Tuesday, June 21, 2005

We Toast Our Escape!

Rikki-tikki-tavi and crew arrived in Coos Bay on June 27 2005 Summer Solstice, June 21

Rikki-tikki-tavi's ten hour leg from Eureka, where we managed a short stay of fourteen hours for fourteen dollars, to the Chetco River, Oregon, carried us out of California at long last. We are smiling broadly for many reasons– mostly because we finally reached this milestone, but also because Nina didn't get seasick today, because Rikki-tikki-tavi is performing very well, because we saw humpback whales today, because the sun is peeking out and the ocean isn't too bumpy today, we didn't snag any of the hundreds of crabpots out here, it isn't raining, and our $50 navigation program for Macintosh, GPSNavX, is way cool! It helped us get into Bodega Bay, a port unknown to us, in the middle of the night!

We are working on new pages for Rikki's website, but please be patient. Even though we've spent many days tied to docks waiting for breaks in the weather, there is a plethora of things to do and everything takes a lot more time than one would think....

Rikki-tikki-tavi and crew have had many adventures. We sampled Sweetwaters at Hog Island Oyster Farm on Tomales Bay. Kayakers paddled under Rikki's wings. We've given a tour of RTT to five USCG "kids" (they're all so young!) who took off their boots to come aboard, not for a Safety Inspection, but just to admire. They took photos and signed our guestbook, then gave us a tour of their 47' Motor Lifeboat. We've been boarded by the USCG in the rain for the dreaded Safety Inspection. This group did not take off their boots or their wet clothes, but did give us "No Violations". We had to scramble to move Rikki-tikki for a tsunami alert. We are always at the very first end-tie, it seems. While at Bodega, we were "serenaded" each night by five barking sea lions whose favorite spot was the dock next to Rikki-tikki. At least these humongous fellows moved off the dock when we walked toward them during the day, so we could get to and from the boat. We had to blast the more aggressive sea lions off the Noyo dock with our air horn! They'd charge us and refuse to move! We were awakened daily by the 0600 bugle and soon-to-follow horn and siren testing, and high RPM revving of the jet-loud motors of 47247 and 47271, the Noyo USCG dueling Motor Lifeboats. At the transient dock in Brookings, that is replaced by the 0630 grinding on a steel fishing boat parked immediately aft of us. We are wishing we'd been able to wait out weather in Eureka... it was quiet!

We've met some generous, lovely and colorful folks. Dear friends of my sister's live in Bodega– Dennis came by to give us rides in his Russian-made Ural sidecar motocycle. One of the marina employees there filled Clark's hardware shopping list in Santa Rosa on his way into work. We were taken home to a great steak dinner by a Fort Bragg couple who will be heading North in July on his Peterson 46 out of Noyo, he a musician with a house full of gear. He and Clark jammed a couple of jazz tunes on guitar and drums. We talked to a terrific couple from the UK while looking up at them from the bottom of the 15-foot tall, black tire and barnacle-encrusted, pilings of the Noyo River fuel dock. We invited them aboard but they had to decline as they were on a five-week car tour of the USA. What a fun couple, sailors too, who had a wonderful enthusiasm for travel. We met three very interesting Canadian sailors on a large power yacht who were delivering the boat to Vancouver, one a retired professional captain. On the big boat for cocktails, the French Canadian introduced us to the most heavenly cheese on the planet– St. André. We remember because his name was also André. They had really good wine too. An unlikely Brit pair we met in Bodega had just arrived on their newly-launched steel lug-rigged vessel. He'd constructed this large boat on a hilside at Harbin Hot Springs and we learned that our fantastic boat mover, Dennis, had extracted their boat from its perch and trailered it to Vallejo. It was a feat that only Dennis could have performed. When we reached Eureka's Woodley Island Marina, a very colorful fellow named Tex, who lived aboard his powerboat, helped us tie up and, within minutes, presented us with his very favorite hot sauce and jalapeño mayo as gifts. He volunteered to drive us to WinCo Foods in the wee morning hours, but we missed that opportunity (along with our mail that had been waiting for us) in order to get up early and make another run for it. After spending numerous days at each marina, this was our shortest, the aforementioned fourteen hours. As we ate dinner across from the Carson Mansion, a Hunter 460 went by with two sailors aboard, looking like they'd been out for awhile. They caught up with us a day later in Chetco River and we spent evenings (waiting again) talking and sharing libations and dinner aboard Rikki.

Oh, I almost forgot... we did spend one night so far at anchor– in Shelter Cove, where my grandparents spent three days waiting for an opportunity to make Cape Mendocino in 1963. As Brett from Spud Point Marina said, "Nice name, Shelter Cove, not much shelter." Our Northill anchor grabbed first time and we sat rocking, not so gently, with swells from the west all night. But the nearly-full moon came out and I enjoyed hours of listening to "Looking for Alaska" on my iPod while resting in the cockpit wrapped in a fleece blanket. Clark managed some sleep below even with the rolling and the banging inside the mast. It was a harbinger, picturesque-wise, of years of lovely anchorages to be enjoyed up North. So now, as we get ready to make a break when the next window opens, we keep close in our hearts the joys of friends and beautiful places to visit when we arrive.

With best wishes,Nina and ClarkRikki-tikki-tavi (and Darzee, too)

We Toast Our Escape!

As we cross the border into Oregon on Rikki's approach to the Chetco River, we raise jiggers of rum to our escape from California.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Email on Michael's birthday

(here is an email from Nina and Clark to Samantha and Michael) Well, here's the short story... We made it to Bodega Bay at 4:30 AM after an aborted attempt at rounding Point Arena on an overnighter. Conditions were downright pleasant with rafts of by-the-wind sailors and dolphins. We enjoyed dinner in the cockpit at 6 PM. Then the wind started, waves grew, starting breaking, and we went from glassy to crashy in about an hour. By 9:30 we were taking a lot of water on the dodger windows & it was rough. I got soooo sick! We kept going but finally turned around at 1 AM & set a new course for Bodega. The motion smoothed out but it was damn hard to steer, from what Clark has told me (my Phenergan knocked me completely out & I missed the next seven hours. We were stuck at "Blow-dega" for eleven days as gale force winds whipped things up pretty good, even at the dock! Bob headed back to Sacto on June 1 with our car, which my family had picked up at Alameda & delivered to us. The autopilot was delivered to Spud Point & Clark got it installed over 3 days suffering in the wind. We took the bus to Santa Rosa for food at Costco & TJ's. There was a one-day window June 8 when Clark & I decided to make Fort Bragg/Noyo River, which turned out to be a 14 hour run in drizzly rain and sloppy seas, but light winds. We averaged 6.5 knots! The USCG volunteered themselves as escorts from the sea buoy when we called for a bar report about an hour out. They then, of course, wanted to do a Safety Inspection, which they did in the pouring rain, dripping all over as they read labels on fire extinguishers, flares, and PFDs. We spent the next couple of days recuperating. The weather was expected to worsen so we took the local bus to Mendocino. Small craft warnings were up but the sea was flat & lovely as we looked out from the steps of the little shops. Today there are gale warnings up & this time we believe it- the sea is white with blowing waves as we walk to Fort Bragg (no bus on saturday!) to be able to send email. We are doing well, the boat is performing wonderfully, & Clark is a most capable skipper in trying conditions. I battle seasickness constantly & have tried nearly every remedy. We are not in a hurry, so we'll wait for good conditions before we set out again. We are very glad to be underway & Rikki-tikki is having his biggest adventure yet! We'll try to keep you updated as we go. What stories we will have to tell... Love you both very much, Mom & Clark


Related Posts with Thumbnails