Tuesday, September 17, 2013

#2013-77 Surfing Down to Bodega Bay

The Little River anchorage was rocky and you needed to be accustomed to sleeping in a hammock rapidly swinging from side to side.  By 2 am the marine weather forecast shows building winds to 30 knots and seas to 10 feet with small craft advisories in effect until Wednesday morning. So we found it best to get going before the build up. at 2:30 we pulled anchor in the bright moonlight and again turned southward toward Point Arena.  With the moon, the visibility was excellent and we soon were surfing along at solid 9's with some 10's, 11's and even 12 knot surges down the big Pacific swells and chop.  The moon set at 5 am and it was totally dark until 6:15 but we kept offshore away from crab trap depths. Bodega Bay ETA is 10:30 or so.

The inshore waters along our Pacific Coast route contain crab traps in depths up to about 150 feet.  So to avoid them, it's best to travel in daylight, or at night with bright forward facing lights, like typical fishing boat, and in water deeper than 150 feet.  At times traps are in deep water, not where they are supposed to be.  These traps typically have been relocated by nature (current, wind, waves) and are covered with crusty sea growth.  These are the traps we worry about when motoring in the dark.
Rooster Tail
11 am:  We surfed into Bodega Bay with a careful turn, like a sailboat racing mark rounding, to weather in the BIG swells and chop.  Once under the influence of the Bodega Bay headland, the swell and chop moderated and we enjoyed the long motor into the Spud Point Marina.

Not sure if we'll stay an extra night here as the forecast looks nasty for tomorrow, plus there is that equally nasty SF Bay ebb tide.

This weather buoy just off Bodega Head doesn't show on our updated charts.
Bodega Head approaching from the north.
Coast Guard surf boat is ready to roll!
Once into the slip, we washed the salt off the boat and napped until our chauffeur arrived. Willie and Giavoni came down for a visit and refreshments. Then it was off to Valley Ford.  Willie's brother Riley has gone out and fetched 3 giant abalone this morning and we had your typical Willie-Bird feast: salad, Louisiana prawns, sauteed abalone, and a white wine called Morro Bay. Just as dinner ended, Riley asked to crew as he wanted to pass under the Golden Gate.  So he grabbed his coat and drove us back to Spud Point Marina, settling into the forward guest cabin for the night.  Later at the 3 am wake up call, Riley suddenly remembered about a meeting he was supposed to conduct later in the day.  He quietly unloaded his gear and saw us off at the dock.

The dock at Bodega.
Riley with abalone he caught earlier.
He really wanted to pass under the GGB.
Willie and his Louisiana prawns.
Willie's log home has trophies of his many exploits.
Grizzly bear.  Willie had to wrestle this one!
Like his father, Aaron Benedetti's has a wall of honor to LARGE abalones. 

3 comments:

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  2. One of your best posts Alex. I'm enjoying the cruise from my deeply upholstered arm chair :)
    Mark

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