D E M E N T E D P E N G U I N . N E T

June 24, 2018

Boat trip – day 21

Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 10:10 am

We left our dock at 7:50 and headed over two docks to get fuel, since the fuel dock is open 8-5 (closed on Sundays). I really wish there was a way to get fuel whenever we got to port. 237 gallons later we were good to go. Cheapest fuel of the trip at $3.09. We left the fuel dock at 8:25. The end of the channel was absolute madness. 11 knot winds, waves coming at us from every direction and we were sideways to the swells. About a half mile out it calmed down a little but it was still thrashing us all around. Between the 11 knot winds and the 7 second swells it is going to be a rough day. Still nothing like the 10′ waves and 24 knot winds we experienced at the start of the trip. How naive we were back then, and lucky, and dumb.

Around 2.5 hours in I saw a few whale spouts about 100 yards off the port side and bow but not the whales attached to them. It seemed to be about a quarter mile train of them from what I could tell.

After about 5 hours it calmed down some more. It was by no means perfect but it was a lot more comfortable. I have heard that you need to enter the Straight around slack tide, and I have personnaly seen how rough the mouth can be. It was clear at this point that we weren’t going to make the Cape in time, maybe an hour after. I wasn’t sure what to expect when we got there, especially since the winds were supposed to pick up around the same time. After checking the distance, calculating the time of arrival, and when slack tide was we determined we had two options – slow down or check out La Push. We went in to La Push. We got there 7.5 hours after we pulled away from the fuel dock in Westport. It was buzzing with small fishing boats, much like Newport, and was tight for a boat our size so we turned around and went for option #2. I had no idea where the guest dock was anyway. By 5pm we were 5 miles out and motoring at 7.5 knots. It’s boring, and not much less thrashy.

At 6pm a 50′ boat passed us going 18 knots headed towards Cape Flattery, so I watched to see if they went around and in to the Straight. They went for it, and so did we. We passed into the Straight of Juan de Fuca at about 8pm, successfully and without incident. Not sure why I’ve read that timing makes the difference, it was surprisingly calmer than I expected. We called Neah Bay Marina but found out it was full. So what to do – go to Port Angeles, or go the extra few hours to Port Ludlow. If we gotta go then may as well go all the way. Or so we thought.

We were cruising along with the swells and tail winds @ 11-16 knots. The sun went down, the 3/4 moon came out and we thought we were on easy street. It was for a while, and we had the perfect angle set in to the autopilot, but then we had to turn with the Straight and the swells didnt have to. It turned into a fight to keep the boat straight. About 30 minutes before Port Angeles we got hailed by the Port Authority to let us know that there were three cruise ships coming at us. It was more informative, and they looked to be a long way off so we thanked them and got back to focusing on keeping our path. I didnt realize how fast those things can go. They went from about 20 miles away to 3 miles in just a few minutes. I got hailed by the lead cruise ship who let me know he was going to my stern. Looks like we made it out of their way.

It was about this time that I started feeling really exhausted, it was too dark to see adequately, and I was having a hard time keeping the boat on a good line so we changed plans and headed for Boat Haven. When I turned the boat I realized why it was so hard to keep it on a line, the wind had picked up quite a bit. Since it was at my back I hadn’t noticed until I turned around. Glad we decided to not keep going. It was hard to navigate the bay in the dark but we made it to the marina and found a slip. Time of arrival was 1:45am.

It looks like it will be about a 4 hour run to home tomorrow, fingers crossed.

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