Friday, October 09, 2009

Following days

We set anchor in Sausalito, California (N37°52.09' W122°29.315') and spent the last several days contacting family, catching up on things, doing laundry, meeting new friends, and being tourists.

We caught the ferry into San Francisco one day and walked along Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, walked up to Lombard Street (the crookedest street in the world), rode a cable car, and had a bite to eat in Chinatown.

Arriving by ferry...

I wonder where the boats dock on Pier 39??

Looking down on Lombard - crookedest street in the world

Taking a cable car...

Transamerica Pyramid - 105th tallest building in the world

Dusk at San Francisco with Alcatraz Island on the left

When we came back to the boat that evening, we decided to move Sea Turtle to a more protected spot as a southerly blow was forecasted to be coming into the Bay area. We had winds from 60 to 70 mph but our anchor held. Wild. Unfortunately, a couple of others didn't and one unattended sailboat ended up on the rocks. All was calm the next day.

Another day, we caught a bus to San Rafael to stock up on supplies for our watermaker. We need to pickle it as we are flying back to Victoria for awhile to finish up things that we couldn't get done before leaving.

FYI: Pickle is a slang term for the process of flushing the watermaker membrane with a chemical used to inhibit biological growth during extended periods of non-use.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Golden Gate Bridge

Cloudy skies, calm seas. 4 days, 3 nights...8 more hours to go, ETA 17:00. Jordan put the fishing rod out once again but no luck this time. We are now nearing the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and the bells are ringing. Seriously. The buoys are ringing from the wave action and the seals are sunning themselves on them.

Approaching the Golden Gate Bridge

We're here! Under the Golden Gate Bridge at 15:48, N37°49.292' W122°28.722' with the sun shining. We approached San Francisco close to shore and did not use the main shipping channel.

Passing under the Bridge

The Blue Angels were practicing above us for an upcoming airshow on the weekend as we entered the Bay. Very impressive.

The following was taken by a web cam (after we went under the bridge) which Aaron, Jordan's son, graciously emailed it to us. That small speck at the lower left circled in red is Sea Turtle with San Francisco and Alcatraz in the background:

Celebrated with a glass (or two) of champagne, a gift for this momentous occasion from dear friends.

Dropped the anchor at 17:05 next to the only other Canadian boat. Time for another glass of champagne...we have to finish the bottle as the cork blew off and into the water beneath the bridge!

From Victoria to San Francisco, Sea Turtle's performance has been outstanding and she has proven that she is worthy of all the confidence that we have in her. Cheers to Sea Turtle, her Captain, and the First Mate!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Almost there

It's been 3 days and 2 nights without stepping on land. No moon or stars, large dark clouds. Waves building and winds forming. Early in the morning, it was quite calm and we crossed the infamous Cape of Mendocino off the coast of California. No high waves or noticeable turbulence. One more day and night and we should be in San Francisco!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

No stopping

We made good time yesterday so decided not to stop in Crescent City as originally planned. We left Oregon behind and are offshore from California (but still close in). As long as the weather holds, we will continue on until we reach San Francisco. We have had a very calm passing of the feared Cape Mendocino up to this point and the temperature feels warmer than on previous nights.

The bus heater fan quit today. This is the unit that kicks out a lot of heat into the boat cabin when the motor is running. Jordan will check it out later. In the meantime, we still have our propane heater and our Aladdin lamp which also emits a lot of heat (and light) when lit. As we did not have time for a 'sea trial' before we left Victoria, we are now getting all the 'bugs' out of the systems.

I have been taking shifts alone at the helm and Jordan is teaching me how to plot our course on the charts. He will make a sailor out of me one of these days!

Tired Jordan at the charts

Almost a full moon, bright stars.

Monday, October 05, 2009


The toilet in Sea Turtle got plugged from all the scum and seaweed around our boat at the Charleston marina (South Carolina USA). But we left Charleston at 10:30, and shortly afterwards, Jordan got it unplugged, good as new. So nice to be with such a handyman - another reason I love him so much!

Spotted 2 spouting whales - no tour guide involved.

All systems are now working! If we don't want to hand steer at the helm (especially at night), we can depend on our RVG which follows a course that Jordan sets when we are sailing.

Or we can use our tiller-pilot that Jordan has adapted to connect to the RVG which then follows a course that Jordan sets when we are motoring.

And in certain conditions, we can do a combo of motoring with the main sail reefed and having the RVG attached to the tiller-pilot.

We plan on sailing and/or motoring all day and night and then stop in Crescent City...

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Bad news

Beautiful day in Coos Bay...but I got some bad news today. My Mom was injured right after we left Victoria and is in the hospital. Omigod Dad, Jordan wants to know if you pushed Mom down the stairs again? JUST KIDDING!!! It's good to laugh when things aren't going so great. LOL. Wishing you a very speedy recovery and sending you lots of love. Our thoughts are with you both.

Here's a picture when Mom and Dad joined us on Sea Turtle when we were still in Victoria - Mom doesn't like sailing very much and was glad to be back on shore!

Weather looks good...leaving today for Charleston (1.5 to 2 hours from Coos Bay) and then through the entrance back to the Pacific Ocean.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Taking a tour

We all wanted a long hot shower after 2 days at sea - badly enough that we paid $5 each for a shower at the downtown gym!

Today Aaron left us as he needed to return to Victoria (Canada) and we will stay at Coos Bay (USA) till we get a good weather window before continuing south. His help has been invaluable and very much appreciated. Travelling in rough seas and cold weather isn't something that a lot of people will volunteer to do, enjoy the trip, and be sad to be departing before reaching San Francisco. Thanks Aaron!

An up-and-coming future sailor

Rob, the Coos Bay Harbour Master, offered us a ride to Charleston to pick up some marine parts and then took us on a tour of the beaches and points of interest. One being the Simpson Reef where there were Northern Elephant Seals, Harbour Seals, Stellar Sea Lions, California Sea Lions, and frequented all year by Gray Whales. Very loud! Too bad we didn't take a camera with us today.

Coos Bay is a great marina that is right downtown with easy access to shopping, theatre, provisioning, restaurants, laundromat, and free internet access. By this time next year, the marina is expected to have showers, a "fisherman's wharf", and a number of other amenities. To thank Rob for his great tour, we invited him over for dinner. Jordan cooked up some of his freshly caught tuna which tasted absolutely delicious.

A display of the bounty

Friday, October 02, 2009

Coos Bay

Continued into Coos Bay, Oregon (N43°22.003' W124°12.706') with an uneventful sandbar crossing and a 10-mile motor up the channel to the downtown Coos Bay City wharfs. Stepped ashore at 13:00 after 2 days on the seas. Time for a rest.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Slow progress

We sailed all night last night from Astoria (Oregon USA) but didn't make too much distance southerly as we were tacking into a 10-knot south wind. So we turned on the motor at 07:30.

The guys (Jordan and Aaron) saw a group of porpoises cavorting all around the boat and playing in the bow wave. Also passed right beside 2 humpback whales and California sea lions. Unfortunately, I was down below sleeping with all my clothes on and several blankets and missed it all!

Sleeping beauty!

The weather was damp and cool but cleared up at noon. We are staying closer to shore, 10-15 miles, in case we have anymore boat problems. Motor-sailed all day with 5-knot winds on the nose. Continued to motor-sail into the night on glassy smooth seas with 5-foot swells and HAND steering as our tiller-pilot is not working. It should auto-steer when motoring, just as our RVG auto-steers when sailing.