Posted by: vlbyers | September 19, 2011

Our 2nd ‘Coastal’ run

August 27, 2011
First leg of our journey down the Washington and Oregon coast on Adesso began in Edmonds. We boarded her the night before we planned to leave, stowing our luggage and getting our space organized for our offshore passage. The first leg would be to go to Port Townsend to spend the night at anchor, anchoring was something that our Skipper hadn’t had a chance to practice for several months, due to all the other preparation necessary for this trip.
Leaving the dock was a tearful time, Vicki and Lanes children, grand-children and friends were there to see them off. Times like these are certainly filled with bittersweet, the pain of leaving family for extended periods coupled with the anticipation of fulfilling a dream that has been germinating for years, sometimes decades brings plenty of emotion. Children grown now with lives of their own and parents who are still healthy leaves us with precious few years to head out to put our dream to the test.
After our night in Port Townsend we headed out to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the forecast was for light winds and waves, we got up before first light to raise anchor and be in the channel as day was breaking. Our first challenge was with an overheating engine. Lane had encountered this problem prior to the trip and had been adding water and coolant as necessary to replace what was leaking out. The problem had not been identified at this point but the engine died after we rounded the point leaving us plenty of room to sit while the guys filled with antifreeze and water once again. Our delay was short and we were on our way to Neah bay still with plenty of light to arrive prior to dark.
Unlike our last trip through the strait we were able to enjoy the sights along the way. The forecast proved correct and we motored the entire way. Neah bay was to be a stop for rest, fuel, a weather window and to investigate the problem with the engine which caused it to leak fluid. It was at this point that we would secure the dinghy to the fore deck for the passage down the coast.
Finding the cause of the leak was a good thing as the rotation of the thing-a-ma-jig in the engine had worn a hole in 2 of the hoses on the engine and my very knowledgeable and expert opinion on this matter was that this was not a good thing. Thankfully the local general store had hoses that could be used for a quick fix and also to have some for a spare. Laundry facilities, shopping and the local smoked fish monger were found. We stayed 3 days due to weather which gave us the time to stow the dinghy properly as well as other things in the cabin, properly avoiding the Friday departure, which wouldn’t really have been a Friday departure as we had really ‘officially’ started this journey on a Wednesday and we were ‘technically’ continuing on, no sense in tempting Mother Nature.
Our first day on the Pacific was calm, I remember Vicki saying many times ‘I just never imagined the ocean to be like this’. The second day, calm almost glassy which as some of us know means no absolutely NO wind. So we were motoring. The third day we began to have some wind building in the afternoon. We had decided to do the European watch, 4 hours on 4 hours off, the first 2 of those hours are standby for the primary watch who has responsibility for the wheel and the navigation. The 2nd of your 4 hour watch you are at the helm. So we overlap each other round the clock, having 4 hours off between also. My watch happened to start about noon and that was when the wind was building. The first part of my watch we saw 10-15k and by the end of my watch we had triple reefed the main and had just a small jib out because the winds were topping 30 consistently. I had the best watch of everyone (my opinion) due to these winds, the seas were building but the swell and waves were mostly behind us as was the wind, sweet, sweet, sweet!
Vicki’s watch was after mine, Larry followed Vicki and Lane after her. All through their 6 hours at the wheel the winds kept up and the seas built to 6-10 ft swell, still off our starboard quarter so quite comfortable really. There were only a few times that mother nature tried to catch us off our guard and throw us into another oncoming wave, but her crew were strong and although it was very dark we were able to anticipate just by the motion of the boat as she was picked up from behind.
This weather only lasted about 8 hours and by the time I came back on my watch at 0400 the seas had calmed considerably and the wind was down to a healthy 20k. Our first plan was to go into Crescent city for fuel and to wait for the next weather window. Unfortunately this was ‘the’ Crescent city that was wiped out by the Tsunami that hit the pacific coast this past spring, and it hasn’t been rebuilt, at all. We did venture in to the dock area early in the morning, unable to find the fuel dock even after asking 3 different people. Since it was still early and the next weather which predicted 20-30k winds was not scheduled to hit till that evening we headed to Eureka, just another 60 miles which would be easily doable before dark.
Eureka was an easy entry through the bar, the weather was calm and the crossing was only about 4-6 ft rolling swell behind us. Vicki was on watch through the bar and elected to stay at the helm for the crossing, way to go girl! Of course she did a great job getting us in and then we went to the guest dock and had a nice 3 day stay, the guest dock turned out to be within walking distance of downtown and we were able to see much of the area on foot. Vicki was even able to make a great deal on some yarn at one of the thrift stores in town as she was working on afghans for her grandchildren .
After visiting friends, resting up, showering shopping and just generally enjoying the area we were ready to move on, of course providing the weather was ready for us. There had been a few days of small craft advisories but it seemed by Saturday that there would be a good window, the seas would be settling down and there was plenty of calm weather for our 2 day passage to San Francisco. Leaving Eureka after fueling up meant that it was in the afternoon and with a buffer we would be arriving at the San Francisco area in the morning.
The trip from Eureka to San Francisco was uneventful, since we left just after the gale warnings had been dropped there was still some leftover chop and swell. The winds had died and the seas continued to calm all the way to the bay area. Since we motored down our estimated time of arrival was later than our actual arrival so for the last few hours we slowed our progress to arrive at the entrance in full light. We had been shrouded in fog since we left Eureka the entire way down the coast but the last few hours leading into the bay area the fog had lifted leaving us with low clouds which meant that we could see the beauty of the coastline very well for our approach and entry through the gate. This is a landmark destination and we celebrated the passage under the bridge with a little bubbly, a great way to start the day!
We were given a tip to stay at the Brisbane marina, it was the most economical and a great place to leave the boat. Thankfully they had room at the guest dock and we were going to be given the real reasons that this is a great marina. It is a little out-of-the-way, in fact it took us 1.5 hours past San Francisco to get to this marina but their friendliness was well worth the extra time it took to get there. Lane had some boat projects to get done, we had the normal laundry and boat cleaning, a small provisioning trip and several trips to the city for enjoyment and then we would head home to Seattle.
All in all this was a successful trip, we were happy to have made it with our friends who thanked us for sharing this first adventure with them. They will continue with their sailing adventure after returning to the Seattle area for a short visit to see family-we hope to see them again sometime in a beautiful peaceful anchorage watching the sunset over the sea.
Fair winds and following seas to you all, all the best to Vicki and Lane

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