Left Turn and straight on for 20 Hours
We woke up and had our coffee, Matt flew the drone and took some pictures and at 1:00 PM we were off. The swell as we turned left was big and the chop was bad and I started to question my decisions on doing this trip. As we moved away from land and settled into the routine the water was calm and the swell was six feet, but a very slow (11 sec) period. The motion of the boat was predictable and not violent. It turned out to be very nice. The engine droned on for hours and we progressed through the afternoon. It was sunny and I sat outside for awhile on the foredeck.
Barb had been soaking Black eyed peas for the past day and she made a very nice soup, Salad and Irish soda bread which we all enjoyed on the bridge. It was a sunny and beautiful day.
The sunset fell upon us and all seemed well for the night passage. There was a full moon to guide us. We had some forward visibility and we were deep enough that we did not have to worry too much about fishing gear (crab and shrimp traps).
The night crossing was uneventful and despite not having much visibility of the water directly in front of the boat, we had radar, AIS and running lights from other boats to help us stay on track and they all worked great. We took shifts through the night and tried to sleep but there was no sleep to be had on this trip.
The morning brought us to the Columbia River Bar and we had been listening to the bar report by the coast guard throughout the last couple of hours with great anticipation. We had made good time and we were about an hour early. I had slowed down the pace twice during the night trying to delay until the tide switch to flood but we were still an hour early. I called the coast guard on the radio for guidance but they only tell me that the bar was restricted to vessels less than 26 feet and I could enter if I wished. They always repeated the coast guard mantra to ensure all passengers and crew are wearing a PFD and that the captain is ultimately responsible for the safety of his vessel and passengers. Wow! That really helps me with this decision.
We entered the bar about an hour prior to flood tide. The rollers into the bar were very large. We all were nervous and the bar, to my surprise, is around 2 miles long. There were no breakers, but there was commercial traffic. I communicated with other traffic to ensure I was not in their way and headed in. A local fishing boat that heard me asking for advice from the coast guard offered me some real advice to hold north of the green line and cross over after buoy 11. Matt and I took a look at the bar chart and translated his message. I am not a good judge of wave height from the helm, but these were at least twice the size of the ocean rollers and much tighter packed. It was a roller coaster ride for sure. I am sure the waves were 10 feet at some point. Matt wanted to open the door and take some pictures but I rebuked the idea. I could not even imagine a man overboard situation in this bar. We therefore have no pictures.
The bar went on for what seemed like hours, but in reality it was 15-20 terrifying minutes. Mind you, most of the terror was the unknown. I did not feel that we were in danger anytime but it was a ride I won't soon forget. I drove the boat manually to keep the bow pointed down the waves. Broaching on these waves is a real possibility.
After the bar, we headed to Astoria and docked right by our friends Gary and Noelle. We slept all day and then had a nice dinner out with them. An evening to celebrate!
Our initial plan was to leave Astoria and take on a 72 hour cruise directly to San Francisco, but after some discussion we decided to take it in smaller steps and see some of the ports along the way. We did not feel like getting up the next morning after no sleep so we walked the city and enjoyed the maritime museum, the goonies jail house and other sites form the movie and some street food. It was a great afternoon.
Neah Bay to Astoria
Time: 21 h 56 m ( 12:29 to 10:25 ) Distance: 160.99 nm
Fuel: 62.60 Gallons Fuel Rate: 2.85 GPH Fuel Economy: 2.57 NM/G
Avg Speed: 7.43 kn Max Speed: 8.98 kn
Engine Runtime Start: 2973.25 Hours Runtime End: 2995.20 Hours Fuel: 62.60 Gallons Fuel Rate: 2.85 GPH Fuel Rate Max: 8.96 GPH Avg RPM: 1275.19 Max RPM: 1719.25 Avg Oil Pressure: 52.61 Low Oil Pressure: 31.91 Avg Temperature: 186.97 Max Temperature: 194.00