Monday, December 28, 2015

9/19/15 Single handling Dana Point to SD

For the first time since we have owned the current WORKNOT find myself single-handling the boat. Mary left for Las Vegas to retrieve a car for our trip to Mexico.  It was an odd feeling as I headed to the fuel dock, alone with just Keela for a deckhand.  

The fuel dock opened at 6 AM and it was a zoo!  The Catalina ferry was tied to the dock taking on fuel and over a dozen fishing boats were trying to get bait at the floating bait well next to the fuel dock.   It was hard to tell which line was for fuel and which was for bait.  Drifting in a crowded harbor, single-handed was not the best way to start the morning.  Just as I was making my way to the fuel dock a center console cut in front of me.  The guy would not even make eye contact as he passed between me and the dock with less than a boat length to spare.  Out of character for most of the boating community.

Finally made my way to the fuel dock, took on 581 gallons @ $2.85/gal.    Last fuel stop was Gray's Harbor just south of Strait of Juan de Fuca Washington.  Chart indicates just over 1,000 miles.  Very pleased with the fuel consumption as we averaged better than 1.7 miles/gallon.

The trip to San Diego was uneventful in calm water but being alone on the boat made me very cautious about going outside underway.  Next to impossible to "fall" over the high side rails on WORKNOT the thought of watching her go away from the water was intimidating.   My hat is off to those who single hand sailboats around the globe.  Its a combination of bravery and fool-heartedness not for me.  Will be happy to have Mary back on board when we get to Ensenada.....  

9/15/15 Ventura CA to Dana Point

The water and the weather are warmer as we continue towards Mexico and the 2015 CUBAR rally.
We stayed another night at the Ventura Yacht Club courtesy dock.  Its a tight fit for our boat and would be nearly impossible in a Nordhavn 55 or 57.  Without a stern thruster its about all the challenge I need to get in and out without meeting someone new after we scratch their boat.

The club was closed during our visit but found someone to let us off the dock and loan us their key. Boaters take care of each other and this was another example of why we enjoy meeting fellow boaters.

Along with walkway in Ventura we found this sidewalk chalk art.  Just amazing talent from local artist.  All of this will be washed away in the next rain.  

We traveled from Ventura to Dana Point without incident.  About 14 hours in calm waters arriving at Dana Point well after dark.  Since we have been in this harbor numerous times entering in calm weather we quickly found a spot in the north anchorage.  Next morning we moved to Nordhavn's guest dock for the next day.  The dock was under repair and soon a jackhammer was hard at work tearing up the concrete docks.  So here we sit, in a courtesy dock with Nordhavn doing us a favor and worrying that the chips from the jack hammer will scratch our paint job.   After about 3 hours of jack-hammering managed to get a slip at the Dana Point West Yacht club.   Oh, the challenges of cruising.....

We stopped in Dana Point for repairs/replacement of the carper in our salon and pilot house.  It was all replaced as we headed north to Alaska but the fit was poor.  Since we were in a bit of a hurry to meet a weather window and could not get a guest dock in Dana Point we moved on.   Now, we are hanging around Dana Point while the new carpet is fitted.  Lots of time is used up chasing parts, waiting on others to make repairs or just trying to line up the ongoing maintenance and upkeep.   Really its part of the "fun" and fits the definition of cruising-"fixing you boat in exotic places".  No complaints however, much more fun than working on a house in one location.

Keela is not happy to have her carpet removed.  The floors are too slick for her even in the harbor......

Sunday, December 6, 2015

San Francisco to Coho 9-12-15 (Happy Birthday Captain)

Great way to start a birthday!  Clipper Cove just inside San Francisco Bay.  This was a favorite anchorage of ours when we lived in Alameda.  Dozens of nights spent here on weekends and holidays starting with our GB 42, then our GB 46 and the current WORKNOT.   We got to watch a couple of years of the building of the new eastern span of the Oakland Bay Bridge and strolled around the construction site while hiking Yerba Buena Island.

Single Support Tower under construction January 2012

Main Tower Rising 

The west end of the support cable

More about this amazing construction project at: The New Bay Bridge

We scooted out of Clipper Cove at 7:30 AM after waiting for the tide to rise and allow us to escape.  Ever since the construction of the new bridge started the entrance to Clipper Cove has been silting in and closing off the entrance.  The depth sounder read "0" but we did not touch bottom or at least it was so soft we did not notice.  Weather was supposed to be clear but we had plenty of fog.  

Our morning departure put us at the Golden Gate during a flood tide.  Not ideal but we manged to make about 6 kts in calm, foggy seas and finally turned south at the SF entrance buoy.  By 3 PM fog cleared and seas were about 4' and nicely spaced.  Occasionally larger swells would remind us we were still on the Pacific west coast north of Pt. Conception........

The next morning around 10:30 AM we were south of Morro Bay and the weather suddenly turned warm, dry and the sea smelled like Mexico off shore.  As we approached Pt. Conception we heard a MAYDAY call at 1 PM.  The 40' Caetus was taking on water.  He was south of us about 12 miles and near shore.  Underway but unable to keep up with the incoming water from a fractured sea cock.  The Coast Guard was having some difficulty hearing Caetus so we relayed his position and status.  USCG assets were over an hour away or more.  WORKNOT diverted to intercept the north bound Caetus at our best speed of 9.5 kts.   Doubling our fuel consumption we got close enough to see the sloop on radar only to see another vessel trailing along about 1 mile behind.   After some urging the fishing boat answered the radio calls.  It  was a charter fishing boat who was staying close by but did not want to get involved unless he had too.  Claimed his onboard clients were in a hurry.   Caetus had stopped and made a repair on the leak (he was single handling).  Now able to keep up with the in-flow  the danger of sinking was past.  Soon a USCG helicopter made a low pass and hailed us on the radio.  We explained we were just the relay boat and pointed them in the direction of Caetus.   WORKNOT settled to its normal 8 kt cruise and continued south.  Never a dull moment.  

Anchoring at COHO around 6 PM we had a very restful night before heading to Ventura Yacht Club the next morning.

Pt. Conception Missile Test Facility
 Pt. Conception light house just north of Coho cove

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Southbound from Neah Bay 8-30-15 to San Francisco 9-12-15

After our very windy day at Neah Bay we left at daybreak intending to run to Newport Oregon.  Cape Flattery was rough but passable.  Wind was 20 kts and 6' swells along with 3' wind waves made for a long morning.   We ducked into Gray's Harbor in Westport Washington.

It was a long 16 hours with a late arrival at Gray's Harbor.  The bar at Gray's Harbor requires a long run and a very sharp turn before you are safely behind the breakwater.  Waves were breaking on both sides of us and the swell moved to the beam as we turned into the safe water.

Arriving late and after dark we tied to the fuel dock in this busy fishing harbor and went to sleep.  About 6 AM the harbor came to life as the fishing fleet started getting underway.  A very grumpy fuel dock manager woke us up to bet WORKNOT "off his xxxxing dock" and make room for boats buying fuel.  I asked how much fuel was and his first remark was $10/gal for yachts.....After some further discussion we agreed to buy 500 gallons for an amazing $1.81/gal.  Lowest price paid for diesel fuel ever by WORKNOT.   His attitude changed quickly when he realized we would spend some money.

Weather was not improving so we moved to slip for 3 days at the opposite end of the harbor.  Lots of seals and a long walk to the coffee shop.

Check out this counter-top in the coffee shop-

Original lighthouse is now a museum
  We took a bus into Aberdeen  and found a very humble town which may have seen better days years ago.  Plenty of closed up shops and empty buildings.  Picked up a few groceries and headed back to the boat.

Weather improved enough to leave on September 2 and our trip out of Gray's Harbor was similar to the trip in.  8-10' swells, breaking on both sides,even at slack water.  Swells continued to be large but well spaced and the timing got better as we got further offshore.  By noon the next day we decided to head for Coo's Bay.  Timing worked well for the bar and we cleared into Coo's bay a slack water around 3 PM.  32 hours run time.

After another 2 days of weather watching in Coo's Bay we left on September 6 at 4 PM planning on going to Crescent City CA.

Stained glass window in a Coo's Bay church near the marina.  New meaning to a steady hand on the tiller.....

Crescent City was hit by a major tsunami in 1964.  The town was heavily damaged and the fishing fleet and harbor destroyed.  The recent 2011 tsunami did little damage to the battle hardened marina.
The pilings at Crescent City are the largest we saw in any small boat marina.

 Further protecting the shoreline and harbor are 3520 Tetrapods weighing 25 tons each.

 They are massive and interlock to form a formidable barrier to crashing waves.
The tsunami museum is a few blocks from the harbor and worth the visit.

2 days of watching the weather and we left for San Francisco.  41 hour run to the Golden Gate in seas that improved from 8-9 ' swells at 10 seconds to 4' @ 12 seconds.   Easy cruising with some fog and confused seas at the points.  The further south the better the sea conditions.  

The Golden Gate is always an impressive sight.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Delayed reporting or hey WE have been busy........

August 28-31 2015

Since out last blog update in August WORKNOT has traveled over 2,000 miles!  From Bellingham Washington, south to Ensenada Mexico, back North to San Diego and then joined the CUBAR 2015 for a trip to La Paz Mexico.  Today  11/20/15 finds us sitting in Los Cabos Mexico with 30+ other power boats enjoying a breezy but warm evening.   The next few blogs will attempt to capture the highlights of the past weeks.

How we got here is not much different than how we got to Glacier Bay Alaska but in reverse.   Average speed of 7.5 kts. with a fuel burn of 4.5 gal/hr overall.  Weather continues to dictate the movements of WORKNOT and its crew.   Most of the weather decisions we made were good, perhaps lucky is the more likely cause.  A few have been less than perfect.  

After leaving Bellingham we headed for Neah Bay, just inside Strait of Juan De Fuca before you exit west to the Pacific Ocean.  This track took us across Canadian waters south of Victoria Canada for about 10 miles.  It was windy, some fog and cold but visibility was better than half mile and overcast.  On radar saw a vessel approaching at a fast (18-20kt) speed and headed directly to our course.  Soon the vessel below appeared from the fog complete with blue lights.  We came about, stopped and waited.  Note this is USCG vessel in Canadian waters.  The officer on deck was Canadian Coast Guard Officer.  He asked if I knew I was in Canadian waters and after acknowledging wanted to ask him if he knew he was on a USCG vessel in Canadian waters.   Soon it was explained they were operating a joint task force and would be boarding us.   Sea conditions were choppy and they were not going to allow me to go to a harbor.   The vessel pilot was USCG female officer and she did a masterful job of getting her crew (4 armed men) onboard without a single mark on WORKNOT.

After going thru our paperwork, cruise log and a few questions they inspected our safety equipment and judged us seaworthy with no corrective action needed.  One of the officers unpacked our flare container and was determined to repack it as he found it.  We finally convinced him it was OK to leave it as it was and they returned to their vessel without incident.    It's a comfort to know we passed the inspection but it would be a lot less stressful if we could do it at the dock.  

Neah Bay 
Our preference is to be on anchor rather than a marina especially if we are only going to be there a day or so.  Neah Bay is primarily a commercial fishing harbor and the anchorage is very large and accessible.  Last time here we snagged an old crabpot on the anchor but choose to try it again.  The town was having a homecoming festival (Neah Bay Days) so we took the dinghy in to sample the local event.

Lots of arts and craft folks and some amazingly large servings of food.
 This was a single serving of curly fries.  Its a dinner sized container and I asked him to stop filling it up.  The seller estimates there are 3 potatoes in each serving but willing to add some if you are "extra hungry".  

This wild ride was a major hit for the kids and few old folks as well.  It turned in every direction and is sure to cause motion sickness to even the most hearty sailor.....

They had a very nice fireworks show but the real fireworks came the next morning.
 Sustained winds in the 40kt range with gusts over 50 knots for most of the daylight hours.
 Wind was coming from the shore and the "fetch" for us to the shore was about 1/4 mile.  Still, white capping waves up to 4 feet pounded us.  The noise from this wind is incredible.  Different parts of the boat come alive as the wind builds from 30 kts and up.. Around 40 kts the support poles for my mast start to vibrate and hum.  Life lines and rails all have their own unique frequency of resonance and the whole boat seems alive.  Sleep is not an option.
After several months in calm waters and gently breezes we were quickly reminded we were about to go back to open ocean and head over 1,000 miles of rocky unforgiving shore line with limited bailout harbors for the first 400 miles.

The wind storm settled later that day and we prepared to head out the next morning for our southbound trip.  Another confirmation the boat is much more durable than the crew.......

Keela and Mary found a new friend

Monday, August 31, 2015

Heading South for Mexico (Baranof Warm Springs to Bellingham) August 2015

Our travels with Antipodes have come to an end as we parted ways at Baranof Warm Springs. WORKNOT is hiding ahead of Antipodes behind another Nordhavn who was visiting the hot springs as well.   Traveling with Randy, Nancy and Adam added a lot to our northern experience and we will miss the daily interaction and fishing tips.   For more on Randy's "fish whisperer" reputation see his Facebook page-Randy Sysol.

 Magical little spot with natural hot springs and a few community tubs overlooking the waterfall.   Relaxing is an understatement.

   The community as a couple of hot tubs located near the falls. The picture above was taken from the hot tub.  There is a continuous flow of hot water into the tub and it overflows to the water below.  Simple but soothing.

We made our way back the way we came, Petersberg, Wrangell, Meyers Chuck (another load of cinnamon buns), Ketchikan, Foggy Bay, Prince Rupert (re-entering BC).  The trip back to British Columbia, was just as much fun as the trip north but since we had been to most places much less stressful.  This bodes well for returning next year.  

Weather was very good, light winds, sunny and favorable currents for the most part.  Caught a few more salmon and lost a few more as we still struggle getting them onto the deck.

Anchored at Sea Otter anchorage just outside of Queen Charlotte Sound.  Shared the anchorage with a GB 42 and had a peaceful evening. 

 We needed it as we moved to the sound it was mid afternoon and winds were picking up.  

This barge was headed upwind (North) and having a rough go in Queen Charlotte Strait.

The tug and its tow..

There are other ways to get back south, these fishing boats were riding high on a southbound barge-

This was the first time we had been in rough water for weeks and a reminder that all boats are small.  5'-8' steep wind waves on the beam put WORKNOT to work.  Wind picked up to 25 kt gusts and a Gale warning for tomorrows destination in Johnstone Strait.  (This is the passage we waited a week to make going north).   

Blunden Harbor was a welcome relief and once again the crabbing paid off.  With an overnight soak we had 8 crabs to choose from for lunch and dinner.  

Johnstone Strait was forecast to have Gale warnings for the next 3 days while we were sitting just 16 miles north in calm conditions.  We picked the best window to time our entrance to Johnstone Strait with a favorable current running with the wind.  Our reward was a fast but breezy trip to Turn Island.  We made it behind the island just as the current tuned into the wind and found a good anchorage just about an hour north of Seymour Narrows.   This was our fist passage thru the famous narrows where currents can reach 10 kts or better (that exceeds our top speed).  Timing worked well and we enjoyed about a 2 kt push toward Comox.  

We skipped Comox going north so we wanted to visit.  Worthwhile stop with very friendly harbor and nice downtown area within an easy walk from the transient dock.  This upscale town is a favorite of folks from Vancouver and a retirement community served by ferry.  Weather was warm and sunny but the snow plow markers on the fire hydrants are a reminder that its not always that way.    We will keep moving south and follow the sun.

Out trip took us to Nanaimo where we berthed with the big boys at the main harbor.  Celebrated Mary's birthday with dinner on the docks and enjoyed our last days in BC.  From the "its a small world" bucket, one of the larger boats (100'+ Benetti) was towing a 36' Intrepid as a fish boat.  We saw the Intrepid being painted at Baja Naval while WORKNOT was being painted this spring.

Clearing Customs at Roche Harbor on a Sunday was interesting, the customs dock is at least 200' long and staffed to make entry easy.  We arrived just as another Nordhavn, Mary Pearl N43 was checking in.  Got to meet Dave the owner in person after sharing information on the Nordhavn Owners website.  The Customs agent had worked in San Diego and has family in Las Vegas.  Glad I could answer her questions on both cities as we cleared into the US in record time.  

Made our way to Bellingham to visit our friends Julie and Dennis (Seafox N55) from the last FUBAR trip to Mexico.  Great hospitality with them and scored a slip at the Bellingham Yacht Club.  It was tight but workable.   Glad we were able to enter and exit with no wind.  Yes, the boats in front and astern were there when we arrived.  

Our trip to the PNW is about to end as we wait for a weather window to head back to Mexico in time for the CUBAR 2015 Rally to La Paz.   Mary and I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity to explore, discover and take in all the water has to offer.  Knowing we are just getting started makes everyday a new adventure.   We met so many friendly, happy and knowledgeable people along the way.  Planning is never wise when cruising but we do PLAN to return next year to see a little more of what we missed.   

Have not added up all the miles and fuel used.  Its nearly a thousand miles of waterway to get from Sitka to Bellingham.  We burned about 550 gallons of fuel running with the current and slowly. (1400 rpm/7.5 kts most of the way)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Glacier Bay and Sitka Alaska 8/3/15

Glacier Bay has been the highlight of an incredible trip.  Tom caught a video as we were trying to transfer Adam from Antipodes (discussed in previous blog).   It sets the mood as we watched Mother Nature perform with sunshine, icebergs, calving glaciers and stunning colors.  Working on getting it so I can post on my next blog.

On our way out of the park the currents were against us and the trip took longer than expected.  WORKNOT got slowed to 1.4 kts and Antipodes got stalled out.  They are almost as fast as WORKNOT, have the same engine but were about half an hour behind us, meaning they got more exposure to peak flood current.  Randy gave up and returned to Bergie Bay to wait out slack water. 

  We continued to the Glacier Bay Park Lodge for lunch with the Kramer family.  Our server was from West Virginia, a student working for the summer for the Park Service.  She was right at home in the Alaskan rain forest.  Much better job than my summer work as a wrench while in college.

This is “Snow” a whale sadly struck by a cruise ship and killed in Glacier Bay.  The size of the skeleton is just awe inspiring.  These magnificent creatures move so gracefully it hard to believe.


We enjoyed a peaceful anchorage at Inian and Kimshaw coves.  Rain and then showers.  Getting to understand the difference.   The channels were narrow and plenty of rocks but worth the effort.   Fresh salmon and halibut for dinner and plenty of new scenery.    It just keeps impressing the whole crew.

Sitka was our next stop.  Berthed at the municipal marina there was a mixture of fishing boats, charter boats and few yachts.  This beauty will be joining us on CUBAR trip to Mexico in November.  Tango is Nordhavn 76 that has been on both US coasts and South America.  Maybe I quit work too soon???

Sitka has a very small town feel to it, even with a cruise ship or two in port it was different than the other towns they dominate.  Highlights include the Raptor Sanctuary, the culture center and marine touch pool.   

A few of the birds being saved/rehabilitated by the center.   

Tom, Fiona and the boys boarded a ferry for the trip home to Vancouver leaving WORKNOT quiet and a bit lonely after a great week of travel.  We retraced our route back north to the Lisianski canal and then headed east.  The weather was warm and sunny so fishing became the plan for the day. 
Salmon were jumping everywhere but we had a hard time getting them to the boat.  After a few adjustments we started catching smaller fish and Mary caught two fish on a single bait.  The “mooch” rig has two hooks and she had a fish on each at the same time.   

Next up the whale show and it was another great performance.  We were watching them bubble feed
 from a safe distance when then dove and surfaced close by.  They all started toward us at the same time.   They moved so quickly there was no time to escape.   We sat motionless as they dove under us and moved on paying little to no attention to WORKNOT

Six whales in total got very close to us without a care in the world (for them)

Randy got this shot from Antipodes....

Our last few days have been a variety of fishing, whale watching and enjoying the sunshine of Alaska.  Quiet anchorages along with the hospitality of Sitka have made this a special week to share with friends.

Our journey back to Mexico begins here as we will soon part company with Antipodes and move along quickly to reach the Washington coast by the end of the month.

Keela wondering what is so special about a whale??????