Thursday, August 28, 2008

Coastal Passages

We have brought Indigo south to Eureka, California, accomplishing this in three coastal passages of about thirty hours each, traveling between five and thirty miles offshore. On every passage there are moments of despair, of wishing we were snug at home on land. When seas are rough – as they frequently are off the coast of Washington, Oregon, and Northern California - it feels as if the boat is a frisbee being tossed around in the ultimate game. At night and in fog we get damp and cold. Occasionally there are minutes of panic, or long spells of boredom or mild mal de mer.
But, so far, there have been plenty of incredible moments where I say to myself, “this is worth the price of admission!” Like seeing the rugged Southern Oregon coast in the light of a summer sunset. Who gets to see the coast from this perspective? Or the midday encounter with a half dozen sea critters who we at first thought were Orca whales. On closer inspection, we discovered they were Risso’s Dolphins, a species we had never heard of before. They share the Orca’s upright dorsal fins and are nearly as large, but are paler in color and play near the surface in groups.
Maybe my best moment came at the end of a three hour, middle of the night watch in very rough water and high winds off Crescent City, just south of the Oregon boarder. As the Captain roused himself to take over, I sat under a star-studded sky in the cockpit and watched a crescent moon rise over the Northern California coastal mountains. It was large and yellow and looked exactly like a big banana in the dark sky. A rare sight, and definitely worth the price of admission.


Blogger Owen said...

Sounds amazing. Soon you'll be having fun in the Bay Area with my folks.

August 29, 2008 11:14 PM  
Anonymous Matthew said...

What a fantastic trip. I stumbled on your blog looking for tidepools. If you're in the Mendocino County area looking for shore leave, let me know. I'll meet you somewhere for a bite or a drink and point you to anything you might need.

A friend's brother just stopped by on a world tour (, so now I'm interested in the journeys of the modern explorer.


September 02, 2008 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Rob said...

How exciting to be going south! Safe journeys.

September 07, 2008 6:29 PM  

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