Night on the Open Ocean
May 26, Neah Bay, Washington: We made the open ocean passage from Astoria to Neah Bay in 25 hours, with Thursday fading into Friday on a lumpy ocean with light rain. We did have a long spell of great sailing just after crossing the Columbia River Bar, the night is short this time of year, and the dawn was lovely.
For entertainment, we read excerpts from the first Pacific Coast Pilot, the government sponsored directions to sailors. The volume was dated 1889, and a photographic copy of the entire book is available online. I particularly like the coastal views - like the one of Cape Disappointment and Saddle Mountain above - which were so much more important for navigation before the days of GPS and radar and electronic charts.
At night on the open ocean there are always mysterious things. Last night, the boat was circled for hours by one or two white birds. In the very dark, rainy night they looked like handkerchiefs as they swooped around. White bats? Our best guess from our bird book is that they were Leach's Storm-Petrels, but I hope someone who reads this will be able to tell us more.