Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bandon, OR

Date: 9/18/2008
Location: Bandon OR
Lat/Lon: 43°07.250'N 124°24.693'W
Weather: Sunny, lite winds

Bandon is a beautiful little sea side town with a well kept, quaint 'old town' that has a lot of tourist shops, every 4th storefront seems to be a coffee shop but that's ok. They're all newer buildings with a weathered sea side style. The downside of Bandon for boaters is that the bar is considered the most dangerous on the Oregon coast. We went in there from Coos Bay after a short 4 hour run on a very calm day and had a very nice bar crossing.

The next morning at 8 AM, on the ebb tide, there were waves breaking half way across the bar. We waited until the flood started and the bar looked better with waves breaking only on the end of the jetties. We cautiously proceeded outward, the bar at the end of the jetties had 3-4' gentle swells but in another 100' we were faced with 10-12' 'sneaker' waves that were steep sided and breaking 50' feet on either side of us. I slowed the boat and her bow quickly rose up the face of the wave and down the backside then up and back down on the following wave. Wow! Not a drop of water over the bow just a quick up and down hobby horse motion with the wave tossing the boat like it was a cork.Following this was a period of lower, round swells and then another set of steep sided, sneaker waves. One more set of steep waves and we were out of the worse of it and into deeper water. As the swells move toward shore and the water starts to shallow to under 50' even gentle ocean swells can become tall and steep 'sneaker' waves. We liked Bandon a lot and would highly recommend a visit but by car not by boat.

Once we were out into deeper water, over 100', the swells lowered and we settled into a leisurely cruise. About 30 minutes out we saw, and nearly ran over, a sunfish, Mola mola. This is a large flat fish that floats on the surface of the water, the one we saw was around 3 x 2 ft in size but they get much larger. We saw it's flipper sticking up and then as we passed it we saw the shape, strange fish. We also saw a 6' shark swimming in circles like it was chasing it's tail.

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