Tuesday, September 25, 2012

25 September 2012
Eureka, CA

Kick ass wifi signal, decent tea drinks and cool waitstaff.
Well, it's my last night in Eureka and I can't say that I'm all too sad about it.  Not that Eureka is horrible; it's just this side if horrible which makes it tolerable.  The population is comprised mainly of Humbodlt homies, homeless people, and the occasional tourist.  Sad really.  But hey, when in Rome, appreciate the scenery they say.  So I tried.  I found myself spending lots of time at the Old Town Cafe and Chocolates which had a strong wifi signal and decent tea drinks.  A couple of night ago I was there and sat in on an acoustic set by a guy from Austin, Texas.  He did riffs of country songs with improvised lyrics which were mostly hysterical, especially his parody of "A Coal Miner's Daughter".  He ended up talking to some locals who introduced him to the world of  couch surfing.  Not sure if he ended up "surfing" that night but he indicated that he had just come from Seattle and Portland and was making his way south.  Despite his parents' push to enter grad school, Austin (that was actually his name and home town) was determined to make it on the road.  Good for him; and I dropped a buck in his open guitar case.

Tonight's dinner consisted of salmon, that Kathy from Rhythm procured from fishermen in Neah Bay, and sauteed vegetables.  It was hilarious to watch as Kathy and Stacey walked down the pier in Neah Bay and approached a fishing boat with the intent of buying a fish from them.  They asked if the guys would sell them a fish, the guys asked how many people were on thier boat, Kathy said four but they were actually with another boat, so six altogether.  The fisherman handed her two chinook salmons and would not accept any payment for the fish.  Kathy was dumbstruck by the generosity but promptly returned to Rhythm with the intent on filleting the fish.

Kathy and Aaron filleting salmon a la You-Tube.
As I looked over from the cockpit of Osprey, I saw Kathy and Aaron in the cockpit of Rhythm discussing the finer points of filleting a salmon, all the while watching a You-Tube video on how to fillet a salmon! The instructional video proved to be successful and Kathy generously came over bearing a fillet of salmon, expertly filleted!  Good job Kathy!

More Victorian-era architecture.
Well, not much more to blog about, but I wanted to post more pictures from Eureka so here you go...I hope you enjoy the random shots I've taken while in town.
The brown pelican that dove for food daily by the boat.

Try their Pale Ale, Indica IPA and Downtown Brown.

Eureka, California...Day 15

19-25 September 2012
Eureka, CA

Carson Mansion, Eureka.
Eureka, California is located in Humboldt County and situated about 270 miles north of San Francisco as the seagull flies. The first non-natives to visit Humboldt Bay were a sea otter hunting party from Alaska in 1806. Eureka itself was founded in 1860 and is known for its Victorian-era architecture. Humboldt County has a thriving "horticultural" industry, made famous by mentions in the Showtime hit series Weeds.  Humboldt County also appears to be the seat of the NorCal movement as evidenced by the plethora of tattoo parlors, "glass" shops and bikers seen around town.
Another example of the Victorian-era architecture in Eureka.

Our time in Eureka ended up being slightly longer than we had anticipated or wanted.  The weather forecasts initially indicated that we might be able to leave by September 24th but subsequent updates to the forecasts showed increasing waves and swells which would have made trying to cross the bar dicey at best.  So that put us out to September 26th and with our fingers crossed we finalized plans to leave.  Fuel was obtained, provisions procured and laundry done.  Richard is putting the coordinates for our route south to Bodega Bay into the chartplotter and I'll finish prepping hot meals for the overnight crossings this afternoon.  We expect to motor out of the channel some time around 10:00 am Wednesday, September 26th.  Wish us luck!

Richard with the lion's share of dessert.
Last night Richard and I ate at The Banana Hut Hawaiian BBQ Restaurant in Eureka and it did not fail to please.  The kalua pig dinner was just like the plate lunches I had in Hawai'i and if you know anything about Richard, you know how he likes his poi (which he ordered as a side).  We finished our meal with a monstrosity of a fried banana, fudge brownie, ice cream, whipped cream and a vat of chocolate sauce whatchamacallit.  The thing was dripping with chocolate sauce and the plate it was served on was floating with more chocolate sauce. Now mind you, I'm not complaining, but I called it quits early on and let Richard have at it.

We got news from our friends on Rhythm that their crew is down to three.  Kathy, Tim and Stacey are having a grand time in the Noyo Basin and have plans to head south to Bodega Bay on Thursday.  That should allow for us to rendezvous in Bodega Bay and make plans for the cruise down to San Francisco.  It sure would be nice to be able to see Osprey and Rhythm sail under the Golden Gate Bridge together; not to mention the fantastic photo opportunity that would provide for each of us to get pictures of the other's boat passing under the bridge.  Initial plans include a stopover in Sausalito, possibly picking up a mooring ball at Angel Island and then a few days in the city.  Stay tuned!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Random Pics

24 September 2012
Eureka, California

In this age of digital photography there is no reason not to take a million pictures hoping that you capture something of value.  That said, I always carry my point-n-shoot camera with me everywhere I go.  When you carry a camera with you all the time, you never know what you're going to see and then photograph.  Sometimes you see something breathtaking; and other times you just see some weird stuff.  But not all of the pictures I take lend themselves to a narrative and so they never find their way into my posts.  I decided that those pics should have their day in the sun, or at least make their way onto my blog.  With that introduction, I am pleased to announce the first post of what will become an ongoing occurrence...Random Pics.  I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I do.  I somehow feel as though these pictures help fill in the experiences I am having on this incredible journey.  Enjoy!

Dinner with Michael the night before our departure.
The Main Cabin (what you don't see is the total mess behind the photographer).
Leaving Seattle behind us.
Neah Bay, WA: There was a sign above this one about unattended children.
Neah Bay, WA: Hobbit-Boat or Aqua-Yurt?  You decide.
Neah Bay, WA: A steal at $1500!
Oregon Coast, Offshore: Richard, tired and cold.
Newport Bay, OR: Breakwater at the marina.
Newport, OR: I'm sure we fit in some where.
Newport, OR: Rogue Brewery tour safety goggles.  The pink bottles behind me are maple-bacon flavored beer. Yum!
Central Oregon Coast, Offshore: Osprey's zen-like bow wake.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Becalmed then Strong Winds and Heavy Swells

19-21 September 2012
Off the Coast of Central Oregon
44° 07’ N, 124° 17’ W

Sunrise over the central Oregon coast.
Today we left Newport, Oregon at 09:00 and motored our way under the Newport Bridge and out the channel into the open ocean off the central coast of Oregon.  While there was a little fog, visibility was actually quite good.  Sunrise over the central Oregon coast was peaceful and stunning; reminding me of why I enjoy both the dawn and dusk watches while on overnight passages.

Lone gull on the calm Pacific.
The swells we had experienced a few days ago had subsided and were much more manageable today.  In fact, the ocean was pretty flat.  And flat water typically comes with no wind.  Such was our fate as we made our way out of Newport and down the coast of Oregon.  The little wind we did have was out of the South-South East so we ended up motoring the entire way.  

We decided to turn into Eureka, California as we were concerned about the lack of wind and the consumption of diesel.  At the rate we were going, it was likely that we might not have enough diesel to make it to Bodega Bay unless the wind picked up.  Richard checked the weather forecast and it looked like we were going to be stuck in calm winds for a while with much stronger winds coming our way later in the week.  The decision to turn into Eureka meant that we might end up staying in Eureka until Tuesday as the forecast indicated that strong winds and big swells out of the northwest were heading our way.  

The passage into Eureka involved passing through a long channel bordered by man-made breakwaters.  As we approached, we noticed that the Coast Guard was positioned at the entrance monitoring conditions to determine if safe passage could be made or if vessels should wait it out until calmer conditions develop.  After passing through the breakwater channel, the course continues through a winding channel to the city of Eureka and the marinas.

Osprey tied up at the Eureka Public Marina.
We pulled up to the Eureka Public Marina and secured a slip, telling the harbormaster that we might be here a night...or longer.  The weather forecast is predicting very strong winds for the next few days with big swells subsiding by late Monday or Tuesday.  I guess that means we'll be here until around Tuesday, weather permitting.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ducking into Newport, Oregon

16-18 September 2012
Newport Bay Marina

Approaching the Newport Bay Bridge.
We decided to pull into Newport Bay last night as the combination of wind waves and ocean swell was making for a very rocky passage.  Richard and Tim, from Rhythm, communicated via VHF radio and made the call in the early morning.  I think the crews from both boats were happy to hear that we were pulling into Newport for at least a couple of days.

The Newport Sea Lion Ensemble between sets.

Richard and I tied up at Newport Bay Marina in the early afternoon; Rhythm having pulled into the marina a bit before us.  Aaron and I walked over to the touristy part of Old Newport in hopes of finding a decent grocery store but all that could be found was a small market with high prices.  I decided to take my grocery list into town the next day.  We did get the opportunity to attend the daily sea lion concert which was nothing short of musical.  

Stacey, me, Kathy, Tim and Richard at the Rogue Brewery.
We met Kathy, Tim, Stacey and Aaron from Rhythm, at the Rogue Brew Pub which was conveniently located just a short five minute walk from the marina.  We were so tired and our bodies were still rocking from being at sea for the past two and one half days that the burgers were ravenously consumed and the beers went down easily.  I don’t think anyone was up late that night.

The next day I walked into town to run errands with a stop at the local Fred Meyers high on my to do list.  Little did I know that the walk to the Fred Meyers and the other small errands I had would take nearly five hours!  Needless to say I was exhausted from the walk plus schlepping our groceries back to the boat.  But the chores for the day didn’t end there!  I still had to do laundry and get dinner going.  Richard was still working on getting his cabin organized so that he could actually sleep in it while we were in port.  He also installed the new boat radio that will allow us to hook up both our iPods and iTouch.

After dinner, I met Stacey and Aaron at the Rogue Brew Pub for a beer.  As we sat at the bar we talked about our respective experiences on the overnight passage we had just completed and discussed what the next overnight passage might entail.  It was another relatively early night for all of us.

Me and Stacey...so many kegs, so little time.
Tuesday found us completing boat chores and getting ready for the offshore passage down to Bodega Bay and San Francisco.  I worked on prepping meals that would be quick and hot for dinners, while Richard worked on his cabin and plotting the next leg of our passage.  In the afternoon, Stacey and I took the Rogue Brewery Tour.  Did you know that Rogue Brewery distributes in all 50 states and 37 countries worldwide?  Well, now you do.  Stacey and I worked on a sampler of beer and decided that Chipotle and Smoke beers were not our favorites (though we both admitted wanting to try the maple bacon flavored beer). 

After Richard got back from a trek across the bridge into town for a quick look around (and an ice cream cone) he did some baking in the afternoon so we now have fresh bread and breakfast bread on the boat.  Richard and Tim got together to discuss waypoints and a course has been plotted and a departure time set so I guess we are ready to go.

Making the Big Left Turn

14-16 September 2012
Off the Coast of Washington and Northern Oregon

Osprey downwind sailing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
We left Neah Bay Marina after fueling up and finishing lunch.  Blue skies and warm temperatures quickly gave way to brisk winds and cooler temperatures as we rounded Cape Flattery and headed south.  We began by motor-sailing but were able to kill the engine and downwind sail by late afternoon and through the night.  The nights were really cold and the swells out of the northwest were pretty big, making for a very rolly night.  

Sunset off the Washington coast.
The first sunset of the overnight passage was truly spectacular and reminded me of our trip to Hawai’i in 2010.  We didn’t see much in the way of wild life with the exception of albatrosses and other various sea birds.  I also contributed a fair amount of fishing equipment to the sea floor (as I always do!) without so much as a bite for the two days I had the line out.

Richard and Tim discussed our route and decided that we should pull into Newport Bay and wait things out as the northwest swell was predicted to diminish over the next few days which would give us a break from the “stomach woes” that swells tend to instigate.

Heading West out the Strait of Juan de Fuca

12-14 September 2012
Strait of Juan de Fuca, Washington

Nice catch...Coho salmon.
We got an early morning push out of Port Angeles and headed west out the Strait of Juan de Fuca towards Neah Bay.  We motored most of the way as there wasn’t much in the way of wind.  I did manage to catch a Coho salmon and quickly dispatched with the task of filleting it and putting it in freezer bags. 

As Richard and I had previously been to Neah Bay, we busied ourselves with boat tasks; lee cloths had to be put up, weather clothes hung, things that can move had to be stabilized in the cabin to minimize unexpected jettisoning of objects when waves hit, the dinghy needed to be lashed to the foredeck, among other things.  Unexpectedly, Richard ended up replacing the domestic water pump as it was acting up and we certainly didn’t want to contend with that offshore in a boat that was rocking and rolling.

I introduced the crew of Rhythm to the joys of berry picking while either at a marina or anchored out.  Pretty much everywhere Richard and I have travelled by boat, I have managed to find berries and have made it a point to always carry a gallon size freezer bag with me in my back pack or bag; you just never know when you are going to spot berries and when you do, you want to be prepared!  In the time we were tied up at the marina in Neah Bay, I picked quarts of blackberries and they went into everything from pies, to baked goods, on our pancakes, you name it.  If you could put a berry on it, we did put a berry on it.

We had a sturgeon taco night on our boat with the crew from Rhythm which was a big success.  All six of us sat down at the table and there were bowls of delicious food everywhere: grilled sturgeon I had caught on the Columbia River with my brother earlier in the year, guacamole, mango salsa, manchengo cheese, sour cream, cabbage, tortillas, chips and salsa, and a corn and bean salad that Stacey whipped up which caught everyone’s attention.  Richard had baked a key-lime pie-like dessert (minus the limes) and added a blackberry topping…really good!  No one went hungry that night and between the company, conversation, margaritas and beers, I’d say we had a great evening.

Day 2...Port Townsend to Port Angeles

11 September 2012
Port Angeles, Washington

Leaving Port Townsend with Rhythm right behind us.
We headed out of Port Townsend and went west towards Port Angles.  Richard and I got into the marina first and secured slips for both boats.  I made my way into town for a few groceries and noticed a huge blackberry stand along the way.  I made a mental note to hit the blackberries on my way back to the boat with my groceries and managed to pick a good half gallon before heading back to the boat.

As tomorrow was going to be a longer day going from Port Angeles to Neah Bay, Richard and I made it a quiet night and got ourselves ready for tomorrow’s departure.

Finally! Motoring out of Seattle...Day 1

10 September 2012
Port Townsend, Washington

Moments from sailing, okay, motoring, away.
Well, we did it…we tossed off the docklines this morning and motored out of the marina to begin our grand voyage!  Our friend Michael came down to the dock to see us off and helped us get ready for the much anticipated (and hugely overdue!) departure.  As we left Seattle (and Michael on the dock) behind us, Richard and I both realized that this was it, we were actually doing this thing we have been talking about for who knows how long.  Big deep breaths…

Day 1 Happy Hour on Osprey: (l-r) Aaron, Richard, Kathy, Tim and me.
The crew of Rhythm was hanging out on their deck waving us in as we pulled into the public marina in Port Townsend. We tied up alongside Rhythm and made arrangements for a happy hour on our boat.  Aaron, from Rhythm, brought out some scotch and the six of us toasted ourselves for making the first leg of our voyages.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

To-Do Lists and Other Obstacles...

Seattle, Washington

In order to do to this...
(Sunday, August 26, 2012) So the packing continues; and so do the boat projects.  Richard is at the boat right now, hopefully, finalizing the watermaker install.  I'm at home entertaining potential renters and trying to get the last bits of packing done in addition to doing touch up painting and general cleaning. We are hoping to be out of the house by this Wednesday and living on the boat.  We would rather have a few days on the boat to get settled and then take off rather than move onto the boat and then leave for a week long sail down to San Francisco the very next day. That said, we have to be flexible and willing to alter our plans as projects get completed and, more importantly, when we feel the boat is ready for a departure.

...you have to get through the To-Do Lists.
To all the viewers out there, heed this message:  GET RID OF STUFF NOW!  Packing has got to be one of the most onerous tasks on the planet (save all the really tough stuff like brain surgery, saving the planet and stuff like that).  I am not one to hold onto many things.  Yes, I have a few things that I cannot let go of, but for the most part, if I haven't worn/used something in years, my opinion is that there is no need to hold onto it.  Besides, there are Goodwills everywhere that will take your stuff and then someone who wants and will use your stuff can take possession of it.  Having spent that last few weeks up to my eyes in bubble wrap, boxes and strapping tape, I think I am at liberty to make this pronouncement.  I'll step down from my soapbox now.

Richard wondering if anything else will fit in the storage unit.
(Wednesday, August 29, 2012) Okay, so Wednesday is almost over and we are still in the house. There was a lot more packing than anyone could have imagined and only today did we move the last of the big furniture out of the house. But there is still stuff that needs to be packed and moved into storage; not to mention the massive cleaning job that needs to get done (but when?!).  Needless to say, we are exhausted! And there are still countless rooms that require either touch up paint or full on re-painting. Realistically, we are setting the goal of moving onto the boat over the weekend or early part of next week based on how quickly house projects get completed.  

Hmm...looks tight.
My friend Kathy (of s/v Rhythm) came to the house yesterday so the two of us could go out to lunch.  She took one look at the house and promptly reported to Tim, her fiancee, "Those guys are crazy if they think they are going to be out of the house by the 1st!"  Well, as you all can see, Kathy is pretty perceptive!  Our bad luck ends up being their good luck as it pushes our departure date out a bit, which just happens to be closer to their departure date.  Kathy and I are very excited about "buddy boating" down the coast if the opportunity arises; and by the looks of things, it just may turn out that way.