Wednesday, September 18, 2013

#2013-78 Bodega, The Golden Gate, San Francisco Bay to Redwood City

Our abalone feast at Willie-Birds house in Valley Ford made for sweet ocean dreams.  We awoke at 3:30 for an early morning start to an entry into San Francisco to a) avoid the Americas Cup racing today on the Bay, and b) to avoid the ebb tide.  The plan is to ride the flood into and across the Bay turning towards Redwood City.  Expect to be at the Golden Gate by 10 am.

The ride from Bodega to Point Reyes this morning was bumpy.  Our course took us across the face of the big swells.  At times the swells combined forming a giant swell.  The Wild Blue would roll deeply before righting as the stabilizers were not effective in this stuff. Sounds of crashing and bouncing added to the ocean noise as items flew across the salon and pilothouse.  So far it seems that there really isn't any damaged items, but then we're afraid to open any cupboards.
Point Reyes this morning
After Point Reyes we turned eastward, pointing down the NW swells and dramatically improving the ride, and fulfilling our sweet ocean dreams.  As we approach the City the boat is showing on  More later......

Point Bonita Light
We rounded Point Bonita to see the Golden Gate. The flood current is pushing us along at +3 knots so we're doing 10's and 11's. Surprising lack of shipping at this time.
Just ready to pass.
The City
I bet they'll do no worse that 2nd place!
11 am Update:  We're turning southward again into south San Francisco Bay.  Our Redwood City slip at Westpoint Marina is ready.  We've had a fine cruise down the coast a hope to go back up this spring.  Should be more exciting times.  Thanks for following along.

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. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

#2013-76 Eureka, Around Cape Mendocino to the Little River Anchorage

At 5:30 we joined about 10 commercial trollers leaving Eureka Harbor.  It was dark but clear skies and some of the trollers illuminated their high power sodium lights to help all of us see along the 45 minute exit route. Outside the ocean was glassy with a low NW swell.

Since Newport, Oregon, the southbound boat Red Tail, a 42 foot Kady Krogan, has been shadowing us from about 8 miles behind.  We've noticed them on AIS and yesterday we met at the docks.  Trisha and Steve Vernon are out of Solvang, California and brought their boat up from Ventura for the summer. They seem like fine folks and we look forward to seeing them again on our journey south.

We had a grand dinner last evening with two Arcata locals.  Jesse Almas and his gal Aubry visited us on the boat.  Jesse is from San Luis Obispo and his folks are regular Wild Blue crew. They chauffeured us to a local favorite, formerly known as the F Street Cafe.  We sipped wine at a nearby wine bar, then carried our bottle and glasses down a few doors to the restaurant. The seafood special was skate and we supplemented with oysters, margarita and house special pizzas.  Jesse and Aubry are quite tuned into life in the area, are great conversationalists and gracious hosts..

Today we round Cape Mendocino at about 9 am.  The ocean still looks good at 7 am.

Our guiding light down Humboldt Bay this morning
8 am Update: We can clearly see the rocks preceding Cape Mendo.

False Cape Rock is about 4 miles before the real Cape Mendocino
4 pm Update:  We did make it around the Cape and then lost cell signal, hence the late update.  Apparently no receivers for AIS here and we probably haven't been showing on  Seas have built to about 3 - 5 feet with some wind chop all from the NW.  Wind has been as high as 18 knots now down to 8 - 10.  Should be into Little River at about 6 pm.

Ocean swell mixed with some wind.
Cruising downwind off Cape Mendocino.

Gray, fin or humpback? That is the question.
About six large whales (a pod?) came quite close to the hull.We scrambled
to get photos. The were LARGE!
Willie is planning a dinner for us in Bodega.  Wonder what it could be?
6 pm:  We made into Little River anchorage. It's a little bouncy and we could use flopper-stoppers as the swell is not completely eliminated by the contour.  This cove has a beach, a hotel and several homes rimming the surrounding cliffs.  Tomorrow we head for Bodega Bay.  Weather forecast is not the best with 15 - 25 knots below Point Arena.  We will go at first light.

Seems we have friends in every port.  Chatted on the phone and waved to Mike Rogers and Kath Donovan while they stood on the bluff of their town of Mendocino.  These two are old friends from Alex's first computer job in Southern California. They are having dinner tonight in one of the homes overlooking this cove.

Cheers....... see you tomorrow.

Point Francisco Light House
Mendocino from the ocean.
Little River Beach
The Little River Inn has speedy free wi-fi that covers the anchorage.
Sunset over Little River anchorage.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

#2013-75 Crescent City to Eureka

We're off today in the daylight at 7 am for Eureka.  The ocean is being our friend with low swell and no wind chop.  ETA at Eureka is 3 pm.

10 am update:  A cushy ride so far much like an Inside Passage run.

Reading Rock Light 5 miles off Gold Bluffs, California
12 pm update:  The sun is shining and the wind is now about 5 knots from the S. Seas still quite comfortable.  Looking forward the the America's Cup broadcast today.
Trinidad Head which marks a pretty goof west coast anchorage.
The Bell M. Shamada, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) research vesse, was designed to have
a low acoustic signature and is equipped with a sonar system
and equipment for deploying buoys and sensor-packed
underwater vehicles. The ship is used to study fish, marine
mammals, and marine bird populations.
3 pm:  Arrived in Humboldt Bay and Eureka.  The sun came out for the last few hours reminding us that we'ree really back in Kalifornia.  The Wild Blue is moored just behind Excalibur, another NOAA research vessel which may be showing on AIS.  The Wild Blue AIS signal, a Class B transponder, is not showing on at this location.

The Coast Guard Commanders office in Humboldt Bay.
Tomorrow is our last long motor day.  Just 12 hours around famous Cape Mendocino to the Little River anchorage. Cape Mendo, as the locals call it, is considered by some mariners to be the Cape Horn of the Pacific Coast.  We hope it's just another boring Cape for us, and if the weather holds for just a few mores days, we'll make San Francisco by Wednesday.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

#2013-74 Coos Bay to Crescent City

Our 5:30 am exit from Coos was fine.  Visibility in fog was 1/4 mile.  The ocean is 2-3 feet well=spaced swells from the West and at 7:30 we have 8 knots from the North.  Ran into about 10 fishing boats off Bandon and the visibility improved to .4  miles.
Troller off Bandon in .4 mile visibility
12 pm Update:  We have a very accommodating ocean today. Slight swell and slight wind waves from the SW.  An easy ride and the fog has lifted for now. Looking to be in Crescent City tonight around 7 pm.

Oregon's Cape Sebastian and Crook Point from our
position off the Rogue River delta.
3 pm Update:  We now have some 10 knots of wind here near the California - Oregon coast border, but nothing like the 23 knots that cancelled the 2nd race of the Americas Cup in San Francisco today. Of course we watched it on TV. Good to see the Oracle Team got a win.  The sea ride is still pretty good and we are still on schedule for a 7 pm arrival in port.

Mack Arch rock located about 12 miles north of the California border.
7 pm: Yes we arrived at Crescent City harbor but not before the wind peaked at 17 knots from the south! This was totally not foretasted and generated 2 - 3 foot chop on top of the small westerly swell.  It made for a wet boat but not much more.

The Harbor is a construction zone as new fortified breakwater and new docks are under construction -- as we speak! The constructions continues around the clock here tonight and it's a good thing Dick and Alex had a full bottle of Pinot Noir to insure we sleep in the midst of the roar of construction.  Good night.

A 15-knot southerly invalidated the 5-10 knot westerlies forecast
by NOAA causing spray aboard.
Battery Point Light was one of the first lighthouses on the California coast.  In 1855, Congress appropriated $15,000 for the construction of a lighthouse on the tiny islet, which is connected to Battery Point by an isthmus which is visible, and can be traversed on foot, at low tide.  The fourth-order Fresnel lens was lit in 1856. The lighthouse was automated in 1953, and a modern 14.8-inch (375 mm) lens replaced the fourth-order Fresnel lens.The 1964 Alaska earthquake, the strongest earthquake ever recorded in the northern hemisphere, caused a tsunami. The lighthouse survived. In the following year, the modern beacon that replaced the Fresnel lens in the tower was switched off.
Work continues 24 - 7 to improve the Crescent City Harbor.

Rebuilding Crescent City Marina

Wild Blue moored at brand new docks.

Friday, September 13, 2013

#2013-73 Newport to Coos Bay

We exited Newport at 6 am.  The bar was docile and the seas are glassy with a 2 foot NW swell.  Hazy morning skies with fog patches expected.  Have re-provisioned with Weisers whiskey, 1792 bourbon and Hendricks gin with cucumber for tonight's Coos Bay guests.  Should make the Bay by 4 pm.

The trawler named Daybreak was moored in Newport.  It's a new Nordhavn 60 we've seen before while cruising in Northern BC and a nice looking Nordy.

This morning's view from the pilothouse.
11 am update:  Comfortable glassy seas continue on our way to Coos Bay.  Meeting a couple Cal Yacht Club boating friends this afternoon once we're moored: Commodore Tom O'Conor and Marylyn Honeymeyer.  I see we're showing up on today at times.

1 pm update:  Same nice conditions.  Lots of commercial and sportfishing trollers off the Umpqua River.

Dunes just south of the Umpqua River

One of 26 salmon trollers off Umpqua.
4 pm:  No entrance "bar" to speak of here in Coos Bay, but we're having an open bar on the Wild Blue after a 9-hour run in calm seas.  We're tied up at the transient dock.  Charleston Marina is a busy place for commercial fisherman as it's the closest moorage to Coos Bay entrance.  We'll be up early tomorrow for a 13-hour run down to Crescent City, California.

Charleston Marina moorage.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

#2013-72 Tillamook Bay to Newport

We crossed the bar with dozens of small craft filled with fisherman at 6:45 am.  Each commercial boat was required to check in with Coast Guard Tillamook.  The CG has a tower constructed on the breakwater near the bar to call those that don't report.  They also launched a CG surf boat to check out and report the bar conditions.  These are repeatedly broadcast on VHF 22A.

Traffic ready to cross the bar at slack.
Tillamook Bay Coast Guard tower.
We avoided this portion of the bar.
Coast Guard surf boat.

This mornings bar crossing.

Ocean is 5 foot swells at large intervals.  Less than 5 knots of SE wind so no sign of chop yet.  ETA at Newport about 2 pm.  Later.

9 am update:  The ocean has become much happier today. We now have a 3-foot rolling swell with less than 3 knots for wind.  A bit bouncy but MUCH better than yesterdays pounding.

Three arch rock.
Cape Lookout.  The anchorage on the south side near shore looked
pretty good:  flat seas with just a hint of swell and no wind.  Still
probably best in northwest seas and winds.
1:30 pm update:  The ocean has glassed off.  Just a small swell now.  Expect to enter Yaquina Bay and Newport at 2:20.

Yaquina Head light.
Prettier up close.
2:30 pm: We crossed the Yaquina Bay bar without issue.  Moored at South Beach Marina  for the night.  Heading out at 6am for Coos Bay.

Newport Harbor in Yaquina Bay
The bridge to somewhere.