D/V to PNW Day 1

April 30, 2005M/V DESERT VENTURE
Pacific NW Voyage – Day 1The day started out nice and calm, mostly. We finished our final stowing of items. The general plan is the toaster sits on a beach towel in the dishwasher, the tea pot and coffee pot go under the cook top. Works quite well, and nothing is left on the counter. Everything has a voyaging place and is in it when we get underway on the big water.

At 0900 we started main engines, Bruce having taken our water hose and electrical cord aboard, all stowed for sea. We moved immediately to the fuel dock, at the San Leandro Marina, where we took on 60 gallons of fuel at $2.20 per gallon. We feel fortunate that they have, what appears to be, the cheapest fuel on the West Coast. We know it will cost more the next time we take on fuel. Taking on a mere 60 gallons doesn’t take long and then it is official, we are off!! Our short cruise through San Francisco Bay is easy and takes us past a few memories we made during our stay.

Last August we cruised to the bay, from the San Joaquin River Delta. It was then that my youngest son, Nick, came to visit and be part of our crew. Our first item was to go to the marine electrician’s dock, where he was going to inspect our electrical system prior to making an estimate. Once we completed that part of the itinerary, we cruised on over to South Beach Marina. It has the special location of being right at SBC Baseball Park, home of the Giants and Mr. Barry Bonds. We took in a double header, and got to see Barry hit one over the wall. Yeah!! Number 692. After that we got underway for a stay at Angel Island. It was really a perfect little voyage and I hated to go back up the Delta, but it was part of the plan. Then at Christmas both sons, and daughter-in-law and grandbaby came and we basically re-did the same route. Good bye Scoma’s Restaurant. That was a great lunch! And so it was, we left San Francisco with some good memories to keep until we return again. Good by San Francisco, see you next time around!!

It seemed no time at all and we were at the Golden Gate Bridge. We took a picture of me and the bridge in the background and gave up a toll of $0.25, each, for luck. This is our fourth crossing under the bridge. WOW! We are old timers! This time we turn right, headed north. We first came under the bridge in October, 2002. It was a very foggy morning, and the sun didn’t break through until just as we crossed under the bridge. It was a wonderful welcome to San Francisco Bay. So, as we headed out to the north, today, we saw country new to us, that had been hidden in the fog of the first time. It is definitely spring in Northern California. All the hills are green and rolling. A beautiful sight to our starboard (right) side, to the East. The ocean was gently rolling, no wind, and swells were far apart. It remained so through the day and night. This has all the makings of a boring voyage. AND, that is just the way we like it!!

We settled into a routine of taking turns watching at the helm. Because it is just the two of us, we are pretty relaxed about who is at the helm, until it comes time to check the engines, or take naps, etc. If one of us is pulled to engine duty, galley duty, etc., then the other covers the helm. We started the cruise in more shallow water, and found ourselves dodging leftover fishing traps. Those are death on an engine screw, so we give them wide berth. We saw plenty of ocean birds fishing and hanging out. Nothing too new to us, but always an enjoyable way to spend our time. We let our auto pilot do most of the actual driving, with us manually adjusting it to stay on course. At this time we haven’t gotten our GPS and our Navigation software talking to each other directly. To pass the time we read or share crossword puzzles. This was a new pastime to me. I have gotten better, but find myself challenged, at times. We both look for the Easy Crossword Puzzle books. We wonder what “Easy” really means, sometimes! The Butterfield parents are great cross word puzzlers and so I always call them if I manage to do an entire puzzle (correctly without cheating) by myself!

Our meals tend to be fairly simple. Where is that Chef I turned down?? We enjoyed deli-type homemade sandwiches for lunch. And our own wonderful recipe for lasagna for dinner. It isn’t too hard to prepare a meal when we are cruising in mostly flat or calmer waters.

The sun started setting in the 2000 hour. It was time to check our navigation lights, set the computer to night cruising dim, and set the radar tracking for us. One of the things I generally tell people about our cruising is that we are never alone. There is always someone out there. Well, this time, I don’t know about that. There was a big ship way out in the shipping lanes, but we never saw a small craft all day or night long.

Mid-watch isn’t my favorite time. Somewhere in the middle of the night I relieve Bruce. It is dark, mostly. Our navigational lights shed some light on our wake, so not completely dark. I keep my eye on our course, and I watch the radar for signs of company. One of the things I have mentioned is boats on “My Line”. For folks who haven’t seen a radar working, you have a heading line/marker. It is your direct heading. To find some boat coming down THAT line, is amazing to me. After all, it is a BIG ocean and couldn’t they get their own line?? In order to avoid any inconvenient disasters I just make a new line. But it wasn’t necessary, as there was no one out there wanting to share my line last night. Very dark and lonely. I have to work hard not to think about the fact I can’t SEE where we are going, literally. ( I work hard at not seeing boogey men, too. I could be afraid of the dark if I let myself dwell on the thought.) I “see” by what the radar tells me. And for me, that just doesn’t seem enough. Some enjoy the mid-watch, as a time of solitude and quiet reflection. I tried that last night. Hm, what shall I reflect upon? Well, I guess I am not “there” yet, as all I could think of is where is the guy that is usually on “my line”, and is there really something “out there” that I can’t, and should be seeing? Maybe the introspection comes with time. After all, night cruising is fairly new to me. Maybe tomorrow night – I’ll keep you posted. The highlight, so to speak, of the night watch was seeing the moon come up and shine through the low lying clouds. When I went back to the night berth (main salon sofa), I knew it was shining on us.

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