Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Outrunning the Storm

15 September 2010: Wednesday

The south wind blew all night, but I had a good night's sleep. I set the alarm for 0530hrs, so I could get up and be ready at dawn. The weather reports are terrible for the next several days and I didn't want to be in Ilwaco for it. I resigned myself to relax, settle down and stay for a few days. Then at 0730, there is a change, with brightening skies turning to blue, I tell Jean, my twin, I have to hang up and get out of here. I don't make my bed, brush my teeth, comb my hair, I'm out on the dock, unhooking the lines and electrical. The wind has me pinned hard on the dock, but take time to slide me astern and then quickly jump in and steer her off and away. This doesn't look very good, but I head out the channel and meet some fishing boats returning. By the time I get to the dredger it is a bit rocky and rolly, but I'm heading out to see what its going to do.

After a few minutes, the waters calm down and I see some vessels coming in across the bar and one is a sailboat. I hear on the vhf a lady with an Aussie accent saying the night with the southerly winds were rough. So I figured they were beating into them all night from up north, probably coming down from Neah Bay and Cape Flattery. Later I find that to be true.

I didn't set up my computer and chart plotter, but crossed the bay until I picked up buoy "12" on my track-back function on my gps. With the winds abated, and the seas flat  I had a slight pacific swell on my stern on occasion. What a great decision this morning, grabbing that opportunity of a weather break. I'd rather be in Astoria if its going to rain and howl for the next 4 days. Maybe I can make it before it rains.

I'm bucking the ebbing tide and the sailboat on my stern is gaining on me. I listen in as they talk with another cruiser who had come down the coast with them. They both said it was nice to talk to each other during the long night. I slow down, now knowing they are from Australia, call them on the radio and chat with the lady.
I tell them I used to sail with Ann Gash, the Sailing Granny of Australia. They commented on how famous she was in Australia. They are coming into the West Basin, so I lead the way. They are Storm Bay out of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia and headed for Mexico, Panama and perhaps, Chile. I got an invite to join them tomorrow after they got the boat cleaned up a bit.

I got docked before the rain started.
Day's run: 12nm