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D & D Nagle aboard MV DavidEllis
Things & Stuff

We've just returned from a whirlwind driving trip to Seattle for the annual workboat show. This is a boat show for tugs, fishboats, charter boats and such - boats very similar in size to ours, with much of the same equipment aboard. It's a chance to talk to engineers and technicians who build and service the stuff we have; to see what's new, and what might help solve this or that nagging little issue we have with the boat.

This year I'm focusing on our heater system (which uses engine coolant to heat the fore and aft ends of the boat inside); improvements to the performance of the air conditioners (which are also heaters); the flow scan which measures the amount of fuel being used and the right materials for dealing with paint / rust issues. Also I found a very cool little gizmo that should solve the issue of knowing how deep the effluent is in the black water tanks (as long as I can solve the problem of how to install it).

We also had the chance to visit with many of our Seattle friends - Wade, who's crewed with us portions of the past two summers; John (Wade's friend) a solo circumnavigator in a tiny sailboat who crewed in September from Pt Angeles to Bodega Bay; Ben, who crewed with us from Seattle to Wrangell AK last January and his parents - especially his mom who actually reads, and can quote from this blog, bless her; Kurt & Marcia from MV Alpenglow; Ginger & Peter from SV Marcy; David Burch at Starpath; Deniva and the folks at SMA; Barb & Bill, boat parts people extraordinaire at Hatton Marine and David C. who is close now to taking delivery of his very own Diesel Duck.

The weather wasn't great, and I did get a cold/sore throat for a couple of days, but overall it was an enjoyable, successful trip. On the way up we stopped overnight with our good friend Bill H at Trinity Center (northwest of Redding CA). The following morning, we headed north on Hwy 3 over Scott Mountain, through Etna and Fort Jones. The roads were clear as there'd been no snow for a week or so, skies blue. A really beautiful drive up to Yreka (Gump's hometown), then back onto I-5 for the rest of the trip north.

Back to Sonoma County in time for Thanksgiving at the house on Pleasant Hill with Patrick's family. No actual fistfights, no blood drawn, great food and good company making it a successful holiday by my calculation. And back to DavidEllis... everyone happy to be home. The crab fleet hasn't made it out of the harbor yet; between weather and the price being offered by the buyers, it hasn't yet been worth starting an engine. There was a meeting yesterday afternoon, but the buyers are offering the same price the fisherman sold their crab for 20 years ago. Some are now taking the pots off their boats and going black cod fishing until the price comes up - it's their life, and they're entitled to a fair price.

Had a visit yesterday from grand-daughter Jordanne and her friends Benje and Rob. They played Risk with Dorothy. World domination was not actually settled but I'm pretty sure the gals from Sebastopol wiped up the floor with the boys from Texas. My brother John and Birdy came out with my brother Terry, his wife Martha and their great kids Joseph and Jezelle. John and Bird did their vacation on DE summer 2010, but Terry and his family have never seen the boat. I wouldn't be surprised if Joseph and/or Jezelle end up as cabin boy/girl next summer.

Apparently it's tick season - I hates 'em, along with mossies, fire ants and the Alaskan white-sock no-see-um which nails me each time I visit the beach at Pruth Bay.

That'll do it for now...

11/06/2011, A Dock, Spud Point Marine, Bodega Bay, CA

We're settling into life in one place for awhile, and re-integrating back into our lives in Sonoma County (although I'm already twitching to be going again). Doctors, dentists, lab tests, new glasses, physical therapy... Jeez, send me back to SE AK! Same stuff for Dot, with the addition of some outpatient hand surgery. She's doing fine, although her mention that the surgery would keep her from cooking or washing dishes for at least 6 months is a little suspect.

Spud Point at Bodega Bay, compared to the many harbors we've stayed in the last 5 years, is quite squared away. Laundry, showers, toilets right at the top of the dock; single slips (I don't think we've ever been in a single slip); power pedestals and water at each slip; garbage and recycling. I do miss the rubbish sampan which would come by the boat every day in Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter, Hong Kong. They took everything - trash, furniture, metal, used filters, used oil & coolant. And when they got done making the rounds of all the boats, they spent the rest of the day with a big net / strainer lowered into the water, grabbing up anything floating around the harbor which shouldn't be there. In Japan we had to separate our trash into 9? (not sure, have to go back and look it up) separate categories! Some of the distinctions between this and that type of plastic were quite beyond me.

Our last couple days underway down the coast, I noticed a red tide running, but for two weeks after that the water down here was such a deep maroon! Diving this coast since 14 years old, I've never seen a red tide so intense. Apparently a significant die off of invertebrates as well. Could this be connected to the warmer waters offshore this past month bringing albacore as far north as the Columbia River? We had phosphorescence in the water all the way down also. Biologists at Bodega Marine Lab are looking into the phenomenon.

We've been making the rounds of family and friends, some of whom we've not seen since we retired. Many of them look older. We don't look older. Attended a monthly retirement luncheon (for former SCSO employees); nice to see the folks that were there. Even better without all the tension of our working days. Lots of friends out to the boat - it's not in boat show shape as we're in the middle of stuff, but people seem to enjoy getting to see it after reading about it for the past 8 years (including the build).

One of my original partners, Mike F, who (along with Dorothy) met us at the dock when we came into Bodega Bay last month, had us up to his place on the hill in Freestone. He's put in a beautiful vineyard there, a scenic setting to chat about old stories, old friends and the odd enemy or two. Rascal and Rusty got to spend a whole afternoon running around the property chatting up the chickens and the horses. Mike and Carlene were recently in Africa and Bangledesh; her photos of the people there are stunning! Carlene has a real gift with a camera.

We're getting into boat project mode: rust / paint issues, woodwork, plumbing, electrical, electronics. Really looking forward to getting some of these off my list (knowing full well that as I dig into projects, others will jump out like a jack-in-the-box). Hand tools, power tools, cleaners, paints, scrapers, things scattered everywhere of course, because to do anything on a boat, requires moving everything - at least that's how it seems.

The local fisherman are getting ready for the crab fishery opening. Wishing them good weather, safe fishing, a bountiful harvest and good prices for their product. Pallets of crab pots have been lining up along the roadway, soon they'll be stacked on deck ready for the opening.

October weather was the beautiful Indian Summer I remember about west Sonoma County. Although there was very much less fog here at Bodega Bay than I recall - not complaining! Took a walk with Rusty & Rascal along Bay Flat Rd (which has very little traffic, as it's been superceded by West Shore Rd). Many of the aforementioned crab pots are stored there, and walking along, smelling the eucalyptus, cedar and cypress; seeing the wreck of the old ferry / scow Petaluma which is now rotting away in the bushes, was all a trip down memory lane. Rascal brought us back to here/now as he found a mud filled ditch to run back and forth in until he looked like one of the raccoons he's been stalking... baths for everyone!

The dogs have been cataloging the local wildlife - raccoons, deer, herons, egrets, sandpipers, gulls, cormorants, seal and sea lions. Treed a 'coon (can I still say that?) the other evening and have sussed out that the little bandits use the culverts for getting around.

12/05/2011 | John and Jerie Milici
Have you changed out your ComNav1440? We are crossing the canal in April and planning to go down to Chile. Trying to focus on those things that we need to upgrade or replace. As always looking for your expertise. PS we need line handlers, what are you doing in April?
Last Lap
photo courtesy Wade Biggs
09/28/2011, Spud Pt Marina, Bodega Bay CA

21 September Wed Well, in the last blog I wrote that we were going to leave Newport that afternoon, to try to stay in the benign weather bubble, ahead of really crappy weather coming in from north of us. We got underway about 1500 that afternoon; came out of the yacht harbor, under the bridge and turned the corner into the entrance channel, and there was a 16' breaking wave, with a nearly 100' steel fishboat surfing in on it and another wave, broken and reflected off the north jetty heading toward our starboard side about 10' - Yikes! Nothing to do but increase power and meet the waves. We got out OK, but I would not have wanted to come in under these same conditions. With the right kind of boat and enough power, one can come in through breaking waves, and our Diesel Duck is a great boat, but it's not that kind of boat. Offshore again we had fog, big swells and little wind; by midnight the fog had cleared somewhat, speed 7+ knots, 400 nm to Bodega Bay.

22 Sep Thurs harbors up and down the coast from Grey's Harbor (south of Juan de Fuca) to Noyo (Fort Bragg) are reporting closure or dangerous conditions. The big swells being experienced all down the coast are the fore-runners of the big storm out to the NW and coming down behind us. Our best choice seems to be to take a line offshore of Cape Mendocino and run for Bodega Bay.

I heard Coast Guard Humboldt Bay talking to S/V Wings of Dawn (Rob, a retired fireman from the Tacoma area we met on the dock in Tofino BC). It sounded like Rob was asking about entrance conditions.

Approximately 250nm to Bodega Bay, Wade suggested slowing the boat to save fuel and arrive in daylight. It made sense but after thinking about it for much of the day, I've defaulted to Don McIntyre's advice to not dawdle when there is an opportunity to make miles during an offshore crossing. Or in our case, on an exposed coast, where we cannot go to shelter (all closed or dangerous to enter) - it might as well be a blue-water crossing.

23 Sept Friday 0300hrs rounding Cape Mendocino; swells, wind out of north, not yet kicking up the surface, thin fog. Cape Mendocino > Pt Arena > Bodega Bay 157nm (23hrs @ 7 kts; 25hrs @ 6.5kts)

0400 dolphins on the bow - seen only by their outlines and trails in bioluminescence. Fog is thinning, can now see moon and stars.

Prior to dawn the north wind stiffened up, but once around to the south side of C. Mendocino slackened to about 10kts. Boat motion a bit crazy in the vicinity of C. Mendocino due to conflicting currents, swells and wind off the point, but moderated noticeably by 1000hrs - 157nm to Bodega Bay

During the afternoon, the wind picked up again; head sail up giving us 5-6kts at engine idle forward. Ever since dawn we've had periodic visits from groups of dolphin (12-20) surfing the leading edge of waves as the waves came from behind. I'd look out the open pilothouse door and there'd be a dozen happy faces just off the starboard side of the boat as they surfed by.

So many memories on this northern California coast:

Trinidad and Patricks Point camping with the kids, rock climbing and rescue classes; Arcata and Eureka POST training courses and some of the lunacy that occurred up there during a residential training week; Sinkyone "Lost Coast" and the Great Camping Extravaganza in '82 when brother John and I took my kids - Pat & Kate - and nephew Victor hiking and camping (which they remember as a major childhood trauma!); Shelter Cove, Bear Harbor, uncounted kayak trips to every bit of coast from that area south to San Francisco and beyond; surf fishing Alder Creek with Old Bob; Pt Arena where my old sergeant and mentor lives; Mendocino County coastal deputies I've known and respected; my years as a Sonoma County north coast resident deputy - Sea Ranch, Annapolis, Hollow Tree, Kashia, Stewarts Pt, Timber Cove, Sea View, Kruse Ranch, Tin Barn, King Ridge, Timber Hill, Fort Ross, Cazadero & Jenner, all the little coastal communities where I worked from land, sea and air; hundreds of rescues, dozens of resuscitations, auto accidents, heart attacks, suicides, murders and births - triumphs and tragedies, the ghosts of which remain with me today; the cabin on the ridge we sold to build DavidEllis where Dorothy and I spent many happy hours with friends and family and I spent many days recuperating from various job and sport-incurred injuries - it was our sanctuary; the people, officers and pilots I worked with along this coast from my first (1972) wet-suited ride-along in Angel 1, Sonoma County's first helicopter to my last marine patrols on the coast 33 years later: Corky RIP, Wayne, Ed RIP, Brent RIP, both Dennis', George RIP, Brad, Paul, Gary RIP, Keith RIP, Tom, Joe RIP, Erne and Bill; the Banzai Bozo kayakers - Jim, John, Rick, Mike, Larry & Kirk and our arch-rivals the Tsunami Rangers.

I started diving this coast in high school and hope to emulate my old friend and diving mentor Frank Carli, who continued to dive here until 88 years of age and died in his sleep - can it get better than that?

Jenner mouth of the Russian River where I've spent years of my life, Goat Rock (many rescues; many hundreds of hours kayaking), the many south Sonoma Coast beaches, Bodega Head, Bodega Rock "the dinner plate" where the Banzai Bozos surfed like maniacs along with the sea lions and the white sharks. So many memories...

24 Sept Saturday Sometime around midnight the auto-pilot gave it up - working too hard keeping us on course in big, following waves; we're lucky to have gotten almost 3000 hours out of it. So we hand-steered in a following sea, in the fog for most of the next four hours. 0430 hours we crept in alongside the RW buoy outside Bodega Bay past Bodega Rock and dropped the hook in the outer bay off Doran Beach (where Dorothy and I had our first date January 1, 1967). A couple hours sleep until the fog clears and we can find our way into the bay. We motored in about 0800, where Dorothy, Rusty & Rascal and my old partner Mike Ferguson waited on the float to take our ropes and tie-off.

Three years a-building (many years before that dreaming and planning), five years since taking delivery in Hong Kong, 19,000 nautical miles under our keel, more than a few new gray hairs, 7 countries, and many many new friends later - we're home...

09/28/2011 | Katie Nagle
That camping trip was traumatizing.......glad you made it this far... love the stories

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Who: Mike (Dave) and Dorothy Nagle
Port: Sebastopol, CA, USA
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