Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 29, 2014 - weekend in Eureka

Friday afternoon we rented a car, and had a bike stolen.  See info about this even in the next blog entry.  We drove to Trinidad, which is about 20 minutes north of Eureka.  It's a beautiful location with spectacular rock outcroppings in the sea.  We have heard that this is a great kayaking region with lots of interesting shoreline to explore.

Scenic Trinidad.

We went to Zach and Susan's house in Trinidad for a great BBQ tuna dinner.  Zach has been a crabber for 30+ years and knows how to cook all kinds of seafood.  In fact, they owned a seafood restaurant for many years and also a small crab market in town.  The tuna was excellent!  Kevin even thought it was OK, and he is a boy that normally refuses any kind of seafood.  Cindy would not even try it.  I'm not completely convinced that these kids are really ours, because Kathy and I both love seafood.

Zach grilles some Tuna to perfection.  Thanks Zach and Susan for having ius
over for a very nice evening!  We'll see you on our way back home, someday.
Kevin and Cindy each took turns being hoisted by Zach's
huge winch in his amazing shop.  I'd love to have a shop like
this someday!  The kids spent some time playing ping pong
in the loft area.

Early Saturday morning I spent a few hours working on Tom's commercial fishing boat fabricating and installing all the heavy cabling for a new high output alternator he is installing.  This will eliminate his need to run the generator whenever he leaves the dock.  I left the cables all ready for him to connect to the new alternator.  He is fabricating a custom mounting bracket.  He later gave me the name and number of a friend in San Francisco that has a fleet of commercial boats.  He wants me to come do some work for him while we are in San Francisco!  I could almost make a living while cruising if I wanted to.....

Now I feel like a terrible parent.  Kevin smokes
his first pack.  Fortunately, they taste like orange.
But still, this is not what I like to see.  He begged
for a day.  I'm getting some realistic temporary tattoos
in the next town to complete the package.  Yikes!
... Just like Dad  - NOT!

On Saturday we drove to the "Avenue of the Giants" in the redwood forest and took several hikes through the redwoods.  We drove about 30 miles through the redwood forest.  It is amazing.  The redwoods are huge and some of them are taller than the Statue of Liberty.  Some are 2000 years old.  That is mind boggling.  We learned a lot about redwood trees.  The bark can be up to a foot thick and is fire and bug resistant.  The roots are quite shallow but get interlocked with other trees to make them better able to stand up to strong winds.  They live on terraces just above the floodplains of rivers.  Only 4% of the redwood forest remains.  The rest has been logged and destroyed by man.  So sad.  Thank goodness for a preservation act in the 1930's or these trees would probably have been wiped off the face of the earth years ago.

On Saturday we also drove to a nearby beach and played for a few hours.  After that we drove out to the breakwater entrance and watched the huge waves breaking in the entrance.  I can't imagine any boat getting through what we were watching.  It was pretty scary.  Fortunately, NOAA has a great bar prediction site that seems to be very accurate.  It shows hour by hour, day by day, what conditions they expect in the bar.  When we got back to the boat we compared the prediction to our observations.  They matched exactly, which is quite reassuring.

Cindy towels off after playing in the ocean.

Boogie Boarding in the ocean.  Eureka CA.

Zach and Susan invited us to their cabin up in Brookings.  It is right on a river and looked great in the pictures they showed us.  We intended to go there Sunday afternoon, but it's a 2 hour drive there and 2 hours back.  We got a late start Sunday and decided to instead spend that 4 hours of drive time at a nearby beach playing in the sand and the surf.  We even flew a small kite that we bought back in Westport.  It was quite warm when we arrived at the beach as there was not much of a breeze.  By mid afternoon the wind had kicked up and it got a little colder.

Late Sunday afternoon we returned the car and prepared the boat for an early morning departure.  There is a one day break in the weather as a trough moves inland and an offshore high begins to develop.  This will give us a day of light wind as the winds shift from the south to the north.  After this calm day we will see a few days of very strong northerly winds and steep waves.  The NOAA Eureka bar forecast looks great for all of Monday morning.  We need to arrive at our next stop (Fort Bragg CA) before dark, as it's a tricky entrance that can be hazardous to an unfamiliar boater after dark.  Indeed, a friend of mine came here earlier this year and he said there were a few wrecks on the bar from people that made small navigational mistakes.  There is very little room for error on this entrance.

It's a 15 hour run from Eureka to Fort Bragg so we settled on a 3:15AM departure.  It's not much fun getting up at 2:45 to check the latest weather and get underway.  I think Kathy and I were both anxious about crossing the bar in the dark, after the conditions we observed a few days before.  We were going to have to trust the NOAA bar forecast, as we would not be able to see it until we turned the corner and were in it.

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