Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Quesnel, BC

Since Dave's arrival in Quesnel I have been enjoying showing him around my city and the surrounding areas. We have visited friends, family and been on a few day hikes to see some of my favourite places. We first hiked to Deserter's Creek, where the creek emerges from an enormous fault in the bedrock. I knew this would interest Dave with his penchant for geology.

Dave and the fault in the bedrock

Pete in the cleft in the rock

The next geologic feature we visited was Quesnel's famous Pinnacles. These are hardened spires of volcanic ash that tower over the valley formed by Baker Creek.

The Pinnacles
No visit to Quesnel would be complete without a visit to Historic Barkerville, a restored ghost town from the late 1800's gold rush. Although officially closed for the season, it was a nice quiet walk through the deserted streets.


   On our return trip to Quesnel, we were extremely lucky to observe a Mountain Caribou licking salt off the roadside. I have never seen one this close in the thirty odd years of living in the area. Dave is here a week and we encounter one! Dave is still complaining about the absence of moose. Maybe next time.

Mountain Caribou

Still not a moose

 We spent Saturday in Prince George where we had lunch with our friend Leanne Ranes and dinner with two of my sisters and their families.

Other than me being sick for a few days with food poisoning, (no, not from Dave's cooking) we have had a great time so far. We are both looking forward to returning to Cygnus at Alameda on the 24th, where we will spend some time installing a new roller furling system and sightseeing in the Bay Area. 
Cheers! Pete.

Monday, 12 October 2015

San Francisco, CA and Quesnel, BC

One week ago (Monday) I left Fort Bragg. The calm seas over the Noyo River bar were an amazing contrast to the violence I witnessed (safely from ashore) at the same location just 2 days earlier. A southerly wind filled in that afternoon complicating my passage of Point Arena with pounding seas and green water over the bow. By about 4 PM I had cleared the point and the seas began to moderate. It is amazing to see how the major headlands affect the wind and seas.

After 1 night drifting at sea to catch a little sleep, I motored past Point Reyes and into Drakes Bay where I anchored for a better sleep before proceeding into San Francisco. Along the way I spotted a few Humpback whales, Pacific White-sided dolphins, and the most amazing pod of porpoises I have ever seen. There were hundreds of them all across the bow and starboard side. A few came up close to the boat to have a close look at me, others were flying through the air (often in pairs). Their activity churned up a huge expanse of the sea.
Point Reyes

The Golden Gate Bridge as I approached under sail.
Alcatraz Island

The new east span of the Oakland Bay Bridge seen from my anchorage at Treasure Island.

Wednesday morning I was ready to go into San Francisco. Off Duxbury Point I had to navigate through one of the largest fishing fleets I have ever seen. There were dozens of commercial trawlers all moving about 2 knots in various directions, along with hundreds of recreational and charter boats – each on a different course at a different speed. Several course changes later I was ready to proceed into Bonita Channel and through the Golden Gate. The wind came up from the west as I passed Point Bonita, so I killed the engine and raised sails. So, for the second time, I had the privilege of transiting the Golden Gate under sail. I can think of no better way to arrive at San Francisco Bay. I anchored that night at Treasure Island with the suspension span of the new Oakland Bay Bridge towering nearly over me.

It is time for a key improvement project I have planned for Cygnus – the installation of a roller furling headsail. So I have obtained moorage for a month at Alameda Marina. My old Genoa (the big headsail) is at Doyle sailmakers (located within the Alameda Marina complex) to be re-worked for roller furling, and the roller furler has arrived. I would begin installation, but…

Arriving in San Francisco Bay and obtaining moorage for a while presented an opportunity for me to travel to Quesnel, BC to see Pete. Saturday I flew from San Francisco to Calgary and on to Quesnel. I am writing this post from Pete’s computer, and I am living ashore (temporarily) for the first time in almost 10 years. Adapting to such oddities as reclining chairs and having to walk more than 3 steps to reach the bathroom is proving quite challenging. In fact walking more than about 10 or 12 steps anywhere without the aid of a dock or dinghy seems really strange.

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving. Pete held his family’s holiday dinner yesterday (freeing today for his children to visit/host their in-laws). All 3 of his children and many of his grandchildren were here. We had a marvelous turkey dinner, and I got to meet a houseful of great people. Everyone had a great time chatting and eating. The day was nearly perfect… just one tiny incident involving a five year old princess a pretty dress and a pile of bear poop.

As any self-respecting swan will fly south for the winter, Pete and I will return to Alameda to install the roller furling system and prepare Cygnus for continuing her flight south. Our plan is to fly to California on Oct 24th. Once we have the furler working, and complete a few sea trials to learn how to operate it, we will be ready to proceed down the coast of Central and Southern California and on to Mexico.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Fort Bragg, CA

Well I finally passed Cape Mendocino on Wednesday last week. After a  night at Shelter Cove (which isn't really much shelter) I came into the Noyo River and Fort Bragg. A really serious wind was forecast for yesterday, and it did not disappoint. It blew a full gale most of the afternoon. The seas are forecast to lay down by tomorrow, so I plan to head south on the high tide in the morning. With a little fair weather I could make it to San Francisco this week.

Me and the Cape Mendocino buoy.

The green marker buoy entering the Noyo River during the windstorm yesterday

Entry buoy at the Noyo River