Here you will find tales of voyages past and present on our trusty Pacific Seacraft Dana 24, "Sockdolager," and more recently, our Bigfoot29 powerboat, "Raven," from Port Townsend, Washington, USA. In 2009 we sailed north from Puget Sound up the west coast of Vancouver Island to the Queen Charlotte Islands (now called Haida Gwaii.) In 2010 we went back to the west coast of Vancouver Island. In July 2011 we left the Northwest, sailed to Mexico, and in March 2012 we crossed the Pacific to French Polynesia, then on to the Cooks, Niue and Tonga. We spent several months in New Zealand, and in May 2013 loaded the boat (and ourselves) on a container ship for San Francisco. In June and July 2013 we sailed north along the California, Oregon and Washington coasts, and in August we arrived home. In October 2016 Sockdolager found new owners, and we are now enjoying Raven, a unique wooden 29' powerboat. In 2018 we cruised up to Glacier Bay, Alaska, and back. We hope you enjoy reading about our adventures as much as we enjoy having them. (And there will be more.)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Columbia River

Jim here. We are in Ilwaco, Washington right around the corner from the Columbia River bar. This should not be confused with the Sea Hag Bar and Grill where we had dinner and played pool the other night.  The bar in Columbia River bar refers to the sand bar one must cross to get into the harbor.  Not a big deal on a calm day with a favorable tide, but potentially very dangerous otherwise.  Our passage across was uneventful, except that right at the very worst spot our engine lost RPMs, coughed, sputtered, and stopped. Oops.  I won't say why this happened because it's too embarrassing, but after a five or ten minute fire drill in which we managed to sail at 1.5 knots away from danger, we got it going again and motored into harbor.  As our friend Brion Toss likes to say, there is always one more chance for something to go wrong.

Bar warning sign
Today is about day eight of this episode of our reality show called "Let's sit around waiting for the the wind, waves, and swell to calm down enough so that when we continue north Jim won't puke his guts out." Currently the forecast looks good for a Tuesday departure.  The last episode in Coos Bay lasted about two weeks, which was long enough for calmer wind but not quite long enough for calmer swell.  When we crossed that bar the wind was under 10 knots but the wind-waves and swell combined to make for the most steep, close together, uncomfortable, disgusting seas that we have endured on this entire trip so far.  I puked my guts out. We are trying to be more patient about departures this time.

Panorama of the Columbia River bar from the Cape Disappointment light house
Ilwaco is mostly a fishing port, both commercial and sport.  They are bringing in tuna and salmon right now.  This is also almost the exact spot where Lewis and Clark ended the westward part of their voyage of discovery in 1805.  There is a very nice museum and trail system.  The more I learn about those guys the more impressed I am. The town here has seen better days.  If you want reasonably priced real estate near the water, and like fog, this is the place.  But on a bright sunny day, like today, it is beautiful.

Replica of the California Condor Lewis and Clark saw (and killed) near here
If we leave on Tuesday we should be in Neah Bay at the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca where we make a big right turn, by Thursday.  Then it's only a hundred miles or so (down wind) to home!

Sand castle near the marina in Ilwaco

Killing time in Ilwaco

1 comment:

  1. You will likely see Hawaian Chieftan and Lady Washington coming down the coast, while you are coming north, as they escort the Tribal Canoe Paddlers on their journey to the Quinault River.