Hello everyone! Having spent the last two years on here picking people's brains about boats, anchors, charts
, sail handling, gadgets, routing, customs
use, etc, I thought I'd report in on my first major cruise
We (a good friend and I) left May 16th from Olympia, WA, headed for Ketchikan, on my San Juan
28. We had an awesome month and a half of sailing, and made it into Ketchikan on July 8th. Currently docked at the City Floats, a good central spot. Four cruise
ships just left and I think the city population went down by a factor of 10.
We have sailed about 65% of the trip. Windless days, schedules, opposing currents, miserable weather
, and laziness account for the remaining 35%. The weather
and seasonal winds should be much more helpful on our return.
We have anchored about half the time, and tied to docks and mooring
balls the other half. Before leaving I upgraded my 12lb Danforth to a Rocna
10 (22lb) with 50' of 5/16 chain. I have been quite pleased with it. The only issue was one grassy bottom that took three tries to get a solid bite.
The weather has been great. There has been some rain but I still feel like it's been less than the average amount. Aside from one miserable week, it's just been a few showers here and there.
The four significant (significant for me) crossings were:
1) Strait of Juan De Fuca. We took Deception Pass at slack and skipped the more open crossing from Point Wilson. Rounded the south end of Lopez with no issues. 15-20 kts of an opposing westerly.
2) Cape Caution. We left Allison Harbor and rounded Cape Caution with no issues at all. 5-8 foot swell and light southwesterly.
3) Milbanke Sound. Ugly crossing! Much bigger seas than predicted. An uncomfortable several hours in very choppy, close, 8-10 foot swells.
4) East Dixon (Dundas Island to Ketchikan). Very light winds, motored the whole way. A boring day!
We still have the most significant two crossings left: to and from the Queen Charlotte Islands. We plan to do this next week, as soon as we get a very good weather window.
We have navigated several narrows with minimal issues. Seymour Narrows, with its 17 knot
currents, can get very ugly, but we timed it right and saw a pod of Orcas along the way. Due to timing and impatience, we hoped to negotiate Whirlpool Rapids during an opposing current
, but we were overpowered and just couldn't get through, so we waited a few hours, accidentally lost
a $250 fishing
rig over the side, and tried again.
No major issues encountered in Johnstone Strait, which a few books
and people had me (I think?) overly worried about.
I think the most beautiful place I've ever been was Ocean Falls, BC. It is a fjord inlet with two small towns at the end, one being the control center for a major hydroelectric operation at a large waterfall. The mountains made me feel like I was docked at 8,000 feet.
Hoping to be back in Olympia by September 10th. If anyone has suggestions for stops on the way home, I would love to hear them! We plan to favor the mainland side (Broughtons, Desolation Sound, etc) rather than the Vancouver Island side on the way home.