Bamfield to Grays Harbor (39 hours)

Overnight at sea

North Pacific Sailing log book
From Vancouver Island (West) destination Southern California

Bamfield to Grays Harbor (US) Harbour (Canadian) (39 hours)

Thursday 29th September 2016
8.00 am untie the rope, Jerry and Diana waving and that was very sad to leave the place we called home. Passed by Bamfield marine station and saw Patrick M. So he knew we are leaving today. We did not see others. Motoring speed estimated 6.1 knots
A bitter sweet feeling and try to not look back. I start to feeling unwell so I ate one of ginger candy and it did not work for me i feel more worse whoever said that ginger candy will help to get away from sea sick. It is not true.

08.55 am Passing Cape Biel
10.35 am speed 6.6 knots estimated
Many hours to
1.30 pm Passed cape flattery, in US water, A mixed of sun and cloud, wind northwest wind, use head sail and motor, speed 7.5 knots estimated
4.00 pm foggy, the boat sailed 30 miles (estimated) off land. It was cold and damp. Stephen eat nothing just water and small ginger biscuit. I had some kale and not feeling so well.

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Friday, 30th September 2016

Around 1 am (dark with stars) overnight at sea
Stephen shouted while I was sleep that engine quit and many fisherman’s boat around us. I wear more warm jacket, hat, glove and come out see what happened. Like night mare that our boat is in middle among several big fisherman boats. As He tried to adjust the head sail and put more light that others boats can be noticed so I steering with fear. It was dark, damp and cold, very light wind and sometimes no wind or the wind often changed directions and back to same direction.

There are some question in my mind. So we don’t have engine to go to Astoria in time and with light wind or no wind at all. How long we have to wait for the good wind?
work and surround by giant fisherman boats. Are we gonna make it? The engine may work too hard all day all night which that’s why it quit. Stephen told me is not.

We changed steering boat every 2-3 hours until dawn. (Before morning I sleep 4-5 hours)

In the morning
Flat calm with bright sunshine and then Very light wind. All fisherman boat disappeared.
Listen to the weather forecast. The weather will be change to thunderstorm and then build to 25knots from the south this evening. There is no choice, We have to rush to get to the first port that is Grays Harbour. This is 30 miles onshore from our position and 20 miles closer than Astoria.

As Stephen is trying to fix and start the engine which runs for 5 mins before overheating again then we have to allow to cool. Still no wind. We are only making 1 to 3 miles each hour.

I did not take any photo while in a bad situation or bad weather. Forget about it.
So many hours to get close to shore and again we tried to see how to enter to the bar of grays harbour safely when it start to dark.


Around 5 pm. The forecast southerly front arrives and at last we have wind which starts to get stronger and cloudy all over the area. We are at last sailing and covering the last miles to the Harbour

Grays harbour has a shallow bar with a dog leg channel on its southern end. As we were approaching from the north we had to beat into the rising wind. Picking out the channel lights against the shore lights was difficult, as the area is densely populated with many marine and shore facilities. As the weather worsened it became clear that it would take several hours to reach the outer channel markers. Steve saw that the bar was deep enough for us to pass over outside the channel. As the wind continued to grow we thought that the coast guard may close the bar to our small boat. Also it was difficult to negotiate the channel under sail.

So at 8.30 pm we called coast guard that we need direction. We told them that we had no engine but in no danger and would like to cross the bar at its northern end. They agreed with the plan and offered to meet us inside the bar and escort us to a marina. It took several attempts to get over the bar with the engine quitting and then us having to sail out again. The amount of lights from every angle made distance perspective very difficult. This combined with The engine quit and windy which hard to control the boat in the shallows and gusty wind.

Around 09.30 get through the bar, but still unsafe because in the harbour is big and all the light from main land and sign light confused your eyes. While the wind is strong and stop and blow again.the wind did help push the sail while we wait for the coast guard boat to arrive.

10.00 pm. The Coast guard took beautiful swimmer to dock at Westport marina. Really professional the same as military. Really impressive what they have done for us.

11.45 pm the coast guard finished checking safety equipment inside the boat said we were safe to continue our journey. Now we have to fix the engine!

Guest moorage

Length 31-50 feet = $30/day

free public wifi (must walk a few minutes to use in public area.) Included power and water

popular restaurant near by : Blue Buoy Restaurant (famous of homemade pies and home made chilli, pumpkin pancakes)

more photos

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