All of our preparation of reading, learning, sewing, shopping, creating lists, checking lists and checking everything once again had finally waned down. The thrill of leaving has finally come.
We took off at 4:11 am in a somewhat foggy morning. I stood forward with a spot light watching for crab pots. Luckily we got beyond them and motor sailed to Port Angeles. The last time I was in PA on a boat was 1977 and it has not changed very much from what I could see. We had ham steaks, quinoa tabouli , and dinner rolls heated in the oven for our first night out.
Got an early start the next day with doughnuts, vegetable omelette, and cantaloupe. Got to Neah Bay and made the choice to continue after a fueling top off as our weather window looked great. It is so exciting rounding the corner to make our “left” turn something we have dreamed about for many years.
We marveled at seeing hundreds of puffins greeting us at the gate to the Pacific Ocean. The other guys went to sleep and Don and I were on watch. We could not believe our eyes when we had to dodge crab pots in really deep water. So much for howling at the full moon the sky was full of gray clouds and sans stars, darn.
Caught 3 hours of drift off (what are those noises is the boat going to break in half) and then on watch 3 hours again. Three hours of drift off then a four hour watch by myself. This continued until I realized cooking and doing this watch was fatiguing and I couldn’t cope. I realized that being “ one of the guys “ was not for me and it was a freeing feeling to be able to express this. Risto had already sensed this and suggested taking me off of night watch.
Taking care of a crew is important and the guys shifted and accepted the new hours. What a great crew we had. Now I will say having two cooked meals (each meal and cleanup takes about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours) a day for everyone made up for the extra time. To keep everyone nourished is really important and helps with keeping morale up.
Breakfast became eggs, with capers, goat cheese, and vegetables, fruit on the side. Or there were the cheesy eggs that Ben especially enjoyed. Dinner was as above mentioned, and home made chicken vegetable soup, crusty bread. One night pork cutlets with wild mushroom gravy and steamed broccoli.
Lunches were turkey, avocado, goat cheese collard sandwiches (I pre made 25 ). These were individually wrapped for ease of eating on watch. Chips, dip, salamie etc.
On the night watch the guys got a container of cookies and jolly ranchers just to help pass the time. I brought glow sticks that apparently were too bright to have in the cock pit but hey they were intended for fun.
It was like Groundhog Day with every day melding into the next especially accentuated by the gray skies. Did I change my under wear today or was that a day ago, how about teeth when was the last brushing. This became the norm.
Then there was the excitement of catching the tuna. How fun. It was a good sized tuna that fed the four of us three/ four meals. The first meal tuna cubed and cooked and mixed with Annie’s mac and cheese. You may be thinking that’s an unlikely mix but you should have been here. The next night tuna sliced thin and mixed with lemon, veggies, quinoa, and brown rice. The next night we went back to tuna and mac.
Besides the auto steering going out (and getting fixed) the next big interruption was 2 nights later at 2 am when the engine overheat alarm went off, Don and Ben were on the night watch. Talk about an instant wake up call. Risto has described what happened. For me I had to hang onto logic, having learned that a diesel engine is actually a pretty basic engine. Here we were 80 miles off of Cape Mendocino (for 5 years we had studied the weather down the coast and this is not where you want to be) with an engine not working. We sailed on, Risto and I slept and then relieved the guys at daylight so they could get some much needed sleep. Risto was in the cock pit locker checking the impeller, I am steering as we are sailing along. Thankfully the wind was the “calmest” we had had and the seas manageable (not so 10 hours later). The impeller was fine so on to another satellite phone discussion. By the time Risto had fixed the problem of the thermostat (draining the antifreeze, etc) I was back asleep up in the V berth. The sweetest sound came with the engine turning over and no alarm going off.
For the next two days I just stayed in the V berth getting air borne a number of times. The conditions were too rough to safely cook so it was soup in a cup, oatmeal, cliff bars, nuts, what ever the guys could grab. There was always someone asleep in the 2 salon settees to stay out of the way I just slept and braced sideways in the v berth. I would carefully come to the cockpit and see the waves and wind and knew there would be little I could do to help out.
The night we came into Drake’s Bay it had been consistent winds of 35+ and they anchored at 12:30 am in 26 knots of wind and fog. Solidly on the anchor we all slept the best we had in days.
The next morning while we were deciding if we would stay or go (checking the weather conditions) I made a hot breakfast that was enjoyed by all. So we took off in the fog bound for SF.
The thrill of sailing along with the fog lifting and seeing the gate was incredible. The racing boats were beautiful and finishing their race as they zoomed by us. We sailed at a nice clip had a champagne toast as we passed under the bridge. We made it, thanks to everyone on the crew and our ship being a great boat, thanks Silver Wings for the ride⛵️⛵️💖