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September 2003

Betsey:  We don't have many photos of our trip past Washington and Oregon. We were too busy sailing. Even though I was terrified, the West Coast was pretty uneventful, at least until Cape Mendocino.  A lot of it looked like this.  But  waves are always a lot scarier than they look in photos. (at least they were for us then.  They might not be now)

George:  We left the northwest with no blue water experience. When we turned left at Tatoosh Island I felt we had prepped the boat well but no amount of talking, reading, or research can replace being out on blue water. Yes, I was scared;  we were on our own. The first night watch was endless and I was unable to relax for even a minute, but after that we started to get into the rhythm of sailing. While we didn't truly relax, we were a lot easier with being on the ocean.

Off the Oregon Coast
Luc reading Nine Guardians Luc: I had no idea what blue water sailing would be like.  It certainly was not what I expected. In the beginning  I was very nervous, but eventually I started to relax. After a while, life started to slow down and the days blended together.  It is easy to remember the rough parts, but mostly I really enjoyed it.
Betsey:  I was a lot more frightened than I thought I would be. I felt shame and guilt about my fear, but I was very afraid during this time.  I remember  at a certain point I thought we would have to go home, because I was so afraid.  Luc sat me down and said, "Mom, we're not going home.  We are already gone".  "Well, OK, then", I said.  I don't remember when it passed, but eventually I stopped being being SO afraid.  I'm still scared, but its more bearable now. Betsey at the helm, looking quite terrified
Sunrise off Cape Mendocino Betsey:  This photo is off Cape Mendocino, when it was calm enough to take a photo.  Looks pretty benign, yes?  But I was totally astonished at the size of the waves.  At a certain point, when I was beyond terrified, I looked back behind George, who was steering, and a huge wave reared up behind the stern.  I could see dolphins swimming in the water, which was at that point, above my head. The dolphins calmed me down a little.
George: Cape Mendocino was a real test for us. A mild breeze started to build early in the morning and continued to rise. Sometime around 4:30 AM an unplanned jibe destroyed the traveler car, making  control of the mainsail difficult. As the wind continued to build the backstay radar mount started wringing the backstay. Add rising swells to the mix and we felt we were truly in jeopardy. It turned into a long white-knuckle day with more than a few moments of doubt about what we were doing. It all worked out OK as we ended the day with a US Coast Guard guided entry over the bar into Noyo River. Navigating off the Northern Californa coast
Polenta with greens Betsey:  We started a tradition that we continued for the entire voyage:  we eat very very well.  This is Polenta with greens and sausage.  George and I both like to cook, and we always had fresh food on board, and wonderful meals.  Of course when seas were rough, it was top ramen or nothing.


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Last modified: April 27, 2010