I’m a bit overdue for a post, but there really hasn’t been much to write about. I finished up the south pacific with an amazing scuba dive, flew home via a cancelled flight in Tahiti that added a day to my stay in Papetee, and visited a college friend in Hawaii for a couple days on my way home. Since arriving back in Seattle I’ve been building the cruising kitty back up while still managing a few Duck Dodges, helping crew Absolutely to a first in class race week finish (our throw out was our lone second place finish), sorting through my South Pacific pictures, hitting up a dinghy racing party and cruiser party, prepping for and co-hosting with my sister a BBQ at moms and not quite catching up with friends as much as I would like.
So okay – maybe it hasn’t been a lack of things to write about, but lack of time. Or lack of cruiser things to wax philosophical about, as is my way. I’m under no illusion anyone want’s to read about my mundane non cruising life And if you do – friend me on face book – I’m the only Erlin Loving there and you can find a stream of thought such as the song lyric stuck in my head or the amusing autocorrect on my phone. Although as this is a sailing blog, I will share that my attempt put the word sailing into my phone produced the word drinking. I’m still a little concerned about what my phone knows…
Speaking of sailing, I’m actually writing a post because once again I’m going to be sailing. I’m crewing the Newport 41’ Ohana from Seattle (okay, Port Angeles) to San Francisco, leaving on August 15th if the weather cooperates. Our goal is an offshore run directly to San Francisco, the route I had in mind two years ago and failed to accomplish. In a way, I don’t mind, the harbor hopping was fun, and made for more to write about. Plus we met some great people on the way down. But that trip has always bothered me a bit, as it didn’t go the way I had planned and as I gained cruising experience and replayed it in my mind I think I could have handled the offshore portion better, and maybe avoided the harbor hopping. Granted, the lack of wind wasn’t something you can change, but you can always wish things went more according to plan.
So… I meant to finish and post this before I left on the trip but time can pass so quickly when a trip approaches. And I couldn’t take time away from Tropical Night on Duck Dodge to write a blog post, which may have been my last chance for a Duck Dodge this year. But despite my best intentions, I’m now posting this midway into my trip to San Francisco.
And if you haven’t guessed, this trip feels eerily familiar. We arrived at Neah Bay, the weather looked good and we made that big left turn and enjoyed some great sailing for a day or two. Granted as sailing always seems to go, it was to weather but Ohana was riding comfortably and for the most part it didn’t really feel like we were bashing, just an occasional steep wave would put the bow down into the next wave a bit more then expected. But dying winds, increased fuel consumption and a forecast of 35 knot winds around Cape Medincino about the time we would arrive sent us towards shore, and our port of choice was Newport, my first stop two years ago on my trip down. I guess if I really want to sail from Seattle to San Francisco non stop I’m not done with this trip yet. Maybe I won’t get any more offers to crew this passage but if I do I suspect I’ll say yes, I’m starting to feel challenged now.
Not that Newport is a bad stop and despite the 30 knot winds and 12 foots seas a bit south of us, it is beautiful here right now, sunny and warm. There are other boats tucked in and I’m catching up with old friends and meeting new cruisers. And of course, taking that blessed first shower after a few days at sea. Not sure if it is blessed for me, or all the people around me but since non of us had showered I think we were all at about the same stage of ripeness. At this point it looks like we might be able to leave Wednesday but we are still watching the forecasts and discussing them with the other cruisers. It feels good to slip back into the role of cruiser, roaming around chatting with fellow sailors and watching the weather while enjoying being where you are because you may not have a choice about being there.
Still, San Francisco beckons, and I’m excited to arrive and get a chance to see a 72’ catamaran sail by at 30 plus knots. If we can get the right weather we should be able to make a four day dash to the bay, hopefully without another stop. We are hoping for a better bar crossing on the way out than we had on the way in. While the seas were calm, the closer we got to the entrance, the thicker the fog became. And of course it was dark. And the tide was running against us. Did I mention the fishing boats coming and going (and remember the fog)? It was a bit of a white knuckle ride as Jake basically steered by keeping the boat between the two thick yellow lines on the radar that represented the two rock jetties we were motoring between. Just so the VHF wouldn’t feel left out we used it to talk to several of the fishing boats coming in and out. It was a delicate dance of faintly glowing lights in the fog as we all tried to avoid each other, the buoys, and the jetty wall. Fortunately our attempts were successful and we finally managed to claw our way against the tide into the marina where we tied up to the fuel dock, and despite our fatigue hung out in the cockpit unwinding for a bit before all finding an empty bunk to crash out in.
So now we are hanging out in Newport waiting for the gale force winds the NOAA weather site is predicting to die down a bit. We are hoping to depart early this morning but it still looks a little boisterous out there so we may have to wait a bit longer. Just another part of slipping back into the rhythm of cruising, just enough to make me really miss it when I return to Seattle for about five more weeks of work before returning to Ventured.