We woke up early and Matt and I walked down to look at the Bar at Gold Beach. Fortunately it looked to be half of what is was the day prior. We watched the pattern of the breakers and tried to get the timing and sets down. It is difficult because the boat takes time to accelerate and the breakers were fairly short periods.
We returned to the boat at 7:00 AM with the high tide at 8:00 AM. Matt spent some time with Mark Lottis from Five Star Charters talking about where the shoals are in the channel and the best way to get out. He does the bar daily on his charters and had great local knowledge.
Armed with this knowledge we departed the marina at high tide and carefully felt our way out with the depth sounder. As we approached the back side of the sand bar the waves that appeared to be half of what they were yesterday seemed pretty daunting. Around the deep side of the sandbar we stopped and timed the sets waiting for a calm. We committed -- Barb at the stern lookout and Matt in the forward position to watch the depth and course and I at the helm. I cautiously moved forward and to the center where the breakers were smaller. The breaker height dropped dramatically once they entered the bar so we pressed on. The first breakers were mild and we moved on. A big set had just passed and we were looking good. We hit several breakers and were passing the entrance of the bar and were just out into the deeper water when a large set of waves were approaching. These had not yet become breakers but were close to it so I turned hard into them to avoid rolling Coda over and we told Barb to hang on this was going to be a tough one. The first hit Coda directly on the prow and the very tip of the breaker was just curling. It clipped over the anchor and the rest of the wave slammed into the bow with a crash. Everything on the bridge console lifted 12 inches and hovered above the console as we dropped off the back of the wave. Barb flew across the galley to grab the 6 bottles of booze that were wedged behind the television. She explained later that the bottle of pomplemouse hooked into the television cables and went crosswise which served as a block for the other bottles until here cross cabin flight was completed. We had only a few seconds until the second of the set hit and we repeated the process. Fortunately, as pressed to full throttle to get through them we only had one set to suffer through and we were deep enough for the waves to return to normal non-breaking shape and we settled out. We all took some time to reduce our heart rate and thank God we made it through. Then we got on to the process of picking up. I was so glad we decided not to cross that bar the prior day when the waves were twice as big. I have removed Gold beach from the list of safe refuge ports forever.
The rest of the trip was not as calm as before but tolerable. Once we were 5 miles out things calmed down to a nice ride.
We passed Whales and lots of sea lions along the route and it seemed like we were back on track with our grand adventure.
We passed St George strait and we came upon this very strange lighthouse. We did a bit of research and discovered that it is the most dangerous posting a lighthouse keeper could have with several people dying during their tour of duty there. At several points the glass windows at the top of the 150 foot structure were broken by waves during storms and left water pouring down the spiral staircase. The lighthouse is now privately owned by a historical society and it can be toured with a helicopter ride from the mainland.
This was a short cruise, just 6 hours and it was nice to enter a harbor with out a bar. We met Gary and Noelle and had a nice dinner at the Chart Room and came back to Coda to tell stories of the sea over Captain Steve Manhattans.
Matt is heading home for the weekend and will return on Sunday. Our plan, weather permitting, is to head to San Francisco Monday morning early. The weather is looking good for now. There are really no viable ports until SF so the weather must be good for the long haul.
Time: 6 h 46 m ( 07:32 to 14:18 ) Distance: 51.97 nm
Fuel: 24.56 Gallons Fuel Rate: 3.63 GPH Fuel Economy: 2.12 NM/G
Avg Speed: 8.01 kn Max Speed: 11.92 kn
Engine Runtime Start: 3027.50 Hours Runtime End: 3034.30 Hours Fuel: 24.56 Gallons Fuel Rate: 3.63 GPH Fuel Rate Max: 23.93 GPH Avg RPM: 1323.93 Max RPM: 2458.75 Avg Oil Pressure: 53.08 Low Oil Pressure: 31.91 Avg Temperature: 190.54 Max Temperature: 194.00