Monday, September 1, 2014

September 1, 2014 - Goodbye Washington - Hello Oregon

Last night we enjoyed fresh prawns with pasta, courtesy of the Westport Marina.  We tied the dinghy up next to a little fish market on the docks and bought some fresh prawns when we returned.  Westport is a bustling fishing community.  In fact, I think fishing is the only thing going on in Westport.  We also spent many hours on the beach near our anchorage.  The kids played with their skimboards in the shallow surf and had a great time.  They also made some interesting lounge chairs out of sand.  They were quite comfortable, but will not last long with the wind and waves.

Pure enjoyment!  Grays Harbor, WA

Kevin skimboarding near Ocean Shores, Grays Harbor, WA

Today was another milestone for us.  We have left WA state and are now in Oregon.  The conditions on the coast have been quite favorable.  We have only encountered a few hours of rough seas after more than 30 hours of motoring.  If all coastal cruising is this easy, we can't figure out why we haven't seen more boats out here.  Interestingly we have only seen a few pleasure boats so far.  Almost every vessel  we have seen is either a commercial fishing/crabbing boat, or a freighter/tanker.  The AIS traffic is almost non-existent, as is VHF radio chatter.  What a change from the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands where we can't seem to get away from the activity.

Today we "conquered" the infamous Columbia River Bar.  We almost didn't come in here today because I (Steve) called the Astoria Port Authority to secure a slip for the night and was told they had NONE.  Yikes, there are not a lot of choices here.  Kathy called Ilwaco on the WA side and they had no slips.  Kathy called up-river to a few places and found a slip in Cathlamet which is 24 more miles up the Columbia.  That's quite a few more hours of motoring, and not where we wanted to be.  We stressed about our options.  If we were not going to go to Cathlamet, then where would we go?  There are no good anchorages here.  Our only option appeared to be to head back out to sea, and motor for about 18 hours overnight to Newport Oregon.  Yuck.  We have seen an abundance of crab/shrimp pots today.  Unfortunately I spent a good deal of time dodging pots during the daylight hours today and it was a challenge.  I can't imagine doing it in a moonless night environment.  I'm pretty sure we would snag a pot and wrap it's line around a prop unless we headed way offshore into really deep water, adding many more hours to our transit.

We decided to go ahead and head to Cathlamet anyway, despite it not  being a destination we desired.  As we approached the Astoria marina, Kathy decided to call them again.  Much to our shock, an end tie had just opened up and was available for at least a few days.  We grabbed it and are now sitting comfortably on the end of "C" dock.  With some rougher waters forecast on the coast Wednesday, we might just stay here until Thursday.  It's a great spot and there is a lot to do here in Astoria!

The Columbia River bar was a non-event.  We left early this morning from Grays Harbor and timed our arrival here for slack water.  It was indeed slack.  No breaking waves.  No rough bar conditions.  And the Coast Guard was NOT out practicing rough water drills in their amazing motor life boats.  Just after we tied up in the marina one of the Columbia River Pilot boats came in to the fuel dock, right behind us.  They are impressive vessels that take River Pilots out to incoming and outgoing freighters/tankers/barges/cruise ships, no matter what the sea conditions, and drop a boat captain off so he can safely bring a boat into, or out of the Columbia river.

We walked up the port office to check in.  We then took a little stroll to get familiar with our surroundings and stumbled across a nice looking restaurant named Bridgewater Bistro.   We decided to have dinner here.  It's a very nice place.  While we were eating dinner my friend Erik (who I used to work with at Microsoft, and we used to boat with in Desolation Sound and Princess Louisa) emailed to let me know about Bridgewater Bistro.  Too Late Erik!  We already found it  :-)  And , yes it was GREAT!

Columbia River Pilot boat.  Astoria Oregon

Adagio tied up in the West Basin of the Astoria Marina

Walking back to the boat after a great dinner at Bridgewater Bistro, Astoria OR. 
Cute family at Westport Maritime Museum
No Vacancy.  Columbia River

Kevin skimboarding near Ocean Shores, Grays Harbor, WA

1 comment:

  1. Newport would have been a haul! Garibaldi (Tillamook Bay) has a marina. It's 50 miles down the coast but it's better than Newport at 110 miles.