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

May 28, 2018

Five days left until departure

Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 9:40 pm

Time is counting down, and I’m both excited and apprehensive to start this adventure. I only have a few more things left on my todo list before we leave, but it will require a fair amount of time to get done. The hardest thing was completed today at least, I got the hydraulic pump for the autopilot primed and working (although there’s still a very very slight hydraulic leak at the fittings to the pump). I’m picking up the dinghy and motor this weekend and I still have to clean up and organize all the crap strewn all over the interior of the boat. I still have two more full non-work days to tackle the rest of the task list.

April 27, 2018

Adventure update, and bucket lists

Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 11:32 am

I read an article today about two young boys – 5 and 8 – who are sailing a toy boat around the world. They equipped the boat with a GPS tracker and shoved off in 2017, it’s still travelling the world now. They have a “bucket list” of about 500 items and they are almost half way through it. Makes me think – why do people create and execute bucket lists during the latter half of life, why not when we are young?

On to the update: I bought a lot of stuff for the boat now – epirb, floating vhf with gps, AIS, autopilot, tender, new 14′ 8db vhf antenna, marine cell repeater, etc. For the past week I’ve been struggling to get my AIS to connect to my radar and navigation displays over nmea 0183, and even though the provided software says the AIS is transmitting and receiving (I can see other boats via the software) I still can’t pick my own transmissions up on any vessel tracking site yet. So I can’t see any other boats on my displays and I can’t find my boat on any tracking service. If at least one of those two things was working then I wouldn’t feel as stressed. It’s very frustrating.

Just about a month left until we leave and I still have so much to do. I head back home on Monday and won’t be back until the end of May about a week before we leave, so I *have* to get some of this stuff taken care of before I head home next week.

March 27, 2018

Moving a boat from Marina Del Rey to Puget Sound

Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 12:56 am

In the past two years we’ve moved from Los Angeles to Oregon, and then six months ago we moved back home to Washington State. There are lots of details in between all the moves, but it’s not relevant to this story – or at least better told at a later time. In July of 2016 we bought a boat – a 1985 42′ Jersey Dawn. I still work for a company in LA and the thought was to stay on the boat when I travel to LA one week a month, and then eventually move the boat up to where we lived. That “dream” didn’t start to come to fruition until recently when we moved to the Puget Sound area. Puget Sound is a mecca for boaters – sail or power. LA isn’t bad as far as places to travel to, way better in my opinion than the Oregon coast where ports of call and easily accessible destinations are few and far between, but it can’t compete with Puget Sound with everything from Olympia to the San Juan Islands, to Canada and beyond. But I digress.

I started doing research on piloting a power boat up the Pacific Coast. I quickly found there was a serious lack of personal stories or general information available. Even doing a search for a central repository of ports along the coast was impossible (I have yet to find any such data repository, other than scanning the coast using Google Maps, but maybe I’m just searching wrong…). If there were any accounts of trips northward up the coast, it was usually told by sailboat crew/captains and usually doing a southbound trip.The needs an operations of sailboats and power boats, and northward vs southward trips, are usually different by several aspects. I have been around boats almost all my life and it’s one of my life’s passions. That being said, the majority of my boating experience has been on lakes and in the Puget Sound, but never the Pacific Ocean.The boat we now own was decided on for a few specific reasons, one of which is that I believe it to be very sea-worthy – since we always planned to make the trip up the West Coast. Even though I have every faith that the boat will make the trip, it’s more in my knowledge and capabilities that I’m concerned about. We all need to start a new experience and adventure somewhere though.

The trip is currently planned over the first three weeks of June of this year. If we travel an average of 100 nm a day, then the trip should only take two weeks, but I added an extra week because of all the reports of unpredictability of the ocean and weather north of San Francisco and because the boat is 33 years old and it’s likely something will break on the way. I’ve also read about port closures if the weather is too rough and other complications like moving sand bars in places like San Francisco and the Columbia River. I plan to document, and possibly video, much of the trip. I have two people that will be making the trip with me – one for the entirety of the trip and the other we will pick up in Newport Oregon for possibly the remainder of the trip. The total distance will be in the area of 1300 nautical miles. The goal is to make it to home port well before July 4th so we can take it out to watch fireworks from Olympia to Canada.I hope to provide as much information as I can in case someone else is looking for the same information I’ve been working on compiling, with much difficulty, for the past two months. I’ll document all of the provisions, upgrades to the boat, ports, distances, travel times and many other aspects to the trip. I have at a minimum two more trips to LA before the planned departure and I still have a lot to do. I expect to update at least twice a month before the trip, and hope to update daily during the trip.

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