s/v Solstice

John and Shirlee's incredible adventure

10 December 2009 | Cartagena, Spain
11 October 2007 | Long Beach, CA
10 October 2007 | Long Beach, CA
08 October 2007 | Lala land
07 October 2007 | Oxnard, CA
06 October 2007 | Oxnard, CA
04 October 2007
04 October 2007
03 October 2007 | Oxnard, CA
02 October 2007
30 September 2007
27 September 2007 | Morro Bay, CA
25 September 2007
23 September 2007
22 September 2007
20 September 2007 | Monterey, CA
18 September 2007 | Monterey, CA
15 September 2007 | Emeryville, CA
14 September 2007 | Emeryville, CA
12 September 2007 | Emeryville, CA

Back in the USA!

14 August 2007 | Totem RV Park & Laundry, Westport, WA
After two nights at Ucluelet — which is a nice town on a paved highway from the ferries to the mainland, and that means that it has a choice of stores and restaurants — we headed back to the US. The plan was to stop at Swiftsure Bank — for John to take another shot at catching a halibut — on our way south to Westport (Grays Harbor), Washington. As we approached the bank, John got out his fishing regulations to plot the no-fishing area that he knew was around there. As it turned out, the no-fishing area covers most of the halibut-likely area. We motored out of the no-fishing zone, and John threw out his bait, but when it got stuck on the bottom, he cut his line and didn't bother to re-rig it. John's first halibut was his only one for this trip.

We had no wind for our passage back to the USA and had to motor the whole way. We did get a boost from the current that flows south along the coast, though. And the weather was beautiful. We had entertainment provided by humpback whales and a summer meteor shower, plus a spectacular sunset over the ocean and sunrise over the Olympic Mountains.

The first pair of whales appeared in the distance in the late afternoon. I noticed them when one jumped completely out of the water. John came up to the cockpit to watch, and soon the whale jumped out of the water again. We didn't realize there were two whales until they both jumped at the same time. A few more solo turns, and they disappeared.

When the sun set, the water was glassy calm. It turned the azure blue of a swimming pool with, on the side of the boat away from the sun, wavering stripes of purple from the mountains that were reflected back. On the sun side, the stripes were hot pink and gold with dots of mauve from the reflection of distant clouds. Our second pair of whales surfaced on the mountain side of the boat only a couple hundred feet away. We heard them blow, but only their spines and dorsal fins appeared above water, gliding on a path that would soon intersect with ours. We watched all along their projected course for them to reappear. When they did, they were between us and the sun having swum beneath the boat. They surfaced only briefly to give us two perfect tail silhouettes against the fiery sunset on the horizon.

As the stars came out, John took over at the helm to do the night watch. He enjoys sailing at night. I struggle to stay awake. We knew that a meteor shower was expected, but we expected clouds and didn't pay attention to where it would be centered in the sky. It didn't matter. The shooting stars were everywhere. I saw them flash across the windows in the cabin and behind John when I poked my head into the cockpit to check on him. In retrospect, John says he should have taken the bimini down to watch. Instead, he spent much of his time with his head out the side of the cockpit to get a better view.

As the sun came up in the morning, we were passing the portion of the Olympic Mountains that we saw daily when we were in Olympia. John got out the camera to capture the sunrise over the mountains where we watched it set from Swantown Marina when it wasn't raining. John plans to send photos to David and Marcy to inspire them to go sailing and see the other side.

The wind came up as we crossed the bar into Grays Harbor near noon. We were met at the dock in Westport by both Customs and the Coast Guard. They took turns checking us in. The Coasties only had to do a "security" inspection because we had a safety inspection in Olympia. As they finished, John's friend Derek Lee showed up. Great timing on everyone's part! Derek is on vacation in the Pacific Northwest and took the opportunity to meet up with us and see the boat. He'll be joining us for the Baja Ha-ha.

I'm doing laundry and using the Internet now while John and Derek are working on the boom to remove the broken piece. Derek is proving quite handy to have around. And it turns out that I'm lucky we got to the laundry when we did. They're about to shut it down to repair broken machines. I'd better get this posted and get out of here!
Vessel Name: Solstice
Vessel Make/Model: Sceptre 41
Hailing Port: San Francisco, CA, USA
Crew: John Forbes and Shirlee Smith
About: Our crew is Märzen (our miniature dachshund) and whoever else is aboard at the moment, if anyone. We welcome friends and family to join us as crew for specific legs of our voyage or to visit at a destination.
Extra: We left San Francisco May 1, 2006, on our proposed 10-year voyage, now reduced to five years due to the economic crisis. Visit our home website for photos, more words, and links.
Home Page: https://www.svsolstice.com