The best laid schemes o’ Mice and Men oft go awry. Robert Burns “To a Mouse”
Like little mice at the mercy of nature, our plans were changed by the weather. While Portland heated up, we were sailing on the ocean blue, with temperatures in the high 50’s and low 60’s, clear skies, and the wind taking us about 60 miles offshore by Friday morning, where we set course for due south, expecting to arrive in either Coos Bay or Crescent City. With just about perfect sailing conditions, imagine our surprise when the noon weather report stated that a small craft advisory was in effect, with gusts 30-35 knots and confused seas starting at 5pm and continuing through Sunday for 10-60 miles offshore. Since we were at 60 miles offshore by then, we listened for conditions 60-100 miles offshore. None were given on any channel, which was very weird. Not wanting to risk sailing in those conditions, we turned to the east and headed for Newport. The winds gusted to 18 knots, the seas rose to 8-10 feet, and we smashed and slewed our way east northeast for 12 rather brutal hours. Waves came crashing over the bow, standing on the stairs and bracing myself while standing watch felt like being in a washing machine, and about 8 hours along I thought “could we have just a minute or two break, please?”. Mother Nature did not rest, but Nikk did for about 2 hours while I stood watch and Moo steered us very capably along towards Newport. Finally about 11 pm we could see the lights of Newport, still about 12 miles away. GPS actually worked, after a little confusion and squinting for sight of the jetty beacons, staying on course put us right above the jetty mouth, and a half an hour later at 2:30am two weary sailors were moored at a marina dock and getting ready for some much-needed sleep. Out there on the ocean there were moments of beauty: right at sunset a solitary bird, perhaps a South Polar Skua, followed us, using the wind off our sails to draft and soar behind us for many minutes, leaving, then returning, and some dolphins (Pacific White-Sided?) cruised our bow wake for several minutes. We both now have several new bruises, and I had a dislocated left little pinky, which I bravely pulled back into position, and it is now swollen and making typing the “a’s” a bit difficult.
Newport Marina with Balance moored at center
Today is Monday, and we’re still in Newport at the marina, waiting for the weather to let us go, perhaps tomorrow. Our Tigard HS classmate, Dave Hansen, who lives in Salishan, came down to visit us at the boat today and took some pictures, now we can comply with requests for pictures of us on the boat.
Dave dropped us off at Englund Marine to find another program for the radar which will supplement our present data for central California to Central America and include the coast from British Columbia to the end of Baja. $200 seems a bit steep, but we will be able to have information on a small screen and avoid rolling out the huge charts and wrestling with them at the nav station while the boat pitches and rolls. Since the weather was so sunny, we walked down the Embarcadero, got clam chowder at a refurbished bistro, and now refueled, decided to hoof it across the long, long Yaquina Bay Bridge (195 feet high) back to the marina. The fog started rolling in just as we finished our trek across the bridge, and we were hungry AGAIN (we didn’t get to eat much for about 20 hours during our ordeal getting back to shore) so stopped at the Rogue Ale Brewery Pub and Restaurant, for a fabulous meal of mahi mahi fish tacos and Shrimp Louie, with Hazelnut Cheesecake for dessert. Since I’m allergic to hops, no ales for me, instead the most beautiful concoction I’ve ever imbibed, a Blue Horizon (dark rum, Blue Curacao, ginger syrup, and pineapple juice). It was yummy, too. Since I’m on the topic of food, we also ate yesterday at the little Fishtails Cafe for a very late breakfast. The cafe is right by the Oregon Coast Aquarium, where I took students to see Keiko, the Orca, back in 1997, and in a mall of little wooden buildings, all brightly painted, with a giant sea monster statue very near the cafe door. Fishtails makes their own bread, muffins, and jams, and the veggie omelet had homemade pesto on top. Quite delicious also. Enough about food. I’ll se if I can add some pictures, and then get some sleep before hopefully setting out tomorrow for Crescent City, arriving there Friday or Saturday.
Here is the Blue Horizon cocktail, quite a stunning sight