D E M E N T E D P E N G U I N . N E T

June 16, 2018

Boat trip – day 14

Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 8:29 pm

Got up at 6:40, showered, did engine checks, then set out at 8am since it was a short trip ahead of us. I had made the decision to forego getting fuel yesterday because I felt we had more than enough to make the trip. When I started up the boat tho the guage said it was just above 1/4 full, so we headed to the fuel dock – which didnt open until 9. Fortunately the kind lady came by at 8:30, got us fueled up, and we were on our way by 9. The trip out the SF channel was pretty rough, but smoothed out a little when we turned NW after the last of the channel buoys. The waves and swells were all over the place and the bow was swinging a lot, by about 25 degrees most of the time but the wind was nominal so it wasn’t bad. We were shrouded in fog that left about 1-2 miles of visibility for most of the way until we got just outside Bodega, then it dropped down to about a quarter mile. We had a brief show from some small whales but not enough to get some pictures, one was only about 30 feet to port.

We got to Point Reves and the swells started picking up again, but once we were about 2 miles past they calmed down a lot and were only about half the size they had been around the point. Dodging several crabpots, and almost running over two of them, we made it to Spud Harbor Marina, topped off the tank, and got us a slip for the night. We ate at the only local restaurant and did some laundry. Now its engine check time and then chill for the rest of the night.

The worst thing about today was that I forgot to put the oil fill caps back on this morning so there was oil sprayed all over the engine room. I am not a morning person….but I won’t forget to do that again. 87 miles to Fort Bragg tomorrow, now we’re picking up some momentum finally.

Boat trip – day 13

Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 8:32 am

We went out and loaded up on oil and a few other supplies. After carying the 11 gallons of oil the half mile back to the boat we decided to just take it easy until Mom was off work. When we met up with her at 3:00 we went out for Chinese food, then went to the bar next door. We were probably at the bar far too long, and finished too much wine, but we had a great time. On our way back to the boat we stopped off at In-n-Out and made the poor decision to load up on more food.

We were tired and buzzed when we got back to the boat and decided to do the engine checks and oil top off in the morning. Now that it’s morning, that may not have been the best idea. The other bad idea was to wait to fuel up when we get to Bodega Bay, but when I started up the engine this morning I saw that the fuel level was about 1/3 full, and I dont know how accurate it is. We’re waiting at a fuel dock now, they don’t open for another 30 minutes which is why I’m updating this now. In a way this is a bit of a good thing since its max low tide and we dont want to go out though the channel when its max low.

June 14, 2018

Boat trip – day 12

Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 9:05 pm

Today was almost perfect conditions for the trip. The swells were up, and the cross waves were making us sway a lot, but there was little to no wind. The only part that wasn’t optimal was all the crab pots we had to watch out for. Some crab pot markers are easier to see than others, but some are so covered in growth that they look black, we almost ran right over two of them. We made the 64 mile trip in 7 hours and the autopilot did 90% of the driving. We wanted to time it so we would be entering the channel at high tide to avoid any sandbar or reef issues, which we were successful at doing, but the channel is really well marked so it wasn’t as treacherous as some people have made it out to be.

It was really cool to enter San Francisco under the Golden Gate bridge. This is something I never thought I’d do. If it wasn’t for the weather issues north of SF we were just going to blow by and head to Bodega but now we get to spend two nights here, see my Mom, and be tourists for a bit. We are staying at Pier 39 – the people are great, the restrooms/showers are probably the best so far, but the docks are pretty rickety, there are sealions everywhere, and there is a lot of current. I highly recommend snubbers or two different sized dock lines to act as snubbers if you bring a boat to SF. Our boat is constantly moving all around the slip in a fast and jerky motion and the snubbers took some of the harsh edges off the motion.

Tomorrow we go to the fuel dock and the pumpout station, then lunch with Mom.

June 13, 2018

Boat trip – day 11

Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 9:57 pm

After checking Windy today we confirmed our plan to head to San Francisco tomorrow. We decided to head across the bay to Santa Cruz to save us an additional 21 miles tomorrow. After making a few calls we finally found a slip, fueled up (215 gallons!), and headed across.

It started out great – no wind, the swells were big but just rolling along nice and smooth. About 10 miles into it though the dreaded wind and larger swells started picking up and before we knew it things had gotten nasty again. As we learned yesterday, we picked our spot between the waves, which wasn’t easy since they were very close together, and turned towards shore. 10 minutes later things were much smoother and the wind had died down. it took us 3 hours to make the 21 mile run (we had to make two jogs back towards shore) but we made it and are now ready to make the 7 hour trip tomorrow.

We’ll be hanging out until Saturday (iirc) since the weather is supposed to turn to crap north of the bay at about 2-3 tomorrow afternoon and stay that way until Saturday. We may just head to Bodega Bay then, or if things are as smooth as they look like they will be, maybe For Bragg.

June 12, 2018

Boat trip – day 10

Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 11:58 pm

We left the dock just before 7am since the wind was supposed to start picking up at 2pm around Big Sur. I was really hoping that we could make better time than we did from SB to Morro since the weather was supposed to be better, but it still took us 13.5 hours. At least we made it to Monterey before dark.

Things went pretty well at the start although the swells were a bit bigger than expected, and there was this uncomfortable convergence of waves/swells coming from the north, northwest, and west which made things very choppy. At about 3.5 hours in a thick fog enveloped us and gave us about a quarter mile of visibility, the wind picked up, and there were wide whitecaps everywhere and 9 foot swells. This was very similar to what we experienced on the trip to Morro Bay. After getting kicked around for 2 hours we finally headed in closer to shore which got us out of the fog and into calmer seas, and we got an escort by some local porpoises. About an hour before Big Sur it started getting really rough again with the same chop as earlier. It took us three more hours to get in to Monterey Bay.

The best part of the day (other than finally making it to the dock) was the autopilot that we got fully functioning yesterday. It made the trip so much more manageable and dropped the stress level considerably. We also used the new stereo – Sirius is the way to go when out on the water.

Things I learned on this leg of the trip:

  • leave as early as possible in the morning
  • a properly functioning autopilot is worth it’s weight in gold
  • when crossing over swells, hit them at a 30-45 degree offset, it makes things so much smoother and not as much hull slamming
  • the wave that looks intimidating isn’t the problem, it’s the wave that follows it that messes you up
  • if the seas are rough, head towards the shore
  • have a bucket handy. If the water is rough you can’t leave the helm (even with autopilot), so how can you go pee?
  • I’ll just end on that note.

    June 11, 2018

    Boat trip – day 9

    Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 10:39 pm

    By this point of the trip we should have been to Brookings Oregon, or about 900 miles north. Unfortunately we’ve only gone 200 miles. We’re heading out in the morning though to Monterey, but then it looks like we’ll be stuck there until the weekend. Hrmph. Windy.com has been great for predicting the weather and when we can or can’t head out.

    Today was productive. We ran a new 4 guage 12v power line up to the bridge to replace the 12 guage one I added before we left. The old one would drop voltage when under load for some reason, and after evaluating the options, we decided to just run a big ol’ replacement. Now all the new electronics run off the new line, we’ll see if it did the trick tomorrow. We also installed a new stereo with Sirius XM, so we will be jammin’ along the way. Only other thing we did was go out and have a great dinner at Dorns. Food was great, I would highly recommend.

    Bobb has got his hands full with getting me up early tomorrow, but we’re going to try to leave as early as we can. It starts to get squirrelly up around Big Sur between 2-4:00. It’s 115nm so it should take about 12 hours again.

    Boat trip – day 8

    Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 9:15 am

    Yesterday was a pretty chill day for the most part. We finally figured out how to check the transmission oil and we tracked down the source of a small leak of red liquid – which was antifreeze. We dont know where its coming from yet but at least its not diesel fuel or transmission oil, and its not a lot. We also looked at the autopilot system to see how to set waypoints.

    The Nemets graciously came to pick us up for dinner at their place, with a stop first at The Brown Butter Cookie Company. The cookies and the staff were amazing, and $75 later I left with a bag full of cookies and a t-shirt. Fwiw, thats quite a few cookies…. Todd made an amazing tri-tip and Dianna’s salad was yummy – we will have to start adding avacados and apples together in salads more in the future. We had fun chatting with Todd’s parents too, his dad was hilarious. Great diversion to all of the boat stuff we’ve been so focused on and very much appreciated. We tried to kidnap their dog, Monroe, but we weren’t stealthy enough.

    When we got back to the boat we did some laundry and finished off the evening by watching Captain Ron. Good day all around.

    Our daily weather check showed that Monday was still bad, and Tuesday is going to be exceptional for the next leg, it’s been a long streak of crappy and it’s about time we’ll have some decent boating weather. Unfortunately it looks crappy again from San Francisco north for another few days starting on Wednesday. We leave tommow a total of 7 days behind schedule. I may have picked an unfortunate time do do this trip.

    June 9, 2018

    Boat trip – day 7

    Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 5:06 pm

    We had to move the boat this morning so we untied and went to the fuel dock to fill up the tank. Put in just over 181 gallons (just over 15 gallons an hour @ 10.8 kts into the wind, waves, and current for 12 hours). After that we found a day dock to tie up to until we could move back to the yacht club dock, and headed out to find a hardware store. Along the way we stopped and had breakfast at The Coffee Pot Restaurant. After that we set out to find where we catch the trolley to get us to North Morro Bay. After walking the mile and a half, we finally found a stop about three blocks from the hardware store….. We got some stuff, were pointed to other stores to look for some of the other items, and eventually had walked all the way back to the boat. We were expecting to move the boat back to the yacht club, since the sailboat races were done, but the wind had picked up so much that we couldnt get the boat off the dock – we couldnt even push it two inches off. It even damaged more of the isinglass. With 34 knot winds and whitecaps in the harbor, we’re stuck waiting it out.

    June 8, 2018

    Boat trip – day 6

    Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 9:34 pm

    Had to do some canvas repairs after the voyage yesterday. It’s not pretty but it’s functional at least. Bobb washed down the boat, re-secured the tender, and washed all of the exterior carpets. We did the engine checks, topped off the oil (“diesels love their oil like sailors like their rum” Captain Ron quote), and tried to figure out how to check the transmission fluid level – but we have a few more days to get that figured out since it still looks like we won’t be leaving until Tuesday morning.

    We have to move the boat off the dock by 9am because the yacht club needs it for their weekly sailing thing. We’ll fuel up and find a place to tie up until they are done. I suspect we’ll need about 130 gallons of diesel, at least it seems to get cheaper as we’ve gone north. We’ve put in 93 gallons to top off the tank in LA @ $4.87/gallon, then 97 gallons in Santa Barbara @ about $3.45/gallon. The trip from LA to SB used about 12.5 gallons an hour @ 10kts, which is what I would expect for dual diesels based on what I’ve read.

    We did a little tourist shopping today – I got two cinnamon rolls and a hand carved statue of a marlin for the boat. Every boat needs some kind of sculpture or interest piece that is boat/ocean/water themed, I think I finally have enough….

    Boat trip – day 5

    Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 12:39 am

    We left Santa Barbara at 8:30am into perfect conditions – sunny, light breeze, mild swells (2′ @ 8 seconds). That was about to change…. As we got closer and closer to Point Conception the wind picked up with every mile, and the swells got considerably rougher – all the way to Morro Bay. There was at least twice that I thought we wouldn’t make it – and I don’t mean the current leg we were on, I thought we were going down. I always thought that Point Conception was the worst part of the trip for just about any boater. It did suck – 6′ swells and 24mph winds with 32mph gusts, but then we passed Arlight. The waves (8′ @ 8 seconds) and swell (5′ @ 8 seconds) was going SW, and the wind waves (2′ @ 14 seconds) were going NE. Picture a washing machine. This never let up the rest of the way to Morro Bay. We had constant heavy walls of spray from the bow hit the upper isinglass which made it hard to see, and then on top of that we had to keep a vigilant lookout for crab pots so we didn’t get the lines caught in the props, and I almost got thrown out the back once from a seated position at the helm, and Bobb almost wiped out once as well. We even had the props come out of the water several times (the props are *under* the boat). It was nasty, scary, and I’m hard pressed to think of another time that was as unpleasant. 12 hours later, we made it. This part of the trip was a true test – the boat handled it amazingly well and far exceeded my expectations, the engines were strong and flawless today, and Bobb and I made it through and learned a lot about the process and ourselves. Here’s a short video of what I thought would be the the worst of it all, but I was wrong.

    There were some casualties – we lost the front window mesh (we saw it when it blew off…), the flybridge canvas was partially ripped off the support in the front, the interior looked as though a tornado had gone through it, there was some water leakage around some windows that got on this laptop and also damaged a few mostly insignificant items inside. We *almost* lost a cover for the the aft storage locker but it fortunately fell into the box itself.

    The conditions for the next few days are predicted to be as bad or worse until next Tuesday, so it looks like we might be stuck again for a few days since I’m NEVER doing a trip like that again. We have some things to fix anyway, but I hope we don’t have any more delays since we’ve already lost three days as it is.

    Time to raise a glass of Sailor Jerry’s, the rum choice of this captain, and put the day behind us.

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