Saturday, August 20, 2011

California Here We Come!

 Eureka! Yes, Eureka, California, our first landfall over the California border. At the pubic dock we met a delightful young family, Mom, Molly, and Dad and their 6 children, four girls 2 boys, and one a baby, all under 8 years old, on an old sloop with no running water! We are constantly amazed at the folks you meet along the way. They had sold all their belongings and were headed north with no specific plan or timeline.Wow!  With the chance of the weather deteriorating, we studied the forecast and decided to make an overnight passage to Fort Bragg across the formidable Cape Mendocino. As we cautiously crossed the bar next morning on our way out to sea, we knew we were in for a ride!  A rather ominous, milky orange moon hung low on the horizon  as dusk set and the wind and waves began to mount. By the time we started our watches about 9pm, the winds were moaning at 20knots and 9ft. waves were towering over us in our now seemingly tiny boat, being tossed about like matchsticks! We hunkered down for a long, dark night ahead. As the morning dawned, cold and foggy, 19hrs later, we dragged ourselves over the bar into the tiny village of Noyo River Harbour,  and Fort Bragg.
       With no slips left at the dock we tied up to a private dock beside a little seaside restaurant, Corine`s where we were welcomed by fellow sailors Michael and Brenda next door on Ruby Jean in their Haida 26.  The brothers at Corine`s, Anthony and Dominic have run the restaurant since the family emigrated to the USA 60 years ago from Italy. Dominic loaded us into his pickup truck and chauffered us into town. I christened him `The Mayor of Fort Bragg``, when ho told us of all the family holding they had accumulated in town since father Carine arrive in the 40`s and shined shoes for 10 cents each, giving the money to Mama Carine, which she squirrelled away and later invested in realestate. America, land of opportunity! Later he showed us his polka dot painted toe nails, compliments of  his wife the esthetician. Tomorrow we will reluctantly leave this charming spot and prepare for our longest day yet, 15 hours to Bodego Bay.

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