June 3, 2006

Southbound Preparations

Hi Everyone!

It's been a busy week since our last message.

After Pender Harbour, we motored back to Vancouver and spend a lovely 5 days across from Granville Island in False Creek. We again moored at the False Creek Yacht Club.

It was quite frustrating seeing all the great produce and meats at the Granville Farmers Market as we couldn't take any of these wonderful items across the boarder into the states.

Besides boat chores, we managed to spend Saturday, May 27th at "Eat Vancouver" sponsored by a number of local restaurants and Food TV Canada. It was quite interesting and we discovered a very nice local Mexican Restaurant where we had lunch on Monday "The Mouse and The Bean" http://www.themouseandthebean.com/, quite yummy.

On Tuesday May 30th, we crossed back across the boarder and spend two nights in Friday Harbor. We had a favorable current which had us exceeding 12 kph at times, getting us into Friday Harbor 2 hours early. We hit the local markets to start our provisioning and visited with Bill's high school friend Candy Bowers.

On Thursday, June 1st, we crossed the Straights of Juan de Fuca and arrived at Port Angeles in thick fog. It's a good thing we have GPS and Radar, we needed them to get safely into the harbor as the visibility was only about 100 feet!

We never did see what all those large blips on the radar were since we gave them at least 1000 feet clearance. Only one tiny 20 foot Boston Whaler style became visible for a few minutes and the swallowed by the fog again. When we arrived at the breakwater, we saw it on radar long before we could see it with our eyes. And when we did, it just looked like a slightly darker shadow. We continued on until we suddenly saw a wall in front of us, quickly turned and slowed down. This was the entrance to the marina which we couldn't see until we were on top of it, literally.

Since then we've been getting all our boat chores done, minor repairs, provisioning, cooking, etc. getting ready to head back to San Francisco. The dock is loaded with local fishermen and other boats getting ready to head out to Hawaii or San Francisco. Everyone has been exceedingly friendly. There is even a pair of dock ducks that make their rounds several times a day. It's curious. The ducks walk the docks. We have yet to see them in the water.

The passage is planned at just over 750 miles and it should take us between 5 and 6 non-stop days to make it. We'll have two crew along. This is a first for us as it's always been just the two of us since we left California in September of 2004.

Bob Hinden and Jerry Stadulis are the two fellows coming with us. Bob and his wife Maryann own the Valiant 42 "Acacia". Jerry and his wife Cory are having Valiant 50 #114 built in Texas (very exciting construction should start soon!).

Bob and Jerry arrive tomorrow, Sunday and weather permitting we'll cast off around 5 AM on Monday.

We're using a weather forecasting and routing service "Commanders' Weather" http://www.commandersweather.com/ for our trip planning. They provide great briefings and en-route updates.

Right now they're forecasting favorable conditions (mostly 15 to 20 from behind us) until we get to Cape Mendocino. Then it may be a bit "strong" 30 to 35 knots pushing us. We'll decide if we're going to go for it or pull into Eureka, CA (before the cape) when we get closer and get the latest update.

You can follow along as we'll be sending out email updates periodically reporting on our passage and we'll also update our position reports - probably at least twice a day.

You can access our position reports via our homepage or by using this link:
http://www.winlink.org/positions/PosReportsDetail.aspx?callsign=WB6JAO

The Blue Balloon is our latest position. You can also click on any of the balloons to see our Course and Speed (if we're away from the dock), text comments from us and the date and time (in UTC, commonly inaccurately called Greenwich Mean Time, to convert to Pacific Daylight Time subtract 7 hours - subtract 4 for the east coast, etc.).

While we're out, we won't have regular email - but will be checking winlink and sailmail. Remember we love hearing from you, but please only send messages of a few paragraphs with no attachments.

We have many other stories to share about our last week getting ready, but we'll do that in later installments. Coming soon! "The mystery of the Shredded Charmin"

Warmest Regards to all!
Bill and Mary
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