Welcome All,
Follow us as we sail Bullwinkle, our Westsail 32, south to California, Mexico, out to Hawaii and back home to Seattle.

Friday, August 31, 2012


Stayed in Eureka another day.  My Mom had a mild heart attack last night and I wanted to stay around in case things got worse and I had to travel back to Seattle.  She's doing ok though and the doc's are changing some medication.  Mom's 90 now and a tough bird.  They are planning to release her tomorrow.  Tracey traveled to the hospital and hung out with her today.

I found you can spend a whole day doing only a few boat chores.  Finished one propane tank this morning and when I inquired at the marina office where I could get a  refill, they gave me the name of the store and then one of the staff offered a ride there.  You can't beat that.  After taking care of the refill, I got ready to take the boat up to refuel, so I could leave early in the morning.  Now the fuel dock is only about a quarter to third mile up from the marina.  However, it does not have a floating dock.  It's a fixed pier and you tie up to pilings and they hand the fuel hose down to you.  I walked up to take a look.  In the end, although feeling like less of a competent seaman, I couldn't figure out how I was going to get a fender between the two pilings and the boat and at the same time, stop and tie up the boat to the piling.  I could see cap railing being torn from the boat.  So......instead I decided to jerry jug the fuel via dingy from the fuel dock to the boat...10 gallons at a time.   This, of course, required inflating the dingy, installing the motor, etc.  That actually does pretty fast.
When I arrived at the fuel dock, tied the dingy and climbed the ladder up with the jugs, the fueling guy said sorry we can't fill jugs on the dock, our permit only allows us to fuel a boat.  I said what if the jugs are in the dingy...............yes, then we'd be fueling a boat.........Ok.   The guy was great about it and I said I would be making another trip back after emptying these into the boat.  He said, "no problem, what ever works for you", so they were very helpful.
Back to the boat, I got the fuel tanks filled and rinsed, dried and folded the dingy.  Then it was pretty much time to have a beer and fix dinner.  So, I never got to far from the marina today.

Planning to leave for Noyo River, FT Bragg in the morning.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Arrived Eureka public marina at about 6:30pm. About 2 miles before entering the Humbolt River bar there were at least a dozen gray whales milling about in the water offshore. Spouts and surfacing on each side of me, most around a half mile away, but one around 200 yard off the bow. Really cool !

Confused 4-6 waves at the entry to the bar but smooth once inside the jettys. Motored the 2 miles up river to a very nice city marina. I had called earlier in the day, letting them know I would be arriving after the office closed and they told me where to tie up. Nice docks and restrooms. No quarters needed to shower, so it could be a long one..whooyah !!

Eureka was in its heyday in the 1890's with lumber and shipping barons, so there are some really great Victorian styled houses. It was well worth the walking tour through the old downtown area with shops, resturants and coffee houses and then to some of the houses and the Carson mansion.(pictures to follow)

Topped it off with a Guinness at Gallaghers Pub and then grocery shopping, lugging the haul home in the backpack. And making a second run to get block ice...the first found since Port Angeles....

Taking a look at the weather and it looks reasonable now to do the 97 miles around Cape Medecino and to the FT Bragg-Noyo River harbor tomorrow. Will check again in the morning and see if the seas are settling down a bit. Cape Medecino is the first of 3 major capes to round before SoCal, each with their sometimes harsh wind and wave conditions.

Pelican's at the marina

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wow ! What a day !

What a day ! This is the way California is suppose to be. Sunny and warm. I know it's just temporary but I'll take it.

Left Crecent City about 6:00am. Wanted to do the 68 miles and be into Eureka before dark. They were predicting light winds, building in the afternoon, but so far they have been very light. Was able to sail for about an hour, then they went down to about 8knot from the stern, which is really not enough to keep the sails from flogging about. So now it's motoring with the staysail up for a little boost and to dampen the roll some. Very light NW swell and wind waves only about a 1-2 feet. It is nice an warm though. My usual garb has been rubber rain pants, two shirts, fleece, rain jacket or later float coat for the warmth. Have not had much rain since Neah Bay, but the fog causes everything to drip. Ahh, but today after only a few miles of fog, its sunny and bright so no rubber pants, no jacket, and only one shirt. Very nice.

I had forgotten that Crescent City got whacked by the tsumami that hit Japan last March. They had pictures and said that they got several 8 ft surges. It lifted the floating docks from their piers or tore them off and destroyed much of the marina docks. In addition, the surges washed in 8 ft of silt which had to be dredged out. They've refloated their linear docks but most have no power or water yet. They're now in the process of more rebuild and upgrades with a plan to had it be able to withstand a 100 year tsumami event.

Should be into Eureka by about 6:00pm


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

into California !!!!

Just passed the 42 parallel of longitude at 3:08am PDT, which means we're in California now !!! Whooyah !!!!
It's a clear night and the stars are out with a big, big moon. Seas are flat and I can see the shore lights 6 miles away. Right before it got dark I had a tuna or something on. It was stripping off the line and then it looks like I had a bad knot on the swivel and it broke free.

Sunrise in California
Should be into Crecent City, CA about 7:30 or 8;00 am.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Into Coos Bay

Cape Arago...just south of Coos Bay
Arrived Coos Bay at about 8:30 am this morning. As I said earlier it was mostly a motoring trip although I did get some sailing in during the afternoon when it was nice and sunny. Very calm seas, no wind waves and very low swell. I amused myself on the ham radio during the night. Radio(propagation) conditions where good and made a Russian and Ukrainian contact. Several east coast and Hawaii. Some people stay up way to late and I talked to a couple of guys in Texas at about 3:00am.
I found I get extra attention on the radio when I say I'm a maritime mobile station...guess it's something different.

Arrived about 7 miles from Coos bay at 4:00am, so not wanting to enter the river bar in the dark, I put the boat in kind of a stall position and went below to doze. By 5:30am the south wind had come up, sooner than predicted, and I motored into some chop to get to the river bar entrance. The big jetty provided lots of protection and the bar was super smooth.

Tied up to the transient dock here at the Charleston Marina and have been enjoying talking to the folks crabbing on the dock. Looks like the south wind will blow until Wednesday, so I'll be here for awhile.

Forgot to mention in the earlier Newport post. Had a beer on Braum and Anna's boat Tarpan. They're a Dutch couple who have some extensive cruising experience. Their current cruise has take them from Europe to Maine, throught the ST Lawerence Seaway, crusing the Great Lakes, trucking the boat to Seattle, wintering in Victoria and now down the coast to Panama. Hope to see them again down the coast.

Haven't found the internet yet, so can't post any pictures. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Out of Newport

Out of Newport this morning at about 7:30. Wind was from the SE for a while and could do some sailing. Now its light and from the south, so the motors on. Going slow so I make Coos bay at about 5:00 am otherwise it'll be too dark to see the way in. Saw the first gray whales just a bit ago. Maybe 9 or 10. Tails out of the water and all. Might have got a picture and will post later.

Gray Whales off the coast of Oregon


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Well Tracey headed home in the rental car this morning, dark and early at about 5:30am.  The cat was not pleased.  She'll come on back down, when I'm somewhere south of San Fransisco and it's a little sunny and warmer.
I almost got out of Newport this morning.  Sunny, no fog with a good breeze out of the north.  Unfortunately about 6 miles out the electric autopilot gave up the ghost and started slipping.  Now, I don't really need the tiller pilot for sailing.  Mighty Thor the Monitor does much better and is much stronger.  But the tiller pilot is nice if there's little or no wind and when  coming into harbor alone, it can steer while I get the boat ready to dock.  So figuring it would be shorter to turn around and see it I could get it fixed in Newport, than continuing for the 65 miles to Coos Bay, I turned around.  The plus side is I did have a nice sail back and today there is almost no swell.  Will wait for parts here at the marina, where the office ladies said they would be happy to accept shipment for me.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pirates Plunder

Yesterday we took in the aquarium and Pirates Plunder Village.  Shame on me for not getting pics of the village.  Needless to say it was a little scary.  I think it was one half square mile of 'made in china' and garage sale items from over half of Oregon state.  One sign showed that a glass cow (swimming) originally priced at $49.99, now only $3.50.  That's right, you read it correctly.  We were in the mist of let's make a deal heaven.  Ed contained his excitement - but Gayne, it was a close call.
They have a very nice aquarium, but it doesn't beat Seattles.  Relaxing day.

Next Steps; taking in the sites

Well as some of you may or may not know, this is my (Tracey) last stop until southern California.  Yes, we've finally come to a decision that Ed will go on and I will head back to Seattle for a couple of weeks, flying to meet up with him when he hits Long Beach.  I am confindent in his skills as a skipper that he will arrive safely into each harbor on down the coast - but if you pray to a deity of any kind, say a little pray for him!  I honestly feel more comfortable with him going south than trying to bring the boat home against wind and water.  In the meantime, we've been taking in some of the sites of Newport.  Definately a fishing village.  Not so sweet smell of fish and crab and barking Sea Lions 24/7.

p.s. did you notice how that shrimp is being 'cleaned' and shipped?  Open air trucking...yikes!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Yeah we made it to Newport!!

Yeah ! We made it to Newport, Oregon. Arriving at about 4:30pm and getting tied up to the transient dock at the Port of Newport. It's a nice marina here.

As an update, we had nice northerly winds the day before yesterday and moved along at 5-6 knots under sail all day long. We nicknamed our Monitor wind vane self steering gear, "Mighty Thor the Monitor"
He does a much better job steering the boat than I do. At night or in the fog with no reference points but a compass bearing, I can find myself 60 degrees off coarse in a moment of inattention, but not Thor. He stays true to the course.

Around the Columbia river entrance there were like a hundred boats. We found ourselves glued to the chart plotter with the AIS input showing commercial boats closing on us and making sure we avoid a close encounter.

Yesterday at about 3 or 4 in the morning and about 35 miles from Newport the wing changed to SE and so we began to motorsail and tack upwind. So the last 35 miles took around 12 hrs. I think you can walk that fast.

Fog closed in as we arrive at the entrance to the Newport Jetty and even using GPS, we spent 15 minutes looking for the entrance bouy and getting ourselves lined up for the channel. We made it without mishap.

We had dinner. Tracey was feeling a bit better and downed a couple of great chicken burritos she made. I ate and hit the sack at 6:00pm, sleeping the sleep of the dead until 7:00am this morning. I mean I usually wake up at least 4 times during the night, but I was out !!!!!

Today we're wondering around Newport and visited the Rogue Brewery. Rogue Nation man !!!!!!!!!!!! We had 12 different beers...Awesome !

We'll probably be here the next two days and then figue out the next step. Sorry for the long post. Addtional pictures to follow when we transfer them to this computer.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dark Night..and not the Batman Movie

Wow ! its dark out here at night with 100% cloud cover and fog. I could see maybe 6 feet from the boat. Apparentley the locals don't have it much better, since a sea bird flew into the sail or lines and dropped right in the cockpit. No harm done, I gave him a boost back out.

Tracey's down with motion sickness. I feel bad for her, I know she's not having much fun. This part down the Wash, Oregon coast is hard if only because you're not use to the motion and it's hard to get anything done. We've got about 90 miles to Newport, so should get there late in the day tommorrow.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Made out to the Pacific Ocean 8-13

Ahoy ! We made it out into the Pacific Ocean this morning and are now out about 10-15 miles and turned to head down the coast. There's a light wnw wind and very little swell or wind waves and we're sailing under full main, jib and staysail making about 4 knots. This morning as we motored out the strait and around Tatoosh island and rocks to the nw of it, we met up with some 6-7 foot swell. It's a ride going those. The fog closed in to about 1/4 mile earlier, but know it's bright overcast with visibility about 5 miles.
Tonight will be our first full night at sea, so we'll see how that goes. If it stays overcast it's going to be dark, dark, dark. So far the weather forecasst looks terrific with north winds 10-20 and moderate seas, all the way through Friday. We should be in Newport on Thursday or Friday. More later.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 4; Neah Bay
Woke up unwell this morning, but tried to get up and shake it off by going to the grocery.  That didn't work out well at all.  Immediately turned around and headed back to the boat for more sleep.  It helped.  Ed suggested that I take off the sea sickness patch, as he thought was what was making me sick.  Took it off and feel much better this evening.  Laid around watching Law and Order today and made brocolli beef for dinner...yumm.
We're going to head out first light tomorrow, weather permitting.  I won't deny I'm really nervous/scared to round the corner to go south.  Washington waters are unforgiving.  If we have to tuck in someplace, Westport will be where we head.  Forecasts look good, so we'll see.
There are three eagles who hang out here along with all the seagulls.  They land on the masts of the boats just like the gulls, and eat the scraps the fisherman bring in.  Mao and I went out on deck for a minute last night and an eagle flew right over our heads.  Mao headed down immediately; doesn't like the raptors too much.  At about 3a.m. last night I heard a soft meow and found Mao out on deck!  Ed had left the cabin top open just slightly - remarkably she got out, but could't get back in!  That darn cat.

Port Angeles to Neah Bay 8-12-2012

A nice morning in Port Angeles. Sunny and warm. We took on some fuel and headed out, planning on either Seiku or Neah Bay for the next stop and jump off to round the corner. The Strait had only ripples and a small swell. Very light wind from the west. After an hour or so the swell increased a bit with some maybe 4 feet. The boat rise and pass through them with a wonderful motion. Unfortunately the motion didn't agree with Tracey, who began to feel a bit queasy.
On went the patch and that helped after a bit. She began an audio book to take her mind off the motion and we practiced some wave yoga...let yourself float with the motion....be one with the boat.
Later after a short nap and some crackers she began feeling ok, but a little tired. Seiku didn't have fuel so we moved on toward Neah Bay.
About a half hour after leaving Seiku the wind and waves increased. We had a favorable current and were moving at 6 knots, but that also increases the steepness of the waves and so for the next 1 1/2 hours we bashed along with a bit of spray coming over the bow. We arrived at Neah Bay around 6:30, topped off the fuel tanks and got a slip at the Makah Marina.

8-13-2012 The wind clocked around to SW at 17knots off Tatoosh Island. Looks like we'll be waiting a bit to leave. The rest of the weeks forecast looked good for 10-20 knot north winds down the coast.
Hope so.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 2; Mao's first stroll around the boat

Day 2; Aug. 11 Kingston to Port Angeles
Not much to report today. It was a long day to me which seems odd as we'll be having a couple 24, 48 and possibly 72 hour hauls in the days to come...did I bite a bullet???
Mao did o.k. for the first half of the day, having her first stroll of the entire boat topside. However, the latter half must have seemed like Mr. Toad's wild ride. Rounding Point Wilson we hit some big waves and it was that way until we pulled into Boat Haven at Port Angeles at 7:45 this evening. Thanks to Wade for letting me borrow his gate key so I could shower. Thanks to Ed for making dinner (steak and salad) so I could shower. Did I mention I needed a shower? Manager's office closed so we couldn't get either a gate key OR internet password; pictures will have to wait once again.
Animals sighting: Seals, all seabird types and possibly one mink whale although Ed says this doesn't count be I didn't see it twice (I'm thinking it was because HE didn't see it at all.)

Day one ................off the dock !

Well we're off...finally! Didn't quite get the early start we'd hoped. With the help of mao mao, we kept waking (and laughing) through the night remembering the items in our brain lists we'd forgotten. Ed got a 5a.m. start on the bus and was back by 10:30. After popping a bottle of champange to toast our adventure, letting loose a few tears for those we won't be able to squeeze for a while, we set off into the wind...yes, into the wind. Not too unexpected for this time of year and the way we're headed.
Mao mao did really well. After a while she decided it was to loud in the cabin and demanded to be topside. I harnessed and leased her up and to our surprise she made herself at home with us in the cockpit; reminisent of Bruno. Photos to come.
The water was a bit choppy, much wave action. I found myself a little quizzie. Ed scolded me for not coming to the boat more often over the last few months. Decided to stop in Kingston for the night...no slips available so we've anchored in the harbor...more wave action. Needless to say, an early night for us all.

Thanks for everyones help getting us set up. A big thanks to Ed, Jen, Evie and Issac for giving us the late night ride to the boat !

This message is posted via radio, so pictures to follow.