August 31, 2000
We woke up earlier than normal in the morning so I took the opportunity to do some repairs on the boat before we pulled out. Going around Cape Blanco the previous day we noticed that the repairs that I had done to the bow pulpit in Santa Barbara had come undone. So I spent a bit of time reattaching and strengthening the bracket that hold the front of the bow pulpit down.
While doing this I heard someone yell from across the boat basin that we needed to come up to the harbor office immediately. Nevermind that we had no idea where this office was located, and we had looked the previous night, the tone of the woman yelling had us both concerned that we were in trouble for docking where we did. Debbie and I talked about it for a minute or two and decided we'd go at her with the attitude that we did everything possible to contact them when we came in.
So while I continued to work on the boat, Debbie went to talk to the harbormaster. As it turned out, the woman she talked to was very apologetic for not being there for us the previous night and went out of her way to make sure we were taken care of. She also begged Debbie to not allow the boat to go over the bar at that time, as it was pretty rough. So Debbie asked the Coast Guard to tell me as they came by to stay where we were. And they did. It wasn't just a request or suggestion either, they had closed the bar to all but commercial boats.
Debbie had brought the woman up to date on our progress, as well as explaining that our helm chair were in need of welding work. The woman then made arrangements to take our chair pedastal to a welding shop a few miles out of town and had it welded. Great, now we had a helm chair again. Things are looking up! Now, if we could just get some fuel.
The woman explained that the fuel pumps had been shutdown some time ago and that folks would contact the fuel oil supplier in town to deliver fuel if needed. Well, we needed, so we walked over to the supplier and arranged to have a truck come over and give us a bit of fuel. Yeah, things are definitely looking up.
After fueling up, and looking at the tide tables, we headed out of the boat basin toward the river bar. We had tried to contact the Coast Guard on the VHF without success. So we figured we see how it looks. About halfway to the bar, as we came abeam the Coast Guard station, they broadcast a bar update that lifted the restriction for boats over 30 foot in length. (I think they saw us going by. It was just too coincidental.)
The bar really was pretty good, better than when we came in. Of course, going out through a bar is generally much easier than coming in on a rough bar. So we got her out in the open water again and made out way toward Florence, our next destination.
Approaching Coos Bay saw the fog roll in. Pea soup! We could hear other boats and the buoys marking the approach to Coos Bay, we just couldn't see anything. I frequently went below to check the radar to reassure ourselves that nothing bigger and harder than us was in our path. Together with the other boats in the fog, we sounded our fog horn every two minutes until we passed to an area of higher visibility. That occurred about two hours after leaving Bandon. That's when the fog lifted to about 2 miles visibility. We still couldn't see the shore, but we could see far enough to be sure we wouldn't hit anything.
Looking at the tide table we saw that we were going to get to Florence about 3 hours after high tide. This is not a good thing. We considered running on through to Newport, but since that wouldn't get us there till about 1 A.M., we didn't give that too much serious thought. So we elected to give the Siuslaw River bar at Florence a good look and make our decisions after seeing what it held for us.
The seas were as calm as could be expected, giving us a great ride, and the winds were largely out of the southwest at about 7 knots. Things were looking good.
We listened to the Coast Guard giving bar reports on the Siuslaw, gradually lowering their restrictions as we got closer. When we could finally see the bar, we could see that it was being traversed by boats of many sizes. The Coast Guard finally lifted all restrictions when we were about an hour away. Cool!
So we followed the buoys leading to the channel and Debbie (after some prodding) took us across the bar. Yeah, it was rough, but not terminally so. Debbie got a kick out of handling the boat in semi-rough conditions, and she did a fine job, and we were both please to have made another destination.
We motored toward the city of Florence up the river, found an abandoned dock (a new structure that had been neglected to the point of some of the concrete piers sinking), and tied up there for the night. No electricity or water, but with full tanks and a great inverter, it wasn't a problem. Tomorrow we would head for Depoe Bay.