French Polynesia long stay visa


French Polynesia civil flag.  I’m not yet certain if I’m supposed to fly the French national flag or the French Polynesia civil flag as the courtesy flag.  Things to find out…

Part of next year’s cruising plan is to spend time in French Polynesia; most travelers will arrive by air, be in the islands for some weeks, then fly home.  It’s a bit different for slow-moving Beetles that take 3 weeks just to get there.  If I simply appear out of the blue I can obtain a 90 day visa, which is kinda short (but not a show-stopper) at Beetle-speeds.  France has a long-stay visa, which essentially allows one to be in the country (in this case French Polynesia) for up to a year.  You can’t apply for a long-stay visa upon arrival, instead the preparation must be done in advance.  So I’ve been preparing.


The French national flag and civil ensign.  French Polynesia is an ‘overseas collectivity’ of France, somewhat similar to Guam being a US ‘organized territory’.

The paperwork isn’t all that involved, though it is specific: select the French Consulate that serves the area in which you live that also handles long-stay visa  (in my case, the French Consulate in San Francisco covers Washington state), and collect the paperwork:

a passport.  I got a new one from the State Department as mine would have expired before the end of the year in French Polynesia, which is a no-no.

obtain a letter of good conduct from the local police department.  Sheriff Ron Krebs wrote one for me, the letter arrived here in California a week later.

obtain a letter from my health insurance company stating I have health insurance while in French Polynesia. This letter arrived in five minutes – they must write a lot of those.

write a letter that I will not engage in any paid activity while in French Polynesia.  Oddly enough it doesn’t say that one cannot work,  but rather that you can’t be paid.

bank account statements demonstrating sufficient funds to not starve whilst in-country.

receipts demonstrating that I have made living arrangements; this was something of a stumper to me as I will be staying on my boat and don’t need reservations to do so.  I read about this on another person’s log of their experiences and they presented the boat’s US Coast Guard documentation to demonstrate that they in fact had a boat – so I did the same for Beetle.

plus fill out several copies of the visa application form, get passport photos (the local FedEx shop prepared the photos for me), and make lots of copies of everything.

The kicker is that all this needs to be translated into French, of which I know essentially none.  Luckily I discovered that not only does friend Brigette know French, she is French.  Brigitte spent an evening translating my letters into the desired language and sent them back to me, and I now have an assembled packet a 1/4″ thick to deliver to the French Consulate in San Francisco.  At which time the Consulate will send everything on to Tahiti for approval (I hope they will approve this).

Apparently the Consulate used to be first-come first-served for visas and therefore had something of a reputation for being a zoo in the visa section.  However, turns out that today one makes an appointment for a specific date/time (Tuesday morning, in my case) to appear and present the application – so no long lines anywhere in sight.


The buses are clean, quick, and the drivers are super nice as regards answering the usual question of, “Does this bus go to where I need to get to?”

Tuesday morning I headed out with my backpack full of papers.  First stop – catch the bus to Oakland’s BART station, ride the BART train under the bay to San Francisco, and find the French Consulate.  For $5 you  can get an all-day bus pass, which is much more fun than constantly stuffing $1 bills into the ticket dispensing machine that’s on board next to the driver.

BART is the local metro light rail transport system for the Bay Area, and runs on tracks above ground, through tracks in tunnels below ground, and even in a tube/tunnel drilled under the bay between Oakland and San Francisco.


Here comes the BART train in an underground station.  The yellow rubber strip is where you’re not supposed to be when the train comes in, and green mat with the foot marks indicates where to stand so you’re in front of the doors when they open.

The train makes a ‘boop boop’ noise with its horn when entering the station, and the train pushes a lot of air ahead of it when running through a tunnel – hold on to your hat when a train comes zooming in.


The trains can have at least 10 cars hooked together, and still look to be in good shape after 44 years of running, thought I do not know if these might be the original cars.


There are maps on the wall inside the train telling you the name of the various stops.  I’m going to Montgomery in San Francisco.



A fair bit of seating inside, plus grab rails overhead.

And then the train goes Boop Boop and I was at the Montgomery Station, on one of the main drags in San Francisco, Market Street.  The French Consulate is somewhere in a building up the block, so I went there to make sure I had the correct place and find out where in the building they are.


Somewhere in here is the French Consulate – you’re job: Find It!  (hint – try the 6th floor on the left…)

It was a short wait at the Consulate, there were only two people waiting for help (myself and one other person), and then it was 15 minutes with a most pleasant fellow on the other side of the bullet-proof glass as we went through my paperwork together.  He also decided that my US passport was in error, as the passport said my name was ‘MACF ARLANE’ and he felt it should be ‘MAC FARLANE’.  I suppose if you squint hard enough there is a bit of space between the ‘F’ and ‘A’ on the passport, but you also need a pretty good imagination to see this.  So he corrected my name, printed out my visa payment receipt ($110), and that’s when I realized he was talking about the letter spacing and it dawned on me that this would screw everything up if the names didn’t match up… so I handed over my Washington driver’s license and that’s when he realized my last name in fact had NO spaces…  At least I’m back to my original name, at least as far as the French are concerned.

And then I was back on the street, back to the boat, experiencing BART and buses again (only in reverse this time).  The packet that was reviewed and assembled by the French Consulate in San Francisco is now sent on to Tahiti, for review there.  The Consulate notes that the process will take 1 to 3 months.  In the meantime I have back my passport (they would prefer to send the original passport to Tahiti, but I pointed out I needed it with me).  Hopefully the Tahiti folks will think it is a fine idea to have Tiger Beetle in their country for a year!

– rob/Beetle



Fleet Week and Baseball

Fleet Week was held last week here in San Francisco Bay, a military parade of ships that later dock and are open to visit, and the air show follows on Friday, with the planes flying again Saturday and Sunday. In the past Beetle has usually been out on one race or another, and therefore I don’t usually get to ever see the air show in its entirety. This time I did not need to be at work on Friday, plus Kristen was available so we took the boat out to see the event.

The parade wasn’t particularly awe-inspiring in that it consisted for three ships: an American amphibious transport dock (USS San Diego), an American guided missile cruiser (USS Mobile Bay), and the USCG cutter Mellon. The Canadians were here too, though I must admit I did not see their ship – the HMCS Calgary; perhaps the Canadians were already in port having a great time before Beetle made it out to the bay.


One half of the Blue Angel sneak pass pilots, banked way over on his side, making a tight turn above the boats – this is on crackling afterburner and really loud when you’re under them – you can smell the jet fuel as they go by.

The air show was very impressive. The planes fly low directly in front of the Golden Gate Yacht Club (and the San Francisco city front), over a ‘box’ in the bay that is devoid of traffic. The folks like us that went out to watch the show are kept at bay by a fence of law enforcement vessels of all shapes and sizes, most running flashing blue or amber lighting, that are stationed around the box perimeter every couple of hundred feet. Given that this was a Friday, the bay was relatively empty – perhaps 5-600 boats? were out, which is a huge improvement over the Saturday/Sunday fly-overs when it can literally look as though a gigantic marina has appeared overnight out in the middle of the bay.

So we hung out on the perimeter, a bit west of Alcatraz Island, under toasty warm sun, little breeze, and a mild flood. Then the show started:


Brand new USCG long range patrol plane, complete with the helicopter for picking folks up from the water.

The US Navy parachute team did its thing from a big slow airplane, with a half-dozen or so people jumping out of the plane and landing on the city front. The USCG appeared with a C27-J surveillance/search and rescue aircraft and two rescue helicopters flying alongside at the wing tips – they did what I think was a man-in-the-water recovery directly in front of the shore, which was on the far side of the ‘box’ from us, so I didn’t see all that much as people are pretty small from that far away.

And then there were two amazing planes that flew: the RCAF Team (Royal Canadian Air Force) and a US F22 Raptor.


The Royal Canadian Air Force was present at Fleet Week, here he is, zooming along above the Golden Gate Bridge.

It was funny to read about the RCAF Team; this seems to consist of a single plane flown by an amazing pilot and he put on the best aerial performance of the day, all by himself! He had that plane (a CF-18 Hornet, sort of the same aircraft the Blue Angles fly) zooming all around the place at low altitude and super noisy. I also suspect we may have seen the entire Canadian Air Force, if he (Captain Ryan Kean) is the RCAF team. I can imagine a phone call to the RCAF – “Is the air force ready to launch?” “Not today, as he’s on vacation and won’t return until Tuesday. But we’ll get the plane fueled up and ready to go for when he gets back.” So I think I saw a lot of the Canadian Air Force – most impressive.


Two of these planes are doing something different…

And then the F22 Raptor performed a single aircraft demonstration of capabilities. The plane is loud loud LOUD what with two engines running on afterburner. Kristen and I put on the ear-muffs, that’s how loud it was. The plane also reminds me a lot of a Common Murre attempting to fly, what with it’s little feets sticking out flat behind them – that’s what the twin horizontal tail/stabilizers remind me of. And we could easily see the flame from the afterburners when the plane was climbing and turning and doing all sorts of fighter jet things.


Neat to see the range of fighter planes, from World War II to the present day – in one fly by.

The neatest part about the Raptor demonstration was when the plane flew out beyond the Golden Gate Bridge and banked left, at which point a small black streak zoomed up and hooked up with the dark grey military jet. The streak turned out to be a P-51 Mustang, which took up position in what appeared to be immediately below the bigger jet and the two of them did a fly-by in formation over the boats, and then separated. I had no idea a P-51 could fly that fast (at 380 knots) or that the Raptor (a Mach 2.2 aircraft) could fly that slowly. Very cool to see.


The F-22 does look like a bird flying with feets splayed back…


The Blue Angels flying impossibly close together.  While you’re watching these four, the other two are off setting up for a sneak pass and go roaring by overhead when you’re not ready…

The Blue Angels were out and doing their diamond formations and sneak passes and having all sorts of fun, the French fliers in the Breitling Team were there, and then it was all over. Almost. The Blue Angels flew away, and that’s usually a signal the air show is over. Boats turned around and headed for home, and I approached on the perimeter enforcement boats and asked if it would be OK to cross the box and he said, “No! – real soon now, but not yet.” That’s weird, I thought, the show’s over, but OK, it’s not 4PM yet so the box must still be in place. We motored along slowly, and then suddenly a gigantic United Airlines Boeing 747 cruised in over the Golden Gate Bridge, dropped down to the water, and flew through the box – no wonder we weren’t allowed in there! After all the noise and afterburners from the military jets the 747 seemed essentially silent. That is one huge plane to see flying along down low across the bay.

So that was Beetle’s air show – mucho fun!


The stadium all lit up at night is an impressive sight.  Even more impressive is the noise the crowd makes when things happen!

And then there’s baseball. The Cubs have not won a World Series in 107 years… and they are in the running to see if they can finally pull off a win and break a most dubious streak. And this week they have been playing against the San Francisco Giants, two games at Chicago’s Wrigley Field (which the Cubs won), followed by two games at San Francisco’s AT&T Park. So of course we gotta go and urge on the Cubs to do well. The neat part about AT&T (formerly Pacbell) Park is that it is built right next to the bay just south of the Bay Bridge – there’s a small cove now deemed ‘McCovey Cove’ that’s a bit shallow for Beetle, but one can anchor out a bit and listen to the game on the radio and when something big happens the deafening roar of the crowd in the park a 1/4 mile away drowns out the radio entirely.


By late night it was chilly out there.  And we were sprayed down the SF Fire Boat that came in for a display just before game time; Beetle was completely drenched…

The game started at 6:30pm, we lasted until the end of the 9th inning which was in a tie, and by the time the 10th inning started we were anchor up and headed back to Alameda – only to find that the Cubs lost to the Giants at 11:30pm in the 13th inning. (On a positive note, the Cubs beat the Giants the next day – so the Cubs continue towards a World Series appearance!).

– rob

Alameda activites

It’s been a busy three weeks since arriving in Alameda, several significant projects have been completed.

First project done was to re-bed the big foredeck hatch; this is the hatch that is used to send sails up and down, and it’s an aluminum/magnesium alloy frame built by Bomar.  The hatch is incredibly expensive, therefore one wants to be really careful when extracting it from the deck as you absolutely do not want to bend it.


The foredeck hatch is 31″ x 31″ with four dogs to hold it closed. This is a wet part of the boat, so having a hatch that seals to the deck is useful if you don’t want a saltwater rainshower belowdecks.

I expected there to be a big long drawn out delicate fight with the adhesive/sealant bedding the hatch to the deck… yet when I pulled out the 20 bolts, the hatch simply lifted up with no pressure at all.  Turns out the old sealant had simply dried up and died, leaving behind nothing to keep the water out.  That was easy!  A couple of tubes of 3M 4200, an hour or two of cleanup using stainless steel dremel wire wheel brushes, and some sanding of the deck to clean off the area the hatch flange sets onto, and everything was back down and in place.  Nice to have a project go well.


The polyurethane adhesive/sealant formed a nice even bond between the hatch flange and the deck.  Lots of tape was used to minimize cleanup of the sealant after it had cured.


The sail locker is directly below the hatch, and being large it’s relatively easy to send sails down through the hole.

Next up are the fuel tanks and Racor filters.  Diesel is an oil and when it gets loose in the boat it tends to behave like an oil – it stains, it sticks, is stinky, and is difficult to get out of wood and cloth.  To that end monkeying around with the fuel system means that first you have to move everything well away from the fuel and surroundings, which in my case means rolling up the aft bunk foam cushion, removing all bedding, and clearing everything out that is adjacent to the aft day tank.


Racor filter setup at the beginning of the clean out.  Transfer filter is on the right, ganged filters on the left, with the fuel transfer pump in the middle.  The valve to the lower left selects port or starboard reservoir tank to pull  fuel from.


Lots of sediment in the filter bowl.  Not so good, but it does means the filter is doing its job – I do not want that sediment to get into the motor.

There are three fuel tanks on board, two large reservoir tanks that are filled via deck fittings (this is where the fuel dock diesel goes in), and that fuel is pumped aft through a 30 micron filter into the day tank located slightly above the engine (gravity will carry fuel to the motor if the electric fuel pump dies).  From the day tank fuel runs through a ganged pair of Racor  500FG filter housings, each with a 2 micron filter that is also supposed to not pass water into the engine (though I hear anecdotally that water can get through).

Out came the Racors, bowls were cleaned, fuel lines blown out with air, the day tank was emptied of diesel (fuel went into the jerry jugs Beetle carries), and finally I can see what might be in the fuel tank – which isn’t much, a variety of small brown dried diesel gunk.  No water, that was good.  My guess is that some of those flakes got wedged in the tank’s fuel line ball valve and that was the problem I experienced coming down the coast from Newport.


It’s a tight squeeze to get at the inspection port on top of the aluminum day tank.


Trying to keep the diesel under control with fuel lines opened up is not easy.

I read up on the Racor filters, and re-routed the fuel lines to have the Reverso fuel transfer pump pull through the 30 micron Racor into the day tank, and when I went to take apart that filter housing realized that it was the 40 year old design 500FE.  Off to Svendsen’s to purchase the 500FG housing, and swapped from a 30 micron filter to the 10 micron filter.  That should trap more debris than before, which might keep the day tank cleaner still.

That took two days to do, as access to the day tank is difficult because it is tucked in aft and up near the cockpit sole – lots of flashlight and mirror activity to look inside the tank while working around the quadrant cables, water maker pumps, deck drain lines, and the engine exhaust – all of that runs right through the space the day tank occupies.


Done.  Bowls clean, new matching Racor installed for filtering fuel into the day tank, and the plumbing is revised to pull through the day tank filter.


The vacuum gauge on the 2 micron ganged filters.  The black mark at 22 inches of Mercury is where the motor ceases to run.

With that done it was time to remove the port and starboard settee/dinette furniture to get at the inspection ports set into the top of the reservoir fuel tanks.  At least these tanks are easy to work on as you can easily sit there and look down inside the tank.  The butyl gaskets are still good, and then there was a most interesting beige sticky paste/film on the bottom of the tanks.  Very sticky, and it required a lot of scrubbing with blue paper towels dipped in diesel to remove the material, which turned out to be asphaltene, which forms as diesel breaks down.  First time I’ve ever had that in the tanks, and I believe that goes back to the bad fuel I got in Humboldt Bay that clogged the 2 micron filters immediately – ran through a lot of those filters on the way north to Newport in 2014, where I was able to put in good diesel.


Port fuel tank is epoxy and fiberglass (I built it on the dock next to the boat), with 2 inspection ports.  It’s easy to work on once the settee bench is removed.


Similar is starboard, the fuel tank is forward, water tank aft.


Asphaltenes inside the fuel tank. The dark area to the left is what came out of the fuel, the clear area to the right is where I have wiped it down to remove the deposits.  Takes a while to make the entire tank clean.

So those are the major projects so far.


A proper cruising boat has a low-cost bicycle hanging out against the lifelines.  Hopefully this one won’t rust too fast.

Beetle also sports a new accoutrement – the bicycle!  Alameda is darn near flat as pancake, and the marina is not near the grocery store, or much of anything else other than Svendsen’s.  So where does one get an inexpensive bike?  By asking friend Joel if he knows where I can get an inexpensive bike, he asks if $80 is considered inexpensive?, I say yes, he says go to my boat and take the bike off the back – it’s yours!  So I have an inexpensive get-around bicycle.  It’s perfect for going to the post office, FedEx, Pagano’s Hardware, the big supermarket, the Outboard Motor Shop…

– rob

In Alameda – run complete

It’s a fine feeling to be at a quiet, not-rocking-and-rolling, warm, solid dock after three days of noise and commotion and general boat heaving and yawing and rolling in all directions (sometimes all directions simultaneously, depending on the swell interference patterns at that moment). It’s also a sense of accomplishment to me – that’s a relatively long run from Seattle (Port Madison) to San Francisco (Alameda) in front of a not very friendly coastline with weather systems that can set up and blow hard (30 knots or more) for days. So I’m pretty happy with how it all went; some things could have been done better but nothing broke that I can think of and there were some really nice periods on the water.

There were also not so nice periods on the water, such as last night on the leg from Cape Mendocino to Point Reyes. The forecast that I went in with was for N10-20 knots, and once you launch past Cape Mendocino there’s not a lot one can do with an 8 foot draft boat except get to the other end – if something breaks you can have a long way to go to reach a safe port. Fort Bragg is the first protected place to pull over but Beetle doesn’t fit depth-wise, at least according to the USCG guys and the charts, unless you arrive at high tide and don’t mind sticking the keel in the mud. And the second place is Bodega Bay which is just before Point Reyes; Bodega with many facilities is north of Reyes, Drakes Bay with no facilities but a wonderfully protected anchorage is on the other side of the point. So I was kinda bummed to clear Cape Mendocino 5AM Thursday morning and headed south only to have the wind build to N20-30 and hang there. Hmmm… perhaps NWS missed on their forecast. Better yet, conditions were forecast to lay down as I got around Point Arena and instead conditions built – another stretch of N20-30 to move through.

What’s fun is to watch Beetle move along with lots of wind from behind (and it was super helpful to not have big swells, only 3-5 foot wind waves with white caps, no breakers) – the boat just zooms along even with a tiny triple-reefed main boomed out perpendicular to our course. Belowdecks conditions are not so comfortable when running DDW, as the boat rolls continuously, and that makes walking around down below most interesting. Everything remotely loose in the lockers starts to clank and bonk as the boat rolls 20 and 30 degrees to each side; biggest complaint was a beer bottle in the ice box that made loud CLUNK noises every roll, and then there were the soup cans that got loose in two different lockers; they make all sorts of noises as they carom about. Takes more than a few socks stuffed in strategic locations to make those quiet. Socks are also really good for quietening the plates and cups that rock back and forth and make clinky clanky noises behind the fold up table, and lots of little towels were used to make things quieter. After a few hours of noise-chasing the boat starts to be quieter, and then a new swell train arrives and now, in addition to the roll roll roll twitch there’s a new bow up heave bow down plonk! going on, and that makes new noises below. I finally located two metal Monitor windvane spare break-away tubes stuffed in the bottom of a locker, and they had been intermittently rolling into each other and sounding for all the world like two people clinking together champagne glasses… took hours to find those two pipes and wrap them in towels.

The wind and sea-state died dramatically just outside Cordell Bank, and then it was up since 3AM to bring Beetle in and around Point Reyes in the fog, find the Golden Gate Bridge, then to the marina, check in with the office, then go to sleep. Yeah Team!

So we’re off the water for the moment, and tomorrow I’ll sort out what pictures I have from the run and see about adding them to these notes.

Fun run!

– rob

Thursday night and approaching Point Arena

Hola! – it has been a successful day here on board Beetle, and now I’m about 70 miles from Point Reyes, the boat is trundling along with 14-16 knots of wind from behind, moderate swell of maybe 4 feet, and wind-driven waves that have so far not tried to jump on board to join me, despite the whitecaps.

This morning’s filter and fuel problem was a real bummer, and I was considering stopping at Bodega Bay to sort it out. Then I went and checked the weather forecast for south of Point Arena, and the forecast was for stronger winds on the shore and lighter winds outside. As Bodega Bay is on the shore, in fact it is set up a channel inside the shore, that would be a windy arrival in the dark to a place I have not actually taken the boat in before, so that did not look like the greatest idea.

Then I went back aft and studied the fuel filter and flow and hoses that comprise moving fuel from the day tank to the filters to the motor’s electric fuel pump. In thinking about it, I realized the narrowest point in the setup is the valve that attaches to the fuel tank, through which all fuel flows out to the motor, and wondered if it was a reasonable expectation to have a plugged line at the narrow point.

With the motor running there is a mounted vacuum gauge on the filter manifold, so you can easily determine how clogged the fuel filter is (Racor filters are designed to have fuel sucked through them, so a negative pressure will develop on the fuel pump side of the filter). There was a fair bit of vacuum, which was not making the motor happy. I flipped the manifold lever to pull through the just-replaced-this-morning filter, then reached in under the filter setup and momentarily closed the fuel tank valve (moves easily), then re-opened it to see if anything would happen.

Boom! Shlurp! a small chunk of crud shot up into the glass filter bowl and fell down to the bottom, where crud is supposed to go, the vacuum gauge immediately went to zero (clean filter), and suddenly all is well with fuel flow. Happy Diesel! Means that I definitely need to clean out the fuel tanks, lines, and filter housings, also means that I am headed on direct to San Francisco, no need to consider Bodega Bay.

After that I felt much more chipper, so went topsides to survey the grey overcast marine layer. Eventually the morning fog had gone away, there was sun for a few moments but not much, the wind started to calm down as Beetle moved down the track. At that point a group of whitesided porpoises showed up and they went and played in the bow wake for a while before moving off, and later on a second group appeared and did the same thing. Always fun to see dolphins.

So now it’s about time to gybe the mainsail over and make the turn around Point Arena. I shall not hit Point Arena, it is large and big and nasty; friend Wen told me he did hit Point Arena with his Swan sailboat, jammed the keel in the rocks and actually bent the keel. Something I will aim to not repeat! Besides, I am 20 miles offshore and no where near the Point. It’s been grey all day with limited visibility, so I haven’t actually seen the shore yet – but hopefully nobody has moved things around since the last time I was here.

Not too much further to go!

– rob

Wind is up, diesel is not my friend this morning

Good morning – the breeze came up strong last night late, about the time I was clearing Cape Mendocino, and the *new* forecast is now calling for N winds 10-20 guesting 30 out where I am. And they’re right! It is breezy, we’re chugging along at 7 knots with just the triple reefed main (motoring main) set out to starboard. It’s 69 miles to the turn at Point Arena, and then it’s turn more easterly towards Point Reyes.

The fuel filters and fuel supply to the engine are acting up, and I’ve been in the back of the boat playing with filters and air and I’m quite pleased the Yanmar 4JH5E in the boat is a self-bleeding fuel design. I need to go read more about that to really understand what it is that makes some diesel engines self-bleeding and others not. At any rate, while I have lots of diesel, it is becoming difficult to get it from the day tank, through the fuel lines, through the fuel filters, to the motor. My suspicion is that one of the fuel lines leadings to the filters is partially blocked, or the outlet inside the tank is partially blocked. I replaced a second filter this morning and it didn’t look bad despite the vacuum gauge saying there was a lot of vacuum on the filter.

The rolly conditions out here are not conducive to playing with diesel, it’s too easily spilled and makes a super mess to clean up afterwards. At a stable dock the project is straight forward, empty the day tank into jerry jugs, pull the inspection port and fuel line, and start inspecting and cleaning. If it looks like I can’t solve the issue here on the water, the closest place to pull over, as it were, between here and San Francisco, is Bodega Bay. So I’m going to go fiddle with the fuel lines and let Beetle trundle along, we’re continuing to make good time through the water.

Enjoy the day, and keep the fuel lines clean🙂

– rob

A mellow day on the ocean

Today has been an exceptionally pleasant day out here on the pond. The winds started out light and then died away to zip, and just a few minutes ago (6PM) a light ENE wind has appeared, drifting out from the coast all the way to me. The gray overcast gave way to bright sun, therefore today has been sun hat day. I am 53 miles from my turn at Cape Mendocino, it does feel like I’m getting down the coast. Tonight is forecast to be light Northerly wind, tomorrow similar, with the wind beginning to fill again Thursday night at 15-20 knots. Hopefully by then I am approaching Point Arena – which may have a different forecast that I do not have at at the moment.

I’ve been obtaining the NWS text forecasts via SailMail’s SailDocs function, and that has worked well. It is useful to have the text forecast on hand so I can re-read the relevant parts based on Beetle’s speed and therefore location. Tonight I’ll be asking for the NWS Eureka marine forecast again, and add to that the NWS Monterey forecast (Monterey covers Pt. Arena southwards to at least as far as Monterey).

Swapped in another 2 micron fuel filter, which makes me think it would be a good idea to clean out the fuel tanks and lines when I’m in Alameda. I also want to pull and re-bed the forward deck hatch, as that seal is no longer as good as it should be. And I’ve been designing sausage bags for the jibs; the bags I have are old and the zippers are corroded, so no longer usable, therefore time to make up some new ones. I’m thinking ‘Z’ style in that the bag can be folded up and strapped to make a stuffed bag that is no longer than the distance & aft in the sail locker forward.

And now it’s time to turn on the running lights and head on into the evening. I sure hope tonight is a lot more pleasant than last night’s icky bonky southerly; it’s forecast to be most pleasant, and that will help with my 20 and 30 minute naps and banking enough sleep to be up and running come morning.

Right now the moon is just up, almost full, off to port, and directly opposite is the sun, almost into the ocean. Not often that one has horizon-to–horizon views, and I sure have that tonight.

May all sailors have a calm and pleasant evening out on the big blue.

– rob