09/15/2010, Chula Vista - San Diego
So here we finally are at the end of our trip on this phase of our journey. The goal for this summer was to get the boat down to San Diego and into a secure marina until we retire at the end of October and return to the boat. It feels really strange to leave as we are just getting into the swing of cruising and now we have to go home and work - it just feels wrong!
It's been quite a journey so far. It feels like we have been gone forever and have done and experienced so much in so little time. Being out on the ocean and relying on your own abilities to safely get you from point A to B really gives you a sense of accomplishment. Yes there were times I was scared and tired and worried, but I did it none the less and will continue the voyage when we return from Vancouver. There were also times that I was thrilled, amused and content. One of the things I remember the most and that has left the biggest impression on me is waking up in the v birth to the gentle rocking motion of the boat under sail and hearing the water gurgling by the hull of the boat. It was a soothing moment.
Ian is still somewhat incapacitated with his hip/leg muscle problem, but he is managing. He can't walk very far which is very frusterating for him as he loves to go walking. So hopefully a month of physio in Vancouver will set him right so we can leave in good health.
So far our impression of Chula Vista Marina is great. It's clean and very well run. There are showers, laundry, pool, restaurants, RV park and a gym. The staff are very friendly and helpful. It's a little bit out of the way but since we won't be here for most of the time, it really dosen't matter to us.
We leave to come back to Vancouver on Sunday and then back to WORK! That's almost a bad word. At least it's only for a month. Our biggest worry is packing up the apartment and moving out in the next week. It will be a challenge with Ian being out of sorts but that too we shall overcome.
See you all soon.
09/14/2010, San Diego
About the above photo, I'll explain as I go along.
I finally got to an internet cafe and can update our progress. I just saw that my last 2 entries never made it onto the blog I must have done something incorrect because when I posted it on the HAM, it went through okay. I guess the technology isn't perfect (much like the operator!).
But anyhow, here we are! It was an interesting 4 days but we motorsailed almost the entire way. We had very light winds most of the time. On the second day out it was forcast to blow 25 with gusts to 30. When we felt the wind picking up just before dark of course, Ian went forward to remove the pole off of the jib, put up the staysil and by the time he got all of that done, the winds subsided to about 4 knots! Go figure.
We saw lots of whales on day 2. At one point it didn't matter where you looked there were whales. Some close and some far. At one point, we passed 2 whales about 50 feet off the beam and one of them dove right towards the boat. I was convinced it was going under the boat and going to knock us over. About a minute later it surfaced about 20 feet behind the boat with a might blow. It scared the bejesus out of me and I screamed. Ian figures I scared the whales away because we hardly saw any after that.
We had pretty calm conditions most of the way and one quite foggy night. And our last night as we approached San Diego was busy traffic wise and those fish boats don't move an inch. You have to get out of their way.
We arrived on Sunday the 12 at around noon.
So why is Ian dressed in a paper gown in a clinic. Well we had somewhat of a medical emergency onboard. It seems that Ian did something to a muscle or nerve in his hip before we left Vancouver. Being a typical guy he just figured it would go away. As we made our way to San Francisco it was bothering him but he didn't complain too much. In San Fran, once he got on land and started walking he felt fine. The thing is he walked a lot that week and so when we left San Fran, it started to bother him again around day 2. By day 4 he was in agony and when ever he had to get up to walk from his bunk to the cockpit, he was breaking out in a sweat with the pain. I've been with Ian for 20 years and I know he has a high tolerance for pain so when I saw him wincing and laying on the floor I knew it was serious.
When we got in to San Diego, luckily our friends Vida Nova had arrived a few hours before us and they were able to help me tie up the boat as Ian was unable to get out of the cockpit.
On Monday, I found a clinic near where we are tied up a the Police Municpal dock, and off we went in a cab (by this time we had broken open our T3's and Ian was well medicated but still in lots of pain). Well despite everything bad we hear about the american medical system, we had a very positive experience.
We were there for 2 hours, the doctor saw him checked him out had xrays done right there in the clinic, was able to make a diagnosis, gave him a cortisone shot to hold him till we get back to Vancouver where he can see a physiotherapist, and gave us a bottle of prescribed muscle relaxants. All this in one place for $220 dollars. We thought it was a really good price considering the service and that we didn't have to go here and there to get xrays, pills etc. Everything was done there and I'm convinced that saves time and money.
Today, Tuesday, he is feeling a little better and is able to walk for short distances. Still in pain and on pain killers but hopefully improving a little. I have him on a stretch regime that I've done from my hip injury a few months ago. As soon as we get home it's off to the physio.
We will be flying home by the weekend. That's it for now.
09/08/2010, About 10 miles offshore 2 hours out of San Francisco
We just got underway this morning a day later than planned. A big big blow came into the anchorage and pretty much kept us awake all night on Monday night. We were tied onto a mooring ball at the yacht club so that we didn't have to take time to stow the anchor and chain in the wee hours of the morning before we left. Well we banged on that mooring ball all night long as the wind swept down on us at very high gusts and the fetch of the waves had us bouncing around. Very unpleasant. So we decided that we will wait one more day as the winds are supposed to ease. It's actually more windy in the bay than out there beyond the Golden Gate bridge, but since we had no sleep we thought to err on the side of caution and wait one more day. When we radioed our friends on Vida Nova they had the exact same idea as us. Of course right now we are motoring because there is no wind. Too much or too little and occasionally we get lucky and get a great sail with just the right amount of wind. Anyhow it is supposed to blow between 15 and 20 knots today and tonight maybe up to 25. It's slightly foggy out there as well. It's sunny right above us but you can't see more than a mile or two around you. We know there are other boats around as we can see them on the radar so a close eye is required. That's our report for now.
09/06/2010, Sausalito, CA
Well things are looking good for a departure tomorrow morning. The winds are expected to be in the 15 to 20 knot range inside of 60 miles offshore. So we are planning to travel about 30 off. If things are going well, we are going to try to get to San Diego in one jump. If we are finding ourselves too tired or things get rough, we will come in and find a safe harbour. There are a few along the coast to choose from so we have several options.
If we do it in one jump it should take us around 4 to 5 days. It's about 450 miles from San Francisco to San Diego by boat. Since we no longer have our crewmember, this will be a good test for Ian and I (me especially). We will probably do longer shifts in the day and shorter ones at night. We expect to see more traffic on this leg of the trip as there are so many more major ports here with freighters and fishing boats.
We finally got the AIS working on the computer with the help of our friend Veronica from Vida Nova. For those who don't know what AIS is it stands for Automatic Identification System which all commercial ships are required to have. It gives you a ships name, heading, lat and long so you can track them in relationship to your own boat. It's like radar only better as you get so much more information. It also takes way less power than radar. And since you can see a boats name, it makes it easy to call them on Channel 16 if you need to and because you are calling them by name they can't ignore you. It's just nice to check and see if they can see you as small boats are hard to see in the waves.
So this afternoon, we are going to be getting the boat snugged down again with everything stored away. We have had the dingy out all week so now we need to bring it back on board and tie it down.
I've got the frozen soups and dinners ready to go and we have fixed some of the things we thought were deficient from the first leg of the trip as well as fixed the few things that broke.
If the waters are calm enough, my next blog should be via ham radio. If you don't hear from us as usual it's because I'm too sea sick to sit in front of the computer.
Thanks for all your messages, I love reading them when we have internet and I can see the blog.
09/03/2010, Sausalito, California
We are now anchored in Sausalito. It's a rolly anchorage for sure. San Francisco is shrouded in a thick fog across the bay and it's nice and sunny here. I'm sitting in Starbucks emailing while Ian slaves on the boat fixing stuff. It works for us both as I hate being on board when he tears it apart and he dislikes me looking over his shoulder asking questions.
Our friends Dennis and Veronica are here as well. It looks like we are going to take off together as we head south. We may or may not stay together it depends on what each of us decides to do as we go south but it is nice to have someone to communicate with out there. Ian and I are thinking of doing a hop from here to San Luis Obispo (about 180 miles) and then looking at a good window to go around Pt. Conception. If conditions are good and we aren't too bagged we will keep going.
We aren't leaving till Tuesday because the wind predictions are quite strong up to 35 knots and diminishing on Tuesday.
So in the meantime we will just sit back and get into the cruising mode which is very easy to do. Do a few chores then sightsee then have a sundowner or two!
09/01/2010, Richmond in San Francisco Bay
Our trip to San Francisco took (starting at Cape Flattery) 6.5 days .
Our best day was 129 miles and our worst was 97 miles.
We motored & motor-sailed a total of 84 hours and sailed 72 hours.
The furthest offshore we went was 65 miles as we passed by the Columbia River.
On the 25th we were in some rough seas and strong winds and tried to heave to in order to make supper (for the non nautical types, heaving to is a way of bringing your boat into the wind and riding the waves facing into them to reduce the motion down below. This is more comfortable as you are not moving against the waves or with them, just bobbing up and down but not making any mileage either.) As we only had the storm jib up, we were not able to bring the bow into the wind enough to heave to so we lay ahull (sideways to the waves). Once dinner was finished we resumed our course but decided to head towards Coo's Bay to possibly get some rest. It was only our 2nd full day at sea and we were tired and not yet used to the motion and watches. By the time we were 30 miles offshore of Coo's Bay, the winds had moderated so we had to motor sail. Based on the forecasts, the winds were supposed to be 15 to 20 nearer shore and 20 to 25 further out so we decided to proceed on our course 30 miles off and not stop. Next day we got hit again with strong almost gale force winds for about 12 hours.
Rounded Cape Mendacino motor sailing in about 10 knots of wind.
We saw 2 whales just around Cape Flattery and a Puffin.
We saw Pacific White Sided Dolphins twice on the trip, and Dal's Porposis once.
We saw a Humpback Whale an hour before the Golden Gate Bridge.
We saw many Albatross and various other sea birds.
We saw very little freighter traffic and only a few fishing boats.
We had a few things break but nothing major, a towel rail, the stern nav light, the nav light half way up the mast. We did make a list of things we need to improve on based on this trip but the list is thankfully not too extensive and hopefully not too expensive.
We look at this trip as a shake down cruise. We have had the boat since 1993 and rebuilt and relaunched her in 2004, and since that time we have only done one overnight trip with her. You really only get a feel for what works and dosen't when you sail 24 hours a day for 2 or more days.
We enjoyed the nightly HAM schedule with Peter from San Francisco and Ron from Vancouver. It was comforting knowing that someone knew exactly where you were at a certain time of the day. It's a big ocean and you are alone out there.
It was also fun to be able to speak with some friends who were listening on the schedule who also have HAM radios.
For the next few days we are hanging out in San Francisco - Richmond actually as we need to have our windvane fixed. Scanmar picked it up yesterday and hopefully it won't take too long to get it back. Our friends Veronica and Dennis from a boat called Vida Nova are also here at the dock. The arrive in San Francisco the same day as us.
We are hoping to get back out heading south to San Diego by the weekend so stay tuned.