Thursday, August 21, 2014

First offshore passage

Ok to begin with this is Scott not the artful Cindy,
We set sail from Neah Bay at 0810 bound for Newport Or.
This will be not only our first offshore passage but also our first overnight passage, I know the boat is well prepared but am nervous none the less.
The trip length is about 250 miles, we decided that we would sail about 30 to 50 miles offshore to accomplish a few things. First and foremost it would give us sea room in case a bad storm came up and blew us around a bit , second we would be clear of the crab pots that are set by the commercial fishermen, and third the wind would be more steady and constant.
We set a course for 125 degrees west and would follow that south.
Well, it was foggy as all get out (again).
We had to motor until about 1600 due to lack of wind.
The wind picked up at about 1600 so we hoisted the Main and unfurled the Genoa and Staysil, the wind was about 9 to 12 knots.
The wind was on our Starboard rear quarter about 120 degrees, with the wind there the boat wanted to turn into the wind (round up) we had to turn the wheel to the left to counter balance the sail plan.
The monitor wind vane steered the boat like a dream.
The wind then moved a bit further aft and things went wrong, we should have put a double reef in the main and just used our Genoa to pull us down wind. The boat was overpowered and the Main sail was covering the Genoa and the Wind vane couldn't overcome the weather helm.
I spoke to a sailing pro Allison HickenWood from Port Townsend sails to confirm my suspicions.
I can't thank Allison enough for the advice and encouragement.
Live and Learn.
Well, instead we started the engine and motor-sailed with a single reef in the main for the next 35 hours.
Its was foggy for the entire trip.
We arrived at our Newport approach waypoint at 2345 and found that our visibility was less than 100 feet. Truly if the Nav lights had not been on I wouldn't have been able to see the bow of the boat.
As I was ready to turn into the jetty I hear on the radio that a Tug and Tow was headed out the jetty, I called the captain and told him that we would hold and jog at the green entry bout until he was clear.
He was 500 feet behind our stern but we never saw him (heard him loud and clear though).
He could see us on AIS and Radar and we could see him by the same means.
We told the tug skipper that we had never been here before and he gave us some very good advice about getting in the jetty.
As an aside one day earlier in better conditions but still very foggy two commercial fishing boats collided in this very spot.
Well, we did manage to navigate into the harbor, found the entry to the marina found the very first slip open docked the boat at 0103 and went to sleep.
We had acomplished and learned a great deal about our selves and the boat.
Bucket was awesome he entertained himself from his "nest" on our bed. He watched movies and ate snacks. What a great guy.
Cindy was the ultimate trooper, I had painted a mental picture for her of warm breezes and smooth sailing. Our trip was anything but that, it was bumpy and grey and really kind of dismal.
We will set out tomorrow Friday the 22nd bound for Coos Bay, only a short by comparison 80 miles.
We will employ the sail plan that we discussed with Allison and are sure that it will be an enjoyable passage.
You will be happy to hear that Cindy will be back at the keyboard soon, 'til then Fair Winds and Following Seas to all of you.

Photo Gallery update

Monday, August 18, 2014


     We are taking the plunge!  Some call it the BIG LEFT TURN.   Mother Ocean, welcome us.

     This morning we woke up in slip B32 at Neah Bay.  We were gifted a beautiful king salmon from the tribe of Makah.  Thanks to them.

       We have scheduled ourselves to push off the dock at 0830.  Our plan is to make Newport, Oregon our first stop.  We will be 30 miles out from the coast and hope for fair winds and smooth sailing.

Oceans of Love to All,
Scott, Cindy, and Bucket
(Sailing Team of Velvet Sky)


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bellingham Today Anacortes Tomorrow

     I am hearing voices.....

     Mostly through the phone lines, and often from the Capt'n, "Are you going to blog again soon?" they are asking.
     I am certain to not be alone in this kind of thinking...  "I am so far behind, I am not sure where to begin."  I suppose sometimes it is just easy to begin with the now.  We are tied up to the guest dock at gate 3 in Bellingham, Washington.  We have been here since Friday, August 8 at 17:59.  We have been  bouncing back and forth from Bellingham to Anacortes, and Port Townsend to Anacortes, then back to Port Townsend and right back here to Bellingham and tomorrow we return to Anacortes.  This may bring up the question of, "Why the back and forth?"  Well, the best response I have at this time is, "We are passing time."  We have spent the last four and a half months cruising schedule free.  We meandered and dawdled our way as far north as Hartley Bay, BC (53 degrees 42 minutes point 58 seconds north and 128 degrees 42 minutes point 40 seconds west) just south of Prince Rupert.  We arrived at Hartley Bay on June 3rd.  We used the BBQ for the first time and cooked a whole chicken.
Hartley Bay is a village still in possession of the First Nation People (an indian reserve).  The docks are government owned and moorage is free.  The only photo we captured of Hartley Bay was the one we took while leaving.  The streets here are all made of wood.  There are no cars here.  The motorized transportation was that of four wheel ATV's.  The locals call their village ATV capitol of the world.  We did spot a smart car in the village however, the fire truck was a Kubota, and the police car was a Mini Cooper.  A grocery facility with limited goods was the garage of someones home and was open whenever they chose to be open which was not while we were there.  It was worth the visit (especially for diesel fill up.

     From Hartley Bay we decided to make our way back down.  We spent the next 6 days anchored out in small and secluded coves of Princess Royal Island.  We were determined to encounter a spirit bear.  There are approximately 500 of these spectacular creatures in existence and approximately 300 hundred of them inhabit the Princess Royal Island.  A Spirit Bear is a black bear with blonde hair (not albino). Though we would dinghy across to the shore and plant bagels with peanut butter with hopes of enticing the beautiful creature, we never got to see one. We anchored our ever-so-trusting ROCHNA at Cameron Cove, Penn Habour, Bone Anchorage, Cowards Cove, Morris Bay.  During this time we had dinners made from fish that was caught daily (including rockfish, halibut, and salmon).  On June 11, we made our way back to Shearwater Marina where we re-provisioned and had a lunch made by someone other than me (the restaurant at the marina).  Of course Bucket enjoyed his usual meal away from home, a hamburger.  We used $32.00 for laundry, $278.00 for groceries, $10.00 for showers, and $124.00 for fuel.  That night we had cereal with real milk for dinner.

     Then back out into the solitude world of anchoring for the next seven days.  We went into the McNaughton Group, Judd Cove (Watt Bay), Lewall Inlet (where we crossed paths with Ken and Mary on 4th of July), back to Pruth Bay, and Waterfall Inlet of Fish Egg Islands.  We had more rainy days than sunny ones.  We often asked, "Will we ever experience summer again."  We would get in FRESH and dinghy around and explore the shores, rain or shine.  We found fresh water streams for bathing, playing and exploring.  We always brought along a tin can containing a few coins for noise making, which was probably one of the reasons we didn't see any bears. Ya think?

     On June 19th we started getting our first taste of civilization.  Well, sort of.  While anchored at Lewall  Inlet (June 15th) Scott took the dinghy over and had a visit with Ken and Mary.  This was the beginning of buddy-ing up for the two of us.  Velvet Sky and 4th of July would meet and tie up on the docks of Dawson's Landing, on June 19th.  We got held up at Dawson's landing with 4 days of rain and gale force winds.  The best part about this was that we got to know our new friends better and on a much deeper level.  Together we found laughter in the high prices of expired food (most of it was expired at least a year), the milk was brought over by a boat while we were there and cost $16.00 a gallon.  The laughter helped ease the shock of paying a little over $300.00 for a small 3 bags of groceries (less the milk). Civilization?

     On June 23, we left shoved off the dock at Dawson's Landing and set course for Duncanby.  With Duncanby in our sights we decided to put the transmission in neutral and do some fishin'.  This is when Scott caught the "Yellow Eye."  He caught a couple of smaller rockfish a short time before the yellow eye and through them back to in so that they could grow older and bigger.  We discovered that Eagles like the "throw backs."  An unintended consequence of a too-small rockfish being pulled to the surface quickly is that the fish needs to acclimate in order to return to the depths.  In the meantime they float on top the water.  Well....while acclimating (floating) the fish becomes easy prey and the eagle gets and easy meal.  The circle of life.  I cleaned the yellow eye in the cock pit, washed it and put it in the fridge for dinner that night.  Scott got bitten by the fishing bug.  We tied up at the dock at Duncanby at 12:30. He brought his pole and tackle out on the dock (in driving raining, I must add) where he caught the ling cod.  Feast!