Yes, that's right, we made it out of the official "Pacific Northwest". We're now in the land of "milk and honey" as Keith in Newport calls it. Sunny California!!! Unfortunately, Mother Nature wasn't going to let us get out of there without a small fight.
We started to leave on Thursday, one week after getting into Newport by disconnecting the electrical lines from the dock to Zephyr. Apparently, there is a short somewhere on the transient dock because as I was unscrewing the cord from Zephyrs terminal, I got quite a shock in the process. It had been raining and was foggy so the docks were quite wet. I know the electricity wasn't coming from us as all our systems were off and the engine hadn't been started and the power had already been disconnected on the dock. If I took my foot off the dock, the shock stopped. Ted, if you read this, please let them know. Someone could get hurt by it. There have been instances of people getting electrocuted by electricity being bled off dock circuits.
Anyway, we were off by 0730 and out into fog. Not dense, but it was still obscuring our early voyage. Once we rounded the channel, the wind, while light was from the South---of course--so we kept the motor on and just kept pushing our way through the light winds and swell--also from the South of course. Mother Nature got the email that we were heading out and were trying to escape from the Northwest.
On we pushed, slogging away into the seas. A few hours later, the Sun finally broke free and it was quite pretty. Along the trip, we saw numerous whales-types unknown, as well as lots of dolphins or porpoises and sea lions. Even being about 15 miles away from shore, we still had birds and flies around the boat. Not sure how the flies get out that far but there appears to be no way to escape them. We have found the flies up here to be much skinnier flies that back home in Colorado. They are down right emaciated. Colorado flies are a portly. These are skinny and for the most part dumb. They just sit there as you swat them. No flying off in fear of their lives for them. We saw a few freighters and a tug along the way and got passed by fishing boats during the night. One much closer than I would have liked. They are lit up like a big city and can be seen for miles in the night. We even saw what we think were sharks as we passed through the smooth water. At least they looked like small baby sharks with the typical dorsal fin and tail fin sticking out of the water. Most were about 3 to 4 feet long and only showed up for about 15 miles of the trip and then they were gone. We were surprised how many we saw just floating along at the surface. For most of the trip, the seas were smooth and somewhat glassy with no wind. As we rounded the last point of the Oregon coast, the winds cropped up from the East strangely and the swells came out of the Northwest and West in a confused state throwing Zephyr all over the place. We kept trying to maintain a course heading Southeast toward Crescent City but eventually we had to head Southwest to try and take the waves--now about 15 feet tall from repeatedly rolling Zephyr from side to side. I was trying to get a bit of rest down below in the stern bunk and at one time, I was literally standing up in the bunk while still laying down. That's how bad the rolling got. Once we changed course into the waves, then it was up and down at the bow much like the trip North in July of '08. It lasted about a half hour and then the seas straightened out and we could change course back to Southeast for our destination.
We pulled in at 1500 hours and pulled into the dock--the wrong space of course. It would help if the marinas marked the dock slips so approaching boats could see the numbers instead of just writing on the flat surface of the dock. But hey, that's just my opinion. Jay & Benita off Moon Angel were already here and greeted us as we pulled in. They had left Newport a few hours ahead of us.
One of the problems that cropped up during this trip was the autopilot kept failing giving us a report that the rudder was failing to comply. Well, when we got in, I think we found out why we were getting that action. I had installed the new rudder for the Hydrovane(new wind driven auto pilot)on the stern and it was covered in bull kelp. There must have been 15 LONG strands of the stuff all wrapped and tied around the Hydrovane rudder creating quite the drag on Zephyrs main auto pilot. The malfunction didn't happen all the time, just occasionally. While we are here, I'll check all the electrical connections and I've already checked the connection at the rudder and it was fine.
We moved Zephyr to the proper slip we'd been assigned(I'd called on Thursday to let them know we were coming) with Jay's help and got all tied in. Up to the marina office to get checked in and then off for either and early dinner or late lunch. It was already 1600 hours. Once back to Zephyr, I opened the engine doors to check the transmission fluid since I had installed the new cooler in Newport. Surprise!! No fluid showed up on the dip stick. Guess I spent a bit of money on something we didn't need. Oh well, you take a shot and some times you hit and some times you miss. Now I have to dig further to find out where the transmission fluid is going. It is either a different hose that I haven't found or it is leaking through the forward seal where it mounts on the engine. If it is the latter, it will necessitate the transmission being removed all over again!!! I walked over and spent some "guy time" with Jay on Moon Angel. We discussed the situation and logical solutions. His Ford Lehmans don't have the same transmission. He showed me his systems(see Bill drool)and how well he is organized. You can eat off the floors of his engine room. It was fun watching and learning how someone who has a lot more experience does thing. Ah, the fun never stops aboard Zephyr! I'll be looking into that situation this afternoon.
Later in the afternoon, the folks aboard Nereid(a Delphia 40)that we have been sort of traveling with pulled in. They had left shortly after us so the Newport folks just moved to Crescent City.
It's foggy again outside so we'll just settle in for a while and get ourselves cleaned up and Zephyr set for dockside use for a few days. I've already emailed the transmission folks about our situation. At least it comes with a six month warranty. The bad part is that it says that it has to be taken back to where it was installed and we're a long way from Sea Marine, so we will see what develops on Monday. One project for today is changing the engine oil. We passed the 100 hour mark on the trip down.
More to come as always.