Jan's Journal

Let's Load This Cast of Characters on That Boat and Head South
                                                          - Mexico by Jimmy Buffett

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Aug. 31, 2003: This is the day Jim has dreamed of and I have dreaded. No more long-term slip reservations, no more knowing where we'll spend the night, and no more convenient internet access. Jim has had me running the boat more and more lately (with the exception of docking) so I'm getting more familiar with the way she handles, but still am not comfortable around sailboats or when boats are coming at me head on. I like living aboard but not cruising, so this could be a very LONG trip. Hopefully I'll be okay once we get settled into a cruising routine. At this point, I'm quite anxious at the thought of being out on the Pacific Ocean and I know that one of the worst parts of the trip could be right off the Washington coast. There are, unfortunately, no places to get out of any bad weather until we hit Oregon, which is why it's mandatory that we get a good 2 or 3 day weather window. Personally, I'm hoping for a good 12 month weather window! But I'm a born worrier; it's what I do best (although I'm getting pretty darn good with a paint brush), and I'm pretty sure I'll be okay once we turn left at Cape Flattery, as long as we aren't greeted by some 100' Hollywood-style wave.

Provisioning Time

Sept. 1 - 4, 2003: We've been non-stop here in West Sound. Jim has spent quality time in his dad's workshop and has made a new drawer and door for under the helm seat (there used to be a pull-out liquor cabinet under it), mounting boards for the clock and barometer and builder's plaque, mounting blocks for the ship's bell and our kerosene lamp. He also ordered 3 bookshelves, but I need to varnish them before he can install. I painted the starboard cap rail and the deck boxes on the flybridge. On Monday I started quilting a thank-you gift for a friend from Van Isle, who we hope to see at the DeFever Rendezvous. That evening I took Jim's quilt off the bed and took it to quilting class for show and tell; received high praise from several of the ladies. We took a break Tuesday night from working on our wood boat to see the Wooden Boat Festival in Deer Harbor, and then attended a BBQ at the Deer Harbor Boat Works. Wood boats are such rarities these days. They are so much work, but when you see a classic old boat, it's really worth it. Our boat is hardly classic, but is old, if you consider 33 old! On Weds. morning, we took the truck to Friday Harbor for massive provisioning. Several hundred dollars later, the truck was full and then we transferred it all onto Mañana -- ha ha! As if that wasn't enough, that afternoon I went into Eastsound to run last-minute errands and finish the provisioning. Lynn & Chris hosted us for dinner that evening. I left the majority of the food on the counter and table; just couldn't deal with it then. Jim was back to his dad's workshop to finish projects on Thursday morning, while I was left to stow the food and prepare/freeze foods for our long passages. What a chore! We still have a whole bunch of items to come on board -- have no idea where they will go. The main salon is a disaster, and we're leaving at 0900 tomorrow. Yeah, right!

Orcas in Skagit Bay

Sept. 5, 2003: Up early to stow what we can. It's quite chilly and there's a low layer of fog in West Sound. Peter and Babs helped us with the lines and we were off by 0915. Thankfully the fog started to lift by the time we got to the Shaw Island ferry terminal and we had a pleasant cruise across Rosario Straight, arriving at Deception Pass at slack tide. We came across a pod of orcas, including a mom & baby, while headed south down Skagit Bay. Jim stopped the boat as we watched in fascination; they were close enough that we could hear them clear their blow holes. We arrived at Oak Harbor at 1530 with many helpful hands to help take our lines. Dinner was at the Yacht Club and it was an early night for all the DeFever Cruisers.

A Warm Send-off by the DF Cruisers

Sept. 6, 2003: Jim tried to work on projects but kept getting interrupted :). I rode the bus downtown and shopped at WalMart and Albertsons for absolutely last-minute provisions, then caught the bus back. Made lunch, varnished all of the projects Jim had worked on in West Sound and then did 2 loads of laundry. Jim attached the swim ladder, the ship's bell, fastened down the freezer, reorganized the v-berth, epoxied the flybridge door, ran a wire, etc. At 1730 the DF Cruisers arrived en masse at Mañana to toast us with champagne and presented us with a going away card and a Whidbey Island dish towel. After that, we attended a renaming ceremony for another DeFever and then had a catered BBQ. Worked like crazy to straighten the boat before tomorrow's open boat tour.

Gordon Cuts Us Free

Sept. 7, 2003: Up at 0730 and continued straightening the boat before breakfast. Got her looking pretty good! At 1140, Gordon (Sea Angel) cut our bow line, a traditional send-off for cruisers departing on a voyage, and we were free to take off. Unfortunately the horn didn't work when we tooted goodbye; it sounded like a debarked dog. Went through Deception Pass at slack with Island Fever and headed west. The Straight of Juan de Fuca was amazingly calm. Just west of Smith Island, it began to rain and we hoped it was raining on land, too! About 2 hours out of Port Angeles, a small Bayliner that was rigged for fishing started to approach us, acting quite erratically. He turned his boat so we was aimed at our starboard (right) mid-ship and poured on the power. Jim had to do an emergency stop to keep us from being rammed. The boat continued in front of and around us, still driving erratically so we called the Port Angeles Coast Guard and informed them we were being harassed. Jim was able to provide them with a partial registration number. An hour later the boat was now off our port side and was keeping pace with us about 3/4 mile away, so we notified the Coast Guard that we were concerned for our safety. After several minutes, the Coast Guard informed us that they had a visual on both boats and we were to proceed to Port Angeles. The Bayliner stopped once that broadcast was made. The Victoria Express (ferry) hailed us, wanting a description of the Bayliner and offered any assistance that we might need. We felt very reassured knowing we had friends out there. We didn't see the Bayliner again until we were entering the Port Angeles Harbor. They sped by us, but kept their distance and they headed for the launch ramp. We told the Coast Guard, but were sorry there were no blue flashing lights waiting at the ramp. So we don't know whether the Bayliner skipper was drunk and "having fun" with us, or what. I really would have liked to punch the guy in the nose -- neither of us appreciated the rubber legs he gave us. We half hoped he was monitoring Ch. 16 and heard us calling the Coast Guard and then figured "oh, oh, I'm in trouble". Whatever... We had hoped to stay at Boathaven, but the guest dock was full and no rafting allowed, so we went back to the city pier, where we found a slip at 2030. We were both exhausted, but we're planning to do Neah Bay tomorrow.

Good Bye, Port Angeles

Sept. 8, 2003: The city pier afforded us a terrible night's sleep -- very rolly and the Coho ferry was next door and would blast its horn when coming in or leaving. So we were up and underway by 0705. We've decided to try the routine Jim & Gary used when bringing the boat to Seattle -- the first one up starts the coffee and you take turns eating breakfast once underway. We encountered a very mixed bag of Straight conditions -- choppy with 3-4' sea swells, foggy until after lunch, calm, sunny, etc. The boat seemed to be secured nicely and we heard only one clunking sound, which will be investigated later. Arrived in Neah Bay at 1510. Because the wind was already picking up and strong winds are predicted for tomorrow, and because I've never been at ease at anchor and I'm very tired (I caught a cold last week), we opted to spend 2 nights in the Makah Marina. We both need to be well rested if we're to take the big jump on Weds. (weather permitting). Jim secured the aft cabin hatch when we arrived and has several projects lined up for tomorrow. Both boys have tolerated these past 2 days well.

Lessons Learned with 2 Days' Experience Under my Belt:

1) Start the trip well rested. With all the last-minute errands and details, I'd be curious to know if any person starting a long-range cruise can accomplish this.
2) Take your cold medicine before going to bed. Coughing and sniffling doesn't make for a good night's sleep for you or your partner.
3) If the fender bumping the hull bothers you at 9 PM, it will most definitely bother you at 3 AM! Readjust it before climbing into bed.

Sept. 9, 2003: A lazy day relaxing -- I put 2 more coats of varnish on the various pieces and read while they dried and Jim continued working on projects to secure the boat. We had an early dinner and into bed early in preparation of tomorrow's long day.

Sept. 10, 2003: Left Neah Bay at 0530, went inside Tatoosh Island and was kicked out into the Pacific Ocean on an ebb tide at 0630. Conditions were as predicted -- 4-5' sea swells and 1-2' sea waves. Conditions worsened as the day wore on; weather was overcast with showers and we couldn't see the land. I'm doing this trip once -- it would be nice if Mother Nature would cooperate so I can take pictures! The sea was an ugly shade of dark gray. I likened the day to going through natural childbirth, where discomfort increased as the hours went by and fatigue set in. We had to brace ourselves all day and it was too bumpy to read, sleep or really relax when off watch. The boat, on the other hand, did very well with a couple exceptions, which we temporarily addressed. I was frightened of the poundings in the beginning, but quickly realized that the boat has been down to Panama and back and the cruising we're doing is what she was built to do. Off Cape Alava, 3 hours into the cruise, we were really getting pounded from all directions, and at that point I was already tired from 2 hours of pounding and knew I had another 10 or 11 to go. After 10 hours of pounding, I wasn't a happy camper (that's being polite) and cussed Jim up one side and down the other. By then, even DC and Jerry had words to say! It felt like we'd never reach Westport because we had to keep lowering our speed because of (1) rough seas and (2) slack at the bar wasn't until 2030. Jim had planned to contact the Grays Harbor Coast Guard for the bar conditions when we got closer, but another boat (a 70' that we remembered seeing in Van Isle) hailed the CG and asked for an escort across the bar (my biggest worry). We then hailed the CG and asked if we could join the parade. The bar turned out to be the easiest part of the day, except that it was dark out. We followed the 70' (who followed the CG) and noticed they were rolling more than we were and were having more difficulty maintaining their course in the following swells. While watching them in front of us, we commented that at least we weren't afraid of breaking our crystal glassware! I must add that the CG asked both boats what speed we cruise at and adjusted the trip over the bar to a speed that accommodated us (the 70' could have gone 26 kts). The CG brought us to the transient dock at 2115 and helped us tie up -- very courteous, professional and I was very glad for the escort. At 2130 we had a cup of soup, some pudding and a couple of Tylenol PMs, and then hit the sack for the best night's sleep I've had in a long time. I must add that neither of us got seasick, nor did the cats!

Lesson of the Day:
1) Putting coffee into thermoses was a great idea; unfortunately, our thermoses didn't keep it hot for 8 hours.

Glimpses of Westport

Sept. 11-12, 2003: Slept in until almost 0800 and then went out for breakfast. Summer appears to be over -- it was misting very heavily and after walking down to the CG station and back to the marina, we were drenched. Changed into our warm fuzzies and relaxed in a warm, dry, non-rolling boat. I was glad for the free boat wash that Mother Nature gave us. I brought my sewing machine out of the cabinet and made covers for the aft cabin windows. We slept in again on Friday, apparently our bodies really took a beating on Weds. After breakfast we took the boat to the fuel dock, thinking positively about moving on tomorrow. It was a very pretty day, but lots of wind; we walked around town which took all of 15 minutes! I saw my first pelican yesterday.

Off Cape Disappointment, OR

Sept. 13, 2003: Left Westport in light fog and wind at 0720 with Ilwaco, WA as our destination. Once across the bar, the sea conditions were very good. It was a beautiful sunny day and we could see the coastline, not up close and personal because we were 6-8 miles offshore, but I found being able to see land very comforting. We also had a beautiful view of Mt. St. Helens off the Columbia River area. By the time we neared the Columbia River (around noon), we had decided we'd try for Tillamook, OR, knowing we might not be able to cross the bar and would have to go on. We reached Tillamook at 1800, just in time for maximum ebb -- definitely not when you want to cross a bar. We could "hang around" until 2200 for slack water, or we could head south to Newport. Sea swells and waves had picked up a bit, but were still from behind us and we were relatively comfortable. On 9/14 at 0045 we were at the outer channel marker of Yaquina Bay (Newport) and called the Coast Guard for a bar update. Their report was over 3 hours old and they did not have updated information, but we were on a flood tide. Jim said "Hold On!" and across we went. We got pushed around a bit, but not bad...we gain a little more confidence each time we cross a bar. A delivery skipper we had talked to suggested we dock at the commercial dock, as it is located downtown. We tried to, but didn't see any open slips. However, we did manage to stir the sea lions that were on the breakwater. Their bark is very loud (especially at 0130!) and one even sounded like he had a microphone attached to him! We made our way to the public marina and took a slip at 0145. By 0200 we were sound asleep in bed. We had been at sea for over 18 hours.

Lessons of the Day:

1) Running at night is beautiful when the moon and stars are out.
2) Running at night is scarier because you can't see the waves, logs, crabpots, etc.
3) Two weeks ago I told Jim & Peter that 6 hours was the most I wanted to do in a day; I heard myself telling Jim just this morning that "it's okay if we have to bash -- it's only a 6 hour trip." Somebody, shoot me, PLEASE!

Mañana Resting in Newport, OR

Sept. 14, 2003: Surprisingly, we were up at our regular time, but we're both really out of it and the cats seem to be as well. After checking in with the office, we watched a couple fisherman clean tuna and got some very helpful tips regarding both tuna cleaning and harbors south of here. We met two other couples who are on sailboats headed for Mexico (they left Neah Bay the same morning we did) and recognized a boat that left Westport on Thursday. We went for a long walk around the area playing tourist and also in search of potatoes to go with tonight's steak, but it appears all the grocery stores are downtown, a 2-3 mile walk. A big, fat sea lion entertained us as he whipped a salmon back and forth and dove into the water with his flippers sticking up into the air. The cats both seem to be enjoying watching all the sea gulls.

Sept. 15-18, 2003: It's a good thing Newport's an interesting place to visit because we ended up spending 5 days there. We took the bus into town on Monday to update the web site and buy a few fresh fruits and veggies. We stopped along the waterfront and watched all those loud sea lions that we stirred up Sunday morning. I could have watched them for hours. Met Bob & Becky (Star Dust), who have cruised extensively. We had coffee with them on their boat after returning from town and I asked Becky how she passes the time when underway. Her answer was "sleep." We worked on a few small projects on Tuesday and actually took time to put our feet up and relax that afternoon. We had to make a run downtown again on Weds. because Jim needed a few supplies for the boat. I checked out a fabric store that had some beautiful and unique fabrics, but came out empty handed. Now THAT's self-discipline! I invited Bob & Becky to dinner Weds. night but they had decided to head out. Hopefully we'll meet up with them someplace along the way. We continued to work on small projects on Thurs. After supper, Khem & Nancy from a few slips down stopped by to chat. While we were talking, we watched a small boat with a very drunk crew come in and we joked about them docking by braille. A little while later, we heard one man yelling what we thought was "Bill" so we ignored him. Then we heard a splash and Jim ran to get the binoculars. The man was in the water actually yelling "Help". Khem, Nancy & I went running and Jim made a mayday call on the radio. Khem and another man pulled the drunk out of the water, I helped him get out of some of his wet clothes and Nancy stood watch for the ambulance. We guessed he'd been in there for at least 10 min. and I don't think he could have held on too much longer. The police wanted to know if we could testify in court as to who was at the helm. We said "forget it - we're off to Mexico". But kudos to the 4 of us for actually saving a man's life.

Calm Seas and Sand Dunes off Oregon

Sept. 19, 2003: Up and out at 0630 in dense fog - finally! Initially the seas were a little rolly but gradually smoothed out to make for a nice day. We saw several sharks (will assume they were small sharks based on the size of the fins -- please don't tell me if there are big sharks with small fins!) and a medium size black bird with a bright orange beak. I was at the helm at 1400 when I realized the splash I saw next to me was not white caps but dolphins playing in our bow wake! How cool!! I woke Jim up and we went forward to watch them play. The dolphins returned two more times and played for a good 10 min. before leaving. The wind picked up about one hour out of Coos Bay making it very rolly. As we were approaching the bar, I suggested that Jim put his sandals on in case it took 2 of us to work the lines upon docking, so I took the helm, but Jim wouldn't take it back. I brought the boat in across the bar, hand steering with 6-8' following sea swells. Jim offered words of encouragement as I fought to keep Mañana going in a straight line; I was giving my biceps a total workout and it hurt, but I persevered! I've come a long way from sweaty palms crossing the Grays Harbor bar to driving the boat across Coos Bay. The wind helped us dock along the transient dock at 1630. The current weather forecast indicates we may be here several days; we plan to tour the area and get our crab ring out.

Jan Checks the Crab Ring

Sept. 20, 2003: A wonderfully relaxing day. The sky is blue but the wind is blowing like stink. We checked out the downtown, all 10 stores, but discovered everything anyone could need (grocery, post office, restaurants, bakery). On the way back to the boat, we checked out a fishing boat that had a sign out for fresh-caught tuna. He was selling whole tuna for $1.50/lb. but since we didn't need or want a whole fish, he agreed to sell us 5 lbs. for $16.00. He also told us how to prepare and cook it. Back at the boat, we vacuum bagged and froze half the tuna, and marinated the other half. We spent the afternoon watching people crab and asking questions, and decided we were ready to give it a try. Jim bought bait (chicken legs) and we tossed our ring over the side of the boat. Talk about getting hooked! We crabbed for 3 hours but only caught one crab that we could keep. In Oregon you aren't allowed to keep the Dungeness females or undersized males, which is basically what was crawling into our trap. However, you can keep any size or sex Red Rock crab and we caught one of those. Folks had told us they felt the Red Rock are sweeter than Dungeness, so I cooked it up and Jim picked it. There was hardly any meat on it, but what there was was indeed sweet. Later on, Jim got the BBQ grill out and we put a couple marinated tuna steaks on -- 3 min. per side like the fisherman had told us -- and were they good! We froze the remaining marinated tuna steaks. A couple of boys offered us the use of their crab trap and bait overnight. We're hoping for a full pot.

Sept. 21, 2003: Last night's crabbing was a bust; the majority of the bait had been eaten, but there were only 3 small females inside. Oh well! We walked to the bakery for breakfast. Charleston's jelly donuts rate a 10 -- light and full of jelly -- yum! Jim started crabbing as soon as we returned to the boat. He went to the end of the dock where yesterday, folks were catching the big males. He caught 1 red rock and 3 dungeness. Another couple gave us their 2 red rocks. We cooked and picked the crabs, ending up with 1 lb. of dungeness, which we froze and a bowl full of red rock, which we put over pasta (with canned clams, green onions, garlic and white wine). Another yum! Around 1500 a sailboat came in looking for a slip. The transient dock is full so we yelled for them to raft off Mañana. The wind was howling 30 kts at the time. We realized we have done absolutely nothing to the boat since we arrived on Friday -- just played, explored and relaxed.

A Beautiful Hike

Sept. 22, 2003: Another beautiful sunny day but it's still blowing. I put a coat varnish on the pieces that I had started in Newport. At the suggestion of the couple across from us, we went for a walk along a wildlife trail maintained by the University of Oregon and out to the Coast Guard's lookout station, then along the sand dunes across from us -- a beautiful 3.5 mile walk. Jim treated me to an ice cream cone on the way back. We had hoped to be able to leave tomorrow, but the forecast says it'll be at least one more day. Mañana!!

Sept. 23, 2003: Last night I decided I was going to really splurge and have another one of those "10" jelly donuts, so we walked downtown for breakfast, running a few other errands while there. Jim's gotten addicted to crabbing and he spent 5 hours at it; he caught 9 crabs. He kept 6 dungeness crabs and gave the 3 red rock crabs away. We cooked the crabs and he picked enough to include with our supper, we refrigerated the rest for tomorrow. Had a late dessert with Kathleen & Nick (Orcella), and then readied the boat for offshore tomorrow.

Coquille River Lighthouse

Rocks off Coquille River Bar

Sept. 24, 2003: Up and out by 0700. It's finally calm and clear. It was quite rolly outside of the bar because of Cape Arago, and then the forecasted north winds never materialized and we were bouncing our way into a south wind, but with a north swell. It wasn't totally bad, but 12 hours wouldn't have been pleasant. We decided to try the Coquille River (Bandon) bar, but the Coast Guard closed up shop on Labor Day, so we weren't able to get an updated bar report. That meant we had to take our chances on the bar, using the knowledge we've learned over the past few weeks. Thankfully the bar was nice and calm. The Harbormaster told us to take any slip and then met us and asked if he could drive us anywhere. Our jaws hung open -- no one has made that offer and we were unprepared for it! Jim suggested we could use some groceries so Bob (the harbormaster) said he had to run a couple of errands and he'd be back for us in one hour. Sure enough, he came back to get us and ran us up to the grocery store, saying he'd be back in 20 min. We told him we'd prefer to walk back and asked about the moorage. Well, seeing as we'd only be here one night, we could stay for free. If we need another night, we'll talk to him tomorrow! Wow! So we walked around town, and I found a quilt shop :) We also found local knowledge of a place where we can connect to the internet to update the web site for $5.00. Wouldn't you know it's back up by the grocery store! When we returned, we picked the remaining crabs thinking crab cakes for dinner, only to realize that they needed to be refrigerated for several hours before cooking. So we had canned beef stew and Saltines for dinner -- dad would be proud of us! In bed at 2030.

Thought for the day: A bad day at the office is MUCH better than a bad day on the ocean! Trust me!

Sept. 25, 2003: It was a coin toss whether to stay in Bandon or head out, but we decided to head out at 0730. We had a mixed bag of conditions -- high wind waves and 25 kt. winds to calm seas and fog. By the time we reached Brookings at 1730, it was very calm and we were wondering if we should continue to Crescent City, another 20 miles (3 hours), but we both agreed we were tired so we pulled into Brookings. The CG came by within 15 min. and did a courtesy inspection, which we passed. Then the security guard came by and told us we were technically at the fuel dock and we'd have to move by 0700. I finally cooked the crab cakes and they were delicious -- had them open faced on English muffins. Another early-to-bed night.

Humpback Whales, Up Close and Personal

Sept. 26, 2003: Out by 0700 as requested. The bar was very calm. Another mixed bag sea day but mostly comfortable. Mother Nature put on a wonderful show for us. We had dolphins play in our bow wake a couple of times, and then while I was on watch, I saw birds circling something that looked like a big fin. I got the binoculars out thinking it was a whale, but didn't see anything again. A few minutes later I was looking out the starboard door window and there was a humpback whale right beside us! I yelled "Wow! Whale!" and Jim jumped off the settee. We slowed Mañana to determine which direction the whale was going and then continued back on course. Less than a minute later, we noticed several spouts up ahead of us coming towards us. Two whales came RIGHT at us, diving down and smacking their flukes. What an unbelieveable show!! We were in the middle of a pod, which we assume was feeding. The fluke smacking went on all around us. In the middle of all of this, we were visited by a small bird that kept flittering around the boat. It landed several times and very casually walked around the decks, exploring the winch and the fenders. This bird definitely looked like it was looking for a tree, but at the time, we were 12 miles offshore! We slowed the boat to 6 kts so we wouldn't arrive at Eureka's bar too early. When we were approaching the outer channel marker at 1815, we noticed a lot of splashing around the buoy. It was a baby seal that was trying with all its might to jump up on the buoy, except it kept missing and would end up doing belly flops back into the water - truly hilarious! The Humboldt River bar was calm when we came across. We followed the Coast Guard and a tug-barge-tug combo. Once across the bar, I sliced some cheese & beefstick and we munched, as it was 5 miles up the channel to Eureka. Star Dust, Matarua and Sowelu (from Newport) were at the dock. We had just finished securing the boat when Joyce & Peter walked by and recognized us. They were on their way to Sowelu for a birthday party for Peter and invited us to join them. We had a great time sharing stories of where we've been and what we've done since we last saw each other. Becky made an apple cake with Cool Whip and a brown sugar cream sauce. We had originally planned on leaving for Fort Bragg tomorrow, but they all requested we stay and visit (besides, they all had a need for "Mr. Computer Man"). At $9.50 a night, we can afford to stay here!

Lesson of the Day:
1) It's reassuring to learn that we aren't the only ones who have lost track of the day of the week.

Shopping Day

Sept. 27, 2003: It felt wonderful to sleep in. We had both started working on little projects when the group came by and asked if we wanted to join them on a trip to the grocery store. Sure, what the heck! Several miles later...we arrived at Safeway, did our shopping and then had a coffee and donut while waiting for the bus to take us back to the marina. We looked like a motley crew with all our backpacks and bags filled with groceries. Jim spent the afternoon helping everyone with their various computer problems. At 1800 we were all invited to Sowelu for shrimp and spring rolls that Mai had made. She said it took her 2 hours to make them but it took us only 15 min. to inhale them! Afterwards, Boja, Mai, Becky, Bob, Jim & I walked to old downtown and admired all the old Victorian buildings and palm trees, and then had dinner at a Mexican restaurant. We returned to the boat at 2015 and readied the boat for tomorrow's trip.

A Beautiful Sunset Near Fort Bragg

Sept. 28, 2003: We crossed the Humboldt River bar at 0700 and were greeted by porpoises and pelicans. The sea was absolutely flat calm. Jim set a course to the southwest, putting a lot of distance between us and Cape Mendocino. Three hours later, still in calm seas, Cape Mendocino was off our port side and we were enjoying tea and the chocolate chip cookies that Becky gave us last night. And to think I'd spent the night worrying! Although the flat seas remained with us for the day, we picked up a foul current, which made the trip that much longer. Fort Bragg has one of the narrowest bar entrances around at 82' across under Highway 101. The bridge was under construction and there were all sorts of lights, making entering very confusing. To make matters worse, a restaurant had a bright light illuminating its sign and practically blinding us. Thankfully Jim had been here 3 years ago and was vaguely familiar with the entrance. Getting into the slip was a bit challenging because of the river current and the fact that the slip finger was only 20' long (and our boat is 45'). Many thanks to the guy in the boat beside us who grabbed our lines at 2000.

Lesson of the Day:
1) Neah Bay to Westport was NOT the longest day, as I naively believed it would be. Despite reassurances that ports would get closer the further south we get, our average cruising day is still around 12 hours from Point A to Point B.

Quaint Fort Bragg, CA

Sept. 29 - 30, 2003: It always feels so good to be able to sleep in after a long day's cruise. We checked in with the marina office and told them we'll be here until our 3 packages arrive. We walked around the immediate area. Jim mounted the bookshelves and the clock and barometer. Only 1 package arrived on Monday. Up early on Tuesday to do the laundry, a 20 min. walk. Also bought some fresh veggies and Jim bought 3 new (smaller sized) T-shirts at an outlet store. The other 2 packages arrived by 1430 so we readied the boat and left Fort Bragg at 1515 with Drakes Bay as our destination. All the people we've talked to run at night so I'll try it, although I'm not at all comfortable with the thought. We stood 2-hour watches, which really wasn't long enough for a good rest. I find running at night very scarey, but I've never been comfortable in the dark anyway. We had good sea/wind conditions so the ride was comfortable, but I told Jim I won't do another night passage until we get to Mexico and it's necessary to do so to cross the Sea of Cortez to the mainland. While underway, a small bird landed on the boat and hitched a ride to Drakes Bay. Anchored in Drakes Bay in the dark and fog at 0600 and went to bed.

Drakes Bay, CA

Oct. 1, 2003: We got up at 1000 and let DC on deck. The little bird that landed on Mañana last night was still with us (much to our surprise) and DC found it and tried to bring it inside. Luckily he was gentle and Jim was able to free the bird. We hope it was okay. DC must have thought he'd died and gone to heaven! Sowelu is at anchor behind us. We waved to each other and were invited for dinner. I started working on a quilt project, but it's utilizing paper piecing, something I've never done. My mind wasn't plugged in enough to continue so I made chocolate cupcakes for tonight and Jim hooked up the VHF antenna on the flybridge. We dinghied over to Sowelu at 1700 and had a delightful evening and then had a cold, wet dinghy ride back to our boat.

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