Sunday, August 29, 2010


Sitting here I'm reminded of a story I heard once. A young yogi asked his guru "What do you do when you find Nirvana?" His teacher said "Wash your dirty dishes." Arriving here today may be as close to Nirvana as I get. After a couple calls, a couple bolts of booze and a stogie (thanks Vern), I did the dishes that accumulated on our over-nighter from Fort Bragg.

It is such a relief to be here. I am reminded of a Charlie Musselwhite lyric: "Doubts fell like rain, my mind was flooded." That's me, my doubts were drowning me for a couple of weeks before we left. I finally resorted to some unused sleeping pills that had been prescribed a while back, or I wouldn't have been able to sleep.

Still got a ways to go, but the real heavy lifting may be over.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Tomorrow if the weather doesn't deteriorate, we will be making a run for San Francisco.

For cruisers from the northwest San Fran is the home free port, and all points south are a relatively easy sail. Navagating the Washington, Oregon, and northern California coast can be one of the most difficult legs of a circumnavigation. Everyone breathes a lot easier having made it there. Hopefully we will be too come Sunday afternoon.

I wrote a blog entry telling of our near disaster entering Newport, but I clicked the wrong button, and it all disappeared. Hopefully I will summon up the energy to repeat the excercise soon. We almost blew it there.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Had a delightful motor down the 160 miles of coast from Crescent City to Fort Bragg.
Did the 160 in a little less then 24 hours. Surfing the northwest swell was kicking our speed up to 10 knots of occasion.

Fort Bragg, or more properly the Noyo River is like a step back in time. There is a very active fishery here, and the river is lined with fish related businesses.
Will post some photos.

Might stay here for a few days. The weather looks a little iffy, as there is a Gale watch in effect from tomorrow to Friday night, and hazardous seas until Sat. morning.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


This may become our new home.

The weather forecasts for the next week are awful. I have to admit I don't get whats going on. We are having fairly strong NW winds and they are expected to continue thru the week, but the wave direction forecasts are for waves from the south, creating steep to very steep waves. It would be terrible to be stuck out there. Right now the wave steepness at the weather buoy just off Crescent City is off the chart, at its highest level, and this may be the pattern for a week.

Poop. Crescent City is a nice place, but we want to get south.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Just a quick note, we arrived in Crescent City yesterday, having left Brookings after one day.

We are trying to decide weither to hole up here for the next several days, as the weather is turning rather sour, or to make a run for Eureka. Being in Eureka would put us much closer to Cape Mendocino and points south, but would require us to leave about 7pm Sunday for a 1pm arrival(arrival time is dictated by high slack tide). This is an 18 hour leg. It really should only take about 11 hours, but we would have to leave here at "0 dark thirty" and take a chance on not running into one of the many crab pots outside of here. We would rather leave early, and see where we are going....if we decide to go at all.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Written while at anchor Tuesday, 8/17

I'm sitting in the cockpit watching the incoming tide gradually cover the threatening rocks two hundred yards astern. Threatening because should our anchor drag the south wind we now have would carry us onto them within minutes. Sleeping would be problematic except we have a 77 pound Spade anchor pinning us to the sea floor.

This anchor is designed for a boat twice our size and easily passes the laugh test which is: if folks walking by your boat laugh when then see your anchor, then you have passed the laugh test.

Sitting here now looking at those rocks, I'm glad we went big, will sleep well tonight.

We came down the coast about a hundred miles or so from Newport, leaving at 1:30 in the afternoon arriving here 24 hours later. We did some sailing, but the winds became light, so we had to turn on the motor for the bulk of the trip. Tomorrow we are off for Brookings, about 50 sea miles south. Sea miles 'cause we can't go as a crow would, but must dodge around some reefs.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Written 8/16 in Newport, Oregon

Today I get to decide what kind of a blog I'm going to be writing. Will I be telling of extraordinary and adventurous Paul and Judy or will I be telling the truth.

I think I can make a case that we are in fact extraordinary and adventurous. All I have to do is make up some statistics. Lets start with an average group of 100,000 people. Of these about 10,000 have thought at one time or another that it would be fun to have a boat. Of this 10,000 maybe 500 actually buy one. And of these 500 boat owners maybe 50 think it would be cool to take thier boat long distance cruising. Out of the 50 about 5 actually start getting ready to go, and in the end perhaps 2 actually end up leaving on a cruise. Those 2 out of the 100,000 are extraordinary.

So we are extraordinary, but are we adventurous?

That's easy, anyone who sets off on a quest of any sort, where the outcome is uncertain perhaps even disasterous, is adventurous. Sailing a small boat out into the deep blue sea is uncertain and somewhat risky-adventurous even.

Therefore anything I have to say about this little jaunt of ours is a tale about extraordinary and adventurous people. How about knowledgable?

Another set of statistics, also pulled out of the air. Out of any group of a hundred cruisers maybe about 65 really know how to sail. Another 30 are quite comfortable sailing, leaving 5 rookies, two of whom are named Judy and Paul.

So we are extraordinary and adventurous, but not to knowledgeable. Or wise? Don't know the answer to that, but I do feel its a good thing for people in their 60's to occasionally scare the shit out of themselves. Keeps ya loose.

So if I am going to be truthful, this blog is going to be a tale about climbing a steep learning curve. Becoming knowledgeable thru fear and loathing and mistakes and calamities, and some small and large trimuphs. It will also be, if I am truthful, revealing and embarassing but also more entertaining and fun to write.

And yes, I have already made some embarassing and potentially calamitious mistakes, two of which could have ended our cruise before it really began. More to come.....

Friday, August 13, 2010


We're still here, tied up at the dock in a dense fog.

Yesterday we were a couple miles out when Judy noticed that the engine exhaust sounded different, and our little vacuum breaker tube that allows the exhaust line to drain when the engine is shut off was spitting an irregular water flow. We had low raw water flow. We immediately did a 180 and tied up at the dock and started trying to find out what was restricting the flow.

The first thing we did was clean the water filter, which is located at the lowest point on the boat in the lazerette. Naturally it was buryed under a pile of stuff including our 15hp outboard. This did not cure the problem, so next I rebuilt the raw water pump, even though it had been rebuilt only a couple of months ago and looked to be in good condition, this also did no good, so I did the next, most reliable thing, and called Denny at the Volvo engine dealer in Seattle. Since the next step I was thinking about was to hire a diver to check the thru hull for obstructions I figured it would be less expensive to talk to Denny and get his advice first.

While waiting for his return call I was working on other projects that had become possible with all the crap out of the lazerette. I checked the tranny oil, adjusted the shaft packing gland, reconnected a bonding wire that had worked loose, and adjusted my SSB ground plane foil. As I sat in the bottom of the boat looking around for more things to do I noticed the raw water valve on our generator set cooling line was open. Bingo! This line comes off the same thru hull, and was allowing air to get sucked into the main engine water line. I shut it off, started up the engine and everything was good. Denny called about this time and when I explained what happened he was kind enough not to call me any names, but did say that tying the water systems together was a bad bad thing. I believe.

By the time all this transpired it was to late for us to leave Westport as the tide at Newport would be ebbing when we arrived. Its usually best to cross a bar on a rising tide.

So here we are, waiting for the fog to lift a bit, then off we go.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


We're glad to be here, and we'll be glad to leave. We are docked next to the fish factory with it's attendant odors plus hundreds of wheeling sea gulls looking for a hand out.

The weather is grey and chilly much like the people, who seem to be suffering seasonal affect disorder.  They need sun.

This was our first bar crossing and thankfully it was anticlimatic. Very easy entry with almost no wind and a relatively small west swell. The only issue was the fog. Without our chartplotter I would have never found this place. How in the world did folks find their way around without electronics? Without GPS we would never venture out of Puget Sound.

Monday, August 9, 2010

DAY 2 & 3

Tatoosh Island

Neah Bay

Just a bit short of the big left turn at Tatoosh Island. This trip really starts tomorrow with our first sea leg. It may only be a little over a hundred miles to Westport geographically, but psychologically it is huge. We've been working towards this for a long long time.

Today we hung out to take care of the chaos that we left Seattle with. Restowed things, finished projects, replaced a blown battery monitor fuse, reconnected a water temperature sender wire, installed a wood board on our life line stanchions for attaching extra fuel jugs, troubleshot our computer and installed some necessary drives to get on the Macaw Indian wifi system. Busy day. Be nice to just go sailing.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Point Wilson

Had a nice run from Port Townsend to Port Angeles. Took about six and a half hours against a flood tide. We did manage to get around Point Wilson a little before the ebb slack, so got a good start.

You may be wondering what happened to the Seattle to Port Townsend leg. It took place yesterday, on Friday. As all salts and wannabe salts know leaving on a Friday is bad luck, so we didn't start on Friday, we just positioned the boat in Port Townsend for our day one launch to Port Angeles.

I'm really not superstitious, but why tempt fate. Anyway Friday began miserably. I had to put an old friend to sleep. Our cat Daisy began a serious decline on Wednesday and Thursday. She couldn't hold any food down, and was becoming incontinent in our bed. She has been frail for quite awhile now, so we felt it would be more cruel to take her to sea then to put her to sleep. She has been in the family for 19 years, and it really hurt. Fortunately our daughter works at the vet and took very good care with her, and with me, as I was losing it pretty bad.

On the drive to her office I blew thru about a half dozen or so yellow traffic lights. It seemed as though every other light turned yellow as I came up to the intersections.  I am pretty sure it was not an omen, but if it were an omen it probably meant I should stop running yellow lights.

Tomorrow it's off to Neah Bay, then on Monday Westport. Will report in from there.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

We're off tomorrow

Hope to make Port Townsend, but may need to do a very dreadful thing before we leave. Our 19 year old cat is sick, and may need to leave on her own journey. Hate to think of putting her to sleep, but she is sick....