Points South – Neah Bay to Newport, Oregon
Monday, August 29, 2011
We left Neah Bay at about 10:45 am planning to do our first overnight trip to Gray’s Harbor (sorry, but that’s how they spell harbour here). Our first challenge was rounding Cape Flattery. At any promontories of land there exists the possibility of higher than usual winds that could cause us problems. Fortunately, we had no excitement at Cape Flattery and motored on into the night.
Allocating watch shifts was not difficult. Mark is an early to bed kind of guy so I took the first shift which came to be known as the sunset shift.
Mark got a few hours of sleep and then stood watch until I woke up before sunrise after which he got another couple of hours sleep. The first sunset was one of those glorious “tequila sunrise” sunsets that seems to never end. I watched it for at least an hour. The passage was uneventful and we pulled into Gray’s Harbor at around 1 pm the next afternoon.
Most of the harbours along the coast of Washington, Oregon and northern California are at river mouths and fishing and sport fishing are main industries. Long rock jetties extending out several hundred meters have been built to suppress the ocean swells and make passage in and out of the harbour safe and most of the harbours have a manned coast guard station. The coast guard goes out a couple of times a day to assess the condition of “the bar”, the passage through the jetties and have the power to close the bar to all boats or only to boats of a certain length. The safest time to cross the bar is just before high water slack and this became instrumental in our trip planning. There wasn’t much point in arriving at a harbour when you couldn’t go in, hence some of the overnight trips.
|Catch of the Day|
We only stayed one night in Gray’s Harbor and left the next morning at the next slack tide. Time and tide was such that we planned another overnight trip to Newport, Oregon. As we were starting to pass through the jetties, a swarm of what would become known as titanium flies came onboard. Titanium flies are different from regular flies. They are more streamlined and tougher than nails. I watched Mark wallop one seven times with the blue towel of death and then declare triumphantly “I got him”. Also, once you’ve got them, they never leave your boat so if you want to get rid of them you have to kill every single one. We found that wetting the blue towel of death gave a satisfying and effective wallop. The navigation ‘rules of the road’ folder was also effective but needed reinforcing along the top edge after a while.
|Entering Newport Harbor|
We arrived in Newport at about 1 pm on September 1st and stayed four nights. We need to travel an average of 16 miles per day to get to San Diego by the end of October and we were going way too fast. We caught up on sleep, and found all the hot spots in town. You know, the Laundromat, Safeway, the propane refill place... We walked about 3 miles to the Walmart where we got a Tracphone. Our phone number is 541-272-4930 and you can actually call us!
|Marina viewed from the bridge|
There is quite a nice aquarium, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, in Newport and I spent a pleasant afternoon there while Mark played with boat things. As well as many displays from small to huge aquariums they had a ‘petting zoo’ section where you could touch various forms of marine life. The docent on duty kept telling people to only run their hands along the side of the anemones and not put their finger in the animal’s mouth at the centre. I figured he would have solved that problem a lot faster by telling people it was the animal’s anus.