Mother Nature is a fickle mistress

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

The decision to leave was twofold.

1. There was a storm brewing in the pacific and the weather model showed we had a break enough to do 10-11 hours to Crescent Harbor.

2. We did not really wish to stay at Coos Bay. The model showed it being a bit rough in the morning and then calming down in the afternoon after we rounded Point Blanco and into Crescent Harbor. We departed at 5:00 AM to catch the best of the weather.


Leaving Coos Bay was a breeze. The bar was calm and out to sea it was not great but tolerable. The problem came as we rounded Point Blanco, it got worse instead of better and we started to take a real beating. The Kayak came loose and Matt had to go on top of the boat while we were slamming into wakes and re-tie it down. Everything was was crashing in the cabins and it just continued to get worse. We were getting beat up pretty badly and we looked for a safe harbor to duck out. We were heading into a 30 knot wind with large short period (slammers) heading directly at us. The boat was taking a pounding.


We aimed for Gold Beach (three hours out) and just suffered through it. Finally, we approached the bar. I had to make a nearly 180 degree turn to line up with the bar and I was nervous to turn broadside into the huge seas. I took manual control of the boat and Matt put in a course through the bar. As we approached the turn we made it very quickly and lined up with the south facing jetties. The wind was still 30 knots from the south so we were now travelling down wind. Matt reviewed the chart at close range and gave me general directions as we approached the two Jetties and I was terrified to see that there were large breakers in the bar between the jetties. I posted Barb to watch behind and let me know when a breaker was approaching so I could speed up without having to look behind and Matt served as forward lookout from the bridge. I slowed to enter the bar following a breaker and another was following behind me. Barb yelled here comes a breaker and I opened up to full throttle so it did not break over the stern. She indicated that I was outrunning it and I looked safe but Matt was saying go port -- go port. I adjusted course to port as I saw another set of breakers in front of me. Matt said "Steve -- GO PORT." I adjusted again hoping to go north of the breakers and Matt said "STEVE -- GO PORT you are in 3 feet of water. I took a sharp port turn and headed for a bunch of fishermen in small aluminum boats and I am sure they thought I was insane entering the bar at 18 knots wide open throttle and turning directly into them. We got beyond the breakers and I slowed again. I was in 5 feet of water on the wrong side of the channel. Matt pointed out on the starboard side there was a beach that extended three quarters across the bar. We were at high tide. How could this be. We limped into the marina that was very close by and a gentleman helped us with our lines. He said he was quite impressed you got in here without going aground. We don't get many boats this size in here!


The chart of the bar at Gold Beach.





This is a google maps view of the bar. It is a double bar -- river bar and sand bar. I just count my lucky stars that I did not plow into the beach at 18 knots. (see amazing engine stats in the technical section, speed, RPM and fuel consumption)


We survived and we hiked over to the jetty to look at the waves.





Gold Beach is a fine place to stay. Nice stores and a couple of Cafes. I cannot leave except on a high tide and I am terrified when I walk over to look at the channel again. At this point all of the bars on the west coast are closed due to the large swells caused by the pacific storm. I guess I am pretty happy to be in this calm refuge from the storm.


Yikes!


Technical Data:


Charleston Marina to Curry County

Time: 9 h 25 m ( 04:55 to 14:20 ) Distance: 71.65 nm

Fuel: 37.60 Gallons Fuel Rate: 3.99 GPH Fuel Economy: 1.91 NM/G

Avg Speed: 7.87 kn Max Speed: 18.21 kn

Engine Runtime Start: 3018.10 Hours Runtime End: 3027.50 Hours Fuel: 37.60 Gallons Fuel Rate: 3.99 GPH Fuel Rate Max: 24.73 GPH Avg RPM: 1349.04 Max RPM: 2679.50 Avg Oil Pressure: 52.17 Low Oil Pressure: 30.75 Avg Temperature: 187.89 Max Temperature: 204.80




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