Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On September 7, Bob returned from Portland with our girls. They were so excited to be back on the boat and explore the town. We enjoyed checking out the city of Sausalito (shopping, eating ice cream, drinking coffee, hanging at the beach, paddleboarding, and playing with Salty).
We also made it into the city over the weekend. We took a ferry from Sausalito. We really enjoyed all the sights and sounds of the city. Our favorites, by far were all of the street performers. The girls even got the chance to make friends with an especially talented macaw (I think that's the bird we saw-no bird expert here!).

We sailed out of San Fransisco and back under the Golden Gate Bridge on Sept. 12. The wind was perfect and we had a brisk sail for the first few hours. Eventually the wind died and we started up the engine so we could get to Half Moon Bay before nightfall.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Port Angeles to San Fransisco

Our offshore journey begins. On Aug 29 at 03:45a.m. we left the Port Angeles Boat Haven with our extra crewmembers, Marcy and Mark (we dropped off the girls at grandparents house in Portland and will fly them down to S.F. after we arrive). There was a forecast gale in central Straits of Juan de Fuca and strong westerly winds expected near Neah Bay for the afternoon so we started early to avoid a rough ride.

The Crew

Mark, also known as "Sir Charge Alot" did a great job juggling and charging his electronic gadgets while on board. He is a wonderful sailing asset and great friend.
Marcy (Shep) is another great friend and sailor and was the primary mediator on board (our shepard).
Shari (The Provider) and Bob (Sir Fixalot)
Salty (Sir Poopsalot) was in charge of entertainment and distractions. Seen here in his superhero costume (it started going to his head)
We motorsailed into light headwinds all the way past Tatoosh Island and turned south on the open ocean in the early afternoon as the low overcast gave way to sunshine and orcas surfaced to wish us a good voyage.
4 hr watches were established with 1 hr overlap so no one was alone more than 2 hrs. At midnight the north wind filled in and we shut down the engine and were able to sail at 6 kts under headsail alone all night.
It took 2 days for Salty to cut loose, but when he did, there were 7 poop piles all around deck and he earned a new nickname.
Our best daily routine involved happy hour at 4 pm every day. The 31st happy hour was especially memorable for warm T shirt and shorts weather and dolphins joining us for the first time!
As soon as the Pacific Whitesided Dolphins joined us, we all rushed to the bow to watch them swim and frolic in our bow wake.
Our marine friends.
We should have suspected that we were experiencing the calm before the storm. Forecasts predicted rough conditions and winds up to 45kts from 10 miles offshore to more than 250nm. We considered pulling into Crescent City, CA to wait it out but the forecast called for much better conditions within 10nm of shore and conditions would ease before we reached Cape Mendocino. After crew discussion, we decide to continue and stay within 15nm of shore. The wind freshened from the North and we had 25-30kt winds all afternoon on Sep 1st while north of Cape Mendocino. The seas built to 10-15 ft and we reached up to 15.3kts surfing down one of the waves. The seas were pretty lumpy but no one became ill and Pearl handled the conditions wonderfully. It was great watching Shari slide back and forth in her bunk while asleep off watch.
That afternoon we heard the Humbolt Coast Guard reply to a distress call from Gypsy Soul (another boat from Olympia enroute to Hawaii) 120nm offshore and requesting rescue. The Coast Guard rescued them the next morning.
The gale subsided and we rounded Cape Mendocino with light north winds and by sunrise, had to lower sail and motor. The wind gave way to fog and the radar watch was established. During the night in heavy fog we often heard the sound of a bird flying on either side of the boat. At one point I shined the light on it and was surprised to see a large white, flat face and small hooked beak staring at me. We were 25nm offshore and we had a large owl flying with us in the pea soup. I can only figure that it was blown offshore and became lost in the fog and was following us back toward land. Is it a good or bad omen? The fog persisted until we reached Pt Reyes on the morning of Sep 3rd.
We pulled around the westernmost point and anchored in Drakes Bay for our first stop since Port Angeles! We launched the dinghy and explored the trails and beaches for the afternoon and that night we slept like the dead.

We departed Drakes Bay in the morning to time a flood tide into the Golden Gate.
We had the bridge in sight before noon and popped the champagne as we passed under the golden (orange) arches on Sep 4th. It was Labor Day weekend and there were no slips available so we anchored out of Sausalito as the sun burned through the low overcast and revealed our amazing view of downtown S.F., Angel Island, Alcatraz, and Sausalito. Rum and wine were introduced and we later went out for Tai food in town.
The next night we celebrated Shari's birthday early and went out for a nice dinner and to a dive bar for shuffleboard and foosball. What a blast!

The dinghy ride back from Shari's birthday celebration. (Pearl's water taxi)

Port Angeles to San Francisco Summary:

736NM total, total crew 4, total time enroute 6 days 10 hrs (including 17:20 anchored in Drakes Bay), Ave spd 5.4kts, Ave dist/day 130NM, total engine time 56.7hrs (40% of time), total fuel burn 63gal (1.1gal/hr), propane used 3 gal, total water used 150 gal, total items broken- toilet seat hinge, water pump mount, autopilot inop (fixed), prop shaft brake problems, total times dolphins swam our bow-4.