06 November 2007 | San Diego, CA
After 2500 miles of trying to make decent speed, we found ourselves trying to heave to at less than one knot. Yup, that was us, hove to twenty five miles outside of San Diego. We tucked in about 4-8 miles off the coast waiting for daylight before entering into San Diego Bay. The idea of entering this busy harbor in the dark was about as appealing as sailing into a hurricane! When the sky lightened, we were confronted with fog. Luckily, we had our trusty radar and a mile of visibility. The channel was well marked so we had no problems finding our way to the Shelter Island Harbor. We are now tucked in at the Police Transit dock. Our first foray into the big city was Downwind Marine, where all things are possible! This is an amazing place catering to cruisers with a large supply of useful treasures, information, and a place to get mail. We drug our loot back to the boat, meeting other cruisers and gaining valuable information along the way. One of the great things about cruising is that we get to meet some great people. We are also learning that we run into friends in the harbors along the way. Joy of Life, whom we met in Sequim, WA showed up at Half Moon Bay, CA. We also met Aquarella at Bodega Bay, CA. That wonderful Canadian family showed up this morning at San Diego. Everywhere we go, there is a happy reunion amongst cruisers along with the joy of meeting new folks. We will be staying in San Diego for one or two weeks, depending on how soon we get chores completed before leaving the country. The engine is begging for new oil and fuel filters. We need to get some mail, and hopefully our documentation renewal forms! We may be adding a wind generator to help charge our batteries. The list is never ending!
Half Moon Bay to Santa Barbara
29 October 2007 | Santa Barbara
October 30, 2007 Wow, what a passage! We had some great sailing from Half Moon Bay to Santa Barbara. It was probably the nicest trip we've done. Winds averaged 5-15 knots, except from Point Conception to Santa Barbara, where winds increased to 25+ knots. The sky was clear and the sun was warm. What more could a person ask for? We are anchored up and will decide this morning whether or not we spend one more night. This anchorage is really roly-poly! We got our opportunity to try out our new whisker pole. It performed beautifully. Bob, a friend we met at Bodega Bay showed us his set-up which has made deployment and retrieval very simple. Going down wind was one of our biggest weaknesses, thank to the whisker pole, we have solved that problem. Little by little, we are making this boat a great cruising machine. We now have most of our high priority items on board with the exception of a new jib, solar panels, and wind generator.
26 October 2007 | Half Moon Bay, CA
October 26, 2007 The weather continues to show promise for the next four days. Unless something unusual occurs, we will leave tomorrow morning. The last minute preparations are complete, and this is the time I start "pacing", going back over the route, checking on the tides and currents (negligible here, but a habit from years of navigating in big tides and currents). I also start stashing those little items that will be airborne later! Everything that needs charging is charging while we have shore power tonight. I learned my lesson, when the cell phone went dead trying to talk with a harbormaster. I also double check out on deck little things like cotter pins, lines in the correct locations. Tomorrow morning we will top off the fuel and water, get the main cover unzipped, halyard attached, and all the sheets ready. We sure have enjoyed Half Moon Bay. Right now there are two other Alaska boats in the harbor. It sure has been nice visiting with them. We especially enjoyed visiting with the commercial fishermen. The harbor staff has been great, and we definitely recommend this place for cruisers passing through!
Getting ready for the next leg
25 October 2007 | Half Moon Bay, CA
Well, we are storing our latest provisions, checking the weather, and getting the last "must complete" stuff checked of the list. A weather window is developing for Saturday, October 27. This looks like it will be our latest sailing date. We did get a lot accomplished at Half Moon Bay. The whisker pole is ready to go now. Yanmar parts finally arrived, and now the single sideband radio is up and running. So, are you curious about our trip from Bodega Bay to Half Moon Bay? And whatever happened to those plans of cruising San Francisco Bay? Well, here is the story: We left Bodega Bay, bound for Drakes Bay. The weather was decent, light south winds, with north swells averaging about 8 feet. The light winds on the nose were tolerable, but we spent the 5 hour trip mostly motoring. Drakes Bay is a large bay tucked around the corner from Point Reyes. The scenery was beautiful, pastoral with cows mooing in the fields and a couple of fishing boats anchored near a pier. The night started out fine, with no wind. We were anchored in 18 feet of water, the shallowest we have ever anchored. We are not accustomed to small 6-7 foot tides! The winds were supposed to shift to the west, but by 2am, it was blowing 15 from the south, and were were totally exposed to them. We sat up, listening to the weather and decided not to leave at 3am for San Francisico Bay, just lay low until the blow passed by. While were were setting up an anchor snubber, I continued to check on how we were holding. We started dragging at 4:00, going to 9 feet of water in just a few minutes. Up came the anchor, and we motored back and forth deciding on our next move. The weather report did not match our observation. The wind was blowing 18-20 directly into the bay. We had two choices, stay, hope that the wind would shift, or get out of the bay and make for Half Moon Bay. We had missed our tide window for San Francisco. We decided to leave. We knew we would get hammered in the ocean, but it sure beat getting washed up on the beach! The move turned out to be a good one, although it was the worst trip I'd ever been on. We had 14-16 foot seas from one direction, chop from another, and south winds on the bow gusting to 30 knots. We had 1/2 mile of visibility with heavy rain, most of the way and only found the freighters and other boats by radar. When we arrived at Half Moon Bay, I was never so glad to see a breakwater! It was also the first time I've ever been really seasick. Let me tell you, it was not fun! The weather continued to be poor for another day or two. We would have played anchor games at Drakes Bay for another 48 hours! We managed to get our West Marine parts by driving down to Monterey where we had them sent. While there, we visited the Monterey Aquarium and walked down Cannery Row. The aquarium was spectacular!!! I highly recommend it! We also made a trip back to Saulsalito, and did go over the Golden Gate Bridge. Not as exciting, but it was a beautiful day, and we drove around the city looking at all the beautiful buildings. We sure have enjoyed staying at Half Moon Bay. The Princeton Seafood restaurant does have a great crab sandwich!!! That is saying a lot from an x-commercial fisherman!
From Tender Spirit Log 8/23-10/02/2007
02 October 2007 | West Coast
From the log of Tender Spirit.
August 23, 2007.
We left Port Townsend in the early afternoon having fueled and taken care last-minute business. We decided to go by sail alone to test the new main. Unfortunately we lost wind and wallowed around for hours. We finally anchored at Sequim around 7PM. The new main was magnificent! It is such an enormous improvement over the old sail. I am so glad that we put that on the top of the refit list.
August 24-26, 2007
We hung out most of the day on the anchor relaxing and working in small projects. Later in the afternoon we tied up at the John Wayne Marina. We decided to stay there two additional nights. We met several other sailboats that were also headed south on the same trip that we are. One of the vessels, the "Love of Life" with Jan and Gail on board was from Fairbanks. They are sailing on a valiant 40. While we were in town, we went to the marina restaurant where the food was superb. We especially liked the crab bisque.
August 26, 2007.
We left Sequim in the afternoon and arrived at Port Angeles around 8 p.m.. We experienced 20 to 24 kn winds out of the West. This was our first opportunity to test our new reefing system, oh, and how well our stuff was stowed. We bucked 4-6 foot seas all the way in with about a two foot chop on the top. I guess this is why they call it the "Strait of Juan de Puka" instead of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We spent two nights in Port Angeles, finishing more projects. We also went for some long walks in town enjoying the new sights and scenery.
August 28, 2007.
This morning we were going to take the ferry to Victoria for some sight seeing however, the weather prediction was perfect for heading offshore with a large weather window. We motored to Neah Bay in beautiful sunny, windless weather. It sure was a nice change for the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We will finally be heading off shore tomorrow morning for San Francisco. I am scared and excited.
August 29, 2007
we left Neah Bay around 8:30 a.m. It was a beautiful sunny morning, and I was so excited to finally get going on this leg. Unfortunately, there was no wind so we elected to motor until we got off shore enough to be out of the shipping traffic. We also wanted to get a good angle to sail around the torpedo restricted zone. At first we wanted to go around the inside of that zone, but the winds were fickle and we were wondering about traffic. There was plenty of charter boat activity and commercial fishing to avoid. We decided to go out on the outside of the restricted zone. Later in the afternoon we sailed with no engine, in very little wind. Finally, around 5 p.m. after wallowing around without wind. It started to pick up. About this time, Chuck caught a coho. I also caught a coho just as heavy fog closed in around us. We found ourselves amongst about 10 other trollers fishing for salmon. We fired up the radar and engine, and managed to get out of everybody's way.
August 30, 2007.
Once again, we started the day off with very little wind. We ran the engine for two hours to charge the batteries and to get us on our way. We are out in blue water now. It is extremely beautiful. The water is deep blue, very clear, and the bubbles coming up from the swells intensified its beauty. I've never seen such beautiful water before. We struggled all day, having little or no wind. What little wind, we had was downwind. We are discovering that her biggest deficit is a lack of light wind and down wind sailing abilities. I am sure wishing we had a whisker pole and a bigger jib.
August 31, 2007.
Our watches worked out really well for us. We patterned them after the way we used to gillnet. I was on watch from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. and then Chuck took over until seven. Chuck would sleep until about noon and then we both hung out until late afternoon. I would sometimes take an hour to nap, and it would start all over again.
This morning I woke up to low clouds. We continue to struggle with small amounts of north wind. Around 1:00 p.m., the wind shifted to the southwest. I could see dark sky and thunderheads on the horizon. Anticipating some nasty weather, I shortened sail. It turned out that the squall passed us by with very little wind, and by five o'clock it was sunny again.
September 01, 2007.
I spent last night, working half the night trying to get the sales to fill with no wind, but hey, it kept me busy and awake! The winds were blowing at three to 5 kn out of the northwest. This afternoon Chuck decided to try and catch an albacore. As soon as a lure went into the water, fish were swimming all over under the boat. Chuck immediately caught one. It sure was beautiful, coming up to the boat. It's back was deep blue and its sides were silver. It fins were narrow and silver. It had enormous eyes. It was sad to see that when they die, they turn a dull black and white. Soon after Chuck caught his fish, I also had a fish on. Naturally now that we wind and sail adjustments to be made, I have a fish on the line! By the time I reeled the fish close to the boat, we realized I had a shark. Later, after speaking with some fishermen, we found out that it was a blue shark. It was about 7 feet long. By the time we turned it loose, two other sharks were swimming towards it. Those cannibals! Later we were working trying to get some speed out of our sails when I noticed a shark swimming behind the boat. Chuck had his fish dragging in the cool water. We were planning on filleting it for dinner. I told him about the shark and that I was concerned that it would get his fish. Chuck said, not to worry, we were making some speed and that it wouldn't get the fish. Well, needless to say, I looked down later, and all that was left was the severed end of the twine. So, the sharks got a meal on Chuck....he always does like to feed the fish! I was disappointed because we hadn't had a chance to taste the fish, but a couple hours later, I did catch my first albacore, and it was bigger too! Unfortunately, we didn't eat it that night because of the wind picking up and our need to prepare the boat for a blow. Why is it that whenever I have a fish on, something on board needs immediate attention!?
By 9:00p.m. the wind suddenly shifted to the south and it looked like our weather was going to change for the worse so we reefed the main and pulled in the jib, leaving the stay sail to balance the boat. Dark fell, and with knotted stomach, we felt prepared for a blow with a reefed main and the stay sail. By midnight it was blowing 25-30 knots. I was so glad for that preparation!!
September 2, 2007
We started today with our first gale going. I was feeling miserable last night. I had a huge headache and then was sick. I'm starting to feel better this morning. We are down to a reefed main alone with 14-16 foot seas with whitecaps topping them off. We were unable to maintain any kind of southerly course and wound up heading northeast for awhile. That really hurt...going backwards!! Our stowage plans worked out quite nicely with only a few items flying around. We were both bruised from being tossed around. I'm stiff and sore from wrestling with the shark yesterday and with the steering today. The Monitor wind vane steering has worked out beautifully. It keeps going, and does even better as the winds increased. Today though, we discovered that one of its lines has nearly chaffed through so we will be working on getting that remedied as soon as the wind and seas die down a bit. We also had a bigger problem, the engine was slow to start. We almost didn't get it going. I am worried that it may not start and we have a real possibility that we will be sailing the rest of the way without a means of charging the batteries. To conserve power, anything non-essential was been turned off with the exception of night running lights. Good-bye refrigeration!
September 3, 2007
We started the morning with 10-12 foot seas, but the wind has slowed down considerably. I am feeling much better, and we are even making southerly progress!! I was concerned that the wind changed only briefly and then switched back to southwest by afternoon. By late this afternoon, we are now back to gale winds and big seas. I have in the log book written, "Happy Labor Day, conditions Sh!!y". That about sums it up. Winds are 35 knots. We took some pictures of the seas, but they look way smaller in the photos. We decided to fire up the engine, beat almost directly into the wind, and make for Coos Bay, which is about 150 miles away. Our other choice was to continue being pushed west and wind up in Hawaii!!! We decided that we have enough fuel to motor the rest of the way in. We are concerned that if we commit to this direction that should we turn the engine off, we may not be able to get it started again putting us in a real bind as we get close to land.
September 4, 2007
The wind has slowed down and by mid morning it dropped to 2-5 knots but still out of the southwest. We motored all night and made great progress. We called the Coast Guard for a bar report before entering Coos Bay. This was our first bar crossing so we were a bit nervous. Our timing couldn't have been better with very small tides (small current) and a newly settled sea. By the time we were within 10 miles of Coos Bay, the seas were down to 4 foot swells. We didn't have any trouble crossing the bar, but the markers coming into the harbor were confusing. About the time we were getting things sorted out, the Coast Guard called us up on the radio and guided us to the next marker. I was really impressed that they are so quick and ready to help folks. We were tied up at Coos Bay by 7 p.m. just as heavy fog rolled in. We were happy to have made this decision because there was an even larger blow expected, 40knots lasting the next 4 days! It's good to be tucked in, safe and sound.
We wandered up to a local caf� to discover very reasonable prices, tasty food, and they fed us way, way too much. It sure was pleasant to just sit for awhile. We made friends with the waitress, and staggered home, not from the one beer I had, but from the sea, all that food, and being very tired.
September 5, 2007
We wandered around Coos Bay today and discovered that it is a very small town, more of a village named Charleston that centers around the commercial fishing fleet. It is nice to be around other fisherman again. Many of the people we met fished in Alaska and we had mutual friends.
Last night I couldn't get the shore power plugged in and so we decided to wait until today to get help from the harbor people. The attendant got us plugged in. Later Chuck started shaving and discovered that he was getting shocked by the water. It turned out that not only were we plugged into 50amps (we use 30), but it had reverse polarity. Thank goodness that nothing was on except the battery charger and hot water tank. We could have ruined everything electrical on board, especially our electronics!! We got that all sorted out and plugged into 30 amps. At first the harbor didn't believe us. But when they came down with their tester, they were equally surprised and helped us get plugged into a proper outlet.
We decided to stay about a week, figure out our engine problem, and let the storm blow through.
September 8, 2007
Well, here it is Saturday. We sure were glad to be tucked in. We have really enjoyed Coos Bay and the little town of Charleston. It looks like the wind will settle down and we can be on our way by Monday. The only thing wrong with the engine was a loose wire on the starter! It is easy to get around here and get things done. Although there is no bus service, the taxi has a flat rate of $10 dollar to go to North Bend where the grocery store and mall is located. The prices here are way cheaper than Puget Sound. The people are friendly, but we are ready to get going.
September 10, 2007
We are underway again. We left Coos Bay at noon to time the current for the bar. It was easy getting across. The wind and seas have died down. We have light south winds predicted for the next several days. We only used 32 gallons of fuel from Neah Bay, so we have decided that if we need to motor more in these light airs, we will. It sure was amazing how little fuel we used when we are going at � to � the rpm's that we usually cruise at.
I did get a few trinkets while in Charleston. I found a dinosaur made out of shells and a ship carved into a cowlry. I found it most amusing that the local artist used tropical shells! I thought they were cute. Mom makes stuff out of the shells she finds in Mexico so I also got her a dinosaur as well.
So far this afternoon there is no wind, maybe 0-1 knot out of the south if we blow on the wind indicator! So, we have all the sails up and the engine on at a low rpm. Even with this, it's nice to be back on the water and heading south!
September 11, 2007
The weather so far has been very mild, light south winds about 5 knots or less....just as predicted. We have been running the engine at near idle to help keep the sails drawing, averaging 4-5 knots of speed.
I watched the porpoises (black fish) play in the bow wake. The blue, clear water makes it quite the beautiful show!
I put out the ole' white hoochie out about mid morning and soon the albacore were jumping all over. I caught one almost immediately. I actually caught this fish when nothing pressing was going on! Amazing!! As I was finishing reeling it in, I saw a shark fin. It then grabbed my fish, heading deep into the water with the reel peeling out all that line I finally got back in from the fish! I finally reeled the fish back in, out of the shark's mouth, and on board. It had lots of meat bitten off. I salvaged a fillet (what was left of the fish) and threw it back to the shark. So, we all got a great meal (including the shark following close behind the boat). Two hours later, it was baked in onion and lemons. It sure tasted good!! I made the rest into tuna spread for sandwiches and snacks.
I hope tonight isn't as foggy as last night. The radar has been a Godsend this leg. We have been playing freighter/fishing boat games in the fog. We are currently about 55 miles off shore and crossed the California border last night. At this pace, we will be across from Cape Mendocino sometime tomorrow morning.
September 12, 2007
We did pass Cape Mendocino this morning! Late last night a Leaches Storm Petrel (I looked it up today to see what kind of bird it was!) landed on the "back porch" floundering around for footing. I put out my mitted hand and it crawled up and made himself at home in the palm of my hand! He laid there for quite awhile until I accidentally startled him when checking the radar. He flew into the boat and hung out with Chuck (sleeping on the settee) for almost an hour or so. He started to get restless, so I put him back on my mitted hand and took him outside. Instead of flying off, once again, he nestled in and decided to roost in the palm of my hand. This lasted quite awhile until I had to maneuver around a couple of boats on the radar. I startled him and he flew off into the night. There were a lotof birds flying around the boat last night in the fog!
Late last night, five porpoises decided to stop by. They played in the bow wake for quite awhile. The phosphorescence lit them up and it looked like an underwater sparkly light show. It was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. They left a trail of lights 10-15 feet behind them lighting up the water. The bow wake itself also was lit up. Then they would surface, reflecting the green and red from our running lights. This was one beautiful sight, almost impossible to describe, much less be able to photograph.
This morning two yellow birds landed on the boat (at separate times). I think they are either western tanagers or scarlet tanagers. They sure are far from the beach! We are about 35 miles off shore. I wonder if they are heading south as well!!
We finally have some sailable wind. We have to sail regardless for a few days so that we'll have plenty of fuel to get into San Francisco Bay. This sure has been a mild trip so far with light but chilly wind. The forecast continues to predict more of the same....south winds at 5 knots. I am not wishing for more wind, not after what happened last time!
September 14, 2007
Here we are, tied up at Bodega Bay. We decided to come into this harbor because of the fuel dock. We motored a lot and weren't sure how much fuel we had burned. We ended up taking on 37 gallons! The "Joy of Life" is also here! It is the Valient that we met at Sequim. They were in the gales that we avoided at Coos Bay. They got here in just 6 days from Neah Bay! I think I would rather go slower and be less scared! They traveled with reduced sails, and even had to deploy warps and their storm drogue.
September 15, 2007
Happy Birthday to us! We slept in, catching up on some badly needed rest! I also check out the shower and it sure felt great! We are thinking about holing up here for awhile to catch up on some boat work. The engine is still giving us problems. We are thinking that it may be battery related because it will finally start after we us the house batteries and turn everything off. I expect there may be several issues at work. We also need to go up the mast to replace some light bulbs and grease the shivs, and oil the track.
The moorage is reasonable, definitely a deciding factor. If we can rent a car, why, we could do some road trips as well.
Bodega Bay is a very small area. The marina is mostly commercial fishing boats with a few charter boats and a smattering of pleasure boats. It is a mile walk to "town", which is composed of a RV park, two grocery stores, a couple of restaurants and some tourist shops. One shop is a surf shop! This is obviously a surfer destination. Nearby is a popular surfing beach. Apparently great whit sharks like to frequent this beach as well! I think I will bypass the shark attack experience!!!
We have been enjoying the wildlife. We see deer on the way to the store along with pelicans, blue herons and white herons, sandpipers, and a large population of black birds with yellow eyes, and some with red wings.
September 16, 2007
We are unwinding and catching up on sleep. I am researching batteries the electrical system trying to figure it all out. We think that our batteries may be responsible since we don't know how old they are. I'm also looking at other reasons the engine is not wanting to fire to life.
We moved to a different slip where we can now plug into shore power. We also walked up to the local grocery and surf shop to day. Tomorrow we'll start working on boat stuff again.
September 17, 2007
We discovered that moorage by the month is very inexpensive here. It includes power and use of the showers at no extra costs. So, we decided to stay for the next several weeks because we know that moorage rates are very expensive as we head farther south and anchorages are scarce. We decided to rent a car for a week starting on the 25th.
An electrician/mechanic stopped by to help us sort through our engine woes. He found that it is just a loose connection, the starter battery cables are loose, and one had burrs on it. So I tightened them up and filed of the burs. The engine starts, although it does take a bit of cranking.
September 25, 2007
Well, we rented a car today and promptly started a week of sight seeing. We went to the redwood forest. The trees were spectacular! It's amazing how open the under brush is on the forest floor. We also had a chance to get out and view our surroundings better. This area has lots of rolling hills with large areas of grassland interspersed with a variety of pine and deciduous trees. The grassland is mostly cattle ranches, both dairy and beef. The coastline is rugged with large sandy beaches lying between rocky cliffs.
September 26, 2007
We went to Sausalito and dropped off the single side band modem at Farallon Electronics. They will update our Pactor II modem to make a Pactor III. It will definitely help to get email and weather faxes. We also stopped by the West Marine store and got all the parts ordered for the whisker pole. Everything will be ready on Friday. Jeff, the gentleman at the store was so knowledgeable and really took the time to help me get it all figured out!
September 27, 2007
We took off and went north to Fort Ross, an old Russian fort. It turns out that it and the surrounding farms were used to help feed Sitka during the Russian quest for seal and otter pelts. When Russia sold Alaska, they brought back two cannon from Sitka for the new Fort Ross occupants, the Sutter Family. Pretty wild, go to California to find stuff from Alaska! We also toured wine country. We were impressed with all the wineries, grapes fields and mansions. We didn't stop at the places for tasting because of the long drive back and it was already getting late. On the way home we saw more deer and a jack rabbit!
September 28, 2007
We went back to Sausalito and the modem was ready, but not the whisker pole. I sure have been impressed with the Sausalito West Marine folks. They are extremely helpful and knowledgeable! Everything is starting to cost us. We knew that we can't afford this trip, but we will never be able to afford it, so we will just have to make it work because life is too short to worry about the future. I will not sit in my rocker thinking of the things I didn't do!( OOPS.....I don't have a rocker, so I guess I will laze around in the cockpit and let the boat rock!) I decided long ago that a person can make their dreams come true if they are willing to work hard and make sacrifices. It is easy to come up with an endless stream of excuses of why we can't do something rather than make goals and overcome barriers to make it happen. It's especially easy to blame someone else and use them as an excuse.
September 30, 2007
Yesterday We went to Sebastopol looking for hardware. We got lost and ended up seeing more country. It is such beautiful countryside....maybe we can get lost again!! We have now seen most of Sonoma County by driving the small roads and just enjoying the scenery. Today we drove to Point Reyes and saw the elk herds. We also saw lots of cattle ranches. We finally got to sample the meat and milk from the local organic farms. It was awesome. I bought milk and cream that came in the old style glass bottles. I had never seen these before except on the Flintstones!!!!:)
October 2, 2007
We returned the car today. It sure was fun, but we are happy to get back to boat projects. I am loving the blue sky and endless sunny days. The afternoon wind is cool, but it's definitely tee-shirt and a bit of sun screen on the face weather! It makes it difficult to believe that it's already October. The leaves are turning and we are starting to get restless. We will probably leave the end of this week or early next week to meander south.
I scrubbed out the cockpit, deck and the cushions. They were really looking sad. It was good to have a day at home; I even spent the afternoon reading in the warm and sunny cockpit.