October 30, 2014
LightSpeed arrived safely after an overnight sail from Neah Bay.
Underway, I took the first watch, but only made it to 8:30PM before hitting the wall of a long day. Kathy took the helm until midnight and then I passed the helm back to her at 2:30, so I could get a few hours sleep before our early morning arrival at Grays Harbor. About 5:30AM Kathy roused me as LightSpeed approached the first green buoy at the Grays Harbor bar. I slowed LightSpeed down to get my bearings and wake up for a few minutes. With large westerly swell, it's critical to time bar crossing for the flood tide and ideally near high slack. Our timing was perfect, except for the fact that it was pitch black and raining sideways. If we waited until daylight, the ebb tide would be in full swing and conditions on the bar could be restricted, so we wanted to get in before the ebb.
We proceeded south to the 'red' side of the channel (red on right returning), picked up the range and turned to the east to make our way across the bar. Our radar was invaluable in identifying and confirming our position relative to the navigation buoys. Between the pitching seas and driving rain, keeping track of flashing buoy lights is no small task, but made much easier by having a good navigation setup and excellent visibility through our glass pilot house windows.
We'll holdup here in Grays Harbor until Saturday when the weather improves, then make a run to the Columbia river bar and up the river 13 miles to Astoria, Oregon.
It will be our third time hauling LightSpeed at Port of Astoria, the first was for a repower in 2010, then a post Alaska inspection in 2011. Our plan to repair some paint on the port hull, service our sail drives and renew anti-fouling on the hulls. It's only a few days work if we have dry weather for the painting, however good weather is going to be in short supply this time of year, so it could take weeks.
That's it for now.