Crescent City

Posted 19 August 2010

We arrived Wednesday 18 Aug. in Crescent City, Northern California. Although this trip was mostly motoring due to the lack of wind, we are happy with our progress. We had the current helping us along as well and we made good time.

On Tuesday about 150 nm offshore Oregon coast, we had dolphins swimming with us and gave us a nice show. They rode the boat’s bow wave and criss-cross under the boat. Dinis took a video of the dolphins.

Our little brown bird, we named her ‘Browny’ got herself a friend. Her friend looked pretty exhausted when arrived as well, but after a few hours of eating and drinking (and yes do not forget the pooping) he was able to explore the decks with ‘Browny’. It is pretty amazing that these little birds were so far offshore. ‘Browny’ joined us about 180nm offshore and her friend about 70nm. They left us when approaching landfall. It is pretty amazing how animal life can put the human life in perspective.

Crescent City is a very good stop over. It is a fishing town and the people are very friendly, helpful and warm. The docking is very reasonable priced at $17 US per night for a 35 foot boat. We stayed for 2 nights and will anchored inside the harbour until departure. The local weather forecast is predicting heavy weather, so we will stay anchored until favourable weather conditions arrives.

Choosing our Weather Window

Posted 17 August 2010

After all our little tasks were done during our week stay in Tofino, we got all our weather faxes and text weather forecasts. We noticed that Friday's 48 and 96 hour weather faxes show good conditions and that the text weather forecast is calling 10 to 20 knots of wind in a N and NW direction for the 4 days. We decided that according to our route planning this was perfect weather to leave on Saturday morning 14 August. This weather window came faster than we expected but we rather error on lighter winds than stronger.

Our first days at sea gave us a mixture of variable S, SE, SW and at times N winds all well below 10 knots. We motor sail but started to think that if the winds do not pick up we might have to re-think our route to San Diego and possibly go to Northern California, maybe San Francisco instead. We got our weather faxes through out the first couple of days and it were still calling for 10 knots of wind, but our actual conditions were much less, blowing 3 to 6 knots from the South and eventually from the North. In the end we decided that with our relatively small diesel tanks (can do about 700 nm including the containers on deck) we will change course to northern California instead, where we will refuel and wait for more consistent winds. We are heading for Crescent City (a suggestion from the Greater Northern Boater's net) and should arrive Wednesday morning 18 August.

In Tofino, I prepared at least 5 days of meals ahead of time and this came in handy. Both Dinis and myself were feeling good with no seasickness. I suppose the calm seas had everything to do with that.
For the first two days both of us were felling lethargic and we did a watch system as in who feels the most tired and that person gets to sleep. Both of us felt much more energetic on the third day and the watch system became more consistent of 2 hours off and on during the night. During the day we have a more informal watch system with overlapping time.

We saw many whales and our first onboard visitor is a small brown bird. It was noticeably tired and is hitching a ride with us. We gave her food and water, which she is eating and drinking. She has been with us for a day and night and I assume that she will stay until closer to land. Now we got little bird poop all over the deck.

During this trip we have to give praise to our little Raymarine automatic tiller pilot and the AIS again. We did learn how to fine tune the radar and use it in conjunction with the AIS. It has been a great help especially during the fogging nights.

1st Offshore Sea Trial

Posted 2 August 2010

We left Winter Harbour in the morning for our first sea trial. The wind was in our favour blowing between 10 and 15 knots. Great we can test the windvane in lighter winds as we had trouble before setting it in lighter winds. With just the genoa we manage to test the windvane. The wind increased and we decided to keep just the genoa flying. 'Morgs' was doing a good job keeping the boat on course. Our target was to head offshore for 60nm and then turn back. Twice we saw whales. The first time was so close that we had to change course and Dinis started the engine to make some noise, the last thing that we want is another whale sinking a boat.

As the evening progressed so did the wind, we furled the genoa to just a small amount of sail. This seems to work and all good. In the mean time both Dinis and myself were starting to feel the motion and were getting queasy. We had taken seasick pills in the morning and took some more. Dinis felt worse than me and he took the first off watch and went to sleep. At 22:10 pm we reached our turn around point and turned the boat around. We had quite a bit of sea swells and still 'Morgs' kept the boat on course. What a blessing the AIS was and is as we had quite a bit of sea traffic. We were able to communicate with these vessels so that they were aware that we exists. One thing was unsettling and it was that these vessels did not show on the radar. With some fine tuning, we were able to see them, but still with difficulty.

All in all our first offshore sea trial was a great success. We have a few improvements to make before the next one. In the salon one porthole has a leak. Dinis will replace the seal on the porthole. I will need some more sheets for the banks. We need another line in the cockpit so that we can hook ourselves onto. I did slip and went into the life lines, so easily I could have slip through. All I have left is a sore wrist, bruises on my legs and a swollen knee. I suppose a small price to pay for still being onboard.
We arrived back safely and was quite tired. We are anchored in an absolutely beautiful bay called Dixie Cove on Hohoae Island. Dinis cooked a special dinner and we celebrate with Chuck's bottle of bubbly - Thanks Chuck !!

We will stay for 2 days and make our way to Hotspring Cove.