Subject: The Whale
Date: Wed, 10 May 2006 20:50:11 -0700
If you read the front page story of the SF Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth. A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her... a very dangerous proposition.
One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.
They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed gently around - she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.
The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.
May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate ... to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you.
And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.
I pass this on to you, my friend, in the same spirit.
Subject: Bodega Bay - Day XII
Date: Fri, 19 May 2006 23:31:13 -0500
Yesterday I took 'Intrepid' across the bay from Sausalito to the St. Francis
Yacht Club. I was able to berth the boat at no charge because of the
reciprocal agreement between yacht clubs. I recently joined the American
Legion Yacht Club in Newport Beach. The ALYC is really a fun group of
people, the drinks are cheap and it's very layed back.
The St. Francis Yacht Club is of a little different caliber, compared to the
ALYC. Very fancy with a beautiful location, near the Presidio. The club
has huge glass floor to ceiling windows that look out onto the San Francisco
Bay. The Golden Gate Bridge is just to the left and Alcatraz Island is to
the right. When the club has it races, they are all performed in front of
the club so that it's members can follow the progress along while drinking
and dining. It's a very spectacular view, with fancy dining and all that.
Great place to be with that special someone, but I didn't feel like dining
there alone. Thus, I opted to walk up to Union Street to one of my favorite
places called Perry's and had a great dinner at the bar, with interesting
At Perry's I asked about a bartender named Mike that I remember from the
mid-70's. Mike is still around but not now working a Perry's. What I found
out was that Mike is a 'McCourt', brother to Frank McCourt, who wrote
'Angela's Ashes' and 'Tis'; two books that I really enjoyed. When I knew
Mike McCourt, it was way before his brother published his works and I had no
idea about what a rough childhood he experienced; as depicted in 'Angela's
Ashes'. Mike is a really fun guy and while I was told where he now works
as a day bartender, I will have to await to look him up on my return
At any rate, at the yacht club, I was able to fill my water tanks and gave
my boat a needed bath.
I took off this morning at 0800 and arrived in Bodega Bay at 1745.
It rained all today and there was little wind (once I left San Francisco),
thus I motor sailed. On the way to Bodega Bay, I came upon navigational
hazards in the form of crab traps. These traps were all along my route and
I managed to run over two of them. The first I saw just in time to cut the
power and put the engine in neutral. Still, the damn thing was caught under
the boat between the keel and the rudder. While I drifted, I took a boat
hook and snagged the bouy holding the trap lines and sliced through it,
which sunk the lines away from my boat. That problem was solved and I went
on my way. I was on alert the whole trip avoiding scores of traps that were
bouyed in my path. I even changed course, but damned traps were everywhere,
Then I hit another trap when I was in the galley getting something to eat.
I immediately went top side and looked aft and saw what I had hit, seeing
a bobbing bouy. I figured there was no harm done, just a loud bang of the
bouy float hitting my hull as I ran over it.
In Bodega Bay, I tied up to the Spud Harbor Marina. As I pulled along side
the dock, I brought the boat in slowly, then put it in reverse to stop it.
Suddenly a very ugly banging sound developed. Did my transmission go out?
I don't know. My hope is that when I hit that second crab trap I cut off
one of the bouys and part of it is wrapped around my drive shaft and/or
rudder. It could be that the obstruction simply flowed through the water as
I continued my journey. However, when I put the boat in it in reverse, the
obstruction was drawn into the prop and that was the banging I heard. I hope
This is all speculation boys and girls, and we'll all have to wait till
tomorrow morning to find out if my problem is simple or more complicated.
I have contacted a diver that will check out my theory in the morning. Then
I will send a quick message to you all and let you know if I'm able to set
sail for my next port, or if I'm stuck in Bodega Bay for awhile.
In either event, assuming I'm successful in getting this problem fixed, when
I get to Fort Bragg, I'm going to purchase a wet suit and a Hooka. A Hooka
is the name of a 12 Volt air generator with an air supply line and snorkel,
that will allow me to dive under my boat so that I can take care of these
type of problems in the future.
Well this update certainly went on and on.
If the two pictures I'm sending come through, they were taken of me upon my
arrival at St. Francis Yacht Club.
Subject: Bodega Bay - Day XIV
Date: Sat, 20 May 2006 11:17:31 -0500
I think the last note I send stated Day XII. I guess I lost track.
The banging I heard when I put my boat's engine in reverse was exactly what
I had speculated. I cut a crab pot line and drug part of the line and float
with me. The picture is my new found friend Bill, who dove under my boat
and removed the line and float. The float is a little hard to see, but look
at Bills right side as he is holding it up.
There catching salmon about 5 miles north of here and Bill is going to drop
me off at a local fishing store so that I can get the proper rig. Then I'm
out of here.
Subject: Coos Bay, OR - Day XXIII
Date: Tue, 30 May 2006 09:05:11 -0500
For the most part, I have been out of email contact capability since my Ft.
Synopsis for the past eight days:
The repair work went perfectly in Ft. Bragg. I found a welder named Charlie
Nelson, who actually came to the boat, picked up the part I had that needed
welding, took it to his shop, welded it perfectly, then brought it back to
me the same day. Charlie asked for $40 and I happily gave him $50.00.
As for the GPS, Alcom Marine, in Newport Beach, CA, who installed the
system, walked me through the re-boot in about ten minutes.
I left Noyo River (Ft. Bragg) last Tuesday at 0830 and arrived in Crescent
City, CA at 1130 Wednesday.
The Noyo River is narrow and shallow and I got stuck right under the Hwy 101
bridge. It seemed that I was really in a pickle, but then the boat floated
There was a southerly wind, which got me excited. I wisely reefed the main
(shortened the sail area) and only flew my stay sail (the smaller of my two
head sails), because the winds got up to 35 to 45 knots off of Pt. Delgado.
The seas were high and confused. It was a very exciting sail, with the
large following seas trying to push my stern and place me sideways into the
What made this trip rather strange were the dolphins. I had these dolphins
swim along side me, which is always enjoyable, but I had a dolphin show for
nearly four hours! I don't know how many different dolphins participated
then dropped out, but they stayed with me literally showing off. They'd do
flips, went underneath the boat from the sides (unusual from my experience),
one actually went by in an undulating swim, slapping the water with his
belly. The most spectacular scene was when four of them leaped out of the
water, facing my starboard bow and dived under my boat in perfect unison.
I went around the infamous Point Mendecino, known for it's normally strong
winds) late in the afternoon, and the winds actually slackened.
I wanted to stop in Eureka, but it was midnight by that time and I didn't
want to risk running into crab traps and attempting to go into a shallow
port in the dark.
In Crescent City I sealed leaks around my port windows, then I took a day
off to just cycle around the area, visited the Battery Light House and went
on a hike through Tolowa Dunes State Park. Very enjoyable and good to get
off and away from the boat for the day. I included a picture of these 25
ton tetra pods where the city placed 1900 to form a jetty to protect
Crescent City Harbor.
I love my boat. 'Intrepid' is strong and serves me well. Even though I
have lived with her for eighteen years, it has really only been in the past
three weeks of this voyage that I have really become aware as to just how
special she is. Still, like someone your around all the time, one needs a
break. The day of cycling and hiking in the state park was a great tonic.
After three nights in Crescent City, I took off for Oregon last Saturday at
0830, crossed the 42 degree latitude line into Oregon at 1030 and anchored
in Port Orford Harbor at 1800.
Two hours out of Port Orford, I snagged another crab trap. I saw it coming
and thought I would miss it, but it got caught. I had the engine in
neutral, but inavertently pulled the it in reverse and the lines caught my
prop and stalled my engine. I thought I was in deep s--- and considered my
options, which included tying a line on and diving under the boat to cut
away the lines. However, I figured before I subjected myself to the cold
water, I would start the engine and ease it in forward to see what would
happen. I expected to snag to intensify, but the trap miracuasly fell away
and I continued on into Port Orford. I'd rather be lucky than good!
I anchored in Port Orford and inavertently let out too much anchor chain.
This came back to bite me at 0200, when I awoke to the fact that my stern
was banging into shoal rocks. I immediately started my engine and got away
from the rocks and reanchored away from the problem shoal. It doesn't
appear that I did any damage per se. I'm sure the rocks scared the surface
of my rudder.
I didn't sleep too well after that incident and took off at 0600 for Coos
Bay, arriving there at 1500. It was a beautiful day both yesterday and
today here in the Charleston section of Coos Bay.
I contacted my friends the Orsel's who were once live aboards at the
Chrisman Marina, where I live at in Long Beach. They came and picked me up
and we had a wonderful evening together. They provided a great meal and
pretty much did my laundry for me. Great people and it was truly enjoyable
to be with friends after three weeks.
Today I met a fellow traveler DeLayne Brink, who has been crusing in Mexico
these past two years. He is anxious to get home to see his fiance in
Bellingham, WA. DeLayne went over my charts of the San Juan Islands, with
which he is extremely familiar, and I marked all the must stop and see
places he enthused me about. He also offered me to look him up in
Bellingham, where he offered to let me use his charts for the inland passage
to Glacier Bay, AL.
I may be meeting up with DeLayne again in Newport, OR. He will be 24 hours
ahead of me, as he left late this afternoon and I will leave tomorrow. But,
he may be staying two evenings there and indicated that it might be a good
idea for us to follow one another till we get to Cape Flattery and duck into
the Straits of Juan de Fuca. I figure the Newport run will be 15 hours and
plan to sail through tomorrow night, getting me there early Wednesday
morning. The reasoning here is to leave one port during the daylight hours
and getting to the other in the light of day.
Best wishes to you all,