Yes, we’d planned to go straight to San Francisco from Neah Bay. But one of the fabulous things about cruising is the ability to be flexible and go where the winds take you. And with strong winds and heavy seas forecasted off the California coast, we changed our minds and decided to make the town of Newport on the central Oregon Coast our first stop.
One of the milestones boaters in the Pacific Northwest often joke about is making “the big left turn.” When traveling from Seattle or Vancouver, boats must travel about 100 miles west through the Strait of Juan de Fuca before turning left and entering the Pacific Ocean for points south. Here’s what the making that turn looked like for us:
The excitement was running high as we headed onto the Pacific Ocean and left land behind. This was our first offshore passage together and it represented a huge accomplishment for us – we were really on our way south!
I’ve been thinking about how to describe the passage, and I’m not quite sure how. It was thrilling to watch the shoreline melt away and only see ocean for 360 degrees. It was magical to see the stars move across the sky and the phosphorescence sparkle in our wake. It was mesmerizing to watch the huge black albatross swoop and fly between the waves. And it was powerful to know that Aaron and I were out there on this grand journey together.
But it was also tedious running nonstop through the day and night. It was frustrating listening to the sails slat back and forth as we rolled over the swell without enough wind to keep the sails filled. It was challenging to even heat water on the stove with the washing machine-like waves rolling the boat back and forth and back and forth. And it was hard on both of us for me to be unbearably seasick for a good chunk of the trip.
Without experiencing the lows, however, the highs wouldn’t be nearly as sweet. Seeing land come back into view on the radar display, navigating over the Yaquina River bar on our way into Newport and then tying up at the dock after a successful passage was immensely satisfying. We’d done it. We’d made our first ocean passage together. It was an amazing experience that built our confidence and reassured us that yes, this is exactly where we’re supposed to be.
And how better to celebrate such an achievement than with burgers and beer at the Rogue Ales Brewery, conveniently located on the other side of the Newport Marina.
The entrance to Rogue Ales Brewery and “beerquarium.” Love it.
My taster tray before…
… And after. Good stuff. Real good.
Aaron hard at work tasting his samples. Chipotle Ale? Single Malt Ale?
We are absolutely loving Newport and the beautiful Oregon Coast. Stay tuned for more!