Saturday, November 1, 2014

Where does one re-start a blog? 14 months ago our cruising plans were postponed.


Here is a quick chronology since the cruising re-commenced:

The Circumnavigation of Vancouver Island

Dolphins playing
22-June-14 we left Vancouver headed north on the inside passage. We wanted to get to the Broughton’s quickly, so by day 3 we were in Seymour Narrows, sight of the infamous Ripple Rock that claimed so many hulls until it was blasted in the early 1950’s. Our haste was rewarded with all our anchorages to ourselves.  The weather warm and sunny but winds were light so sailing was infrequent. The need to make schedule tide and current changes made for a lot of motoring. We were regularly visited by large pods/schools of Pacific Whiteside Dolfins, saw some bears, a few whales and enjoyed the tranquility of the Broughton’s. An incredible visit to Alert Bay and time spent with David’s family deserve an entry of its own that I must do.

Tuesday, 8-July-14, we left Port Hardy for the Nawitti Bar and around to Cape Scott. The tides were perfect, the seas calm and the sun was bright and warm. No fog at all on the top of Vancouver Island so we were able to see the Scott Island group right out to Triangle Island in the distance. We continued down to the entrance to Quatsino Sound and into Winter Harbour. The warm sunny weather continued down the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Again, these beautiful remote anchorages demand a future blog. Friday, 25-July-14 we were moored at Bob and Francine Charlton’s dock on Cheeha Island just off the Alberni Canal, where we had a great feast and visit at their beautiful home.

We rounded Cape Beale on the morning of Sunday 27-July, fog in the distance moving towards us but never catching us and had another bright, sunny day, this time up the Juan De Fuca to Victoria where we caught up with Lynn and Dean on Solastre to share our collective experiences and memories of the 2 boats journeys.

31-July-14 we sailed under the Lion’s Gate Bridge to our Berth at Coal Harbour, Vancouver to begin three and one half weeks of boat work and preparation for our sail to San Francisco.

The Big Left Turn

26 Aug -14, we again sailed under the Lion’s Gate Bridge, but this time we really had no idea when we might return. A night at Sidney Spit, a night in Port Angeles after clearing customs and receiving our cruising permit and a night at Neah Bay, and we were ready to make the big left turn south. We departed Neah Bay, Friday, 29 Aug, in thick fog but fortunately it burned off before we rounded Cape Flattery. 2-Aug, after several days of very light winds, often on our nose from the SW, which sent us out to 80 miles from the coast, and a few brief squalls blowing up to 25-30 knots, but never lasting, we decided to sail for Coos Bay, Oregon. The charging system seemed to be shutting down when we ran the engine and I wasn’t certain we would always be able to charge from the solar if clouds and fog rolled in. As we approached the coast and were again able to received Coast Guard weather we heard Cape Blanco, just south of Coos Bay, was expecting gale force winds and several of the bars for the port entries were being closed down. Fortunately, Coos Bay was only closed to craft under 26 feet so we entered and spent 2 nights while the winds howled outside. While there, we met Bill on s/v Greybeard who was single-handing from Friday Harbor and we had the best clam chowder ever at Miller’s Landing Pub and Restaurant. The charging issue was easily solved, after discussions with Bill, if the engine is on turn off the solar controller, otherwise they seem to compete and create issues. Not certain of the logic of this but it appears to work.

Friday, 5-Sept, with Greybeard a few hours ahead of us we left Coos Bay. We had good winds but again it was from the SW with enough changes we were tacking regularly to maintain some southerly gain. Finally it died….. again. Where were the NW’erlies the forecast promised? On the evening of 8-Sep after 3 days and nights of overcast skies and very little wind we turned on the motor and arrived in Drake’s Bay the following morning. After an incredibly relaxing day and night on the hook we rode the tide under the Golden Gate Bridge and up to Spoonmaker Point Marina in Sausalito, 13 days after we left Vancouver.

We spent 11 days in Sausalito, 4 at Spoonmaker Point Marina and 7 at the Sausalito Cruising Club (the SCC will be a blog in itself). Then it was up the lazy river to Sacramento. Although we were limited with a 6 foot keel, we had no problems with the Sacramento River by thinking like a Mississippi River Boat Captain and divining the deeper channels. Coming from British Columbia with our incredibly deep fiords it is quite unnerving having less than 2 feet under the keel for hours on end.

We first stopped in Benicia where two friends from Kiewit, Melanie Morris and Kelly Burnett met us at the Marina and Kelly took us for a great dinner. It was great catching up with them and Benicia is a beautiful small town. Then on up the river to Walnut Grove/Locke to see a place that has been locked in a time warp. The building look like it is a movie set. They date back to the early days of life in the delta, especially Locke with its Chinese heritage and Al the Wops Tavern. Then up to Sacramento where another great friend, Dale Davis, took us on a tour of Sacramento complete with Sutter’s Fort and the Native Indian Museum. We had an incredible time. What a way to drop in for a visit, up the river. Our trip down include some traversing the delta sloughs from the Sacramento River to the San Joaquin River.

Back in Sausalito, San Francisco Bay,  

Mags and I returned from Sacramento and the Delta and were at anchor in Sausalito for 3 nights. We made the trip with no groundings but often not a lot of water under the keel. Having 6 bridges opened for you is very cool, especially Tower bridge in Old Sacramento with the state capital building up the street about 4 blocks, middle of rush hour and you bring the city to a halt..... The bridge keepers are the friendliest people, all 12 times we requested an opening they were great. One was even dancing in her control booth when she knew the Canadians were coming back down river!

We moved to Clipper Marina to fuel up and then tied up in front of Dean and Lynn on Solastra. We were there for 3 nights as the Marina is fully booked for Fleet Week from Thursday on. Gary and Corina on Sea Rover II arrived and anchored in Sausalito. When the 3 boats got together for dinner it was the biggest BCA gathering for us since the rendezvous in Bedwell Harbour in May!  

We have met or at least seen Ted and Sue 0n Odessa 3 times now, first at the fuel dock 2 weeks ago, then we saw Adesso up at Horseshoe Bend Slough a few weeks ago and had a good visit with Ted when we were at anchor in Sausalito. Ted has been a great help/encouragement re: the Pactor modem stuff.

For those of you still north of San Francisco, two pieces of advise Ken Richardson, the BCA Bosun, gave us from his recent delivery to Sausalito that proved excellent - 1. stop at Drakes Bay for a good sleep on a calm anchor before entering San Francisco and 2. if possible get permission to moor at the Sausalito Cruising Club (this is not the Yacht Club, very laid back group just south of Spoonmaker Point Marina. They can squeeze 3 boats at the barge/clubhouse but entry can only be done at high tide. Anchor out and dinghy in to see John the Harbour/Dock master. We stayed 7 nights before heading up river, it was great. Some members are at the dock now so we just visited for the Monday night buffet and open Mic/ jam session last night. Good times.

Welcome to the Hotel California!

Sausalito Cruising Club will be a post of its own. The people were so good to us and the place is an absolute one off. More to come on that.

The Second Big Left Turn…

After more than a month in the Bay Area we finally slipped away to a beautiful anchorage at Half Moon Bay, then on down to Santa Cruz for three days and Monterey for another three days. Great places for sightseeing and the folding bikes were magic. From there we did an overnight down to Morro Bay and stayed for 3 days. We were on a buoy in front of the MBYC and were surprised to see Scott and Tanya on Kialoa from the Victoria BCA chapter. We last saw them In Bedwell harbour in May. We also met Syd and Birget on Sarafina out of Seattle. With a weather system pending we made another overnight trip passing Santa Barbara in the night and arrived in Channel Islands Marina in Oxnard. Syd and Birget preceded us by a few hours and we had several great visits over the week until they left for San Diego. This has been a great surprise with shopping from the dinghy in the canals, and lots of travelling on the bikes and a Halloween party at the Channel Islands Yacht Club.

So now we are caught up I will have pictures in future posts. Life is very good!

1 comment:

  1. So glad to hear and read your blog. Knowing you are happy and enjoying your adventure is so cool. Miss you!