CRESCENT CITY TO DRAKES BAY    

October 31, 2003

We arrived in Crescent City, CA about midnight and requested an assist to enter the harbor because we didn't have any charts for the area and the fog was very dense. The coastguard wasn't very eager to accommodate us because they were busy answering Maydays from the storm. We could see the spotlight of the choppers overhead scanning the area where we had just been. By the time they sent a tender out to direct us, we had found the channel marks and were well on our way safely into the harbor. A security guard found us a shower, which was much appreciated, to wash off all the salt. Gord was soaked right through his cruiser suit. We were tied up to the visitor's dock and had a long, much needed sleep that lasted well into the next day. I can't believe this happened to us on our first passage but I'm glad we know our tolerance level now & hope our experience will remain behind us (lightening doesn't strike twice??). We survived and we are safe.

The following morning, we all experienced 'lack of motion' sickness. I think it is a combination of the aftermath of lots of motion, stress and exhaustion. Today we will asses the damage but it looks like we didn't break anything, aside from the missing windex -a tribute to Beneteau. Gord is very stiff and he has salt water sores all over his swollen hands. The inside of the cabin is full of salt spray with wet clothes hanging everywhere, and there are lines and sheets strewn all over the cockpit so we will spend the day cleaning up.

September 1-4:

The weather has not improved much so we are staying put at the dock until it settles. We have been touring around the town. A group of bossy sea lions confronted us on the dock, growling at us to back off.

Met an interesting couple also waiting here. They unintentionally left their first boat on a reef in the South Pacific on their way to New Zealand, and are now using a friend's boat while they look for another. Fascinating stories. They were a wealth of information and very interesting people. He worked for Microsoft so came to our boat and got our charting programs communicating with the GPS and gave me advise on building my web page. We spent an enjoyable evening on their boat watching a slide show that included 375 pictures of Mexico and the South Pacific. Lots of fun.

leaving_Crescent_City.jpg (29583 bytes)We made one attempt to continue our journey on to Eureka, CA. We started out motoring under sunny skies which quickly turned to pea soup fog. About 2 hours out we heard a report that there was a thunder storm where we we going. Since we weren't ready to confront a challenging sea so soon we decided to head back to harbour. We had a fun exhilarating sail back surfing down waves (little ones!) at 10 knots as the storm built up behind us. So here we sit in Crescent City waiting for the weather again...maybe tomorrow. Not much to see here. There is slight evidence remaining of the seismic sea wave which virtually wiped out the harbor in 1964. It has been said of this town that it has more bars and churches per capita than any other US city. Our 2 mile walk to Safeway seems to be the highlight of this town.


Sept 5

It was a pretty benign day, misty & gray so we set out for Eureka. We motored about 70 miles over liquid fields of sea that reminded me of endless wheat fields on the prairies. Kinda boring but I read a whole book today. It's amazing that the ocean can go from viciously predatory to so submissive in just a matter of days. We didn't see a single boat all day. I think it was because all the fishermen were out looking for a 60 foot fishing boat that disappeared yesterday. We heard the Mayday just before we turned back for refuge in the harbor at Crescent City. Apparently, the boat sunk and none of the crew were located.

We arrived in Eureka late at night and are docked in a marina on Woodley Island. Old town Eureka is right across from us with it's Victorian architecture. The showers here are fantastic, and there is laundry facilities, restaurants and shops right at the end of the dock.

Eureka Harbour from BridgeFirst thing the next morning we checked into Customs. The Custom's officer came to our boat and we ended up visiting and drinking coffee for several hours. We were amazed that he was so friendly, out of character for most Customs personnel. He gave us directions to town, told us where to go and even gave us maps and souvenirs of the Town. Later we found out that we were his first boat this year to clear customs so no wonder he had all that time to visit!


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We walked to the historic downtown area, owing its charm and fascination to the many Victorian homes which are a legacy of the lumber baron era. I was happy to see my first palm tree which made it seem like we really were finally south!

Pictured here is Carson Mansion, an example of the amazing Eureka architecture.


We visited the Maritime Museum and the curator, a member of the lifeguard auxiliary, told us that Reaction's crew of 4 were airlifted safely off by helicopter. He confirmed that the coastguard reported the sea state to be in excess of the 40 foot high range when the rescue was made. Reaction was recovered the following day, along with the 41 foot Choy Lee. Unfortunately the 60 foot fishing boat and crew were lost at sea and not recovered


We left Eureka at the crack of dawn on glassy calm seas but the air temperature is very chilly (I think I am wearing ALL the clothes I brought). We motored past the salvaged Reaction, tied to the dock. There was extensive damage to the dodger and solar panels. We were certainly relieved that all aboard were safe.

Just before dusk we were visited by a never ending entourage of dolphins and porpoises giving us a great show beside the boat. They stayed with us for about half an hour, thoroughly entertaining us.

DRAKES BAYSept 6-8, 2003

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We spent a day at anchor in Drake's Bay, about 35 miles from the mouth of the Golden Gate because we arrived in the dark with winds howling at 35 knots and the route into the Bay area can be tricky. We relaxed and Gord made his famous bread, which we managed to devour within a few hours.

By the third morning the winds had settled and we departed Drake's Bay excited about finally sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge.