Monday, September 1, 2014

Grays Harbor - Westport, WA

Grays Harbor is one of the few Harbors along the Pacific Coast and the only one in Washington State. You have to have a Hearty Sailor to sail the length of the West coast very unlike the East Coast where there are Harbors all along the way allowing Cruisers to just make daylight hops up or down the coast. There is Willapa Bay to the South of Grays Harbor but you better do your Homework before sailing into that Bay for Harbor.

Westport is definitely the Sport Fishing capital of Washington State.

Love the name but where is the u?

A walk down Float 4 gets you right in the heart of the commercial fishing here, large pens of small Hearing bait fish.

I watch as they scoop up countless net fulls of small Hearing

He hands it over to drop in well tanks

Another small ship unloading tons of Prawns

Another larger vessel unloading tons of tuna already frozen., a fork lift driver picks up the huge loads and immediately drives it all onto a waiting 18 wheeler trailer.

Several Fisherman have been remember with plaques along the waterfront in Westport, Just a Coincidence or not that we found a familiar name, Our Friend Jake Jacobsen is a salty sailor in Corpus Christi

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This tower is great to get some nice pics and get a nice view of the area. 

A long beafy seawall along the bay front near the Pacific entrance to Grays Harbor

zoomed way out to get a shot of these sport fisherman just about a mile or so offshore in the Pacific.

Straight across the mouth of the Harbor entrance is Ocean Shores where we will spend the night.

Zoomed in to see the South end of Ocean Shores

Tallest Light House in Washington State

For some reason it doesn't look that incredibly tall but it does have to shine above the forest.

First Tsunami Warning that we have seen but this is the first Pacific Beach for us in Washington.

Super Lush Sand Dunes

Real Sand Not rocks, but it is coarse sand.

Fine rocks mixed in with the sand at waters edge, big tides!

You can see how coarse the sand is.

You can see the Tide line all the way up behind the Admiral.

This little fisherman way out in the Pacific waves.

Taken from the top of the dunes

How broad and Lush the Dunes are.

Now the Light House looks tall.
Grays Harbor - Westport, WA Nice webcam here.

The fantasy was to do a three to four day road trip around the entire Olympic Peninsula which comprises the entire Northwest corner of Washington State. Locals told me you would need at least three days to do justice to the trip. Unsure as to when we would have three days in a row especially during nice weather while we are in Washington I decided that a few day trips could do most of it and we might reduce it to just a overnight whenever we could do it. The day trip to Gig Harbor was the first piece of this adventure. When I found out we could do a overnight I started checking out Gray's Harbor since it was just a 3 hour drive from Seattle and I thought we could easily see the Southern part of the Peninsula in two days.Of course I wanted the Admiral to find  things she would appreciate instead of just going to Westport to see a harbor so I found a beach hotel on Ocean Shores that had good reviews.
Westport is the main port in Gray Harbor for recreational and Sport fishing vessels as well. A lot of commercial fishing out of Westport for sure. We passed through Aberdeen and there is a huge commercial port there for ships but about half of that port seems to be closed, it must have been something in it's heyday but the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma with their transportation and distribution systems surely put the hurt on Gray's Harbor and Aberdeen. Almost all the attention in the Pacific Northwest is on Puget Sound but I'm always interested in the Ocean and experiencing those environments. I have read numerous accounts of sailors sailing to Seattle from California and you obviously have to be prepared to spend several days at a time offshore since there are few ports along the way to come in from what can be some serious seas and weather. So I was very interested to not just see the ocean shores of Washington State but also the only available port along its shore to seek safe harbor, the only other choice is a very shallow Willapa Bay to the South where refuge might be difficult or to sail all the way to Neah Bay or down the Straight of Juan De Fuca to Port Angeles.
Westport was very active, lots of sport fisherman and lots of small commercial vessels in the 30' to < 80' foot range. This might be a stop over for sailboats but Grays Harbor does not look like a place to have a sailboat year round for pleasure sailing. Most of the sailboats here look pretty salty. We walked all along the maina and headed to the seawall where there was a great observation tower. From there it was easy to see the opposite side of the mouth of Grays Harbor to Ocean Shores where we had a beach side room for the night. I wanted to see the beaches on this side so we drove just a few blocks and discovered the tallest Light house in the state then just another short block to find a state park access to the beach. The Sand Dunes were hard to compare to those on our Mustang Island in Texas. These seemed much more expansive and possibly higher with very thick grasses and foliage. Of course the Mustang Island Dunes are Desert plants, here they get precipitation measured in feet instead of inches. the Washington Coast is more rugged than Texas and a lot less developed, so if you like it primitive these beaches are for you.
One other thing about anywhere Washington is that there is usually a River nearby and the 115 mile long Chehalis River is a major part of the bay and the esturary dumping 6,425 cubic feet per second of fresh water into the bay. Other than driving on a bridge over The Chehalis we did not spend any time checking it out but I am sure with all that water there is a lot to see there. Several miles are navigable and we did see timber products on barges in the river. If you would like to catch a Salmon check out

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