Almost Home!

Saturday, August 14, 3:30 PM. Position: 38-01N, 124-03W Speed: 6 kts. Course: 090 magnetic Motoring, 2000 RPM.
Other than a pleasant four-hour interval of sailing this morning, we have been motoring. Our fuel supply is good, and we are nearing the Golden Gate. We should arrive in Sausalito by 7:00AM Sunday (give or take).
We are still too far out to see land (we are about 50 miles due west of Point Reyes), but we are seeing lots of ships. The sky is overcast, but visibility near the water is good and we can see out to the horizon. Our AIS system tells us when a large ship is approaching, but we still need to scan regularly for smaller vessels. We’ve only seen the big ships though. One, a U.S. Navy vessel, is warning everyone to keep clear of their live-firing operation, and fortunately we are many miles from the danger zone.
Yesterday we had a pod of dolphins swim by and play in our bow wave. There were perhaps six of them, and they really seemed to enjoy cutting back and forth across our bow, and jumping into the air. They stayed with us for about ten or fifteen minutes.
Today we saw a seal (or sea lion), just a few feet from VALIS as we sailed past. The creature was lying on its back, flippers held up to the overcast sun. Later Rich and Dick spotted a small shark’s fin.
While we were sailing this morning, Paul and Carl decided to check the engine’s oil level (good), and fuel filter (some sludge in the filter’s sediment bowl). OK, let’s change the filter so the engine doesn’t quit when we really need it! What could possibly go wrong? Air in the fuel lines, that what could go wrong. And it did. After replacing the filter, the engine ran for a few seconds, then sputtered and died. It took us over an hour to bleed the air out of the fuel injection system, and at times we seemed to be hopelessly befuddled. Finally, we got the fuel running air-free through the apparatus, and the engine began to purr contentedly. Which was a good thiing as the wind had dropped to practically nothing.
We’ve been motoring since then, and will probably be motoring all the way to Sausalito.
Tonight we will be watching for the Point Reyes lighthouse, then the light on South Farallon Island. We will be passing east of the Farallones, and are planning to enter the Golden Gate shipping lane just outside the shallow fourfathom bank. The current should be favorable for our passage down the channel and under the bridge. The seas are very calm, and it should be a smooth ride.
This will be our last blog entry from VALIS, but I plan to post photos in the coming weeks, so do check back.
Than you for following our voyage, Paul / VALIS

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