Leg 1 - Portland to San Diego 
Installment 1

8/28/02 Anacortes, WA (48 29.88N 122 36.03W) to Lopez Island, WA(48 26.31N 122 52.27N) 15.8nm 2 ½ hrs.

Our Capt. (aka Fred) finally got tired of spending money in Anacortes. We’re leaving many friends and the opportunity for the best boat work anywhere as we head for adventure. We left Lovric’s dock at the 1500 slack tide and anchored 16 nm away in MacKaye Harbor, Lopez Is., San Juan Islands. After a gorgeous sunset the surge came in and rocked us to sleep.

8/29/02 Lopez Is to Neah Bay, WA (48 22.03N 124 36.73W) 72.5nm 10 hrs.

Up anchor at 0550 just before sunrise for a cold, windy rough ride down the Strait of Juan de Fuca. NOAA promised 30kt winds in late afternoon, but they arrived at 1000. Late afternoon we secured in Neah Bay, an Indian town with modern government buildings, nice new marina, a General/Grocery store, a café, and several small homes. A quick "walk-about" town was followed by dinner aboard and early to bed.

8/30/02 Neah Bay, to Gray’s Harbor, WA (46 54.62N 124 06.75W) 111nm 13 ½ hr.

0600-just before sunrise (again) we were underway for a rough 1 ½ hr. ride around Cape Flattery (I sure like Bonine). After rounding the cape we settled into the trough of the Pacific 8’ swells. Winds were light out of the south, and we averaged 8+kt at 1950 rpm for 12 hrs., arriving at Westport, WA, Gray’s Harbor just before sunset. We love our enlarged back deck. We notice no difference in speed or handling although it may be cutting down on hobby-horsing a little.

8/31/02 Gray’s Harbor to Cathlamet, WA (46 12.38N 123 23.26W) 88nm 9 hrs.

Weather forecast looked ominous for Sept. 2-4; so we left Gray’s Harbor, crossing the bar at 0800 slack. Again settled into the trough with 10kt southerlies heading for the Columbia River. The Columbia River bar has claimed 2000 vessels, and is home to USCG rescue training school because they are guaranteed rough waters to practice in. The channel into the river had some high (8-10’) rollers, but the bar at the end of the ebb tide was flat (!) with hundreds of salmon fishermen in small boats. No docking space in Astoria; so we traveled up the wide, calm, sunny Columbia to a crowded, friendly little marina in Cathlamet on the WA side of the river. We caught up with some cruisers we’d met in Gray’s Harbor, and they invited us up to the Portland Yacht Club (100 miles up river, but we had time to play as we awaited a front to pass).

9/1/02 Cathlamet to Portland, OR (45 36.08N 122 39.37W) 58.4nm 7 ¾ hr.

The Columbia is an interesting river with large ships, hundreds of small boats, sandy beaches, and float houses with pretty little gardens. PYC has a boat house on every power-boat slip! Quite unique for us East-Coasters. It’s also convenient to the airport, which means noisy fly-overs from 0600-2300.

9/2/02 Lay day

Today Playpen stayed put at PYC, and we were treated to breakfast and a ride downtown by Cliff & Becky on MS Halkirk, a beautiful Grand Banks at PYC. We walked around Portland (typical waterfront big city with lots of panhandlers). Then we took public transportation to within 2 miles of Playpen and hoofed it the rest of the way. It was a sunny, hot day(1st hot day in a long ,long time). The evening we spent with Bob & Charlotte from Sea Bear, a beautiful custom trawler. They shared their wealth of coastal cruising knowledge with us, and now we’re really anxious to get underway; but the weather sounds lousy for the next couple of days. We’re compiling Lou Scott’s suggestions with Bob’s and trying to plot a trip so as not to miss anything along this challenging coast. I’m reading Undaunted Courage about Lewis & Clark, and it’s makes me even more thankful for Playpen and modern technology. I couldn’t have been a pioneer!


9/3/02 PYC to Mott Basin, Astoria, OR (46 11.79N 123 44.47W) 81.6nm 10 ½ hrs.

We left PYC in early morning sun and twisted our way back down the Columbia with the ebbing (always) tide. As we neared the 20 mile mark (from the ocean) the wind and seas picked up. Wind was SW 20, just as predicted, and EVERYONE said don’t go now! We anchored in a beautiful basin off Astoria that was dredged to accommodate Liberty ships. As we were dropping the hook, a gill-netter approached and warned us not to anchor in the basin tonight as the salmon opening was 1900-0700, and the basin would be full of netters. We tucked up in a corner between 2 islands with a view of ships in the river and mountains on the horizon—another beautiful site. A netter ran behind us providing us dinner entertainment. We went to bed under a canopy of stars.

Back to Stories