We arrived in Neah Bay on August 1st after a long, 12.5 hour journey from Port Angeles in conditions that did not permit us to sail. Our friends on sv Muskoka had just arrived in Neah Bay as well, so we got a much-needed rest and the next day, the Muskoka crew and Carson trekked off to the Makah Museum to learn about the history and culture of Neah Bay and it’s Makah people. This is one of the only things to do while in Neah Bay…. That said, the people of Neah Bay are extremely friendly and very hospitable. It has a wonderful, small-town vibe and everyone knows each other. Very cool.
After a week here, we’d eaten in each restaurant twice, done all of our laundry, shlepped off to Port Angeles with our mainsail on a 2-hour bus ride each way to get a third reef added, acquired a 4th crew member, Warren AND got Gramma to pick up our dog, Ruby to keep her safe during our journey. Warren would help us out with night watches and teach us what he knows about offshore sailing as he is highly experienced! We were excited and feeling very ready to get off the dock!
Day 1: First Night at Sea, Calm & Peaceful Motoring
We spent the morning of August 9th getting prepared, had one last restaurant meal and then untied the lines! “California here we come!” was shouted from the cockpit and off we went! We rounded Cape Flattery in deep swell, with no wind, running our ‘iron genny’. We had taken a very good study of the weather before leaving and were prepared for some motoring as the wind was virtually non-existent. The crew was settling in and we ate some sandwiches and lots of granola bars until the next thing we knew, the sun was beginning to set and night watches were to begin. We were between 20 and 30 nautical miles offshore, and took about 3 hour night watch shifts which included an egg timer set to go off every twenty minutes. So, you’d set the timer, doze off a little and then when the alarm sounded, you would get up, do a 360 degree check around the boat for lights, other boats, logs, etc., check the chartplotter (radar, AIS, etc.) and then repeat. It was a pretty calm and peaceful night with gentle rolling swell that carried us through until the next morning.
Day 2: Second Night at Sea, Crazy Waves and High Winds
It was a fairly uneventful day at sea- the crew was getting their sea legs and eating whenever possible. Although we had taken Stugeron (anti-seasickness medication) as a preventative, none of the crew (except Warren!) felt like eating much, so we had lots of little snackish meals (ie. fruit, crackers, granola bars, soup etc.) By 3:30pm, the fog had lifted and the winds had picked up. We had about 15 knots from the North, which was welcomed with open arms! We were finally able to put up the sails. Just after midnight, the wind started to pick up significantly. We had about 25 to 28 knots of wind with gusts of 35 knots for the next several hours with very big swells. Bloom was rocking and rolling and not much sleep was to be had. We ‘stood on the weather’ for a little while (as Bloom does not ‘heave to’) to ride it out a bit and make it more comfortable for all. Needless to say, we did not use the egg timer this night- it was eyes open at all times with both Jason and Warren on deck all night long (you guys were the best!). Things calmed down some come morning and were were able to continue pushing forward more comfortably. At this point, we decided to pull into Newport as the weather was showing huge winds and waves at Cape Mendocino when we would have arrived there. We arrived in Newport, Oregon in pea soup fog, so it was a little bit challenging to find the entrance markers. We took our time and called in a ‘Securite’ at the buoy just outside the channel to advise any outgoing traffic as to our intentions. We made our way in and under the bridge in Newport to heavy winds of 25 knots blowing in the marina. Luckily a few crew members of sv Sabbatical from Portland, OR came over to help catch our lines as Bloom was getting blown into the dock. Jason did an awesome job of lining her up, and in we went, tied up and did a big sigh with some high fives all around!
Day 3-10: Exploring Newport (AKA Stuck in Newport!)
Weather South of Newport was not looking good for the next several days. Cape Blanco (Port Orford) and Cape Mendocino (South of Eureka) were forecasted for gale conditions. We’d rather not sail with our family in these types of conditions if we don’t have to, so we decided to stick around and explore Newport. This cool fishing town has lots to offer- the marina provided a free shuttle across the bridge into town which we took several times to go exploring. Newport boasts a ton of seafood restaurants, coffee shops and gift shops that were all fun to check out! Our favourite was the ‘Canyon Way Bookstore & Restaurant‘ which had great food and a bookstore inside with a huge variety of books to browse through. We also went to the ‘Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum’ which turned out to be a little scary (for Lisa, not Carson!) in some parts (think tombs and curses! ahh!) We also got a few boat projects done here- trekking over to the local building supply store for some wood to lock our batteries in place (yes, we did not have them strapped down, and they had shifted while enroute) The other highlight of our time in Newport was the ‘Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site’ beach. It was a massive beach with huge sand dunes everywhere of beautiful, warm white sand. Amazing the huge crashing waves coming in while we were there!