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Monday, July 19, 2010

7/14/2010 - It begins

(note: this was written on the 15th so there might be a few mismatched tenses. Try not to be confused)

Okay, we're headed the wrong way but at least we're out on the water and waiting for our weather window to head the right direction.

After paying our bill, which was just about what we expected it to be ($858 in case you're keeping score), we left the boatyard at about 3:45 PM. As planned, we headed upriver to an anchorage that a fellow Westsailor had told us about a couple years ago. So tonight we're anchored in Blind Slough on the Yaquina River at 44°34.44'N x 123°57.88'W. See if you can find us on Google Earth. We're anchored in about 13' of water (at the present tide state anyway) with about 60' of scope using our new Rocna anchor. The first spot we chose ended up being a wee bit close to the channel so we moved further away albeit into slightly shallower water. The Rocna grabbed into the mud bottom and held fast. Later in the evening when the current from the ebbing tide combined with the Yaquina River's regular current was really whipping along, it was quite clear that the anchor was holding us nice and tight.

The anchoring went smooth as silk. This is thanks in part to these:

If you're a boater you already know that anchoring can be very stressful. Not as bad as docking, but still. The main stress comes from the fact that one person is on the foredeck deploying the anchor while the other person is about as far away as he/she can get on the boat, back in the cockpit running the engine. Typically, the anchorer tells the helmsman what to do: where to go to drop the anchor, when to let the boat drift to a stop, when to back down on the anchor, how much power to give, which direction to back up, when to cut the engine, etc. The big problem is that the anchorer is usually facing forward because that's where his focus is. The helmsman is trying to hear him over the sound of the engine. The fact that he's not facing her when he talks just makes it harder to hear. So, he raises his voice. This can be interpreted as irritation which puts the helmsman on edge which puts the anchorer on edge, etc. This is bad enough on a 28' boat. IMagine if we were working on a 43' boat! Enter these little 2-way headsets. Yesterday was the first time we've tried them out and they worked great. The mic is voice-activated so there are no buttons to push. Just talk in a normal tone of voice. Everything proceeds nice and calm. Sure, we might look a little dorky:

But we'd look a lot dorkier in a yelling match.

Although Steve Webster, the owner of Riverbend Boat Yard, makes staying there pretty easy (provides us with a key to the locked-after-hours restrooms), clean, hot, free showers, shore power included in the price, etc), life on board in the yard is still less than ideal. For one thing, we can't use our sinks. They normally drain overboard. Well, since we're not in the water, we'd just be running our dirty dishwater across our nice new bottom paint to puddle up under the boat. So, we tended to do no-cook, minimal clean-up meals: granola in paper bowls for breakfast, sandwiches on paper plates for lunch or dinner, maybe some chips and salsa, again in a paper bowl. And, while this was all good, we were still longing for something cooked. So, now that we're back to normal, Lulu asked what I wanted for dinner. Took me about 1 second to decide on pizza. So, awhile later we sat in the cockpit eating fresh, hot pizza and enjoying the solitude that comes with anchoring.

So, we're back on our own little island. We're composting our poop and making our own electricity from solar power:

About a jillion stars out tonight. We're livin' the dream.

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