Friday, November 21, 2014

Finding a liveaboard slip for LightSpeed

November 21, 2014
Ballena Isle Marina Alameda, California

With housing prices in the San Francisco Bay area pushing toward the stratosphere, live-aboard moorage has become a scarce commodity as well.  Multi-year wait lists are common and combined with a multi-hull boat nearly impossible.  We were resolved to a long search and lots of bouncing around... a permanent slip was but a distant dream.

All I can say is a HUGE thanks to South Pacific cruising friends Steve and Carol, we now have an excellent slip at Bellena Isle Marina in Alameda!
LightSpeed is now on 'D' dock at Ballena Isle Marina
We still need to head up to Napa Valley Marina for a haul-out and bottom paint and then sometime in early December we'll move into our slip on 'D' dock.

Ballena Isle Marina looking west toward downtown San Francisco.
Ballena Isle Marina looking east across Alameda.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Biking with Blue Bie

November 19 ,2014
San Francisco
Anchored at Aquatic Park

South Pacific cruising/kiting friends Teri and Philip of s/v Blue Bie here in San Francisco?  Who would have guessed!  We met up at Aquatic park and then rode bikes across the Golden Gate, had lunch in Sausalito and then took the ferry back to the city.  Racing to catch the ferry was full of laughs as we only had a few minutes to get to the dock and no idea where it was... an amazing race of sorts.  Back aboard LightSpeed we popped some champagne to celebrate our chance meet up and pre-birthday celebrations for Teri. 

 Teri and Kathy pop wheelies.
Philip, Teri and Kathy.  Philip brought a nice camera along, so maybe we'll add a few of his snaps later on.

Monday, November 17, 2014

LightSpeed arrives San Francisco!

November 17, 2014
San Francisco, California

We made it!
LightSpeed at the Golden Gate bridge

Beautiful November day at the Golden Gate.

From inside the pilot house

Admiral Kathy and Captain Dave with Golden Gate in background.

LightSpeed anchored at Aquatic Park in downtown San Francisco.  You can just make out the Ghirardelli sign.  Local swimmers are doing laps in the 62F water.  Burr.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tight squeeze at Dolphin Cove

November 15, 2014
Fort Bragg, California

This morning I fueled LightSpeed at Dolphin Cove about 1/2 mile up the Noyo from the Noyo river boat basin marina, beware the river is shallow.   It was either run the gauntlet getting into Dolphin Cove or side tie to a commercial fuel wharf.  Without fender boards and crew, there would be a good chance that the piles at the commercial wharf would leave a few marks.

So, I threaded the needle to get in and out of Dolphin Cove.  Once inside the tiny mairina, the fun continued with very little turning room and a unoccupied sport fishing boat that was hogging the slip I needed to access the fuel dock.  I had to improvise and  pulled off a side tie to the end of the 6' wide fuel wharf finger... wish I would have got a photo of that!  The fuel hose was too short, yet undefeated I filled jerry jugs, decanting them into the tanks.  In the end the commercial wharf would probably been worth the risk of a scuff on the rail.

On the way out of Dolphin Cove I filmed the narrow pass.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Smoked salmon underway Eureka to Fort Bragg

November 14, 2014
Fort Bragg, California

Our boat cat Shell woke me up at 4AM with exfoliating sandpaper licks to my nose.  I was planning on a day off while Kathy visited her nephew Rowen and new grand nephew Brock at her parents Santa Rosa home.  It really worked out great as Kathy had a chance to catch up with cruising friend Teri of s/v Blue Bie and catch a ride to Santa Rosa.  Teri and Philip cruise a Outremer 43 catamaran and we enjoyed sailing with them this past year in the Marshall Islands.

It was 4AM, I pushed Shell away from my nose and reached for my android tablet to check the weather.  NOAA was calling for 'up to 5 knots' and so I pulled myself out of bed and quickly got LightSpeed underway.  Finding 5 knot winds for the 97 mile run from Eureka around point Mendocino to Fort Bragg was worth the early morning start.

Heading out of Humboldt bay was easy enough with clear night skies, a well lit channel and radar.  On the Pacific it was pretty bumpy, I think it's the swell from the super typhoon, I was actually feeling a little queasy as I made breakfast and coffee.   It was too dark to see anything and with the ground swell lifting the boat every 13 seconds, watching the horizon would have been therapeutic. As the veil of darkness slowly lifted I started to gain my sea legs as a welcoming dawn warmed the morning sky.

While in Crescent City the day before we'd had a chance to meet up with Jimmy and Phoenix for dinner.  Jimmy is a mad fisherman (a good thing) and brought us two huge chunks of King salmon.  A Huge thanks for the beautiful fish!

Overnight I'd brined the wild line caught Chinook salmon in preparation for smoking since I thought I'd be staying in Eureka for another night.  The fish was ready to go, so I set up the 'Lil Cheif' smoker on deck and hauled out the Honda eu2000i generator to power the smoker.  It was pretty rolly, but I managed to rinse the fish and get it in the smoker racks without incident.  Finding the power cord for the smoker proved to be a bigger challenge.  There is nothing worse than searching lockers for some obscure items while in a seasickness inducing seaway.

I found the cord, plugged in the smoker and sat down for a break.  No such luck as the wind picked up out of the east, so now it was time to hoist sail.  The fresh air helped, by the time I got to my coffee it was cold.

For awhile we were ripping along toward Cape Mendocino at 9 knots and then it was over.  Bye bye wind.  No mas.  From there on it was a power boat ride the entire way.

The smoked fish turned out great and I even pressured canned 5 half pint jars and gobbled up some thin slices I'd prepared as fish jerky.
Chinook Salmon (King)  jerky.  Oh so tasty!  Smoking fish underway from Eureka to Fort Bragg

Approaching Fort Bragg in the dark is not fun.  Running over a crab trap float in the dark close to the enterence channel is even less fun.  Luckily it came free pretty easy.

Running the Noyo river bar at Fort Bragg with a big west swell and complete darkness is something far less than fun.  I've been over the Noyo river bar a few times and even in the dark once, but today was scary with the big west swell.

Glad to be safely tied to the dock.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Oregon/California offshore spinnaker run.

Sailing near the Oregon/California border with a tiny spinnaker.  A little later the wind picked up to the high 20's and the surfs started to go over 15 knots pretty often. Once we hit 18 knots of speed through the water it was time to reduce sail.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Crescent City, California

November 10, 2014
Crescent City, California

Fast sail from Port Orford, Oregon yesterday.  Here are some shots from around Crescent City harbor.  Harbor facilities were pretty nice.  Laundry room, free showers, free internet and really nice new docks.  Safeway is within 10 minutes walk, good Mexican food across from the marina, Englund Marine supply, travel lift and marine railway.

 Pretty nice sunset for the middle of November when it should be foggy.
 This salmon troller was built in 1919!  Today her third owner, keeps her looking fine and fishes crab, tuna and salmon.
 Classic lines on this salmon troller.
 After the 2011 Tsunami the engineers went a little crazy with the pilings at 30" in diameter, which is twice as big as normal.  Look at the pile spacing along the guest mooring dock, wow this was expensive as the steel piles are cased with 1.6" plastic pipe on the outside.  
 Old ice house on the pier to have survived the 2011 Tsunami with no issues.
Heading out of Crescent City.  

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Port Orford, Oregon anchorage

November 9, 2014
Port Orford, Oregon

We're choosing a cruising approach to the transit of Washington, Oregon and Northern California.  Sure, we could be in San Francisco by now if we pushed a bit, but we're cruisers and find much more enjoyment in harbor hopping if the weather permits.  Tomorrow, we'll make the 65 nautical mile hop to Crescent City, California, then the next day the 64 miles to Eureka. 

Light southerly winds today, then calm as we approached the anchorage at Port Orford, Oregon.  We planned to keep moving if the anchorage looked ugly, otherwise stop and enjoy another good nights rest. Based on our past experience, Port Orford has excellent holding sand in about 30' just east of the jetty. Crabbing is excellent.   If swell conditions permit you can tie your dinghy to the ladder on the wharf and go for a walk ashore.

Port Orford, anchorage ~30' in excellent holding sand


Saturday, November 08, 2014

Community Supported Fishery

The Community Supported Fishery concept really makes sense.  Give this link a look.

Coos Bay, Oregon

November 8, 2014
Coos Bay, Oregon

Made the 81 nautical mile run from Newport to Coos Bay arriving in the final tinges of twilight.  Beautiful clear blue skies and comfortable seas for the entire ride.  For 1 hour we had nice easterly winds and hoisted full sail running close to the beach making 9-10 knots, otherwise it was motor sailing.

Heading out of Coos Bay

The fuel dock is closed on Sunday, however the owner said he might be in early in the morning to do some paperwork or maybe we stay for another night?

Update:  The owner Mr. Russell (84 years old) made a special trip down to sell us 39 gallons of fuel!  One thing we already miss about cruising is the focus on people.  Mr. Russell had all the time in the world to chat and enjoy the moment and a beautiful sunrise over Coos bay as we fueled up.

Russell's Marine Fuel & Supply
(541) 888-4711
That's it for now.

Crossing the bar in the dark

November 8, 2014
Newport, Oregon

Crossing the bar in the dark

It's midnight and we just tied to the dock in Newport, Oregon.  Having knocked off 110nm of our 570nm voyage to San Francisco, I think we've earned a nice restful night at the dock. No reason not to stop given the spectacular weather outlook.

Crossing the Yaquina river bar presented no difficulties, conditions were pretty calm and we caught the last of the flood tide with text book timing.

Using our Autopilots 'Navigation mode' set to follow a pre-planed route we leveraged technology to off load the steering task.   We were still in command of the helm, just more focus on monitoring range lights, flashing navigation buoys and using our eyeballs to look for hazards and other vessels.  The radar is also a very useful, but not necessary tonight as we had good visibility with clear skies.

Crossing one of the local bars this time of night would probably be more risky.

 Radar on our 23" monitor was easy on the eyes.  We're just leaving the first range as we turn at the green buoy and picking up the second range to take us under the bridge.
 We're safely tied to the dock
Chart minus the radar overlay

In the middle of the this post, I was interrupted by a cat overboard situation.  Shell our beloved boat cat somehow found the 1 foot gap between the boat and the dock.  I quickly pulled her out of the water and gave her a warm rinse in the kitchen sink.

 Shell looking like a rough alley cat.
Shell preparing to try to lick her fur dry.

That's it for now

Friday, November 07, 2014

Sailing Sunset

November 7, 2014
Underway on the northern Oregon coast

Beautiful sunset with a bonus green flash!  Winds built to 15 knots plus and for the last few hours we're flying a spinnaker.

We might stop at Newport about 45 miles distant, if we can maintain our present speed of 8 knots.  Our ETA would be about 11PM and with a full moon, moderating seas and no restrictions on the bar it's appealing to spend a night tied to the dock vs splitting watches overnight.  The weather forecast suggests excellent conditions with northerly winds through Tuesday down the coast.

That's it for now.

Columbia River Bar video

November 7, 2014
Columbia River Bar crossing 10AM

A quick video we just filmed on Columbia river bar with 10-12' seas.

Cruising friends

November 7, 2014
Astoria, Oregon

Cruising friends

Thanks to Mac and Catherine of s/v Indigo who drove down from Portland to send us off with a lovely dinner. It was really great to see you two and fun to catch up.  We sailed in company of s/v Indigo from Astoria towards Mexico in 2011 and enjoyed spending time with them in La Paz.

We were lucky to catch voyaging friends Shannon, Jasmine and Solice at their private dock in the John Day river.  Since our last visit in 2011 they've spent a few years sailing in Mexico and traded boats at least 3 times! As always we enjoyed some great meals and excellent conversation.  Thanks you for your endless hospitality!

Solice was 3 last time we visited Astoria, in this photo she's holding our cat Shell when she was an 8 week old kitten.

At 7 Solice is a real gem, tough as nails shooting a bow and arrow with her dad, polite, sweet and full of youthful joy. Thanks for sharing your smiles!

 I wish we would have snapped a few more photos.

One of my favorite sailing blogs is Sailing Totem, Behan really captures the essence of sailing friendship in this post titled 'Friendships and Cruising'.  check it out.

Railroad bridge at the entrance to John Day river feels a little skinny in a wide catamaran.

That's it for now.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Super Typhoon Nuri

Super Typhoon Nuri is set to slam in Bering Sea as a 915-925 millibar low with 30-50 foot seas.  Nuri will likely influence the jet stream over North America bringing an artic blast to the Midwest.  More on the story here: 

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Astoria, Oregon

November 1, 2014
Astoria, Oregon

Blue sky trip from Westport to Astoria with light winds.  Pretty nice for November in the Pacific Northwest!

Haulout scheduled for Monday at 1PM.  Looking forward to catching up with our Portland friends.