Sunday, April 26, 2015

EUREKA (Eureka!) to Coos Bay Oregon

After 2 weeks at Woodley Island Marina, across the estuary from the city of Eureka we are again on the move!  Weather kept up pinned in as from well north of the Columbia River south to San Francisco strong storm fronts with winds gusting to 30 kts pummeled the area.  The fishing fleets were also kept off the grounds and the harbors were full of anxious fishermen and at least a few bored if not anxious cruisers.

Entering and exiting the bars along with Pacific coast adds to the timing of each harbor transit and we waited until noon to leave Eureka.  Not ideal conditions but the bar was not restricted by the Coast Guard during the end of the ebb tide.  Settled ocean conditions and little wind were a blessing but the concerns about a "rough bar" kept me at attention until we cleared into open ocean.  Even with the favorable conditions the seas were running 6' swell with occasional larger waves at the opening.  To add a little excitement waves break on both sides near the jetties during a good day at Humbolt Bay.

We did not get any good pictures as we left since we were both busy making sure we stayed on course.

As a precaution I ran our wing engine on the way out of the the bay.  This small (40 HP) engine is designed to get us home in case the single main engine fails.  It drives a folding propeller to reduce drag when not in use.  After we left the bar, shut it down and started north as usual.  On my next engine room check saw the wing engine has some odd vibration.  Since it was shut down this was a surprise.  Found the propeller shaft was turning!  Winding (turning in the water stream)  of the non-driven prop is common in twin screw boats and the folding propeller is designed to reduce drag and prevent the prop from winding.

Potential damage to the transmission from rotating the shaft without oil pressure from the engine driven shaft turning as well as damage from the vibration were all good reasons to consider turning around.  Started the wing engine and engaged it in forward and returned to neutral, the shaft continued to turn as before.  Worknot was slowed to minimum speed but still making way.  Shifted the wing engine into reverse and heard a bit of clunk from the shaft.  Now when placed in neutral the prop folded and the shaft stopped turning.  Succes!  My guess is the wing prop had some debris, kelp or other material bound up in the folding mechanism.  After sitting at the dock for two weeks with up to 3 knots of current passing by a lot of "stuff" flotsam and jetsam makes it way under the boat.   Will watch for it to happen again but don't expect problems in the future.   

We often see whales and my pictures don't do justice to the majesty or the size of these creatures.  Late in the afternoon we saw at least half a dozen whales all around us.  At one point had to stop and wait for a pair of them to cross in front of us.  The cell phone camera just does not have the zoom capability to get good shots from a moving vessel.  Lousy shot to be sure.

The overnight run was uneventful with Mary and I trading watch as needed.  She is great at the mid-night to 4 AM watch and its my worst time.  I got about 3 solid hours of sleep while Mary was very busy dodging the fishing fleet.  That's WORKNOT in the center of the circle and we are 5-8 miles off shore.  Each ring is a mile seperation.  Every dot is fishing boat except for one, a Nordhavn 47 we are traveling north with on this leg.  John and Linda on Seabird are experienced Alaska veterans with over 30,000 miles of experience all over the world.  We all agreed however this was the most intense fishing fleet encounter for all of us.  I slept through most of the excitement.   

Fishing boat just pulled his nets as we went by outside of Bandon Oregon.    A little larger than average but typical.   

 Our sidetie at the transit dock, Coos Bay Charleston Marina complex.  Another serious fishing community welcoming to cruisers.  Fresh steamed crab, cleaned and cooked on the dock by a local vendor added a nice touch to a long day.  Seabird is behind us.

While walking the dock came across the beautiful double-ender.  She's a working fish boat ready for another 50 years of service.

The box score:  Eureka  California to Coos Bay Oregon  181 Miles, 24 Hours dock to dock, 101 gallons fuel, 1.78 miles/gal. 
While walking on Woodley Island without Keela saw this cutie chasing a ball.  From a distance looked like Keela but something was off.  This dog weighed about 12# or 3 X Keela.  Even up close an uncanny resemblance.


Tomorrow, 5 AM Newport Oregon about 10 hours away.

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