Saturday, September 6, 2008
Location: Ilwaco, WA
Lat/Lon: 46.3030°N 124.0411°W
Weather: Mostly sunny, windy
We made it to Ilwaco, Wa. Our first leg down the coast, 160 NM and 24 hours non-stop. We made this trip with a buddy boat, Jim & Naty on Nirvana, a 49 Defever pilothouse. They live in the Portland area and keep their boat on the river and have made this trip many times before so we followed their lead. I had been on the coast when we brought Discovery north after buying her in Dana Point CA in October 2006 but then we had a captain and another mate on board. Linda stayed at home for that trip. This time it was just the two of us. Being on the ocean is much different than boating on the inside passage where we have most of our experience and being on the ocean at night is very different from what we were use to. The ocean is always moving with swells from 3 to 6 feet in height, on a good day, and 6 to 10 seconds in duration from peak to peak. With the paravane stabilizers in the water the motion is easy and predictable but in order to walk around you always need one hand to hold on, the boat would lean 10° side to side with some 20° swings when a large swell passed under. During the night we each got a little sleep, me more than Linda. We both stayed awake for the sunset and first couple of hours of darkness getting use to being out at night and then I laid down on the pilothouse berth for 2 1/2 hours while Linda stood watch. Linda then went down to the mid cabin berth and managed to sleep almost 3 hours after which I slept for another 3 hours. We arrived at the Columbia River bar at noon, an hour after the start of the flood tide. You always want to cross a river bar on the flood tide so we timed our departure from Neah Bay to arrive at the Columbia bar on the flood tide. Thanks to the timing and fair weather, crossing the bar was a non-event. Jim & Naty then went onto Astoria a few miles down river and we pulled off in Ilwaco. After tying up we realized how tired we were and after registering at the office we both laid down for a nap followed by hot showers, dinner, and early to bed for a good night sleep.
Before leaving Neah Bay we fueled up at the Makah Mini-Mart fuel dock for $3.75 gal, no sales tax thank you, and then pulled into the Makah marina for the night. We now have enough fuel to make it well into Mexico. Being in the marina made it easier to talk with Jim & Naty about the plans for the next days passage to the Columbia River. The downside was that the marina smelled like diesel fuel and dead fish. The anchorage in Neah Bay is good, the marina is old, dirty, and stinks.
In Ilwaco we are in the land of commercial fisherman. There are only a few pleasure boats here and most of them are sport fishing boats. The marina has filled up as more of the commercial boats are forced off of the water due to the high winds on the coast. Most of them hope to get out on Monday. There is a fish processing plant here where the fisherman sell their fish and buy ice and salt. We enjoy being in with the commercial guys, they are generally a friendly and hard working group.
The 7 day forecast has high winds and seas until late on Wednesday and then starts to calm down so we hope to get out of here on Thursday and get down to Newport. We'll see, the weather can and will always change.
We posted some more pic's on our Web Photo Album, link on the right.
You gotta love this -