Tag Archives: Columbia River Bar

Hello, Pacific Ocean

3 Aug

Finally! The weather decided to cooperate and we were able to leave Neah Bay in the early afternoon on Friday for a 24 hourish haul down the coastline. As soon as we left dock the port engine started making an odd rattling noise. Of course, as soon as we left dock. Andy jumped into mechanic mode and quickly determined that it was the alternator belt, which he had almost changed out in Port Angeles. Being the uber mechanic, he pulled out the tools and changed out the belt lickety-split while we bobbed around in circles in Neah Bay on one engine. With new belt in place, we boosted up the port engine again. Rattle gone, we headed out.

Other than a bit of fog, the weather was beautiful, although we never saw the predicted winds (which meant we had to motor the whole way). We also didn’t see any boats, except a few fishing folk in Grays Harbor and one lone sailboat when we rounded Cape Flattery. Steve, our autopilot, decided to quit working early in the trip, so we had to hand steer the whole way. That gets really exhausting in big swells! We feel wimpy when we think of all the sailors who have gone before us, exploring the unknown with a tiny portion of the equipment and preparation that we have…and we are tired and whiny because Steve crapped out. Softies…

Andy swears he saw the splash from a whale breach, “the splash was as big as Tango!” At night, the Milky Way was vivid, and the bioluminescence in the water was brilliant. Wish those things showed up in video or photo…but our equipment is sadly lacking. Words will have to suffice.

We hit The Bar (you know…the Graveyard of the Pacific) an hour before high tide, and saw only ripples as we crossed. Awesomely undramatic!

Our only drama came when we it the marina in Ilwaco and couldn’t figure out where we were supposed to dock. Where we thought we were headed from the map they sent us turned out to be the wrong spot. After a second docking on an outer deserted dock (deserted but for seagulls, cormorants, and their poop everywhere), we wandered around until we finally found staff who could help us. Very confusing marina with two E docks and poorly labeled slips from the water. To make it even more fun, this weekend was a salmon derby, so there were small fishing boats galore. That and our port engine went on strike for our final docking. We even tried manually jumping in, and that wouldn’t work. As soon as we were safely at dock and talking starter issues, it fired right back up. Go figure.


Max in action

Sunday we wandered around a bit on Long Beach and let Max stretch his legs and chase the birds. Monday we begin heading upriver to Kalama.