached with the 24' Bayliner we used to own. Actually I was happy not having to try.

Being stuck due to weather is not all bad - we get to stop moving, catch up on chores and search the internet for car options. We have been touring parking lots and looking at the various models. I am sure people think we are casing the place to highjack a car. Once we get back to Seattle, a car will be our first purchase. Last time we bought a vehicle was in 1997.

Stay tuned for more adventures from sunny and windy Bodega Bay. Two years ago when we were here, the fog was so thick you couldn't see the end of the marina.

July 19, 2012: No barnacles got to attach to our keel as we moved on early in the morning. The sky was cloudy and overcast while the seas were flat. We knew we had one more day of good weather before the winds picked up. You are probably thinking that having some wind would be great for a sailboat, well not really for the direction we are going.

We passed by the entrance to San Francisco bay and did see the Golden Gate Bridge thru the patchy fog as the marine layer was lifting to reveal sunny skies. Can't complain about the way this day was shaping up while we watched humpback whales traveling on either side of us. The sport and commercial fishermen were out in force. It was like 5 o'clock traffic on I-5 ... we counted at least 40 of the vessels we could see.

According to the weather forecast winds were to pick up later in the afternoon and true to the prediction it did. Thankfully we were just outside the breakwater into Bodega Bay and made our way to the fuel dock down the long narrow channel. There was room at the fuel dock behind two small sport fishing boats ... but just barely. Our bow overhung the transom of the boat ahead of us. I found it amazing that the 3 guys from that boat just stood there and watched us come in without lending a hand. At that moment of course the wind had piped up to about 15 - 20 knots and blowing our bow away from the dock. Bob couldn't get the stern tied off quick enough to then run to the bow before it got away. Fortunately the marina staff attendant was paying attention and helped us in. The other guys were clueless or lazy - not sure which.

Bodega Bay 38° 19.804N 123° 03.470W

July 17 - 18, 2012: Well I told a fib in my last missive ... we skipped San Simeon, Monterey and Santa Cruz and booked north to Half Moon Bay aka Pillar Point. It was an absolutely magnificent day on the water for the entire 26 hours. We had cloudy skies that gave way to sunshine; which by the way I happen to appreciate right now. The water was flat calm with very little swell and we had a favorable current as we moved along off shore about 3 nautical miles. I am so thankful we kept on going since conditions were so good. We made the 172 nm trip averaging 6.6 knots which is very good after the prop adjustment we made in Mexico to help out the engine.

The weather was going to hold so we spent only one night anchored in the well protected bay. The homes and area surrounding the marina is quite nice and probably pretty expensive for their water view. The only drawback was the stupid fog horn that bellowed all night and all day long. It gave me a headache; good thing I was too tired to care much.

Half Moon Bay 37°29.889N 122° 29.196W

07/22/2012 | Larry and Dorothy Dubia
We are looking forward to seeing you when you return to Seattle -- and, hopefully, F dock.
Have enjoyed your frank and honest blogs.
Look forward to hearing more over a glass of wine on Big Brivet (you DO drink wine, don't you?)
07/26/2012 | thecambrians
We spent 48 days anchored in Pillar Point (I kid you not!) so I know that fog horn well!
07/26/2012 | Cathy Grant
Mom and dad say that if you head into Newport OR, for any amount of time please don't hesitate to call. If they are at the beach house they would love to see you, and help run you around etc. She thinks you have her cell phone number.
Point Conception - Tame & Placid
07/16/2012, Port San Luis

July 16, 2012: We were up and out of the anchorage by 6:45 am and rounded Point Conception by 7:05 am. The waters were an easy swell with a light wind out of the southwest. Can't complain about this rounding; it was a non-issue. The rest of the day was just as easy with overcast skies but a high enough ceiling to view the coastline.

We made excellent time with the help of slight eddy current and gentle seas. Tonight we are comfortably at anchor in Port San Luis. Next stop San Simeon ...
Port San Luis 35° 10.488N 120° 44.233W

July 15, 2012: It was an easy passage to Coho Anchorage in the day but a rolly night. Don't let anyone fool you when they say they loved to be rocked to sleep in a boat. That's a big old lie. Talk about a sleepless night! We shared the anchorage with another sailboat and two small sport fishing boats along with the large commercial vessel called "Clean Ocean". This whole area has natural oil seeps along the Santa Barbara channel.

The sea lions barked their hellos to us as they floated around in social groups fanning their flippers in the air. We have seen one or two individuals floating around this way but I was surprised the number of sea lions in each group. There must have been "kids" in the group because they barked all night.

Coho Anchorage 34° 26.816N 120° 26.376W

07/28/2012 | Dick & Anne
Hey Bob & Sherry,
We see you are almost home! We are in Kechikan where it is cold and rainy...saw the bears and some sun but overall enjoying Alaska. Will be in Rupert in a week. Fair winds and before you know it you'll be flying down Juan de Fuca
Hasta Luego
Eye candy on the beaches
07/15/2012, Santa Barbara

July 13 - 14, 2012: We had an uneventful 25 mile trip to Santa Barbara that included no seasickness. Going out to sea after a bad passage is like having to get back on the horse that has thrown you. So far so good, one day down with hopes of surviving the rest of the trip.

After spending the afternoon looking at weather and swell conditions we decided two nights in Santa Barbara would definitely insure us a good anchorage at Coho and a calm rounding of Point Conception. Geez two days in this lovely city ... I had to suffer and go out to dinner while enjoying the sights of the harbor.

Saturday I spent the time cooking up some more breakfast meals and stocking our basket of grab food we eat while on passage. It sure helps mentally and physically to know we will eat well but I don't have go below and cook. Just open the oven and pop in the premade dish to warm up. Bob spent a couple of hours walking along the waterfront taking in all the "eye candy". Believe me there were plenty to see since it was a weekend.

We are now back in the states just about a month and encountered problems with one of credit cards. It got denied when trying to pay for our dinner out in Ventura. A quick phone call to the bank indicated a vendor's system got compromised that we had used and the bank shut down all further activity on our card. That's fine except for the part that the bank failed to notify us. This particular card is used for automatic payments and now we have to change the card number on file ... small problem here, the new cards are being shipped to our box in Ballard, WA. We had notified our banks we are on travel status and will be using our cards traveling up the coast. Thankfully we have other cards to use while moving north.

Santa Barbara 34° 24.401N 119° 41.334W

07/20/2012 | Sady and Linda
We just arrived back in the PNW and catching up on your news. We enjoy your blogs. Safe sailing North and hope to see you when you get back to Seattle area.
Why Me? The misery of seasickness!
07/12/2012, Ventura

July 10 - 12, 2012: We bid our farewells to Larry and Sue on Beverly S and departed Marina Del Rey into a fog bank that stayed with us for most of day. Right off the bat I could tell this wasn't going to be a good day ... not because of the fog but a direct result of my standard early morning upset stomach. Normally the waves and swell we encountered would not affect me but not today; life went downhill rapidly. I haven't been this sick since coming down the Oregon coast near Cape Blanco two years ago. I even took meclizine in the morning for motion sickness and it didn't work.

There was no question my breakfast was the direct cause of this ill fated passage. The little bits of sausage in my hash browns and eggs came back up with a vengeance. Boy oh boy, did I ever hurt. I wanted someone to put me out of my misery. At least once everything was out of my stomach; I began to feel better although I looked like hell.

The next adventure of the day was pulling into the Ventura Yacht Club guest dock. It is a long dock paralleling the shore with an extremely narrow passage. As we came in we could see the junior sailing dinghies lining the area where we were to tie up to. I had to pivot the boat around and head back out to the main fairway. This was no simple feat but I had the wind blowing the bow around which helped out greatly. I probably only had a spare 15 ft (?) total to a make the u-turn. If there had been a boat tied up to the end of the dock, I was screwed. And just to make it more difficult I had to do it twice as it took some more time to clear the dock of the sailing dinghies. We finally made it in safely and just in time to participate in the Tuesday night potluck dinner. We both crashed after dinner after this long 53 nautical mile day.

I was still moving pretty slow Wednesday and not actually full of "piss and vinegar". Every part of me was sore from my bout of sea sickness. An afternoon nap was definitely on the agenda. Bob got invited by Jeff on s/v Journey to join a race crew for the "Wet Wednesday" races sponsored by the VYC. We knew Jeff & Dori from cruising in Mexico and we buddy boated with them up the Baja coast. The crew on "Rival" comes in 2nd of their class and a great time was had by all. Bob, as the guest crew, got the honorary trophy of a glass mug. And yes he got soaked while out racing.

It's now Thursday and we have been enjoying a walk around the harbor area that is filled with restaurants, shops, marinas, etc. We decided to wander down and see s/v "Summer Passage", the sister ship to Ponderosa which was owned by Don Anderson, the well known and beloved weather guru for cruisers in Mexico. Don had passed away unexpectedly in early April. As we were admiring the boat, a woman aboard waved to us. We explained to her that we had the same kind of boat and knew Don thru the SSB nets. She graciously let us in the gate and invited us on board. She was Don's daughter, Carol and just happened to be there today cleaning out the boat.

It was a real treat to tour Summer Passage which is laid out exactly like our boat. Carol took the time to tell us what happened to Don and share some of her memories of sailing with her dad. She is a delightful woman and it meant a lot to hear good things about Don and what he did for cruisers. A sale is pending and it sounds like the boat will be in good hands with the new owners. It was a most pleasant encounter.

Tomorrow we are off to Santa Barbara for one night; then onto the Cojo anchorage to position ourselves to round Point Conception on Sunday. The wind and seas look calm and benign for several days so here's our weather window to make tracks north.

Ventura Yacht Club 34°14.725N 119°15.93W

07/13/2012 | Lisa
So sorry we missed you once again in Ventura. Best of luck to you as you round Point Conception. Last time we passed through it was smooth sailing. Hoping the same for you. Take care.
07/15/2012 | Debbie and Don - sv Buena Vista
Miss you both and wish we could be there in Ventura with you - our old stomping grounds. We're at Huahine - 100 miles west of Tahiti - it's blowing so hard we can't get off the boat! Enjoy lovely Ventura.
What happened to radio protocol?
07/09/2012, Marina del Rey

July 6 - 9, 2012: Thanks to the generosity of Larry & Sue of M/V Beverly S we have been guests at the California Yacht Club. It's a lovely yacht club with all the amenities you ever need or want. Our 46 mile transit from Newport Beach across the busy harbor of Long Beach was uneventful and void of much boat traffic; but the radio chatter was something else.

Ever since getting back to states and especially around the San Diego area, channel 16 on the VHF is alive with vessel hailing, radio checks, Coast Guard and Navy radio traffic. Never fails that some poor schmuck is getting chewed out by the Coast Guard for asking for a radio check. Seems to me calling for a radio check is like hailing someone ... besides you need to know if your radio transmits on channel 16. It was amusing one time listening to one Navy warship call for a radio check ... and got his reply from another naval vessel all the while the Coast Guard remained silent. Apparently now you can call on channels 26 & 27 for an automated response on your radio check.

The group of us bashing up the Baja were hailing on channel 22 (the Mexican hailing channel for cruisers) while in Magdalena Bay and getting scolded by the Coast Guard for chatting on their frequency even though we were hundreds of mile south of them. Go figure!

When first cruising around Mexico we asked the question ... "why?" a lot since we couldn't figure out the logic behind how the culture/government/society worked compared to the USA. Well now that I am back home, I have to question the over abundance of rules and regulations here. I guess it's the price we pay for technology and safety.

We can't seem to pass by Marina del Rey without having to buy a Westerbeke engine part. Sure enough after Bob changed the oil he discovered an oil leak which required a new part. The problem is now solved but it's amazing how fortuitous we have been discovering these issues before they created a monster of a problem. Hopefully we can pass thru Santa Barbara without Bob landing in the hospital like two years ago.

Tomorrow we continue our trek north. It is so alluring to settle into a southern California port on a permanent basis with easy living and great weather. Oh my!

07/11/2012 | Jim Hodges
Great blog! Good to hear trip is going well. Take your time and when you get the hook down in Port Madison, give us a call (562 310 6840). We got home to Bainbridge 10 days ago. Loomba-Loomba is in Guaymas.
07/15/2012 | Jeanne Walker
Hey you two, sounds like your bash was pretty un-eventfull. Larry and Sue hosted us at California YC as well when we passed thru. That place is awesome, and so are larry and Sue. Have a good trip home, the rest of your journey
07/15/2012 | Joel
Yea, Mexico seems like a Libertarian dream compared to the rules and regs of the home of the brave. Glad to hear you are making steady progress North. All the best!

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Ponderosa Voyages
Who: Bob Custer & Sherry Heen
Port: Issaquah, WA
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