Necessity is in Newport, Oregon

Eva and Jan Fr. Mack
Wed 22 Sep 2010 16:19
Our position is 44:37:44N 124:03:11W
We got out of Neah on Sunday morning. The written and oral weather forecasts were not easy to interpret, but there would be strong head winds along the coast. According to the grib files there would, however, be favourable winds 50-60 miles out. Two other boats decided to stay while we left, still in the fog. As so often, the grib files are very good once you are clear of the coast. We got a fast passage with good sailing. The price we had to pay was 24 hours of very confused seas. That can be tough when you have spent the last months inshore or onshore (no, I didn't get seasick).
The Oregon coast is a tough one, and Newport on the Yaquina river is the only harbour that can be entered in almost all kinds of weather. This is were southbound yachts meet up. We are in here with Washington and Canadian boats. Half a day is easily spent discussing weather and destinations. The weather is very unusual this year. An El Nino event has brought storms and southerly winds. Not good when headed for Mexico. There are numerous stories of boats being swamped and gear broken. The forecasters also get into trouble with less empiric data (my guess). Maybe that is why the grib's are good with only mathematical models and no forecasters.
Once docked we also got into a discussion with the local "Homeland Security". Suddenly we were treated as a threat. Our sin? We had waited one hour to call them. It didn't help much that I pointed out that it is not obvious which number to call. So far Homeland Insecurity has not provided a list, so it may take some investigation in each port.
To be absolutely truthful I could have called a central number, but the response from that number is frequently vague.
Anyway, a bit of charm (sure) and some diplomacy (you don't believe me?) has solved the issue without the feared fines they love to impose (ask the Canadians). I also believe that we may see more Draconian attitudes as we move south, so this boat will now start calling before we hit the dock - and don't ask me why we have to call within what is still one country even though it has multiple states.
We are now preparing to go inland. Oregon is definitely a state which is better explored on dry land.
Jan Fr. 22.09.10
ps My guest sailor, Jon, is doing really well, and in Oregon he is in charge since he went to school here.