Thursday, August 22, 2013

Welcome back to California Nomad and crew!

Nomad and crew arrived in the San Francisco Bay Monday night and anchored in front of Sausolito.They poked their nose in to Fisherman's Cove on the Farallon Islands, but were instantly swarmed by thousands of flies.  So they continued on, swatting flies.  In fact, when Eloise and I arrived at midday on Tuesday, the boat was STILL covered with flies.  Brian insisted that this was an improvement from the day before. We packed up dirty laundry and a few things and brought Brian back to Santa Cruz.  Mike has a friend in Sausolito so he is staying aboard for a few days socializing. 

One sad mishap occurred two days before their arrival. Uli lost his paddle.  Uli is our Windpilot that responds to wind direction accurately and steers the boat through gale and light winds.  His rudder that does this wonderful steering sheered off two mornings before Nomad arrived.  We relied on Uli and our CPT autopilot all the way from Santa Cruz to New Zealand and back.  He served us well and luckily Brian and Mike had our CPT Autopilot still.

Welcome back to California Nomad and crew! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Almost to the Barn

Nomad has raced to the California coast like a horse to its barn at feeding time.  We had thought that a good run would be 20 to 21 days.  However, they will be anchoring at the Farallon Islands this afternoon, only 17 days after their departure from Hanalei Bay.  This is a situation in which we are thankful for fossil fuels.  They ended up motoring for at least 7 days out of the 17.  They would have been becalmed 1000 miles away from California without the 200 gallons of diesel we carry aboard.  Brian and Mike are heading toward Fishermans Cove on Southeast Island.  We've anchored there once before.
It might have been 7 years ago... Karson was aboard.  We pulled into the anchorage past a research vessel tossing a fake surfboard looking device into the ocean.  Some sort of camera device was involved.  Shark research we presumed.  We pulled into the anchorage.  There was no wind and the guano stench was oppressive in the heat.  To add to the ambience, hoardes of small flies filled our cockpit and cabin.  To escape them, we placed our bug screens over the entrances and retreated inside the boat where we killed the remaining flies and sweltered in the stagnant air.  Karson decided to go for a swim.  Brian and I thought that sounded refreshing but maybe not a good idea due to our location in the "Red Triangle."  Karson was almost done changing into swim trunks and we finally convinced him not to go in.  Not five minutes later, I saw something bobbing in the calm water about 40 feet from the boat.  I got out the binoculars to look.  It was a huge chunk of bloody seal flesh floating out direction.  The seagulls had not even spied it yet.  Soon there was a squawking fest as they located and descended on the partial carcass.  It floated past the boat and we all gave thanks that Karson decided not to go for a swim.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hunting Dog returns

The guest speaker at church today was named Dave Smith, a fly fisherman.  He told the story about him and a buddy driving the 4wheel drive pickup on a dirt track out to put in their drift boat.  The buddy's dog was in the back. Suddenly a pheasant shot up in the air and dog was out of the truck and gone in an instant.  Dave looked at his buddy. The guy said "don't worry about it he'll be gone the rest of the day chasing one pheasant after the other going crazy and racing around for miles."  Then the guy got out of the truck, took his jacket off and dropped in on the ground, got back in and kept driving the 3 or 4 miles to the river.  The fished all day on a 12 mile drift and were driving the drop off vehicle after dark that night back to retrieve the other truck.  They rounded a bend and saw some bright eyes peering at them.  It was the dog. Sitting upright, still as a statue on top of his owner's jacket, waiting to get picked up.  The owner said, "oh yes, he would stay there for two or 3 days if he had to.  He knows that's how he gets home."  Dave was using this to illustrate a part of Genesis 12 when God called Abraham to leave countr, land, and home to go somewhere that God said he'd show him to later.  When they got to Canaan, "God said this is the place." except that there were lots of Canaanites there and it wasn't time yet for the promise to take place.  So Abraham journeyed on, made another altar on another part of Canaan, then journeyed on again to Egypt (because there was a famine in Canaan).  Unfortunately, he forgot to trust God to take care of him and his wife and messed things up down there.  He then returned to his altar, "a place of leaning in to God" is what Dave called it.  He returned, like the dog, to a place where he knew he could get home, knew he would be taken care of, where he had last heard God's voice.  When he got there, he leaned in to God again.  


It has been a busy 10 days since Nomad departed Hanalei Bay, Kauai bound for Santa Cruz.  He and Mike have since caught over 2 dozen Mahi Mahi (released more than 6 of them).  They have canned most of what they brought on board using the pressure cooker and old-fashioned canning jars.  They are now releasing all Mahi Mahi so that they have enough jars left to can the Albacore they are hoping to encounter in the cooler waters.  As happy as they are about the fish bonanza, Brian's email yesterday sounded pretty pleased about cooking the first of two frozen chickens aboard.

Over the last few days, Nomad has encountered a lot of debris in the ocean, mostly fishing gear, including the coveted Japanese glass fishing balls.  They have chased a few of these around with the boat, and finally caught one!  Mike generously declared that it is for Eloise.  They are making good time but have had to motor for the last 6 days.  They might soon have to conserve fuel for the end of the passage, and just bob slowly along until the wind picks up.

Two days after returning to California, Eloise and I joined my sister, brother, their families and my mom for a 4 day camping trip in Northern California.  Despite scrapes, sickness, squabbles and late nights the cousins all got along and the adults had a good time at Indian Scotty Campground outside of Yreka.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Flossie fizzles and Nomad prepares for departure

Well, the anticlimactic Flossie was a relief.  The night she was supposed to hit we lashed our sails down, tied the dinghy on deck and after sitting around with 10 kt winds, decided to barbecue.  We had a relaxing calm evening and a full night of sleep with no anchor watch required. **an anchor watch = when a big storm is blowing, someone stays awake to make sure that the boat anchor isn't slipping or dragging the boat toward other boats, rocks, or shore **  The next morning there were some 20kt gusts and a few sprinkles of rain. Later that afternoon, there was lots and lots of rain to fill up the tanks with delicious cloud-filtered water. 
Thank you to all who prayed for our safety.  It worked.

Eloise and I are now home in Santa Cruz. Brian and Mike are preparing to leave Hanalei Bay tonight or tomorrow morning.  Commander Weather is a weather routing service for boats.  They have given a very favorable forecast and travel plan for the next week. 

Any one interested in seeing Nomad's progress towards California may go to this link: 

Scan down the list of reporting boats for WDD9776 (that's Nomad's call sign). Then click on the "track" link to the right.  Brian has not posted yet but will begin soon.