Storms explodes sailing with ships. Solo sailing Aulani Aloha from the Columbia River Bar with ships as monster storm winter storm slams West Coast. The West Coast is shut down and natural disasters become unprecedented from Washington to California.
The Columbia River Bar of Astoria, Oregon is the most powerful collision of ocean and river forces on the planet.
Media coverage is caught off guard with poor weather forecasting scramble to catch up. I’m 4 days out 120 miles offshore from the Oregon California border.
These sea battles never decide who’s right only who’s left.
As sailors in little boats the size of life boats. We don’t have the luxury of hiding 100′ up in comfy enclosed watertight wheelhouses. Or lounges on 1,000′ ships manned 24/7 on all decks.
We are literally part of the storm itself. Seemingly lost in between swells dealing with the waves and ripples there. We are in the trenches battling a monster that never sees us. Even when we have crew it’s most always a solo operation.
How we strategically navigate prior to the monster’s arrival. Then keep on thru the dark night will determine just how soon and if we live to see another day. Always keep your mind and boat ahead of the Monster’s next move. Run and only wrestle when given no option.
How do we get here? Over the years we get a little dinghy and go for a stroll in the Pacific Ocean.
The Columbia River bar reopens after being closed to an early winter storm. I have a 3 day window to voyage South clearing the rugged stormy terrain of the Pacific Northwest before the next potential storm develops. My friends in another sailboat stall in port for 2 days before leaving.
I make my way offshore knowing storm winds will get pinched pressed by the shoreline with high cascading mountains funneling and doubling wind speeds and wave heights. An ancient tactic is employed to avoid the main front and reach the fringes of the outer flank.
100 miles offshore a snowy white owl appears circling the mast dozens of times.
Birds of prey can get trapped inside a storm till they find a way out on the weak backside. They venture far in their curiosity. But a snowy owl here is absolutely odd, uncanny, an omen.
The mackerel sky known as “Mare’s Tails” in folklore “Makes a lofty or tall ship carry low sails or reef such in.” The high cirrocumulus clouds formed by shifting high speed wind directions make known a kink disturbance in the jet stream is about to go wild.
The wind becomes ill as it moves counter clockwise across the compass from North to South then back to South West. I keep the wind to starboard to begin making my way ahead and across the path of the eye to it’s weak backside.
Wind speed begins it’s rise. By noon winds are SW 25 knots. At 8 PM gale force winds commence and continue rising. All night I sail with main sail reefed in and main engine at 2/3rd’s throttle. I’d be cruising at 8 knots instead over the next 12 hours I make no headway.
I’m letting the monster quickly makes it’s way past me with a short brush or skirmish. I avoid getting sucked into the eye’s strong side with it’s dynamic trough and violent main front.
The other sailboat from Astoria gets blown 200 miles North off course when a fishing vessel sites it clocking 70 knot winds. A month later they catch up and rendezvous with me a 1,000 miles South.
“Omens and Tell Tales of a Monster Coming Your Way”
Snowy White Owl
Barometer Begins It’s Plunge
Wind Speed Begins It’s Rise
Captain Oshen Wood