The Leap

Friday, September 5th 2AM. This is when we made the leap. Of faith, of anxiety, of will.

That’s when we departed Neah Bay and started the descent south the US Pacific Coast.

There are not many harbors along the Pacific Northwest Coast. As a consequence, distances between them are long.

From Neah Bay, our next stop was Westport, inside Grays Harbor. A passage just over 110 nautical miles.

Since Pesto travels at an average speed of 7 knots, it was necessary to leave in the middle of the night so that we could approach Grays Harbor during daylight.

These is probably trivial aspects of a small passage for a seasoned cruiser. But for us, it was a HUGE step.

We left the super sheltered waters of Neah Bay right in to the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This is a convoluted area, with the interaction of the Strait’s currents and the Ocean’s Swell and winds. Sampling it at 2AM, with temperatures in the lower 50s, was a quite intense start.

Within some 45 minutes we reached 48’25″N – the most North we will probably ever make on this Journey – and rounded Cape Flattery, the northwesternmost point of the contiguous US.  More importantly (to us), this is the first big cape Adriana and I have rounded … Boy, we are getting salted !

One hour later we sighted the first lights of the day – eagerly awaited.

The ride down the coast was quite tranquil. There were some patches of wind, which enabled motor-sailing. We also had our first whale sighting.

At the end of the day we reached Grays Harbor, with time to drop anchor properly, organize things inside the boat, prepare a nice dinner, and enjoy a fantastic sunset.

A shaky and bitterly cold start
A shaky and bitterly cold start
A beautiful dawn seen from the Ocean!
A beautiful dawn seen from the Ocean!
When the sun was up, Cape Flattery was already out of sight on our wake, and we were some 10 miles off the coast
When the sun was up from behind the Olympic Mountains, Cape Flattery was already out of sight on our wake
My beloved watch mate. I am amazed at how quickly Adriana is getting her sea legs on this Journey
My beloved watch mate. I am amazed at how quickly Adriana is getting her sea legs on this Journey
Pesto doing her thing
Pesto doing her thing
Whale watching
Whale watching
Whale, whale !
Ahoy !
Glassy seas along the way
Glassy seas along the way
A mid-passage selfie
A mid-passage selfie by Adriana
The busy entrance to Grays Harbor
The busy entrance to Grays Harbor
From now on, it's going to be Sea Lions galore
From now on, it’s going to be Sea Lions galore
Crowning the day, this obscenely beautiful sunset
Crowning the day, this obscenely beautiful sunset

Pesto-06Sep14-094

 

That was it. A day with some important “firsts” to us. A beautiful day that we had the opportunity to enjoy from dawn to dusk. The day we made it to sea. When we started our descent south. When we got salted.

A day to remember.

4 Replies to “The Leap”

  1. Hi D, while in the US, we used a blended criteria. At a minimum, we always tried to sail offshore from the 300-400ft depth lines, for the risk of running into a crab pot diminishes a lot. On passages longer than 30-40 miles, I also tend to keep a minimum distance of ~10nm from shore, rarely less than 5nm. On multi-day passages, we tend to steer further away, unless wind conditions or the conformation of the shore dictate otherwise.

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