Aug 13 – The Last Day

Our last day of the voyage home saw VALIS sailing at good speed under patchy clouds and fresh winds. The evening of Aug 12 was cool, and as the sun set, we sailed through a patch of phosphorescent water. This wasn’t the individual pea-sized glowing creatures that we typically see, but instead the water itself seemed to glow with a bright blue-green
intensity. The whitecaps around the boat were visible to the horizon, and could be easily mistaken for a well-lit ship. When VALIS surged through the swells, the foam and spray created a light strong enough to read by. This persisted for several hours, and then was gone. In its place were again the thousands of individual pinpoint flashes.

While this was happening at sea-level, above we were treated to the fireworks of the Perseid meteor shower. While not as intense as in some previous years, there were still many bright ones, with long sparkling trails. One memorable meteor was aiming directly at VALIS – it looked just like an exploding star.

After a couple of hours the moon began to rise, and the brightening sky washed out all but the largest meteors. We had been expecting to see the Point Reyes lighthouse before sunrise, but the bright moon and the increasing haze in the sky kept us from seeing this landmark.

As the sun rose, the wind dropped. We had intended to sail to the west of the North Farallon Islands (because we had never done it before), but the light wind persuaded us to aim directly for the Golden Gate Bridge instead. While we sailed between the North Farallons and Bolinas Point, we passed some gray whales.

We were also visited by a trio of small birds who were looking for a free ride. They perched on the dodger for about an hour, and then took off once we got closer to the North Farallons.

About this time the wind dropped even more, so we began to motor-sail. The seas had flattened dramatically, and while we were enjoying the calm conditions, we didn’t want to keep our welcoming party waiting for too long. As we approached the channel into the San Francisco Bay, we saw several large ships. Particularly interesting was a tugboat, heading
out to sea with two identical old ships in tow.

We soon sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge, into a very busy bay. Dodging and weaving through the other boats in the suddenly strong winds, we sailed into Richardson Bay and dropped our sails. We then motored into the marina and tied up in our slip, welcomed by our families and friends. It was good to be home, and we were grateful for a wonderful voyage.

Here are some statistics from the voyage home:

Date – Time Distance Average Speed
PDT Nautical Miles Knots
7/25/06 17:00 0
7/26/06 00:00 38.9 5.56
7/27/06 00:00 144.3 6.01
7/28/06 00:00 136.8 5.70
7/29/06 00:00 147.3 6.14
7/30/06 00:00 125.3 5.22
7/31/06 00:00 122.3 5.10
8/01/06 00:00 122.2 5.09
8/02/06 00:00 120.1 5.00
8/03/06 00:00 151.2 6.30
8/04/06 00:00 145.9 6.08
8/05/06 00:00 131.9 5.50
8/06/06 00:00 134.3 5.60
8/07/06 00:00 154.0 6.42
8/08/06 00:00 138.2 5.76
8/09/06 00:00 147.2 6.13
8/10/06 00:00 158.8 6.62
8/11/06 00:00 158.4 6.60
8/12/06 00:00 167.3 6.97
8/13/06 00:00 188.4 7.85
8/13/06 15:30 101.3 6.54

Total Total Average
Hours Distance Speed
454.50 2734.1 6.02

(454.5 Hours is 18 days, 22-1/2 hours)

The maximum wind speed recorded was 34 knots. As this was only sampled
once every ten minutes, the gusts probably exceeded this.

Stay tuned for more photos and useless technical trivia!


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