Thursday, August 21, 2008

8/21/08 Almost Home

We are definitely back. Fog has welcomed us back to Northern California obscuring our ability to see those really big container ships barreling along at 30 kts. I watched the radar from the port side cockpit bench while Matt surveyed the water. Approximately 1/4 mile visibility – not pea soup but enough to keep you on your toes with visions of the bow of a ship appearing on your stern. Sandy passed up what looked like a plastic party horn left over from the halfway party. Turned out to be a Skyblazer foghorn to be sounded at two-minute intervals blowing for 4 seconds at a time. We did not have to use it as we are still some distance away from the lanes but Sandy and Dave E have used it before when entering the Bay under the Golden Gate Bridge in dense fog. In our case all 3 night watches passed without any sightings, which is a good thing. Probably won't be crossing shipping lanes until sometime this afternoon. Nonetheless it is wise to be vigilant. Coast Guard just came over the VHF announcing low visibility outside the Gate. Hopefully it will burn off by this afternoon. Then again, the fog always seems to suck into the bay in the late afternoon.

Had a very cool sighting last night. We could hear splashing on either side of the boat that was too far to be either a bow or stern wake. Looking more closely, we could see a line of bioluminescence running through the water like a torpedo ending with a splash – a pod (?) of porpoises was swimming alongside us in the night. Show lasted for about 15 minutes then they took off for another venue.

The winds have continued to be uncooperative pushing back our time of arrival. I won't speculate as Sandy has the numbers and needs time to compute them. We are probably looking at a late afternoon/early evening docking at Emery Cove. Sounds a lot like a local weather forecast. (Today will have sun with some chance of clouds and rain. Pack an umbrella and some shorts).

I worked on a couple lists of things I remember and things I won't miss.
Things I Remember:
-The capillary waves that wrinkle the ocean.

-The roller coaster ride of reaching in wind blowing 20-25 and seas of 8-10 feet.

-Driving at night under a full moon with the moonbeam lighting our course.

-Seeing the Orion constellation reflected in the water.

-Knot tying lessons.

-5:00 cocktail hour – ration 1 ESB and some loud Tom Petty.

-Solving the problems of the world between 24:00 and 04:00.

-The Compromise Curtsy.

-Motoring through the High Pressure system on a glassy lake of water.

Things I Won't Miss:
-Reusing Ziplock baggies in the head. Enough said . . . too much said.

-Putting my PFD on backwards when half asleep in the middle of the night. Continually misnaming it a PDF, something my crewmates won't ever let me live down (thanks Adobe).

-Washing dishes in saltwater.

-Waking to the thug-a-thug-a-thug-a-thug of the diesel midway through my off-duty rest period.

-Pumping diesel from a full starboard jerry can in rolling seas.


-Babywipe showers.

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