Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mixed bag

Boat repairs done so it was time to cross over the Astoria sand bar again, but in daylight this time. There were bar warnings and restrictions to vessels 30' and under. Once in the bar, experienced 16' breaking steep waves over 45' in depth.

Restrictions were issued to all non-commercial vessels as we were crossing but we couldn't turn back (would have been more dangerous to turn around than to keep going). 3-knot outflow ebb and river current against NW swells and SW winds made for a treacherous crossing. We were burying the bow sprit deep into the trough and next wave face.

It would have made a fabulous video but all cameras were down below and it was too rough to attempt to retrieve one.

We made it safely out of the most dangerous sand bar in the world and motored into 10-knot SW winds on the nose and NW swells on the side (10' swells average). We raised sails late in the afternoon and left full head sail and one reefed main throughout the night.

The RVG thankfully performed great after repairs!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A little close for comfort

Yikes! Almost hit by a cruise ship! Okay, not really - it pulled in 30 metres off our berth at the Port of Astoria in Oregon (USA).

Continued repairs today on our RVG and navigation lights, etc. Weather was a mix of heavy rain, showers, and sunny breaks. Not the best for doing outside repairs. Here is Jordan up the mast.

Heard tsunami warnings for the Oregon coastline for 22:00 after an 8+ earthquake in the West Pacific. The tsunami warning ended up being false.

Have been eating a lot of fabulous tasting tuna.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Major repairs

Went out to a well deserved brunch at the "Pig & Pancake" in Astoria, Oregon of the USA (N46°11.44' W123°51.379'). Great food. Between rain showers, Jordan and Aaron dismantled our RVG (auto-steering windvane) and performed reconstruction and repairs on it.

Aaron and I have been taking Stugeron to prevent seasickness throughout our voyage whenever at sea. For me, it has worked great. No problems at all. Aaron never experienced nausea but did yuck-it-up once or twice but felt great right afterwards. And he can't go below the cockpit for more than a few minutes unless it's to sleep only. Jordan has taken no meds and is not seasick at all. Lucky guy.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Two firsts

With Sea Turtle's RVG dislodged, steering continued to be difficult and exhausting. We were about 60 miles offshore of the continental USA and decided to head into Astoria for repairs.

Jordan decided to test out the great fishing rod that Mark and Alana of Victoria BC had given him and caught our first fish - a 15+ lb Albacore tuna - it took about one hour for the guys to land it!

Jordan displaying the prize catch

Continuing on with 1.5 to 2-hour shifts at the helm for Jordan and Aaron, we arrived at the entrance of the channel to cross our first sand bar. Vessels under 25 feet were restricted from crossing and warnings were issued for other vessels.

Crossing sand bars can be very dangerous in daylight and it was now very dark at 22:00. Jordan notified the Coast Guard of our steering problems about 20 miles out and they monitored our progress every 30 minutes. Using GPS and MaxSea electronic charts, it was a 3-hour trip up the channel.

Wet and wild bar crossing

At 01:00, we arrived safe, but exhausted, at the Port of Astoria (Oregon USA).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tough day and night

We left Neah Bay heading into the fog and ship traffic. The wind picked up to 15 knots and we had trouble getting Sea Turtle's RVG to work (the RVG is an auto-steering windvane that we can use when sailing). Winds increased by mid-day to 20-25 knots, and by evening, gusts up to 30 knots - seas large and breaking at 10+ feet.

Through the night, the RVG dislodged and slipped almost out of its yokes and then started to break up and jam, throwing off the helm. After that, Jordan and his son Aaron had to steer throughout the night in 1.5-hour shifts as steering was so difficult, fighting against the broken RVG. I stayed up all night keeping whoever was on shift company.

Blue section at bottom of vane badly bent and barely hanging on

(The above photo was taken later when we were at dock for repairs.)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Neah Bay

We arrived in Neah Bay, Washington (N48°22.5' W124°36.3') today at 18:30 after another day of motoring - no wind but sunny skies.

When we were about to enter Neah Bay, we responded to a boater in distress whose engine had failed and he was drifting away from the diver he had somewhere in the water. We gave the GPS co-ordinates to the Coast Guard and assisted in the search for the diver. Everyone made it safe and sound.

After getting on shore later, we bought hot smoked salmon right off the rocks - so very yummy!

Next to the Halibut Mortuary!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Out to the big blue seas

We had a very successful open boat on September 13th as planned. Thanks to everyone that came and made it a special day for us.

At 13:30 PST (Pacific Standard Time), we left our moorage at Westbay Marina where we had met many great people that we consider our friends. Jordan's son Aaron is heading to San Francisco with us on the first leg of our journey.

Start of our great adventure

We had one lone dolphin escort us out of the Juan de Fuca Strait. We were thrilled as this is considered Good Luck by many sailors. We arrived in Port Angeles (N48°07.555' W125°27.137') at 18:00 where we cleared customs and provisioned with fresh fruit and veggies.