After having fully recovered from our trip to the theater, we spent Saturday and Sunday getting the boat ready for a Monday, Sept. 7 departure. Did some shopping and took in the Astoria Sunday Farmer’s Market where we enjoyed a Buck Owens tribute band – too bizarre.
Cruising is often a waiting game. We could have left Saturday, but Saturday was rainy. Winds were from the south on Sunday, but Monday was just right. Winds were forecast as 5-10 knots from the NW with a 4 ft swell – doesn’t get much better than that on this coast. As a bonus, high water slack on the Columbia River bar was at 10 am – so much better than getting up in the dark to make the 2.5 hr hour trip from Astoria to the bar.
The bar crossing was everything I hoped it would be – a non-event. It had loomed large in my mind as some kind of barrier to be feared. The clouds soon cleared and we were under way with clam seas and blue skies. After a few hours the winds filled in and we were under sail.
It has been 10 years since we have had the boat out in the ocean, so we were pretty excited to have such benign conditions. We even saw several groups of humpback whales headed north. After sunset we were treated to an amazing amount of stars until moonrise at about 3 am. Took turns doing 2 hr watches, but were still pretty beat upon arrival in Newport the next morning.
We are now tied up at the South Beach Marina with eight other cruising boats. There are three double-enders from Seattle, two French boats, a German boat, and two west coast single-handers. The wind is howling and there is a small craft advisory (winds > 25 knots, seas > 10 ft). Nobody is going anywhere until at least Friday and even then it looks like only a two day window before it gets even worse. We might make a run for Crescent City, CA on Friday, otherwise it looks like we could be here a week. But that’s okay – this is supposed to fun, and were are in no hurry!