Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

Cape Flattery Point is the Northwesternmost point in the Continental US. Neah Bay, where we anchor, is just around the corner.

It’s a long haul from the Columbia Bar to the San Juans and beyond, 154 miles and nearly a 25-hour non-stop passage from Astoria to Neah Bay. From there to Port Angeles, it’s another 58 miles and from there to San Juan Island, in the San Juans, is another 31 miles.

Neah Bay’s “downtown” main drag as seen from the anchorage, It is as usual cloaked in mist. Thos cleared enough to take a photo.

We have a love-hate relationship with Neah Bay. 

We love that it’s a place to take shelter and rest. We love that it’s free to anchor and not hard to dinghy in. We love that when we strike up conversations we find folks to be open and friendly and kind.

Totems outside Makah Museum Neah Bay, Washington.

We hate that it’s cold. We hate the cold. Wikepedia notes that Neah’s average high temperatures there never hit the 60s, not even in summertime. When we were there two years ago and it peaked at 64 degrees, the kids were gleefully swimming “to beat the heat.”

We love Neah’s Makah Museum and Research Center. It’s small, but nicely covers the Native American history and culture, including an excavation that reveals an amazing snapshot in time of tribal life.

Makah Museum doors, an appropriate nod to its dedication to tribal culture.

We hate that it’s wet. We hate the wet. Neah Bay averages 6 1/2 feet of rain a year. We always get wet when we’re there.

Neah’s verdant plant life offers the much needed color in this otherwise mostly misty gray-cloaked land.

We love that it’s verdant. All that rain makes for happy plants and trees. I was kicking myself for not bringing a container with me when I saw all the abundance ripe blackberries. I’ve been promising Wayne a cobbler when I pick enough. Our friend Brenda Robinson said she picked enough blackberries to make two pies when she was there.

While the Mahah Marina is chock-a-block with commercial and sport fishing boats, this Neah Bay boat’s going nowhere soon.

We hate that it’s gray. Neah gets 200 days of precipitation, so even when it doesn’t rain, it’s dark and misty, shades of The Piano, though it was set in New Zealand.

Given the size of the tree in these pilings and wrecked wharf, we’re guessing it’s been there a while. Neah Bay, Washington.

Even though we don’t fish, we love that Neah’s a fishing paradise. It’s reputed to be the best halibut fishing in lower 48 of the States. The time before last a ambled into their fisherman’s co-op and was charged next to nothing for fish and given some crabs for free, because their harvest was so bountiful. 

“Best smoked salmon, ever!” Brenda told us, after we’d left Neah Bay. “Ask around; they guy sells it out of his garage.”

Also, just outside Neah Bay, we saw whales spouting so close to the shore, we convinced ourselves they were tidal blowholes. We realized later there that without any waves to cause them, so they must have been whales spouting after all. That area is known for them, particularly around this time of year. 

This boathouse was here two years ago when we stopped at Neah Bay, and is still here. Wish I knew the story….

We love that Cape Flattery offers amazing hiking, but we hate the fact that it’s too far from where we anchor, we never have a car at Neah and that there’s no mass transit that makes sense for that sparsely populated patch of the world. We’ve yet to see Cape Flattery up close and personal, as we’ve only seen it from a bit of a distance as we sail by.

Backside of sunk boat house – or whatever it is. Neah Bay, Washington.

Love or hate it, we’ll likely stop back at Neah on our way back home. 

Maybe this next time we can figure out a way to hike the Cape Flattery trail, pick some berries if they’re still ripe, and track down the guy who sells the best-ever smoked salmon. Regardless, Neah is a good place to take stock of the weather and time as calm as possible a passage across the Straits of San Juan de Fuca and the Columbia Bar. For that alone, we are supremely grateful to Neah Bay.

Location Location
This evening we dropped anchor off San Juan Island near American Camp (N48 27.958 W122 59.075 ). We left from Port Angeles, where we also stayed two years ago. In Neah Bay our anchorage was at (N48 22.224 W124 37.084).