May 4, 2005
M/V DESERT VENTURE
Day 4 (May 3, 2005)
As of this writing (into Day 5) we have generally experienced three different sea state conditions. I have alluded to the first and the best, which is calm seas with no wind. That is, by far, the easiest ride of all. It should make everyone want to go on a voyage such as ours. This makes for easy riding and none of the boat’s contents move or shift to speak of – which is nice! The second major change to our sea state started about 2:00 p.m. on Day 3. An un-forecasted north-westerly wind arose. This changed the ride considerably. The seas didn’t rise but the wind kicked up their own waves (wind waves). We were taking the wind right on our nose, which meant we started having some up/down motion and sea spray on our bow. This means we did a lot of staggering and hanging on and even bumping into bulkheads, etc. It is not a scary situation. It was more of an irritation than anything, and it isn’t that much fun for prolonged periods. So, by morning of Day 4 we had been beating up wind doing the up/down/sea splash for 18 hours. To add to the situation we had been underway for 72 hours plus and were becoming very tired.
Moving around on an underway boat is great exercise. There are untold isometric exercises that happen while you are busy keeping your balance and doing chores at the same time. And that is what is it like on flat/calm seas. Just think of the experience you get on a more animated sea. (I love that word, “animated”. Bruce uses it all the time. It can mean anything from a little to a lot but sounds so innocent!)
Which leads into another topic – stowing items for sea. I mentioned earlier about things having a place and being in it when we go to sea. The other issue is making it difficult for anything to move or build any momentum. I believe there is a mathematic equation about force equal mass times acceleration. So big things must not move at all and smaller things better not have much space between them either. For instance, we secure the sofa to the deck. We bungee the table and chairs to the bulkhead. They are heavy, large items that could do serious injury or damage if they got underway. We don’t want scrambled eggs – in the refrigerator. All the shelves have non-skid on them – nothing much moves as we try to keep it stocked, too. At times, when we got to an end of a voyage I stuffed towels in the refrigerator in order to keep things from moving. All our cupboards and lockers are full of normal living items. They are always stowed with the idea we might get underway. It isn’t practical to live a “tied to the dock” life or a “going to sea” life. We made a decision to live and go via the water, and so we try to make it as simple and safe as we can on a regular basis. I generally have flower pots on the aft deck and a plant or two. They get first class berthing during ocean travel, in the VIP shower stall. Interesting thing, after about four days in the dark, they bloom soon after we bring them back out.
I slept through the passing of the Columbia River Bar. Bruce took a picture of the buoy. Many people have crossed the Columbia River Bar, including us on D/V in 2002. In relation to our population very few have the experience. If you have crossed that bar, you deserve a t-shirt. I am still waiting for mine.
Sometime in the 0500 hour, Bruce was at the helm, when he heard a THUMP, and then a vibration started. He brought us to idle, and we tried to see what, if anything we might have hit. Nothing showed itself, but it concerned us greatly. We slowly got underway again, and the vibration ceased. He watched the engines extremely close as we didn’t want to damage anything, with something wrapped around one of our screws.
Okay, so that sets the scene. The weather was creating uncomfortable riding, we may have hit something, and we were exhausted. We also learned that the next day the wind would shift to the south, giving us a much faster and smother ride. With all this in mind, we decided to pull into Grays Harbor, Westport, WA for an overnight stay. We called on the cell phone and were assured of a berth and got some diver phone numbers. We called and arranged for a diver to come take a look at our screws later in the day. With the ocean down it was no problem getting over the bar into Grays Harbor. We took on fuel first thing. 191 gals. So that is about what it takes working our way “uphill” for a little more than a day’s fuel. Our speed had reduced with beating into the wind, too.
It was a real debate as to whether to keep going or stop off. We are so close to getting off the ocean – a mere 136 miles to our anchorage in Neah Bay, WA. We hated to loose the momentum. Also, at this point, I wasn’t sure how much I would want to go again if we stopped. But the mystery thump and our exhaustion won out. (Two other very compelling reasons were that we didn’t want to motor through crab trap infested waters or enter the Straight of Juan de Fuca in the dark.) It was great to pull into our slip and tie up. We ended up tied with the commercial fishing boats. It was not a bad place at all. Including our past voyages, I can say we have seen the good, the bad, and the darn ugly, of commercial fishing docks. This day, I admitted to myself, I hardly cared!! First thing after tying up we headed up to the marina office to pay our berth rent. It was $14 for the slip and we splurged (not really) and agreed to pay $3 for 30 amp electricity. It was worth every cent. After that we walked down to the other end of the street to sit and relax, and get a meal made by someone else! Once we sat down the world continued to spin and we were pretty goofy. (The brain and body get shook up some when underway for any length of time, with degrees, depending on the sea state.) I guess limited rest and once more, animation, will do that to you. I ordered the house hamburger. I had been planning that since I knew we were going to town!! Bruce had a turkey wrap. We were so happy to be sitting, but so tired, that even our talk was slurred that led to some lively, almost uncontrolled laughter. Yes, maybe it was hysterics!!
With a big lunch under our belt, and almost 3:00 p.m., all we really wanted to do was go down to our nice very comfortable bed and sleep for about 15 hours. But that was not to be the case – not when you love your boat!! We split the chores. Bruce went to check oil and take care of the engines and etc., and I washed the salt spray off the boat. We were also waiting for the diver to arrive, sometime between 5:00 and 7:00. We took showers and finally gave up and went to bed. He never showed or called. A first, and we were pretty disappointed. Bruce looked as well as he could and since we couldn’t see anything, and the engines were performing as usual, we chose to continue on without the diver the next day.
So it was lights out at 7:00 and we both conked out. 0500 came much too early, but that was the agreement and that takes us to Day 5!