Friday, December 6, 2013

Monday, 21October2013: Victoria to Skyline

Weather:  Initially sunny and warm, then thick fog.  Winds:  Initially, N10.  Seas:  <1ft.

Uneventful departure out of Victoria, motoring out of the harbor and setting main and screacher just before the turn south out of the harbor.  Sailed eastbound in sunshine at 7.5kts.  Fog was visible coming over the hills to the north.  Varied the route some and went north of Trial Island and was rewarded with a couple Steller sea lions in McNiell Bay!

Winds picked up and soon we were seeing 17kts apparent, way too much for the screacher.  But before I could furl it, the halyard block at the top of the mast fractured, ending the screacher's use for the day.  Dropped the screacher and unfurled the genoa.  Wind started to decrease and died at Discovery Island.  Fog with 1/4mi visibility descended.

Not good.  Heard what sounded like a large vessel fog horn in the distance to our 2 o'clock.  About 10 minutes later, heard the same horn at 11 o'clock.  Fine!  The vessel has made the turn into Haro and was northbound.  I called Victoria Traffic, gave them our location and intention and they responded back there was no reporting traffic to worry about.  Great!  A few minutes later, the vessel's wake showed up from the south.  About 10min later, the vessel's northbound wake appeared from the east:  Just as it should.

It is a long motor across the Haro Strait in 1/4mi visibility.  At one point, it increased to about 3/4mi to the south, but about an 1/8mi to the north.  South of San Juan Island, visibility increased to 3mi and remained so until approaching Rosario Strait where it descended to 1/4mi again.

Called Seattle Traffic with location and intent and receiving a report of a vessel northbound at Allen Island.  Not a factor!  So we pushed.  Visibility continued to decrease and was less than 200yds as we passed between Williamson Rocks and Allen Island.  Never did see Williamson Rocks.  Took Allen Island close to port and continued into Burrows Bay.  Flat seas, a few birds appearing out of the fog and essentially no visibility.  Really glad for a reliable engine, autohelm and GPS!  Otto was doing a better job keeping us on course than I was so I let it take the helm.  About 1/2mi outside our marina entrance, the fog parted and we had clear visibility in.  Uneventful mooring!

One interesting bit about being in Victoria this time was there was a 45ft monohull moored outside of us.  Turns out it belonged to a Dutch cruising family.  They had voyaged from the Netherlands, across the Atlantic into the Caribbean.  Eventually they did the Panama Canal and into the South Pacific.  From there, they went to Hawaii, then Alaska and had made their way this far south.  They had no further intentions except to stay in the area for the winter.  Nice to chat with them!

Lesson Learned:  Use the Traffic Control Services!

20-21October, 2013: Victoria, BC

Weather:  Fog nightly, sunny and warm daily.  Winds:  Nil.  Seas:  N/A

Previous post:  Victoria

Link above provided because this visit was similar to the last:  Great!  Did get to Bard and Banker Scottish Pub along with Irish Times Pub.  Though sister pubs, they are distinctly different.  I liked the Scottish pub better, larger selection of beer and liked the food better.

Also took a nice long walk to Craigdarroch Castle and walked the grounds.  The estate now "showcases the historic home in Victoria of the wealthy Dunsmuir family as well as their contribution to the development of Vancouver Island."  We did not go in as we felt the entrance fee was too high.  Also, one of the reasons for going here was I'd thought this was the home of the TV's Arrow, Oliver Queen.  Turns out, it is Hatley Castle, the other castle in Victoria.

Once again, stayed at the Causeway Floats, right down front!  Unlike the last trip, we did not find any Christmas presents.


 Craigdarroch Castle
View of the Empress Hotel from Strider
View of the Empress Hotel from Strider
Empress Hotel from Government Street
 View of Parliament from Strider

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sunday, 20October2013: Friday Harbor to Victoria, BC.

Weather:  Overcast and cool.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.

Hopped southbound into the outgoing tide, motoring to Cattle Pass as the light north-ish winds could not push us fast enough.  Raised the main though.  Turned west to cross the Haro and picked up some winds, making 6.5kts under the main and screacher.  These conditions continued through most of the rest of the trip, slacking off south off Discovery Island but picking back up.  Motored on in after rounding the south side of Trial Island.

Pics courtesy of S/V Sarita:

 Strider looking good at the marina exit.

 Kelly happy at the helm!

Heading out!

Currents switched as we crossed the Haro and became strong against us at Trial Island.  Stayed in the shadow of Trial and hugged the Vancouver Island shore to mitigate the currents.  Checked into Canada via CANPASS as we entered Victoria Harbor.  Moored at Causeway Floats, backing all the way into the head of the dock.

One of the reasons I wanted to go through Cattle Pass was for the Steller Sea Lions.  As previously posted, I'd seen them, but Kelly hadn't.  I hoped it was not too early.  I understand it is the males who come into our area during the winter and by their size, I'd say so!  Looking ahead, I could see them on Whale Rocks and called Kelly up as we passed.  Several were in the water around us.  Once passed, we motored back for a closer look, shut down the engine and drifted with the current and light wind in the sails.  Being within 100yds of the brutes on the island, it was easy to hear them.  Several passed close by, within 100ft.  Then, one astern got curious and followed us for about 10min, diving down under the boat, resurfacing astern, following along and repeating the process.  Water was so clear, we could see him with no trouble.  Kelly was totally enthralled!  The light winds provided just enough push for steerage and with the silent motion, we could hear him breathing!  Very cool experience!

Saturday, 19October2013: Skyline to Friday Harbor

Weather:  Sunny and mild:  Fog.  Winds:  Light and variable.  Seas:  Flat.

Going to Victoria, BC on this trip.  Delayed departure due to fog.

Usual route to Friday Harbor;  Thatcher Pass to Upright Channel across San Juan Channel into FH.  Mostly motor though did pick up a little wind in Upright Channel.  Did not raise the main, only used the genoa.

Had a polite conversation with Washington State Ferry Elwha regarding rules of the road, which I feel Elwha failed to observe during a right to left crossing (Strider on the right), trying to get out of their presumed way in the center of the channel.  Instead, Elwha hardened their turn to hug the shoreline, forcing a path between Strider and the shore.  Crew aboard cited a notice to mariners regarding a security zone for passenger vessels.  The crux I got from the conversation is Elwha does not feel any responsibility for maintaining their own security zone and can therefore, violate the rules of the road.

Visited Saritas while there and enjoyed cottage pie for dinner1  Much to their delight, delivered some pears and kiwi from the garden!

Saturday, 21September2013: Friday Harbor to Skyline

Weather:  Sunny and mild.  Winds:  Light and variable, 15kts at East Sound.  Seas:  Calm

Intended to leave on Friday, but was having too good a time and stayed one more day.  Departed around 1100.  Saritas came by to see us off.  Mostly a motor.  Sailed at 5kts in light winds under main and screacher across San Juan Channel.  Motored.  Picked a bit of wind on the south side of Shaw Island and managed to sail a bit more.  Motored.  At the west end of East Sound, winds picked up and we made 8-10kts all the way to Peavine Pass.  Slowed to 5kts against the current in Peavine.  Mid-pass, motored as the winds became obstructed by Obstruction Island.  Mostly motored the rest of the way home, picking up a bit of wind every now and then.

Thursday, 19September2013: Skyline to Friday Harbor

Weather:  Sunny and mild.  Winds:  SW 10.  Seas:  <1ft.

Sailed when we could and motored when we had to.  Crossed Rosario under main and genoa at 6kts.  Motored through Thatcher Pass to Upright Channel.  Beat at 7.5kts in Upright Channel and 5kts across San Juan Channel and into Friday Harbor.

A pleasant day sailing!  Came to Friday Harbor to visit our newly former dock neighbors Richard, Jude and Katya aboard Sarita.  They had moved the previous day to Friday Harbor to enroll Katya in school.

Enjoyed the two days here, dinners aboard Sarita, Katya playing with the dogs, strolling around Friday Harbor, buying cheese at the new San Juan Island Cheese Shop, getting abandoned by Kelly and Jude while on the walk about....