21 Sep The Passage to San Francisco
Our journey on the great Pacific from Neah Bay, WA to San Francisco, CA was a good one! We traveled 714 nautical miles in 5 days and 5 nights, with one quick stop in Coos Bay (fuel, showers and a walk for Ellie!). We met crew member Chris Bushue in Port Angeles (along with his wife Lauri and cutie dog, Jelly Bean, who spent one night with us). We did our final provisioning and had a wonderful Thai Dinner in PA.
We left Port Angeles, September 11 and were greeted quickly by the Dependable (or as others refer to it Relentless) Pacific Swell. The Swell are the big waves that are notorious on the Ocean. They are less intense when the weather is mild, but increase in height and severity with increased wind and weather. These were big rolly, swell, that is not too bad when you have been out on the Ocean for a few days, but when just starting out, can cause sea sickness. Luckily for Dick and me, we have fairly strong systems, Dick especially, so he does not seem to be bothered. I take some natural sea sickness medicine, use acupressure wrist bands, suck on Ginger candy and keep out in the cockpit and in the clear air. So far, I have done well.
When we arrived in Neah Bay, we ran into some friends we had met at Sullivan Bay, in BC, Janneke and Wietze from SY Anna Caroline. When we met them, they had sailed all the way from Holland, South to Cape Horn, then North to Alaska and were then in British Columbia! They too, were now on there way South to San Francisco. It was great to talk and get advice from some experienced cruisers! We stayed in touch via email on the entire trip down the coast. It was so great to have that communication.
After much uneasiness, Ellie the salty dog learned how to do her business on board. All of us humans felt as relieved as she did!
We had a couple rough spots on the trip. One night the wind changed to the South and with the North current the waves were very choppy. We slowed down and were able to cut through the waves a little easier. Our most excitement happened late afternoon, on September 15, as we were approaching Cape Mendocino, the wind increased, with 35-40 knot gusts and the swell increased to 6-7 feet. It was very exciting (and scary). Dick went up on deck to set up the staysail, but as soon as the sail was ready, the wind had died back down to 11 knots.
Dick’s summation of the trip in one word was “mellow”, mine was, “adventurous”. We (mostly Dick) did a great job with looking at the weather and keeping us in mostly calm conditions. We were able to sail the last 24 hours of the trip!