Well (SPOILER ALERT) I am back safely in Victoria.
The rest of the trip went like this:
After leaving Shoal Bay, the day after the gale, I headed to the south side of lopez, to a bay called Watmough Bay. This means I’d be all setup for a run across the Juan De Fuca the next day. It was a lovely day, not a long distance (~11 NM) and so I took the chance to flex my sailing chops. Even though the wind wasn’t strong at all, I took my time and managed to sail the entire way – include through a pass! Lots of tacking – I’m getting pretty ok at dealing with that single-handed. Highlight was when I was ghosting along and heard something that sounded like a person exhaling loudly behind me and turned – it was a huge porpoise just behind me.
I got to Watmugh Bay and realised – holy crap, this place is BEAUTIFUL – if I ever propose to someone again (HAH!) then it will probably be here.
Photos don’t do it justice – there is a 150 foot cliff on one side, and a forest on the other, both covered in Arbutus trees. The third side has a sandy beach! The only negative is it is a bit small, though its shallow (15 foot) so you don’t have to use as much rode as usual.
Around dusk, I heard ethereal singing, so I stuck my head out and saw a beautiful blond girl, soaking wet hair and clothes, rowing a tiny boat around the edge of the bay singing a classical song I didn’t recognise. This was so strange I pretty much convinced myself that it was a sea ghost or a siren of some sort. Good job I am not dating, otherwise I’d probably have been lured in and vanished off this plane of existence.
Note at this point that I had been by myself for well over a week so this theory actually held a lot more weight that it should have.
Once she disappeared round the corner, I heard a weird banging on my hull. MORE SEA GHOSTS! (or a crab pot float, it turned out)
So I was a bit on edge, and then in the evening the wind picked up. I spent a bit of a nervous night, with virtually no sleep as the wind came from a different direction to what I expected, and the tidal currents didn’t help either. I didn’t drag though.
The next morning I (bleary eyed and reluctantly) got out of bed early to cross the Juan De Fuca. I checked the weather and it was 15-25 – perfect! I may be able to sail! Of course I didn’t read the parts about how that part of the juan de fuca basically turns into a washing machine at anything over 15 – and the current was against the wind, AND it meets the Rosario Strait.
Long story short, I got around the island at the head of the bay, and noticed ‘some chop’ in the distance. I started pulling up the main, and got into the chop, which turned out to be 4-5 foot standing waves, breaking, at 2 second intervals. It sucked. After burying my bow 3 times in 10 seconds, I decided to get the hell out of there, dumped the main and ignobly legged it back to the bay, tail between my legs and sails all over the deck. I saw a sea lion eating something so not a completely wasted excursion?!
At this point I was really low on food (which led to the meal of the night before, pasta with warm cheese (as I wasn’t using the fridge) sliced up and mixed with BBQ sauce. I christened the dish ‘Pasta Pathetica’) so to stock up and pass the time, I assembled the porta-bote. Note – I am getting really damn good at this, and can do it in 20 minutes. Except when I forget to attach a line to it when I put it in the water, and then watch it drift away like a complete burk.
Luckily, I hollared at the boat next to me and a lovely 70-something gentleman rescued my boat in his dinghy and brought it back. ‘Bad Day eh?’ was his only comment, viewing my sail strewn deck. I rowed to the beach, asked a couple of people where the nearest shop was. I was three miles away but they gave me a lift! Thanks guys! They also knew the girl in the rowboat, called Becky. So not a sea ghost.
After loading up on
pop tarts vital rations, I walked back to the beach, and went back to my boat. There was one other boat anchored in the bay, so I wasn’t too worried about swing, and it was due to be low winds, so I wasn’t worried about dragging.
I woke up at 2am for some reasons, and went to check the chafe, and found I was now 40 feet away from the other boat. SOMEONE was dragging, and I am going to blame the other guy, without a shred of evidence. I pulled up anchor, moved away further, and dropped it. And it didn’t set. At this point I just decided to stay up, keep an eye on the other boat and read. Some sleep would have been nice.
At 5, I started prepping the boat, and I left at 6.
It was really pretty, but I was frazzled. Luckily the strait was really calm, and I arrived at port townsend without any incident, except hitting a wicked ebb current and taking an extra hour for the last two NM.
This was a really cute little marina.
I picked up my portholes from New Found Metals and had an early night and slept SO HARD. The next day, I left to coincide with the tide and started the 30 mile run to Port Angeles.
I lucked out, and the wind was 15-20 knots the whole time from the correct direction, so I broad reached almost all the way and managed to sail 25 out the 30 miles. Lovely!
I stayed with a friend in Port Angeles and got to eat Actual Food for the first time in several days. The next day I went and had my interview for the Small Vessel Reporting System. This allows me to file a float plan with US Customs and then just phone them from the boat – meaning that hopefully when I go to the US I don’t have to go to a port of entry with customs (like Friday Harbour) first and can just clear over the phone! Highly recommended if you go to the US regularly. After the interview I set off for the 17 miles home.
No wind, so I motored the whole way, pretty boring except I ran into a very large porpoise pod which was really cool. First time I’ve seen more than a handful at once. Also, the mountains are pretty.
And then finally, I was home. Note – you can see that cruise ship from Port Angeles, even though you cannot see Victoria.
Lessons learned post coming up tomorrow, when I get some sleep.
Great posts and photos! Keep em coming
Colin s/v Spirit, Portland OR