Friday, August 26, 2011

Washington to Oregon

Mercifully, our time in Port Angeles was brief. Since we had a free afternoon the waterside trail beckoned but, although the burghers of PA have tried their best, it will probably be a while before the trail is truly scenic - the smoking towers of the paper mill do tend to dominate the landscape. In the morning we were delighted when UPS delivered our precious hydraulic system part at 1000 and within an hour it was fitted by our guest engineer, Ben. Excellent! So, it actually took less than 24 hours to diagnose the problem and get the part shipped from the Californian manufacturer. It is a shame that Last Mango can be brought to her knees by a $150 switch 2 inches long but if you want the stabilizers to work................. such is boat life.

By midday we were on our way again up the Strait of Juan de Fuca. On the right is our view of the water - not a bad day at all! Glassy, smooth, perfect. We headed to our last anchoring stop, Neah Bay, before we head round Cape Flattery and turn South. Looking forward at the weather, I could see that the most difficult part of the trip is going to be Cape Mendocino, California; from midnight Tuesday the wind forecast is in the 30 to 40 knot range so that certainly is going to mean we have to have crossed the San Francisco bar by then. So, first thing yesterday morning we were on our way at first light and headed out and round the corner.
And here is what we encountered straight away - fog. Visibility was around a quarter of a mile so we watched carefully for the local salmon boats on the radar. The fog cleared around noon. Afterwards the weather got better and we had a good run down the Washington coast. In the late evening, first watch, there was some traffic some 20 miles off the Columbia River, then the traffic died out as we headed South. With three of us on board, we can neatly divide the nine hours of darkness into 3 three-hour watches; 2100-2400; 0000-0300; 0300-0600. In the morning we cruised down the coast and headed into Oregon and one of the less menacing bars to enter, Yaquina River, Newport. I had been recommended this stopover by another Nordhavn owner who has his home port here. On the Oregon Coast, all the ports are on rivers and each river has its own sand bar. The bars are impossible to enter in rough conditions and can be difficult to enter in good conditions, especially on an ebb tide. It takes some planning and listening to the weather and the bar condition announcements made by the Coastguard, along with a study of the tide tables.
Ben and I are here at the most important bar! It just so happens that the famous Rogue Brewery is next to the marina. And we can vouch for the IPA which is called 'Brutal"; I have a worrying feeling that is what it feels like the morning after. In the morning we are going to leave as soon as we have the flood tide - sometime after 0600. The weather at Mendocino is up to 40 knots from Tuesday pm so we are going to get out of here and head South; we have a two-nighter run to San Francisco and should arrive there Monday evening - I have booked us a guest slip
at our favorite yacht club, Oakland, for a while to recover.
We just have to wait and see what the weather gods are going to throw at us. We have a small craft advisory here in Oregon for the next 36 hours which we believe we can cope with.  And we have a situation where the offshore waters (over 10 miles offshore) should be better than the inshore waters. And we have the deteriorating situation at Cape Mendocino. We hope to get through the area before the problem develops. this space.

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