At Anchor

At Anchor
Whiskyjack at anchor in Garrison Bay, San Juan Island

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cruising up the coast of Washington

We love cruising the Gulf Islands and the San Juan Islands and have a desire to extend that to other areas around Vancouver Island like Barclay Sound, Desolation Sound, and the Broughtons.  But, our boat is in Oregon.  We could have our boat trucked to Puget Sound and go from there or............we could just sail it up the coast.  In early June, I did just that!

Day 1, Scappose, OR, to Illwaco, WA:  The first day we traveled down the Columbia from our moorage in Scappoose to Illwaco, Washington, a distance of about 95 statute miles.  This is a trip that we have made annually for many years, the only difference is that we take 10 days to go down and back and I wanted to make it in one.

Note to self:  Remember to smile when taking a selfie!
Day 2, Illwaco to Westport:  I timed my departure to be able to transit the Columbia River Bar very near dawn on the beginning of the flood tide.  The crossing was uneventful.   There were 2 to 3 foot wind waves (out of the west) on top of a 4 to 6 foot swell, so the motion of the boat was less than serene.  The wind was (Beaufort) Force 3 to 4, out of the NW (basically on our nose).  I ran with the engine and the main sheeted in tight to dampen the rolling motion.  Our course was NNW until we were about 12 miles off shore then we paralleled the shore line north.  We tied up in Westport before dark.

I had taken on a crew member for the trip (to satisfy my wife, as she did not want me to do it alone) and he did not have his sea legs.  Before our departure, while on an evening walk through town, I encouraged him to get some OTC medicine to relieve the symptoms of motion sickness.  His reply was, "I don't want any drugs."  Nothing could convince him otherwise.  Shortly after crossing the bar he became ill and spent the rest of the day either asleep or vomiting. Shortly after arriving in Westport my crew said, "Let's go get to sea sickness meds!"  Yes!!!!

Sailing in a grey bubble.
Day 3, Westport to LaPush:  This is one of the longest legs of the trip.  We left the dock at 0500.  We motored-sailed in a grey bubble all day.  Our visibility was from 1\8th mile to 3/4 mile in fog.  Winds were F2 to F3 out of the NNW.  We did not see the shore or the sky all day.  It was a challenge to avoid the crab pots with the reduced visibility.  Our approach into LaPush via the Quillayute River was in the dark (not desirable), making the small opening seem even smaller.  We tied up at 2200.

Cape Flattery Light on Tatoosh Island
Day 4, LaPush to Neah Bay:  We left LaPush at 0500.  The sky was mostly clear, winds were F2 to F3 out of the NNW.  Again, we followed the 30 fathom line, (about 10 miles offshore).  An easy day.  We took on fuel at 1800 and tied shortly afterward.

Wing on wing.
Day 5, Neah Bay to Port Angeles:  Another long day in mileage but WOW!  The winds were out of the NW F4 with a 6 to 8 foot following swell,  Our boat speed was hitting 7 kts (screaming for Whsikyjack) with a 2 kts flood current giving us over 9 kts SOG (speed over ground).  The sky was mostly sunny and the autopilot was dong the steering.  I stood at the back of the boat holding on to the rear stay (clipped in) yelling at the top of my lungs, "I'm living the dream!"  It just doesn't get any better than this.  In the Port Angeles Boat Haven by 1800.

Epilogue:  338 miles (gps), with about 140 miles of offshore in a 25" boat.  Check that off the "Bucket List"!  We will be using Port Angeles as a base for our summer cruising, hoping to check a few more places of the "List".  If you see us, be sure to introduce yourself and say "Hi".

Travelocity has nothing on me and my companion!


  1. Dan
    Glad to see you are out on the ocean and living your dream.

    1. Thank you. Maybe will will see you on the water?