Almost to Seattle!!!

Tonight we are going around the Olympic Peninsula and down into the Puget Sound. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been in the desert for the last 4 weeks, but it is pretty comforting to look out and see mountains with snow and, and ……..trees! Oh the beautiful trees! Funny the things you miss when you are away from home. Even funnier is that it makes me wonder what my true definition of “Paradise” really is. I’m not quite sure at this point, to be perfectly honest with you. Maybe there is no such place, maybe it’s two places. I don’t know. I’ll tell you when I figure it out, though.

The cruise up here for the last day has been flat and quick, hardly any rocking at all. Just a little bit for maybe a half hour or so just before sunset. It’s been great for the ride, and great for our time. We are looking good for getting in at 5 or maybe 6 am tomorrow, so we should have plenty of time to get everything done. We also got our first rain today, real rain. I enjoyed it, but mostly because I work in the Galley and not outside. Like I said, it’s the little things you miss, I’d guess.

I won’t write too much today, I’ve got to get to bed and be well rested for a busy day tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.

Oregon coast cruising

Today has been pretty uneventful. About the best thing that happened today is we got a thumbs up on the pre-CDC inspection that we were supposed to get in San Diego, but are destined to get in Seattle. Other than that, I cooked up some really good tacos for lunch today, about the best I’ve done so far. I learned from my little excursion in La Paz, that it’s not just the meat that goes in the taco, it’s toppings that make a good taco. I went all out today, beef, chicken and tofu for the meats, then shredded romaine, tomatoes, fresh salsa, avocados, cheese, sour cream, limes and jalepeno’s. It turned out real good, I was proud, so proud in fact that it brought a tear to my eye.

Anyways, we are looking good for getting into Seattle on time still, even though we are supposed to be hitting a bit of weather just before we go to turn into the Puget Sound and what not. After the smooth ride we have had so far (since getting back into the States) no one is really complaining. I just hope that we get there in a timely matter and that we can get through it without any troubles. Other than that, I’ve seen enough of Seattle lately, so I’m not really in a hurry to get off the boat and explore. I’m more ready to get going and start seeing some of the awesome scenery that is ahead of us.

Last night I went up for another navigation lesson on the bridge, it really was just a good chance to use some of my new found skills. I also got to see one heck of a moon rise over the horizon. The moon was all green and big, very beautiful and definitely mesmerizing, especially at 3 am. I love that I get to see these things, not many jobs give you this kind of thing. Of course we had a pretty good discussion about how the moon effects the waves and the tides, all so interesting, and very intriguing. Maybe I will do some more research and then write an article for my website. I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt anyways.

By the way we are about 2/3’s up the Oregon coast now. The weather is cloudy and the fog is thick, typical northwest weather. The wind is low, and that is what counts. I hope to see the boat cross into Washington tonight from the bridge, I don’t know why, but I like doing that for some reason.

Just passed Eureka, CA today

Last night I made my first contact from my ham radio off of the boat. We were passing by San Francisco and I got to open up the repeater on Mt Diablo for a little bit and have a chat with a couple of hams on their daily commute. It was interesting to hear them talk of how it was friday and how excited they were to have the weekend off. I couldn’t even explain what was going on with me, and why the weekend off didn’t really mean the same to me. All in all it was great to have a chat with people that are not in any way shape of form related to the boat, so I think I will have to try and hit a couple of more repeaters along the way. I’m sure that there will be places in Alaska that I will be able to talk as well. Good deal. I just need to remember how to program this radio I brought, it’s my oldest and least used of the lot.

We are cruising up the coast of Northern California now, the weather is about as nice as one could hope for. I’m really surprised that the conditions are as good as they are. I don’t think that I have ever seen the weather this nice two days in a row on the coast. Maybe it’s just that we are 15 miles or so off the coast, but it looks pretty nice on land as well, at least from my perspective. Pretty soon we should be up where the redwoods are right on the coast, so that will be pretty cool to see. I looked and looked for the Golden Gate yesterday, but never got to see it. Oh well.

I did get in another beautiful sunset, there is just something that makes them a sight to see every day when you are on a boat. I’m not sure what it is, maybe the water all around you, or the way the sun goes through the fog off in the distance, or maybe even just the fact that it signifies another day almost complete. I sure do love watching it. I also recognized some of the terrain off in the distance tonight as well, we were cruising right by Eureka, and I could pick out the snow covered Trinity Alps in the back ground. I’m sure that the terrain is covered with my favorite redwoods, but at 14 miles off the shore we are too far away to really see them, even with binoculars. It’s nice to know that they are there, and see some green terrain, and even refreshing to see snow, even though I’m going to be looking at plenty of it the next couple of weeks.

Tonight I go for another navigation lesson on the bridge, but I also have some questions about the zodiacs for my mentor as well. I hear that there is a certification that you can get for being a zodiac pilot, and I’d like to find out more about that. Either way there is lots to learn about on the bridge, so I’m looking forward to it.

Only three more days left of our cruise, I’m sad and happy as well. Sad because this has been a pretty kicked back atmosphere, and it’s been cool to watch the coast line go by as we traveled. On the other hand, I’m excited about seeing Alaska and having our “normal” routine start back up again. It will be nice to have chances to get off of the boat and explore a bit more often, like we did in Baja.

Navigation Lessons and Dahls Porpoises

Sorry for the delay, I ended up having a different kind of schedule the last couple of days. I’ll give you two journal entries today, then we will be back on track for a while……

4/24

We are on day two of our San Diego to Seattle leg now. It’s been a pretty good day in all, we passed by Catalina Island, then the islands of Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz later in the day. After that we went around the Point of Conception and the waves got real big. We did that about 5 pm and since then there have been several waves that have gone up and over the boat, and many more that have splashed the bridge deck pretty good. I would say that these waves have been in the 10 to 15 foot range from the information that I have gathered from the captain. It’s a sight to see, I’ll tell ya.

The crew is all beyond bored now. The hotel crew doesn’t have much to do but get sick and lay around, and everyone else is doing pretty much the same. I still haven’t even felt a little sick at all. I must have gotten my Grandpa’s sea legs or something, but for whatever reason, I am greatful. I may just have a future in boats, since I can hang with this. That makes me feel good.

I’m going back up to the bridge tonight for the midnight to 3am watch, and we have it all planned out that I am going to be getting some navigation lessons during that time. I know a little bit about maps and navigation, but nothing impressive and not enough to be good at it. I’ll give a report on what I learn tomorrow.

We will be up around Santa Cruz and then San Francisco tomorrow, I hope to get a good picture of the Golden Gate if we get close enough. That would be a good one for the old photo album. I’m probably going to break out the ham radio tomorrow as well, and see if I can open up the repeater on top of Mount Diablo. I’m pretty sure that I will be able to. It will be nice to chat with someone off the boat even if it is just for a minute.

4/25

I went up to the Bridge for my first lesson on navigation last night. It was very enlightening, simple but very informative. In case I didn’t explain, The second mate has a watch driving the boat between midnight and 3 am, so I offered to keep her company with the hopes that we could do a little trade. She would get some company on an otherwise boring and tiresome watch, and I would get some schooling on everything from how boats work, to navigation, to why living a sailors life is the best life. I’ve been up there twice so far,

First I got a lesson on what exactly Longitude and Latitude really are, and how we use them to find our position on the planet. Then once we got that all figured out, she explained how to take GPS coordinates and plot our position on a map. From there I asked how it was done before the GPS came along, and the answer is a device called a “sexton”, of which she explained as a way to locate yourself over time based on your position versus a star or the sun. I decided to take it on myself to get a little more info on this myself for future reference. After that she told me about waves, and how they move about the planet. It’s all so interesting, I could go on for a while about it, but I don’t really have room for it here.

After all that excitement I was headed down off the bridge and I got to see some of the coolest animals in the Sea, the Dahls Porpoises is the fastest predator known to man in the water. I got to see a couple of them right up along the side of the boat, then just as fast as they came up and were checking us out, they were gone. Such amazing and powerful creatures, I was buzzing for a 1/2 hour after that. Unfortunately no pictures or video of them, but I hear that we will see more once we get up to Alaska.

Other than those few things, life on the boat right now is pretty boring. Lot’s of cleaning, sleeping and reading. I’m still hoping to get in a little air time with the Ham radio in a bit here, I think we will be up around San Francisco around sunset today. I’ll let you know how that one goes.

Everyone’s sick!

Today has been a pretty rough day at sea. It’s interesting to see how everyone is handling it. Pretty much all of the stewards, and the purser are so sick that they can’t even think. One of the deck hands isn’t faring all to well either, but the other three are seemingly doing pretty well. As the trip progresses the waves are going to get bigger and bigger, so I’m sure that the condition of the group will worsen as well. I’m still holding up real good, I just try and keep busy, keep my mind occupied and it’s working pretty good for me. Sitting and doing nothing only makes it worse.

I have plans to try and spend a little time on the bridge this trip, the second mate said that it would be cool to hang with her and keep her company while she drives. It’s a pretty rough ride up there, so I’ll probably just try and find a good time where I won’t be too much trouble, then hang out for as long as I can. I’m sure that someone to shoot the breeze with for a while is never too bad of a thing, especially early in the morning when it’s usually a time when you would be sleeping.

The captain did an ETA for San Diego based on our current efforts and we are moving a bit slower than we had hoped. It looks like we are going to end up being about a 1/2 day behind schedule. Kind of a bummer, but that might mean we will get a little bit of free time to go trip around the port, so I’m not really hearing much complaints. I would imagine most of the people on this boat are going to be kissing solid ground when we get there, so I’m sure it will be a sight.

All is good in the Galley, we are getting things cleaned up nicely and we are using our stores quite well. Since we are on schedule and the boat is behind schedule we are looking very good. I steam cleaned the ovens last night and the hard to reach spots in the Galley tonight, so there isn’t a whole lot left to do. All we really have left is cleaning the main refrigerator, and getting things buttoned up. No big deal. Our Galley team is on top of things, thank God! The Stewards are going to be cramming the last couple of days to get caught up, I hope that it works out for them.

First full day at sea….no land in sight!

Today has been our first full day at sea on our voyage to Alaska. It’s been a little rough, but really nothing all too bad. Mostly just the bow of the boat bobbing up and down the whole time. Like I said before, this is far better than side to side or even worse is both. The weather forecast is still the same as yesterday, so it looks like the next couple of days will be a bit rougher. Not too big a deal, I’ve been just finding as many things to do to keep myself busy as possible, so that way my mind stays off of the motion. I noticed that the ones who are not handling things well are the ones that aren’t really doing anything. My logic makes sense to me, anyways.

I am officially as far north on the Baja peninsula now as I have been so far, we passed Magdalena Bay at about 4 pm today. I’ve been learning about the boat quite a bit lately, it’s been pretty cool. The boat is traveling at about 10 nautical mph, and from what I understand there are 1.3 miles in a nautical mile, so we are traveling at about 13 mph in Lehman’s terms. That’s why it takes 12 days to go from La Paz to Seattle. I couldn’t even imagine driving a car that slow for that distance, but luckily in a boat it’s plenty fast considering the road is a little bumpy so to speak. We are pretty much headed in a straight line up the coast so there are times when we actually can’t see land at all, this is kind of strange for me, it’s the first time really. It’s an interesting feeling for your mind, to not see land anywhere on any horizon. Very interesting indeed.

If you didn’t notice, I change a couple things on the site yesterday, most noticeably the colors on the blog. It’s a bit easier to read this way so I hope it’s better for you. Most of my plans to better the website have been put back by crappy internet connections, so I will just continue to hoard my thoughts till a later date when I can make them known to all. It’s frustrating, but what do you do?

Most of my free time now is spent day dreaming of the places that I want to go next. Putting me on a boat in the ocean with a bunch of books that are all geared towards travel has shown me much good information, as well as given me plenty of time to go over it. That Siberian Railway trip is sure looking mighty fine now, I want to see Lake Baikal within my lifetime. It’s right up there with Machu Picchu, and I’m going to make it happen. That and overlanding in Africa, the Kalahari, those are the three that I have my sights set on.

….And we’re off!!

Our repositioning has officially begun. We left La Paz, BCS at noon PST and have been underway ever since. We should be rounding the other side of the peninsula in the early hours of the morning into the Pacific Ocean. From what the Captain has seen of the weather reports so far, the weather should hold out until we get up to San Diego, but what we thought might happen looks to be the case. The long term weather is looking like it’s going to be a rough ride for us from San Diego up to Seattle. Let’s hope that weather forecasters are wrong as usual and we have a good trip. I sure hope that they aren’t right this time.

Great fully I got to spend some time on the phone this morning. I got to talk to Sonya quite a bit and Mia for a few minutes. I also called my best friend Tim to let him know that I was alive and well. We are going to plan a trip over the Rubicon Trail for when I get back home, I am way excited about it. Other than making those plans it was just a good round of phone calls all around, everyone is holding up well. Mia is cute as usual and missing her daddy. I ordered her a late birthday present the other day, I hope it’s not too advanced, but I got her this really cool MP3 player that has a karaoke thing going and also can be hooked up to a TV. I’m not too sure how it works, but I’m sure that she will figure it out. They have the coolest things for kids now.

Sonya is doing good, not showing too many signs of pregnancy yet, but I’m sure that will change soon. She has been complaining about the drive into town quite a lot, because apparently the price of gas is pushing $4 a gallon now! Holy moly am I glad that I don’t have to drive 40 miles a day anymore. One more benefit to working on the boat! Anyways, we are going to have to find another place pretty soon so she can be closer to town and all of the things that she needs. I guess when I get back we will try and arrange something, but I have no idea what.

I’ve been going through the flyer that the company puts out about all of the trips they do and it is amazing. I’m not sure if I mentioned it or not, but I get one free trip every six months I work for them, so I hope to capitalize on that. The couple that stand out are a train tour on the Siberian Railway, a south America tour that includes 7 days cruising the Galapagos Islands then heads over to Peru to take a trip up the Inca Trail, and then of course Antarctica. I’m not quite sure how I’ll swing it, but I’d like to hit as many as I can while I can. It’s an outstanding opportunity, good thing I plan to be with this company for a while.

Last day of our baja tour

Today was the last day of our last trip in Baja. It’s been a good one, we have seen so much down here it has left a permanent scar. The good kind of scar of course. I know that Alaska is going to be amazing, but I’m not sure if it will be better or not. It’s been my dream to go to Alaska for much of my adult life, it seems unreal that I am finally going to realize my dreams. It’s amazing that a small town boy with a dream of seeing far away places and not fitting into a mold can do this type of thing. I’m so in love with the travel lifestyle I won’t ever stop, I know this in my heart. Not only do I want to see the world, but I want to be so affluent in it that I can take my family and friends to any place and show them all the most amazing things. I know that this is a dream that is attainable, so here we go….

After my next rotation there is a group that is heading to La Paz, Bolivia for a special training session for expedition staff, and I am going to actively try and get on board. Not only do I think that it would be an amazing chance to see a part of the world that is very beautiful, but the training would be invaluable. It’s basicly all about being a guide, everything from safety to how to show people a good time without being to in the way. I’ll keep you posted on what I find out about it as info comes in.

I’m going to try and spend a little time on the front page of my website the next couple of days and see if I can’t spruce it up a bit. I’ve been getting a ton of visitors, so it would be nice to have something a little better anyways. The internet is just so expensive out here, it’s hard to do very much. It’s also so slow that doing anything too advanced is probably just not going to happen. I have some good ideas for when I get back home, though.

I can’t wait to talk on the phone tomorrow and see how everyone is doing back home. I believe that all is well, but it will be nice to hear it from them for sure. It’s always nice to check in anyways. To all that I don’t get to talk to, I miss you and can’t wait to be back home to see you all again.

Getting ready for the big trip

The seas have been pretty rough today, but fortunately we are headed with the winds so the boat isn’t rocking all too much. It’s when the waves are hitting the side of the boat that you get rocking that is hard to deal with. I witnessed an amazing sunset tonight, the waves crashing all around made a haze come up off of the water that turned the sunlight going over the horizon an awesome array of colors. I am truly spoiled now by the sunrises and sunsets that I get to see every day.

We’ve been getting ready for the trip up to Alaska, and it’s been interesting. The biggest problem is that we can’t bring any food that we bought in Mexico back into the US with us. There is a customs check in San Diego and we pretty much have to have no food on board when we get there. What the plan is at this point, and I know it sounds crazy, but we will order a little bit to get us through till we get up there, then what ever is left over when we get to Tijauna we will pitch off the boat while we are at sea. I won’t even really get into how much food we throw away every day, it’s enough that I almost got sick when I first saw it. The sad thing is that there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. The nature of the beast. Anyways so we are trying to get everything all lined out food wise for the trip right now. We plan to not only have no food, but we also plan to have everything so clean that the CDC will not even think about doing a full on inspection. It shouldn’t be too rough. We are going to be cooking some crazy huge and good meals for the crew on the trip up there. Then once we get through all those fun little inspections, we will get in a huge order of food and be on our way again. The best part is that we are only allowed something silly like 4 hours in port at San Diego to do all of this. It should be pretty interesting.

I finished all of my initial training today. I had no idea that I would need to know so much, but it really is a good thing. If you think about it, it really does make sense, there is only so many people on the boat so everyone has a job. If for some reason someone can’t do their job then someone else has to do two jobs. It’s actually great to learn about fire fighting, CPR and rescue issues on the boat, I am happy to be a part of anything that will help out. I will also have to do some more training when I get home, and keep up with it as well. I’m glad.

If I have time in La Paz on Saturday I will get over to the internet cafe and try to post up some of the amazing pictures that I have. No promises, but there are some amazing ones. I’m not positive that I will have time, but I hope so.

My first "normal" day.

Today has been about as average of a day as I have had since I got here. There is really not all that much going on right now that is really different, we spent the day at Isla San Marcos, the bird sanctuary that we were at last week, and while the birds were interesting, they weren’t really interesting enough for me to go out of the way for a return visit. That coupled with the fact that in just a couple of days we will be headed over some rough seas on our way up to Alaska. The Captain gave a pretty good description of the conditions on the way up there, so in essence we are going to get pummeled for most of the trip. From the description that he gave we are to expect to see 15 foot swells on average for most of the journey. From what I understand there will most likely not be anyone on the boat who at least isn’t going to feel a bit under the weather, of course some will handle it better than other. I have decided to ingest as much ginger as possible between now and when we arrive in Juneau so that I can have everything going for me possible.

I do hope to get off of the boat at least one more time, since this will be the last time I’ll be in Baja for a while, anyways. We have two more full days here and as always they will be amazing, so with any luck it will happen. I’m starting to get more and more in tune with the food and the galley, so finding time is getting easier. I’m sure that by the time we get up to Alaska I will have the whole thing down enough to really get to see the part of the US that I have been longing to see for so long now. I plan to do a little research in the next couple of days to see what the weather has been like up there so I have an idea. It’s God’s country, I’m sure.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about what we are doing to get ready for our big trip north and I’ll also talk a bit about what some of my plans are for when I get home in June.