Sunday, September 29, 2019

A much needed break on land

There's the Yaquina Bay
bridge. Nearly naptime!
     We ended up staying a week and a half in the Newport area. We had the rare benefit of a rental car, so we were able to thoroughly explore and enjoy ourselves, seeing new places and spending time with family.
      Kyrie rolled into our spot at the South Beach Marina at about 7:00 in the morning after a 43 hour run from Neah Bay, WA and first thing to do was get a much needed nap! After we slept for a couple of hours, my dad came down to visit us and take me to go pick up our rental car. When I remarked that it had been three months since I last drove a car, Dad asked me if I needed to get my learner's permit again. I thought that might not be a bad idea!
Family selfie at Cape
Perpetua during an
impromptu road trip on
Hwy. 101.
       Half an hour later, we had rented a Ford Fusion for our time in Newport. That was a fun car. It fit all five of us comfortably and allowed us to travel considerably faster than we have been traveling the past few months (aside from the bus rides in Port Townsend). My sister Amy was down for the weekend from Astoria for work and she brought my nephew Landon with her, so we all got to spend time with the two of them. I hadn't seen either of them since our grandmother's memorial service, when Landon was about eight months old, and Joe and the kids had never met Landon before. The kids all had a ball together! Megan enjoyed not being the youngest for once and the big kids had fun playing with a little one again. In addition to spending time with my family, we also drove inland twice to Joe's grandparents, as well as his brother Pat and his two kids. The second time was part of a road trip that took in all three cousins. First stop was a meetup at the Tillamook Creamery with Amy, her husband David, and Landon. We got to watch the huge blocks of cheese traveling through the production line, as well as enjoy samples of the cheese. Love those cheese curds! Then, with our local guides, we went for a stop at the Tillamook County Smoker, and then onto the Blue Heron creamery. Blue Heron was a major hit with all their animals, samples, and really good brie!  
Landon introduce Rachael and
Megan to the Cheese Van. 
The Kyrie crew, plus my sister,
brother-in-law, and nephew at
Blue Heron creamery in Tillamook.
More cousins!
        After a tearful goodbye, we headed inland, back to Newberg to visit Joe's grandparents again as the first visit was just too short.  Due to being delayed by a nasty storm system, we thought we should take advantage of the opportunity for both a short road trip (who knows when we'll be able to do that again?) and seeing that side of the family once again. Joe got to enjoy driving on twisty, windy roads, I got to play DJ for the music, and the kids got to experience being packed in the back seat of a car and traveling somewhere! The Kyrie kids also were able to say they had seen all their cousins in one day! Perhaps no great feat, considering they only have three first cousins, but it was a first for them.
The girls couldn't believe how
much milk a baby calf drinks!
         The weather was cooperating at last, so after driving back to Newport, we had one more evening with my parents, returned the rental car, and prepared Kyrie for another run down the Oregon coast. The morning started with Mom and Dad coming down to the dock with mochas and farewell hugs. They took a bunch of photos as we pulled away from the dock, as well as some of Kyrie leaving from Newport's South Jetty. It was definitely hard to say yet another goodbye....

Monday, September 23, 2019

Swell! Open ocean again and arriving in Newport

**Here is the second in the series I'm working on, starting on September 8.**

      We stayed two nights in Port Angeles, getting our breath back after such a long time at the dock and working on Kyrie. We had a few little things to take care of, like adjusting the turnbuckles on the rigging--they were too tight--and changing up our flag halyards. Joe also filled our fuel jugs up and we enjoyed the Port Angeles Farmers' Market on Saturday. Sunday morning, it was time to depart. Much to our delight, it looked like the weather would cooperate and allow to us to leave Neah Bay Monday morning to start our trek down to Newport. At first it looked like we could be stuck there for about four days, but weather systems being fickle as they are, this one changed on us, allowing an earlier departure. Yay!
         However, we still had to get to Neah Bay. It was a long slog. The wind of course was against us, but the current was with us. So, we were whipping along at 6.5-7 knots, but the wind stacked up the waves, so we had to tack along the Strait. Then the fog rolled in and the radar had to be used again. Not a very exciting day, but we managed to get into Neah Bay around 5:00. Unfortunately it was too late in the day to explore the town. I had wanted to see the museum in Neah Bay, but no such luck. Through the fog, we could see some of the town and a couple of other sailboats anchored out not far from us.
           It was still foggy the next morning, but clearing a little bit. The weather report called for fog around Cape Flattery, but clearing later in the day, so it was time to go. Anchor up and back into the Strait one last time... That was a very long day, although pretty uneventful. There was hardly any wind and it was foggy a fair bit. We had prepared ourselves for a long trip--the nav computer said our travel time to Newport would be about 45 hours--and most of that first day was adjusting to being at sea again. Poor Megan got seasick for a while at first, but after a few "eruptions" and a nap, she emerged her usual cheerful self.
            That first night was weird. It was foggy again and no wind, so we definitely couldn't sail. We were 25-30 miles off the coast, so there was hardly any traffic that showed up on AIS. It was a little eerie, knowing we were five hours from the beach and most likely no landing point. At one point, I could see the glow of a big yacht traveling just inland from us, as well as the sodium lights from a fishing boat later on, but that was all. Yup, definitely eerie to have that all alone feeling, especially when it's the middle of the night and the rest of your crew is sound asleep! I made the most of it, listening to music on my phone and having my own private dance party while sitting in the helm seat!
Our first tuna caught
on Kyrie--hopefully
the first of many!
             The second day was a lot better. The skies cleared, the sun came out and we could actually see land. Joe and I were tired, but we got naps and Levi even took an hour's helm watch so we could relax. Joe decided we were far enough out and rigged up our handline, hoping to catch something. After about two hours, he noticed something was on it and hauled in a definite prize--an albacore tuna! It was probably about 15-20 pounds and everyone was excited! The girls watched while Joe cleaned it and got to feel for themselves that tuna are warm-blooded. Certainly a strange sensation! Fried tuna for brunch that morning was delicious! We also had a feathered hitchhiker that day--a pine siskin must have been blown out to sea and landed on our deck. It hopped laps around the deck for close to an hour, finding bugs to eat. Evidently it felt stronger after that hour because it took off. I hope the little creature made it safely back to shore....
Our feathery hitchhiker.
               One more night's run. It wasn't nearly as foggy, but we had moved closer to shore, so there were plenty of fishing boats to watch out for. We passed a fleet that must have been fishing for squid because the area was lit up like a football stadium! 5:00 am saw us about three miles off the Newport jetty. As there was no way Joe wanted to approach a strange harbor in the dark, he killed the motor, but left all our running lights on and drifted for about an hour. I actually woke up when the motor stopped since it sounded so different. Once it was closer to sunrise, Joe fired the motor back up and turned our bows toward the entrance buoys. Just as Kyrie neared the opening of the jetties, we had to detour slightly--a giant gray whale had decided the Yaquina Bay entrance was a perfect spot to sleep! After veering around it, we were able to enter the jetties and carefully pass the dredge that was hard at work. 7:00 am saw us managing to get tied up in a convenient slip and crashing for a two-hour nap, promising to call the harbor office when we woke up and moving if we really had to. We had arrived at last!

There's the Yaquina Bay bridge. What a
welcome sight after a 45-hour run!

On the road again!

     **Kristen's note: "Hi everyone! I'm woefully behind on blog posts. I wrote this one originally as we were departing Port Townsend, back on September 6. It is now the first in a series I'll have to do to catch us up! Enjoy!**
     Kyrie is underway again!  After a major stop in Port Townsend, all work is now completed, and we are headed out to Neah Bay to prepare for the "big left turn" on our way to Mexico! A final tally of all the work done? Someone on our Facebook page asked Joe what he did the whole time we were there and here is his response: I rewired the mast, installed all new nav lights, VHF antenna, and new anemometer; ran all new halyards, rebuilt the furlers, rebuilt our backstay using our old backstay insulators for our SSB, and reassembled the mast prior to restepping. On the boat, I changed the engine impeller, engine oil and filter, engine zincs, changed all the engine belts, changed out the engine raw water hoses, rebuilt the alternator, rewired the alternator, rewired our main 110v charger, wired in our aft solar panels. I removed, drilled, partially polished, and reinstalled all our new chainplates; and rebedded one leaking Nicro vent. 
The Kyrie kids at the waterfront in
downtown Port Townsend.
The Kyrie crew, along with
Joe's grandma.

      Joe mainly worked on all this, although I certainly lent a hand wherever I could. Port Townsend Rigging did an amazing job, and let Joe do a lot of work in their shop, using their tools. He spent so much time pulling everything on this boat apart and putting it back together that he now feels confident in his knowledge of how everything fits together. Even more important, Kyrie has so much that is new, chain plates out.
Joe, Levi and one of the Mosaic kiddos
exploring a battery at Fort Flagler
       We did enjoy our time in Port Townsend, although probably not as much as we could have. Last weekend, in honor of Rachael's birthday, we pulled away from the dock and motored over to spend some time playing at Fort Flagler. Aside from feeling extremely weird being a temporary power boat, we had a great time. It felt so good to be away from the dock and on the anchor again. One thing I did note is that we definitely have to start getting used to being in anchorages with more boats. After cruising in Southeast and British Columbia and enjoying being the only boat, sharing anchorages is hard to adjust to!
Kristen peeking out from an old
bunker at Fort Flagler.
Rachael, Megan, and the other Mosaic kiddo
in the middle of their imagination expedition!
        A highlight of the weekend was getting to meet up with a family we've been in touch with via Facebook for a couple of years. The Messerschmidts, AKA Mosaic Voyage, met up with us in Mystery Bay and rafted off to us for the night. They have a boy Rachael's age and a girl Megan's age and the kids all hit it off. The adults all seemed to enjoy each other's company as well! :)  Rachel and Brenden, I'm so glad we were able to meet up with you and your family at last. Safe travels until we meet again!
     We left Port Townsend Boat Haven for the last time this morning around 10:30. At first, it wasn't bad. The current was against us at first, which made for a bit of slow going, but then it eased off. We enjoyed 6 knots for a while, even though the wind was directly on our nose and therefore couldn't sail. Then, the wind decided to really get with it. For those of you who have never been in the Strait of Juan de Fuca before, it is notorious for west winds in the afternoons and evenings. This time, a gale was scheduled for late afternoon, so we had wanted to make certain we were well underway to Port Angeles before the wind really kicked up. We made it about 2/3 of the way before we started seeing 20+ knots, as well as 4 to 5-foot square waves and occasionally 6-footers. Ugh! I was reminded why the Strait is sometimes called "Juan de Puke-a!"
           We made it at last into Port Angeles around 5:30 pm, and dropped the hook just outside of the marina, as far inside Ediz Hook as we could comfortably fit, and decided to stay for a couple of days.