S/V Nereida sails around the world

Thursday 10th August 2017

Deepest thanks to Icom America - specifically to Dwayne Black who kindly enabled a replacement tuner (AT140) and control cable for my SSB/HF M801E radio to be provided, to ex-Brit Kevin who took a time carefully checking over my old tuner in detail, trying to find a faulty component.... and to cheerful, helpful Mary who made sure everything ran smoothly.

Many thanks also to my ham radio friend Eric, WA7LNH, who was my 'chauffeur' for the day - collecting me from the marina to take me in to Icom America's headquarters in Kirkland, not too far from Everett. Eric, a keen ham radio operator (and DX-er), was as interested as I was to see the radio museum displays in the relatively new and very pleasant HQ building before we left to return to 'Nereida' with the new tuner.

Eric was one of the USA 'hams' that I first made contact with on 16th February 2017 when I was passing well south of S. Africa as I made my way east through the Southern Ocean, eventually heading back to Victoria to complete my solo nonstop circumnavigation - and I was in radio contact with at least him and/or others daily for the remaining five months of that journey! Without those contacts, that voyage would have been far more lonely and difficult. Another bonus of having the radio was that, when my computers both became useless, the ham radio community came to my rescue and enabled 'emails' via voice contact - 1,000 emails were dealt with over two months - that was great!

I'm looking forward to installing the tuner but a slight hiccup lies in a slightly different connector needed to make that happen but that's a minor problem and one which will be sorted out within a few days. although I clearly can't use the radio in the meantime. So thanks to XGate for enabling me to use an Aurora terminal to send this update via the Iridium satellite network while underway. (Actually, another radio friend, Walt KM6MQ, was recently very generous in giving me a back up tuner when I stopped overnight in Los Angeles. I must find the time now to look at that in detail to see how to connect it up. It's not an automatic tuner, like the Icom AT140/141, but a good one nonetheless. No point in having back ups on board if I don't know how to make use of them!)

Friday 11th August From Everett to Port Townsend - AP is back working again!!

Having looked over the Commissioning instructions for the malfunctioning autopilot units last night, I saw that it was possible that the problem I had during our approach overnight to Cape Flattery might have been a passing glitch which might be easily fixed - so I changed back to the original autopilot motor and drive unit, hoping that it might work. To my delight, when I tested it out on leaving Everett this morning.... it did!! Yippee!!

It's a bright sunny day, although there's a bank of sea-fog ahead as we head up Admiralty Inlet around midday, enjoying a good ebb tide which is boosting our speed past long, convoluted Whidbey Island.

I'm hoping the fog might lift by the time we reach it or, at least, be thin - but, if not, radar works well to 'see' other boats and land around and the plotter shows vessels on AIS and we transmit to them - so we can stay pretty safe!

ETA Pt Townsend is early afternoon so I'll be able to pick up a couple of boat items I've had sent there, browse around the hardware store for a few other boat items and also meet some friends later on.

Tomorrow, we'll make for Friday Harbor, always a pleasant stop on San Juan Island.

Tuesday 8th August 2017 Up early and away by 6 a.m. Fog everywhere but no wind. Strong ebb tide cutting down progress - boat speed is well over 6 kt but we're only making 3.7 kt SOG. Hoping for better speed soon, as ebb slackens and turns to flood. Problem is not much flood tide, mainly ebb, due to outflow from rivers. So ETA Pt Angeles will be far later than hoped for - will be a night-time arrival. Can't leave helm position for more than a few moments very occasionally - need to keep constant eye on course and watch for other boats. Dripping wet from fog, windscreen needs regular clearing. Hazy sun seen through fog - sea fog is hugging the water with just a hint of blue sky above. Got some breakfast ready before leaving this morning - time for that now, if I can grab it! Already had juice and coffee while underway - had to get those prepared in advance... Photos from yesterday showing wind blowing fog away on way to Neah Bay.

Monday 7th August 2017 Fuel and an overnight stay in Neah Bay, Makah Marina

With both autopilots down and no wind, it was a slow finish with hand steering needed to get to Cape Flattery and on to Neah Bay - often in thick fog.

The good news was carrying the flood tide up to and around Cape Flattery - we made excellent speed past Tatoosh Island, which houses the Cape Flattery light, in calm conditions but with a noticeable current trying first to take us inshore and then towards Duncan Rock and its associated shallows. I managed to keep us well away from those, helped by having been made only too aware of the strong current last time I came by this way - a useful piece of knowledge.

Other highlights of Monday's arrival in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Neah Bay:

Thick fog patches - strong wind dispersing some fog near land - sunny at times - fishing boat appeared unexpectedly close by in the fog

Turned boat in tight circles while getting fenders and lines on both sides - no AP use to make things simple but space enough.

Usual strong S wind in Neah Bay - impossible to tie up to fuel dock downwind - strong ebb current there adding to wind problem - waited and just managed to tie up, with help, on shorter upwind side.

No response from Marina office - so tied up with difficulty to commercial dock - but was then asked to move. Wind still strong so made sure I got help to tie up to new slip - needed it! (Plenty of strong fishermen around!)

Enjoyed 1) short, deep sleep 2) lovely hot shower 3) fillet and onions etc etc...

Planned tomorrow's journey - difficult long passage to Pt Angeles, probably foggy, at least to start with, to fill up with diesel - price far better there but I now have enough spare diesel in tank to push motor hard if needed.

Up at 6am hoping to arrive before dark - a 15-hr journey, hand steering the entire way....

Hope to post photos separately while underway tomorrow...

Monday 7th August I'm sitting in the cockpit under the shelter of the spray hood as I write this because I'm constantly having to be at the helm to keep us on course - we've no wind to sail under wind-steering and no functioning autopilot. We had several hours of sailing yesterday in good wind although not on our preferred course so, from the time the wind died around midnight, we've been motoring almost due N. At one point I had to call the US Coast Guard to call the fishing vessel 'Raven' on my behalf because they were on clear collision course and not answering my VHF call. They eventually passed just a few hundred yards off, having assured us all that they would 'keep clear'...! Another fishing boat kept well away soon after - they would have heard the exchanges so knew I was close-hauled under sail in fickle wind conditions just then... In fact, a short time later, the wind had died and veered enough to have to turn on the motor again to keep heading N , rather than get too close inshore - this is a very rocky coast! The autopilot (AP) that has been in use so much of this year decided it had had enough of working hard and reliably and suddenly last night the message was displayed: "motor stalled" and I was soon unable to persuade it to work. I was getting tired, it was dark and cold and the air was wet with fog droplets... and there were several ships not far away to keep an eye on (TG for AIS & radar!). I was not a 'happy bunny'! As soon as it was safe to do so, I put us into 'drift mode' and went below to change over to my back-up AP, blessing the fact that I had it and it was so easy to do.... Changed over the drive ram connections to the steering quadrant arm and changed the electrical connections. It worked fine on 'Auto' after I resolved a small problem with rebooting the system (and it wanted calibrating, which clearly was not going to happen just then!) .... It refused to keep us 'on track' but was fine just steering on a heading ... No problem - I could live with that! Unfortunately, that didn't last long and around dawn, luckily after I'd had a couple of decent naps, I realized the AP was not driving the rudder anymore - for whatever reason, it was not in control at all. Rebooting didn't help, the electrical connections all seemed fine.... So here I am having to be close to the helm and keeping a constant eye on our heading. I've rigged up a line to tie off the wheel but we keep drifting off course, no matter how carefully I fine tune it... The ever-changing tidal current affects our heading... Passing Cape Alava as I write this at 10am, I'm relieved I placed a waypoint on the plotter well away from the off-lying rocks which suddenly appeared out of the far mist - looking rather nasty.. The current is clearly trying to take us inshore and I'm having to adjust our heading every few minutes. I'm thankful the AP failure didn't happen earlier on this trip from San Francisco (nearly seven days) - we're twelve miles S of Cape Flattery now and about six hours from the fuel dock at Neah Bay. I'll try to grab something to eat...

Sunday 6th August 2017

It's been grey, cold and dismal all day, with lumpy seas later on knocking us about. No sunshine!

Winds were fairly light until early afternoon, so we made reasonable progress under motor directly towards Cape Flattery, waiting for the wind to increase, as forecast...

The highlight of the day has been finally getting sailing, with the motor turned off, although we've had to bear off the wind & come away from our rhumb-line course towards the Strait of Juan de Fuca to get up a decent speed. Even now, the wind is gusty and seems to have veered more to the N (which, of course, is near our preferred direction!). As a result, we're headed towards the coast just S of Cape Johnson, well over 30 miles S of Flattery.

As we get closer, the wind could well change direction and, if one forecast is correct, it might die right down, so we could end up motoring again. If the wind doesn't die down, we'll just have to tack away out to sea again.

Being so much closer inshore, just over 20 miles off, has the disadvantage of being more in traffic. Just now, there are six big ships within 18 miles of us - and that's not counting any smaller fishing vessels that are not transmitting on AIS - there were several of those offshore last night. I might not get much sleep tonight....

It's nice to see the Superwind wind generator working well now - despite navigation lights and instruments etc I'm generally seeing a net charge into the batteries - without a lot of noise. There had been a simple bad connection that was attended to in SF.

10 p.m. A lull in the wind - dropped to 11 kt, now up to 14-16kt again. Boat speed suffers when that happens - it's varying a lot. Maybe the wind has already started to die?

Saturday 5th August 2017 - Full sail and good speed - for a time.....! Grey overcast all day today with a couple of small breaks in the cloud showing blue sky near sunset.q Came across a couple of small, commercial, white fishing boats this morning. Difficult to see them against the grey sky and sea - first one was quite close before I spotted it and the other came up at speed soon after. They probably saw Nereida on their AIS but they were not transmitting so I was not aware of them until we were close. Being well offshore, over 60 miles, they would be on the lookout for big ships while fishing so unlikely not to be equipped with an AIS receiver for their own safety. 3.30 p.m. Wind has died and veered again - down to 6 kt and more northerly. With full sail earlier, including staysail, I was very happy to see our speed up around 6 kt for quite a time, close hauled in wind of 10 kt from W-WNW - a vast improvement on the dismally slow speeds of yesterday, albeit with motor still helping to give a good apparent wind. If wind dies any more, I'll have to furl in the genoa and motor upwind to maintain best course.... Might do that anyway - all depends on how well the genoa will hold the wind - presently heading 20 degrees off course to maintain better speed - I don't want to keep on this course for too long. If I had all the time in the world, it would be easy - just drift around, tacking and making best northerly course possible under sail alone. But I'm well behind in my timing to have boat ready for Sept, having expected to get to B.C. by mid-July, if not earlier, so I want to push on north as fast as possible, making good use of this unusually benign weather window. Presently 60 ml W of Cape Meares and Cape Lookout, not far S of Tillamook, and 180 ml from C. Flattery. Experimented..... With headsail furled in and on course: speed (SOG) ~4.3kt. By heading a massive 60 degrees off to starboard of our rhumbline course, SOG finally reached 5kt - but the unfurled genoa was still not filling properly (wind had dropped to 4kt) - mainsail was doing the work. So genoa was furled in and we got back on course. Looking at new weather files, the two are more in agreement for wind from here to Cape Flattery - light NNW now until Sun afternoon, then 10-12 kt or so, NW becoming NNW, until after midnight, getting lighter from W until midday Mon, strengthening from W over Mon afternoon. To take advantage of the increased wind expected from NW-NNW over Sun/Mon, by getting a better angle to sail, given that wind direction, I've changed our course to just W of N for half the distance. (Adding just 5miles to our theoretical total .... 178 ml instead of 173 ml). All subject to change, of course!

Early Saturday 5th August 2017 A dilemma - weather forecasts contradict each other!!

I’m using both the COAMPS and NDFD forecasts, downloaded as attachments to email subscriptions from Saildocs, (Thanks to Jim Corenman and Stan Honey for generously organising that possibility as a free Sailmail service to all sailors!)

Since we’re running less than 100 miles off the coast, the US Navy’s COAMPS forecasts should be the more reliable since they take land effects into account. When available, the new NOAA NDFD forecasts are now generally more reliable for offshore than the GFS grib files, since they come from the daily weather forecasts produced by humans, not solely from computer programs, although I can’t say I’ve had a major problem recently with the GFS files. I get the impression that the NDFD files are possibly better near the coast than the GFS - but I’ve not been able to test my theory that much.

My problem now lies with the major discrepancy on my route between the two programs I’ve been using (COAMPS & NDFD) in a day’s time. They agree on what to expect for the coming 24 hrs or so, but then diverge completely after that - the one showing calm conditions near the coast for the following two days and the other showing strong winds spreading right in to the coast instead…

The problem is that my plan of action will be totally different for the two scenarios… In the one case, just keep on as we are now, in the other, head more offshore to position us to take advantage of the strong wind to sail back in … I’ve even noted the line where it would be good to tack around, assuming the forecast strong wind direction is correct… But there’s no point in adding miles by heading offshore if the wind is not then strong enough to make it worthwhile sailing back towards the coast… or, even worse, if there is then no wind to sail in!

I can only hope that over the coming day, the two are more in agreement on what to expect on Sunday and Monday.

Lovely sunshine from this morning - way better than the fog and overcast we've been in since leaving San Francisco. Meeting occasional traffic now - soon after sunrise, I called cargo vessel 'Global Discovery' after my AIS alarm went off in fog, to warn me it was due to come very close. Avoiding 'Nereida' by turning slightly to port, they finally overtook us just a mile off our port bow - in bright sunshine, with the fog bank left behind just then - see photo. The decks were dripping wet and took a time to dry out. It stayed sunny for most of the day but we're back to overcast now - 4pm. A fishing boat, 'Timmy Boy', is at work, 2 miles off to starboard, running on a parallel course now, after converging earlier - can't see it visually but we're both seeing each other on AIS and he assured me he'd stay clear! Have been checking the weather again regularly. Changed course after midnight to head for Cape Flattery directly - winds are forecast to be generally light and from ahead for the next day so that seems the best route for now. Wind is still expected to strengthen by Sunday afternoon so there's still a chance of sailing into the Strait of Juan de Fuca... That would be nice! Enjoying a ripe avocado with the last of a very nice Pt Reyes blue cheese - good to find there are some places in the USA where they make a good cheese!

Spent a long time this morning, after new weather grib files were downloaded, going over the next few days' weather forecasts and possible routing, checking fuel left & how long it would last and then going over routing possibilities again. My plan has been to motor in the first few days of very light winds, hoping to reach a point where wind is expected and from where I can sail towards Cape Flattery & the Strait of Juan de Fuca. I thought we had just four days of fuel left, which sounds a lot - but it will take us rather more than that to get to Cape Flattery. Neah Bay, just to the East, has fuel but I'm hoping we get wind to sail well beforehand. So I changed course to head due N for about 2 days since the wind should be lighter to motor against rather than further offshore. We might then have to motor or tack further offshore for a day until we can lay Cape Flattery to sail there in good wind... Totally wind-dependent plan & liable to change again! Had several good short naps this afternoon, catching up on sleep before spending time refuelling from jerry cans. A fabulous Jabsco fuel transfer pump lives in the cockpit locker with two sturdy large pipes permanently attached, one with a long steel pipe at its end for sucking out the fuel from the jerrycans stored in the same locker. The fuel filler is in the cockpit close by (one of the many changes I had made on Nereida from a standard N380 ). So once I've connected the power supply, it's just a matter of time and moving the filler pipe around before all jerrycans are emptied - the diesel gushes into a special Baja-type portable filter, separating any water and gunge from the fuel on its way into the main diesel tank below. I was feeling quite pleased, having just finished the transfer and was getting ready to stow away the displaced locker items, when I got a bit of a scare.... the instruments & autopilot started beeping madly.... "No data" was the message... I had to hand steer for a while, worried that this would be the scenario for the next several days of motoring.... Not a good thought ! (Given good wind, that wouldn't happen because the Hydrovane would take over the steering under sail, with the bonus of no power needed.) I 'rebooted' the autopilot by switching off and on but it didn't seem to have any effect... until I realized I hadn't reset the route being followed on the plotter ... So eventually, all has ended fine except that the cockpit plotter, which regularly misbehaves, seemed to have taken the other instruments down with it twice and that could happen again. At least I can work around the problem, so it's not too bad. The good news early this evening, well before 7 o'clock, was twofold.... The overcast 'marine layer' finally dissipated overhead so, for the first time since Monday, I saw some clear sky and pink clouds, as the low sun shone hazily near sunset, and the moon is now shining brightly high up. The other good news was remembering another source of fuel - 22 l (6 US gallons) in a heater day tank. It was drained out and added to the main tank... so giving a further eight hours of motoring, if needed - a nice 'cushion'! Daylight lingers so much later here than further south - that meant I could work in the cockpit two hours longer. We've just crossed over the Oregon/California border - we're in the 'Pacific North West'!

3pm Just finished over 1 1/2 hrs of effort to undo a major genoa wrap....! In light wind, I had decided to furl the sail in because it wasn't doing anything but I let the sheet (sturdy line holding it in place) get far too slack and a fold of the sail wrapped itself around the forestay from the wrong direction. Realizing I had a problem, I went forward and found the genoa was partly furled in and the two sheets were tangled in with the folds of the sail which was turned back on itself and wrapped tightly the wrong way - a total mess ...... The loose section of sail was flapping and jerking and trying its best to make things worse... Trying to unwrap the sheets twisted around the base, I found the sail trying to wrap further..... TG for lengths of Spectra line! First I had to tie down the furler base shackle to stop it from turning to make matters even worse and next, after a bit of a fight with the sail to persuade it to unwrap where it was doubled up on itself, I managed to hold down the clew of the sail with another line to stop it from wrapping any further (photo!). Then I was able to unwrap the sheets from around the base with the sail held firmly and re-run them back to the cockpit. I was then able to furl in the sail (untidily, but at least it furled OK...) using the bow cleat to hold the furling line, having slackened the sheet and line holding the clew. I then tensioned the sheet again to allow me to lead the slack in the furling line (from using the bow cleat) correctly back to the cockpit winch. ..... All a bit convoluted! Finally, I had to unfurl the sail in order to reach the extra line I'd attached to the clew and remove it - I decided against trying to do that by standing on the pulpit step (at the base of the forestay) - the clew was simply too high up and that would have threatened me with an unwanted swim in a cold sea with the movement of the boat in the swell.... Once that line was removed the sail was in action again so it's now being used, ready to be furled in again - but more carefully next time!

Tuesday 1st August 2017 It's 7p.m. and the fog that lifted over the day dropped down again earlier and is now getting thicker. The air is cold and damp...19C. The wind died completely some time ago, but I did manage a short motor sail with a full genoa adding to the mainsail and catching some breeze to help our speed just a little, until the apparent wind moved forward and died away again. I've been delighted to find three black-footed albatrosses keeping us company several times today. When I saw the first one flying our way this morning, its long, 'bent' wings caught my attention immediately but I'm so used to seeing albatross gliding 99% of the time in the Southern Ocean that I didn't believe I was seeing one - until I realized that, with almost no wind or uplift from waves to help it glide, it had no choice but to flap its wings if it wanted to move! In the calm sea, I've also seen a yellow and white jellyfish looking like a badly scrambled egg and a short while ago I spotted a disturbance in the water and part of a grey and white body appeared for a moment - either a very large solitary dolphin (unlikely) or a whale or shark... Of course, I made the usual mistake of rushing for my camera - and saw nothing more! Weather is still looking calm for several days but I'm aiming for a point 180 miles off Cape Meares, OR, hoping to sail NE in the NW wind that is being forecast to arrive by then - we'll see! Keeping a constant eye on weather forecasts, as usual when on passage... I doubt our fuel will allow us to reach further than Neah Bay, if that far, but I'm hoping to sail in good wind by the weekend. I was surprised to get a call on the VHF this afternoon, asking me to go the Baja Net frequency - where I chatted with Ken, KE6WC, and Jan, KM6G, both in Gualala - just a little further north from where we were. They knew Nereida had left SF last night and were not far off their shore from our AIS signal. The sea is now glassy calm but there's quite a large W swell. Time to get a meal before the light goes completely.... and put the hot air heater on before checking in to the Pacific Seafarers' Net shortly.

I can’t believe we’re only now making this final leg of our passage N to B.C.! But a lot of good jobs have been done on the way, in different places, so the job list has shortened.

Left SF at midnight under low overcast. 7kt of headwind until passing under the GG Bridge soon died down to give light wind and the deck was soon wet with heavy dew and threatening fog all night.

9 a.m. - Sun is struggling to get out, there are frequent patches of fog and the sea is glassy-surfaced. Pairs of small murrelets (like a sea duck with black top and pointed beak & white underbody) are often seen resting on the surface, in between diving for food. The state of tide has a noticeable effect on our speed over the ground (SOG) - LW now, so we should start picking up speed again as the flood tide picks up.

Checking the weather forecasts, light winds are expected off the coast for several days, so I changed my intended route to stay 50-100ml off the coast . I’ll be motoring mostly, so I’ll have to keep a careful eye on fuel use. To head more offshore by another 200-300 miles to sail where winds are stronger would be a waste of time since winds will be from N-NW so a lot of tacking would be needed to get N. Since I can use my engine to make better progress at present, I might as well do so! Hopefully, I’ll be able to sail once we get near to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Saturday 29th July 2017 Sausalito, California

Well.... so much for hoping to get away early last week! The thoroughly dirty bilge took a time to clean (TG for strong degreasing fluid and a good mop! ), as did the hose end strainers, float switch and diaphragm pump, but all are looking pristine now. Hose ends needed to be replaced, also a water level sensor switch. It's a wonder I managed not to fall down the gaping hole for the last week but I was finally able to replace the main cabin flooring today.

The engine was serviced, oil was changed again and the seawater intake hose was replaced on Friday, meaning the forward access panels on the engine compartment could also be replaced, at last, as part of today's jobs.

Other jobs completed while at Spaulding Boatworks in Sausalito: wind generator now working fine, water-maker thoroughly serviced and in pickle (ready for Sept), computer 'serviced' and cleaned up & various software and other problems sorted out.

This weekend is being spent cleaning up and dealing with all the resulting chaos on board with a view to leaving on Monday to head north to the Strait of Juan de Fuca & Pt Townsend etc - a difficult passage probably.... and a good month later than had been planned some time ago.

Friday night I was made very welcome at Richmond Y.C. - it has been really nice to spend time with people while here in the Bay Area (and the Delta) and I've been made welcome at the St Francis Y.C. and San Francisco Y.C. also - very many thanks to all of you!

The maximum ebb on Monday just W of the Golden Gate is around 11 a.m. so I hope to leave from the St Francis Y.C. in good time to carry the ebb well out to sea.

Photos show San Francisco Bay just inside the Golden Gate,  newly-serviced watermaker, sailing on the Delta, view towards Tomales Bay entrance bar from Nick's\\Cove (lovely place for seafood meals! ), beautifully cleaned bilge and view of bilge cleaning in progress.

Friday 21st July 2017 - Pleasant sunny days getting useful work done at friendly Spaulding's in Sausalito

Lovely to get help from Clark Beek and the two Chris’s at Spaulding’s Boat Yard in Sausalito. "Nereida" was rafted up to pretty "Freda" (the oldest wooden boat still in use on the West coast, I was told) for a time,

Fixed: wiring problem below wind generator & faulty connections at on/off switch.

Fixed: water-maker checked over and filters changed - will be 'pickled' on Monday, since it won’t be needed until my late Sept departure from B.C.

Cleared: bilge - of dirty, oily water - ready for replacing pump(s) and float switch (probably also some hoses) - have not been working too well recently and badly in need of attention. (Will use spare bilge pump I’ve been carrying around for the last eight years!)

Changed: engine oil (again!) - nice to have use of a strong pump to make the job easier (and for clearing the bilge). Yanmar engine to be checked over on Monday by List Marine - valve clearances, timing, etc - important items I can’t deal with.

There are other jobs I'm hoping to do over the weekend but it’s reassuring to be getting these major ones off the list!

Looking at the weather forecasts, there are strong northerlies now and for the next few days off the N. California coast, so it’s good to be able to spend my time here usefully - and it has also meant I can meet up with some Bay area friends. Earliest I can see for a possible 'escape' is later on Tuesday - and even then the winds will be quite strong.

A vast area of navigable channels with reed beds and lots of shallow muddy patches to avoid, two big rivers and islands of all sizes... This is the Delta area to the NE of San Francisco Bay. 150 years ago, lowly-paid Chinese workers built high 'levees' on either side of water channels to enable land to be drained and cultivated.

Friends Dennis & June took me to see some of the Delta region and we went for a lovely sail.... but ended up stuck in a shoal patch! Got off the mud around sunset, luckily, having had a meal while we waited for the tide to turn...

A very pleasant, peaceful interlude before returning to Richmond to take "Nereida" over to San Francisco Y.C. in Tiburon. Delighted to meet with Judy Sanford this evening... (John would have been pleased....)

Great to be greeted by Bob & Torill on arrival at the club. Many familiar, friendly faces and a pleasant evening spent there.

A foggy trip to SF - needed radar to keep an eye on small boats not showing on AIS.
Big swell all the way, especially where the water was shallow.
Saw a whale spout in the distance outside the Golden Gate -and then, just as I was organising the genoa, in the sudden good wind inside the GG, it surfaced right beside 'Nereida'....! Of course, it disappeared before I could grab my camera!!
I finally enjoyed a short-lived sail before turning in towards the St Frances Y.C who are making me feel welcome and where I'll be staying while I get a few jobs done and see several friends.
Had a beautiful, long, hot shower immediately after tying up - how great it is to enjoy the simple things in life!!


Leaving  a misty Pillar Pt Harbour at Half Moon Bay.  A good restful,  overnight stop .Sun seems to be getting out so hopefully the overnight fog won't be a problem.
Very big swell - a good 3m at times.
Now to catch the start of the flood tide through the Golden Gate into San Francisco Bay.... 4-5 hours away.
Tide has turned here already and we should make good speed with the flood helping all the way. Almost no wind.
Lots of murrelets in the water - always dive just as I'm about to photograph them!


Friday 14th July 2017   -   Happy Quatorze Juillet!!

Stopped at anchor here in pleasant Half Moon Bay rather than continuing on to San Francisco because it looked possible that I'd be trying to enter in the evening on an ebb tide - NOT recommended through or near the Golden Gate due to strong currents resulting from the enormus volume of water involved.

So I'm about to catch up on missing sleep now and I'll leave here around 8.30 a.m. tomorrow, in order the enter the Golden Gate soon after midday when the flood tide will be starting - and well before the expected bad weather sets in later on.

The weather window I originally saw last weekend, that made me hurriedly leave San Diego to head north, didn't quite turn out as forecast - but was good enough for me to get here safely by keeping well inshore, despite strong 'washing machine' conditions between Pts Conception and Arguello and again last night trying to pass Pt Sur.

It feels so much colder than further south - I've been wearing my warm leather seaboots and a warm fleece top for most of the passage.  The sea here is 10C/50F.. brrr!!



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