R Factor Journal 2004
April 19, 2004
Just got back to Calgary after spending 10 days on the boat and 5 days of sailing lessons with Bruce Stott of Gulf Island Cruising in Sidney. This was a great trip with a range of warm sunny calm days to rainy windy days while cruising at up to 8.7 knots in 27 knots of wind. The kids also got to catch a few jelly fish and saw some porpoises riding our bow waves a few times.
We bought our first boat in October 2003 and I took my first sailing lesson in January 2004. We are planning a circumnavigation beginning in July 2004. For our shakedown cruise we plan to go to Alaska this summer and then spend Christmas in Mexico. Our house in Calgary Alberta is up for sale and we plan to move onto the boat July 6, 2004 for the next 5 years. Our kids are now 9, 11 and 13 and will be home schooled along the way.
Although we have little sailing experience we now have a boat and a means to sail for the next 5 years.
I have traveled extensively around the world and wanted to travel with my family. As the majority of the world's population lives near the ocean and the most economical way to travel is to take your house with you, sailing seemed the most logical way to travel.
July 14, 2004
We are now on our trip, our house is sold, our boat is ship/shape and we on our way. We still had some things to do but all the major items were completed. We got our satellite email, mapping software and forward looking sonar for the trip. We also got our life raft tested and found that it would not hold air, and that it was, of course, not repairable. We now have a deck mounted solas approved life raft. I went to replace the battery for our EPIRB but the battery was about $1100 so we bought a new one.
We left Sidney, BC at 5:30 pm after taking on a little over 1650 liters of diesel and 250 gallons of water. First destination Salt Spring Island about 4 hours away. Not far but you have to start somewhere.
July 15, 2004
Stayed a day in Ganges, Salt Spring Island as the last few days were very hectic and very rushed. Time for a breather. Plus, Linda likes the shops especially Mouats. We picked up a crab trap and hopefully we will catch some. It was quite uncomfortable at the dock last night. It was really windy. The kids woke up "dock sick" for lack of a better word. We moved the boat into a berth not quite so windy. Hopefully tonight will be better.
July 16, 2004
While leaving Ganges in Salt Spring the wind would not cooperate in us getting out of dock. At one point I thought we were going to take out the dock. An elderly gentleman and his wife were walking along the dock enjoying the morning while we were trying to leave. He saw us having trouble and decided to help. While I appreciate the help, it is not wise for an elderly man (approximately 80 years young) to try and stop a 44,0000 lb boat from hitting the dock. I had visions of not only taking out the dock but also the man. We definitely have room for improvement in our docking and leaving the dock skills. Montague Harbour is only a couple of hours away but it is a nice anchorage where they have mooring buoys and in the summer a floating bakery. Grabbing the mooring buoy was a bit of a problem especially when we dropped the boat hook in the water. After several times trying to grab our pole someone felt sorry for us and came in his dinghy and handed us our pole. We were quite grateful and a little embarrassed. We then lowered the dinghy and made our way to the Bakery. They have the best cinnamon buns. We felt better after hearing that only a few hours prior someone actually fell off their boat while trying to moor. I guess we are not doing to bad.
July 17, 2004
Silva Bay, tried to anchor but had some difficulties and ended up docking rather quickly in a stiff wind. We were not quite ready for the docking which resulted in a tense few moments. However, a very nice man named Bob came and helped us. However, apparently once someone grabs your lines they have permission to also yell orders to you. Between Bob and our own captain yelling orders at us the crew and first mate were feeling a little stressed. However a lovely lunch at the nearside restaurant seemed to smooth things over with the crew of R Factor. Nice location and stayed an extra day.
July 19, 2004
Pender Harbour anchor. Crossed the Georgia Strait and main sail halyard broke in a 28 knot wind. We had to take the sail down which meant Jessica was at the helm heading the boat directly into the wind. Bruce, myself and Keegan were on the deck trying to get the sail down while the waves were pouring over our bow. We finally made it to our anchorage only to find out our water pump was not working. Bruce then replaced the filter and now it seems OK. We hoisted Bruce up the mast (approximately 50 feet up) to see if we could fix the problem. We can't and will need to find someone to help us.
July 20, 2004
Grief Point Dock. Very tight harbour to get into. We found someone who could help repair the halyard. The guy went up the mast, came down and said it was to high to work on. Bruce spent the next 5 hours up the mast repairing the halyard.
July 21, 2004
Galley Bay, Desolation Sound. Nice anchorage. Water 22°C kids went swimming off the boat and a bit of exploring. Saw a 64 ft Maple Leaf, Pacific Wanderer.
July 23, 2004
Campbell River. Tried to go to another location in Desolation Sound but we could not bring up the anchor all the way. We needed to wait 5 to 10 minutes and then bring it up a little more. This process took us well over an hour to get our anchor up. We then decided to go to Campbell River for repairs. Found someone to help and had our anchor windlass motor repaired. Great place to be as the dock is just in front of a shopping mall, so everyone was happy. Also there is a Starbucks in the mall. I need caffeine after all the excitement.
Linda at the helm
July 25, 2004
Otter Cover. Anchored with about 14 other fishing boats, went through 32 knot wind. When we left Campbell River the boat beside us which is a 60,000 lb boat hit the boat in front and behind them. Bow thruster/throttle problems - some confusion over which was which. He caused a fair amount of damage. He was the smallest of the three boats. The Coast Guard was boarding them as we left our slip. Funny thing, everyone was quite willing to help us leave dock after witnessing this. I have been so concerned over our docking skills. I'm not feeling so bad after seeing what just happened.
July 26, 2004
Tuna Point. Rough day today as we encountered gale winds of 43 knots. Water came in the kids windows and through the vent holes which we thought were sealed, but not well enough for heavy weather. Will need to replace a few seals and vents. Had to dry all the kids bedding before they could go to sleep. Good thing we have a dryer on board.
July 27, 2004
Boughey Bay. Nice trip now that we are out of Johnstone Strait.
Bear near Boughey Bay feeding along shore
July 28, 2004
Hanson Island. Were looking for Orca whales but did not see any. Neither did the whale watchers.
July 29, 2004
Port McNeill. Had to anchor tonight as the only dock in town is full. We are on a waiting list and should get into the dock tomorrow. Will be visiting Bill Ford, an old high school friend, in town over the long weekend. We will also be getting our furnace fixed. It doesn't seem to be working consistently. Since we are going to Alaska we would like to have some heat.
August 4, 2004
Traveled for 13 hours today anchored at 51.38.774N, 128.09.474W in the dark as everyone not feeling so well due to ocean swells. Saw a Grey Whale and its tail today, also had a few bow rider friends. Not sure if it was any calmer at the anchorage.
Dolphins bow riding
August 5, 2004
Goose Bay, anchored with 9 other 60 year old lady kayakers. These ladies have been friends for over 30 years and take a vacation once a year together. They all celebrated their 60th birthday this year.
August 6, 2004
Grant Anchorage, Windlass not working will not bring up anchor. Put out 2nd anchor for the night. Very nice well protected anchorage but it is very tight to get into and detailed charts are a must.
August 7, 2004
Fixed Windlass, pin broke and can repair it for now but will need more pins. I must say if someone had told me 6 months ago that I would be spending my Saturday afternoon with my hands and arms in grease fixing a windlass I would have laughed at them. Not laughing now!
Special note for Leone and Gerry - I thank you from the bottom of my heart for raising your son on a farm. Thanks to you he can fix pretty much anything; a skill we seem to need now.
August 8, 2004
Campania Island, Good sailing day, saw a pod of 8 or 9 Orca Whales, a couple of gray whales, a couple of more bald eagles and Keegan saw his first shark.
August 9, 2004
Captains Cove, nice anchorage, glassy calm waters today.
August 10, 2004
Prince Rupert. Docked and will provision up before leaving for Alaska. Have spent a couple of days here and have not had to have anything fixed, replaced or repaired. What's up with that?
Some workers from a nearby freighter in Prince Rupert coming to shore.
Stayed at the Prince Rupert Yacht Club, nice marina and we even had wireless internet on the boat. Nice place to provision before heading north. We took the kids swimming at the local pool. It was nice to get away from the boat for a few hours. The kids really enjoyed the pool.
August 13, 2004
Dundas Island. Last anchorage before leaving Canada, nice quiet anchorage. Still having great weather, 26C and sunny, still mostly motoring as we either have headwinds or no winds.
Jacqueline leaving Prince Rupert
August 14, 2004
Ketchikan Alaska - Checked in with customs. Must be in Alaska as the weather is now 28C. There were 3 cruise ships anchored downtown so we took a taxi downtown so see the sights. Unfortunately the shops all close when the cruise ships leave, last one left at 2:00 pm.
August 16, 2004
Ratz Harbour - nice anchorage, water was rough as we left Ketchikan due to intersecting currents.
August 17, 2004
Petersburg - This is definitely a fishing village as we were lucky enough to have a great view from our stern of the local fish processing plant. Met Ian and Helen Mclean who just bought a 54 foot Mapleleaf sailboat "Secret Water" from Vancouver. We had actually looked at this sailboat in the fall. It was nice to visit with other people who had kids as well. The children went swimming in the local swimming pool, ate ice-cream and watched movies. We had dinner with the Mclean's. It was a nice relaxing day for all.
Secret Water in Petersberg
August 19, 2004
Tracey's arm - Saw lots of humpback whales today. We had 4 whales go directly under our boat, they were so close that if we fell in the water while we looked at them we would have landed on the whale. The kids also saw some whales breaching in the distance. As we were entering Tracy's arm we were on the look out for ice which was floating around, missed the ice but we were able to hit a 12 inch log easily enough. Upon closer inspection of the boat we saw no visible damage. Who would have thought that logs would be in Tracey's Arm.
August 20, 2004
Tracey's Arm - Went farther into Tracey's Arm today to see the ice and the fiords. It was a little foggy and rainy when we started but it cleared up. As we got further back the ice got thicker and thicker and eventually we decided to turn around. However the ice closed in behind us and we had to slowly push ice out of the way to get back. We were not able to actually see the glacier head. Lovely green glacier water with a balmy temperature of 5.4C. Had to fix the windlass again, shorting out, will need to look at this back in Sidney. Bruce fixed the windless with duct tape, a piece of cardboard and a tupperware lid. McGuyver would be proud!
Tracey's Arm Ice Bergs, very close
Nice Green Water and Waterfalls
Winter Conditions, Linda and Keegan
Linda, Replay of what she looked like when she saw a Whale up close
August 21, 2004
Funter Bay - Cruised passed Juneau as we need to get to Glacier Bay in time for our permit. Stayed in Coot Cove in Funter bay. Nice little anchorage which is well sheltered.
August 22, 2004
Hoonah - Docked in Hoonah for the night. Went to town for provisions but as it was Sunday we had to settle to buy our food at the equivalent of a 7 Eleven but with much less selection.
August 23, 2004
Glacier Bay - Arrived just before noon, checked-in, had lunch at the lodge and then proceeded to Blue Mouse Cove. Fairly deep anchorage and must anchor close to the shore.
First view of Glacier Bay
August 24, 2004
Proceeded to John Hopkins Glacier in the morning. Just hung out in front of the glacier watching the glacier calve into the ocean. There were also many seals on the ice and had to keep clear of them as well as all the ice. We saw many small pieces of ice fall of the glacier into the ocean, but were hoping for a larger piece to fall in. While we were video taping a 5 story high piece of ice fell into the ocean and caused a 4 - 6 ft wave towards us. We were hoping it did not push us to far into the other ice bergs around us. All was well after the massive piece of ice fell we were relieved that we were not any closer, we were about 1/4 of a mile away at the time. The water around the glacier is about 5C. Anchored in Reid Inlet at the base of a glacier and went for a quick hike to the glacier and walked under the glacier. Linda did not join in the hike as she fell down the companionway at lunch time. She hit her head on the freezer and was a little dizzy for a few minutes. She also hurt her back and neck.
Our first up close glacier
John Hopkins Glacier
Pocket cruise ship in front of glacier
Seals on ice pack
Ice calving into the water
Wave from a small piece of ice calving into water
Reid Glacier we were anchored in front of
August 25, 2004
Went to Margerie Glacier today along with a couple of cruise ships. Saw lots of ice calve into the ocean but nothing as spectacular as yesterday. Hit a larger bergy bit which took off a little bit of loose paint. Went back to Reid Inlet and went for a hike to the glacier again. The kids had fun walking around the big pieces of ice.
Later that evening we heard someone frantically calling the park rangers, no one answered. The Blue Fin then called a fishing trawler in Reid Inlet, no answer. As we were in Reid Inlet I answered and they seemed very relieved to hear from us. The apparently had hit a bit of ice and had just beached their boat as they were taking on a bit of water. They said they were fine and would make a run for the rangers station in the morning. They asked us to stand by if they needed anything.
Cruise ship in front of Glacier
Jessica and Jacqueline
Linda and Bruce
Jacqueline, fashion does not take a break in Alaska
Jessica and Keegan rock climbing
R Factor in Reid Inlet
August 26, 2004
Reid Inlet - The Blue Fin was high and dry in the morning and we went over to see them. They were a 23 ft boat from Seattle and had popped a few rivets but did not have anything to repair the boat. Bruce went back to our boat and got a bit of 5 minute epoxy which seemed to work OK. They left at high tide.
Went to Sandy cove for the night.
Kids exploring ice bits from Reid Glacier
Blue ice in glacier
Kids marooned on a ice berg, you want what!!
August 27, 2004
Went ashore this morning and explored the beach. We saw a few grizzly bear tracks on the tidal flats. Also as we were leaving Bruce saw a Humpback whale in full breach, looked just like the pictures in a wildlife book.
We continued to Bartlett Cove and anchored in the bay. Talked to the Park Rangers who said that the Blue Fin made it OK and where continuing to Juneau for a better repair, a couple hundred miles away.
Grizzly Bear tracks
August 28, 2004
Left Glacier Bay this morning for Elfin Cove. Elfin Cove is a small town with a boardwalk and no roads. It has a winter population of 12, yes 12 people. We want to get ready for our trip south. Provisioning in Elfin Cove is not easy. There is one general store with less selection than a small 7-11.
Glacier Bay from Elfin Cove
August 31, 2004
Leave Elfin Cove right into the Pacific Ocean. Sailed to Elkugu Bay on Herbert Graves Island. Wind shifted during the night making for a rough night.
Sept 1, 2004
Sailed all day and night down the outside passage, winds 10 - 25 knots, weather system 2 days behind us.
Sept 2, 2004
Wind picking up and decided to head for shore. As we approached shore the wind picked up dramatically to above 30 knots. It would seem that the weather report this morning of 15 to 20 knots of wind was about 1/2 right. Took in the genoa and waited until we were closer to shore to roll in the main. We saw a Humpback whale in full breach out of the water as we were taking in the sail.
Once closer to shore the genoa unrolled and got jammed. The genoa sheet then went in the water- don't know what happened to the stopper knot. The next thing we had a genoa sheet around the propeller. We were able to sail to Bob's Cove for the night. During all the commotion Bruce got hit with genoa sheets several times, the jack lines got jammed in the genoa blocks and the boom vang also started to break apart. Everyone was scared as we were exposed to the pacific waves in 30 knot winds, about 200 meters from shore and a propeller fouled with rope. Fortunately we could use reverse although it did shake the boat a lot. By the time we sailed into Bob's Cove it was dark outside. There was nothing we could do tonight. We would have to wait until morning to assess the damage. We had a solemn supper of toast and soft boiled eggs. Morale is pretty low. Our son, Keegan, reminded us that it was our decision to come on this trip not theirs.
Sept 3, 2004
Bob's Cove - Bruce had to skin dive under the boat to get the propeller free. He used a wire saw to help cut the ropes, placed it under water and then cut it above. It took over 6 hours to get the rope off the propeller in the rain in Alaskan waters. Next on the list is some proper diving gear.
Left Bob's Bay at 4:15 and traveled through Tlevak Narrows. We saw a few whales and settled in Breezy Bay. Wind picked up and we dragged about 100 meters. We let out more chain and we settled in nicely. The wind died down during the night. I guess that is why it is called Breezy Bay.
Sept 4, 2004
Breezy Bay - Left Breezy Bay and headed across the Dixon Entrance as the weather was closing in on us. Weather said 15 - 25 knots wind decreasing in the afternoon. As we proceeded we saw 15 to 25 knots of wind but the waves were 3 - 5 meters, 9 to 15 feet. Unfortunately Jacqueline got a little seasick. Arrived in Masset at 6:45 pm and cleared customs. Went up town in the rain and only 1 restaurant was open. Masset has less than a thousand people but has all the basic facilities.
Sept 6, 2004
Masset - off duty customs officer just dropped by to see the new boat in town. She was just wondering if we had cleared customs as she did not hear anything about it. Rain again today.
Sept 7, 2004
Masset - Went to fuel dock to fuel up to leave tomorrow. As we left the fuel dock the transmission stopped working. We drifted towards the Omega fish plant. Luckily a few fishermen were able to grab a line and pull us to the fish plant dock. We spent the afternoon at the fish processing plant while trying to get someone to look at the transmission and get a tow back to the dock. It would seem that when our line was wrapped around the propeller it damaged the transmission and the drive shaft in the transmission sheared off. .We found a replacement for $3,500 but the mechanic said he would need to fly someone in to repair it. Got the boat towed to the dock by a retired tug boat operator. Rain
Sept 8, 2004
Masset - Found an alternate transmission supplier - $2,200 and will get it flown in by Friday. Had another local mechanic help me remove the old one and inspect for further damage, 1/2 hour time. As there was no damage we can now easily install the new transmission. Raining again.
Our broken transmission
Sept 9, 2004
Masset - Rent a car in the rain and go to Queen Charlotte City for a park orientation, visit a museum and look around. Rain.
Sept 10, 2004
Masset - Transmission arrived by air this morning. Had mechanic spend another 1 1/2 to install transmission, to heavy for me to lift by myself. Tested transmission at dock in the rain as a weather front was coming in and we did not want to leave the dock, also all the fishermen where coming in and we would quickly lose our spot.
Went to Tow Hill and the Blow Hole for a walk in the rain. Nice walk in a temperate rain forest.
Sept 12, 2004
Masset - Jessica's 14th birthday today. We went out for lunch today at the Sea Breeze Restaurant. We have become daily visitors as we are bored. They made Jessica a chocolate sundae for her birthday. Everyone in Masset has been very helpful and very friendly towards us. It is a nice place to visit. We then went to the internet cafe and then for a swim in the Island's only indoor pool. Rain.
.Jessica's 14th birthday on the boat
September 13, 2004
Masset - Another weather front has moved in and we have decided to stay put. They are calling for 40 knot winds in a protected harbour. Surprisingly enough RAIN!
September 14, 2004
Masset - Leave early this morning through the Dixon Entrance and into the Hecate Strait. Winds built to 25 knots and 3 meter waves, but we reached sheltered waters late afternoon. We anchored in Cabin Bay on McCauley Island. Rain.
September 15, 2004
Travelled in mostly protected waters today and anchored in Helmcken Inlet on Princess Royal Island. Rain.
September 16, 2004
Left 7:15 this morning. As we entered the Hecate Strait the wind began to pick up. Listened to the weather again for a updated forecast which said winds building to 25 by noon and the easing in the afternoon. We pressed on as it was noon, however, as we progressed it still continued to build as well as the seas. The Hecate Strait does not have easy wave action but very short steep waves. We were a few hours from our next sheltered harbour. As the wind picked up with gusts up to 36 knots our mainsail clew let go and we were now reduced to being a power boat. We turned back and went to Grants Harbour where we had previously repaired our windlass. Well at least we know a good anchorage location. Found many fishing boats in our anchorage already - guess it is a good anchorage. Rain.
September 17, 2004
Forecast 10 - 15 knots wind, 1 - 2 meter sea's. As we were listening to the weather forecast again around noon to see if the weather forecast had changed it had not. We wondered why we were seeing 2 - 3 meter waves, short and choppy from all directions and our wind speed indicator was saying again 36 knots. Apparently weather forecasting is indeed an art and not a science. Arrived in Goose Harbour about 3:00 pm. It was a rough day but happy to be past the end of the Hecate Strait. Hopefully the Queen Charlotte Sound will be better to us. Rain.
September 18, 2004
Good day to travel. This is the first day since Glacier Bay that it did not rain. The seas were 2 - 3 meters but were mostly ocean swells. Kids slept most of the morning in the cockpit. They said that this was finally some good weather and seas. When we went through this area on the way up the seas were less than today but everyone felt ill. Today everyone was feeling well and now they think these are good seas.
From a distance it looked like waves were approaching us from an odd direction. The waves appeared to be coming directly for us. As they got closer we realized that it was actually hundreds of dolphins. They swam around us for an hour keeping us all amused.
As we approached Vancouver Island fog rolled in and we spent several hours in fog. We had land within a 1 1/2 miles and boats within 1/4 of a mile of us but we did not see anything. Finally the fog lifted and we were able to continue more confidently to Port Hardy for the night. This was our second day of our trip where we had wind behind us. We now know what white caps look like from behind.
School of dolphins
September 19, 2004
Easy day of travel in light winds and sunny skies to Port McNeil. Did some laundry and got some groceries.
September 21, 2004
Left Port McNeil today down Johnstone Strait. We were followed by a pod of Orca whales near Telegraph Cove for a while. There were 2 whale watching boats hoping that they would come closer to them. When we went between the boats the Orca's decided to follow us-- the whale watchers were not happy. We arrived at Chatham Point around 7:45 pm at dusk.
September 22, 2004
We had an easy morning as we needed to time the Samson Narrows to enter them about noon. As we prepared to leave we were bringing up the anchor and, of course, the windlass broke again. Our leisurely morning ended quite suddenly.. If we did not get the anchor secured in the next 30 minutes we might miss slack current in Samson Narrows and would have to wait until tomorrow. All 5 of us brought the anchor up manually in about 25 minutes, pretty good considering that we had to use our winches.
Spent the night in Campbell River fixing the windlass again.
September 23, 2004
We traveled down Georgia Strait to Lasqueti Island where Jacqueline and Keegan caught some small sharks, dog fish.
September 24, 2004
Traveled to Silva Bay today. Not nearly as stressful docking this time as the wind was calm and Bob was not there.
September 25, 2004
Traveled to Montague Harbour. Picked up the mooring buoy on the 1st try with no problems at all. We are becoming quite skilled!
September 26, 2004
Arrived back in Sidney in the afternoon through a bit of fog today.
October 25, 2004
Still in Sidney completing our repairs. Upon arrival in Sidney we had mechanics have a look at the damage done by the line around the propeller. Damage was as follows: the feathering Maxprop propeller had the gear teeth distorted which needed repaired, the cutlass bearing was damaged, the PSS shaft seal was damaged, the drive coupler damaged, 4 engine mounts and 3 of the engine casting feet were broken. The repair of these items necessitated a boat haul out for 10 days. Living on the hard is not enjoyable as we soon found out. The yard is very dirty not to mention the amount of chemicals and debris lying about. I also fell off the ladder climbing down from the boat. Once again, my athletic ability at work.
We had planned to leave today but as we tightened the chain in the windlass it would not bring the chain up again. Closer inspection of the windlass indicated a cracked gear in the gearbox. Of course parts for this windlass are not available and thus we are waiting today for a new windlass to be shipped to us tomorrow. We now hope to leave in 2 days being Wednesday, October 27th.
October 27, 2004
We are finally on our way. We have asked Yves Chartrand to join us for our trip to San Francisco. He is an experienced (26 years) Naval Officer in the Canadian Navy. We left Sidney at noon today. Our first stop is Victoria as we are having the final part for our windlass flown via Heli-Jet to Victoria. Once in Victoria Bruce and Jessica walked to pick up the part. Thirty minutes later having installed the part we are now on our way to Part Angeles, Washington. This is the first Port of Entry into the United States. We have chosen to stop here so that if there are any problems with paper work we are close enough to go back to Canada to straighten things out. We arrived in Port Angeles at 7:30 pm only to find out that the Customs Office was closed. We were instructed not to leave the boat and that someone would come to our boat at 8:00 am the next morning.
October 28, 2004
The next morning the Customs Officer arrived and completed the necessary paper work. Jessica and I walked to the nearest grocery store (5 miles away) and picked up a few groceries that we were not allowed to bring into the United States. We left Port Angeles around 10:30 am. The weather was great. We had light winds and had to motor. We rounded Cape Flattery around midnight with the weather still holding. The next morning the winds turned to 18 knots on our nose rising to +40 knots by late afternoon. The seas were building and by later afternoon were 20 - 25 feet. About this time the kids started getting seasick. For those of you who don't sail this works like a domino effect. Soon thereafter I also was seasick. I spent most of the day and evening laying on the hard galley floor since every time I moved my head I would by sick again. After being sick every 10 minutes for the next 6 - 8 hours I finally started to feel a little better. Around 10:30 pm the wind changed to west 40 knots and the seas were still 25 feet. However, this made the ride much smoother. We were hit by a wave causing Bruce to be thrown across the cockpit and smashing his face into the winch. He was very lucky that he only split open his lip. However, this was the beginning of the end of his demise. While trying to clean his wound -- small bathroom, poor lighting, lots of blood and major motion -- the perfect cocktail for seasickness. The only one left was Yves but soon even our hearty navy officer fell ill.
October 30, 2004
Saturday morning arrived and the kids were still seasick. As I came into the cockpit all I saw were my three children each clutching their buckets - a sign that the seasickness was still with us. No sooner had I finished an apple when I to was sick again. The weather had not changed but a storm front from Alaska was on its way bringing winds of up to 50knots on our nose. It was decided that since we were all sick we would head into land as we did not think we had the energy for this weather front. After checking the charts and tides it was decided that we would go to Tillimook Bay. We had to cross a sandbar to get into Tillimook. What we did not know was that this bar is the second most dangerous bar. There was no Coast Guard Cutter out, no flashing lights and no one contacted us on our radio to advise us that the bar was closed. As a matter of fact, some local fisherman were out fishing when we came across the bar and called the Coast Guard. Once through the bar everyone gave us two thumbs up. I was thinking "what a lovely town, everyone is so friendly." What I didn't know was that everyone was giving up the thumbs up because we had made it across the bar safely. Once we heard the events of lives taken last summer from people going across the bar I realized how lucky we had been. However, I must admit that was the smoothest ride we had had in the past 36 hours. The US Coast Guard was at the dock waiting us for when we arrived. After checking the boat for safety equipment they gave us a violation notice for crossing a closed bar. Apparently with this notice comes a fine. It will be mailed to us so we do not know how much the fine is yet.
October 31, 2004
We spend Halloween in Tillimook Bay, Garibaldi. The kids carved pumpkins which I brought with us from Sidney and we went trick 'n treating in Garibaldi.
Keegan getting ready to carve the pumpkin
Jessica and Jacqueline enjoying gutting a pumpkin
The kids made up their own costume
November 4, 2004
If anyone ever has a chance to visit Garibaldi I highly recommend it. This is as beautiful little town and the people were absolutely wonderful. Everyone was so friendly even offering us their own cars to go get provisions. Since we crossed the bar illegally we were not allowed to leave until we had permission from the Coast Guard. On Thursday, November 4th at 6:30 am. they called us on our cell phone and said that we had 30 minutes to get across the bar if we wanted to leave. Any later than that we would not be allowed to leave that day. Needless to say we pulled up lines and left. The US Coast Guard escorted us across the bar. We were all happy to have them escort us especially after hearing about all the people who have died on these bars.
Coast Guard Escort
Once across the bar we were on our way to San Francisco. We had 15 to 20 knots of wind and the seas were about 15 feet.
November 7, 2004
The rest of trip was a comfortable ride. Bruce and I both celebrated our birthdays at sea. We decided to have cake once in San Francisco since everyone was feeling fine, I did not want to take any chances. At 1:30 am on November 6th we passed Cape Mendecino. The trip was pretty uneventful at this point. We had great weather and at 6:30 am on November 7th we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge. This was a great feeling! We are staying at the Jack London Square Marina in Oakland. We can see San Francisco from our deck. Once docked, Yves had to catch a plane back to Victoria. For us, hot showers and food were the first priority. After that we had to get our boat back to normal after Yves had stowed everything for us. I never knew we had so many "lockers"!
Crew upon arrival in San Francisco
November 7th - December 5th, 2004
We have spent an entire month in San Francisco. We had only planned on staying for 2 weeks but circumstances beyond our control prevented us from leaving. Upon arriving in San Francisco we decided to have our power inverter repaired since we had been having problems with it since leaving Sidney in October. We had parts sent to us from the manufacturer for repair but this did not work. It was then decided that we would send the entire inverter back to the manufacturer in Washington. We couriered the parts to them only to have the courier company lose the package. Since this happened the week before the American Thanksgiving, nothing could be done until after the holiday. When the courier company finally decided to conduct a search for the package they said it would be up to another 8 days for them to find the package. We called the manufacturer after Thanksgiving and they had found the package in their facility and the inverter was fixed. They couriered the inverter back to us. We installed it and then were able to charge all of our batteries. This process took the entire month.
Keegan celebrated his 12th birthday in San Francisco. He was happy it was not Masset. We went to Tony Roma's for lunch and of course the new Sponge Bob movie.
During this time we also had our boat hauled out at Svendson's Boat Yard. On the way to San Francisco we hit a log along the Washington coast during one of our night sails. Once in San Francisco we realized that we had a small leak in the forward bilge. Bruce then had to dive under the boat, once again, and found out that our forward looking sonar transducer was hanging below the boat. We made arrangements to have the boat hauled out on December 1st at 7:30am. Prior to the boat being lifted we took our dinghy down, since that is our only means of transportation these days, and tied it to the adjacent dock. Once they moved the boat into the lifting slings the dinghy got wedged in between the dock and the boat. Bruce then went to the dock to try to move the dinghy. He was pulling on the rope which was attached to the dingly in hopes that it would move ahead. Instead what happened was the dinghy sprang back instead of forward, Bruce lost his balance and fell in the water. You should note that this particular day was the coldest day California had experienced this year, hence all the frost on the dock. Bruce then lost his eye glasses in the water and we then called a diver to come and dive for his glasses -- yes they found them!
While in San Francisco we had plenty of time to get caught up on home schooling and explore the area. We went to San Francisco on the "tube" underneath the Bay. I have discovered that I prefer to be on top of the water instead of underneath the water. We did some shopping in downtown San Francisco. One day we took the trolley car to Pier 39 and walked around Fisherman's Wharf. We visited the Aquarium which you walked through a tube under the water while all the marine life swam above and around you. We visited Alcatraz which was quite interesting. We watched the Parade of Lights which is a parade of boats all decorated for Christmas. There was about 50 boats and there was also a judging contest for the best boats. The kids were in the parade on the boat that was beside us called Wunderlust. They had a great time - thank you Dave, Sue and Dan!
Keegan's Been a bad boy
I think we will add another behind the bars at Alcatraz
Jessica should keep them company
We also met some very "colourful" people in Oakland. Once while grocery shopping in the Safeway store a drunk lady decided to follow us around the store and pour out her life story of being a crack addict, just getting out of jail, her son was getting out of jail that day, how her husband was killed at age 33 and that she use to have a family just like ours. While walking down the aisles and her having her arm around me, listening to her talk, crying all our my sleeve, I was thinking "there is no way your family was anything like mine"!
December 6th, 2004
Today we left for Half Moon Bay. It is about 20 miles down the coast. We thought this would be a lovely sail of just a few hours -- WRONG! We had 30 knots of wind on our nose in shallow water. It was the Hectate Strait all over again. It took us over 8 hours to get there. Keegan was seasick several times. Jessica got seasick 20 minutes prior to entering the harbour. Jacqueline just looked green for several hours but managed not to be sick. Needless to say it was not a fun day and we pulled in at dusk and decided to anchor behind the breakwall. That night the wind picked up even more and our knot meter showed winds of 45 knots during the night in a protected harbour. Bruce watched the anchor all night long to make sure we didn't drag our anchor, we did not and at 3:30 am in the morning the wind suddenly died.
Leaving San Francisco
December 7th, 2004
This morning we saw 4 boats on the beaches which had either dragged their anchor, broke from their mooring ball and even one boat which dragged the mooring buoy onto the shore with it. We were glad that we have oversized anchors on board. We then decided to explore the town a bit and when in to see the harbour master. The Harbour police let us know that they had seen us come in to bay last night and that we seemed to ride out the storm OK. They did however have a spot for us if we wanted to dock for the night as the winds were expected to pick up again tonight. We decided to take them up on their offer as the weather for the next couple of days was not looking favourable. We met a couple on the sailboat Rhythmic Breeze who were also heading to San Diego and then into Mexico. It was nice to finally meet some people who are doing the same thing as us.
December 11th, 2004
Left Half Moon bay today as light winds were predicted for the next few days. We had a good trip except for about 8 hours when the wind picked up on our nose, of course, but did not build into anything uncomfortable. We arrived in Long Beach on Monday, December 13th around noon. We called several places to find moorage. We ended up in Rainbow Harbour at the commercial dock. The weather was warm and sunny. A nice change from what we had been experiencing.
On Tuesday we rented a car as we planned on taking the kids to Disneyland on Wednesday and Thursday and Universal Studios on Friday. We were all very excited. We did some laundry and did some site-seeing. We then decided to do a bit of Christmas Shopping. The stores were absolutely crazy. We arrived back at our boat around 9:00 pm. When Bruce entered the boat he noticed that the screen on the aft cabin hatch was hanging down. He looked around our cabin but did not notice anything unusual. He put the screen back up. He mentioned this to me as he wondered whether someone was on our boat. When I entered our cabin I noticed that our bed was messy (being a neat freak just paid off) and after glancing around noticed that a wooden box which was kept in a cabinet and contained an expensive strand of pearls was open and empty on my vanity. I immediately checked around and sure enough we had been robbed. They also took 3 envelopes that had our children's names on them which contained allowances, birthday and Christmas money that the children had saved for almost 3 years - $500.00 each. They had been saving this money for Disneyland, Universal Studios, etc. This is what angers me most. We called the police and filed a report but the reality is the money and necklace is gone. The police figure that we came back while they were on the boat as they never finished looking through the boat. I guess the silver lining is that they only got a necklace and cash. If they had ventured further into the boat all of our electronics might also be gone. We will chalk this up to another learning experience. My new mantra seems to be "will we ever get a break".
This marina is open to the public and therefore is not secure. We have decided that it is unsafe to leave the boat for any period of time so we are leaving tomorrow, Thursday, December 16th. We will sail directly to San Diego where we have secured a reservation at a gated marina with security guards. We will take the children to Disneyland from San Diego. However, before leaving our boat for any period of time in San Diego we will install some security measures if only to keep out the honest thieves. I must add that Harbour Breeze Corporation, who owns the commercial dock where we were docked were most helpful. Judy and Dan were willing to do whatever was needed to help us out. Dan, the owner, even came down to our boat the morning after and told us that they were waiving the docking fees and that the money should be given to our kids for Disneyland which, of course, we will do. This is truly what the Spirit of Christmas is about.
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