Big Left Turn: Crescent City & The Redwoods

September 30, 2021

A storm picked up off the coast and therefore we’ve planned to spend a few days in Crescent City. That will give us some time to explore. It will also give me time to take a flight up to Seattle for the weekend and attend the Queen City Commodore’s ball.

Our friends Gary and Noelle from Illimite recommended an activity. Renting bikes and going to the Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park.  The company, Redwood Rides, dropped off some bikes around 11 AM and we rode towards the park.

The hill leading into the park was a killer and we ended up walking most of it. Once in the park, the views were gorgeous. The road was narrow and wound thru the trees. We rode in as far as the Boy Scout Tree Trail. That was about 5 miles from the marina.

After a bit of lunch, we decided to hike the trail. The trail said it was 2.8 miles and ended in a waterfall. Hmm, it was actually 3.2 and ended in a trickle that came down a rock. I guess I was spoiled by all the huge waterfalls in Canada and Alaska. Almost to the end of the trail is the actual Boy Scout Tree. The tree is ginormous. The hike was worth it just for the trees and scenery.

Once back from hiking, we remounted the bikes and headed back. The return trip thru the park was not as bad for elevation but still a challenge. On the huge hill down out of the park Steve lost brakes and it took us a bit of time to get back. He has a lot less tread on his shoes.

Overall, a fun day!

Big Left Turn: Breaking & Down to Crescent City

September 29, 2021

We were up bright and early. The weather, and more importantly the wave forecast, was favorable for the time window we needed to get down to Crescent City. Steve and I decided we needed to scope out the bar conditions in person. High tide was at 8 am so we headed out to look at the bar conditions about 7. The conditions were a lot better than the days previous. There were still breaking waves but only about 3-4 foot instead of the previous 6-8 foot. From what the locals had said, it was about the best we could expect. We decided it was a go.

Back on the boat we started up and started to prepare. We were all a little nervous. Breaking waves are not optimal in any situation. About 7:45 we couldn’t take the wait any longer and slowly headed out.

Following the path we were told was best, we navigated out the shallow channel and around the sand bar. There is an area seaward of the sand bar that allows for hovering and watching the waves. We tried to pick a good window and it was time. Barbara was rear watch, and I was up helping Steve navigate around the shallow water and waves. In the middle of the bar, we took a good breaking wave on the bow. Steve had turned into it and it pitched us up pretty good. Everything on the boat was thrown around. Another breaker came in right behind, but it wasn’t as bad as the first but still enough to throw us around, then there was a break, Steve throttled up and we headed out at max speed. We took about 4 more really big waves before safely escaping the bar. Phew…

Barbara informed us that the Pamplemousse bottle had wedged itself between the TV and the other liquor and saved them from escaping. The only damage reported was a couple of wine glasses in the cabinet. Pretty good for movement we had.

The rest of the trip down was relatively calm and we arrived in Crescent City shortly after 2 PM. We met up with Gary and Noelle from S/V Illimite and they said we should join them for dinner. After a nice relaxing afternoon, we headed out to the local restaurant the Chart Room. More shrimp cocktail for me!

Voyage Information:

Curry County to Crescent City
Time: 6 h 46 m ( 07:32 to 14:18 )
Distance: 51.97 nm

Big Left Turn: Gold Beach

September 27, 2021

The weather forecast turned out of favor with us and 11 of the 12 bars on the coast are closed. That is river bars, not alcohol bars. Looks like it will be a few days before the next window allows us to leave.

The first order of business for today was getting Steve an omelet. He’s been wanting one for days. We set off for the Indian Creek Café. It was pouring rain, so I had to buy a poncho at the marina gift shop. When about halfway there, I checked the remaining distance and found out that the café was closed on Monday’s. Bummer!

Luckily it was late enough that the lunch restaurants were open, so I talked Steve and Barbara into going to the pizza place up the street. A short walk later we were at the Crow’s Nest. The locals recommended it and it’s not much to see on the outside. The food was good. The bar reminds me of a lot you’d find in the Midwest and is frequented by locals. While we were there, we found out that 2 inches of rain had fallen overnight, which is the reason we are still in town

After the food digested and the rain let up, it was time to get in a little motion and go out for a run. Caught a couple of rainbows and had some awesome beach scenery to accompany me.

Ended the night with a nice Captain Steve Manhattan. Yummy!

September 28, 2021

The weather was a bit better today but still not acceptable for leaving and going across the Rogue River bar. We had a bunch of company on the dock.

The mission to get Steve an omelet was still on, and the Indian Creek Café was open, so we walked over along the river. Steve was successful and we had a great breakfast. The trail along the river was also nice and had some great views. The town has an old tug/fishing boat that was in service for many years and is now a shipwreck. Kinda weird.

After lunch, it was time to do laundry and get another run in. The next destination is 52 miles away. The weather report says tomorrow may be the day. We’ll see.

Big Left Turn: Bumpy Ride and Ducking into Gold Beach

We stressed over the weather map for a day and a half and made the call that we had a small window to get to Crescent City. That is if we left early and got around Cape Blanco before the heavy weather set in. The engine was fired up at 5 am and we were off. I’d put up a picture but it would be just a completely black image.

The Coos Bay bar was nice and calm, and we were hopeful. That id not last long as the waves started picking up. the problem with today versus the last few was the wind is out of the south and therefore we are going against the wind waves. If it was out of the north, the trip would have been smooth.

The model said after Cape Blanco the wind would calm down and be manageable at least until we could get to Crescent City. As we approached the Cape, it didn’t let up and the updated model showed a change for the worse. We had a decision. 3 hours forward or 5 hours back. We opted for the forward even though the back trip would be smooth. The decision took us to Gold Beach, Oregon. It’s on the Rogue River and unfortunately has a bar that isn’t monitored after Labor Day. The good part is the approach was to the north and thus it was mostly with the waves. Once we turned to go in the ride smoothed out as expected.

The bar was not optimal as it had visibly breaking waves between the jetties. As we came in Steve sped up to stay between the waves. It was a bit tense but we made it thru. The river has bunch of shoaling and shallow spots and luckily, we were coming in at high tide. The local charter captain that was on the dock and helped us was surprised we made it thru without going aground. Guess we got lucky. He said he’d show us the best path to navigate out tomorrow. You can see the nice sand bar across the bar in the satellite image below.

After a nap, we headed up check out the Port Hole Cafe. The dinner was delicious and it’s a pretty nice place. In the same parking lot is Jerry’s Rouge River Museum and Gift Shop that has a lot of history and pictures of how the area developed.

And you can see that the marina is a popular place in the offseason.

Voyage Information:

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

Big Left Turn: Down to Coos Bay

September 24-25, 2021

The next leg of the trip was from Astoria to Coos Bay. A 20+ hour scheduled journey. Our second overnight test.

We made good time throughout the night, mostly due to Steve deciding to burn a bit more fuel to raise the bow and smooth out the ride. Therefore, we got to the Coos Bay Bar around 7:30 am. A few hours before slack tide. The good news was the bar conditions were very good with only 1-3 foot ebb chop and no restrictions. The cruise in was uneventful and other the all the fishing boats zooming out was a pleasant ride.

After settling in I took a jog around the area and ended up at the Coos Bay Harbor Entrance Viewpoint. Close to the view point was a little trail that went down to the shore. I followed the trail and was happy to find a cave that went through to a second beach. I traversed over and took a few pictures. It was a nice little side trip and fun to climb around.

The crew headed out for dinner. There were 3 choices within walking distance and basically within the parking lot of the marina complex. We opted for the Portside Charleston. The restaurant reminded me of places I used to go with my Grandparents back in the day. The staff was friendly and the food was delicious. I’m getting spoiled with all the Oregon shirmp!

Voyage Information:

Astoria to Coos Bay
Time: 22 h 55 m ( 09:00 to 07:56 )
Distance: 193.44 nm

Big Left Turn: Astoria, Oregon – GOONIES!

September 23, 2021

Today was declared a rest day sine we were all tired after the 21-hour adventure yesterday.

After my 11 hours of rest, I was up and at em around 7 so I got out and did a jog along the shoreline to downtown Astoria. It’s a nice area and has a trail that goes forever. I only did 2 miles down so that is my reference. On the way back, I scoped out the Goonies Jail and Mr. Walsh’s work from the Goonies movie so I could take Steve and Barbara by later.

When I returned from running, Gary from Illimite was over for coffee and we chatted about the upcoming week. Gary departed and we waved to him and Noelle as they left the marina. They reported the bar was way better this morning, which was expected since they hit it as slack current and beginning of flood tide.

Around 10 we decided to hit the town and check it out. I first took them over to the Goonies sites so we could get the necessary pictures.

After that, we headed thru town with the intentions of having breakfast. Steve was determined to have an omelet and we never found a place, so we ended up just going to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. The museum was pretty cool. However, I would say it was 75% dedicated to telling us how stupid we were for attempting to cross the Columbia River Bar. The first display was that 2000+ boats have been lost there and its nicknamed the Graveyard of the Pacific. They had cool videos of the pilots and bar roughness. They have a lightship that you can go aboard and that was fun touring. Worth a stop if you are in town.

Around noon, we headed over to the Bowpicker Fish and Chips joint up the street from the museum. It’s a food boat, not to be confused with a food truck. They use Albacore tuna, and it is delicious.

With the learning portion of the day complete, we headed to the grocery store for provisioning. We were getting low on milk and the mochas are just not the same without it. After getting back to the boat, Steve made me defrost his refrigerator and fill the water tanks. Gotta earn my keep somehow.

Big Left Turn: Making the Turn & the Columbia River Bar

September 21-22, 2021

The next stop we planned was Astoria, OR, via the Columbia River Bar. The guidance says if you want a smooth transition you need to transit at slack current or at least a flood tide. This is so you avoid the situation they call ebb chop, which can even lead to breaking waves. We projected the trip to take 18+ hours and slack was around 9 AM so we decided we would depart Neah Bay at 1 PM to give us enough time.

Since I had a bit of time while we were at anchor, I decided I’d fly the drone a bit and got a few good shots.

After departing Neah Bay, the wave chop picked up and we were a bit concerned with the ride since it was for 18 hours. However, once we made the left turn and got a bit offshore the ride smoothed out and overall it was good ride.

It was interesting when the sun began to set and then we hit darkness. I’ve talked to a bunch of boaters that do crossing and long trips. Some say they just put on the alarms and sleep. Others have watches. But there is a feeling of nothing you can do. We can’t see traps or logs so looking out the window is not that productive. Looking at the radar and AIS was very helpful but we only passed two boats all night. We had a great moon rising. There was no way to get that on camera given the lighting and motion.

We had planned to be at the Columbia River Bar around 9:30 AM. However, we made great time and got there a couple hours early. Starting about 6 AM the Coast Guard started communicating reports and that the bar had a 20 foot and below restriction. Steve asked if he should call in and get guidance and I figured they would just give the same report. Which is exactly what they did, but added your vessel is not restricted as this time. Basically it’s your call captain. A charter captain hailed us after the call, and gave us guidance on how to approach, which gave us a little more confidence.

Crossing the bar was a good experience. The waves were 4-6 foot with some 8-10 footers thrown in. Steve was so puckered up that he wouldn’t let me take pictures. Therefore, we have limited footage.

Once successfully across the bar, we cruised in another hour to Astoria. We were all beat given the long trip and not sleeping much so it was nap time.

In the late afternoon, after our naps, we headed up to the Bridgewater Bistro for a meal. As we sat down, we got a call from Gary on Illimite asking what we were up to. Him and Noelle waked up to the restaurant and we had an amazing meal with great company.

Voyage Information:

Neah Bay to Astoria
Time: 21 h 56 m ( 12:29 to 10:25 )
Distance: 160.99 nm

Big Left Turn: Port Hadlock to Neah Bay

September 20, 2021

Steve had us up bright and early today as it was the first of the long days to come. The Strait of Juan de Fuca was calm, and we did not have much wind, so was a very nice ride over. So much better than my last crossing.

When we arrived at Neah Bay we found, as expected, that the docks were closed to transient boats and therefore we anchored out with the others in the bay. It’s a nice large bay with a great breakwater and lots of space. Very accommodating!

Voyage Information:

Port Hadlock to Neah Bay
Time: 11 h 18 m ( 06:33 to 17:52 )
Distance: 84.83 nm

Big Left Turn: Bainbridge Island to Port Hadlock

September 19, 2021

With the Tyee festivities over, we said our goodbyes and started the journey. The first stop is Port Hadlock. This is another of Tyee’s outstations and since we got a later start it was a good stopping point after about five and a half hours.

Coda departing Bainbridge Island

The trip was a nice and we arrived around 5 PM. Next to the marina is the Old Alcohol Plant Inn. We were told that the restaurant was great so we headed up for a bite. The recommendations were not wrong and we had a great dinner. This was the first restaurant that I’ve eaten at that required vaccinations to sit indoors. I’m sure it will be the first of many in the upcoming months.

Voyage Information:

Bainbridge Island to Port Hadlock
Time: 5 h 36 m ( 11:31 to 17:07 )
Distance: 32.41 nm

Big Left Turn: Seattle to Bainbridge Island

September 17, 2021

Today I’m starting another adventure as a crew member on M/V Coda. Capt Steve plans to do the the big left turn and take the voyage down to San Diego. The big left turn is rounding the tip of Washington and heading down the Pacific Coast.

The first leg of the trip is a familiar route to Bainbridge Island where we meet up with the Tyee Yacht Club fleet and belatedly celebrate Tyee’s 74th birthday.

We leisurely traveled down the ship canal in Coda for the last time. Not the last time for me, but for Coda. While it may someday travel this route, the plans for it for the next few years is to transit to the East Coast and thus the likelihood of it returning to Seattle is low on the Vegas odds list.

Arriving at the locks we had a short wait and then transited it. The lock staff was friendly, as always, and we chatted about the upcoming trip. Even snapped a picture with them.

After the nice crossing of the Puget Sound, we arrived at our assigned location on the Tyee Outstation Dock and prepared for the weekend’s celebration. The fleet arrived shortly after, and Boris declared (as he always does) that we didn’t have enough beer. We dinghied over to Winslow and resupplied with fellow Iowa State fan Jeff.

Voyage Information:

Seattle to Bainbridge Island
Time: 3 h 31 m ( 08:15 to 11:46 )
Distance: 12.95 nm