N 46°59.458’, W 125°00.890’
Our departure from Neah Bay yesterday was not encouraging. Upon passing the entrance buoy, we were immediately faced with a western swell that promised to test the limits of the scopace we had taken earlier. We slogged through hours of swells with little useful wind. Once we passed Tatoosh Island, the wind was not coming from the direction the weather reports had predicted nor from a useful direction for our plotted course. We tacked several times then realized that we were making no headway south. In order to steady the boat and make some ground on our plotted course, we fired up the Yanmar and motor sailed the rest of the day and through the night.
The first night watches were actually fairly pleasant. The swells had subsided a bit, and while there was no useable wind, there was a bit of moon out which allowed us to visualize the open ocean in front of us. Morning came quickly for me as I was on the 03:00-06:00 watch and the sky showed light as early as 04:00. The phosphorescence was pretty cool as the propeller churned the living organisms in its wake. I saw a shooting star (wished for better wind direction, forgot to specify a time frame) and four different satellites crossing the skies above.
During the 06:00-09:00 watch, Richard set up the whisker pole to take advantage of the miniscule wind that had shifted to a more northerly direction. By 11:00, we were enjoying a robust 10+ knots from the North; definitely an improvement from earlier in the morning when the headsail just flapped and collapsed for hours on end. The swells were still with us during the late morning but the fact that we were able to keep the headsail full helped tremendously in balancing the boat (and our nerves).
I have to admit that the lee cloths that Richard sewed this spring worked out quite nicely during our off watches. I was actually able to sleep despite the rocking back and forth with little effort to keep myself steady on the bunk. The lee cloths were set up in the main salon on each settee with a sleeping bag and pillow makeshift bed.
Right now I’m letting the autopilot steer the boat as I write this entry and the ride is fairly smooth. The wind has been consistent and that’s all Richard and I are asking for at this point. We have about 70 miles to go to our next waypoint, an ocean buoy well offshore of the Oregon coast. From there, we’ll head towards the first of three waypoints that the weather router provided us with before the final leg into Hilo.