Tuesday morning I woke up to a gray day with a mild wind from the SW. The idea of crossing the inlet to Ocean Shores seemed doable considering it wasn’t blowing like the day before. The marine forecast was for 10 knot breezes. It was gray and rainy, but how cares, the GPS didn’t care about lack of visibility. I launched the boat late morning after the tide had come in a bit. It was going to be high tide around 4PM. Westport from the water feels like a real sea town; fishing boats everywhere and very few yachts. Loons, Pelicans, sea gulls and Caspian Terns abound. Those terns give out this loud shriek that sounds like another era. A few hundred pelicans were roosting close together on the breakwater and created quite a stench.
Once outside the harbor I gained more confidence. It had been a while since I sailed (last year), but it was all coming back to me. Crossing to Damon Point was a piece of cake as current and wind were all going my way. After turning around the point toward the small harbor the wind picked up nicely and we (Fetch and I) were going 4-5 knots putting the rail in the water now and then. In the little harbor I sailed up to the dock. The spot that Defiance had marked as his had a bunch of fenders ready for me, which were very convenient. I just had to keep my eye out for a incoming boat with that name. The weather was a bit gnarly, so no wonder the place was desolate. One guy asked me to assist launching his Great White,which seemed an appropriate name for a huge white powerboat. He and his buddies decided to wait for higher water however, so I had a quick snack and raised sail again.
Visibility went back and forth from seeing clear across the bay toward Aberdeen to seeing nothing but a gray wall. I was hoping to swing by Sand Island for a bit and during a moment of clear skies gave it a go. I thought it better to go around the shoals that both GPS and map agreed upon. I realized that without GPS it would take a little navigating to find that spot on the water where to turn into the narrow channel. Handling a chart on a small boat like this in the rain, while marking routes and taking bearings is a whole lot more cumbersome that looking on this little screen. Hurray for our little gismos.
I tucked in behind the island and anchored in very shallow water, maybe 1 foot deep for a moment I was touching ground with all foils up. Lots of birds thought this a good resting spot as well, for hundreds of what I believe were Dowitchers were filling the sky moving from one spot to the next. A bald eagle was sitting on his perch like the master of ceremonies to make sure everyone behaved like they should. Once in a while a huge V-formation of geese would fly high overhead reminding me that spring migration was in full swing.
Wind was building and gray walls of rain were surrounding me again. Time to move on. I motored straight into the wind to get out of the channel and set sail again when it opened up. Soon I was reefed down once, then twice to keep the crew happy. The ebb was assisting me toward Westport, which was a great help tacking into wind and rain. After bucking the tide into the small channel along the harbor, I tied up to a dock under the watch full eye of a Loon. My gear had kept me quite dry in spite of insisting rain and I was very pleased with how Fetch had dealt with this first day out. I left the boat for the night, drove the camper to the RV park, had a warm shower and had myself a nice dinner in a restaurant. That night wind and rain were howling outside my cozy warm camper, appreciating the fact that I wasn’t out on an ocean trying to take short naps between sail changes and lookouts. I’m a wimp after all and enjoy a little comfort now and then.