Brooks Penninsula

July 13: We made it around Brooks Penninsula!

The weather reports all mention Brooks Penninsula. Typically the report goes: "Wind 15 - 25 knots from the northwest, except 25 to 35 knots around Brooks Penninsula." This land form sticks out into the sea like a giant thumb - square on the end, with barren, windswept Solander Island and numerous small evil rocks beyond that. Needless to say, we approached the project with some trepidation.

Yesterday morning, we left the lovely little hidey hole of Klaskish Basin, disturbing an eagle in the narrow exit gorge, and out into Brooks Bay. Initially the wind wasn't much, but it gradually did rise to 30 knots, with gusts to 35 knots. We put one reef in the mainsail, and then two reefs. Even with two reefs, we hit a maximum speed of 12.2 knots, surfing down a wave.

About then, the wind began to slack, and a group of grey sided dolphins showed up to play in our bow wave. They would surf the rollers as they came along side the boat, then jet forward and jump out of the water in the bow wave. Then they'd circle back, and repeat the whole performance. They were with us for about 20 minutes, obviously playing and having a great time -- what other explanation could there be?

The wind slacked to nothing by the time we got to our destination -- Columbia Cove, at the southern base of the Brooks Penninsula, just a short distance -- as the crow flies -- from Klaskish Basin. It was about 78 degrees F, bright sunshine, not a cloud in sight, except for the cap of fog sitting on the Brooks Penninsula, and wisping down the sides. This is an incredibly gorgeous spot. Moments after we anchored, a sightseeing helicopter swung into the bay, circled our boat, oggled the fishing cutter wreck on the shore, and swooped off toward the beaches on the south side of Brooks Penninsula.

There are no other boats here (except for the wrecked vessel, broken in two pieces on the shore). There are three mooring buoys, but the guide books recommend against them. So we are anchored in the same spot as the Columbia Rediviva, a fur trading vessel which first anchored here in 1791. It was captained by Robert Gray, the same guy after whom Grays Harbor is named. He's also the same guy who discovered the Columbia River the next year, and named it after his ship.
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