Traveling Down the Washington State Coast
19 August 2022 | Tongue Point, Astoria, Oregon
Neah Bay, WA was 12-1/2 hours from Friday Harbor for 'Julia Max'. The highlight of this portion of our trip was thousands of rhinoceros auklet birds that were diving for innumerable tasty fingerlings. After spending the night anchored in Neah Bay, we weighed anchor and headed around
Cape Flattery towards the Columbia River Bar and Astoria, OR. Almost immediately we were delighted to see five separate sightings of tufted puffin birds. Their fast wing beat, their diving, and then their returning to their rocky ledge nest with a beak full of fingerling fish is a remarkable sight.
Not too long afterward we had two separate sightings of adult green turtles that were taking the ocean currents north into colder waters. Twenty miles offshore Sue spotted a sea lion swimming along heading south. Off of La Push, WA we had a start! A US Air Force fighter jet came upon
us about 300' above the water, and did a tight turn around the stern of our boat applying afterburners to maintain their tight turn, and then took off to the coast line 20 miles away and beyond! What a surprising and thunderous event! As we continued south, we were delighted in a colorful
sunset. But we were apprehensive in a moonless night sky, and no visibility. The previous trip south, we ran into a crab pot off Gray's Harbor. So this time we stayed 20 miles out, thus reducing our chances of running into any crabpot buoys. There wasn't enough wind to sail. The sea
state was confused between opposing swell directions, and occasional light wave activity. As the sun came up we were past Gray's Harbor, and the seas were more confused. Unfortunately, we missed our approach time to the Columbia River Bar which has to be after the 'Slack Before
Flood'. So we waited 8 hours, and sailed around in light winds until the right time came up at 1412 in the afternoon. This was a Friday, and the salmon recreational fishing was going great guns. 100 recreational fishing boats were around Buoy 10, while another hundred boats were fishing
the eleven miles from Buoy 10 up river to Astoria. Lots of dodging boats and fishing lines in the water! This last stretch was good sailing from just after Buoy 10 all the way to Tongue Point where we anchored for the night. The offshore section was 32 hours long. We were most grateful to
be in the Columbia River and in our home waters!