Wednesday, 7/11/12, 6 a.m. Leave Walker Island anchorage for Astoria.
The anchorage was certainly idyllic in some respects – cozy, sparkling water, lots of birds and quiet (for a while). A Kestrel or Peregrine falcon was hunting above the water nearby. The wind was high most of the night, the rigging a bit noisy, but we were snugly anchored.
The lower Columbia is a busy passage. Enormous tankers loom over us, tugs effortlessly push heavily laden barges against the opposing 5-knot current, hopeful fishermen aboard small runabouts cling to river embankments – all of us share this powerful, liquid highway. The Mighty Columbia just keeps rolling along, like that old song.
We arrived around 4 p.m. in Astoria, convinced Cetacean to settle into her slip and then took a walk in search of the Bosnian restaurant my brother David had recommended. That eatery – “Drina Daisy” – is probably one of the few Astoria businesses surviving the economic doldrums right now. It was busy, dinner was quite tasty and we met (one of the benefits of traveling like this) a McMinnville family who had an unexpected connection to us.
Thursday, 7/12/12 “Always cross The Bar on a flood,” an old timer once said.
The best Bar crossing for us was at 9:45 a.m., meaning we’d need to leave our slip by 6 a.m. We made it over The Bar with little issue, even though there was some traffic and the usual dense fog. Bouy 8 slid by, hosting a sea lion who seemed to be smiling. We headed southwest, then southeast with a northwest wind. Our ride was wild and fast – scary at times – but we arrived in one piece in Newport on Friday, 7/13, around 3 p.m. Cetacean hit at least 7 knots over ground, even with double-reefed main and headsail.
Three p.m., Friday, 7/13/12 thru Sunday, 7/15/12, Newport, Oregon Municipal Marina
Newport-the-fishing-village appears to be changing its commercial focus to the microbrew industry. The Rogue brewery company name is everywhere in Newport, boasting at least two pubs here, a huge Ale manufacturing facility, a Rogue Brothers museum, and sponsorship for assorted community events. However, those other Newport businesses – restaurants, quirky little shops, fishing guide services and the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum – were full of customers buying all kinds of stuff.
We roamed through Newport’s old town district, grabbing a coffee, looking in shop windows and hiking across the Yaquina Bay Bridge.Weather is keeping us in port for the weekend. We’ll be using the time to repair issues we discovered on this shakedown cruise. It’s that exotic places and fixing boats thing again.
We await Monday’s (7/16/12) weather window and more southing for California.