Thursday, July 1, 2010

Things are not what they seem


Today was the day to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Never to be taken lightly, this body of water can kick up some prodigious conditions, especially when wind and tides oppose. Today, there was no wind to speak of (despite a forecast of 20 kt westerlies, which would have been perfect beam reach conditions) - perhaps just 4 kt out of the South. Given the currents, sailing in that zephyr was just not a choice. So we burnt diesel.

But, oh those currents. Thanks to the GPS, it was possible to keep a steady course toward the destination, but it sure didn't look that way. There were times, hours on end, when we had the bow pointed as much as 45° off of the desired course (3-4 kt cross-course current? Sure!). Not being able to see the GPS from where she sits, Jane was very nervous about our course, and I can certainly see why. Without the benefit of the GPS view, it looked like we were heading in a completely wrong direction.

It was another long day. In retrospect tho, perhaps we should have left about an hour later (sleep in! I could have slept in!). Again, we rose at 05:15 and weighed anchor at 07:00. But we arrived at Cattle Pass (the entrance to San Juan Channel) at 12:45, just before the end of the ebb tide. An hour later, and we would have had a sleigh ride up the Channel. But as Jane pointed out, if we left an hour later, we might just have arrived 2-3 hours later without as much help from the ebb tide.

Arrived where? Parks Bay, one our favorite gunkholes. It is right across the channel from Friday Harbor, but it is a world away. No internet, no cell phone coverage, and the shoreline is all owned by the University of Washington - landing is forbidden. And as a complete surprise, there was only one boat in here when we arrived. As the sun sets and I type this, another two have arrived. We are lonely here, and I like it.

There is an eagle's nest on the NW shore, and there was a young eaglet up there, crying pretty much continuously for food. Mom and Dad were soaring 100 feet above - surely they could hear him, but they didn't respond. Perhaps they were saying, "Get a job!"

I put the dinghy over the side and tore down the outboard - it turns out that there was a little water in the gas tank, and it had wetted the screen over the outlet, restricting the flow of gasoline. I dumped the gas back into the large jerry can of outboard fuel we keep on deck, cleaned and dryed the screen, and put everything back together. The outboard runs fine. So now we are back to one failure for the trip, and I don't see how I would be able to reduce that - I can't see how I might fix the boat hook, given that the casting that makes up the working end went over the side.

We grilled some cheeseburgers, and endeavored mightily to reduce the liquor supply down to that allowed by Canadian customs - because we've decided to go into Canada tomorrow.

Sacrifices must be made.


SV Estrellita 5.10b said...

The Canada booze thing is so annoying - especially for those of us living in Canada on our boat who have to stash their entire liquor cabinet in Canada before leaving so we can come back in legally!

HAPPY CANADA DAY from Alert Bay!

- Livia

bob said...

Livia -

I'll let you into my stash in the US, if you'll let me into yours in Canada... ;^)



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