Last summer, when we had to concede the goal of leaving Portland in August, we sat on the beach, determined to enjoy the day and not wallow in self-pity that we weren’t going yet. But, that day, we set our date. We promised ourselves that we would do everything that we needed to do in order to be ready to leave on May 1st.
We’ve continued to say May 1st all through the winter, through boat project after boat project, through rain and snow and another PNW winter. Well, about two weeks ago, I decided it was time to set a definite date, and that May 1st probably wouldn’t quite work since that falls on a Wednesday. Unfortunately, we haven’t won the lottery since I last updated y’all, and we both still hold our day jobs. So … leaving the marina to set off on our adventure on a Wednesday would prove pretty difficult.
I conceded another 4 days and we set our departure day for Saturday, May 4th. It’s so close now that I don’t even care, not one little ounce, that we won’t make it by May 1st. It’s one month away. This is happening. We’re finally going to GO.
So here’s what we’re planning.
Leg 1: Portland to Astoria
Saturday morning, May 4th, we’ll leave our Portland slip for the last time and head down river. We’ll either stop at St. Helens for the night or press on all the way to Kalama. From Kalama, our next stop will be at Cathlamet and then from there on to Astoria. We want to pull into Astoria most likely on Saturday the 11th. So, not exactly sure which one of those stops along the way is where we’ll spend the majority of that week, working from the boat.
OH! Sidenote: another bit of exciting news- Brenden FINALLY was given official approval to work remotely for his existing company. YAY! It is so nice to have that decision finally made and in our favor. This gives us the freedom we need for our chosen lifestyle!
We don’t want to arrive in Astoria before the 9th because that’s the day that the Oregon Offshore International Yacht Race leaves from their starting point in Astoria. We figure it will likely be difficult to find an available slip there until after the racers leave.
After arriving in Astoria on around the 11th, we’ll hang out there and do our final preparations and trip planning for the offshore leg.
Leg 2: Astoria to Neah Bay
OK, this is going to be, by far, the riskiest leg of the passage. There’s the Columbia River Bar to contend with, a multitude of large ships that will all be converging into the mouth of the river, and then a 30 hour straight shot up the Washington coast, some of which will obviously be done at night. We can expect fog and that can be very scary.
Brenden and I have never been out on the ocean in anything like our 40-foot sailboat so this will be a whole new world for us. For this very reason, and so many more, we’re hiring a licensed and experienced captain to make the trip up with us. He also has a friend that he’s going to ask to come along on the trip, somebody he knows from the sailing club in Portland, who’s raced in the Oregon Offshore over a half dozen times and who is going to be participating even this year, so it will be a trip that this gentleman will have literally just made aboard the boat he’s crewing with.
I look forward to the stories we can share as we mosey northward at a much more sedate pace, lol. So, as long as things go well, we should have at least 4 of us aboard for the ocean leg. Additionally, depending on timing, Brenden’s dad, Scott, just might get to take the chance to come along. It would be a pleasure to have him aboard as well.
Timing: We will have to time our jump for the best weather window that we can get. We’ve narrowed the slot to a two-week period where we will essentially have everything 100% ready to go and will just be waiting for the good weather slot.
Our timeframe for departure from Astoria will be anytime from May 18th through June 2nd. The gods be willing, we’ll arrive in Neah Bay exhausted but elated and with heaps more experience under our belts.
Leg 3: Neah Bay to …. ???
Our final leg will be from Neah Bay to whatever point in the Puget Sound that we decide is suitably reasonable and safe for Brenden and I to be able to continue onward without Captain Frankland and with the kids back aboard.
This could potentially be Port Angeles, though likely we’ll want to be further in than that. Possibly Anacortes? Yeah, maybe, but I think we might want to be further south. Where ever we land, we’ll likely be there for a good 2-3 weeks so we would love to pick a place where we know there is maybe another kid boat around so that our kids can get a jump start on making some new friends up in the area.
There’s Shilshole Bay Marina- arguably the hub for liveaboard families in the Seattle area. I would LOVE to have our boat there for a bit, but getting a normal slip there will be impossible this year as they have a years-long waitlist. But definitely a viable option if we can get a guest slip for a long enough period that it would work for us.
There’s also a potential slip that we could sublease at a nice marina in Poulsbo’s Liberty Bay. This slip will be available from the end of May through October 1st. We don’t really want to take a slip for that whole period- we want to be out being transitory, starting to cruise around, being vagabonds, lol. But knowing that might be an option could be a good spot for us to land right when we get up there. I know of at least one boat with a liveaboard family in that area with a boy Evan’s age, so that could be a nice advantage.
We’ll just have to see. Are you in the Puget Sound, living aboard with kids? We’d LOVE to hear from you where you are, where you’ll be in June, and where you think we should aim to land! Cheers! ❤ ~Rachel