Log - 6/23/2001 to 6/24/2001
Astoria to Neah Bay
Comments by Katherine
As we approached the Columbia river bar I was anxious but
these feelings lessened as we reached the legendary ships graveyard
and there were no demonic waves to be found.
In spite of the pleasant conditions, the rocking and rolling in
the gentle swell still had its nasty seasickness effects. The electronic
pressure band did not help after all. My level of misery on the
trip up has me concerned about future passagemaking. Next time I
will try a half of a 'scop patch, or the Bonine that Art recommended.
It's a struggle to be inspired to cook when recovering from seasickness.
I recommend cooking lots when you feel up to it and save some dishes
you made for the times you don't feel like cooking. Vegetable dishes
will keep longer.
Comments by Squiz (the Feline)
Crawling into a padded hidey hole and entering a coma, is
the only sensible way to deal with a noisy rolling boat.
Comments by Wally (Faithful Crew)
We departed about 7:30 for the Columbia river bar. It is about 7
miles from the city of Astoria to the point at which the Columbia
enters the ocean. At that juncture is typically significant surface
conditions which have wrecked thousands of boats over the years:
tall standing waves with strong currents. The Columbia is the second
greatest volume river in the USA. Though the river mouth is 2 or
3 miles wide, most of it is quite shallow. The channel is only a
few hundred feet wide and dredged to about 40 feet deep. Thus most
of the river's flow is in that area.
During our April visit we sought advice on the proper technique
for crossing the bar. It was tragically comical: we asked at the
Maritime museum: they couldn't recommend a source or provide advice.
We tried to find the Coast Guard station. I don't remember why that
didn't work. Somehow we ended up at either the Bar Pilots station
or the Columbia River Pilots station. A man in a suit and tie behind
the counter couldn't offer advice, but did offer to have a pilot
call us back if we left a phone number. I suggested that safety
tips for crossing the bar should be posted on every street corner
in the city, he smiled but didn't have much to say. As we were preparing
to leave, a bright colored rainsuited gentlemen walked out of a
back room and headed for the front door. He outlined for us a couple
of simple principles for safe bar crossing: cross during a flood
tide (slows the river the most), stick to the red side of the channel
(south side). Naturally one would not wish to turn around in the
midst of a high standing waves.
For our crossing, it was a nonevent. The only swells we encountered
were those coming from the open ocean. Traffic was pretty light.
We were out of it by 10:15. The weather was cool and overcast, with
light winds coming from whichever direction we turned. The 29 hour
journey to Neah Bay was not pleasant. The temperature remained between
56F and 58F. It began raining, lightly at first, about 1 am. It
didn't really stop until around noon. We hadn't set a duty rotation
or anything like that. It worked pretty well with someone volunteering
to take a watch until they'd had enough, usually two or three hours.
Lots of cat naps. Speaking of which: Squiz was nowhere to be seen.
Alan mentioned she was doing a pancake imitation in a dark cubby
At one point or another, all of us were nauseous. The motion of
the boat was quite wearing. The swells were small, 4 to 5 feet,
but from multiple directions and of small wavelength such that the
boat rolled from one side to the other at random intervals, but
often in a quick motion of about a second. This went on most of
the night, not easing until sails were put up sometime after I went
to sleep at 4:30. Even then, the rolling was only slowed, not decreased.
I doubt the sails made us go any faster, but we felt better and
By the time we neared the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca,
all of us were awake, the clouds had thinned, some spots of sunshine,
and the boat was mostly dry. The entrance was smooth water with
only a hint of nice uniform swells.
Upon arriving in Neah Bay, we all were bleary eyed, drained, hungry
and tired. If we'd had sense, we'd have just docked, showered and
gone to sleep. Instead we waited to fuel at a place where two mechanically
disinclined guys in overalls gutted the fuel pumps, haphazardly
tossing their ancient mechanisms on the dock. We took the opportunity
to restore some order to the cabin, but mostly bask in the intense
pleasantness that a calm harbor provides. The almost total lack
of motion was better than anything imaginable. I fixed a light meal
of omelet inspired creations. It was probably 8 PM when the last
of the showers, eating and cleaning chores were done. The sun had
been shining brightly for a few hours, but I couldn't keep my eyes
open. I remember seeing the sun getting low as my eyelids closed
tightly for the night.