We DID it!!!!!

We had a beautiful ride from Sequim to Everett (it was only 45 nautical miles, which ended up being our shortest transit). At one point during the cruise, I could look ahead and see Mt. Rainer to the right and see Mt. Baker to the left as clear as day. How cool is that!! Another pretty cool thing we saw was a big ole salmon jump completely out of the water. Obviously, that was a happy fish or something was chasing it!!! Ha! As we made the turn towards Everett, the wind had picked up to 17 knots and we were actually taking spray on the windshield from the big waves. Of course, we had to get one last little bit of weather before we pulled in, just to remind us that it is not always calm seas in the inland waters. About an hour later we pulled up to the Port of Everett marina and we were screaming and jumping up and down (or should I say I was doing that!!!) Ha! We had a big group of family and friends waiting on the dock for us to welcome us to our new home!!! How awesome! They brought us flowers, a one man marching band (Thanks Barry, that was great even though you didn’t really know how to play that trumpet!!) and afterwards a good home cooked meal (Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad and banana cream pie!!) Wow, we felt so special!!!

As Captain and I gave each other a big kiss and a high five we said “We DID it!!!” Wow, yes we did. Couldn’t even believe it. It was such a great feeling and sense of accomplishment. Here are a few of the statistics from our trip that are pretty interesting. We traveled 1350 nautical miles. It took us 40 days (it’s biblical, 40 days and 40 nights!!) We caught 16 King Salmon, 6 Albacore tuna, 1 green ling cod, and 25 Dungeness crab!!! We stopped at 12 ports along the way! One plane ride from San Francisco to Iowa and back. We drove 1200 miles from Eureka to Woodinville and back via Hwy 101. Freetime took 489 gallons of diesel for the trip. The worst winds we experienced out at sea were 35+ knots which resulted in the nastiest seas just south of Cape Mendocino.  The biggest wave we took was about 15ft and breaking.  Luckily, we only took a couple of those!  Our overall favorite port was Brookings, Oregon (we just might have to retire there someday, ha!). The longest amount of time the boat ran continuously was 30 hours. Longest transit was 185 nautical miles which we did three times.  The boat ran flawlessly except for one broken alternator slider bracket that was easily repaired at anchor in Catalina with parts and tools on board.  Deepest water we went through was 6000 feet.  Sea life we saw in the wild in addition to what we ate: harbor seals, sea lions, Elephant seals, sea otters, lots of whales, stingrays, and jelly fish.

I am going to end this blog with a quote that one of my dear friends, Jo Shelley Taylor, sent to me yesterday as we completed this trip. This quote is from Helen Keller. “Life is a Daring Adventure or nothing at ALL!” I feel like this is a great motto to live by and we have now just completed our biggest daring adventure as of yet together. We want to thank everyone for all your love and support along the way; we couldn’t have done it without you. Now we are on to the next daring adventure in life!!! God bless and much love to all!

 

 

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The beautiful Pacific Northwest

The beautiful Pacific Northwest

 

 

One man marching band to welcome us!

One man marching band to welcome us!

Everyone who welcomed us in Everett!

Everyone who welcomed us in Everett!

Cheers!

Cheers!

The ladies

The ladies

We DID it!!!

We DID it!!!

WHOOHOOO!!!

WHOOHOOO!!!

Welcome home Freetime!

Welcome home Freetime!

Our next daring adventure!!!

Our next daring adventure!!!

 

Sekiu to Sequim……..ALMOST THERE!!!!

Plans changed! We ended up stopping in Sequim instead of our original plan of Port Townsend. One thing I have learned during this trip is that you have to be flexible when you’re traveling on the water especially when weather and currents are a factor. Well the currents got us on this one, but it actually ended up being a blessing in disguise. We had planned our whole day yesterday around riding the flood current all the way to Port Townsend. Flood current means that the tide is coming up and providing water to the whole Puget Sound and part of Canada. The only place that the water comes in from the ocean is through the Strait of Juan de Fuca so these currents can be fairly strong affecting our normal cruise speed of 6.5 knots quite a bit! We left Sekiu around 11am yesterday so we could ride the flood tide but decided that the currents were going to change direction before we could get there. When the water is flowing out it is called an ebb current. If we hit the ebb current, it would reduce our speed by 2 knots. That means the boat would only be cruising at 4 knots which would take us forever to get there and at the same time we would be burning more fuel. That’s when we decided to cut off 10 miles early and stay in Sequim, WA for the night.

Wow, what a pleasant surprise this port was! Sequim Bay is a huge horseshoe shaped bay almost completely closed in by a natural sand spit. I had no idea how we were going to get into the bay because when we were approaching it all I could see was a sand bar and then a tiny little opening for boats to get through. I had never seen anything like it. Will said, “Welcome to the Pacific Northwest!” He said that’s how a lot of the harbors are around here, not much room for error! We pulled in as the sun was starting to go down and the views of the mountains, trees and water were just so beautiful. We stayed at the only marina in the bay called the John Wayne Marina. I guess back in the day actor John Wayne loved spending time here so much that he donated 22 acres of waterfront property here with the stipulation that the port build a marina here. If ever there is a place for peace, quiet, solitude, reflection and a life free from stress, Sequim Bay is it! Now I know why John Wayne liked to spend so much time here. In the book, Exploring the Pacific Coast, San Diego to Seattle it calls this place a “Boater’s delight!” This book has really come in handy for this trip and would really recommend it to anyone doing the Pacific coast adventure. We literally used this book daily to look up information on harbors, marinas and coves.

We found the guest dock as we pulled into John Wayne Marina. There were already two other sailboats on the L shaped dock next to the power. Well we needed power too, especially after not having any last night! So we had two options, to either squeeze our boat in between two sailboats or pull up on the end of the dock and risk not having enough shore power cord to reach the power box. Well, we pulled into the tight squeeze one and you should have seen Captain fit the boat into this spot! Holy moly I was nervous! Of course Captain was calm as a cucumber!! We pulled into the spot with about 1-2 inches to spare on each side! Whew! I cheered with delight!!!! There were two guys on the dock who I threw our lines to and they helped us get tied up. As they were taking our lines one of them said, “He threaded the needle and wasn’t even worried!” I told them he was the only reason I agreed to a trip like this because I have the BEST Captain in the world who knew exactly what he was doing.

We celebrated our last night of this grand adventure by treating ourselves to a nice dinner at the Dockside Grill at the top of the marina. We ate clams and linguine, seafood bisque, salad and bread while overlooking the water. YUM! The food was excellent, probably some of the best food of the trip. It was a great night together reminiscing about our day trip and how beautiful it was to cruise right along the Olympic Mountains. Some of them were even snow-capped. I would have to admit I had never seen snow-capped mountains while cruising on a boat!! So breathtaking! We were also talking about how we had almost made it to our new home and could hardly believe it!!

We refueled in Sequim because the price of diesel was cheaper by 40 cents here than in Everett, which was kind of strange because Sequim is on the Olympic Peninsula. We were happy we looked at the fuel prices before leaving. Freetime took 142 gallons of diesel at $3.66 per gallon. We hadn’t fueled up since Newport, Oregon. Pretty impressive that the boat went 375 nautical miles on 142 gallons of fuel; that’s 2.6 nautical miles per gallon!!

Now we are off to Everett which is 45 nautical miles and we will be pulling the boat into its final destination tonight around 6:00pm. Everyone is welcome to do a little happy dance, send out a cheer or come to the marina at that time to celebrate us completing the biggest adventure of our lives!!!

Olympic Mountains

Olympic Mountains

Ferry

Ferry

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Entering Sequim

Entering Sequim

Pacific Northwest

Pacific Northwest

John Wayne Marina ahead

John Wayne Marina ahead

First mate duties

First mate duties

Dinner time

Dinner time

Gorgeous marina

Gorgeous marina

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Refueling

Refueling

Westport, WA to Sekiu, WA

We left Westport, WA around noon on Monday and ran all night, 135 nautical miles (21 hours) and pulled into Seiku, WA at 9:30 yesterday morning. That was officially our last all nighter which we were both somewhat happy about…only getting an hour and a half to two hour nap all night long can start to wear on you after a while.

Our transit was very smooth for the most part. It was so nice when we left Westport that I was actually able to sit on the couch and read my book while cuddled up in a blanket! Love our boat, it’s so easy to cruise in! I remember Will telling me when he bought Freetime that it was the most popular boat for living aboard because of its size and layout. The wind picked up a bit (12 knots) later in the evening and night which made our ride a bit “rocky and rolly”! By now, it seemed so normal to us for the boat to rock and roll a little bit. Everything is better after you have experienced 30+ knots of wind. Trust me you are thankful for 12 knots!! I have to say that as soon as we left the dock in Westport and got out into the ocean, a sudden wave of seasickness came over me just like that!! But I put on my sea bands and chewed my ginger gum and I was feeling completely normal in 20 minutes. So crazy how those two remedies work so well for me. I have noticed that I seem to feel a little oozy when we have been in port for a few days and then hit the seas and also after we have been on the boat for over 20 hours and when I get OFF the boat and stand/sit still on land. Like yesterday morning, Will and I went to breakfast when we got to port and I felt like I was swaying back and forth the whole time we were at the restaurant! As soon as we left the café and started walking around, I was fine.

It just so happened that our nap schedule put me at the helm for the section of the transit where we would be going up and around Cape Flattery and entering the Strait of Juan de Fuca! This was a major turning point in our trip. I was pretty nervous about this section because there was a shipping lane where big cargo ships travel when they come in and out of Seattle and the whole sound Puget Sound. Great, now it was MY turn to drive!!! Ha! I knew I could do it and if I needed help the Captain was only a shout away! As we approached Cape Flattery (the most northwest point of the USA) the boat was going 7.5 knots which is fast for us! As soon as we turned east, the crazy currents got us…..now we were only going 4.2 knots!! The next 15 miles to get to Sekiu seemed like forever!!!! I’d have to say that I’m pretty proud of myself for getting around the Cape and into the Straits without getting Captain once! Whoohoo!! There was so much boat traffic, lots of fishing boats heading out to sea, a big 65-70 foot Nordhavn Trawler yacht, and the biggest one, a HUGE cargo/oiler ship (600 ft!!) that came from behind me and passed me on the left in the shipping lane. We of course stayed out of the shipping lane, no way did we want to get run over by one of those! All of this was happening at 4:00am in the pitch dark! Interesting fact that I found out later on was that big ship was the USNS Guadalupe. Will told me this was significant because it was a ship that he used to train on in the Navy! Wow, such a small world!

After that shift, it was around 6:00am and I was exhausted from being so keyed up that I fell asleep right away. Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention the best part about turning east into the Strait of Juan de Fuca is now we were in following seas……translation for all of you non sea goers (it was SMOOTH!!!) I was going to sleep like a baby! No more rocking and rolling for this ole boat! Going uphill and bucking the seas was over! J When I woke up from my nap, I looked out the porthole and the scene I saw screamed “You are now in the Pacific Northwest!!!” It was one of the most beautiful sights. It was like a big green mountainous forest with the ocean water at the base!!

When we pulled into Sekiu, it was low tide which was a bit scary because the depth sounder was reading 4 feet!!! Yikes! We were okay though because the depth sounder is at the very bottom of the boat. We got the boat all tied up and went to the marine office to get checked in. Wow, what a beautiful place this was. It is like heaven for anyone who likes to go fishing and camping. Literally, you can pull up your RV right to the edge of the water and walk out onto the dock and get on your boat! Will and his family used to spend almost every summer in Sekiu fishing and camping for as long as he can remember. He couldn’t wait to pull into this port and show me around. He shared so many childhood memories which were fun to hear. We can’t wait to bring our family back here someday. :)

Our boat was the biggest boat in the whole marina by 10 feet and because of that we were pretty famous. We had at least 5 different groups of people stop by the boat and tell us what a good looking boat we had and how awesome we came all the way from San Diego. This one teenager and his grandfather came down the dock to talk to us and the teenager said “oh this is such a cool boat, you guys are lucky. Do you drive from the fly bridge?” We overheard these four kids say “Now that’s a real pirate ship!!” ha! And as we turn around we see their father taking a picture of all the kids in front of the boat with our big pirate flag. There were two older gentlemen who came down to acknowledge us and said “how lucky we were and smart too!” Wow, this was so special!!

There was no power here so we would have to run our generator for power. The problem with that was we were running really low on gasoline and the marina didn’t have any. We decided to take our bikes for a little cruise in search of some gas. Well, it turns out there was no gasoline in the area. We rode 3 miles one way to a Shell station and they were out of gas! Crazy, especially with a marina filled with boats! Guess we would have to settle for putting bags of ice in the cooler to keep our groceries chilled and cook off the natural gas stove. Nothing can get us down!!! We had a nice relaxing night on the boat reflecting back on our trip thus far. Wow, we are both just so blessed to have this opportunity.

We are leaving for Port Townsend today which is a 67 nautical mile transit and hope to be there by dark. This will be our last overnight stay of our trip and we should be pulling into our home port tomorrow. Ahoy! Time to kick the tires and light the fires as Captain would say! That means start the engines!! It’s time to get back to the seas and enjoy a couple more days on the boat together!

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Newport, Oregon to Westport, Washington

We have officially entered the state of Washington!! Whoohoo!!! It won’t be long now and we will be pulling this old boat into its new home port of Everett!

Wow, what a busy and exciting few days it has been. We completely wore ourselves out this time! I think you’ll understand after you read this entry:)

On Wednesday afternoon as Will and I were scoping out the marina in Newport we had seen lots of fishermen fileting albacore tuna, I am not just talking one or two but a whole wheelbarrow full!! That sparked our curiosity! We asked one of the guys how far out he had gone to get the tuna and he said about 35 miles straight out and a little north of Newport. The thing with tuna is they only live in warm water (typically around 60 degrees) so to catch one you have to travel off shore quite a ways! The sea temperature in Newport was around 50 degrees. Well, that was it……we both just really wanted to catch a big tuna! Will kept repeating “Tuna! Tuna!” So we went to sleep that night dreaming of catching our first tuna together! We woke up early and went to the fuel dock. We topped off the boat with diesel and filled our big cooler with 4 big buckets of ice. We were all set to head out into the Pacific around 8:00 that morning. Since we have such a slow boat (but remember slow and steady wins the race!!! :) it took us 7 hours just to get to the fishing spot where everyone said the tuna were. Whew! That was almost a whole days work just motoring out to the spot!! Lol!! It was such a beautiful, calm day on the water so it really didn’t matter. We enjoyed lunch on the fly bridge and saw 2 huge whales actively feeding and playing in the water right next to our boat! We saw their big tails flop out of the water as they dove down into the water and then came back up again for air. Wow, what a sight to see!!! Also, the further you get off shore the bluer the water gets. I could really get used to seeing all this sea life and Caribbean blue water on a regular basis. I thought for a minute how lucky we were to be so free out here on this ole boat in the middle of this ocean world. Kinda scary though too when all you can see around you for as far as you can see is the ocean blue!!!

We put out our 3 trolling rods when the sea temp hit 57 degrees because we had heard that the tuna can start to bite at 58 degrees. We trolled at our normal cruising speed of 6-7 knots. We used a cedar plug jig, a purple and pink feather jig and a brighter green, white and orange jig. Will told me that I was first up on the reel and we would take turns from there on out. Well, it wasn’t until about 60 degree water that all of a sudden Will and I hear a bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!! Yep, that was music to our ears!! A big tuna had bit the purple feather jig (of course it did, that was my favorite color and this was my fish!!!) I started reeling it in as I am screaming, “OMG I got a big one!!!” Seriously, this thing was hard to get in. As soon as I had it close to the boat it would take off swimming like a maniac away from the boat and I would have to reel it back in again. I was legitimately sweating and my muscles were aching (wow, never knew that fishing could be such a great overall body workout!!!!). As I was reeling, Will kept the boat positioned by motoring forward, left or right so that the fish didn’t go under the boat. I asked Captain to hold the pole and reel for a second while I took off my sweatshirt. Well, that tuna was a smart tuna!! Just then he took a quick dive and went underneath the boat. Will pulled up on the reel and it was bad news! The line and possibly the fish were tangled up in the shaft and propellers!!! OH NO!!! I figured we would just have to cut the line and let this one go. Well, I was wrong! I forgot I had a very determined and persistent Captain!!!! He grabbed his wet suit, goggles and fins from the cabin, threw them on and jumped into the water before I could even say “NOOOOO don’t do that you might get eaten by a big tuna or a shark that is chasing the big tuna!!!!” Well, I will have to say I pretty much have the best husband ever! He saved the day!!!! He dove under the boat and unwrapped the fishing line from the propellers and shaft and jumped back on the boat. I yelled “YAY!!! Way to go babe!!!” and I started reeling in the line. NO WAY, the big tuna was still on the end of the line!!! By this time it had been about 20 minutes or so and the tuna was getting tired. I reeled it all the way in and Captain was able to use the gaff to hook the tuna and bring it over the railing of the boat. Mission accomplished!!! As a team, we had just caught our first tuna!! Seriously couldn’t have done it without one another! It was a big one too, weighing in at 28 pounds which I found out later in Westport, tied for the weekly tuna leader!!!!

Well, the fun just continued until we didn’t have any more room in our big cooler. We caught 6 big tunas ranging from 18-28 lbs. (the first one we caught was the biggest and the most outrageous catch!!!). Will reeled in 3 and myself the same. Our last bite was right at dusk and after that decided we had better get motoring north to our next port which was still 103 miles away! Oh man oh man were we both exhausted from our big day of catching the crazy tuna. Will said tuna are pound for pound about 3 times harder to catch then salmon. Tuna are one of the fastest swimming fish in the sea and when they bite it’s such a crazy time getting them in. Right before the sun went down we saw 3 huge logs floating in the ocean which really scared me for our upcoming night transit. What if our boat hit one of those big logs in the middle of the night and put a hole in the boat?!? Ahhhh, I couldn’t think thoughts like that but it weighed heavily on me for quite some time that night during my shifts at the helm!

We pulled in to Westport, WA around 1:00pm the next day (Friday afternoon) after a safe and calm transit on the ocean! No time for rest now, we had tuna to clean and package!!! Freetime was like a mini fish packaging plant that afternoon; Will was on the back deck fileting the fish and I was rinsing the filets in water, drying and packaging them with the Foodsaver!!! Tuna takes more time to filet because you have 4 filets per fish versus 2 like most other fish you catch. People on the docks were coming by the boat admiring our catch of the day and asking us questions about the tuna. We ended up with at least 30 packages of fresh tuna steaks that we can enjoy through the winter! That along with the salmon Will and his parents caught earlier on this trip should be more than enough to feed us and our families!

Walt and Michelle (Will’s parents) had agreed to meet up with us in Westport with their motor home (the Blues mobile) so they could pick up our tuna and get it in the freezer. That home depot freezer Will bought back in early July was getting lots of use! Will and I had kept all the tuna carcasses because we all decided to go out crabbing on Saturday morning. The four of us left the dock around 7am and within 4 hours we had 15 crabs on the boat. You should have seen Michelle dancing and yippeeing around the boat!! She absolutely loves crab and was so excited when we said we could take them out that morning! We figured tuna would be the perfect crab bait because it’s so oily and it definitely proved to be true. I think each time we pulled up a pot there were probably 50 crabs in each one. Will pulled all of them up by hand and a few he could barely lift because they were so stuffed with crab!! Holy moly!! We dropped a total of 16 times and brought in 15 crabs so that’s almost one keeper per drop, not too shabby! Oh yeah I forgot to mention one other thing about this outing……as I was driving in between pots I ran over a rope that was floating in the water without a buoy or crab pot attached to it. I saw it at the last minute and couldn’t turn the boat fast enough to miss it; so you know what I am going to say next. Yep, it got wrapped up in the prop and Will went diving for the second day in a row to save the day!!! Seriously, I found a keeper!

After crabbing, we got the boat all cleaned up and then we were off on our next adventure! Lisa and Eddy Ellis (Will’s sister and brother in law) live about an hour and a half from this port and were having a MMA fight night event at their gym last night. We decided to ride with Walt and Michelle in the Blues mobile to the event so we could spend time with the family and support the event. Well, we had a little delay in our travels, about half way there, the Blues mobile started chugging and the engine stopped. We pulled off alongside the road and of course you know who…..none other than Will, started diagnosing what the problem was. He knew it was something with it not getting fuel but couldn’t quite figure it out. All it took was a phone call to AAA to get a tow lined up and he figured it out. It was the fuel line, so he fixed it, we canceled the tow and off we went to the MMA event. Turns out that Will ended up being the DJ for the event and I checked everyone’s ID’s for entry into the beer garden. Oh but I forgot to mention, before the event we were so thrilled to be able to take a shower there!!! You don’t know how good that felt!!! We had a great night and were happy we could help out. The best part was we got to share our fresh crab dinner with family and friends of the family. Lisa and Eddy sent us home with an awesome boat care package (almond butter, popcorn, Dave’s Killer bread, breakfast cookies, peanuts, peanut butter filled pretzels, craisins). That made our day! You guys rock!! Thanks so much. Also, thanks to Ken, a friend of the family, for driving us all the way back to Westport last night (well it was actually 1:00 so that is technically morning!) so we could get back to the boat! We were flat out just exhausted, barely able to even walk down the dock or talk to each other. We needed to get some rest. Will said “not everybody is cut out for life on the road!” Lol! Not even me at this pace!

Not to be a downer but Westport ended up being our least favorite port thus far on our trip due to several little things. We were put clear down on one end of the marina away from the village next to the fish plant that really smelled. As we pulled into the marina, I heard a big “BOOM!” like a gunshot or a M80 going off and jumped so much I almost fell off the boat. I had no idea what was going on. Will quickly figured out that because they have a fish processing plant here they let off “seal bombs” which are just big kabooms to scare away the seals and seagulls from eating the fish as it is being transferred from big ships to the plant. They kept lighting these off throughout the day and night! Also, the port didn’t have showers or laundry readily accessible and trust me after being out at sea fishing all day the first thing you want is a shower!!! We had to ride our bikes at least a half of a mile carrying our laundry on our backs to a laundry mat to wash our clothes. The lady had told us when we checked in to have Will come with me when we used the restrooms at the top of the docks because there was a homeless guy who likes to sleep in the women’s restroom. Yikes! These were all little things that we had been spoiled with at other stops along our journey. The positive side (you always have to find something positive, or at least I do) was we caught lots of crab, we were close enough to be able to help out with Lisa and Eddy’s event and lastly we found a yummy little pizza parlor tonight that served taco pizza which made our night!

Next we are off to Sekiu tomorrow morn

ing which is 130 nautical miles. We are excited to make that big turn down the Straight of Juan de Fuca. Stay tuned for more adventures of Captain Will and First Mate Tonya.

Baby Ele and Auntie Tonya

Baby Ele and Auntie Tonya

SAMSUNG

Full Pot!!

Full Pot!!

Happy Mom!!!

Happy Mom!!!

SAMSUNG

Awesome boat care package from Lisa and Eddy!

Awesome boat care package from Lisa and Eddy!

The 15 Dungeness crabs we got on Saturday!

The 15 Dungeness crabs we got on Saturday!

The big tuna was too big for the cutting board!

The big tuna was too big for the cutting board!

Captain fileting tuna on the back deck of Freetime

Captain fileting tuna on the back deck of Freetime

My job in the tuna processing!

My job in the tuna processing!

6 Albacore tunas

6 Albacore tunas

This big sea lion was sitting on the dock right across from our boat at Grey's Harbor in Westport

This big sea lion was sitting on the dock right across from our boat at Grey’s Harbor in Westport

Look at all the birds!

Look at all the birds!

Will bleeding and gutting the fish out on the ocean before icing them

Will bleeding and gutting the fish out on the ocean before icing them

Tuna Tuna!!!

Tuna Tuna!!!

Big tuna coming to getcha!

Big tuna coming to getcha!

The outrageous tuna catch!

The outrageous tuna catch!

Bloody decks

Bloody decks

Officially the biggest fish I have ever caught in my whole life!!!

Officially the biggest fish I have ever caught in my whole life!!!

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Brookings, OR to Newport, OR

We spent 5 wonderful days in Brookings, Oregon and loved every minute of it. So far, this little village has our vote for the best port overall!! The first day in port we walked up to the harbor to get a good meal. We sat outside overlooking the harbor and the boat ramp which was entertaining. Next thing we know we are telling our story to the table of people directly behind us. They were so amazed with our adventure! Dan and Betty were their names. They invited us to their home on Saturday night for a good meal overlooking the ocean! Wow, talk about true generosity and kindness! Betty really captured Will’s heart by making homemade potato salad and she didn’t even know it!!! What a wonderful evening of good food and good conversation! Thanks again Dan and Betty for making our trip to Brookings so great!

The next afternoon, Will and I decided to hit up the movies. We were in luck, there was a movie theater within 1.5 miles (which was doable on the bikes!!) so we hopped on our bikes and went and saw a matinee of the Wolverine. And I didn’t even fall asleep once ( I know it’s a miracle for those of you who know me!!) Afterwards we found a little grocery store to pick up some provisions. We headed back to the boat just before dark. As I was cooking up a spaghetti dinner for us, I glanced out the window and saw our neighbors sitting on their sailboat enjoying the evening. Of course I couldn’t resist a friendly hello as they looked over to our boat and smiled and waved! Well, that was the very beginning of some great times with this couple, Kelly and Kathy. We invited them over to have an impromptu spaghetti dinner with us!! They are locals and had lots of good stories to share about boats and the marina. After dinner, they said they wanted to return the favor and have us over for a dinner of our choice at their house in town. How lucky are we, to get invited to dinner at 2 different people’s houses, 2 nights in a row in a town where we didn’t know anyone!!!! We felt like we were “on top of the world”!!! It’s such a great feeling knowing that there are still such kindhearted people in the world that just try to make the most out of life and share that with those around them. Genuinely good people. You don’t find these kind very often!

Kelly and Kathy picked us up at the marina for dinner at their house. They had told us to bring our laundry along too!! Wow, it just keeps getting better! We had flank steak, potatoes and Kelly’s famous salad for dinner! Yum! Everything was cooked perfectly! Thanks to Kelly and Kathy for opening your home to us! We haven’t laughed that hard in awhile.

The next day we decided it was time to get some Oregon Dungeness crab!!! We rode our bikes to this nearby bait and tackle shop and bought our 3 day shellfish license for $11.50 each. Then we picked up some bait boxes and a crab measure. Next stop, was the fish fileting station to see if anyone would give us their salmon carcasses. We were in luck, got a whole bag full!! Yuck! But we knew it would be good bait!

Freetime headed out of the port to go crabbing for the first time ever that afternoon! My job was to drive from the fly bridge as Will dropped and raised the pots. We had 2 hoop nets and 2 cage pots. We first started dropping them in more shallow water (like 25-30 ft) but we were only getting 3-4 inch crabs. So we decided that people probably didn’t drop pots further out because they didn’t want to have to pull them up from that far down! But I had a young captain full of energy ripping and ready to get some crab so we went out and dropped the pots in 50-60ft of water. Bingo!!! That was the moneymaker!!!! Crabbing is so much fun, it’s like opening a present on Xmas you never know what you are going to get! The amount of crab in this area is unbelievable!!! Each time in one hoop net there were up to 40-50 crabs! Of course only a few or sometimes none being keepers. After 3 hours, we had caught 10 Dungeness crabs and were headed in for a crab feast. We called up our friends and told them to come to the dock so we could share the love!

Now you can see why we fell in love with this little village. And to top it all off the weather in Brookings was unbelievable!! So warm and sunny unlike our last few ports! We were so happy to have our summer sunshine back with us!

We left Brookings on Tuesday around 11am and headed for Newport, OR. It was a 176 nautical mile leg and would take us around 27 hours. We had the smoothest seas and hardly no wind, it was like lake Pacific!!! It was such a smooth day and night!! The boat ran flawlessly!!! We pulled into Newport today around 2:00pm. The weather looks great for the next 5 days so we have to keep going while we can! We are thinking a short stay in Newport and our next port will be Westport, WA which is 146 nautical mile trip. Until next time, we are loving the fair winds and following seas and our time out here on the Pacific together.

Brookings, OR

Brookings, OR

Our neighbor had dropped something in the water, time to go diving!!

Our neighbor had dropped something in the water, time to go diving!!

My new mug

My new mug

Captain pulling in our first pot!

Captain pulling in our first pot!

Big ole crabby crab!

Big ole crabby crab!

Starfish hanging onto the hoop net for dear life!

Starfish hanging onto the hoop net for dear life!

He's a keeper!!!

He’s a keeper!!!

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Money maker there!

Money maker there!

YUM!!!

YUM!!!

A cool looking Japanese bird that was floating around the marina.

A cool looking Japanese bird that was floating around the marina.

Time for a crab feast!

Time for a crab feast!

Our catch of the day!

Our catch of the day!

We made it to Newport, OR! Wow, look at this bridge! It was built in 1936.

We made it to Newport, OR! Wow, look at this bridge! It was built in 1936.

Going under the Yaquina Bay Bridge entering Newport, OR
Going under the Yaquina Bay Bridge entering Newport, OR

Eureka to Brookings, Oregon (Chetco Cove)

Yes, we are officially in Oregon! Whooohooo!!! We left San Diego on July 1st and just pulled into Oregon today! We are over half way there and are getting closer!!! J Our end port is Everett, WA.

We left Eureka last night around 5:00pm to head to Brookings, Oregon (Chetco Cove) which was an 85 mile run. It was so calm and the sky was beautiful as we left the marina. We sat up on the fly bridge to soak it all in while we could. As we crossed the bar out of Eureka to pass into the ocean, we hit some pretty nasty 8 foot waves. A bar is where we transition from a bay or harbor to open ocean. They are generally shallow and have strong currents which cause the seas to double and sometimes triple in size! That of course instantly gave me flashbacks of our last transit and my stomach was in knots. I was hoping it wouldn’t be like this for the next 85 miles! Next thing I know, Captain asked me to drive while he went down below to get something out of the cabin. I was like ME drive the boat NOW in these big waves!!! He told me to steer pretty aggressively and number one thing was to not get the boat turned sideways into the trough of the waves. OKAY, here I go!!! Now my stomach was in more knots and turning with butterflies as the boat was soaring over 8 foot waves (kinda like you are on a roller-coaster!!) Well, this little Iowa girl pulled through, I did it!! YAY!! Check that one off my list of trainings J Thankfully, it was only like that for a few minutes and then it turned into great seas as we headed north for the night.

The sunset on the water that night was indescribable, the first really good sunset we had where we could see the sun set all the way into the deep ocean. The sky turned beautiful colors of pink, orange, purple and red. As I was driving, I grabbed our camera and took some great shots (don’t worry I am good at multitasking, thankful for the auto pilot!) It is quite an experience to see the sun go down, the moon rise, the moon set and the sun rise again!! I guess that’s when you know you have been on the ocean WAY too long, ha!! The moon was almost a full moon and really lit up the sky to show us the way. We have almost been through a whole moon cycle now on our boat journey, pretty cool!

Just a little while later, I was coming up from my napping shift and Will said that he had forgotten to check the tide for entering Chetco Cove. Some ports you have to time your entrance and exit around high tide due to the bar having such shallow water, well Chetco Cove was one of those. There is only about 10 feet of water in this channel and our boat displaces at 4 ½ ft so we definitely needed to come in on high tide to give us a little leeway. The bad news was Chetco Cove was going to be at low tide (the lowest it possibly could be) right at 8-9am which was exactly when we were going to be there. Well there was only one solution to this…slow down!!! Captain lifted up the floor board to get to the engines and shut one of them off. (yes, we have 2 engines….65 hp Ford Lehmans) I was like “what?” we are going to run all night on one engine? Well, I guess most boats only have one engine so that makes sense! Ha!! We ran at a speed of 3.0 knots from 8:00 to 11:30pm. Then…….I was coming up from another one of my napping shifts (I know it seems like all I do is nap, but I do take my turn driving the boat for 1 ½ to 2 hours at a time, all the crazy stuff seems to happen though when I wake up from my naps!!!) and Will was on the radar trying to deal with a tug and tow (a tugboat pulling a big barge) which was coming right at us!!! We were only going 3.5 knots and the tug and barge were going at least 10 knots. Tug and tows can be very dangerous because you don’t want to end up in the middle of them. The tow line will take out your propellers and then you will get run over by the barge. Not good!! Will turned the boat pretty hard to the right but it seemed like the tug and tow was still coming for us! Captain wondered did the tug captain fall asleep at the wheel?!? He quickly started up the other engine so we could increase our speed (even though our max is around 8 knots!) and right at that second the tug turned away from us and we passed within ¾ of a mile. Whew!!! That was a little stressful!!! It may seem like ¾ of a mile is still a long distance from our boat but at night in the open ocean it seems awfully close. We generally track boats on the radar that are 3-6 miles away from us and try to stay at least a mile away from them while offshore at night. I had never seen a tug and tow pass by us in the ocean let alone at night!! Will told me that the 3 mast white lights on the tug meant that the tow was over 200 meters in length behind him! For those of you like me who can’t imagine how long this is, it’s over 2 football fields in length!! Learn something new every day!

Well, the forecast had called for the seas and wind to pick up and get a little bit worse as we went north and it did. There is a big storm coming down from up north right now and this was our only opportunity to get out of Eureka. The weather wasn’t too terribly bad, nothing like the last transit!!! I could manage anything after that and knew that the boat could handle it!

About 5 miles from the Chetco Cove entrance, around 9:00am, we heard the Coast Guard come over the VHF radio about a boat that had lost power and was in danger drifting towards some rocks. They asked if there were any boats out there that could tow him in. So next thing I know Will gets on the radio and says, “This is Freetime, we’ll give you a tow!” Well, I was excited that we were going to help someone out but at the same time I was thinking I had no idea what I was doing!!!! We were about 1 mile away from the 24 foot Sea Sport (fishing boat) that had broken down. We headed in that direction and once we got there, I threw them the tow line and the way we went all the way across the bar and into the cove with a fishing boat in tow. The good news was this delayed us a little bit more to let the tide come up so we could cross the bar easily with no issues. So it was a win-win situation! The headline from today’s transit is “Freetime Saves the Day!!!” When we got to the dock and dropped off the boat, the Captain of the Sea Sport couldn’t thank us enough for going out of our way to get him. He said that there were hundreds of boats around him fishing and not one of them offered to help. All I have to say is KARMA! The Captain thanked us by giving us a whole King Salmon fileted and packaged that he had caught that morning! Wow, that was so nice! I guess we know what we are having for dinner tonight! Fresh fish! Also, I know what other training I can check off my list from today…towing!!! Whoohoo!!! Captain says that I should have my PQS (personal qualification standard) signed off soon! :)

After that, we fueled up the boat with 94 gallons of diesel at $3.65/gal which was the cheapest fuel we had seen yet! Score!!! We figured out that we only burned about 30 gallons last night on our 85 mile transit from Eureka because we took it slow and only ran one motor for that short period of time. This makes a total of 315 gallons total fuel burned for our trip thus far. Pretty darn good!!! Averaging 2.5 nautical miles per gallon.

We will be in Brookings until at least Monday due to the big storm coming down the coast. At lunch, Will showed me the marine forecast on his phone and said, “Here is a whole paragraph why we won’t be going out in the next few days!!” Gale warnings and hazardous seas…..NO THANK YOU!!! We are so happy though we pushed on to get up here before the big storm hit. Everyone seems so friendly and it’s a beautiful port, what more could you ask for. Life is good. :)

Leaving Eureka
Leaving Eureka

sunset3sunset2sunsetlighthouse

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Freetime Saves the Day!!
Freetime Saves the Day!!
Reward dinner!

Reward dinner!

 

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Chetco Bar

Dusk at Chetco Cove
Dusk at Chetco Cove

 

 

 

Roadtrip up Hwy 101

We left Woodley Island Marina on Sunday morning in our rental car ready for another adventure, this time in a car!! Will needed to sign some paperwork to get signed up for the Navy Reserves so we were off to take care of that which was good timing because we were stuck in Eureka due to weather anyway. We decided to take Hwy 101 so we could see some of the Oregon coast. This turned out to be such an awesome drive and we were so happy we took time to do this. Just another experience to add to our list. We stopped along the coast at some beautiful lookouts and bluffs and really enjoyed seeing the huge Redwood tress too. The cool part was we got to check out some of our upcoming ports. There are some neat little towns along the Oregon coast so that made me excited for the next several legs of our adventure. Just north of Florence, Oregon we took the Sea Lion Cave tour, which was a sight to see. We rode an elevator down 200 feet to the world’s largest sea lion cave and had magnificent views of the Pacific and the world’s most photographed lighthouse there. We arrived home to Will’s parents’ house that night around midnight.

On Monday, Will took care of all his paperwork and got back to the house in enough time so we could celebrate his birthday. Happy Birthday Captain!!! I had ran to town to get an ice cream cake so we could sing to him. A birthday the two of us will never forget!! What an epic summer it has been already!

We hit the road yesterday morning to get back to Freetime but first we made a quick stop at Will’s sister and brother-in-laws (Lisa and Eddy Ellis) to see their new baby girl, Eleanor.  She was born June 19th and this was our first time meeting her. What a cutie and such a peaceful baby!! So glad we got to meet her and give her a big squeeze.

After 1350 miles in a few short days, we were ready to crash last night after we got back to the boat around midnight. We are en route for Brookings, Oregon this evening…yes we are going to try to get out of CA, finally!!! Haha!! We will let you know how it goes, I am a bit nervous to get back out there after the last one but am ready to take it on!!! Ahoy!!!

 

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