Posts

San Diego-La paz

Image
Ensendada
Finally, after almost two weeks sweating in San Diego, all of the paperwork was in order, the new solar panel was cranking out a couple hundred watt hours a day, the batteries were fully charged, the surfboard lashed to the shrouds and everything was ready to go. In the evening I pulled up the anchor and headed to the fuel dock, then to the customs dock, where I said goodbye to Lance and Norene, family friends who had fed me, drove me all over the city, and even taken me out to Costco for provisions while I stayed in San Diego. After they left, I got off the dock and underway with the strong Santa Anna winds pushing me out the channel then flying along on a beam reach towards and across the border into Mexican waters. In the morning the wind died off and I had to motor the last few miles into the marina at Ensenada, with the brand-new Mexican courtesy and yellow “Q” (quarantine) flags flying from the spreader. Here I was fairly nervous, as this was my first real international…

Southern California: Channel Islands-San Diego

Image
San Miguel Island
On the morning of departure from Half Moon bay, I woke up not able to even see the neighboring boats a few hundred feet away, the fog was so thick, so I settled back to wait for the afternoon sun to burn off the incredibly thick mist, as it always did farther north in Alaska and Canada. However by 1 pm the fog had moved just outside the harbor but still showed no signs of abating, so I decided to up anchor and investigate how thick this fog really was and if it was worth trying to push through. However, less than half a mile outside of the breakwater Darwind and I were enveloped in a thick blinding fog, full of the sounds and occasional looming shadows of sport fishing boats, so I decided to turn back before luck ran out and we ended up on a collision course with one of these invisible hazards. Just as we were approaching the breakwater again though, we suddenly sailed straight out of the fog bank into the bright sunlight, so I turned around again, this time paralle…

Neah Bay-Northern California

Neah Bay to Crescent City Day 1 After a mad rush of bus rides to get the repaired part for the self-steering, I was back on the boat by 4:00 pm, and after a quick pit stop at the fuel dock to fill up, Darwind was beating out the strait of Juan De Fuca in the teeth of a 25 knot breeze and a huge swell building against the favorable 3 knot current. Unfortunately only a few hours in, just as we came abreast of Cape Flattery and slicing into 10-15 foot swell, the wind died to almost nothing and I was forced to start the engine to clear the islands and rocks around the cape. As the sun went down, the massive swell made motoring a living hell, and I actually gave up and turned around four times, each time facing a counter current and a midnight arrival back in Neah Bay, so each time I turned back into the swell to push on. Eventually, after the fourth aborted U-turn, we were clear of the islands and even though the wind still hadn’t come up, I raised the sails and cut the engine, letting th…

Vancouver-Neah Bay, the last fo the Inside Passage

Image
Vancouver: The second major destination of the trip, after Sitka was Vancouver, which symbolically represented the end of the inside passage for me, even though there remained a couple of hundred actual miles to go before the Pacific Ocean. As if to highlight this transition, I happened to arrive in Vancouver during a hot flash with temperatures in the high 70-80’s for a whole week! The water was also unbelievably warm, and I started every day with a dive off the dodger and a quick swim around the boat. Mainly I rested that week, reveling in the warmth after a seemingly endless ordeal of rain and cold in northern BC, and enjoying the change of pace and delicious cuisine of the big city. Even more fun was that I got to hang out with my good friend Brooke, who is going to Simon and Fraser University in Vancouver, and we were able to spend a weekend going for a day sail and visiting the aquarium. These interactions were especially beneficial to my mental state, as this was the first time…

Leg 3, Britsh Columbia, Prince Rupert to Vancouver 570 nautical miles

Day 1 Leaving Prince Rupert it was raining with a heavy fog, which would become all to familiar to me in the next 8 days. However, there was also a brisk, following breeze which allowed me to sail fast and comfortably, something that I would not experience again for over a week. As the day progressed, open, choppy water with the remnant of an ocean swell gave way to islands, and eventually to the narrow entrance to Grenville Channel, a 45-mile, nearly straight cut less than a quarter of a mile wide for the majority. The wind died behind the islands, but the sun also came out, so I ghosted on the breeze and current as far as I could before tucking into a small cove for the night. Day 2 The second day in Grenville channel marked what was to come in the next week of inside sailing, with a brisk south breeze, a channel too narrow to really sail upwind, and a day full of either motoring or motor-sailing, as well as an introduction to finding the counter-currents in the eddies along the shore…