Windy North Pacific Ocean – Neah Bay to Dutch Harbor

Neah Bay entrance

Amazingly the sun was out during some of our stay in coastal Neah Bay, WA as we prepared to cross the North Pacific. We’ve been here before but have never seen the bay in sun.

Neah Bay

Neah Bay sunset

There were some gorgeous sunsets..

sunny day at Cape Flattery . Flattery Salal

and even some sun for a hike from town to Cape Flattery.

off Neah Bay

On a beautiful day we completed a sea trial out and back from Neah Bay and crossed paths with a schooner returning from sea under storm sails.

securing the boom

With Irene stowed and the deck secured we were ready to go to sea.

N Pac view from the cockpit
reefing the mizzen
Sheeting the staysail

Soon after departure the sunny carefree days of Neah Bay morphed into waves, wind and chilly rain.

sink hole

A couple of days into the passage we were taking on a bit of water and discovered that it was due to the sink through hull fitting. We were on port tack most of the trip so the through hull that is normally above the waterline was under water for about 10 days. Only after landfall did we discover the nature of the problem – old caulk and a hole too big for the fitting that was installed years ago.

staysail taming stormy port tack

During one gale we stopped the boat by heaving to and adopted a routine of the watchkeeper going up to check for traffic every 15 minutes. We settled into the saloon on the downhill side with sleeping bags to keep warm as we had only our kerosene lantern to take the edge off the chill in that wind. We did see at least one ship within 20 miles of us every day on our AIS receiver, sometimes they were even close enough to catch sight of them over the waves.

great circle route

Our chart plotter shows that the shortest distance route (the dashed black line) at this latitude is a curve (great circle route) rather than a straight line (rhumb line.) This great circle route required a course heading change of one degree each day or so. Our noon positions – the red stars – show that we tried to stay close to the intended course but continually wind and seas forced us to diverge.

lashing the staysail grinding in some sheet

The passage of 1600 nautical miles took just over 13 days at sea. Unalaska is beautiful and we were happy to get a berth at a dock near Downtown Dutch Harbor.

8 thoughts on “Windy North Pacific Ocean – Neah Bay to Dutch Harbor

  1. Well hello! Had to re-find your url to catch up again. Sorry I missed seeing you on your visit to F dock. Looks like you got lots of work done and life is full of adventure! Kelvin and I are just returning from the Broughton Islands – sure nice to be off the dock! Love that we can share in your trip – and the pics are just gorgeous!

  2. So great to see what’s up! Beautiful photos,
    and I am awed by your journey.
    Much love,
    Ted

  3. I wrote a note but Catcha timed out on me. 🙁
    Basically…I loved the pics as they give me a visual for what I cannot imagine.
    So good to see you again, too!
    Much love, A
    Keep livin’ the dream! (KLTD) kilted?

  4. WooHooo! Glad to see photos of all the wild weather, now that you are past it. Love the beautiful sunsets in Neah Bay. Guess that allowed for some pre-adventure rest. Looking forward to images of Nome. Safe travels! xoxo E

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