Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 30, 2014 - Underway to Grays Harbor

We got an early start today leaving the marina at first light.  Fishing boats began leaving about an hour before us so we were not alone in the early morning.  Last night just after dark a coast guard motor life boat left it's boathouse in La Push, passing withing a few feet of our boat.  They were only gone for an hour or two, so perhaps it was a training exercise or they were escorting a boat across the bar.  These boats are amazing.  They can roll completely over and then self-right themselves and continue going.  There are lots of great videos on you tube showing these boats off Astoria Oregon practicing in the heavy surf.

Here is one such video:

We thought we'd share a little about what it's been like so far with several long days of motoring.  It's actually quite easy going.  The autopilot keeps us right on course so we don't need to sit and steer at all.  While you are on watch, you do need to look ahead for any obstacles(we only had to change course once when we ended up running parallel to a string of crab pots about 50' of our port side), and you need to check all the engine gauges to make sure the oil pressure is good, the engines are being properly cooled, and that the fuel filters are not clogging.  So far I've had to change fuel filters 4 times.  We are using two fuel tanks that we have not used for a year or more.  They were empty and I did clean them about a year ago, but I could not get into each baffled compartment.  I suspect that the process of rapidly dumping 260 gallons into each tank sort of scoured the bottom and side putting any sludge into suspension in the fuel.  Not bobbing around in the ocean those contaminants are being drawn into the fuel filters.  The engines draw a lot more fuel than they burn and the excess is returned to the tanks.  Eventually we will have "polished" these tanks and we will stop going through filters.

 Our internet connection has been great so far with no lack of coverage from La Conner to Grays Harbor.  We are using a Verizon Jetpack which creates a wifi hotspot that 5 devices can access simultaneously.  It has been GREAT.

Conditions on the ocean have been exceptionally good.  The winds have been less than 15 knots with a very mild swell.  We are experiencing wind waves, like we are used to in our home waters.  So the ride is something we are used to.  The constant motion of the boat does make it a little difficult to walk around, and our narrow, steep, curving stairway to the staterooms and heads is a little tricky.  We must exercise caution on the stairs.

There are very few boats and very little radio traffic out here.  Visibility has been good most of the time, but fog has descended on us a few times reducing visibility to less than 1/8 mile.  They do call this month Fog-ust on the coast for good reason.

We are travelling close to shore, or with "one foot on the beach" as cruisers refer to this tactic.  We would experience a smoother ride further offshore, but with our intent of harbor hopping, getting 30  miles offshore would add many hours to every day of transit.  It's just not worth it.  But with such favorable seas, there really is no need to get further offshore.

 People may be wondering about sea sickness.  So far the only casualty has been our kitty Zappa.  He did get sick on our Strait of Juan De Fuca day.  It was quite rough for the first few hours and Zappa threw up on a pair of my shorts, which were laying on our bed.  I'd rather clean a pair of short than try to clean the blanket.  Since that event Zappa has been just fine.  I (Steve) did feel a bit queezy yesterday after spending an hour moving stuff from the pilothouse settee down to our stateroom.  I was up and down those step at least 25 times and I think that probably did me in.  I ended up putting on the "anti-queeze" wrist bands and laying down for a little while.  I was better in an hour.  Cindy has complained a few times about feeling slightly sea sick, but so far nothing serious.


  1. Sounds like you are having a great trip. We love reading your blog and feel like we are cruising with you. Earl and Louise

  2. Glad things are going well so far. Fog-ust is right! I've emailed you a snip of what findmespot shows us. It's very good about your current position but jumps around a lot if you try to go back to previous spots.