FROM Village Girl

Juan de Fuca

Was probably a Greek sailor working for the King of Spain who might have sailed into the Strait named after him – by an Englishman, based on the journal of another Englishman. And the Examiner seems to like the place too. It drains the waters of the Salish Sea into the Pacific and it has some interesting tidal and meteorological quirks. Shipping lanes everywhere and big ships doing 25 knots. We’ve crossed it twice in each direction, each time with attendant drama. The first 3 are buried in the back reaches of this blog but the last one was yesterday. 0445 departure from Friday Harbour captured in the webcam screenshot, courtesy of one of our friends – at about half what had been a huge tide tide on the ebb, glassy calm and we still had the fenders over the port side. Masthead light and what I think is the GPS screen clearly visible, Lopez Island middle distance across San Juan Channel and Blakely, Cypress and Guemes islands just poking up over Lopez and possibly Mount Vernon about 35 miles away in the far distance. Small fishing boat in the channel. Out through Cattle Pass on the last of the ebb with attendant whirlpools and sluices and off towards Smith Island. Grey, cold and drizzly, cloudbase 500 feet or so and no wind on a lumpy sea. Mota pottering at half revs, misty visibility all the way across to Whidbey Island and Port Townsend. Enter the Examiner with her leathers and test kit. Mota Lisa making about 3 kts in the lumps and rolls so very slow uncomfortable progress and as we got to Smith, the cloudbase dropped to water level and we were in fog – ok to start with and visibility a couple of miles but it really socked in as we approached Partridge Point on Whidbey. Slow progress put us in maximum ebb current in Admiralty Inlet. The tide was flowing at 4.5 knots so it became a looong ferry glide across to Point Wilson – perhaps 4.5 hours to cover 4 miles with about 40 degrees of drift. Assuming Mota Lisa was giving us 5 knots at her best revs, that’s about 22 miles through the water. As an ancient aviator, drift is easy as long as there are visual reference points – I’m not much good at it in fog. The GPS lubber line is too insensitive for me to pick the early signs of wander and we did not have the big compass set up. Silly old fart didn’t think of it. So we wandered all over the place. Fog gradually lifted so we were able to see and avoid a big container ship and a tug with a long line towing a huge barge and a couple of ferries we knew were there via the Marine Traffic app. Tangled masses of very long kelp in the current swirls. Finally into PT and up to friend’s mooring at Port Hadluck.(thanks you two:)) We shared the very last dose of the Dublin doctor’s prescribed medication. About 10 hours of fun for her in the leathers. Life, the Universe and our towels. Virus-free. <#DAB4FAD8-2DD7-40BB-A1B8-4E2AA1F9FDF2>

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