Behind The Sunrises and Sunsets

When we’re prepping the boat for a passage we try to anticipate gear issues, feeding the crew, emergency situations and any other what-ifs. Upon arrival we’re relieved to have arrived safely, we’re tired and hungry, but in general we hug each other for a passage well done and excitedly relive the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, stars and moon, quiet moments of retrospection and introspection.

But during the passage there are things that I don’t blog about. Nothing too serious, just enough of an irritation or experiencing the “cruisers nightmares” that we’ve read about or discussed with seasoned cruisers.

Here are some of those not so wonderful moments of cruising life.

A pigtail on the back of our chart plotter – radar combination unit had a flimsy end cap covering the vulnerable electronic pins. We didn’t use the particular plug for our depth sounder. During the constant use and swinging of the unit into the companion way, the damn end cap wiggled off, jiggled towards a stainless steel bolt and impaled itself. Zap, there went the mother -board. That was 2 days prior to departing SF. An expensive side trip to West Marine, we now have a new unit, better than the first one but the cruising kitty wasn’t prepared for that expense. Thank you Sis for the use of your vehicle!IMG_1215

This picture shows the panel opened up with all of the wiring behind it. The new unit is much nicer and doesn’t have loose pigtails hanging out.

On the way down from SF as the boat pitched I had a disagreement with the main winch in the cockpit. I lost and ended up with a sore jaw. My only saving grace was had it been my front teeth I wouldn’t be smiling now.

There are cobwebs floating around even in the ocean. One happened to float across my face and ended up in my eye. I am allergic to cobwebs so warm compresses had to be applied to keep the swelling and itch under control. WTH, out here?

Sometimes I get cranky. Honestly, I try to hide that attribute. John is so tolerant.

What to eat? Hangry (hungry pangs turning to anger) , the latest urban terminology that I occasionally experienced but doesn’t occur under passage. Plain rice with black sesame seed and salt wrapped in nori NEVER tasted so yummy.

And then there was the gastronomical episode that John experienced. No more food for him.

Passages are long and tiring, John’s back and butt gets very sore from lack of comfortable seating. We don’t drink alcohol under passage so his signature whiskey sours that fix his back have to wait. I’m fortunate to have ample padding.

There isn’t enough room for everything. The overstuffed cabinets, extra gear, and clothing tend to be annoying. Tools are buried when we need them, NOW. One feels like throwing it all away and go bare boat. But a few hours of examining the items, carefully repacking the cabinets, the boat expands and we’re very pleased and proud of our comfortable home.image

Last nightmare: some idiot ran his boat into us, twice in fact, causing enough damage to send us scrambling to locate parts and repair what we could.image The harbor patrol was so helpful providing a lift to the repair shop, a fellow Westsail owner provided a new custom made stanchion, another Westsail owner has offered his address and delivery service to receive our ordered parts on the way to Mexico. We’re so fortunate to have thoughtful people go an extra measure to help us out!  Thank you, thank you Dennis and Carmencita, SV Shoestring, and John Milner, SV T.L. Sea

All things wonderful, newly made friends, and “cruiser nightmares”, experiences all rolled in seaweed, living life to our fullest. We appreciate the little things that are routine on land,imageimage

We miss our families even more and our memories of time spent with them give us balance.

Propelling forward tomorrow while we have a stable weather pattern to get around Point Conception.

Small World on a Vast Ocean

We departed SF Tuesday bound for Morro Bay motoring under the GG with numerous cargo ships and barge traffic, it took us nearly an hour waiting along the north side of the channel to turn south due to the congested waterway. Once southbound the seas calmed down and we hoisted full sails, averaging 5.0 kts. The winds and seas were fresh, blowing from the northwest, we rolled on the down the coastline staying within 10 – 12 nautical miles offshore. We had a great sail despite the large swells and wind waves but with minimal sail banging compared to our previous passages. Perhaps a little too rough for our passenger though, Mike didn’t feel well with the sea conditions. This was his first offshore passage on a Westsail.

We rounded Pt. Piedras Blancas, the last point just before a straight line to Morro Bay about 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday. The wind diminished about 2 hours later and we were becalmed on a rolling ocean swell, just enough to make the mainsail bang and snap from the motion. We had to stand off to wait for daylight and I was on watch alone in the cockpit. The moon set and the fog started to thicken. The black night was eerie, the ocean made strange gurgling sounds, the squeaking rigging mimicked voice-like sounds and the remaining crew were asleep. I realized I was afraid of the dark at that moment. Thank goodness for the invention of flashlights!

Daybreak was beautiful even in the wet, low hanging clouds. The harbor entrance is marked with a massive land mark named Morro Rock, a 581 ft volcanic plug. It rises out of the ocean, amazingly massive, and foreboding to boats. Waves beat upon the base, from our ocean view, it looked ominous. The harbor entrance on the south side is narrow but at high tide it wasn’t a problem as we passed effortlessly through the harbor opening.

IMG_1254We tied to the Morro Bay Yacht club pier and stretched our legs. A passage well done, nothing broken, not too wet, and more sailing than engine time. That’s how we measure our performance.
Within a couple of hours we met 2 other sailboat owners from Portland. They also are headed for Mexico. We exchanged names and greetings, promised to meet up later in the day. We’re hoping to stay in touch with both boats as we continue southward.

Thanks for joining us on our adventures!

Filling Up The Space Within – With Family

The three weeks we have spent in windy SF blew away with a flurry of events. Between staying with my sister, Theresa and my beautiful niece, nephews, son and fiancée, attending the Westsail rendezvous, we were so entertained we forgot about the working world we left behind.

We did the tourist walk through busy downtown during Fleet week, the airshow over the city waterfront was impressive. Massive crowds of people everywhere, we could hardly move walking down the sidewalks and traffic plugged the intersections. It was an “ahhh” moment when we arrived home. We purchased enough chocolate and wine to stock the boat for about three months, drank a fair amount of nice wine, and appreciated Tess’ yummy breakfasts.

The last few days have been filled with offshore boat prep , Mexic0 check-in formalities, downloads of information on fast wifi at Theresa’s home.  The best part of last week was the Netflix marathon watching  “The Walking Dead” with Theresa! Marathon viewing was decadent- eating dinner in front of the t.v., drinking margaritas and chowing down on ice cream and popcorn. Three blissful evenings doing nothing else. Hilarious!

On Friday, we took Tess, her husband, Chase  and nephew Tarin for an introductory sailing lesson on the bay. IMG_1134Continued out the Golden Gate to take pictures, sailed along the city waterfront,IMG_1205 splashed and rolled over the swells, and ended the day becalmed as we bobbed our way through Raccoon strait. We sailed over four hours showing them the various wind and sail configurations we’ve experienced on the ocean, but for them – all in the bay! We gave them the chance to pilot the boat. I believe they were a little surprised how much strength it takes to handle the boat and sheet in the sails.
I believe Tarin will be a fine sailor one day. IMG_1128He took immediate charge of Konami, a natural born helmsman. He even nailed the “Arghh” and strong arm stance.  IMG_1120Tess was impressed with the compact, gimbaling stove and intrigued as it swung back and forth with pans filled with simmering dinner. She would be able to work her fine culinary skills at sea, no problem.IMG_1207

The precious time we’ve spent with each family member is so memorable,and I can’t thank them enough for their love and enthusiasm of our adventures. The use of their comfy homes, the vehicle, delicious meals and all the laughter made our stay so rewarding. IMG_1223Theresa, being very wise and strong, gave me piece of mind about all of my doubts. She will be there for my sons and their families during our absence. What a great sister! I want to sail away, I want to stay, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone! Theresa reminded me of a Japanese saying: “Our choices rather than our talents, make us who we are”.

Fulfilled, we are eager to begin our next adventurous leg to sunny Southern Cal.   ~ ~ ~ _____/)

Sailing San Francisco Bay…

Some of the finest sailing on the west coast is right here! Any combination of sails, no cross swell (at least when we sailed), miles traveling on the same tack (course) with multiple backgrounds, the sun setting behind the awesome Golden Gate,IMG_1059the historically rich, geometric city waterfront, islands with tall cliffs, even creepy Alcatraz Island, it’s all here.

IMG_0972 “Busy sailing” is what we like to call it, looking at the scenery, watching for other sailboats, dodging wave making pilot boats, speeding ferries and giant freighters heading in or out of the bay. Traversing around them by letting the sails out or pulling them in tighter in order to point the boat away from the traffic,  absolutely exciting and challenging!

We docked Konami in Richmond, the NE area of the bay when we arrived on September 25th and then spent one week with my sister in Rohnert Park, 1 hour north of SF. We toured the Santa Rosa College (where my sister is a tenure tracked instructor) and the campus museum of which she is the director: some extraordinary artifacts can be viewed there! We caught up on the laundry, mail and communication with the family back in Portland. We rounded out the week with internet communications and grocery and boat item shopping, and then relaxed before heading back to qcomplete our after-ocean-passage cleaning on Konami in preparation for the No. Cal Westsail rendezvous.

On Friday Oct. 2, other Westsail boats started arriving, in total there were 12 in attendance. A very enjoyable weekend filled with meeting the owners, listening to their experiences and future plans, boat touring, and sharing ideas of boat gear and rigging. We were fortunate to meet Rick, owner of Free Style, who sailed his Westsail to Japan in 2012 via the South Pacific route.

IMG_1003We had been following Rick’s blog at the time, so I took the opportunity to shadow him, listen to his stories of crossing the South Pacific, and gather more information about the Japanese Customs and Immigration process.

On the last day most of the Westsails departed the dock forming a parade of our boats and were filmed for a documentary titled: “Westsail the World”. IMG_8149 We took a passenger with us, Javier Kim. He doesn’t own a boat but loves the Westsail and attends the rendezvous each year. He had such a great time sailing and as we powered up with full sails he became quite animated shouting, “Yes, we’re ahead of them, we’re sailing faster, how fast are we doing? Wow, wow, 7.5 knots, keep going, keep going!” Fantastic sailing, totally jazzed and hyper we headed back to the marina 4 hours later. It was a special day of sailing for John and I, and sharing it with Javier made it even more so. We had a great weekend and plan on staying in contact with our new friends as we continue Southward in the next couple of weeks.

Now we’re off to spend time with the young great niece and nephew for the next few days, gotta get in the last bit of reading children’s books, scooter riding and playing in the park.