live! from bodega bay cali!
25 September 2023 | Bodega Bay
Brian Wade | cloudy but sultry 65 degrees
Hello all! so sorry no updates while at sea, sailblogs are not responding to my several requests for some stupid key code I need to access my account when at sea, so for now you will have to wait with baited breath in between when I can get wifi. it had been an incredible 6 days at sea! here is the 411 of trip so far.
Left Neah Bay at the butt crack of dawn on 9/19 for tattoos island & cape flattery….out into the big blue rolling heap of the Pacific Ocean! Now, it’s been 12 years since this boat and captain have been in deep water. Was I nervous? Kinda. Was I confident? for sure….Did I get seasick? not even a little! Crazy, I and my mighty ship took to it like white on rice. Albeit the first day was a miserable slog into lumpy seas and shit wind….I found out quickly just how poorly I stowed some items! I will say that even with the best of instruments and weather routing info via my Iridium GO! sat phone, it was good having Howard by my side multiple times a day (thru texting on the sat phone) comparing weather notes and more importantly watching a NASTY low generating potential brutal winds in excess of 50 mph farther south.
First day may I say, sucked ass. But as I was once told by a good friend of mine…”Lawnboy, sometimes you just have to embrace the suck?” which I did. After the baptism by fire part 2 was over, winds backed to N NW and the sleigh ride began. I tried every sail combination I could come up with and finally give in to a single reef in the main, let all the way out with a preventer (line tied to boom to keep sail from slamming about) and we were off! buy the 3rd day the winds built to 25-30 knots and i was FLYING!!! green water over the bow, frothy sea foam moving down the sides of the boat and a nice dessert of massive 12-15’ rolling waves from behind to finish off my 5 star pacific ocean meal. I was in my element…until….
It’s 0300 (3am), I’m taking a 20 min power nap and my AIS goes nuts…I wake from the deepest of sleeps, delirious from any good REM sleep for days….and see 6…yes SIX fishing boats all around me! It happens fast at sea, which is why when you are a solo sailor, you cannot sleep for more than 20 min at a time…so I shake off the eye boogers and get my poop in a group to decide which one of these fisher people to take on first. Of course…the one closest to me gets my undivided attention! Raise him on the radio, he says, “ yeah man, we been watching you on radar, you are hauling ass!” we agreed to give each other 10 degrees lee and pass with room to spare…wash, rinse, set, repeat. until the last boat….he was just sitting there….no response, no AIS position, nothing….now, understand, when sailing down wind…you do not have much leeway to adjust course without creating big problems with the sails. after my 4th try on the radio (and a few not so nice words) he finally responded, “Wades Aweigh, we are not required to have AIS and we are drifting down to our set, engines off, so NO, WE WILL NOT ADJUST COURSE and you are about to run straight into our bow!”. So, its pouring rain, blowing like stink, late, I’m tired as S*#@ and dont have much of a sense of humor….
As I put autopilot on standby, tried to adjust course, in perfect synchronization of “what if’s” it all came crashing down at once, I came side to wind, the main backfilled, I had no steerage and of course…as my luck would have it…the biggest wave I had seen yet….careened over my stern shoved me sideways…and there I sat, hove to in front of the massive fishing vessel, stopped! literally not moving…no helm, no steerage…just sitting there….so, instead of freaking out, I eased the sail, let go of the helm (clearly i wasn’t going anywhere) and got on the radio….”Raven, Raven, Raven…this is sailing vessel Wades Aweigh on 16”. they come back, yes Wades Aweigh? then in my best British accent and a big shit eating grin…I come back with….”DO YOU HAVE ANY GREY POUPON?’
it was a moment.
I gained my little yar ship back on course and careened down the waves at 8 knots for the rest of the night….one for the record books for the heavy pig of a boat!
Next 2 days after that, you would have thought I was on Lake Stevens….glassy seas, motoring along at 5 knots, reading books, cooking great meals and just taking in this new life of mine….the world was right. oh, and thanks to Howard’s keen routing and urging to ramp up the RPM’s, I missed the low that fizzled out and made it safely to Bodega Bay where I will do small projects and be lazy till Fridays departure….
Did I tell you I hooked up 4 nice albacore and lost all said fish in the same day? back to hamburger helper i guess.
thanks for tuning in, and hope to get the tech issues resolved before too long!!!