The Journey Home Day 12

by Jessica Miller

August 21, 2006

The following post is from Captain Bob…

Aug 16
It’s 7 a.m. and much nicer this morning with about 6-8 ft swells and 10 kt winds still coming from behind us. It’s mostly cloudy at the moment but looking ahead I can see sunrays filtering down in a few places. Our current ETA Newport is about midnight tonight. We will both sleep onboard the rest of the night and get up around seven to get the day started. I’ll be packing my things up to drive about two and a half hours south in my pick up truck to my home in Coos Bay. Willie will get started on quite a list of things that need to be accomplished prior to us getting the ship underway again. We are scheduled to depart in about 2 weeks heading south in the direction of Southern California. Once there, we will be seeking out Blue Whales and Humpback Whales to tag for satellite tracking. This tagging operation has continued to be a successful tool for the scientific community by providing data on exactly where these beautiful animals go and when. And, there is still so much more to learn.

Willie and I both feel that having been part of the expedition we are about conclude and part of those like this next one ahead of us is a real privilege. There is so much data and information to be gained and analyzed that will all help protect and preserve all the world’s oceans and all life the dwells within them. One can’t help but feel good about this kind of job.

It’s now noon and we are about 60 miles due west of the mouth of the Columbia River which borders Washington state and Oregon. We have about 110 miles left to the Newport Harbor entrance and that still looks like an ETA very close to midnight. The seas and winds continue to go down. That, along with the current going south from the Columbia River may start to help our speed a little. Every little bit helps. We just passed another boat from Newport and he gave us a call on the radio. They are out here Albacore Tuna fishing and doing okay. We frequently see and talk to him on the dock so it was kind of interesting to be this far away and this far off shore and cross paths. It was fun to touch base with him again and get caught up.

It’s 6 pm now and we have been doing 9 kts plus for the last couple of hours and now we are down to 8.4 kts. We have an overcast sky, the swells are down to about 2 feet and winds down to about 5 kts. The conditions are great now and I just saw another albatross. We are 30 miles off shore and 49 miles to the Newport whistle buoy.

It’s now 12 midnight and we can see the lights of Newport. We have 4 more miles to the entrance buoy and we’re both smiling. I still can’t see the light on the buoy but I know it will be any minute and I can hardly wait.

We are back, it’s 1:15 am, we are tied up and we are ready for some sleep. It’s really great to be back in Newport again. It will be even greater seeing my beautiful wife Shirley as soon as I get home to Coos Bay. It is with mixed feelings that I’m about to click on the “send” icon which will be like flipping the off switch to officially end this expedition. I sincerely hope that this is not the end of the story but only the end of a chapter in the story that will continue. Willie and I hope to be a part of the next chapter as well. To those of you I know and those I don’t know (yet) thanks for riding with us to port. It has been like having caring friends along with us even though we haven’t spoken directly.

In closing it is my sincere hope that you and all those close to you do what ever you can, large or small, to help protect our planet above and below the water. I wish you all the best till next time. Good night.

– Captain Bob

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