Sunday, September 21, 2008

Coos Bay OR

Date: 9/16/2008
Location:Coos Bay OR
Lat/Lon: 43°20.811'N 124°19.332'W
Weather: foggy night and morning, low clouds in the afternoon

After 13 days in Ilwaco first waiting for mail and then the weather, we left Monday 9/15 and traveled 29 hrs and 186 miles to Coos Bay Oregon. We decided to skip Newport and the other small harbors between the Columbia River and Coos Bay because we wanted to get as far south as we could during this good weather. 'Good weather' being low sea swells and mild winds not necessarily sunny and warm weather. We have come to the conclusion that the WA and OR coasts are to be endured not enjoyed by cruisers. The harbors are scattered and problematic in anything less than ideal seas and there is not much to see or enjoy of the coast from the sea side. In a car it's a different story.

We crossed the Columbia Bar at 9:30 AM just after it turned to flood and it was very mild, 2-4' long period swells with W 5 kt winds. We were told by the fisherman on the dock in Ilwaco that there shouldn't be any crab pots out there this time of year but just in case, we should stay outside the 50 fathom line so we stayed in about 350' of water, 6 to10 NM offshore the entire trip and the only pots we saw were a group of very old ones off of Tilimook. Monday evening the fog came in and visibility was around 1/4 mile the entire night. Thank goodness for a good radar. We had to dodge a fishing boat off of Newport, he was heading inward toward shore and would not answer numerous radio calls so we turned 90 degrees to starboard to avoid a collision. We passed about 1/2 mile from each other and all we could see was the glow from his fishing lights. We passed a few other fishing boats and tugs but nothing exciting. The seas picked up around night fall but calmed down in the evening and by morning it was as calm as our entrance into the Columbia. We called the CG outside of Coos Bay for bar conditions which were 1-3' with no restrictions but we did not get inspected when we got in. Coos Bay is similar to Ilwaco in that it's mostly commercial boats although there are 5 or 6 sailboats here, all heading south except for one heading north. The docks here are filthy, covered with seaweed and gull droppings. Locals come down to the docks to crab and when they pulled their pots they just toss the seaweed onto the dock and leave it there to rot. That combined with the cigarette butts and gull droppings make it a very unappealing place.

We did meet another very nice couple, Chris & Judy on Voyager, a 1990 46 Nordy. They had tried to get fuel around 3 pm and then leave for SF but the fuel dock was closed so they pulled in behind us on the dock. We had some tea with them in afternoon and then a glass of wine and then around 7:30 PM the fuel dock opened and they got some fuel, $3.57/gal, and then came onto Discovery for another glass of wine then went back to their boat at 9:30. They left for SF at 6 AM the following morning and we left around 11 AM for Bandon just 20 miles down the coast.

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