August 29, 2000
Waking up early from the long day of motoring the day before, we got ourselves and our boat ready for another lengthy cruise. As it stood, the distances between ports in northern California and southern Oregon were greater than that which we had experienced before. So we had to be a little more diligent about leaving early if we didn't want to enter unfamiliar ports at night.
Before heading out on the ocean, we had to fuel up. Even though it was
foggy coming in last night, we were relatively certain that we had not passed any fuel
docks. So after leaving the dock and the moorage we headed up the bay a bit looking for
fuel. Coming to the end of the navigable part of the bay we didn't see anything that we
thought was a public fuel dock. So we turned around and pulled up next to a moored Coast
Guard cutter and Debbie asked them where the fuel dock was located. They pointed to a pier that we had passed and said fuel
was available there. This old dilapidated pier had the look of a commercial service dock (or maybe
an abandoned dock) but we tied up to it nonetheless. We climbed up the ladder and sought
someone out for fuel. While waiting we looked around the marine store and came across a
picture on the wall. The picture showed a fishing vessel coming in the mouth of the bay
with a huge breaker right on it's stern. The clerk walked up behind us and said,
That'll make a resident out of you. Won't it? Yikes! Let me check those tide
tables one more time!
After fueling up we headed out for Brookings. It took about a half hour to get out of the bay into the ocean (where the entrance was in swells with breakers on either side of us just outside of the channel). It was still a bit foggy, though the visibility was up to about 1-2 miles. The GPS was programmed with the waypoints that would take us to Brookings and we settled in for the long cruise.
An hour or so outside of Eureka we had a visitor. We were about 2-3 miles off shore at this time when a sparrow started circling our boat. It flew several circuits around our boat for about 5 minutes before finally settling on the aft part of the flybridge. It was obvious the bird was physically exhausted. We figured that the bird had somehow got itself disoriented and far offshore and settled on our boat as something that wasn't wet. The bird stayed with us for most of the rest of the day.
When we first got on the boat in Bodega Bay to start this segment of our cruise I found a bird's feather on the floor. Debbie said this was a sign of good luck. Now we had the whole friggen bird. How lucky is that!
The cruise went well and the weather was good with about 5-7 foot swells. As had been typical so far, the marine overcast shielded us from the sun and we stayed bundled up in our warm clothes.
Passing Crescent City we made way toward Point St. George and the depicted
channel through the Pt. St. George reef. As we neared one of the bigger rocks in the reef
our little friend took off, circled the boat a couple of times as if to say
thanks and made haste toward the rock. We said goodbye, sad to see him go.
From Crescent City to Brookings the land moves away to the east to form Pelican Bay. We made a direct course to Brookings comfortable in the knowledge that we would make it well before sunset.
Sometime around 6:30pm we said goodbye to California and entered the Oregon coastal waters. We were progressing well on this vacation. Barring any detrimental weather conditions, we were looking at making the Columbia on the flood tide on Sunday, September 3rd.
Shortly after passing into Oregon waters, in very calm conditions and a little bit of sun, I sat down and Debbie piloted the ship for a bit. Sitting there comfortably in the port helm chair I suddenly found myself falling over sideways. The weld on the bottom of the seat had broken! Not to worry, we still had one chair and that's all that would be needed with one of us standing to man the helm.
Pulling into Brookings was a non-event as we followed the entrance buoys and stayed on the range. The turn into the transient dock was simply a matter a short turn to starboard and pulling up next to the dock. We were here.
Shortly after getting the boat tied up and paying our transient fees the Coast Guard showed up. They wanted to board the boat and do a safety inspection.
Brookings is a training site for the Coast Guard with a control tower overlooking the entrance (and the transient dock). I have no doubt that someone in that tower saw what looking like a floating derelict and directed that she be boarded. (I'm sure they had an empty ticket book with them, expecting to fill it out.) When they boarded the boat and completed their inspection they found no violations. I had made every effort to bring the boat up to CME standards prior to leaving San Diego. It paid off here.
We settled in for the night, ready for the next leg which would take us around Cape Blanco to Bandon, Oregon.