First Mate’s First Day – San Francisco to Crescent City

Dougal wrote such a sweet story about our first day out to sea.  Just the facts.  All the technical details.  My recount of the details during those first few days at sea is a little more belligerent.  As we pulled into Crescent City this morning, with the sun rising behind the mountains and the lighthouse slowly coming into view, I could imagine how Sir Francis Drake felt when he landed in San Francisco.  After 2 days at sea, the crew was weary….we were tired, hungry, seasick.  None of us had showered in 2 days and we had all gone through all of our favorite book/movie/podcast downloads.  (Thanks to my friends at PG&E for the book recommendations….great for 2 am night watch!). But I’m getting ahead of myself….back to the start.

We started out on Tuesday morning full of excitement.  We have been planning this day for so long.  After 2 departure dates that had come and gone due to weather, most of our friends probably thought we would never leave!  But this would be the day we begin the adventure.  It was a beautiful morning with a perfect view of San Francisco from our mooring in front of the Sausalito Yacht Club.  We were off….headed for the Golden Gate Bridge.

View of San Francisco from Sausalito Yacht Club

The excitement quickly dissolved and was replaced with terror as we faced enormous waves passing under the Golden Gate Bridge.  I sat white knuckled behind the helm, trying to remember why I thought this was a good idea.  I would have taken a picture, but I couldn’t move.  I was paralyzed with fear.  Cassidy monitored the “tilt-o-meter” (very technical term), calling out the angle of the boat as we soared up the front of the waves and tumbled down the backside.  “25” she cheered out, as if it were a game.  I wished I could share in her joy.  I don’t have much experience boating in the SF Bay Area….and I tend to worry more than the average (sane) person so I take my cues from Dougal.  Dougal was very quiet.  That’s usually a clue that the conditions are real, not just my overactive imagination.  

As Dougal promised, the waves settled down once we passed through the river bar.  Terror was replaced with seasickness.  I pulled out my arsenal of seasick medications…..the “relief band” (shoots electric pulses through the wrist band….no idea how it works but I swear by it) and over the counter meds.  That put me out for a few hours.  

The seasick crew…..

When I woke, I felt much better and the next 24 hours or so went better than expected.  The biggest challenge during these 24 hours was fighting boredom.  I handled my first night watch without any issues.  Night watch is strange.  It is pitch black.  You can’t see anything!  The “watch” involves checking the various monitors periodically.  Is the engine running too hot?  Is the oil pressure too low?  Any boats or other objects showing up on the radar?  Are we still on course?  Full trust in the monitors in front of you because you can’t see anything else!  

Wednesday was beautiful.  The ocean was like a lake.  Cassidy and I spent much of the day up on the bow of the boat.  A whale sighting was the highlight of the day.  Unfortunately we couldn’t get close enough for a good picture.  I was starting to think I could get used to this.


Somewhere off the coast of Northern CA

Somewhere off the coast of Northern CA

Wednesday night the wind picked up and the boat started bouncing wildly.  Dougal had first watch so I got to “sleep.”  There wasn’t much sleeping involved though in those conditions.  I had second watch from midnight to 5 am.  I wanted to make sure that Dougal got enough sleep because the next day he would pull us into the harbor at Crescent City.  We were anticipating an arrival around 7 am.  These final 12 hours were rough on all of us.  I wasn’t scared anymore.  After the SF Bay departure, I knew the boat could handle it.  I wasn’t seasick…I had grown used to the motion.  But it still feels like a beating to get tossed around the boat and operate on very little sleep.  

So…..I’m glad to be tied up to the dock in Crescent City now.  It was music to my ears when Dougal said he thought we would be “stuck” here for at least 5 days waiting for the next weather window. Hmmmm….maybe we should just spend the summer here!

1 thought on “First Mate’s First Day – San Francisco to Crescent City”

  1. Chuck and Edie Herro

    We enjoyed reading your “flesh, blood, and emotion” comments. They round out Dougal’s technical information. I dont know about summers in Crecent City, but I can tell you that the summers in the San Juans are wonderful. 


    —Reply posted by Justyna on 4/23/2018
    So relieves that you crossed safely! Hugs from Elsa and Klarie! They miss Cassie!!

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