It cleared up further out and we made good progress in hazy sunshine to Cape Blanco, about fifty miles south, before the wind started dying. We were heading for Brookings, just north of the Oregon/California border. The harbor there is on the Chetco River, which also has a bar that requires careful timing to cross safely.
We motored through the rest of the night on one engine to make it to the Chetco on the flood. After the wind died, fog moved in that became increasingly thick as we neared the coast. In the early hours of the morning, I spotted several geysers of spray. They turned out to be Humpback Whales slowly heading the other direction. After they passed, one of them reversed direction and swam alongside about ten feet away. It was longer than we were. Our one engine was running at high rpm and this whale seemed to barely move in order to keep pace. An eye surfaced and looked straight at us. We did our best to appear friendly and non-threatening. They moved off without making hardly a ripple.
A shot of the cliffs as we are leaving Coos Bay, and I guess I'll just have to get used to their being plenty of whales out in the ocean!
Closer in, we dodged several fishing boats that we only saw on radar and didn’t even see land until we were about to cross the breakwater. The calm seas meant the bar was flat and entering the harbor was like anywhere else.
A little bird hops a ride into the harbor from out at sea. Luckily the narrow entrance to Brookings was perfectly calm
We tied up to the transient dock in the small boat basin and went over to the harbormaster’s office only to find them closed for lunch, so we headed back to Begonia to finish up the checklist as a way of killing time until they returned.
When we checked in, they assigned us to their other transient dock, the one used for commercial fishing. Begonia went from being conspicuously large amidst twenty-foot runabouts to being conspicuously small next to hundred-foot commercial fishing boats whose retracted stabilizer poles were higher than our mast.
There was just enough day left to set out in search of a meal out. We had walked by a pizza place when we checked in, which made that the dominant craving. The place we saw looked a bit rough (grubby), with only basic tables and unfinished walls visible through the windows, so we decided to head a little further afield to “the other one”. A quick check of the map on the phone to figure out where exactly to go turned up a bunch of reviews. Both seemed to have a following, but Zola’s - the dodgy place, seemed to be clearly better. We decided to give them a second look.
It was marvellous. The décor was basic – most of the walls not actually unfinished, but were covered with drawings made by patrons on the brown paper table covers, but the food was deeelicious! They had an amazing selection of beers and wines as well and the staff couldn’t have been nicer. None of this was apparent from outside the building and we felt a little guilty for underestimating them. We will definitely be going back before we leave town.