S/V Hello World's Travel Log

strait of juan de fuca

After parting with Happy Camper in Bamfield, we headed to Wouwer Island. Waggoner's describes this island at the very western edge of the Broken Group like so:

At half tide or higher, most boats can make it through the slit between Batley Island and Wouwer Island. A bow watch will only scare you. <snip>... From the deepest indent in Wouwer Island, a short trail (a salal tunnel, actually) leads to a beach that faces the Pacific Ocean. The beach is choked with drift logs tangled like a mass of Tinker Toys. At the south end of the island, the shorelines around the headlands offer teeming tidepools, carpets of mussels, roaring sea lions, and storm-torn trees with eagles perched in them.

This really sounds like a place we need to spend some time in. We were foiled on our last attempt on Wouwer Island so we decided to give it another shot. This time we made it through the slit and into the anchorage (the bow watch was not scary - the depth sounder, however, caused a moment of pucker). We made an attempt at anchoring with a stern tie tucked in behind the lone islet inside the anchorage. Once we got the boat settled between her anchor and stern line, we couldn't stay out of the swell. It would have made for a long, rolly night with ocean swells starting in Japan and terminating on the side of our hull. So we decided to weigh anchor, scoot over to Effingham Bay (again) but just long enough to get ready for the passage down the Strait of Juan de Fuca. If we couldn't spend some time in Wouwer, we were determined to take advantage on the rare tame weather forecast for the strait and favorable tides.

Once at anchor back in Effingham Bay, we pulled the dinghy up on deck, moved the staysail stay off the foredeck and back by the mast, and pre-rigged the whisker pole. We were ready for some serious downwind sailing. We planned to ride the 5AM flood tide as far into the strait as we could so we departed around 10PM that evening allowing us the last remnants of the sunset for visibility to get out into Imperial Eagle Channel. Of all the sailing we'd done until this point, this was the time when we'd need to be the most cautious in our navigation. This was our first overnight sail in Hello World which also promised to be laced heavy with fog.

As luck would have it, our faithful chartplotter chose this exact moment to shit the bed. No GPS signal period. This was certainly not a deal breaker, we have four other GPS' on board, functioning radar, all the proper charts for the areas we were transiting. But still, the chartplotter would have been nice, particularly for exiting the rock-littered Broken Group and getting out into the Pacific.

What we lacked in chartplotter functionality, we more than made up for in phosphorescence. The prop wash (no sailing to be done all night) and waves running down the sides of the hull were lit up with phosphorescence. The Milky Way was brilliant. The sky was packed with stars. At least until the fog set in. Once the fog enveloped the boat, standing watch became a function of staring at the radar looking for the tiniest pixel of a return. We received several radar returns and were incredibly grateful to have it. This would have been wicked scary without it. It was scary enough with it. At one point, Christy woke me up when she saw three radar returns, all with bearings that looked to intersect right at us. Nobody came within 3/4 of a mile but we never caught a glimpse of any of their lights.

A windless day followed the windless evening and we motored uneventfully past Race Rocks and up into the anchorage in Esquimalt at around 3PM. We happily set the anchor in the back of Esquimalt Harbor, high-fived each other and augered into bed.

Sunset as we left Effingham Bay for the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Sunrise over the Strait!

An easy motor down the Strait of Juan de Fuca in glassy water.

48°24.694'N 124°09.015'W

1 comment:

Patrick said...

Dawn and I were soo stoked to have you hail us on the VHF as we headed Norht across the strait. We'll buy beers one night soon!