It’s 70 degrees and sunny in this, a fine safe harbor along the walls of the Oregon Coast. First Nation Indians lived in this region for thousands of years before Europeans established a colony that has morphed into the largest commercial center on Oregon’s southern coast. In its colonial heyday coal, mining and coal shipments comprised the major part of the economy. Today there is no trace of coal, wood or shipbuilding industries — or of native Indians; it is fishing that dominates the harbor skyline. This is a working man’s town; it’s the real deal!
The sunrise and the sounds of idling diesel engines signal the beginning of a new day. The weather report is a mixed bag of 15 knot near shore and “blowing like stink” off shore. Our go-no go decisions are conservative, so we elect the comfort and safety of being tied up to a dock and a boat as stable as a house. Besides the fishermen were staying in port, and that is a compelling reason to stay put.
We introduced ourselves to a crew of young fisherman on the stern of their vessel, relaxed and conversating while sipping beer. They are not going to sea for the next few days while the blow passes. If the fisherman are hunkered down I think it prudent that we join them.
How easily we settled into this unexpected routine! Our days are naturally divided between a project-a-day, expanding territorial exploration and a drinking hour that stretches well into the evening.
Our harbor is mirror calm, but Raven’s Dance has the tallest mast in the harbor and just enough mast to reach the high winds overhead. There is no need for a wind indicator. During the gusts we hear the wind whistling, and a tuned ear can tell the wind velocity from the pitch and volume sent down the rigging.