Fafner Log

Passage to San Francisco Bay, California

Date: July 18, 2009

Location: Brisbane Marina, San Francisco Bay, CA

Another short message because we're on-shore whooping it up with family and friends. We went under the Golden Gate Bridge last night at 2111 - in the fog. We got in today around noon. It was fun to see the smiling group of people on the dock ready to catch our dock lines and pop champagne corks. We're in party mode until sleep deprivation catches up with us. Claire is falling asleep on my shoulder so we could be done.

Date: July 17, 2009

Location: 38º 13' N 123º 24' W at 1200 hours

This morning all of the crew was in agreement that what we were sailing in was Fog. It was pretty thick. At one point a vessel hailed us on the VHF. He told us he was 1/2 mile away and wanted to know if we would pass starboard to starboard. I told him that I would be happy to pass starboard to starboard, but that I couldn't see him. He said, no problem. He just asked that we continue on our coarse and maintain our speed and that he would make it work. What he didn't tell me was that he was going to blow his fog horn as he passed. I was glad he did, then we could tell when he was going by, but the first time we heard it we were a little startled.

We saw lots of birds and some sea lions as we got closer to Bodega Bay. Right now it is about 1730 and we are passing Point Reyes. The rocks have emerged from the fog. I can see Drake's Bay. And up ahead, a fog bank is stretching across the horizon. I figure that's where the Golden Gate Bridge must be. I hope we can pass under it and be able see it.

Date: July 16, 2009

Location: 39º 25' N 125º 22' W at 1200 hours

The grey has returned. Whoever talked about "sunny" California didn't arrive in July from off-shore. Oh well, very soon we will be in-shore and enjoying the sun, after the morning fog burns off and before the evening fog rolls in. I had different feelings about our local marine layer when it provided nice cool, evening sleeping weather. I'll have to make a new mantra, "fog can be your friend." However, the rest of the family insists that the stuff I'm calling fog is just low cloud cover. They are only willing to call it fog if it causes almost zero visibility. Harrumph. I'm more open and inclusive in my definition of fog.

Date: July 15, 2009

Location: 41º 35' N 126º 34' W at 1200 hours

The VHF is such fun. I can understand the attraction of the old party line telephones. I enjoy listening to the announcements and conversations even if I have no idea who the conversationalists are. Today we've listened to the Coos Bay and Coquille River Coast Guard stations tell us about where to listen for more information on their respective bars. Geoff is surprised the Coast Guard would share where to get the best beers but the kids are pretty sure that's not what the Coasties mean. I heard two ship captains agree to pass port to port. But our favorite calls of the day illustrate just how strong the Coast Guard radios are and how far they project. Keep in mind that we are about 100 miles off the coast and that we are near Humboldt, CA. We've heard Coast Guard Station calls from, drum roll please, ... San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and our personal favorite due to its distance, Los Angeles! We're really starting to feel like we're returning to our own neighborhood.

Date: July 14, 2009

Location: 44º 11' N 126º 48' W at 1200 hours

Today the sun managed to get out from behind the clouds. It could be related to the fact that we have some more wind. But I think it's really because we are now heading south. So far we're only as far as Oregon, but in a couple more degrees of latitude we'll be in Californian waters. Even the water is heating up, its up to 58 degrees F! Kind of makes you want to slap on a bikini and dive right in...

Date: July 13, 2009

Location: 46º 20' N 126º 42' W at 1200 hours

Another grey day. I think we've found the fog breeding grounds for the Western Coast. This afternoon the grey has lifted off the water so we have more visibility. And the clouds look like normal grey clouds. This morning the things were different. I decided to name the phenomenon "Squog." The grey was misty and opaque and down to the water like fog, but it came in darker and lighter bands. The darker bands had more wind associated with them like squalls. So, combining squall and fog, creates, squog.

Yesterday we saw two ships. I watched the first one cross our bow. He was almost clear and then decided to change course a little to guarantee that he was even more out of our way. Geoff & I decided he was being thoughtful. Then later, just at the end of the kids' watch the second ship passed. They don't think he noticed us until after he was past us because after we were clear he called on the VHF.

"Sailing boat, sailing boat, this is the whatziwhozit."

Claire answered, "this is the sailing boat."

"All okay?"

"All okay."

"Have a good trip."

"Good night."

"Good night."

Date: July 12, 2009

Location: 48º 06' N 125º 12' W at 1200 hours

This morning we made it out of the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Just as we were coming around Cape Flattery the fog rolled in. I made some new friends at Puget Vessel Traffic, VHF 74. They keep track of all of the commercial traffic coming into and going out of the Straits. I was mostly concerned about big ships that would crush us and whose crew might then turn to each other in their deluxe control room and ask "Did you feel a bump?" "Nah." Vessel Traffic found us on their radar and then scanned the area for me. Just me and a tug with a tow, the Moana Loa, on his way to Oakland. I looked for him, but I didn't see him. I was wondering if we'd have company on the way down, but I imagine he'll go a little faster than we will.

Straits of Juan de Fuca, Washington

Date: July 11, 2009

Location: 48º 24' N 122º 48' W at 1200 hours

We got away from the dock at 1000 this morning and enjoyed the helpful current. Right now we are near Port Angeles and working our way across the shipping lanes and into the Straits of Juan de Fuca. We're on our way home.

Anacortes, Washington

Date: July 10, 2009

Location: Anacortes Marina, Fidalgo Island, Washington

We're planning on starting for the last leg of our trip tomorrow morning on the favorable tide. We've had an exceptional week here in Anacortes and the Seattle area. Our friends - the Rard family on Ruby Slippers - came out in their boat to meet us and brought some of Geoff's family with them. They knew how we feel about ice cream, so they had packed up some cones in a box and maneuvered their boat close enough to pass the box over with a boat hook. Once on shore we popped champagne and ate bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese. It felt very decadent. We bought some fireworks and sparklers on the way to their house and truly celebrated a happy 4th.

We've spent the week visiting with Geoff's extended family, hanging out at our friend's house (taking advantage of their washing machine and internet) and doing a few boat things. Claire loves this area and is ready to move here. Alex has been helping out at the Vacation Bible School with her friend Molly. I was let loose again in a Safeway today. Ah, all of the attractive choices, who knew that groceries could be so much fun?

We think we'll be back in the SF Bay on Saturday, July 18. We're going back to the Brisbane Marina. Will we see some of you there? We'll keep you updated on our arrival.

Date: July 5, 2009

Location: Anacortes Marina, Fidalgo Island, Washington

This is very short because we've hit shore (figuratively and not literally) and we've been playing from, oh, even before we tied up at the dock.

Passage to Washington and the West Coast of the USA

Date: July 4, 2009

Location: Anacortes Marina, Fidalgo Island, Washington

Our friends came out on their boat, Ruby Slippers, to meet us in the Rosario Straits. These are really good friends because they came bearing our relatives and ice cream. They passed us soft serve cones packed up in a box from the bow of their boat. The transfer was completed via boat hook. We were ever so grateful. We went into the Anacortes Marina, tied up and popped some champagne, we're back on the Left Coast.