I'm Matt, a software engineer and boating enthusiast based in Washington State (but on the move). I started Hermit Cove Boats, offering cool skin and frame boat plans and kits. Check it out!
We got an early start Thursday, heading out at 5 am to catch slack water on the Columbia Bar. There were some waves, but nothing rough. But I worried about getting far enough away from the bar to escape rougher conditions when the tide started to ebb. I thought we were in those conditions, but it turn out to be the conditions in general. The ocean greeted us with small waves, but often they were of a size and a period to make our little boat roll side to side so much that it soaked both decks. Uncomfortable. Disturbing. Nauseating. Kristin lost her breakfast (oatmeal). Haskell lost his dinner (cat food). I popped more meclizine. As long as I was steering it was ok. Kristin steered for a while but it didn’t seem to help her like it helped me. She wanted one of us to be well, so she let me steer. Thank god. Down below, flaws in our boat were made plain. I forgot to screw the dc panel in. It folded out. The gimbaled stove slid out and puked its pots and pans out.
Meclizine was our chosen weapon against seasickness, and for me it worked. For Kristin, it may well have made things worse. We both started seeing things. Things that weren’t there. These were not persistent hallucinations, on second glance everything was clear. But oddly, they were roughly the same hallucinations: more crab pots, more seals, more whales, more VHF communications than were actually out there. We started to clarify, “No, it wasn’t a whale, it was a meclizine whale”. I kept hearing the crackle of static from the VHF that we turned off hours before. Sometimes the meclizine crab pots were guarded by green meclizine serpents that flashed before disappearing.
We got used to the hallucinations. They were a laugh. The seas got better and worse again. Big waves were no problem, but certain smaller waves sometimes interacted with the boat in an awful way. We were tired, and had given ourselves an out: Not a 36 hour trip to Neah Bay but a 12 hour trip to Gray’s Harbor. It meant crossing another bar, but conditions were good. We pulled in to a lovely town that it seems sailboats call on as a plan B, not a plan A.
So we arrived at 4:30 pm in Westport, Washington. The Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chiefton call these waters home, and they are in Westport for “Rusty Scupper’s Pirate Daze”. A big festival going on this weekend. Arrgh.
We plan on heading out again tomorrow, to face the now 24 hour trip to Neah Bay. We’ve had some good advice. We will use a steadying sail, raised to prevent the boat from rolling side to side. We’ve attached things that weren’t, and put things back where they belong. This next leg will be harder, but we know more about what to expect. Wish us luck.