Nightwatch!

Trip Start Jul 23, 2013
1
11
52
Trip End May 31, 2014


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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, August 12, 2013

Ciao from Crescent City.  That's Crescent City as in California.  Three weeks and three days after leaving Port Angeles we are in sunny California.  Actually there has been little sun so far.  We're still dealing with patchy fog.  (That's the bad news.  The good news is our sunscreen supply is in good shape!)

After 4 days we finally left Bandon yesterday.  We rolled into town and across the bar as we had every place so far in that there was nothing to suggest the existence of a river bar as we entered the channel between the rock jetties.  Four days later we have seen what an angry bar looks like.  It's really something.

As we always do before setting out we looked at and listened to several different weather forecasts.  Weather-wise things hadn't changed much overnight so early the next morning, before sunup, we lit up the engines and headed out.  Two charter boats from here headed out of the marina moments before us.  We thought to ourselves "this will be great, we'll follow these guys out and do what they do and we'll be in fine shape."  As we were going out the channel we could hear waves crashing (crashing mind you, not lapping) on the beach outside the jetty.  That should have been all we needed to know but we kept on following the big boys.  Surely they know what they are doing we thought to ourselves.  The night was pitch black and we crept along listening to those waves, getting more and more nervous as we went.  All of a sudden Rick could make out the end of the channel where the protection of the jetties ends.  What he saw was a tall wall of white breaking water stretching all the way across the channel!

Rick says he's willing to bet serious money nobody has ever snapped a one hundred eighty degree turn in a 36 foot sailboat in that channel that fast EVER.  We headed back to the marina and tied up in the slips we had just left.  A few minutes later both of those charter boats came back in and tied up as well.  This time they followed our lead.

We finally left the marina at 3:30 in the afternoon yesterday.  We left late because that was when high slack tide occurred.  High slack is the best time to cross the bar in terms of flat water.  And we definitely wanted the flattest water available!  As it was, the bar was closed to small boats but we had no problems.  Since we had to leave so late we decided it was time to try a night run.

We have been able to hop from harbor to harbor during the days so far on this trip.  That was always our plan.  We are entering a fun race that goes from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas in late October.  For that race we will have to run all night.  Sooner or later we needed to give it a try.  Last night was the night.

We had a delicious and simple one pot boat dinner and since Rick is an early to crash early to rise type, Patti took the first watch.  She prefers staying up late and sleeping in.  (You know what they say about opposites attracting.)  Anyway Rick hit the sack at 8:00 with the idea she was gonna get him up at midnight or so.  At 3 AM he woke up to find her still driving!  He asked her why she didn't wake him earlier.  Patti responded "I was having a ball and was gonna get you up at 4:00."  Talk about a shipmate!

Imagine a night as black as black can be.  Then imagine sitting inside your boat, your home, your world in a comfy seat with only the dim green glow of the radar, chart plotter, compass, etc. as your company.  Outside all you can see is one tiny dim white light glowing ahead on the stern of your buddy boat Sunshine.  Occasionally even it is blotted out by a wave.  Everything else doesn't exist.  You know of course that driftwood, crab pots, sleeping whales and other bogies are out there but you can't see them or do anything about them. That's kinda what a night watch is like.  Except we have snacks.  And iPods.  And iPads.

Morning came as it always does although it seems to take longer on night watch.  A bit later we entered the boat harbor at Crescent City.  There was construction equipment everywhere.  As you might recall Crescent City was hit by a tsunami in 2011 and the boat harbor was wiped out.  Turns out the same thing happened in 1964.  This time they are building a "tsunami proof" marina.  Check the pictures to see the size and numbers of pilings they're installing.


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Comments

ritasohana@gmail.com on

Wow very interesting and scary... Give you guys a lot credit to tackle this... but I know you all have so much experience and many sailing hours behind you.
Aloha nui

Dave Garberg on

Experience is one thing.....you two are flat out brave! I had a lot of fun reading about your travels and look forward to more as they come. Be safe!

Esther McRae on

Ron & I were living (for a year) in (Port) Alberni when the Alaska earthquake & resulting tsunamis struck Crescent City & Port Alberni B.C. It was a holiday weekend in Canada (Easter) & we ended up with five extra people in our place.We were above the flooded area by about 8 feet.I took a flashlight & looked over the bank & saw the water receding.1964.

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