August 2006 – Oregon Coast
Tuesday August 1, 2006 – Bad Bad News Coming
We woke at 8 am to bright blue skies. This is what cruising about beautiful
sunsets, sandy beaches. It was going to be a glorious day….
We both cleaned up and I was doing my morning exercises when I heard
a jet of water coming out of the side of the hull while Carllie pumped
the head (toilet). I realized that this jet of water was coming out of
the vent from holding tank (about 4 feet above the surface of the ocean)
which meant it was full, which is not good, and since the holding tank
was actually supposed to be empty, double not good.
Just like they say about pilots that fly retractable gear airplanes,
“There are pilots that have landed gear down, and there are pilots
who are going to land gear down”, all boat owners have had or will
have a holding tank disaster story. Ours was going to happen today…….
Without going into all the sordid details, let us suffice to say that
one of the lines was blocked and the solution was to perform, in essence,
a "boat colostomy" to remove the plugged parts. Believe us when
we say it is as bad as it sounds.
After the “four hour operation” Carllie and I figured we
would never eat again for the rest of our lives.
To fix the design problem we realized we had to go back to Nanaimo to
West Marine to get the parts we needed. By 4:30 pm we were back at the
same Esso fuel dock and again made the long march up the hill. We quickly
got the parts we needed but the significant stress of the day resulted
in us breaking down and going to Tim Horton’s where we gorged ourselves
on 2 honey dip, 2 dutchies, 1 maple dip and 1 sour cream dip. We will
keep working on the self-control thing….
We departed Nanaimo for the second night but decided to sail at night
instead of just going back to Boat Harbor. We were finally rewarded with
a beautiful moonlit night sail for 3 hours in about 10 knots of wind while
we sailed at 6 knots on perfectly flat water. We arrived at Clam Bay at
1 am. At least we are heading south! In the end it turned into a good
day but it wasn’t the usual one of golden beaches and brilliant
Wednesday August 2, 2006
We left Clam Bay at 10 am and sailed in very light winds down wind towards
Ganges (about 15 miles away). After about an hour we could see another
catamaran gaining on us. It turned out it was the designer of our boat,
Richard Woods and his partner Jetty. Richard hails from the UK and has
been sailing for the last 3 years and has recently purchased some property
on Saturna Island and had bought a boat of his design, a Merlin design,
that had been built in Nanaimo. We sailed together for a couple of hours
in the light winds taking pictures. We hope to meet up with them again
in the next day or two further south in the Gulf Islands.
We arrived in Ganges and while testing my super big wireless antenna
I discovered why it wasn’t working (crossed wires). When I corrected the
problem we could see a dozen networks even one mile from Ganges. This
will make it much easier to send and receive emails. We did some laundry
and shopping and are now anchored in very quiet Walter’s Cove for
While having dinner, the computer sprang to life with a call sound to
notify us that we had a Skype call from our friend, Dusttin. We fumbled
around for a couple of minutes trying to find our headset. We missed his
call but did partially connect before the internet connection dropped
off. Hello Dusttin! We put your compass on our mast step in the cabin.We
will try again tonight.
Well we are at Day 12 on our voyage and we are just 29 miles as the crow
flies from home, a rather slow start. By my calculation at the rate of
3 miles per day (Ok, I rounded it up), it will take us about 3000 days
(7.8 years) to cover the 9000 miles of our trip. I am sure we will speed
up soon. We will try to clear customs in Friday Harbor on Saturday and
go from there. But plans always seem to change!
Thursday August 3, 2006
Garett: In our sheltered spot in Walter Cove at Ganges, we had decided that
we would wait until Saturday to cross into the border so that gave us two days
for more boat work. I tackled the installation of the remaining parts for holding
tank rebuild while Carllie made a batch of cookies and answered emails with
our new-found internet connection. Like most boat projects it took much longer
than expected so we didn’t end up leaving until 6 pm.
Our destination was Portland Island Marine Park, about 5 miles from Sidney.
Richard Woods and Jetti had told us they would be there on Thursday night when
we were sailing with them on Tuesday. We did find them in the northeast cove
of the park. Carllie and I went for a short walk on the shore line of the island
and then went by their boat for a little tour. As I mentioned a couple of days
ago, his catamaran is 25 feet long and does not have the central cuddy cabin
like Light Wave. It is closer to camping. He did have a very English touch with
a little teapot on the deck for morning tea. He did say that the Earl Grey you
buy here is not the “real stuff”. The hulls are a lot narrower than
the Gypsy, with crouching headroom. Richard did tell us that he plans to add
a micro cuddy of 4 feet by 6 feet to make it more “luxurious”. We
told Richard he is a lucky man to have Jetti as a partner who enjoys sailing
in such “close to nature” conditions (aka “spartan”)
They then came over to our boat for tea and cookies and talked about their
travels through Panama and when his boat, with him on it, was hit by lightning
in South Carolina. All his electronics were burnt up. Whenever lightning comes
by he now puts everything in his stainless oven and according to Jetti, “hides
his head under a pillow”. We chatted until 11 pm and then sent them away
with a bag of cookies under care of Jetti.
Here is the picture Richard took of us
Friday August 4, 2006
It was another beautiful sunny day but cool as the water temperature was only
58 degrees, which keeps the air from really warming up. The daytime temperatures
would only get to the high 60’s.
Our anchorage spot looked north towards Salt Spring Island and the ferries
would go by every 2 hours. I worked on the last of the boat projects while Carllie
did some writing. We were constantly being visited by the largest three-inch
dragonfly I have ever seen. He would hover around and stare at the yellow on
our boat through his big bug eyes. We have noticed in the past that bees are
madly attracted to our boat because they think they have found the mother lode
of flowers and just can’t wait to get back to the hive and say, “You
guys would not believe the size of this flower I found today!” Anyways
the dragonfly continued to hand around all day. At 5 pm we decided to go for
a run on the trails of the park and I put my yellow running swim shorts on.
Well this further intrigued our dragonfly friend. When I was sitting in the
dinghy getting ready to go to shore he came right up to me and hovered completely
motionless only 6 inches from my face for about two minutes. It was fascinating
experience. We had a fun 45 minute run across the island and came back fro a
very bracing swim in the 58 degree water. I think this will be our last swim
for a while because the water won’t get any warmer until we get to California.
Saturday August 5, 2006
We were up early at 6 am for another nice sunrise and then motored in light
wind through Haro Strait through the non-visible international boundary into
San Juan Channel.
We arrived at Friday Harbor, which is no longer the sleepy town of 20 years
ago but comparable to the busy-ness of Ganges, and went to the custom dock.
We were a little anxious of how the border crossing would go because we had
heard form other cruisers encountering difficulties. There was no border agent
at the dock, only a phone and a video camera. I had all our passport and boat
documentation information with me and when I called, the customs agent asked
the usual questions: names, dates of birth, and passport numbers. He asked me
if the boat was registered and I said it was built by ourselves and we had an
affidavit of ownership. Then asked if there was any registration number or identification
number other than the name, Light Wave. I said that we did give the boat a serial
number (which I had just engraved into the bulkhead in the galley the day before)
of “GCH-1160”. He asked how long we would be away. I said we would
be in the USA for 3 months. He asked is the purpose business or pleasure, I
said “pleasure”. He then asked if we had any citrus fruits and eggs.
No on the fruits but yes on the eggs, so he said, “Please place the eggs
on the white chair” (I presume he had video surveillance of the chair
as well as me). I went and got the eggs out and put them there. He then gave
us our clearance number and that was it. It took all of 5 minutes and everything
was done. Phew! What a relief!
We then anchored off and put the dinghy together and went into town to do some
shopping. We had a couple of parts to get at the local West Marine store and
then went to King’s Supermarket. Prices are a little expensive here. Celery
was $1.60 USD per pound! Potatoes were still cheap… We got an ice cream,
but decided that it was time to leave civilization.
We continued to motor down San Juan Channel and we were hoping to cross the
20 miles of Juan De Fuca before dark but it was too late in the day so we pulled
into Griffin Bay at the south end of San Juan Island. We would leave the crossing
Sunday August 6, 2006
We were up early but the fog had rolled in and visibility was only a quarter
of a mile. We waited until noon and then everything cleared up and we were off.
We unfortunately did not realize there would be any current on the exit channel
between Lopez Island and San Juan Island (San Juan Channel). Well, it turned
out it was flooding at 4.5 knots and we were going 5.5 knots so it took us about
two hours to go the two miles of rip tides and overflows of the channel. Carllie
was baking another banana-walnut-carob loaf during this time.
Finally by 2 pm we were finally crossing Juan de Fuca. The winds were light
and then finally we could sail on a close reach with the screecher. After an
hour the winds were 15 knots and we were doing 6 to 7 knots. The waves were
a little close together so it was a little bumpy but at least we were going
south in the right direction.
Carllie: It is taking patience to finish all the important jobs we need done
before we venture out into the high seas. We did ventured out into Juan de Fuca
Strait today, and felt those ocean swells for the first time since our round-Vancouver
Island trip in 2001. It took a long time to exit San Juan Channel as the current
was running against us, and then when we finally got out into the Strait, the
wind had really piped up.
By 6 pm we had arrived at Dungeness Bay which is a very shallow bay "protected"
from the westerly winds by a natural low spit. The winds were now 25 knots with
a 1 foot chop behind the spit.
The rule is that when we are out on open water we wear our PFD’s (inflatable
personal floatation devices) to which are attached with our harnesses. Whenever
we go past the hatches down into the hulls, we must hank on to the jacklines
that run from the stern of each hull all the way to the bows. We are then secure
to work on the foredeck. We found that Dungeness Bay is not a really protected
anchorage; it’s just a very long natural spit that protects you from the
incoming swells. But due to the extreme shallowness of the bay, you can’t
get close enough to it to prevent wave build-up. So it was rough. I was hanked
on as it’s my job to measure out the anchor rode we need and lower the anchor.
Garett pulls it back up. However, we were really bouncing around and the wind
was blowing amighty, so it was a bit scary. I’m not the bravest person in all
the world (yet but that’s going to change), but I know I have to do my
jobs, so I did it.
As we tried to set the anchor by going into reverse, it turns out we were dragging,
so Garett had to pull the anchor back up. Well, he tried but it had hooked on
something other than the bottom, so getting the anchor back was a long procedure
involving attaching the anchor rode to our winch and winching it up with the
aid of the motor in full power. Luckily, this time we had not hooked an abandoned
fuel tank (as we had in Bull Harbour when we went around Vancouver Island),
but that pesky kelp that abounds in these waters. We’ve had to maneuver the
boat to avoid kelp and the crab traps that clutter these waters. We’re told
the fishermen lay crab traps all the way down the U.S. coast, and to avoid them
entirely you have to go 20 miles out! Well, we won’t be doing that.
We couldn’t anchor at Dungeness Bay as it was just too dicey; besides,
it was getting late, it just didn’t feel protected enough and we were
just plain tired, so we backtracked to Sequim Bay. We arrived at 9:30 pm just
in the nick of time as it was getting quite dark out.
Monday August 7, 2006
We woke in the morning near John Wayne Marina (so called because Big John
kept his boat at this marina for his fishing forays into B.C.).
Right now, Garett has taken our Porta-Bote ashore with the motor (which isn’t
running well as Garett didn’t put the right mixture of oil and gas in and he
thinks the spark plug is possibly fouledrough) to the marina, to find out about
laundry, showers, gas and water. And of course get the right change for the
first two plus the hours of all facilities. These are the things one must think
of when living aboard.
We’ve been having showers after swims on the transom of our starboard hull (very
convenient, gets the salt water off and doesn’t get the boat all wet), and of
course we’ve been doing sponge baths every morning. But one does long for a
long hot shower. At Ganges, Salt Spring Island, it was exceedingly busy and
I couldn’t wait long enough to wash the salty towels in addition to all of our
clothes as the clothes alone took 2 ½ hours. Plus, the shower meter swallowed
my second token ($1 value) but didn’t give me more time. So I got a very short
We’ve gone running and walking on shore as much as possible. At Jedediah, we
got in about 4 runs and a couple of nice long hikes around Mother Goose Island
(adjacent to Home Bay) and up Gibraltar Mountain. At Nanaimo, per force, we
hiked a mile on the busy road that leads up from the ferry from the gas dock
where we had watered and fueled up. We had to go to West Marine to get a few
necessary things for ongoing work, and as explained earlier, we had to return
to Nanaimo the next day for holding tank repairs/changes so we again hiked up
that hill. Anchored in a lovely bay on the NW corner, we ran around the almost
all of Portland Island. Now we are just about to go ashore at John Wayne Marina
in Sequim Bay to throw in a load of laundry and go for a run. Washing will go
into dryer and we will shower on our return. So, we’ve been keeping up our exercise!
Plus, on a boat you are always using core muscles to balance and other muscles
to hoist, lower and tack the sails and to lower and haul up anchor.
Garett: While our laundry was washing away we went on our run on what we were
told was a “one mile walk” to the “KFC” where we could
get all the groceries we needed. It turned out to be another case of someone
being “distance challenged”. I thought it was kind of strange that
a “Kentucky Fried Chicken” would have all the groceries needed but
didn’t dwell too much on it at the time. Well I guess the accents are
stronger here than I thought and it was actually a “QFC” for “Quality
Our 4-mile round trip involved only 2 miles of running as I was saddled with
a 6 pound watermelon in my packsack while Carllie seemed to have a much lighter
load on the return trip. We did find an extensive area of blackberries and picked
a pound or so and ate a pound or so.
While Carllie prepared dinner I finally got around to the last boat job which
I felt had to be done before we went out into the Pacific and that was to install
a reef on the mainsail. Sure I’ve had the parts to do it for 6 years but
our method of reefing has just been to take down the whole sail period. I worked
away till midnight and finally it was done.
The reason we had spent an extra day at Sequim was to wait for a lull in the
persistent strong westerly which were blowing down Juan De Fuca and preventing
from us to out. The forecast was for light winds so we figured we could do the
whole 70 miles to Neah Bay in one long day.
One other interesting thing happened this afternoon. While I was shuttling
back and for the to the marina with gas and water, I saw what looked like some
type of huge preying mantis type of catamaran come into the harbor. Well they
actually anchored about 100 yards from us. I went over to find out the story
behind this weird-looking catamaran. When I quizzed the operator, he said, “I
am not allowed to saying anything about the boat”. What is it a top secret
military craft? A prop for a new James Bond movie? You decide.
On the topic of unusual catamarans, this is a picture of a rather “boxy”
cat we saw in Nanaimo harbor. Lots of room in the bridgedeck though….
Tuesday August 8, 2006
We were up at 4:30 am and pulled up anchor at 6 am. It started sunny and the
winds were indeed light as predicted, maybe we could make it all in one day.
We continued to make good progress as we were aided by the ebbing current as
we passed Port Angeles. As we proceeded west the clouds lowered and we could
hardly see the shore for the fog but the wind was calm. Water temp is now 55
degrees and air temperature, what do you know. 55 degrees
About 2 pm we started to finally feel the swells of the Pacific. New radar
comes up with message “No heading Signal” and displays a blank screen.
Carllie: Arriving at Neah Bay, my thoughts and body were muddled. It had been
a long day: we had left Sequim Bay at 0530 hours and had motored 70 miles, arriving
here at 2100hrs. Even though the West Marine Relief Bands had worked, preventing
my usual mal de mer, we had been sitting on a boat all day going up and down
in the swells elevator (up! and down….Up! and down….slowly but constantly).
This is one of the things I’ll have to get used to again, in the open
water as I did when we sailed around Vancouver Island in 2001.
Fog and mist had lain in the near distance on the last half of our leg, and
the temperature had continued to drop. I wonder why on earth I had packed all
of my cozy winter sailing duds away in a plastic box at the back of our empty
berth. Oh! Now I remember! It was 80 degrees F. when we left Vancouver and for
the first 12 days of our trip I had dressed in the skimpiest clothes I had.
The West Coast, however, is also the Wet Coast and even in mid-summer it’s
cold and damp out here.
My thoughts turned to our little penthouse apartment in Vancouver that we had
gleefully rented out thinking we could hardly wait to shed ourselves of the
land entirely and get on the water! Now in my bumfuzzled state I yearned for
the simple pleasures of our warm dry home, a great roasted vegetarian and feta
cheese pizza from Zaccary’s Pizza nearby on Oak Street, a caesar salad
and a movie. Yes! Let’s be couch potatoes again. I can handle it.
Wednesday August 9, 2006
Morning dawns, the boat has gotten off that inexorable elevator, I see the sun
shining through the clouds of fog blanketing the hills of Neah Bay and again
feel at peace. I remember why we are doing this, and what all this effort, discomfort
and trepidation is about. Everything worthwhile has a price. The price of this
voyage of discovery is the hard work, the constant planning and checking, the
early hours, the inventive coping with equipment failures, keeping one’s
spirit up, finding out how to use the pressure cooker for more and varied recipes,
baking yummy stuff to make life interesting. Who ever said or thought this would
Our mascot, DuckDuck, keeps us company on the long watches.
It took us nine hours to round Cape Flattery into the truly open waters of
the Pacific Ocean and reach La Push. We had covered 45 miles versus 70 the previous
day over 14 hours, but my tummy wasn’t doing well. The last four hours
had been a rather grueling battle of mind over matter. The matter kept trying
to push up and out, if you know what I mean.
Finally, while Garett was resting and I was on watch, I resorted to visualizing
all of my friends faces—Ivon, Loro, Ronelda, Casey, Amandah, Daken, Korianne,
Lorill, Harley, Josanne, Croft, Dorothy, Loraleigh and Juhli, and on and on
through about 50 people—wherever I saw them last. My mind was therefore
right in the Okanagan at the Water Ski Inn at Kalamalka Lake, visiting Dorothy
in the Kallarama and Juhli over tea at 1160, and yukking it up with friends
on the dock just before we departed. It’s amazing what mind can do, and
there is in fact no distance to mind as I was right there my friends. Did you
feel me or think of me? Anyway, all fancies aside, that little exercise took
my mind off more visceral matters and I even ate a bit of the yummy chunky vegetable
soup I had made for journeying when Garett heated it up.
Garett: It was about 7 pm and we closed with the coast towards our destination
of La Push, a small town on a small river that exits into the pacific behind
a small island. We also had another electronic breakdown as our original autopilot
actuator stopped working. I did have a new one which I pulled out of the box.
We will see if we can have it fixed in San Francisco too with the radar.
Carllie: La Push is a lovely little village owned by the Quileute Indians.
Bless them, they recently (in the last few years since Don and Reanne Douglass’s
Cruising Guide to the West Coast of the Pacific was published) opened a wonderful
restaurant called River’s Edge Restaurant. Wondering at the unbelievable
and majestic “needles” and rough, inhabitable islands that guard
the entrance to La Push, we carefully made our way across the bar and through
the narrow marked channel into the marina, which is protected by a breakwater
on both sides. Both exhausted, it was with great joy that we beheld the warm
lights of what appeared to be a restaurant shimmering across the water and people
moving about inside. “That looks like a restaurant!” Tired, unbelieving
and remembering the Douglasses’ words, I said, “No I think it’s
some kind of a tribal longhouse.” A friendly cruiser directed us to an
empty slip and assured us that the lights we had seen were indeed a restaurant
with great food. We gratefully tied up to a rickety skinny dock. Who cares?
We stepped out on it and knew our work was done for the day. Making our way
up the ramp and down the walkway that borders the marina, we found several RV’s
parked, SUV’s with dogs tied up, and comfortable old pleasure fishermen
enjoying their evening beers and telling fish stories.
How often has a tired sailor savored the taste of someone else’s cooking
in a warm and comfortable restaurant, and realized how little things can make
you supremely happy? It was like this with the halibut sandwiches and fries
we had, followed by a shared piece of New York cheesecake. River’s Edge
Restaurant is very classy, offering soft jazz music, a great view and wonderful
food. Most importantly, it has provided 15 jobs for the Quileute Indians, and
we met several pretty young waitresses and a very friendly manager/host by the
name of Rio who reminded us of our Iranian friend Angelo at Cravings in Vancouver.
After dinner, we wandered down to the beach to enjoy the surf pounding in.
Thursday August 10, 2006
In the morning, another long beach walk watching wetsuited surfers in the pounding
froth, and further exploration, revealed a delightful resort and campground,
with great cabins right on the beach called Oceanside Resort. We were tickled
pink to find showers for the campers, and availed ourselves of those facilities
later in the day. Another delight was finding two big dogs that had been tied
to their owner’s open SUV while he was away fishing for the day. They
were so morose we couldn’t even get them to stand up and visit, and these
were the same “puppies” who gamboled and wiggled unstoppably when
we had visited them with their owner the night before. Finally, I managed to
coax smiles and cuddles out of them, and filled my and their dogged need for
affection with 20 minutes of petting, scratching and cuddling.
Garett: Here is a car that you can get a real deal on….
CarllieL BIG STEPS Tomorrow we will leave at 1200hrs to cross the bar at a
safe time for tides, and timing it so that an overnight trip will get us to
the very tricky bar crossing at Tillamook Bay (140 miles away). This is a big
deal for us as although we have done night sailing before, we haven’t
done it on the wide open ocean off an unfamiliar coast. We will be safe with
our GPS and compass, never fear. The radar has gone kaput, so it’s back
to the “basics” which are still a far cry from what they were when
Captain Vancouver, Captain Cook, and others charted the West Coast.
Garett: We could harbor-hop in one day to Gray’s Harbor instead as it
is only 60 miles but this would involve us getting there at 8 pm into an ebbing
tide coming out of the bay. This is not good as the ebbing tide builds the incoming
North West swells into big breakers. The next stop after Gray’s Harbor
is the Columbia River which is even worse. The only alternative left is to go
to Tillamook which entails an overnight passage.
Friday August 11 and Saturday August 12, 2006
We had a relaxing start and left La Push at noon for 140 mile passage.
Winds were light and so we motored for the first 4 hours. At about 4 pm we
did some sailing but the winds died. Finally at about 7 pm the winds picked
up again to about 10 knots and we sailed at 5 knots. Our route took us quite
a bit offshore, about 25 miles. Unfortunately about 10 pm the wind died. Carllie
gave me a break for a nap from 10 pm to 1 am.
I took the watch and unfortunately she wasn’t feeling to well, but we
had to carry on. At about 6 am August 12th, we started motor-sailing in the
building winds (15 knots form the north) and were able to do 6 to 7 knots.
Carllie: I was sick sick sick and considered throwing myself overboard at this
point. The only thing that stopped me was knowing how disappointed Garett would
be and being quite sure he wouldn’t continue his wonderfully planned trip
alone. I had to sit in the big collapsible chair we have, in the middle of the
cockpit, where there is the least motion, for the 9 ½ remaining hours
it took to get to Tilamook. [See the most awful picture in the universe of me,
Garett: We closed the coast from 10 to 4 pm and then crossed the bar into Tillamook
Bay with a bit of a flood tide. At 4 pm we were tied to the perfectly calm transient
dock after 27 hours and 140 miles covered. I was very tired and Carllie was
We both had not eaten in a long time and so the first order was to find a restaurant.
We found this great fish and chips place and had a late snack at 7 pm. Look
at the change in Carllie in just 6 hours! Is this the same person?
Carllie: We have now remembered, after both of us feeling sick and me feeling
very sick that we simply cannot eat anything but fruit before we go out on the
open sea. The only other things we can handle are herb tea and hot vegetable
bullion. We had learned this on our 2001 trip around Vancouver Island where
we had been exposed to those big ocean swells for the first time, but we had
forgotten! Now we know. It’s very strange to feel so sick you wish you
were dead, and yet be so hungry you are looking forward to being able to think
about food without wretching. I think I’m just one big stomach waiting
to eat, and when eating isn’t in the cards, I’m planning it.
Sunday August 13, 2006
We had a good sleep in after the trials and tribulations of the last two days
and decided to do something touristy and went on a scenic train ride for 1 and
half hours up the coast.
After the train ride, we did some shopping at the very reasonable grocery store
nearby. Celery $0.89 per pound) and then left the dock and anchored about two
miles away in Crab Harbor where we barbequed the albacore tune that I bought
at the fish dock. I bought a whole fish so it looks like it will be the dinner
of choice for the next four days.
Monday August 14, 2006
We relaxed at our anchorage in Crab Harbor but decided in spite of the 25 knot
wind we would go to shore. We went for a two-hour walk around the park that
bordered the bar. There were the start of the famous Oregon sand dunes.
The wind sounds like it is finally dying down so we will aim for a 5 am wakeup
call and check in with Coast Guard for a bar report and then exit the bar at
6:30 am if all goes well on our way to Newport on the Yaquinna River.
Tuesday August 15, 2006
We woke at 5 am and listened to the Coast Guard’s current bar report and they
said, "2 to 4 foot swells between the tips (of the breakwaters) and 4 to
6 feet over the bar with the occasional 8 footer with winds of 5 knots with
From our anchorage in the dark we could hear the heavy surf of the last few
days breaking on the beach oin the other side of the spit because of the very
light wind. It did make you feel uneasy but the conditions were good. We pulled
up anchor at 6:15 am and reached the mouth of the bar and the conditions were
as described but the swells were *very* close together. We made it through ok
but as we headed south the boat motion was really twisty in the double set of
swells. The water temperature was only 48.5 degrees and the air temperature
Unfortunately Carllie wasn’t feeling so well and neither was I. We motored
southward and about 1 pm the seas became more rounded and we started to sail
in the 8 knots of wind for about 3 hours. The sun had come out so it turned
into a pretty good day.
We arrived at the Newport river bar at 7 pm and the conditions were fortunately
quite mild and so we motored 2 miles up the river to the marina where we will
stay for a couple of nights and enjoy the town and get some rest. Todays’s run
65 miles. We are now 285 miles from Vancouver as the crow flies, 350 miles to
Wednesday August 16, 2006
Carllie: We are in Newport, Oregon now. Arrived last night after a very tough,
long day at sea. Seas were very big swells and every which-way. Not good for
the tummy. Twice now in about 5 days I’ve gone for very long periods of time
with no food and very little water as I can’t keep anything down and my digestion
just stops, period. They say when you are out on a crossing after about 2 days
you get used to it, but we had planned to harbour-hop down the coast, so the
longest we’ve gone so far has been an overnight trip from La Push, Washington,
to Tilamook, Oregon–150 miles–that took us 27 hours. It was a little scary
being 26 miles out from the coast (necessary to avoid certain hazards) and see
no land, just the lights of the odd distant fish boat or towboat, feeling these
big swells coming up under the boat, and then go down. I was a little tense
that first night as I hadn’t been feeling well, but had to do a watch so Garett
could get some rest. When my watch was over, as soon as he came out, everything
"hit the fan" so to speak!
It’s so exhausting when I get so sick as even if my stomach is totally empty,
it keeps heaving until I feel like it’s turning inside out. Not a happy experience.
It’s really hard to smile and be happy when you’re feeling that sick. It’s hard
to take a deep breath at all. It’s hard to think. However, I will keep working
on it and we will try to plan our days so we’re not out there when it’s quite
We spent the day being tourists in Newport, Oregon. It was lots of fun. We
took the free shuttle bus to the "old town" from the south side of
the river where the marina is to the north side where the actual town of Newport
is, and had a close look at this horde (bunch? flock? murder? mass? gang? multitude?)
of sea lions that we hear barking all night long at the marina.
They are huge creatures and very vociferous. Apparently, in this area if you
leave your boat anchored in a bay, they can climb up onto the swim grid (if
there is one) and if enough climb on, they will sink your boat. And there’s
nothing you can do about it (like shoot them!) because they are protected species.
You can’t bash them off the boat, for instance.
We visited one shop that was full of fabulous objets d’art and jewelry. It was
amazing to see what people create. One artisan calls himself "The Frogman"
and he creates these beautiful bronze frog sculptures in all sizes and poses.
They are incredible and each one has a name. The artisan’s name is Tim
Cotterill, Check out http://www.frogmanart.com.
Cotterill was brought up in England, and where he played there were lots of
frogs and he became very intrigued with them. His school reports (included in
his autobiography book) are quite revealing. While he got very low evaluations
in Math and History, he did very well in Art. Now, where he lives in California,
outside his studio, he has created this special pond/ refuge where he keeps
many frogs and watches them. It is very inspiring to see what people can create.
And nice to know you don’t have to be a mathematical genius or a history
buff to succeed.
Garett & Carllie: While on strolling waterfront we stopped at one bait
and tackle shop to get some tuna lure that our fishing friends at at La Push
had recommended. When our total ignorance became evident, the proprietor directed
us to to “Randy’s Bait and Tackle” for a hand tuna line. Randy’s
has the comfortable look of a well-worn hardware store with all sorts of gear
stacked around the place and his 4-year-old grandson sound asleep on a stack
of gunny sacks near the door. The kind of place grizzled fishermen love. Randy’s
wife Marilyn fixed us up with a 75-foot hand line, leader and a “zucchini”
lure. We have to look for water that is 62 degrees. Unfortunately that water
temperature is about 60 miles off the coast so it will be a week or two before
we will be in prime waters but we will keep trolling it for now.
Garett: Talking of tuna, one thing we have noticed is that most of the fishing
boats have these football stadium-like lights. We now have dubbed these “tuna
lights”. It seems to be the rage here. I think it is a guy thing just
like those big deer flood lights guys put on their pickups as a kind of status
symbol. We have seen some boats with up to five of them. They must draw 50 amps
each. I have now told Carllie I want one for Christmas…..(Carllie: I actually
think they use these lights to spot the huge schools of tuna, and maybe even
to attract them.)
Garett: After having lunch down by the water we walked up the hill to where
the stores are to get some groceries. We came across Casey’s next off-road
vehicle. I bet this could go anywhere….
The car was advertising a local tractor pull and monster truck show. I was
keen to go but Carllie was not.
While taking the shuttle bus back to the marina, the driver explained how the
motel occupancy is down 20% so the economy is struggling. We also read in the
local paper that the house prices in Portland went down for this month for the
first time in 3 years. So the tide may be turning.
Thursday August 17, 2006 – The Battle of Oregon Coast Continues…
Our plan for the day was to go 40 miles to the Siuslaw River and go to the
town of Florence which was 5 miles up the river. We left Newport Marina at 9:30
am and easily transited the entrance bar. The wind was very light from the north
and not quite enough to sail in. I laid down for a little nap while Carllie
kept watch. I woke at 12:30 pm and there seemed to be enough wind (about 12
knots) to sail and so we set the screecher and the jib wing-on-wing and we were
comfortably sailing at 5 knots or so.
We sailed along for a couple of hours. Carllie was feeling okay compared to
how she felt on the past two legs where she had been sick. We talked about the
options for the legs after Florence and decided at 3:30 pm just as we were outside
Florence that we should sail through the night and skip Florence, Coos Bay,
and Bandon. Instead, we would round Cape Blanco and go to Port Orford.
Just two hours later the winds had picked up to 20 knots and we were hurtling
down the waves at 8 to 10 knots. The seas had again become washing machine-like
and Carllie was sick. We were now past Florence and had no option but to continue.
Carllie was incapacitated on the settee and so I had to keep sailing. First
thing I had to do was to try to slow the boat down, which meant rolling up the
screecher. Even with the jib in front of it (between the wind and the screecher)
to blanket the screecher from the wind, it was still very difficult. Here are
some extracts from my log with comments:
5:30 pm Took jib and whisker pole down – still going too fast –
moved jib to port to blanket screecher – went into broach because autopilot
tiller pin sheared off – switched to backup pin – hard time rolling
up screecher – Carllie now very sick.
5:40 pm Wind now 20 to 25 knots –screecher furled but just barely –
put Carllie to bed – sailing with jib @ 6.5 knots
Carllie now had a small whistle so she could call me when she needed something
or to see how I was doing:
6:20 pm N43.47 W124.16 – Used 2 sets of vice grips and removed cracked pin
– replaced with a 2 inch ¼ inch bolt and two nuts and moved autopilot
back to the better positioned replacement pin.
6:45 pm Now on more of a broad reach – swells 8 feet – sailing
at 6 knots.
7 pm – N43.42 W124.18 – Wind 16 knots doing 6 knots – a little
smoother, air temp 55 water temp 53.
7:10 pm Carllie now very sick, not good.
8 pm N43.38 W124.21 – Wind down to 14 knots only doing 4.5 to 5.5 knots –
8:30 pm – sighted our first humpback whale about 100 yards in front
8:35 pm – Carllie very sick again.
I have read from other cruisers that the nights are long and this one would
be a long one as I would have to stay up through the night. We had to sail about
10 miles to the west go out past Cape Blanco and the dangerous reefs which extend
about 5 miles off the cape. The moon would not come out until 1 am so it would
be ** very ** dark for 4 hours. Time seemed to really slow down. My only company
was the odd tuna boat with those great lights way out in the distance. I wasn’t
so much as scared but uneasy and nervous. I just didn’t know what was
coming. I couldn’t see the waves or the reefs I was going around. You
have to religiously plot your position on the chart (that is what the “N43.42
W124.12” are, latitude and longitude) confirm it with the GPS chart plotter
and what the radar shows (if it’s working).
9 pm N43.32 W124.23 – Down to 4 knots so put screecher back up – Sailing
at 6 knots with screecher – wind WNW at 14 knots
10 pm N43.25 W 124.27 Sailing at 7 to 7.5 knots. Wind north at 16 knots.
Very dark. Lights of Coos Bay to east
11 pm N43.20 W124.31 – coming alongside Cape Blanco. Waves steep.
Midnight N43.16 W 124.35 – jibed screecher from port to starboard –difficult
1 am N43.10 W 124.36 – 6 knots – where is the moon???????
For the last 4 hours I was anxiously waiting for the moon to provide some light
but where was it? I was a little let down and despondent. (Carllie: editing
this for my sweetie, I feel so bad that I couldn’t help him, but standing
up made everything go “swish swish” in my tummy and head and I would
be in for another very debilitating bout of violent retching. We had by this
point concluded that I would have to get some assistance via drugs at our next
2 am N43.04 W 124.37 rounding Cape Blanco – winds picking up – only
small sliver of moon – not much light.
4 am N42.52 W124.40 sailing at 8 to 11 knots – must get screecher furled
5 am Passed the reef and turned east heading to Port Orford with just jib
– wind now 20 to 25 knots – on beam reach and waves are crashing
into side of Light Wave – getting wet in the cockpit
6 am – only 4 miles from Port Orford – waves smaller now –
no water in cockpit – sun coming up soon.
At 6:45 am we finally pulled into Port Orford and the wind was calm with only
a light swell as we were protected by the point. Just as I put down the anchor
the sun came over the hill. Carllie was asleep and I went to sleep in the port
hull quite exhausted. That was the longest night of my life.
We sailed for the last 18 hours of the 21 hours we were underway. Our top speed
was 11 knots and we covered a total of 126 miles
Friday August 18, 2006
We slept for just 3 hours and woke at 10 am, but Carllie was not well as she
was not comfortable with the small swell that was still wrapping around the
corner into Port Orford. We decided that we had to continue the 50 miles to
the Chetco River and the town of Brookings. It was going to be tight getting
there by sunset at 8:15 pm. We did some breathing exercises and we were off,
with Carllie again prone on the settee—the least likely position to cause
We motored out of Port Orford and quite quickly we were back into 20+ knots
of wind and these big 8 foot swells but now with a new twist: fog. We could
see only about 200 yards around the boat. Carllie was still very sick and so
I sailed on. We were going 6 to 7 knots so it looked like we would make it there
We made good time but it still was going to be close to get there by sunset.
The fog continued. One interesting thing about the fog is that it gives you
the impression that you art not on the big ocean as your world only goes 200
yards in any direction, which is OK as long as you know where you are.
When we were 5 miles out from Brookings at 7 pm I called the Coast Guard for
a bar report and weather update. They said the bar was calm but the visibility
was only 100 yards. We kept on our course to Brookings. I found that I could
use out radar for 1 minute at a time without it overheating and generating the
“no heading pulse” message. I used the radar and GPS to track down
the entrance buoy which is about ½ mile from the breakwater entrance.
All of sudden I heard this roar from behind me and it was the 42 foot aluminum
Coast Guard cutter “Chetco River”. They had been tracking me on
radar and asked if we were going to be all right. I responded with a “thumbs
up”. Over the radio they did ask me I had been inspected by the Coast
Guard and I replied, “No, we haven’t”.
I finally found the entrance buoy when I was just 150 feet away. I then did
a sharp left turn and headed north to the mouth of the river and its two protective
breakwaters. We were just crawling along at a couple of knots and our visibility
was down to just 100 feet, when in front of us the west breakwater loomed out
of the fog in the fading daylight. From there it was an easy half mile up the
river to the transient dock at the marina.
Five minutes after tying up, two coast guard fellas came by for the inspection.
They were very nice and polite and asked to see the paperwork on the vessel,
flares, “Do you have any guns?”, asked about the holding tank, etc.
In ten minutes we were done and they gave us a copy of the report so we could
present it if we were queried again.
Carllie was feeling a little better now that she was back on land and so we
went for some clam chowder. It had been a very long two days. We talked about
the seasickness dilemma and decided that we would have to find some type of
a solution before we could continue
Saturday August 19, 2006
Carllie: I’m okay now, though I had another day and a half of extreme seasickness.
It was intolerable, so we have had to resort to those drug patches you stick
behind your ear, which we hear are very effective with minimal side effects.
I just couldn’t continue if I was sick even if he was strong enough to do it
Garett is a great navigator and sailor. As usual, he masters anything he puts
his mind to, and he is a very careful navigator. I have absolutely confidence
in his abilities. However, I have to keep him well too, so I have to lower my
standards a bit in order to get a handle on this seasickness so I can take my
watches and keep him fed properly (at least the former, and maybe eventually
the latter). So we will keep pushing on!
Right now, we are 450 miles from Vancouver, as the crow flies. We’re resting
at Brookings on the Chetco River for 3 nights (starting Aug 18), tied up at
the transient dock right across from the Coast Guard. They guided us in on the
first night through very dense fog across the river bar on the radio and physically
motored out to check on us. Then when we docked, they came aboard and did a
safety inspection, which US Coast Guard likes to do on all vessels that enter
its waters, sooner or later. They were very, very nice, and of course Garett
shared a lot of laughs with them, and proudly showed them the required signs
we had posted—even though they hadn’t asked to see them—over
the head and next to the our garbage pail warning not to dump garbage or oil/when
to dump garbage. I got off the boat as soon as we tied up, as I had to get solid
land under me as advised by Carlos, the more senior of the two young Coast Guardsmen.
EATING We were lucky to catch a little seafood restaurant nearby (Chetco Seafood
Co.) just before they closed, and got the best creamy clam chowder we’ve ever
had. That was the first food I was able to hold down in about 29 hours, so I
have fond memories of that soup, and we stopped by for another bowl today just
to make sure my impression of excellence was accurate and not based on the fact
that I was starving when I’d had my first bowl. Tonight we enjoyed corn
on the cob from the farmer’s market set up right down the road this weekend,
with a big salad.
We are eating very well, but our diet is changing as we go down the coast,
consuming more and more vegetables and the seafood we eat is only fresh or made
with very fresh catches. I’ve also started using my sprouting jars and
have made salad sprouts (a mix of many different kinds of seeds and beans) and
alfalfa sprouts. These make yummy and very nutritional additions to our salads.
Plus, we’re using our fabulous new Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker
Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker as much as possible, and the food cooked in it
is far tastier, plus uses a lot less propane and water. So far, I’ve cooked
many batches of whole beets (only 25 min. to cook 6-8 big beets); they are absolutely
delicious (eaten with the skins quickly blanched off of course) hot with a little
butter and salt, and I keep the extras in a plastic bag in the fridge and grate
them up for yummy salads afterwards. I’ve also cooked rice, lentils, navy
beans (making a great recipe of Boston Baked Beans that you don’t have
to bake) and a wonderful vegetable soup. The soup is far tastier than my usual
soup, even though I never over-cook soup, as with a pressure cooker everything
is cooked quickly in a water-tight condition that preserves nutrients and tastes.
I am also baking my famous “chocolate chip cookies”, replacing
the chocolate with coconut, walnuts, dried cranberries and carob chips; and
banana loaves with a recipe I found in the Quick Breads recipe book I brought
along. It’s a fantastic recipe with walnuts and chocolate chips (again
I use carob chips) that is perfect for using up overripe bananas (the only kind
to use in baking). I always find that I am far more creative in cooking and
baking when on the boat. More time, I guess. Plus I know how much my cooking
and baking inspires Garett, who is largely responsible for my last batch of
2 doz. cookies disappearing in 3 days.
I had to get a prescription for those seasickness patches so today I visited
a doctor and got one, then went to the huge Fred Meyers store to get my "drugs".
Each patch lasts 3 days, but we aren’t normally out for 3 days at a time right
now, so it’s a fairly expensive proposition as you only get 4 in a package and
each package costs $40! Oh well, right now we have to look at it as a necessary
cost of travel. We hope I will get more accustomed to the motion gradually.
I will be sucking on raw ginger from now on as well, which I had neglected to
do except once previously.
I do believe these challenges are good for me as they are making me fight. I
had to deep breathe (rhythmic breathing) all day yesterday between Port Orford
and here, as we had only had a 3-hr stop at Port Orford to let Garett catch
some sleep. We couldn’t stay there as it’s not completely protected and there
were still swells coming into the anchorage, so my tummy just would not settle,
after having been extremely sick between Newport (Oregon) and Port Orford (21
hours). So we had to go another 8 hours. I had to stay lying down (the only
hope I have of not vomiting when I’m feeling queasy) the whole way. It’s hard
to stay lying down and remain positive and upbeat in one’s thinking…. And
it doesn’t entirely work with preventing the heaves either…
Anyway, we’re getting past that one. (Fingers, legs, toes and eyes crossed.)
In fact, was so traumatized by that last 27 hours (even though I had made it
through the first 8 without being sick) and so reluctant to get back on our
very slightly moving vessel (the instrument of my torture in my subterranean
mind) that I actually thought of suggesting that we rent a motel room for the
night. It wouldn’t have worked anyway, as summer vacationers flock to
Oregon’s seaside and everything is booked solid, not to mention costing
a fortune if we could get in.
Sunday August 20, 2006
Garett: We slept in and then went for our first run in almost two weeks. We
didn’t feel too bad, considering, but I am definitely not in squash shape
for when I get to San Francisco. (Carllie: “I am! I am!” I practice
my forehand and backhand swings every day, and surely all this “core exercise”
(i.e., barfing every two minutes) has to count for something?)
One interesting thing is that since we have been in the States we have only
seen 1 jogger in 2 weeks. We are actively looking for number 2.
We read and napped in the afternoon and then went down to the arts and farmer’s
market and a walk on the beach. We came across some children who were immune
to the 50 degree water and were jumping in the waves and the pelicans dive-bombing
A little further along, we came across a sand castle built by some other children,
including multiple motes and drawbridge.
Carllie: Pelicans dive like feathered swords into the waters around our dock
in early morning and throughout the evening. Whining, squawking birds somewhat
like sea gulls follow them like leeches, hoping to pick up tidbits that escape
the pelicans’ “holding sacks” under their beaks when they
strain out the water from the fish they’ve just caught. From far down
the river when we traveled up it yesterday, we saw the vertical spumes of spray
from the dive-bombing pelicans.
Each specie, be it bird or mammal, is unique of course, and inhabits different
parts of the globe. To Oregonians, pelicans are likely boring creatures they
have grown tired of watching. To us, they are endlessly fascinating. It’s
a good thing we have a digital camera, for all the pictures we have taken of
them in hopes of getting one or two good ones showing their elegant flight and
On the way to Port Orford the day before yesterday, we saw our first Humpback
Whale! I was lying down and he yelled to me that he thought there was a big
whale smacking the water in front of us. I sat up and watched, and sure enough
there was this huge splash. A few minutes later we saw that great big signatory
flipper of the Humpback come out of the water off our starboard bow (safely
about 100 yards away). Shortly afterward, he must have sounded (dove) as he
disappeared. It was a happy experience even though I was sick again right afterwards.
Life at this moment is sometimes a battle, but "When the going gets tough,
the tough get going!"
The water is getting bluer and clearer, and we now have a hand-line to catch
our own tuna, which we fully expect to do as these waters teem with them. Garett
is pretty excited about that. Yes, we are looking forward to snorkeling. Sailing
friends we have met en route tell us that we will proably want to taken scuba
diving lessons, as the water is so clear in the Sea of Cortez and it is such
a beautiful experience.
The boat is sailing well, now that we have wind, and saving us fuel money, so
that’s good! And it’s a lot quieter than the engine although with 20kts of wind
on your tail and big swells (waves), it’s never quiet.
The joined towns of Harbor/Brookings on the Chetco River are somewhat unpicturesque,
and the transient dock particularly so, being bordered by industrial land where
fishermen keep thousands of huge crab traps ready for the winter season. However,
each place has its beauties and attractions. RV’s are able to stay in
an RV park right at the beach here, so they enjoy the pounding surf and their
kids can play in the surf and sand. The Chetco River is the entrance to this
marina, and you can go for a trip up the river in a powered dinghy at high tide,
which we are planning to do today. Americans, as always, are very friendly and
welcoming (the lady had actually put the CLOSED signs in the windows of the
restaurant last night as I was walking by, but when she got my evidently morose
look, she opened the door and after a short explanation agreed to let us in
if we could get there in half an hour), and the differences between Canadians
and Americans becomes more apparent as we go down. Although we love Canada,
I think Canadians are a little more “British” in their attitudes
and habits and thus appear more standoffish initially at least. We admire and
appreciate the warmth of Americans, as this is not an easy trip.
MORNING ROUTINES Anyway, even here at this somewhat ugly land adjoining the
docks, we’ve found a private and pretty spot to do our morning deep breathing
exercises, which consist of about 20 minutes of various exercises and are part
of our practices as Kabalarian ( http://kabalarians.com
) students. Although of necessity we have many times done our exercises on the
boat where we can be seen by few or many, it’s nice to have a quiet pretty
spot where we can focus more and get more out of the exercises. We are getting
hot showers once every 3-4 days, and this is actually not as heathen-like as
it sounds, as we do our morning ablutions by thorough sponge baths every day,
and feel very refreshed and clean afterwards. The hot showers are such a huge
treat when we do get them, and here in the USA they don’t cost an arm
and a leg as they do in Canada. I’ll write later about the differences
between our socialistic system that treats everyone like they are idiots and
charges for everything, versus this republic attitude that takes human intelligence
for granted (to a point). It’s far more relaxed, and you don’t see
signs everywhere telling you what to do (i.e., “Pick up your dog doo-doo”,
red lights for cars turning left until the pedestrian crossing light has gone
out, “No beach fires”, “Red tide! No shellfish harvesting!”
Monday August 21, 2006
Garett: Preparing to leave Harbor City on the Chetco River.
We got up at 6 am and Carllie put on her first seasickness prevention patch
(Transderm Scop) the required 4 hours before going out. We went through our
morning routine and we were off for the short 25 mile trip to Crescent City.
The winds were calm and the seas were now down to a very tolerable 2 to 4 feet
and Carllie felt fine.
We arrived at 4 pm and anchored behind the protective breakwater so we didn’t
have to pay moorage. We have a very nice spot but with the 24/7 background noise
of the forty crazy sea lions that go on and on with their bellowing. We are
theorizing that the reason they almost went extinct was not because of their
fur but because of the noise.
We took the dinghy to shore and a nice long walk into town. The area is similar
to Oregon as it is quite depressed with many closed down businesses and very
little fishing going on. At the town park there was big walk-through Redwood
tree that was 15 feet in diameter.
Tuesday August 22, 2006
Today was a rest day so we did some shopping, walking, refueling, getting water,
Wednesday August 23, 2006
We were up early and said goodbye to Crescent City and the raucous sea lions.
Our objective today was to get to Trinidad Harbor which was a 45 mile run. The
forecast was for light winds but building to 25 knots in the afternoon.
At our normal motoring speed of 5 knots it would take us 9 hours. The winds
never really came up but the sun did, our first look at it after 6 days of fog
and low cloud. It might have even seemed a little warmer with it getting to
57 degrees. We are wearing the same clothes we wear during our December trips
to the Gulf Islands. Initially all our cold weather clothes were in storage
boxes in the back of one of the hulls for the last part of our trip in the Queen
Charlottes in a year in half. It all came out 2 weeks ago when we started going
down the Washington and Oregon coasts. The swell was moderate today at 3 to
We got our first bite at our new hand line tuna lure. I was sitting down on
the aft seat and I could feel the railing jiggle. At first I didn’t remember
that we had the line tied to it and then I stood up and looked back and I could
see some thrashing behind us. Before I could start pulling it in, it was gone.
Close but no barbeque tonight. Carllie was very disappointed, and hectored me
a bit about “What a great fisherman you are!”
We came around the Trinidad Head headland at 5:30 pm into the protected harbor
(from north winds but not from south winds).
We found the harbor was full with about 100 mooring buoys with 80% of them
with small sport fishing boats tied to them. There was no place to really anchor
in a reasonable depth of water so we found an unused buoy that appeared to be
not leased out and tied up for the night about 100 yards off the beach.
There are many beautiful homes on the ridge circling the bay and we hear there
is a little town and coffer shop on shore. We will check it out tomorrow.
After another one of Carllie’s creative dinners, we connected on a three
way Skype / Internet conference call with our friends in Vancouver and in the
Our plan is to stay here until Saturday morning for the big leg around Cape
Mendocino. This is an area of big seas, conflicting currents, and variable weather.
The forecast is for winds to pick up for the next 2 days and then become light
for Saturday and Sunday.
That’s all for now as we continue our search for warm water and warm
Thursday August 24, 2006
We went a shore in Trinity Bay at Trinidad Head. Trinidad Head fully protects
the bay from northwest swells and wind. On further research we found that the
town at the head of the bay is the oldest town in Northern California established
back in 1850 when there was gold mining in the vicinity.
There is a very scenic trail that circumnavigates the head and climbs to 600
feet with great vistas to the north and south. It took about an hour to do the
walk. We were going to have lunch at the restaurant on the waterfront, but decided
to try to find this special coffee shop that was highly recommended by a passing
kayaker the night before.
We hiked the hill and found the cafe across from the small elementary school.
It was quaint and small and seemed to have really good food but at first we
decided just to have a little snack or something but not a real lunch. We had
this almond square and it was so delicious that after looking at the menu decided
to have a veggie bagel and an Italian Pannini sandwich. After ordering we decided
to switch tables to one near the window that had just been vacated by this fella.
On the table was his discarded Times Colonist newspaper from the nearby city
of Eureka. While we waited we glanced through it is as it was the first paper
we had seen in 5 weeks. The tone and types of front page headlines hadn’t
seemed to change much i.e. Murderer gets 26 years for 2003 Killing; Weed Whacker:
100 Marijuana Plants Seized in Morning Raid; Gas, Electric Bills on Rise; Forest
Fire Threatens Community, etc. All of a sudden I see a picture of a yellow catamaran
on the front page and upon a closer look realized it was actually a picture
of Light Wave from two days ago when we were anchored in Crescent City. The
headline was: “Sailing Away”, and the caption, “A catamaran
sailboat sits anchored in Crescent City Harbor on Monday evening.” The
picture was in color so I guess they needed some yellow to brighten up the somber
tones of the otherwise downer news. A bizarre string of events led up to our
seeing the paper—the kayaker’s recommendation, finding the coffee
shop, deciding to switch tables, the paper being left by the fella, us looking
at the paper.
We walked back down to the beach and then rowed around the rocks trying to
get close to the seals who were mildly curious but only let us come so close.
As the sun went down a big fog bank came in from the west.
After dinner we had a conference call with our friends in the Okanagan, BC.
The connection was so clear it was as though everyone was right in the boat.
It was great to talk with everyone and update them on our travels.
Friday August 25, 2006
We rested again today waiting for the winds to go light for our big passage
on Saturday. We went for a breakfast omelet at the Seaside Restaurant at the
mouth of the bay. The restaurant had been destroyed in 1951 when a severe winter
storm with hurricane force winds from the south washed everything away in 1951,
or almost everything according to the blurb in the menu: “The only thing
left of the restaurant was a freezer that was lodged between some rocks.”
Another winter storm brewed waves that rolled over the 100-foot Pilot Rock at
the entrance to Trinidad Harbour. Lucky it is summer now. After a very substantial
meal (Carllie: Americans like big breakfasts!) we walked up the hill a mile
with our two 2-gallon gas tanks so that we could have a full fuel in case there
was no wind tomorrow.
We had an early night but there was a 10-knot breeze from the open south which
blew right into the anchorage which created a one to two foot chop. It wasn’t
very comfortable and a little ominous. We could see why boats were only kept
here in the summer when the prevailing winds are from the northwest and south
winds of any force are rare.
Saturday August 26, 2006 – The Mendocino Passage
This was the day for our trip around Cape Mendocino. When you look on a map,
Cape Mendocino is the point on the California coast where the coast changes
direction from being north–south to now going southeast. As I mentioned
on an earlier log it is known for confusing seas and bad weather. We spoke to
one marina operator here who has a friend who has gone around Cape Horn four
times and he describes the waters off Cape Mendocino as being “the worse
piece of water in the world”. In the cruising guide, “Exploring
the Pacific Coast from Seattle to San Diego” by Don & Reanne Douglass,
is the following excerpt by a contributor, Michelle Gaylord:
“But since the weather looked good we decided we’d better get
around Cape Mendocino and continue on to Eureka. What a mistake. I don’t
even know how to describe how bad the seas were. Just before Cape Mendocino
I had made lunch and we sat down in the pilothouse to eat. On the horizon,
we could see a wall of white water rolling towards us. I’m not talking
white caps, I am talking about a wall of white water. We were in totally confused
seas and being tossed all about with no way to even turn around and go back.
We were fighting 16- to 20-foot seas that were about 5 seconds apart; they
literally came from all sides. The only way I can describe it was like being
in a washing machine on the fastest agitation cycle. …. These conditions
lasted for two hours.”
You can see why I conveniently had sheltered Carllie from reading this particular
passage in the guide book before we did this leg. [Carllie: If I had read it
I doubt very much we would have continued our trip….]
Anyway, back at Trinidad Harbour, we woke up in the dark at 5 am and it was
foggy with about a half-mile of visibility. By the time we got everything ready
for departure, had our fruit breakfast, and detached ourselves from the mooring
buoy it was 6:45 am. The minimum distance to travel to the next anchorage of
Shelter Cove was 85 miles which is 17 hours at 5 knots. We would not be able
to make it before dark, so we revised our goal to Fort Bragg, 120 miles from
Trinidad Head. By leaving now and sailing through the night we would get there
the next morning, in daylight.
The seas weren’t too bad as the swells from the northwest were down to
only 4 to 6 feet and spaced out at about 8 seconds. We made good time for the
first 4 hours. At about 11 am we came across our first pod (school, group, ????)
of dolphins, about 20 of them. They came from the west and crossed right in
front of us but they did not stop to chat and seemed to be on a mission. They
seemed to be bigger than other ones we have seen and could not identify the
exact specie. They say that seeing dolphins is supposedly a good omen. I hope
“they” are right.
The forecast for the day was supposed to be light winds of only 5 knots from
the south winds which we can motor into. At about 11 am the winds did start
but at 10 to 15 knots from the southwest, the exact direction we were going,
which we unfortunately cannot motor into comfortably. The wind created these
short choppy waves that slammed against the nacelle floor and coupled with the
remaining swells from the northwest made for a very noisy ride. I tried to sail
to take the waves at an angle managing to sail at 4 to 5 knots but only 1 knot
VMG in the direction we wanted to go (VMG – velocity made good).
We were now about 8 miles from the river bar entrance to Eureka, we tried this
tack of sailing for one hour. While sailing when I was at the helm and Carllie
was resting, I was visited by a tiny yellow bird (if you know what type this
is please email us). I am sure he (I am assuming it was a he) quite relieved
to find this small island out in the middle of nowhere. He landed on the ropes
on the starboard side where there was protection for the wind. He could only
hold onto the ropes as the decks were too slippery and found a nice little spot
behind the winches and had a little nap for 20 minutes. This seemed to be revive
him and he started looking around for some food. I tried to feed him some crumbs
of bread I threw at him and he pecked at it a little bit. He then flew around
a bit and I got one good picture of him. He then landed about 6 inches away
from me and I was going to try and grab him and we would put him in the hull
for the rest of the trip because I just couldn’t see how he would make
it back to safety. Unfortunately he kept flitting here there around the sheltered
cockpit and then he was off. I hope you made it my little feathered friend.
If you have internet back at your nest this is what you looked like.
Seven-Year Fishing Drought on Light Wave Ends
With all the banging of the boat on the waves Carllie woke up and came to the
cockpit. I looked behind us and I could see something waterskiing back on forth
on the fishing line. I quickly got my gloves on and started pulling it in. At
first it looked like a very small fish as there was hardly a pull on the line.
As it got closer I realized it was a pretty big salmon. I got it along side
and it seemed to be pretty played out, it perhaps had been dragging for some
time. Carllie tried to gaff it but it was too difficult so I just used two hands
on the leader and lifted him into the cockpit. It took awhile to subdue him
as he was still very alive. Wow! We just couldn’t believe it. Our first
fish on Light Wave, and it was a big salmon!
We tied him up to the bottom of the arch and started listening to the latest
forecast because we thought it might be better to go back to Eureka then to
bash ourselves up. I had forgotten that I had put the line back in the water
and within 15 minutes Carllie said, “Look! Another fish!” I quickly
pulled in fish #2. We had decided we would let this one go but as we brought
it up to the boat we saw that its neck was broken and he was already dead. This
one was a little smaller, maybe 10 pounds. We double bagged them in big green
garbage bags and put them into the fridge as it was too rough to fillet them.
[Carllie: We’re not sure what type of salmon they were, but fishermen
here say the salmon in this area are King and Chinook. The flesh is red, not
pink, and it’s delicious. If any of our fishing friends can i.d. these
salmon, please email us!]
We think a contributing factor to our fishing success was that we were only
going 3 to 4 knots instead of our usual 5 to 6.
After digesting the forecast that the south winds were supposed to stop and
the fact that we caught our first fish in 7 years we decided to keep going.
We took the sails down and were able to motor at 3 knots towards Cape Mendocino.
It was 18 miles away and it was 2 pm so we would be going around the cape at
8 pm which was sunset.
It was still a little bashy but we were at least going in the right direction.
We would only occasionally speed the engine up but then the waves would build
up again, probably because of the current, and then we would have to slow down.
The visibility was only about 2 miles in the fog and we would take turns watching,
sleeping and eating. Carllie was feeling fine with her seasickness patches on
and so our menu consisted of avocadoes, from-scratch brothy soup (water, Bragg’s
soya sauce, noodles, tomatoes, green onions, salt and Cajun spice and no oils),
fresh fruit, or ginger tea.
It was only 50 degrees F. and obviously very damp in the fog. When Carllie
would get chilled I would get her to do step-up exercises in the cockpit.
At 8 pm we rounded Cape Mendocino in the fog and the seas were a little less
choppy and so things looked hopeful, only 70 miles to go. [Carllie: Even without
reading that ominous article in the Douglasses’ book, I had heard a lot
about the treacherous seas off Cape Mendocino, and I was very uneasy sailing
in the dark in those waters. Plus my night vision isn’t very good now
and combined with the fog, I felt like we were traveling in a blanket. Glad
we won’t be repeating that experience anytime soon!]
Unfortunately now it got dark, very dark. It was foggy and there was no moon,
no stars, no horizon, no nothing. It was just black everywhere except for the
white deck. It reminded me of my flying days, flying at 10,000 feet at night.
We just droned on with our engine, the light of our GPS chart plotter, and checking
of our radar every 15 minutes to tell us where we were and where we were going.
It was a long night of 10 hours of darkness but we were both awake and so we
would take turns on watch, looking into the blackness and the radar. On the
radar I saw one tugboat with a tow go by at midnight about two miles away. It
was unnerving but fortunately there was no wind and as the night progressed
it got smoother and smoother. It would have been very unsettling if there was
any amount of wind, waves, or rain with the fog and dark night.
We each would take short half hour naps and then keep each other company to
get us through the hours…9 pm ….10 pm…..11 pm … midnight
(I know why they call it that now) ….1 am … Carllie lets me have
one and half hour nap …. 3 am …. Carllie goes has a nap ….
4 am …. 5 am. Finally at about 5:30 am I think it’s getting ever
so less dark out. Finally at 6 am it is definite morning with the sunrise at
6:30 am even though it was behind the low cloud even though the fog had lifted
a bit and we could still see only about a mile. All of sudden on the smooth
water with just a small background swell, 60 or so Pacific White Sided Dolphins
appear all around the boat. A group of about 10 of them zigzagged back and forth
off our hulls, darting under and between the bows as I watched them from 3 feet
away while hanging over the forward beam. It is just an amazing site to see
these beautiful creatures up close. After a while you could identify the individual
ones by their different coloring. One of them was very different as it was the
only one with white flippers that had a small split in them. Carllie and I watched
them for about twenty minutes before they all of a sudden disappeared.
We motored on with only 25 miles until Fort Bragg. At 11 am the same group
of dolphins were back again and stayed with us even longer now for over half
an hour. This time Carllie and I were both at the bow beam watching them and
talking to them while the autopilot steered away.
We arrived at Fort Bragg at noon after being underway for 29 hours. The actual
anchorage is up the Noyo River. After going under the 101 Highway bridge we
snaked past all these commercial fish docks and restaurants. The river is quite
narrow maybe 50 yards wide at most. After about a half a mile we arrived at
the commercial yacht basin and tied up. On shore we found that the office was
closed and we wouldn’t be able to get showers until Monday so we walked
up the road to the Dolphin Isle Marina and found that we could get a spot there.
We went back to Light Wave and moved her to Dolphin Isle. On this point the
river is more like a small creek slightly bigger than the canal behind Tween
Lakes resort between Kalamalka Lake and Woods Lake.
We cleaned up the boat and had big salmon barbeque #1.
We were both quite tired and so we laid down for a wee nap at 3 pm. Well the
nap stretched into 17 hours and we woke the next morning at 8 am but at least
we had cleared Cape Mendocino a major point on this leg of the trip.
Monday August 28, 2006
In keeping with our pattern for our trip down the coast with a couple of days
of extreme effort for each one day or overnight crossing then a day or two off,
today we rested on the Noyo River. We finally put the dinghy together and went
for a boat ride up the river. According to the marina manager, Gregg Stevens,
you can travel about 6 miles up the river depending on the tide.
We left at 2 pm just before high tide so there would be a maximum amount of
water in the river. We slowly motored in our port-a-boat up the curving river.
Big Redwood stands come down to the river and we passed large groves of a type
of tree we had never seen before – very tall with thin banana shaped leaves.
We finally were able to get close to one that had fallen into the river and
when we smelled some of the leaves we realized that they were Eucalyptus trees.
After about an hour we turned off the engine and drifted while we ate some salmon
sandwiches (all meals for the next few days with the exception of breakfast
would now include some form of salmon in our attempt to consume 15 pounds of
filleted fish). We were back at LW by 4 pm.
We took our pack sacks and walked to the Safeway on the other side of the
It was an hour walk and when we walked into the Safeway it had just been remodeled
and was almost exactly like the one at King Edward and Oak in Vancouver, same
layout, lighting and wooden flooring in the vegetable area. The sourdough bread
we bought tasted just like home. Obviously the same recipe is used cross border.
We had a long walk back to the boat with our packsacks packed with food. It
seems that I am always carrying the watermelon…[Carllie: Whine, whine!]
Besides the many RV parks the other business we see quite a bit down here is
the drive thru expresso shop.
We had delicious salmon barbeque #2 when we got back to the boat. [Carllie:
It is delicious, but it’s very rich, and I can’t consume as much
as Garett can. I find it easier to eat the next day, cold, and made a really
yummy Salmon Chowder with the bits and pieces that Garett had shaved off the
carcasses before he threw the bones back into the sea. We are still enjoying
that soup on August 31 and will have our last bowls en route to San Francisco
The marina is at the end of a dead end road and at night it was so quiet. For
the first time in weeks there was no sound of the ocean surf, wind, seagulls,
sea lions, or traffic from the 101 coastal highway. It was completely still.
Tuesday August 29 & Wednesday August 30,2006
We went for a run in the morning and loaded up the boat with full fuel. Today’s
leg was only going to be 25 miles to Cuffey Cove – just an overnight anchorage
with no town. The next stop after that is Bodega Bay is a further 60 miles down
the coast. [Carllie: I was happy with this plan as 25 miles is now nothing in
my mind; anything is better than overnight trips down a tumultuous and unfamiliar
We left at 2 pm and as we made our way down the river. We could feel the wind,
and as we went through the entrance we were into 4 to 6 foot swells and about
15 knots of wind from the north. The following picture is supposed to show the
swell towering over the stern of the boat. You have to use your imagination.
After a very bouncy exit, we quickly raised our sails and made good progress.
At 7 pm we were about half a mile off Cuffey Cove and it did not look very inviting.
The coastline here is 100 foot cliffs with offshore rocks. The entrance to the
bay had swells breaking on the rocks and presented a lee shore. Carllie said,
“How are we going to get out once we get in?” It just didn’t
look safe and it would be impossible to leave at night which is always a possibility
if the winds shifted to the south.
We had a team meeting in the cockpit and decided we would not go in. That left
us only one option and that was to continue the 60 miles to Bodega Bay and sail
through the night – not something we wanted to or had planned to do.
We left the entrance and sailed back out to 5 miles off the coast and listened
to the weather report which forecast 20 to 30 knots of winds overnight in the
area of Pt Arena (we were 10 miles north of there) to San Francisco.
I laid down for a nap and Carllie took the watch. We had all three sails up
and were sailing at 4 to 6 knots. At 9 pm she woke me up because the boat was
starting to go to 8 knots which is too fast at night. We managed to take the
take the sails down and we were now sailing at 6 knots with just the jib.
It was a clear night for a change with a half moon and lots of stars and you
could start to see in the southeast the glow of the San Francisco Bay area.
At about 11 pm we went past Pt Arena and the winds started to really blow, I
am guessing 30 knots. With just the jib up we were going 8 to 9 knots which
was again too fast. I took down the jib and this slowed the boat down to 5 to
6 knots with bare poles as we ran downwind. If we would have got back up to
8 knots we would have had to deploy our drogue which was ready at the stern
and this would have slowed us down by three knots, but fortunately it never
got any windier.
We sailed through another long night and the winds eased at about 4 am so I
put the jib back up. Carllie made me have a nap at 5 am while she took the watch
for awhile. When she woke me up at 6:30 am it was light out but very foggy.
We finally arrived at the entrance to Bodega Harbor at 9 am with a half-mile
visibility and no wind. We motored up the 2 mile channel and anchored. We napped
to 4 pm and then had salmon barbeque #3.
Here is a picture of the entrance without the fog taken the next day.
Thursday August 31, 2006
You know I actually think it is warming up. It actually got up to 65 F. this
morning. It hasn’t been that warm since Friday Harbor almost 4 weeks ago.
Water in the harbor is a balmy 62 F.
It was a beautiful morning as we puttered around the boat in our shorts. The
hills around the harbor remind us of the area around Merritt, British Columbia,
rounded dry hills with some small clumps of green trees near the town.
We had our 4 out 5 day fruit breakfast.
We went ashore and went for a long walk to the park at Bodega Head at the entrance
to the bay. As we were walking along the road to the park we saw a jogger running
towards us. As he went by we said, “You know you are only the 2nd American
jogger we have seen in four weeks!”. He replied while breathing hard,
“I am not American!” in a heavy russian accent. I guess our hunt
for jogger number 2 continues…..
Our “little” walk turned into at least an 8-mile hike / walk /
expedition (it started to remind of me last hike with Rob Flavell….) as
went around the cliffs (the trail is only 5 feet from the edge that drops 200
feet straight down) and back. The scenery was breathtaking and we took some
We took our packsack with camera but no water so we were very thirsty when
we got back to the boat.
We had some salmon chowder with sourdough bread and cold grilled salmon and
then went ashore to the north and visited the small town which we found only
had a general store, restaurant, and Laundromat.
We are now just 45 miles from San Francisco and we will wake up early tomorrow
morning. We can’t really believe we have come this far.
While having dinner (no salmon tonight!) we sang the “I left my heart
in San Francisco” and the words have new meaning to us:
I left my heart in San Francisco,
High on a hill, it calls to me.
To be where little cable cars
Climb halfway to the stars,
The morning fog may chill the air.
I don’t care.
My love waits there
In San Francisco
Above the blue and windy seas.
When I come home to you, San Francisco,
Your golden sun will shine for me.
Carllie: Yah right. That song definitely doesn’t seem quite so romantic
anymore. The “morning fog”??? How about the “constant fog”???
And the “blue and windy seas”. Ya got that right, buddy. We’ll
see about the golden sun shining…