D/V to PNW Day 2

PNW Voyage
Day 2 (May 1)

By the end of our first 24 hours we were abeam Punta Gorda, just south of Cape Mendocino (CA). Cape Mendocino is the furthest point west, south of the Columbia River, on the continental United States. We took a picture of the buoy as we passed. This was a particularly memorable spot on our voyage south (2002), after taking delivery of D/V. We had had a very “animated” bar crossing at the Humboldt River Bar the day before. We departed Eureka and headed back out the next morning. I was still a bit unsettled from our bar crossing the day before. The weather was much more animated going down the coast (in 2002) and this day was no different. We knew that once we got around Cape Mendocino things would settle down, but at some point we were going to be taking the “whole ocean” (my term) on our beam (broadside for non-mariners). When that time came to be, we became more animated than I really wanted to see. Being a great believer in the ostrich method, this seemed a great time and so I adjourned to under the quilt and took a nap (actually I practiced relaxation breathing skills). It was obvious that Captain was not concerned, so I just left it to him to be in charge. Anyway, on this Day 2, it was flat and boring and calm, and it deserved a picture recording that it could be so benign.

This day was just as smooth and easy riding as Day 1. It was more interesting as the sun was out and sea was a beautiful blue, or blue gray. I spotted the whale first. We caught several glimpses, but there was only one whale. We saw a couple huge groups of dolphins. We saw a couple new varieties, that were black with white underbelly. These are Pacific White Sided Dolphins and Dall Porpoises. One other marine-life to note were the Man-o-War jelly fish that looked like huge ribbons, and smaller rivulets of jelly fish. They were bluish and translucent, varied in size to as small as the tip of my pinky, to larger ones of a couple inches or so. They seemed to have a sail on them. They came together strung out for hundreds of yards, or more, and smaller groups. At times they were so thick they almost look liked volcanic ash all washed together, and almost deep purple. Our concern was what do they do to sea strainers?? We didnt have any problems, as our wake seemed to wash them away before they got too close. We will be checking to confirm that as soon as we can.

Generally Day 2 was spent much like Day 1, in that we took turns at watch, and did our general duties. We did crossword puzzles and I read some. I have been attempting to read a book for months and finally I am going to finish it!!

When one sits and looks out across the water for any period of time, I have to believe they begin to have feelings of smallness. Looking out to the west, on the horizon, and even to the north, it appears that the world is flat. It doesnt surprise me at all that many centuries ago they thought the world was flat and to go to the edge was life threatening. It does amaze me there are brave souls testing all those theories and proving them wrong. This led to my “deep introspection”. Bravery. I don’t believe that I am a “brave” person. I may have already noted that thought. But then, I am pragmatic, and I seem to rise to an occasion if I have to. And maybe that is what it is all about. It came to me, and not that many years ago, that I can do anything I set my mind to, and of course so can everyone. But believing in yourself, and giving yourself permission to go and try and maybe fail, stops many from going. I have told many a person, if you think you can, you can! If you think you can’t, then you won’t. We all have a choice. Hm..well, it was in the dark of the night, the engines were powering away, and I scared myself when I looked out a window and saw a person, where NO ONE should be, then realized it was my own reflection. Aside from getting over the boogey man fear, and then feeling foolish I was fine.

This second night found us entering Oregon. Here we had lots of company out on the water. It was opening season for salmon we found out the next day. And the shrimpers were going really strong, too. Our first night found all the lights on our starboard side, to the east (land and people). We can see the lights on the coast and are probably no more than 6 to 8 miles off the coast. We can see the silhouette of the countryside. Of course there are many beacons along the way for us to mark. This second night, when I got up for my watch, I saw lights to port, but thought at first they were the starboard reflection, and then realized quickly they were NOT a reflection. Fear raced through me momentarily. We shouldn’t see lights to port, we turned around (MY captain would never be so lost, but remember I was coming out of sleep and getting my bearings) oh, no!!! Then I realized what was happening. There was a steady line of fishermen, with their huge lights strung out for miles…and as it turns out probably the entire length of Oregon, and maybe Washington. Once I got woke up and adjusted to who was where, I was able to reflect back on this “being afraid and being brave” stuff. I learn daily how much ocean going and cruising and boating knowledge my husband has and I don’t. His years of experience are priceless! How is it he can see the navigation lights and know it is a huge ship and what kind that ship is?? He does!! How is it he can “see” the wind (even in the dark), and know the direction and speed?? He does. It is a humbling experience and I watch him close as I don’t want anything to happen to the Captain! It is very empowering, to try to learn more with such a person willing to teach. But sometimes I am still not brave! I just fight the fear and do it!

We found ourselves off the coast of Coos Bay, OR the next morning and that is another day! Stand by.

Angie (and Captain Bruce)

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