Sunday, September 22, 2013

Anchored in Neah Bay

The last few weeks have been pretty busy, but everything has worked out and I've now left Seattle and am presently anchored in Neah Bay waiting for a weather window.

The last few projects went well.  I was on the hard at Canal Boatyard for 7 days refreshing the bottom paint of the boat.  Without getting into a lot of detail, I used SeaHawk Cutoke Biocide plus and put three coats on all over, using three gallons of paint.  The paint is $285/gallon.  For those of you thinking of repainting a room with a nice latex paint, enjoy your paint prices.  Canal boatyard is a great place to haul out, I recommend it.  (Going through the locks isn't that bad...)  

I splashed the boat on Monday the 16th and moved back into my slip at Shilshole.  I sold my car on Tuesday and made my way back to the boat to add the sea going equipment such as jack lines, fuel jugs, hanked on the staysail, mounted the trysail to the mast base and generally walked around looking for anything that looked wrong.

I left Seattle Wednesday the 18th at 5am to catch the morning tide.  There were light winds all day, and I ended up motoring all the way to Port Townsend where I met with the good folks at the Hasse sail loft as well as the now famous Jim and Karen of Sockdolager, who I hadn't seen since we both left Mexico for our different destinations (South Pacific for Sockdolager, Hawaii for Luckness.)

Looking back at sunrise down Puget Sound after leaving Port Townsend
I left Port Townsend early again to arrive at anchor in Port Angeles by 11am, again riding the favorable current the whole way.  In Port Angles I decided to test my SSB radio setup again and found a problem.  I last tested the radio a month or so ago.  After that test, Parallels came out with a new version of their product which I downloaded.  Parallels is what I use to run Windows on my MacBook, which is needed to run Sailmail which in turn controls my SSB.  The update promised generally faster, better along with more efficient battery use - but I foolishly did not test the radio setup again afterwards.  It no longer worked.  So after a few colorful words and holding my head in my hands, I headed into Port Angeles to buy a new Windows laptop.  There is a Radio Shack in town and I picked one up for $350.  It feels cheap and runs Windows 8, which is a little annoying, but I installed Sailmail on it in the store, got back to the boat and the radio is working again.  I'll try to get the Mac controlling the radio again in California.

After getting that sorted out, I left on Friday for Neah Bay.  There is a current station just off shore at Neah Bay and it showed a 0.5 flood tide starting around an hour before I expected to arrive, as the winds were again light.  Motoring the whole way was uneventful and I arrived fighting a 3 knot flood for the final few miles, making 3 knots toward my destination.  The current forecast may have been accurate for the station it represented, but closer to shore the current had increased - which is not surprising in hindsight.  After arriving, I added fuel to the tank, refueled my jugs and generally got the boat ship shape.  

I arrived in Neah Bay expecting to have a wait for weather.  There was a gale forecast to be arriving on Sunday (today as I write this) and I would definitely not want to leave facing 25 to 35 knot south winds.

With the dingy being in the water I headed over to a sailing catamaran in the harbor to talk to them.  They are also heading south and were planning after leaving Victoria to head straight to San Diego.  They holed up in Neah Bay waiting for this system to pass as well.  After speaking with them for a while I headed to shore again and walked over to the marina where I found two more sailboats.  Both of them are also heading south and are here waiting for a weather window.  We talked weather for a while, then I got a little involved with trying to figure out why one of the boats SSBs is not working (high SWR, can not connect.)

Before going to shore I used my wi-fi amplifier to connect to the marina free wi-fi and downloaded some weather information and grib files.  The grib files were showing the gale arriving on Sunday followed by generally light wind gradually increasing from the north and then dwindling again when a second larger system would arrive with strong south winds.  So on Saturday it looked like the weather window would open on monday evening or tuesday and then close again friday evening.  That's a pretty short window.

I passed along the information about the second system to the boats I met and we talked through some options.  We all feel like we are rather late in this season and don't want to miss opportunities to make some progress south.  But I do not want to be at sea facing 35+ knots from the south.

After downloading weather again this morning, Sunday, the second system forecast has changed dramatically.  Looking 8 days out on a weather forecast is prone to having large errors.  The current forecast is showing generally light and slightly variable conditions after tuesday as far as the forecast goes now.  The winds south appear to be forecast for stronger but from the north which is ideal.

I do not need to commit to the leave/stay decision until I actually leave.  The town has a good grocery store, pizza and staying here is comfortable.  When the conditions look favorable, I'll leave.  When that happens, I'll update the blog to let you all know.

After leaving Neah Bay I won't be committing to a destination.  I'll be heading south of course, but am not sure where my first stop will be, or how many stops I'll be making along the way.  I'm late in leaving this time, so will likely make my way south faster than the last time I did this trip.

Everything is well here.  I'm pretty excited to be underway again.  Its been a hard slog these last few months.  i seem to have started and completed more boat projects than I expected and am pretty happy to stop working on the boat for a while and start enjoying the cruising life again.

Warm waters, here I come!

1 comment:

  1. Yeah! Enjoy the trip south. I'm at SFO right now about to board my flight back to Toronto. :) It was great being able to meet up with you in Seattle last week. Cheers!